Tag: Future Islands

The A List – our 10 favourite songs right now: 19th February

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Every Sunday the Astral Penguins Blog takes stock of the 10 biggest – and best – songs around right now. There’s only two new entries this week, which reflects the strength of the songs currently occupying the A List.

Here it is for your listening pleasure:

1. Jamiroquai – Automaton (Non-mover; 3rd week)

This still sounds absolutely massive. Whilst the second single from the new album is nowhere near the same standard, Automaton is still an electro pop masterclass with euphoria, menace, and a playful 90’s pop-meets-hip hop breakdown.

2. Parcels – Allaround (up 3; 3rd week)

With beautiful vocals that sound like they’ve been borrowed from Kings of Convenience, layering them onto a track that plays with disco and funk – a la Jungle – and delivering some stunning musicianship along the way, this is a superb piece of music.

3.  Vince Staples – Bagbak (Non-Mover; 2nd week) 

Hip hop is rediscovering it’s political voice and Bagbak is Vince Staples’s contribution on racial identity and politics. Staples is one of the most exciting men in music right now and the last 60 seconds of this track could have come straight from Yeezus, such is the anarchic quality.

4. Allan Rayman – 13 (Non-Mover; 2nd week) 

13 is an r’n’b inflected track that could easily have felt at home in Prince’s mid-80’s era work. The standout element of the track is Rayman’s smoky soul voice is rich, pure, fragile and honest – often all in the same note. In 13 his rasping delivery of the opening verse is formidable but it’s the quieter moments that leave you breathless; in 13 he drops his voice and almost whispers some of his hoarse, sorrowful judgements.

5. Priests – Jj (Up 5; 3rd week)

Priests have delivered their second single from new album Nothing Feels Natural and its full of energy and excitement. There’s great fun nestled within this track; it’s like being trapped in the getaway car from a bank robbery in the wild west: country-twinged, all action, energy and attitude.

6. Future Islands – Ran (Non-Mover; 2nd week) 

Driving bass, keyboard euphoria and heartbreaking vocals, Future Islands have returned with their winning formula and a track that will undoubtedly make many festival fans happy again this summer.

7. Ibeyi – Lost In My Mind (New Entry)

French-Cuban sisters Ibeyi are back with a sparse, beautiful and affecting track that speaks of loneliness and isolation. It’s a track that lingers with you. It ends with a more positive – or is it pleading? – feel, but throughout you feel there’s a deep sadness that inspired it. It’s great to have Ibeyi back and here’s hoping for more material in 2017.

8. Husky Loops – Fighting Myself (Non-Mover; 3rd week) 

Three weeks in and the menace, insecurity and playful dark-humour hidden within the lyrics still sounds great. Fighting Myself is initially menacing – with traces of art rock – before it builds to a frantic and thrilling finish.

9. Otzeki – All This Time (Down 2; 2nd Week) 

A track that sounds like it was designed to be the theme tune for one of those big budget HBO thriller/horror programmes. From it’s opening hum and creeping bass, it has an eerie and agitating tone, which only increases as the organ noise and vocals kick in.

10. HOMESHAKE – Every Single Thing (New Entry)

Every Single Thing is a shimmering r’n’b track with a disconcerting lo-fi meets synths dynamic. The vocals are impressive in their range and delivery, and yet it’s the cold aesthetic of the track that makes me want to keep this on repeat.

The A List: the 10 hottest tracks right now – 12th February

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Here’s the A List for this week: my favourite 10 tracks at the moment.

Here is this week’s A List: the ten tracks I’m loving the most right now.

Every Sunday I update and post a new A List, and the tracks featured here will either have been previewed on the blog beforehand – either on the This Week Playlist or as a Track of the Day – or come from albums I’m listening to at the moment. Tracks can stay on the A List for a maximum of four weeks (so that I don’t overplay them).

There’s lots of good music around at the moment and this week there are four new entries in the top ten.

Later in the week I’ll be posting the Bonus List – an extension of the A List with the 10 songs that just missed out on the A-List.

So let’s get to it. Here is this week’s A List:

1. Jamiroquai – Automaton (Non-mover; 2nd week)

An electro pop masterclass with euphoria, menace, and a playful 90’s pop-meets-hip hop breakdown. Automaton sounds as fresh and innovative as anything released so far in 2017.

2. The Black Madonna – He is the Voice I Hear (Non-mover; 4th week)

The fourth and final week on the A List for this monster of a track. He is the Voice I Hear is a rollercoaster ride with strings, jazz piano and disco-influences.

3.  Vince Staples – Bagbak (New Entry)

Hip hop is rediscovering it’s political voice and Bagbak is Vince Staples’s contribution on racial identity and politics. Staples is one of the most exciting men in music right now and the last 60 seconds of this track could have come straight from Yeezus, such is the anarchic quality.

4. Allan Rayman – 13 (New Entry)

 

13 is an r’n’b inflected track that could easily have felt at home in Prince’s mid-80’s era work. The standout element of the track is Rayman’s smoky soul voice is rich, pure, fragile and honest – often all in the same note. In 13 his rasping delivery of the opening verse is formidable but it’s the quieter moments that leave me breathless; in 13 he drops his voice and almost whispers some of his hoarse, sorrowful judgements.

