It would have easy to talk about Glastonbury this week. Or of course, the whole Brexit situation, which is going to be an issue on everybody’s minds for the next few months. Or years. But why don’t you take a break from that and peruse some sounds?
So many brilliant releases in the last couple of weeks, it’s been tough trying to pick out the best, along with some not so new releases. As always, I do my best, and as always, you’re welcome. I realised after re-reading some of what I’d written that I was practically reviewing whole albums rather than songs in places. But that means they’re great, so go listen to as many as you can. Enjoy.
1. ‘DECKS DARK’ – Radiohead
Although A Moon Shape Pool was released back in May, it’s only recently become available in the physical format, and also on streaming services that have an ad-supported tier. That means that I’ve only just been able to digest it, but it was worth waiting around for. Having not listened to much of Radiohead’s back catalogue up until a couple of years ago, I’m not really an expert on how this LP ranks amongst the others. Personally though, I love it, and ‘Decks Dark’ is a broody, well-crafted track that has been on heavy rotation recently.
2. ‘DEEP SIX TEXTBOOK’ – Let’s Eat Grandma
They sure do know how to make em strange up in Norwich (no offense to a lot of my family). Let’s Eat Grandma are two teenage friends from the homeland of Alan Partridge, and there’s a sense of that same absurdity in their music. At times you think it shouldn’t work; mandolins, recorder melodies, and a whole load of other-worldly sounds are chucked together by these multi-instrumentalists, somehow combining to create an intricate, beautiful piece of work. I, Gemini, is eerie, terrifying at times, but ultimately an album with sounds that I’ve enjoyed immensely. ‘Deep Six Textbook,’ the album’s opening track, sets you up well for a brilliant listen.
3. ‘YOUR BEST AMERICAN GIRL’ – Mitski
Oh what a voice. I hadn’t heard any of New York-based Mitski’s earlier material before last week, but found ‘Your Best American Girl’ and immediately dropped what I was doing when that chorus kicked in. Crashing guitars, heavy drums and a beautifully haunting voice; just amazing. Born in Japan, and having moved around various places before settling in New York, Mitski brings a large number of differing influences with her. These can all be heard on her fourth album, Puberty 2, which was released on the 17th.
4. ‘NO PROBLEM’ – Chance the Rapper feat. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz
I’ve loved this man ever since I heard his mixtape, Acid Rap, back in 2013. Since then he’s improved amazingly, honing that raw talent to craft something uniquely his. Sure, it draws from some hugely influential artists (even featuring a few of them) throughout his latest offering, Colouring Book, but ultimately this is his. Adding huge flavours of soul, funk and gospel to his music, Chance has proved himself to have a brilliant musical mind. ‘No Problem’ shows how he’s mixed his older stylistic choices with his new ideas.
5. ‘SUBWAYS’ – The Avalanches
Another fantastic release from Melbourne’s finest master of plunderphonics. This one is a little more relaxed than the track I featured last time, but no less enjoyable. It’s messy, unpredictable and utilises a sample from ‘Get Jiggy With It,’ which makes it all that more special. I am really looking forward to the album.
6. ‘HEARTBEATS’ – The Knife
Remember that advert with all those colourful balls bouncing down the road? Remember that song? Well, I never realised that the version by José González wasn’t the original. When I first heard ‘Heartbeats’ by The Knife, I thought that it was a cover. Nope. This is the original, and it’s full of electronic goodness. There are elements of 80’s electro in it that paint images of American high schoolers falling in and out of love. What’s wrong with me?
7. ‘DIAL ME IN’ – Factory Floor
Their first release for a couple of years, Factory Floor remain a group aiming to push boundaries and excite with their music. While it would be easy to brand ‘Dial Me In’ as a “dancefloor filler,” I don’t do that. Because I don’t dance. Instead, it’s better to call this track a layered symphony of noise, backed by a beat that remains steady throughout. Occasional flourishes of sound are added, slowly building but never quite reaching anywhere. Intense.
8. ‘NOTHING CAN STOP US’ – Saint Etienne
Classic 90’s indie pop with Saint Etienne. I say classic, because it sounds classic 90’s, but I’d never heard any of their music before. Oops. Everything about this track screams Second Summer of Love though, and I was obsessed with the ‘Nothing Can Stop Us’ after hearing it on the radio last week. A shining example of the music that makes me wish I was old enough to go and enjoy whilst it was around. Although when this track was released in 1991, I was minus 2 years old. Shame.
9. ‘BLACKEYE’ – Love Inks
Another act I only discovered last week, Love Inks are a minimalist indie-pop group from Texas. ‘Blackeye’ runs just under two minutes, but that’s all is need for it to entrap you in its delicate, catchy greatness. Because it is so short, you’ll find yourself listening to it a few times in a row. Not just because of the length though to be fair; it’s pretty damn brilliant.
10. ‘IT’S YOUR THING’ – The Isley Brothers
Grammy Award-winning funk from The Isley Brothers, with perhaps their best loved hit. Inspired by a variety of genres, the American group penned this hit after leaving Motown Records, and it has gone on to be covered and sampled by numerous artists, and is often cited as one of the greatest modern songs of all time. It certainly deserves that recognition.