This week in The Singles Bar #40, Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles features:

Mark Morton, the prolific guitarist of Lamb of God, has released the second single from his debut solo album, Anesthetic, out March 1, 2019. Cross Off featuring Chester Bennington premiered today as Zane Lowe’s World Record on Beats 1 and is now available.

Cross Off was recorded in April 2017 and written by Mark Morton, Chester Bennington, Jake Oni and producer Josh Wilbur. Morton recorded all guitars with Paolo Gregoletto and Alex Bent (Trivium) handling bass and drums. The composition of the song began between Morton, Wilbur and Oni before the three approached Bennington about singing vocals. Bennington loved the song and came to the studio with additional ideas and lyrics that, together with his unique and incredible vocal style, shaped the song to be what it is today.

Morton said his experience working on Cross Off with Bennington “was a very free flowing and natural process. We both really loved the song from its inception and everyone that worked on it put a lot of energy and emotion into it. I feel like you can really hear that in the track, and absolutely in Chester’s performance.”

Lana Del Rey releases new fan track Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For A Woman Like Me To Have – But I Have It produced by Jack Antonoff. The track is available now to stream and download on all partners. Lana recently released two other fan tracks, Mariners Apartment Complex and Venice Bitch in September of 2018 to widespread praise.

Lana’s sixth studio album Norman Fucking Rockwell is due for a mid-2019 release, with the first single forthcoming. Her last album, Lust for Life, debuted at No.1 on the UK Album Charts and garnered a Grammy nomination.

The Chemical Brothers unleash their first banger of 2019 MAH, complete with a brand new visual filmed at the band’s recent sold-out London arena shows. Directed by Marcus Lyall and featuring visuals created by Adam Smith & Marcus, the clip captures a taste of the band’s live spectacle, regarded as one of the best shows in the world right now. MAH is taken from the forthcoming new album No Geography.

MAH follows last year’s Free Yourself, which was released in Autumn with an incredible music video directed by long-time collaborators Dom & Nic, warning of an AI led future, the robot take over. MAH serves as only the second piece of new music since GRAMMY nominated album Born In The Echoes (2015). The veteran club maestro’s are back to claim their place at the top of the heap. MAH features pulsing acid basslines, and trademark Goliath kick drums, all wrapped up in a cavernous Mad As Hell vocal sample that is sure to set the dance alight.

Catfish and The Bottlemen’s young and growing fan base finally get their hit of new music as the band releases new single Longshot, out now via Island Records / Caroline Australia, with an accompanying video. Longshot follows Catfish and The Bottlemen’s recent headline run for Falls Festival, which saw them bring in the new year with Aussie fans.

New music arrives on the cusp of a string of sold out UK arena dates in February and the announcement of the band’s transatlantic return with a new US tour. The dramatic, one-take birds-eye video, filmed by long-term collaborator, Jim Canty (Hourglass and Twice), on a South Shields cliff top, completes their emphatic return.

Sam Smith & Normani have released their joint single Dancing With A Stranger, via Capitol Records & EMI Music Australia.

Dancing With A Stranger is a smooth slice of sultry, R’n’B influenced pop where Sam and Normani’s vocals effortlessly glide over the production. The collaboration between the two came about through a chance encounter at the studio in LA as Sam was writing with pop legends Stargate and Jimmy Napes, Normani was in the studio next door and with both artists being long-term fans of each other it was a no-brainer for her to team up with Sam to create the new track.

On the new single Sam Smith says, “I’m so excited for everyone to hear “Dancing With a Stranger,” which I wrote on The Thrill Of It All tour last year. For me it bottles everything I was feeling whilst juggling my personal life and touring. It is also such a beautiful moment for me as I’m a huge, huge fan of Normani and everything she is. I’m so excited to watch her light shine. I hope everyone enjoys hearing this song as much as I do.”

David Gray has released his new single A Tight Ship, the latest new track to emerge from his forthcoming album Gold In A Brass Age, due for release on March 8, 2019 via IHT Records / AWAL Recordings.

You’ll still recognise Gray’s gravelly rasp on new single A Tight Ship, but the singing is softer, sweeter, more intimate and occasionally falsetto. It’s part of a song-writing shake-up that defines a more intuitive approach from Gray across Gold In A Brass Age. Using a cut and paste approach to the arrangement of songs, lyrics have been transformed, with couplets closer to poetry, and whilst his guitar and piano playing remain, it’s the ushering in of electronica and the exploring of alternative sound textures alongside new production techniques that take to the fore.

Speaking about A Tight Ship, Gray says: “This was by far the toughest track to get right. It has a quirky chord structure that keeps changing key and I’m singing in an almost Marvin Gaye falsetto, which is in no way comfortable for me. For ages I had the opening couplet ‘The better then, to know myself/Fear be damned, let love be wealth’. Beyond that, I was stuck. The song has a lovely lightness that means the lyrics couldn’t be heavy-footed. The line that unlocked it was ‘To dance like no one sees’. That’s the pay-off.”

