Tag: Foals

The A List (24th February 2019) – the ten best new music tracks right now

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Five new entries – including a number one – in this week’s A List, with Jessie Ware and Chaka Khan leading the charge. In addition, a few tracks have shot up the list including Sunflower Bean (in their final week) and Maggie Rodgers. This is also the final week for Anna Clendening. There’s a strong bunch of tracks ready to challenge the A List next weekend; remember to check out the This Week playlist on Monday and the Tracks of the Day to find out what could be number one next week. 

1. Jessie Ware – Adore You [New Entry]

Wednesday’s Track of the Day and produced by Metronomy’s Joseph Mount, Adore You is full of cold electronic shudders that – shouldn’t but somehow do – aid the sensual and devoted lyrics, Adore You is a pretty impressive coming together of Ware’s excellent vocals and production that really develops throughout the track.

2. Sunflower Bean – Fear City [Final week]

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.

3. Fakear – Nausicaa 

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.

4. Chaka Khan – Like a Lady [New Entry]

Tuesday’s Track of the Day, Like a Lady’s production is on point. Plenty of retro vibes without feeling in any way dated; in fact this takes a funky disco sound and makes it feel like it’s totally 2019. But the reason the Penguin loves this track is quite simply because it is full of joy. It captures the dizzying joy and elation when you meet someone who sets your heart on fire.

5. Maggie Rogers – Burning 

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.

6. The Amazons – Mother 

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.

7. ROMANS – Be Fine [New Entry]

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, this is an absolutely cracking record.

8. Cherry Glazerr – Ohio [New Entry]

Ohio’s scuzzy rock is 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…

9. Anna Clendening – Dead End [Final week]

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

10. Foals – On the Luna [New Entry]

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.

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 (31st January)

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I’m a bit late with this as I meant to post it yesterday, but I wanted to share some of the records that I’m completely loving at the moment. I’ll be back tomorrow with an excellent Track of the Day.

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”.  The lyrics are motivating and heavily influenced by HIV and AIDS activists in the 1980s.

Jenny Lewis – Red Bull & Hennessy 

With a fourth album – On The Line – due out on the 22nd March, Jenny Lewis has returned with her first single in five years. Red Bull & Hennessy 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. A really good pop track.

Bonobo – Ibrik

Si Green (aka Bonobo) has crafted his reputation for excellence over several stunning releases. Ibrik is the first track from the forthcoming ‘Fabric Presents Bonobo’ record, due for release on the 22nd February. As you’d expect from Bonobo, it’s full of intricate beats and an excellent melody, but there are so many layers and snippets throughout to tantalise your ears.

The Cinematic Orchestra – A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life

The Cinematic Orchestra’s first release from new album To Believe (due out on the 15th March) is absolutely monstrous. 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.

Florence + The Machine – Moderation

“Want me to love you in moderation, Do I look moderate to you?”  Florence returns with a cracking single encompassing superb lyrics, a bluesy-pop vibe and her usual stunning vocals. Produced by James Ford, I think this track sounds like an evolution from ideas across all of her previous albums and I’m intrigued to know if she’ll keep following this path.

Foals – Exits 

I’ve blogged before about my excitement for the forthcoming Foals album, and the first single Exits is an intriguing prospect. Returning to the staccato sounds that shaped some of their earlier releases, it’s not the immediate banger that preceded their last two records (Inhaler and What Went Down), rather it’s the sound of a confident band willing to stride off in their own direction.

Ramblings: peak excitement levels for new albums from The Twilight Sad, Foals and the return of Bombay Bicycle Club

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One of the exciting things about January is that every music publication gets to run two lists, the new(ish)/lesser known artists they think will be big in the year ahead and the list of more established artists that are set to release new material and albums in the coming year.

In truth, the ‘breakthrough star’ lists seem to be losing a lot of their appeal and ‘guaranteed hit’ status (pure speculation on my part, but I’d guess this decline is through a combination of how we consume music nowadays and how social media has changed how we interact with and receive information from artists directly. Plus there’s about a million of those lists now, which inherently makes them less impactful).

Similarly the album lists are often preempted by the – now very early – announcements of major festival headliners (case in point, I was discussing albums coming up with a friend the other day and he said ‘Tame Impala are headlining Coachella, so I assume they’ve got something new coming out’)

Bu leaving that aside, I could barely hide my excitement when I went through the list(s) of acts with new material this year. Two acts I really admire (The Twilight Sad and James Blake) are releasing new material on Friday. The year’s not even three weeks old and we’re getting stuff from critically acclaimed and adored artists.

