This Week Playlist (18th Feb 2019)

 

LogoMakr_2Roosj

Here are eight cracking new tracks for you to enjoy. They’re a bit varied this week, with pop, hip hop, rock and soul all featuring. There’s also a distincly political vibe to two of the tracks. Enjoy! 

Cherry Glazerr – Ohio 

I haven’t yet had a chance to listen to Cherry Glazerr’s recent album, but if Ohio is anything to go by then I’m in for a treat. It’s scuzzy rock that’s reminiscent of the Pixies – possibly with a sprinkling of Nirvana – and the delicate vocals – so delicate they’re almost out of the mix –  remind me a little of Grimes. If that’s not enough, wait until your ears get walloped by the guitar…

Ariane Grande – break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored 

So I heard this a week ago and it was instantly a hit in my world (I’ve had the chorus going through my head for a week) but I wanted to listen to the album before posting it. Well in that week it’s gone to number one in the UK. You snooze, you lose. A huge improvement on previous single 7 rings, buwyg,Ib (as no one is calling it) is full of slick production with elements of 90s r’n’b (I haven’t checked the tempos, but it feels like it’d make an awesome mashup with TLC’s No Scrubs) – and touches of modern hip hop. It’s a pop banger from the current master.

ROMANS – Be Fine

Halfway through the second verse London-based artist ROMANS sings ‘How I wished we could turn back time’, which feels particularly fitting given the classic soul vibe he’s producing in this monster single. Beautiful vocals mask the depths of angst and sadness in the lyrics, but this is an absolutely cracking record.

Mindchatter – Blood

The Penguin has previously covered Mindchatter’s first release (Trippy) earlier this year, and Blood follows hot on its heels. Blood feels like a bossa nova waltz has been transported via Thunderbird 4 to an underwater city. Its almost unsettling, nothing is quite what is seems, and there’s a venomous streak running through it.

Maisie Peters – Stay Young 

Stay Young has a clear folk heart, an electronic beat and a proper pop chorus. There’s a lovely innocent and carefree feel to the track, supported by the relatively minimalism of the music arrangement, and Miss Peters has a lovely voice as well.

Foals – On the Luna

The second single from their forthcoming album, Foals have merged their earlier sound with the rockier numbers of recent albums. With strong guitars and repetitive keyboards, this is a track full of energy. Originally called End of Days, this is a tale of generational blame; trying to break out of this world – Trump references and all – a world he feels the previous generation have a lot to answer for.

Vok – In the Dark 

With an album of the same title due on March 1st, Icelanders Vok have pulled together a fun pop track with a cracking chorus. “I better toughen up…” 

Offset – Red Room

Georgia resident Offset’s – long awaited – debut album is set to drop on Friday and the title track Red Room promises some serious storytelling. Embracing the in-vogue auto-tune/vocoder vocal style, there’s brief snipped of his car crash, gang life, domestic struggles and musical success.

The A List (17th Feb 2019)

LogoMakr_1Srk07

Five really good new entries on the A List this week, but still nothing has topped the pop behemoths that are the Plastic Mermaids and Dua Lipa tracks. They’ve reached their three week time limit now, as has Gary Clark Jr, so this is their last week here. I expect all three of those tracks will feature highly on the Penguin’s Top 50 tracks of the year though…

1. Plastic Mermaids – Floating in a Vacuum [Final week]

My favourite track of 2019 so far. From the orchestral introduction to the playful synths, this is a track that grabs your attention.

2. Dua Lipa – Swan Song [Final week]

For my money, this is the best Dua Lipa song since 2015’s Be The One. From the tribal percussion and vocal snippets, this is a song of defiance and power “this is NOT a Swan Song”.

3. The Amazons – Mother [New Entry]

Thursday’s Track of the Day is a cracking piece of grandiose rock and roll. With a similar stuttering start to Audioslave’s Cochise and a guitar riff that is big, dirty and rough enough to knock your teeth out.

4. Fakear – Nausicaa [New Entry]

Well this is just an absolute delight for the ears. French producer Fakear has produced a collage of sounds that feel tribal, spiritual, enchanting and uplifting in equal measures. Listening to Nausicaa you’re transported away to a forrest, far from everyday life and surrounded by intrigue.

5. Sunflower Bean – Fear City 

Fear City has an assured  swagger. It sounds timeless; it could easily have been made in the 1990s or the 1970s, and it takes the essence of Veruca Salt and Joan Jett (and many other pioneers) and simply builds on that legacy.

 6. Gary Clark Jr. – This Land [Final week]

Venomous.

7. Anna Clendening – Dead End 

Simple, effective, devastating. The sense of guilt, the shame the desire to be stronger – better – shine through in every line.

8. Nick Mulvey – Moments of Surrender [New Entry]

A cover of U2’s – frankly awful – Moments of Surrender from 2009’s No Line On The Horizon. Mulvey has given it a gorgeous and delicate folk twist that sounds warm and genuine. It’s amazing that Mulvey has managed to get passed Bono’s ‘one too many sherries to hit a high note’ warbling and bring together something really rather beautiful.

9. Maggie Rogers – Burning [New Entry]

Rogers released her album Heard It In A Past Life in mid January and Burning is one of the tracks on it. Full of the joy of being in love, Burning combines the quirky dance of acts like Tune Yards and combines it with the power pop that Dua Lipa and others are banging out. It’s a winner.

10. Frankie Wah – Get Me High  [New Entry]

One of the biggest dance tracks of 2019 so far, Get Me High has strong Bicep vibes – which is meant very much as a compliment – with its trance-y melody and big beats.

Track of the Day: Nick Mulvey – Moments of Surrender

LogoMakr_1zPuEq

Nick Mulvey – Moments of Surrender 

In the past couple of weeks the penguin has been compiling a list of cool cover versions to post (its coming soon, I’m busy OK?!). And now a new one has dropped into his lap.

Nick Mulvey has covered U2’s – frankly awful – Moments of Surrender from 2009’s No Line On The Horizon. Mulvey has given it a gorgeous and delicate folk twist that sounds warm and genuine.

I didn’t know the original (as the penguin does NOT like U2 in any way, shape or form) and it’s amazing that Mulvey has managed to get passed Bono’s ‘one too many sherries to hit a high note’ warbling and bring together something really rather beautiful. Great work.

Enjoy!

Track of the Day: The Amazons – Mother

LogoMakr_1zPuEq

The Amazons – Mother 

Well this is a cracking piece of grandiose rock and roll.

With a similar stuttering start to Audioslave’s Cochise, you soon realise quite how confident The Amazons are with this track. Because then you get that riff…

Big, dirty and rough enough to knock your teeth out, the song swaggers into gear and you’re hooked.

The lyrics intriguingly revolve around hypocrisy, religion and atonement, but he could be reading out the phonebook and that riff would still sound glorious.

This Week Playlist: 6 great new songs

LogoMakr_2Roosj

Every week the penguin feeds you 6 new tracks to digest and enjoy. We also have three corking tracks coming up in the next few days, so keep your eyes out…

Lucy Rose – Solo(w) 

Anyone who follows Lucy Rose on Twitter will be familiar with the lyrics to Solo(w), as she’s been posting them for the past few weeks. Her last single was one of our tracks of the day, and the latest single from new album No Words Left (out on March 22nd) is of a similar quality. Heartbreaking and beautiful, it sounds like the end of the night in a jazz club, as you gently sob into your fifteenth martini. It feels like Rose has really found her stride.

Fakear – Nausicaa 

Well this is just an absolute delight for the ears. French producer Fakear has produced a collage of sounds that feel tribal, spiritual, enchanting and uplifting in equal measures. Listening to Nausicaa you’re transported away to a forrest, far from everyday life and surrounded by intrigue.

Maverick Sabre, Jorja Smith – Slow Down 

With a new album – When I Wake Up – out on the 22nd March, Maverick Sabre has returned with a cracking duet. It’s soulful, sultry rich and brimming with chemistry.

Maggie Rogers – Burning 

Rogers released her album Heard It In A Past Life in mid January and Burning is one of the tracks on it. Full of the joy of being in love, Burning combines the quirky dance of acts like Tune Yards and combines it with the power pop that Dua Lipa and others are banging out. It’s a winner.

Grace Carter – Heal Me 

Brighton’s Grace Carter has delivered a rich and textured pop track, big chorus and all. This feels like she’s taken a Sam Smith track and inverted it, with a powerful individuality at its core.

Charlene Soraia – Beautiful People 

I hadn’t heard anything by Lewisham native Charlene Soraia before I stumbled across Beautiful People last week, but I’m now very much looking forward to getting stuck into the album and I’ll be keeping a close eye out for future work. This track is simple, comprising only vocals and guitar, but it haunts you with it’s refrain of ‘I can’t keep on like this’.

 

 

 

 

The A List (10th Feb) – the best 10 new songs in the world right now

LogoMakr_1Srk07

This week’s Astral Penguins A List has four new entries, but last week’s entries continue to dominate the top of the chart. The tracks by the Plastic Mermaids, Dua Lipa and Gary Clark Jr. are truly exceptional and likely to feature highly in the end of year top 50. This is the last week for the James Blake track as it reaches its three week limit. 

1. Plastic Mermaids – Floating in a Vacuum 

My favourite track of 2019 so far. From the orchestral introduction to the playful synths, this is a track that grabs your attention. But it’s the vocals and the chorus that really gets me. There’s something deeply sad and realistic living within the simple words, well beyond the alien visuals and space vibes.

2. Dua Lipa – Swan Song 

For my money, this is the best Dua Lipa song since 2015’s Be The One. From the tribal percussion and vocal snippets, this is a song of defiance and power “this is NOT a Swan Song”.

3. Gary Clark Jr. – This Land 

This Land is venomous. You can feel the frustration and anger pour out of every single note. The video is superb. The lyrics are hard-hitting and personal. And the energy is off the chart.

4. The Cinematic Orchestra – A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life 

Featuring the unmistakable vocals of long-term collaborator Roots Manuva, A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life is an emotional journey that only gets better with every listen. “Why would you hide from yourself, Belief is here to f‌ind you” Manuva sings, over the soaring sonic landscapes underneath.

5. Sunflower Bean – Fear City [New Entry]

Fear City has an assured  swagger. It sounds timeless; it could easily have been made in the 1990s or the 1970s, and it takes the essence of Veruca Salt and Joan Jett (and many other pioneers) and simply builds on that legacy. The guitars subtly drive the track, the chorus is instantly familiar and ready to be sung by audiences everywhere, and the underlying message is of empowerment and breaking away from fear.

6. Jenny Lewis – Red Bull & Hennessy 

Jenny Lewis has returned with her first single in five years and it is giving me seriously good Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks/Lyndsey Buckingham vibes – possibly with a little dose of Kate Bush thrown in towards the end – which is just about the highest compliment I can give.

7. James Blake, ROSALIA – Barefoot In The Park [Final week]

There’s something magical about the track. It feels so enticing, but never quite real. You don’t want to move in case the spell is broken.

8. Anna Clendening – Dead End [New Entry]

Sometimes pop music can be devastating. Sometimes lyrics just jump out of a song and into you, where you feel every emotion the songwriter felt. North Carolina native Anna Clendening has penned some masterful lyrics for Dead End. Simple, effective, devastating. The sense of guilt, the shame the desire to be stronger – better – shine through in every line.

9. Lil Peep, iLoveMakonnen, Fall Out Boy – I’ve Been Waiting [New Entry]

It’s a summer song through and through, with breezy instrumentation and laid back vocals. I particularly like Patrick Stump’s vocals and the pre-chorus refrain from Lil Peep, which is just drawled vocals at their finest.

10. Tarantina – Hunter [New Entry]

An incredibly assured track where everything feels essential. The drama and intrigue only grows with every listen.

 

 

 

Track of the Day: Sunflower Bean – Fear City

logomakr_1u1juc

Sunflower Bean – Fear City

I’ve been a fan of New York three-piece Sunflower Bean for a few years and they’ve produced some impressive songs along the way, but I’d happily suggest that Fear City is their best song yet.

On first listen Fear City took me back to the late 1990s. 10 Things I Hate About You was one of those movies my friendship grouped watched on repeat, and a huge part of the appeal was the awesome soundtrack, in which Letters to Cleo featured prominently. Around the same time, my best friend got into the Riot Girl movement, playing me awesome punk tracks where the female vocalists always sounded so confident and assured.

Fear City has that same assurance, that same imperceptible swagger. It sounds timeless; it could easily have been made in the 1990s or the 1970s, and it takes the essence of Veruca Salt and Joan Jett (and many other pioneers) and simply builds on that legacy.

The guitars subtly drive the track, the chorus is instantly familiar and ready to be sung by audiences everywhere, and the underlying message is of empowerment and breaking away from fear.

Fear City comes from the King of the Dudes EP that Sunflower Bean released in late January.

Enjoy!