Category: THIS WEEK

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.

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

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It’s an eclectic mix on the playlist this week. We have some dark emotive pop, hard-hitting UK rap exploring racial identity, a mellow dance remix that’ll transport you away, some very direct pop-punk, dirty rock music from Yorkshire and a Bonobo-collaborator once again going solo. Here are 6 cracking new songs for you to feast your ears on. 

  1. Tarantina – Heal 

The Penguin previously featured Tarantina’s last release earlier this month, and she’s surpassed herself with new song Heal. Delicate and fragile vocals barely hover above piano. There’s an almost claustrophobic sense of pain, as she repeats over and over ‘its hard for me to heal’. Tarantina will soon be hosting her first headline show at the Slaughtered Lamb in London, and you should check it out.

2. Dave – Black 

This came out on Thursday and already has over a million views on Youtube. Brixton-born rapper Dave is releasing his debut album on the 8th March and Black is the first single from it. It’s a hugely impressive exploration of racial identity and the lyrics are well worth considering in full. 2019 may just be his year for the taking.

3. Black Coffee, Guy Mantzur, Msaki – Wish You Were Here 

The Penguin loves a good sprawling 8 minute remix. Wish You Were Here is just a joy to listen to; mellow and meandering, you can lose yourself in the little refrains and laid-back vibes.

4. SWMRS – Trashbag Baby 

Taken from their second album Berkeley’s On Fire which came out on the 15th Feb, Trashbag Baby is full of jaunty jangling guitars and pop punk vocals. The conversational style duet is pretty direct, the opening line is “First off I hate you”.

5. Szjerdene – Restart

Bonobo-collaborator Szjerdene’s Restart is her first solo release since 2016. Her voice soars over a shifting landscape below, including some rather beautiful strings at one stage.

6. Blood Youth – Nerve 

It’s time for something a little heavier. Yorkshire rockers Blood Youth released their second LP earlier this month, and Nerve is one of the tracks on it. Full of disgustingly large guitars that’ll knock your false teeth out, there’s menace in this track from the opening notes. It brings to mind the kind of rock that I loved in the early 2000s, notably Korn and Rammstein. Great stuff lads.

This Week Playlist (18th Feb 2019)

 

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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.

This Week Playlist: 6 great new songs

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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’.

 

 

 

 

Track of the Day: Anna Clendening – Dead End

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Anna Clendening – Dead End

“I don’t know whats worse
That you walked in my room smelling like her perfume
Or that I called you first”

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. I was particularly struck by:

“You lie in my sheets then lie to my face
I lie through my teeth and say I’m okay”

Dead End is a pithy two and a half minutes and the minimalist production lets the lyrics shine. She also has an EP ‘waves’ out on the 22nd February, which I’m very much looking forward to.

Enjoy!