The Twilight Sad 

I’m particularly looking forward to The Twilight Sad release, partly as they made my favourite song of last year but mostly because I think they suit the LP format beautifully and rarely make a wrong step on their albums.

They have done a phenomenal job on Twitter creating a buzz for the release. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a band create momentum and excitement in such an organic way; they and their fans are building up to Friday as a real key milestone for an underrated band. And the initial reviews certainly seem to indicate that the buzz is worth it.

Foals

The band I was originally going to centre this post around is the mighty Foals. They went big on a teaser last week for their new material that had rock and indie fans everywhere salivating. Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost is the name of the new album, and it will come in two parts, one in March and the other in the autumn. They must have a lot of faith in the albums to give it that title, it’s a reviewers dream to have something like that if an album – particularly a double album – isn’t very good… 

I’ve been a fan of Foals since I first heard 2008 single Cassius on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show. They sounded unusual and brilliant, and their singles became highlights whenever they were released. But the other side of the coin was that they seemed a sloppy live band. I remember watching them on TV (it was probably a Glastonbury set) and it sounded pretty rough. Yet their albums seemed to continue getting stronger, and I thought 2015’s What Went Down was a very good album – with a monster single of the same name – that was widely overlooked.

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In fact I thought they were ready for big festival slots, they were a band who had honed their live set into something wonderful – I saw them at Wembley Arena and they were absolutely fantastic – and they had enough big songs to justify top billing. Yet the big festivals didn’t quite agree. Glastonbury put them on the Pyramid stage below Muse, which I think was very much the wrong way round. Leeds and Reading did give them a headline slot, but as co-headliners alongside Disclosure. Certainly not a bad set of slots, but they deserved to be up there on their own.

And now we come to their new album(s), and I’m at peak excitement levels. The little teaser they’ve put out is impressive, and I keep my fingers crossed that this is the album that lands them on the top of the British music scene.

Bombay Bicycle Club

Speaking of fantastic bands, I lost my shit yesterday when I saw the news that Bombay Bicycle Club are back together and making new music. They were one of my favourite bands in the world when they went on hiatus (I saw their last tour three times) and I think music has missed their contributions. Seeing that they’re back together was my favourite moment of 2019 so far.

Until next time ….

Ramblings: On Field Day, Films, Foals and Black Foxxes

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No sooner am I done getting excited about getting tickets to see Run The Jewels than Field Day release the awesome news that RTJ will be closing the main stage on the 3rd June.

Field Day is an interesting festival; every year the lineup feels a little obscure and unfamiliar but they have a tremendous habit of sensing where music is going, rather than celebrating where it is right now. Last year’s festival was unbelievably wet and muddy, but sets by the Black Madonna, Bicep, Yeasayer, Four Tet, John Grant and Jackmaster were too good for any weather problems to leave me feeling anything other than elated.

This year they’ve consolidated the festival into one day, and the line up largely has that familiar ‘music to be discovered’ feel. I’m a big fan of Haelos and Run The Jewels, and I’m looking forward to Clams Casino, Moderat and Algerian rockers Imarhan. But the great thing about Field Day is the trust you can have in the bookers; whatever stage you end up watching you’ll be seeing something interesting and fresh.

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January seems to be the season for festival lineup announcements. I saw Leeds & Reading Festival(s) post on Twitter today that they’re due to announce some acts this week, SW4 have announced Deadmau5 – in addition to the recent revelation that Pendulum will be reforming – as headliners and Citadel today announced Foals in a UK festival exclusive. I’m not sure I’ll be able to avoid the lure of Foals…

Onto domestic matters and I’m delighted that Antonia and George have made their debuts on the site. Antonia’s excellent review of Manchester by the Sea can be found here and George has the world of LPs covered; It’s Album Time will be a regular feature and kicks off with Bonobo’s Migration here.

Astral Penguins will – initially – primarily be a music blog, but I’d love it to become a place where those who love culture and want to read thoughtful opinions and passion about different fields can visit. George and Antonia bring with them lifetimes of passion and knowledge and it is my pleasure to give them an outlet.

Finally I got a Songkick notification today telling me that Black Foxxes are supporting You Me At Six at their forthcoming Alexandra Palace gig. I’m a big fan of BF and had the pleasure of seeing them last year. Their debut album was one of the most assured and interesting first releases of 2016 and I’m delighted that they’re getting the opportunity to play to a wider audience. Good luck to them.

I’ll be back this evening with a Track of the Day and tomorrow we’re debuting a new feature on cover songs. Until later…

Mark