Another week of great songs, and again it’s a mixture of the old and the new. In a certain band’s case, they’ve combined those two elements to bring the world an incredibly hyped-up release that unfortunately didn’t quite meet my expectations. But we’ll get onto that a little later. Kicking us off this week is a band I’m incredibly excited about.
1. ‘LOST SANITY SMILES’ – Vulgarians
Having only formed at the start of last year, Vulgarians appear to be taking the right steps in order to make themselves known. After touring with The Wytches last Autumn, the Hull outfit have now been picked by Steve Lamacq to play at the Great Escape Festival this weekend. Heavy post-punk sounds at their finest, and lyrics that paint a haunting, angry picture in the listener’s mind, ‘Lost Sanity Smiles’ is thought-provoking and brilliant. Judging by this single, their debut EP scheduled for release this July promises to be incredible. You can also watch the video for ‘Lost Sanity Smiles’ here, and I’d highly recommend it.
2. ‘NOT HARMLESS’ – Laura Gibson
I absolutely love this track; it’s been stuck in my head for weeks now, and after a listen or two I’d guess that the same will happen to you. I mainly enjoy how the bassline appears to act as a complementary melodic line, lazily following Gibson’s voice rather than playing the root notes of the chords. Taken from Empire Builder released at the beginning of April, ‘Not Harmless’ grips you almost immediately, and once it has, it won’t let go for a while.
3. ‘SINGLE’ – Frith
Starting off a song with strange, high-pitched vocals was not what I was expecting from LA-based Frith, but it caught my attention and allowed me to listen to a fantastic track. Released way back in 2014, ‘Single’ explores folk, pop and indie areas to create something that’s simple, well-constructed and ridiculously addictive.
4. ‘DISTRACTION’ – Raye
South London artist Raye brings a sublime blend of RnB and electro in ‘Distraction’, adding ethereal swirls of sound to colour a classic RnB beat and an outstanding vocal performance. Raye recently released a track with Stormzy, called ‘Ambition,’ and I’d suggest checking that out, as well as her other releases. Unfortunately, there is no full length album yet, but here’s hoping one is released soon.
5. ‘HE’S A REBEL’ – The Crystals
One of the only things that got me through working in retail were a handful of the songs that were played over the speakers. It didn’t quite drown out the screaming children completely, but it helped. ‘He’s A Rebel’ was my favourite out of those songs, and I would pray for it every day at work. Now, it’s a firm favourite of mine. I just love it, and I reckon you will too.
6. ‘I CAN DO NO WRONG’ – Apollo Brown & Guilty Simpson
I stumbled across an article detailing some of the best hip-hop albums in recent years, and the description of Dice Game made me want to dive in. A collaborative album between producer Apollo Brown and rapper Guilty Simpson, Dice Game offers a refined, and at-times relaxed approach to rap. ‘I Can Do No Wrong’ is a great example of how powerful simplicity in hip-hop can be.
7. ‘CHICA CUBANA’ – Interactivo
Taken from Gilles Peterson’s Havana Cultura project (which I highly recommend checking out), ‘Chica Cubana’ is a masterclass in modern Cuban music. Combining traditional Cuban beats with inflections of jazz and funk, ‘Chica Cubana’ allows the group’s various musicians to show off both their solo and collaborative skills. Incredible stuff.
8. ‘FREQUENCY’ – FØXE
Guildford-based indie group FØXE are one of those bands I’m looking forward to following in the years to come. Still relatively new to an already packed scene, there’s no denying there will be challenges to overcome, but FØXE have the potential to do that if they keep writing tracks like ‘Frequency.’ Although the lyrics leave a lot to be desired, the group clearly have a knack for structure and melody, creating catchy hooks that you won’t forget in a hurry. ‘Frequency’ is a good indie-pop song, and I hope FØXE can bring us more like this.
9. ‘ALL FOR ONE’ – The Stone Roses
I was so excited when The Stone Roses announced their first bit of new music in 21 years. Maybe a little too excited, and that’s likely why I was let down when I first heard ‘All For One.’ It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s…okay. Mediocre. That’s the problem with hyping up new music, especially when it involves artists whose work has been so hugely influential; you’ll often feel let down if you didn’t enjoy it as much as you wanted to. Having said that, this is The Stone Roses, and I love them lots and lots, so please don’t hurt me. Thanks.
10. ‘SICK AND TIRED’ – The Cardigans
Yet another one of those bands who I’d heard of, but never actually listened to. And there are hundreds of those throughout the world, just waiting for my earballs to have a go. I heard ‘Sick and Tired’ on the radio last week, and fell in love instantly. The opening track from their debut album Emmerdale, ‘Sick and Tired’ is sickeningly indie-pop, and that’s what makes it so great. It’s easy-going, upbeat music juxtaposes the somewhat downbeat lyrics. Classic indie, eh?