Tag: Billie Eilish

This Week Playlist (5th Feb): 7 corking 2019 releases to light up your week

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Soccer Mommy – Be Seeing You

21 (!) year old Sophie Allison (aka Soccer Mommy) dug back into her archive last week by  releasing a demo of Blossom from her 2018 album Clean along with Be Seeing You, a b-side that was only previously available physically. I really like the fuzzy vocals and melancholic tone. It’s all very lo-fi but the melody will absolutely get stuck in your head.

Billie Eillish – bury a friend 

bury a friend is yet another winning track from this ridiculously talented young lady. With a pounding beat, creeping synths and distorted vocals, there’s a constant sense of menace and urgency. I cannot wait for the album.

Tarantina – Hunter

According to her website “TARANTINA is a self-taught singer, producer and videographer who creates dark polished pop within the confines of her home studio in Camden Town.” Hunter is certainly dark and it’s most definitely pop, but it’s also an incredibly assured track where everything feels essential. The drama and intrigue only grows with every listen.

Martha – Love Keeps Kicking 

Love keeps Kicking takes me back to the pop punk tracks that I dined out on in my teenage years. Simple effective melody? tick. Catchy chorus? tick. Fun guitar bits? tick. (if I were more computer savvy, I could probably have used a tick graphic, but no such luck). This is what summer should sound like, and if you aren’t humming and foot-tapping away on the second listen then there’s nothing I can do to help you. Martha are from Durham (although I swear the singer has a Scottish lilt) and have a new album out on the 5th April.

Vera Blue – All The Pretty Girls (Mahogany Sessions)

I’m a big fan of Vera Blue’s work and I really like this new and stripped back version of 2018 single All The Pretty Girls. It strips away all of the production from the original and leaves a delicate guitar and Vera’s luscious and vulnerable voice. In my humble opinion, it runs rings around the original.

ViVii – And Tragic

And Tragic has enough melodrama and tension to make Lana Del Ray cast jealous glances. At times it feels grandiose but then it dips out, like a fading dream. I really like the twin vocals and the guitar is a constant star, but by the end of the track you really have no idea where you’ve just been.

James Blake, Travis Scott, Metro Boomin – Mile High 

One of the highlight’s from Blake’s recent album Assume Form, Mile High is just a great blend of top notch beats, the silky smooth flow of Scott and Blake’s soaring falsetto.

The A List – the best 10 new music tracks around right now (January 27th 2019)

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Four excellent new entries on this week’s A List, including a third number one in three weeks. This week also features the final appearance from four strong tracks, as they’ve reached the three week limit. 2019 has blessed us with plenty of excellent new music so far, but you should really be prioritising these tracks…

1. James Blake, ROSALIA – Barefoot In The Park [New Entry]

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. Emotionally it first feels joyous, but there’s a lurking edge of darkness that creeps into the corner of your eye.

2. Lana Del Rey – hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it [Final week]

A profoundly moving five minutes; from self-doubt to abuse to isolation, any song that has Sylvia Plath at its core will undoubtedly veer from weirdness to unimaginable suffering.

3. Me & My Toothbrush – Just Release Me [New Entry]

A supremely catchy dance track that builds and dips, the guitars keep it bopping along and the vocals sound properly old school.

4. Billie Eilish – WHEN I WAS OLDER [Final week]

Full of eery distorted vocals and minimalistic electronic production that combine to create a haunting tone that is really hard to shake off.

5. Lucy Rose – Conversation 

Conversation is full of atmosphere with some beautiful strings. Simple and yet hard-hitting, there’s an air of strength and finality surrounding the delicate vocals.

6. Goldie, James Davidson, Subjective – Rift Valley [Final week]

A track that is best played in the dark. It’s like you’re dreaming after smoking pot. Everything feels captivating yet entirely elusive. The album also became available on streaming platforms this week.

7. Fat White Family – Feet [New Entry]

Fat White Family have returned with their first single since 2016. Feet is dark, danceable and downright impressive. With it’s haunting melody, orchestral flourishes and driving percussion, it brings to mind  a marriage of Woodkid and the True Detective theme song.

8. Sam Smith, Normani – Dancing With A Stranger [Final week]

A devastatingly simple pop track full of regrets. Sam Smith does heartbreaks better than almost anyone, and the simple production on Dancing with a Stranger leaves the listener to drown in the guilt and misplaced anger of a rebound one night stand.