5. Parcels – Allaround (Down 1; 2nd week)

With beautiful vocals that sound like they’ve been borrowed from Kings of Convenience, layering them onto a track that plays with disco and funk – a la Jungle – and delivering some stunning musicianship along the way, this is a superb piece of music. Parcels have released a steady series of hugely impressive singles, and this is my favourite so far.

6. Future Islands – Ran (New Entry)

Driving bass, keyboard euphoria and heartbreaking vocals, Future Islands have returned with their winning formula and a track that will undoubtedly make many festival fans happy again this summer.

7. Otzeki – All This Time (New Entry)

A track that sounds like it was designed to be the theme tune for one of those big budget HBO thriller/horror programmes. From it’s opening hum and creeping bass, it has an eerie and agitating tone, which only increases as the organ noise and vocals kick in.

8. Husky Loops – Fighting Myself (Down 3; 2nd week)

This track is a spring of menace and insecurity wound way too tight; it’s initially menacing – with traces of art rock – before building to a frantic and thrilling finish. I had the pleasure of seeing Husky Loops on Thursday and I think they’re really special and very exciting.

 

9. Tiga – Eye Luv U (Down 1; 2nd week)

Canadian DJ and producer Tiga has a pretty stunning back catalogue, creating some of the most innovative of off-beat electro bangers. Eye Luv U finds all of his favourite hallmarks, an infectious beat, weird and slightly off-kilter vocal snippets and a playful approach to melody.

10. Priests – Jj (Down 3; 2nd week)

A post-punk quartet, Priests have delivered their second single from new album Nothing Feels Natural. It’s like being trapped in the getaway car from a bank robbery in the wild west: country-twinged, all action, energy and attitude.

 

 

This Week Playlist: Seven new songs to tickle your ears

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I’m struggling to limit myself to only posting 10 new songs a week at the moment. Good music seems to be coming from everywhere: returning legends, acts that I’ve grown to love over the past couple of years and new bands that I’m admiring. The This Week Playlist is once again very strong with a combination of all the above.

The idea of this playlist is simple: here are seven songs I’ve heard a couple of times that have really impressed. This playlist is my ‘go to’ for music over the next week, and stuff from here – and our tracks of the day postings – are what then go onto the A List every Sunday if I’m loving them enough.

So without any more chatting, here is the This Week Playlist: seven new songs to tickle your ears.

1.Vince Staples – BagBak

If you asked me to name the most exciting man in music right now, I’d – hopefully – make a strong case for Vince Staples. His Prima Dona EP last year was the best I heard, and BagBak again finds him on top form. Straying into racial politics, Staples manages to say a lot whilst ensuring every other element in the song is damn near perfect.

2.Future Islands – Ran 

Future Islands’s Waiting on You was my favourite song of 2014 and so – after lead singer Samuel T Herring’s foray into hip hop – I’m pretty damn happy to have them back. They’ve returned with Ran, which is made up of their usual brilliant formula. Driving bass, keyboard euphoria and heartbreaking vocals, they will undoubtedly make many festival fans happy again this summer.

3. POOLCLVB – Waiting for You

Sydney producer POOLCLVB released his You + Me EP in early January, which is where Waiting for You comes from. Waiting for You sounds very much like the child of the nu-rave scene, with memories of Delphic and Klaxons coming flooding back.

4.Father John Misty – Ballad of the Dying Man

If you haven’t come across FJM yet then you’re missing out. He writes beautiful songs that hark back to blue-eyed soul with hints of folk, country as well as rock and pop. But the most enjoyable part of his songs is unpicking the irony and sarcasm that weaves throughout his lyrics, trying to extrapolate who is really the target of his fire. Here in the Ballad of the Dying Man, he’s found himself back at his mischievous best:

So says the dying man once I’m in the box
Just think of all the overrated hacks running amok
And all of the pretentious, ignorant voices that will go unchecked
The homophobes, hipsters, and 1%
The false feminists he’d managed to detect
Oh, who will critique them once he’s left?

5.Lowly – Prepare the Lake

This is my first introduction to Danish quintet Lowly, with Prepare the Lake falling somewhere in the indietronica/electro-pop bracket. They have a new album [Heba] coming soon and the band have said of Prepare The Lake: “We’d been playing it for quite some time live before recording it and the form sort of grew out of us during concerts, so perhaps it has more of live feel to it than the other songs on the album.”

6.King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Sleep Drifter

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Field Day line-up saying there were plenty of bands I hadn’t heard of, but was looking forward to checking out. Here we have our first example; King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – what a name – are an Australian psych-rock band. Sleep Drifter is the musical equivalent of being awake for 48 hours; everything is there but you’re not sure you can piece it all together.

7.Tourists – Masquerade 

Tourists definitely fall into the ‘ones to watch’ category in my world. 2016 singles Cut and Run and Quiet Room both got a lot of listens, and this five-piece from Torquay make a strong start t0 2017 with Masquerade. Synths, bass, guitars, drums and vocals come together like the five Power Rangers – yeah, I went there – to create a grand and ambitious record that sounds both fresh and vintage.