Tag: Jamiroquai

The A List: Our 10 hottest songs right now

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Every Sunday the Astral Penguins Blog takes stock of the 10 biggest – and best – songs around right now.

There’s four new entries on this week’s list and three of this week’s top 10 have stuck around for four weeks, which is the maximum songs can stay on the A List.

Here are the best 10 songs around:

1. Jamiroquai – Automaton (Non-mover; 4th week)

Fourth and final week – and a fourth week at number 1. Automaton is an electro pop masterclass with euphoria, menace, and a playful 90’s pop-meets-hip hop breakdown. Come December, this is destined to be high in the top 50 of 2017 list.

2. Brutus – Drive 3/4s (New Entry)

A new entry from Belgiun post-hardcore trio Brutus. They’re led by Stefanie Mannaerts, who acts as both vocalist and drummer, and their debut album came out this week. Drive 3/4s is a stunningly good rock track; its impressive in its ambition alone, but the delivery of intricate melodies, shifts in style and epic chorus makes this track an absolute monster.

3. Parcels – Allaround (down 1; 4th 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.

4.  Vince Staples – Bagbak (down 1; 3rd week)

Hip hop is rediscovering it’s political voice and Bagbak is Vince Staples’s contribution on racial identity and politics. Staples is undoubtedly one of the most exciting men in music right now.

5. Allan Rayman – 13 (down 1; 3rd 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.

6. Code Walk, Smerz – Guess What (New Entry)

This track is a collaboration between two Scandinavian duos, Norwegian pair Code Walk  and Copenhagen couple Smerz. Guess What revolves around shimmering techno beats and top line percussion. Everything about this track is ice cold. Simple and yet highly effective.

7. Sub Focus – Lingua (New Entry)

Slower and more minimalist than a lot of his other works, Lingua sees Sub Focus straying closer to dancehall and hip hop than his usual drum and bass, but it’s a banger all the same.

8. Priests – Jj (down 3; 4th week)

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.

 

9. Ibeyi – Lost In My Mind (down 2; 2nd week)

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.

10. Blood Youth – Reasons to Stay (New Entry)

Melodic hardcore trio Blood Youth have produced a real balls-to-the-wall track in Reasons to Stay. A tale of a relationship ending in a complicated way, this will be an absolute monster live.

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.

 

 

The A List: Sunday 5th Feb

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

Every Sunday I post a new A List,  an insight into what I’m loving right now. 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.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the Bonus List – an extension of the A List with 10 songs that just missed out on  the A-List – as well as the This Week Playlist – seven new tracks that will tickle your ears. George will also be posting an album review tomorrow, and I’ve got a couple of gigs this week that I’m very excited about – more later this week.

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

1. Jamiroquai – Automaton (New Entry)

What an extraordinary return from 90’s superstars Jamiroquai. An electro pop masterclass with euphoria, menace, and a playful 90’s pop-meets-hip hop breakdown. I’m not sure anyone realised the world needed a Jamiroquai return, but Automaton sounds as fresh and innovative as anything released so far in 2017.

2. The Black Madonna – He is the Voice I Hear (Down 1; 3rd week)

He is the Voice I Hear is a rollercoaster ride with strings, jazz piano and disco-influences. Fresh from the – incredibly exciting – news that she’ll be taking over the residency at London’s XOYO, the best DJ in the world right now looks set to build on all her numerous successes of 2016 and take over the world in 2017.

3.  Mixhell, Joe Goddard – Crocodile Boots (Soulwax Remix) (Down 1; 2nd week)

This is a five minute industrial revolution. Full of dancing percussion samples and snippets, the spoken word sections only add to these feeling like it has transported 1980’s electronica and transported it to the future. It’s a fine record, and one I’ve enjoyed every listen of.

4. Parcels – Allaround (New Entry)

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.

5. Husky Loops – Fighting Myself (New Entry)

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’m very excited about seeing these guys on Thursday.

6. LOYAL – Moving As One (Down 3; 3rd week)

LOYAL’s Moving As One has plenty of layers that span different genres and enough musical ability to bring it together seamlessly.

7. