A new number one this week, and it’s a good one too. Everyone I’ve played it to has fallen in love. It’s ably supported by four other new entries that are well worth your time. We say goodbye to four tracks in the A List this week, as Simon Curtis, James Blake, Dave and the Four Tet Remix of Headie One (which keeps getting better with every listen) all reach the three week limit.
1. Rasharn Powell – Warm In These Blue Jeans [New Entry]
An absolute knock out. Everything in Warm In These Blue Jeans oozes class and style. The laid-back groove kicks in immediately, the silky smooth vocals follow. There’s some lovely electronic touches and counter vocals, and the chorus feels majestic. “If I had wings, I would touch the sky” he sings, and we can feel ourselves soaring with him. The extended outro is also a winner.
2. Lily Byrd – Don’t Move [New Entry]
From her Number EP released in January, New Hampshire’s Lily Byrd does something rather magical with Don’t Move. It is simultaneously familiar, sad, and hypnotic. The gentle strumming of the guitar and soft vocals are beautiful, but the distorted saxophone (at least I think its a sax) keep disturbing the slumber of the track, the paralysis of sadness that the song speaks of. “Hypnotised by a lack of love” she sings at the end, and you realise you’re living every heartbeat with her.
3. Headie One (featuring Dave) – 18Hunna (Four Tet Remix) [Final Week]
Gentle jangles and echoed vocals set the tone at the beginning, and it just unfurls from there. The vocals flow smoothly and there’s even room for some birdsong in there.
4. Simon Curtis – Love [Final Week]
This tracks starts off sounding like The Weeknd but then Love develops an 80s pop obsession and as a wave of synths floats across the track we end up with a hybrid between those two sounds.
5. Dave – Black [Final Week]
Fresh off a number one album in the UK, Dave’s Black is a hugely impressive exploration of racial identity.
6. Julia Jacklin – Pressure to Party
The Penguin has to be honest, lyrically this may well be my favourite track of the year so far. It is just so brilliantly constructed and hard-hitting. It makes you sit up and take notice.
7. James Supercave – Alarm Will Sound [New Entry]
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.
8. The Chemical Brothers – We’ve Got To Try [New Entry]
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.
9. James Blake, Andre 3000 – Where’s The Catch [Final Week]
With its unsettling, murky piano and deep beat, it questions whether the love and joy that Blake is experiencing is too good to be true.
10. Makthaverskan – Demands [New Entry]
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.