Category: THIS WEEK

This Week Playlist (25th March 2019) – 6 cracking new songs to feast your ears on

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Sofi Tukker – Fantasy 

Back in 2016 (man, how time flies) I fell in love with Sofi Tukker’s Drinkee. Since then they’ve released a fair few tracks, but none have really worked for me. But Fantasy is all sorts of fun; a dash of Euro pop, a smidgen of late nineties dance, a dollop of Lana Del Ray and hey presto: it’s a winner.

SYML – Wildfire

Seattle’s SYML releases his debut album in early May, and in anticipation has released the Wildfire EP. I’ve heard the track Wildfire before (I think it came out last year but in a different form) but it’s a very impressive track. Its classy pop music; beautiful, tender vocals – high pitched and very near falsetto – with oozing electronic production.

LEFTI – All Night 

Well this is a party. Somehow finding the sweet spot between the classic sounds of disco and funk, Brooklyn’s LEFTI gives us some proper slap bass, cowbells and a guitar part Nile Rodgers would be proud of. It’s like 1978 just wandered into your headphones and now you can’t stop smiling.

Tame Impala – Patience

The keenly anticipated return of Tame Impala is finally here and they don’t sound like anybody else. There’s a timeless quality to their music; this track could concievably have come from any of the past five decades. Patience sounds to me like you’re sat on a beach and there’s a shack not far away playing dance music; you get all of the vibes but there’s no heavy beat and the sun is just washing over you.

Strand of Oaks – Visions

Philadelphia-based Tim Showalter (aka Strand of Oaks) released his latest album (Eraserland) on Friday. Visions is one of the tracks on Eraserland and reminds me a lot of Foals in their slower more brooding work. It’s quite haunting with it’s eery backing vocals and menacing guitars; you find yourself clinging to the constant drumbeat for relief.

Vesper Wood – Descend 

From her recently released Instar album, Descend is an ethereal track that feels delicate and sad, yet entirely captivating. It’s the kind of track that, when you’re really listening, you don’t want to move or you’ll break the spell. There’s some lovely strings on there, but the production is suitably low-key to allow that rather splendid voice to take centre stage.

 

This Week Playlist (18th March 2019) – 8 cracking new songs to feast your ears on

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An eclectic bunch this week, featuring dance, folk (with a country-twinge), folk without any twinges, several electro-pop tracks and even a bonus garage track. I’ve also got some cracking tracks of the day coming up, so keep your eyes peeled….

Peer Kusiv – Tundra

German music producer Peer Kusiv’s latest EP came out in early February, and this is the title track. Full of shifting sounds – both the bass line and top end melody constantly evolve throughout the track – this is an expansive track that sounds great on headphones in the dark.

Bedouine – When You’re Gone 

Originally hailing from Aleppo, Syria and moving to LA via Saudi Arabia and several US cities, Bedouine has an unorthodox background. When You’re Gone came out earlier this month and it has a folk heart – it brings to mind Kings of Convenience – with snippets of country music thrown in. It’s the kind of track that just washes over you; it feels incredibly sincere and moving, yet never feels overstated.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – In The Capital 

Aussie rockers RBCF had a monster 2018 as their debut album Hope Downs got a huge amount of critical – and fan – acclaim. In The Capital comes only a few months after their album, and feels less urgent and striking than most of Hope Downs, but in this instance it really works. Catchy guitars and measured vocals are really the recipe for In The Capital.

ViVii – Pick Me Up 

ViVii’s self-titled debut album came out on Friday and Pick Me Up is from that album. This track is really rather beautiful; electronic pop that feels like a dream. It gradually rises into a chorus that explodes into reverie.

Lucy Rose – Treat Me Like A Woman

Lucy Rose is really smashing it out of the park at the moment. Her new album is out on Friday and this is the third track that has been pre-released, and all three have been covered on this blog. Treat Me Like A Women is – as she details in this interview – inspired by personal experiences of sexism, and hits back in the most striking way. The sound may be stripped back, but that allows her voice and lyrics to really shine.

Grand Pax – Lapse 

From the opening note Lapse feels claustrophobic. With a beat in the background that sounds heavily inspired by Darth Vader, the close and dense electronics are matched by the vocals until the chorus, when Grand Pax’s voice is allowed to shine. This doesn’t feel a million miles away from the kind of music that Massive Attack produce.

Art School Girlfriend – Come Back To Me 

The Line of Best Fit did a brilliant piece last week on Margate-based Art School Girlfriend  that is well worth checking out. I blogged recently about how her Into The Blue Hour EP was one of my 2018 favourites, and Come Back To Me is a very assured follow up. More sensual and lustful, there’s loads of little electronic touches that really tantalise the ears.

Wes Thomas – Believe – Tuff Culture Remix 

I don’t think I’ve ever featured a garage track on the blog before, but this remix has taken me back to 1999 with its vibes. I like the fact that the remix isn’t linear, you get a few shifts in direction and melody but the essential bits keep coming back and pleasing the ears.

This Week Playlist – 7 cracking new songs to feast your ears on

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A slight difference to the playlist this week. I’ve had a few songs lurking for a while that I haven’t had a chance to post. They’re all great songs, just some of them were released in January and early February. Hope you enjoy.

Tallies – Mother 

Toronto indie-poppers Tallies released their self-titled debut album in early January, and Mother comes from that. It’s all jangly guitars and has a very catchy chorus. It reminds me very much of the La’s, but I think you can also hear The Smiths in the guitars and bass as well.

Makthaverskan – Demands 

More indie pop with female vocals, but this time from Sweden. Maja Milner’s vocals make this track. There’s plenty of urgency in the musicianship, but it’s her voice that defines the song and lets it soar and sweep down. There’s something slightly chaotic and punky in the track, despite the jangly guitars. Great stuff.

James Supercave – Alarm Will Sound 

A few years ago The Penguin got absolutely obsessed with Half Moon Run’s Trust, and Alarm Will Sound has so many of the same esquisite touches. Gentle sweeping electronics, a pace that feels gentle but is deceptively quickening, vocals that feel a little jarring until you realise how perfect they are. This is a really solid effort, superbly catchy and a very welcome return.

Yot Club – take care 

The Penguin was a big fan of Yot Club’s debut EP aquarium, which covered five songs in twelve minutes. take care was my favourite track on the EP, it’s full of hazy vibes and gentle instruments; it’s like the sun is setting on the best day of your life.

Ingrid Andress – Lady Like 

The Penguin hasn’t featured a lot of country music so far this year but this is rather good (and is also more towards the pop end of the country spectrum). This is Ingrid Andress’s debut release, although she’s written tracks for some big hitters, and it has a somewhat ironic title. I like the lyrics (Sometimes I forget not to talk ’bout politics, When I’m in the middle of me getting hit on) and the vocals are really interesting; they remind me in parts of Lorde. She’s currently touring on the C2C show.

The Chemical Brothers – We’ve Got To Try  

With a stunning return to form, We’ve Got to Try sounds like an old soul record that has been bastardised (in a good way), because that’s exactly what it is. Taking The Halleluiah Chorus’s I’ve Got To Find A Way and giving it some electronic rocket boosters, this is a very funky track that sounds like they’re dipping into some of their earlier works.

Lazybones – Fashion Victim 

“You!, You’re a Fashion Victim, Well what d’ya think about that” The Penguin isn’t known for being a trendsetter in the sartorial sense, but even he’d think twice if he had this song written about him. Fun, thrash-tastic and to the f*cking point, this is punk-influenced and all the better for it. The Brighton three piece recently released their Bang Bang EP, if you fancy listening to more.

 

This Week Playlist (5th March 2019) – 5 cracking new releases to tantalise your ears

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Sigrid – Sight of You
A joyful four minutes of pop that could easily have been pinched from a musical. Monstrous strings swoop across the landscape, as the lyrics tell the tale of daily tribulations (“The airline lost my luggage, still got all this weight”) being overcome by the mere sight of her love.


Jonas Brothers – Sucker
I’ll be honest, I originally only listened to this song because of a curiosity of how bad it would be. How foolish I am. Sucker is well produced and takes the Motown sound we all know and love and gives it a sight modern tweaking, very much in the mould of Bruno Mars. They’ve even thrown in some whistling as well, and it’s damn catchy. Welcome back JoBro.


Art School Girlfriend – Bending Back
Art School Girlfriend released one of the best EPs of last year (Into The Blue Hour), full of electronic landscapes and superb vocals. She recently released a live EP with three tracks on, including this track (a single from 2017), recorded at the St Pancras Church in London (which is an amazing and intimate venue). I really like how Bending Back has space to grow and develop, how it all feels essential but never rushed. I can’t wait to hear more from her.


Four Tet – Only Human
A couple of weeks ago Four Tet teased on Twitter that the Nelly Furtado sample was cleared. Now we get the results. With a tempo and beat that would easily sit alongside his Eric Prydz remix, Only Human is a house track with all of little Four Tet tweaks and twists. The basic beat sits in the background as the vocals and other sounds get chopped and deployed at random intervals.


Catz ‘n’ Dogs, James Yuill – There
From the outside this has a melancholic vibe that brings to mind the Stone Roses. As it develops, you get some prominent acoustic guitar and more subtle keys in the background. But it’s the hypnotic percussion beats that help you drift along with the track.