Multi-platinum selling Bring Me The Horizon are on course for world domination in 2019, with a fresh Grammy Nomination now under their belt and news of their curated headline show at All Points East festival in May announced plus a sold-out US Arena tour. A third single entitled medicine, is available now ahead of their new album amo, which is out on January 25 through RCA / Sony Music Australia.

Those who pre-order amo from JB Hi-Fi have the opportunity to win a double pass ticket to see Bring Me The Horizon live at one of their performances on their East Coast Australian tour in April 2019 + a meet and greet with Bring Me The Horizon for the winner and their guest.

A brand New Year brings another brand new song from The Cat Empire. Oscar Wilde is the seventh song to be released from the forthcoming album Stolen Diamonds, which is due for release on Feb 15th 2019.

If there is a song on the new album that checklists all the boxes on what makes for a great song by The Cat Empire, Oscar Wilde is it. With a Melbourne via Soweto swing, the song is a vehicle for yet another beautiful Felix Riebl vocal evoking warm memories of the past, both his and ours, while introducing another TCE trademark hook that wouldn’t be out of place on the classic Paul Simon Graceland album. “I can’t help but think that Paul Simon had some part to play in this one,” Felix confesses. “On tour, I always come back to Graceland as a reference for music that just floats and makes me feel good. It reminds me of why I’m anywhere.”

Following the release of singles New Moon and Stonehurst Cowboy, Steve Gunn shares a third song off of The Unseen In Between (out January 18 on Matador / Remote Control), the gorgeous Vagabond and its accompanying official video.

Named after Gunn’s favorite Agnes Varda film, Vagabond could almost be the soundtrack to a Denis Johnson short story or Sam Shepard play, with its rich cast of characters whose lives have gone astray — like Mona who “camped out in a graveyard” and Jean-Pierre who “came from the road, his artwork remains unsold.” Accompanied by gorgeous harmonies from Meg Baird, the song is a meditation on our restless times, an ode to the runaways, drifters, and vagabonds trying to make ends meet.

Los Angeles-based artist, Hand Habits (aka Meg Duffy) has announced their new album, placeholder, with its title track and lead single. NPR, who premiered placeholder is calling it “a soft yet scathing lamentation of being secondary,” saying it “screams with a sigh.” placeholder will be released on Friday 1st March via Milk! Records / Remote Control.

Meg Duffy grew up in a small town in Upstate New York and they cut their teeth as a session guitarist and touring member of Kevin Morby’s band. The Hand Habits project emerged after Meg moved to Los Angeles; it started as a private songwriting outlet but soon evolved into a fully-fledged band with Meg at the helm. Hand Habits’ debut album, Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void), was released by Woodsist Records in 2017. Two years later, Hand Habits has returned with their sophomore album, placeholder.

Acclaimed American singer song writer Alec Benjamin has unveiled a stellar new version of his breakthrough single, Let Me Down Slowly featuring GRAMMY® Award-winning recording artist Alessia Cara. Let Me Down Slowly (Feat. Alessia Cara) is available now.

Alec made his US television debut with a performance of Let Me Down Slowly on The Late Late Show with James Corden, which has just aired in the States and is available to watch.

After visiting Australia on his first promo tour here in September 2018, the prolific sonic storyteller released his debut project, his mixtape Narrated For You which features the global streaming hits If We Have Each Other, The Boy In The Bubble, Death of a Hero and Outrunning Karma and lead single, Let Me Down Slowly.

RAT BOY has made a flying start to 2019 by dropping his new track Don’t Hesitate, which was premiered by Annie Mac at Radio 1. Don’t Hesitate features on RAT BOY’s second album Internationally Unknown, which will be released on January 25th.

Don’t Hesitate is the perfect primer for what to expect from Internationally Unknown. RAT BOY has found the perfect blend of anthemic aggro punk with boisterous hip-hop beats, all the while maintain the personality and attitude that first earned him attention. Meanwhile, the lyrics explore a conflict between outlaws and the police during a post-apocalyptic disorder.

RAT BOY explains, “Don’t Hesitate was recorded as a live band with Tim Armstrong (Rancid) and John King (Dust Brothers – producers of Beck and Beastie Boys) suggesting things for us to try out, like percussion through a space echo, distorted slide guitar and ukulele bass which is insanely subby. This was tracked live to a tape machine and then back out of the tape machine into Logic. I was then able to chop it up: 808s and early ‘90s Rebel MC style production.”

The accompanying video for Don’t Hesitate is RAT BOY’s first to be shot in Los Angeles. It depicts the RAT BOY gang as America’s most anarchic and inept delivery team. Combining playful humour with a vibrant palette and an exuberant energy, it recalls some of the famous alternative music videos of the Nineties. It was directed by RAT BOY, leading skate filmmaker/photographer Giovanni Reda and Thomas Davis, who was also the DOP.

For more music and tour news, interviews, live reviews and photos head to Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles.