Tag: James Supercave

The A List (31st March 2019) – the ten best new music tracks right now

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I’ve been  under the weather with a chest infection the past few days, so one of the three new entries in the top 10 hasn’t featured on the blog this week (apologies to Molly Tuttle, you were meant to be a Track of the Day on Friday but I was in my sickbed). There’s a new number one, and four tracks reach their three week time limit. Check these bad boys out… 

1. Dave – Psycho [New Entry]

The first track on Dave’s recent album Psychodrama, it starts by introducing the listener to the album’s thematic concept, namely that of a therapy session. What follows is a three part drama,   with Dave reflecting on where he is now, he talks about drug dealing and gang violence. The second section is an eruption of confidence and swagger reminiscent of Dizzee Rascal’s pop pomp. The second section ends as Dave starts to identify himself as “careful, humble, reckless, arrogant, extravagant” followed by a reference about how he’s probably battling manic depression. Dave may be peerless when it comes to structuring songs – with outstanding production – around emotional journeys.

2. Rasharn Powell – Warm In These Blue Jeans [Final Week]

Everything in Warm In These Blue Jeans oozes class and style. “If I had wings, I would touch the sky” he sings, and we can feel ourselves soaring with him.

3. Teddy Pendergrass – Life Is A Song Worth Singing (Jamie Jones Remix) 

A truly wonderful remix that can brighten up any day. Every time I listen to it I end up smiling and wanting to dance. It starts with the teasing synths, but from there it throws in all sorts of wildcards. Teasing hi-hats, cowbells, trumpets. They all make an appearance. And the vocals help to keep the track grounded whilst all the chaos happens around them.

4. Lily Byrd – Don’t Move [Final Week]

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.

5. The Chemical Brothers – We’ve Got To Try [Final Week]

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.

6. Mathame – Skywalking [New Entry]

Skilfully walking the line between earphone pleasure and crowd pleaser, Skywalking starts by building slowly. Like a young bird unsure how to fly for the first time, it stutters and teases and grows in confidence for nearly 90 seconds. And then we are off… From a similar mould to Four Tet’s remix of Opus, Skywalking eschews the standard ‘big drop’ trope so familiar to dance music, and instead takes the listener on a journey through the clouds. Impressive work indeed.

7. The Twilight Sad – Girl Chewing Gum 

Lyrically it uses the same lines on repeat, but when you consider what those lines say, it really hits home. These are accompanied with swirling guitars and feedback, which provide the unsettling backdrop. The slightly shouty chorus is accompanied by a guitar part that viciously cuts through the record and into your soul. Even the hint of solace after the chorus is snatched away as the track becomes claustrophobic.

8. Molly Tuttle – Take The Journey [New Entry]

Some stunning guitar playing underpins Take The Journey, yet the track is easily accessible and rather uplifting. The theme of overcoming adversity and persevering are universal enough, and by the end you feel empowered.

9. James Supercave – Alarm Will Sound [Final Week]

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.

10. 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.

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

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No change at number 1 this week but five new entries, which isn’t that surprising given four tracks reached their time limit last week. Rasharn Powell continues to sound immaculate, but the Jamie Jones/Teddy Pendergrass track is an early contender for dance track of the year.  We lose only one track this week due to the three week time limit, the excellent Pressure to Party by Julia Jacklin. 

1. Rasharn Powell – Warm In These Blue Jeans 

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. Teddy Pendergrass – Life Is A Song Worth Singing (Jamie Jones Remix) [New Entry]

Tuesday’s Track of the Day, this is a truly wonderful remix that can brighten up any day. Every time I listen to it I end up smiling and wanting to dance. It starts with the teasing synths, but from there it throws in all sorts of wildcards. Teasing hi-hats, cowbells, trumpets. They all make an appearance. And the vocals help to keep the track grounded whilst all the chaos happens around them.

3. The Twilight Sad – Girl Chewing Gum [New Entry]

Wednesday’s Track of the Day and from the album I reviewed this week, this track has really stayed with me. Lyrically it uses the same lines on repeat, but when you consider what those lines say, it really hits home. These are accompanied with swirling guitars and feedback, which provide the unsettling backdrop. The slightly shouty chorus is accompanied by a guitar part that viciously cuts through the record and into your soul. Even the hint of solace after the chorus is snatched away as the track becomes claustrophobic.

4. Lily Byrd – Don’t Move 

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.

5. Julia Jacklin – Pressure to Party [Final Week]

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.

6. James Supercave – Alarm Will Sound 

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.

7. 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.

8. Peer Kusiv – Tundra [New Entry]

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.

9. Tones and I – Johnny Run Away [New Entry]

Tones and I is a singer hailing from Byron Bay Australia and this is her debut release. The song was inspired by her best friend coming out to his dad when he was younger, and in Johnny Run Away she speaks of young love and the negative reaction that receives from those that are meant to love unconditionally. I don’t know whether the title is a reference to the classic Bronski Beat track Smalltown Boy, but it certainly deals with the same theme of a young man feeling isolated by his sexuality.

10. Grand Pax – Lapse [New Entry]

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.

The A List (17th March 2019) – the ten best new music tracks right now

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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.

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.

 

Top 50 songs of 2018 – 50 to 41

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50. Karen O, Michael Kiwunuka – YO! MY SAINT

This track was released back in January and it’s full of drama and dripping in lust. Fuzzy guitars and the soulful sounds of Michael Kiwunuka provide the perfect foundation for O’s vocals to dazzle. Designed to emulate the drama of a Korean soap opera, it was written to soundtrack a short film, which helps to make sense of the song’s cinematic feel.

 

  1. LeyeT – Drip Drop

Drip Drop is a deceptively simple pop song. The catchiness and immediacy of the melody mask the urgency of the lyrics, the sense that pain and heartbreak can feel relentless and overwhelming. The song’s production subtly mirrors the relentless through repetition before we reach a point of release.

 

  1. Hammer – Inside Soul

Rory Hamilton – aka Hammer – has been buddies with Bicep since their early Belfast days. Now based in East London, Inside Soul was the third track on his C-Space EP (released on Bicep’s label) and is equal parts hypnotic and euphoric.

 

  1. DJ Koze – Seeing Aliens

The lead single from Koze’s critically acclaimed Knock Knock album, Seeing Aliens is a baffling listen. Eight minutes of whirrs, glitches and general chaos make up the melody, Seeing Aliens is a speedy 3am drive up the motorway, when your monotony is irregularly frazzled by oncoming lights.

 

  1. James Supercave – Something To Lose (metsa Rework)

It’s pretty rare for remixes to make my top 50, but this metsa rework is superbly catchy. A dystopian remix in which the emotions of the original seem to have been given a cyborg makeover; it’s a battle between the metallic coldness of the production and the tenderness of the vocals.

 

  1. George Fitzgerald – Siren Call

From Fitzgerald’s second album All That Must Be, Siren Call feels like an ode to lying awake at night in an unfamiliar city. Full of creeping electronics and unsettling distortions, moments of peace and calm when you’re drifting into slumber are snatched away by another disturbance.

 

  1. Ellas Ross – Plastic

Sometimes music is at its best when you strip away all the unnecessary elements and keep it simple. Plastic feels like an artist at the end of a relationship, wearily realising that the person they thought they knew was never there. The façade has melted, and it’s time to accept it. Without malice, but with growing strength, Plastic lets us hear someone gaining clarity and acceptance.

 

  1. Django Django – Swimming at Night

Django Django’s Winter’s Beach EP was a pleasant surprise in September, and Swimming at Night was its instantly catchy single. Electronic percussion and synth-y goodness to the fore, this is a cracking pop song full of fun.

 

  1. Kidnap – After All

Sheffield-born Producer Kidnap (previously Kidnap Kid) released his Ashes EP in March and After All was the third track on it. With shades of Massive Attack, there a reflective and borderline spiritual quality to After All, with lyrical snippets of Amazing Grace subtly woven into the record. “You know when you get a taste of it?, I want this to be my life” the vocalist asks halfway through, as the music reflects the longing and hopes of the singer.

 

  1. Simian Mobile Disco – Hey Sister

This is a track that shouldn’t work on any level. Dance music doesn’t usually have choirs. Add in cold electronic beats that seem so urgent compared to the placid vocals and it’s a song that should drown in its own contradictions. Instead Simian Mobile Disco have created a unique track that sounds awesome. Well played.