9. Mindchatter – Trippy [New Entry]

Trippy is probably the most apt song title of the year so far. This track has some wonderful production throughout, taking modern hip hop and r’n’b production, inverting it and giving it a low key vibe.

10. Hot Flash Heat Wave – Sky So Blue 

Sky So Blue is a lazy summer afternoon in a park, drifting off into reverie through the sheer fatigue of doing nothing at all. It’s a cocktail of synths, psychedelia and sunshine. Lots of sunshine.

 

The A List – the best 10 new music tracks around right now (January 20th 2019)

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Three new entries this week and a new number 1 for the A List. 2019 has already produced some incredible new music, but you should really be prioritising the following tracks…

1. Lana Del Rey – hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it 

Pitchfork had an interesting article looking at some of Lana’s recent work this week that I recommended checking out.  hope is a dangerous thing (etc) grows on me with every listen. The lyrics are hard to digest and yet essential listening. A profoundly moving five minutes; from self-doubt to abuse to isolation, any song that has Sylvia Plath at its core will undoubtedly veer from weirdness to unimaginable suffering.

2. Billie Eilish – WHEN I WAS OLDER 

Down one place this week, WHEN I WAS OLDER is full of eery distorted vocals and minimalistic electronic production that combine to create a haunting tone that is really hard to shake off.

3. Lucy Rose – Conversation [New Entry]

Conversation is full of atmosphere with some beautiful strings. Simple and yet hard-hitting, there’s an air of strength and finality surrounding the delicate vocals.

4. Goldie, James Davidson, Subjective – Rift Valley 

A track that is best played in the dark. It’s like you’re dreaming after smoking pot. Everything feels captivating yet entirely elusive. The album also became available on streaming platforms this week.

5. Sam Smith, Normani – Dancing With A Stranger 

A devastatingly simple pop track full of regrets. Sam Smith does heartbreaks better than almost anyone, and the simple production on Dancing with a Stranger leaves the listener to drown in the guilt and misplaced anger of a rebound one night stand.

6. Hot Flash Heat Wave – Sky So Blue [New Entry]

Friday’s Track of the Day, Sky So Blue is a lazy summer afternoon in a park, drifting off into reverie through the sheer fatigue of doing nothing at all. It’s a cocktail of synths, psychedelia and sunshine. Lots of sunshine.

7. D’Angelo – Unshaken 

Written for the Red Dead Redemption 2 soundtrack, Unshaken certainly conjures up the feelings of a western with its sparse production and solitary feel, and D’Angelo’s vocals sound superb in this lower range.

8. Chaka Khan – Hello Happiness 

Hello Happiness is a burst of energy, with a bass line straight from the 70s, electro vibes that belong in the 80s and a vocal performance that is positively timeless.

10. Catfish and the Bottlemen – Longshot 

Produced by Jacknife Lee (R.E.M., the Killers, U2), Longshot has a distinctly British optimism running through it, almost like they can’t believe something has succeeded. “Fiver says you’re wrong…”

10. Emily Brimlow – Hope [New Entry]

I don’t know if Emily Brimlow falls firmly into the ‘Christian music’ category, but it’s nice to hear a well-produced pop track speaking optimistically about God. The minimal r’n’b drum track leaves plenty of space for Brimlow’s voice and the really beautiful choral backing vocals to shine. This song is full of optimism and catchy as hell.

The A List – the best 10 new music tracks around right now

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The A List is back for 2019. Every week you’ll find here the 10 records I’m enjoying the most right now, in a – very unofficial – chart. 2019 has started strongly; the top three tracks here are all incredibly impressive and it was very hard to pick a favourite from them.

1. Billie Eilish – WHEN I WAS OLDER 

Thursday’s Track of the Day and our first number one of 2019, WHEN I WAS OLDER is full of eery distorted vocals and minimalistic electronic production that combine to create a haunting tone that is really hard to shake off.

2. Goldie, James Davidson, Subjective – Rift Valley 

Tuesday’s Track of the Day, Rift Valley is a track that is best played in the dark. It’s like you’re dreaming after smoking pot. Everything feels captivating yet entirely elusive.

3. Lana Del Rey – hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it 

I have an ongoing suspicion that all of Lana Del Rey’s melodies are variations of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. That being said, anticipation is high for her forthcoming album Norman Fucking Rockwell and I liked both 2018 singles, Venice Bitch and Mariners Apartment Complex. However hope is a (etc – wayyyy too long to write out again) feels like one of her most accomplished songs. Lyrically this is a profoundly moving five minutes; from self-doubt to abuse to isolation, any song that has Sylvia Plath at its core will undoubtedly veer from weirdness to unimaginable suffering.

4. Sam Smith, Normani – Dancing With A Stranger 

A devastatingly simple pop track full of regrets. Sam Smith does heartbreaks better than almost anyone, and the simple production on Dancing with a Stranger leaves the listener to drown in the guilt and misplaced anger of a rebound one night stand.

5. Chaka Khan – Hello Happiness 

The first Track of the Day of 2019, Hello Happiness is a burst of energy, with a bass line straight from the 70s, electro vibes that belong in the 80s and a vocal performance that is positively timeless.

6. Lizzo – Juice 

Lizzo has some swag, and having made last year’s Astral Penguins Top 50 with the massive Boys, Juice is yet another banger from the Minneapolis songstress. Super sweet production with shimmering guitars brings to mind Duran Duran era pop, and the chorus is totally infectious.

7. D’Angelo – Unshaken 

With his first release since 2014, D’Angelo returns with the brooding and hypnotic Unshaken. Written for the Red Dead Redemption 2 soundtrack, Unshaken certainly conjures up the feelings of a western with its sparse production and solitary feel, and D’Angelo’s vocals sound superb in this lower range.

8. Lauren Jauregui – More Than That 

The second former Fifth Harmony member to appear in this week’s A List, More Than That is a short slice of a slick r’n’b full of assertive lyrics and lilting melodies.

9. Catfish and the Bottlemen – Longshot 

I’ve been a fan of CatB since they came onto the scene in c. 2014. I wasn’t a massive fan of 2016’s The Ride but Longshot sounds like a good return to form. Produced by Jacknife Lee (R.E.M., the Killers, U2), Longshot has a distinctly British optimism running through it, almost like they can’t believe something has succeeded.

10. PEZNT – Freedom 

Croatian dance duo PEZNT describe themselves as “something like Village People but more village rather than people”, which is pretty baffling. What isn’t baffling is their new single Freedom, which is a straight up, uncomplicated, hands-in-the-air dance track.

 

 

Track of the day: Billie Eilish – WHEN I WAS OLDER

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Billie Eilish – WHEN I WAS OLDER

Billie Eilish is one of the most exciting young pop artists on the planet. Ever since I heard the fantastically morbid Bellache in 2017 I’ve been captivated by her records, and she rarely disappoints. Her 2018 releases were pretty much all excellent in different ways; be it the menacing you should see me in a crown or the heartbreaking when the party’s over, which was always going to feature in my top 50 of 2018.

Now she’s back with WHEN I WAS OLDER, a song inspired by Alfonso Cuaron’s 2018 film Roma. And with it, she unsurprisingly retains her kite-mark standard for excellence.

With its eery distorted vocals and minimalistic electronic production, it has a haunting tone that is really hard to shake off.

Eilish is due to play the main stage at the Leeds and Reading festivals later this year and if her output remains at this quality, it’s not difficult to envision her being one of – if not the – biggest pop stars in the world very soon.

Top 50 Songs of 2018 – 20 to 11

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  1. Ski Lift – Get Some Sleep

Missouri-based two-piece Ski Lift are not exactly prolific. The How Seriously You Take Yourself EP was their first release since 2011 and Get Some Sleep was the opening track. This track is like a dream, with a hypnotic beat effortlessly motioning the song along. “I made up a therapist to work through my problems, we talk in the mirror like an old De Niro film” is where we start the song, and it only gets more inward from there.

 

  1. Jono Ma & Dreams – Can’t Stop My Dreaming (Of You)

Can’t Stop My Dreaming (Of You) was one of my most listened to tracks of 2018, in large part because it is such a rewarding listen. There’s so many levels to the track, and you find yourself following different snippets of percussion or melody on every listen.

 

  1. Billie Eilish – when the party’s over

I don’t think there’s a more exciting artist in the world right now. Billie Eilish has delivered so many intriguing tracks over the past eighteen months, and when the party’s over is the most heart-breaking of the lot.

 

  1. Ray BLK – Run Run

Ray BLK delivers harrowing tales of South London with one of the catchiest tracks of the year. Reflecting her real life observations and strong social conscience, Run Run is the kind of the song that would have been a huge hit in the late eighties. The video is also incredibly powerful

 

  1. The 1975 – Love It If We Made It

Comparisons to Sign ‘O’ The Times, Rockin’ in the Free World and We Didn’t Start The Fire put Love It If We Made It in some esteemed company. Only time will tell if it merits such loftiness, but there’s no doubt that this is a hugely impressive piece of work from the 1975. Alongside its provocative lyrics and all-round catchiness, the thing that’s really lingered from Love It If We Made It is the optimism that somehow shines through its gutter topics.

 

  1. Kacey Musgraves – High Horse

Does anyone do sass better than Kacey Musgraves? High Horse is a big change in style for Kacey but she sounds superb delivering her brilliant put-down lyrics over a disco-infused backing track.

 

  1. Alex Metric, Ten Ven – Nebula

Nebula is a throwback dance track, all eighties synths and big-build ups. Great music doesn’t have to be complicated, here Alex Metric and Ten Ven keep it simple with an absolutely gigantic dancefloor filler.

 

  1. H O N E Y M O A N – </3

South African five-piece H O N E Y M O A N (yes, that is annoying to type) tell the modern tale of breaking up over text and the awkwardness of finding out your former partner is in fact gay. Scuzzy guitars and catchy melodies, top work all round.

 

  1. Cardi B – Get Up 10

I liked Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy way more than I was expecting, and Get Up 10 was for me the standout track. It combines her personal history with a suitable amount of swagger, soaring from its gentle start into an absolute banger.

 

  1. FRANKIIE – Dream Reader

Vancouver-based four-piece FRANKIIE give us one-part Stevie Nicks and two parts Pumarosa with the ethereal Dream Reader. It’s a beautifully simple slice of indie pop that hints at a very bright future.

Top 50 Songs of 2018 – 30 to 21

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  1. Bicep – Opal (Four Tet Remix)

Four Tet remixes aren’t generally known for simplifying records, but with Opal he’s given the track a more accessible beat and brought the melody front and centre. It sounds great and has had me bopping my head along for nine months now.

 

  1. Billie Marten – Mice

Yorkshire singer Billie Marten provided the year’s most beautifully aimless and introspective track. Mice fills the senses with countryside; it transports you to rural settings far away from towns and cities. It’s such an internal track, you can feel the frustration and lethargy in both the music and the vocals.

 

  1. Art School Girlfriend – Distance (Blank)

Art School Girlfriend’s Into The Blue Hour was one of my favourite EPs of the year and Distance (Blank) was the second track on the EP. Full of electronic rumblings, introspection and claustrophobia, Distance (Blank) is a hugely impressive outing from the singer from North Wales.

 

  1. Robyn – Missing U

What a comeback single. Missing U sounded instantly fresh and yet familiar, reminding everyone how good she really is. Somehow combining optimism with crushing sadness, Missing U merely whet the appetite for music fans around the world in anticipation for – in my opinion – was the album of the year.

 

  1. SG Lewis, AlunaGeorge – Hurting

A straight up banger dripping in lust from the Lewis and AlunaGeorge combination. “Hurting for your body,Hurting for your body and your soul, You really got me searching, Begging for a way to make me whole” Aluna Francis pines over the beautifully simple electronics.

 

  1. GoGo Penguin – Raven

The inclusion of GoGo Penguins necessitates me eating a bit of humble pie. I completely hated their 2014 v2.0 album, and was very surprised when George – who previously wrote for Astral Penguins – recommended their latest work to me. “The piano sounds like Sister Bliss” he said, and indeed it does. Raven borders on being a dance track, and has a beautiful mixture of space and urgency.

 

  1. Billie Eilish, Khalid – lovely

The somewhat ironically titled lovely combines two of the most brilliant and exciting voices in music right now. Full of sadness, despair and tenderness, the sparse production simply allows the two vocalists to sing their sad tale.

 

  1. Black Futures – Trance

Trance is an orgy of rage. Sounding something like the end of the world, the track feels relentless. Every time you get a brief respite from the onslaught of the guitars and drums, you know it isn’t going to last, so just enjoy the chaos. The last two minutes or so of this track are probably the best I’ve heard all year.

 

  1. ZAYN – Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel sounds like INXS. Sensual vocals, sparse drums and catchy hooks, it has all the hallmarks that made Michael Hutchence and co such massive superstars in the 1980s. Nothing any of the former One Direction boys have done has come close to the pop perfection that is Sour Diesel.

 

  1. Travis Scott – SICKO MODE

I was very underwhelmed by Astroworld, Scott’s hugely successful 2018 album, but there’s absolutely nothing on SICKO MODE that I don’t love. A three-part masterpiece, it’s a triumph of hip hop production and shows that the genre keeps finding ways to push itself to the forefront of music.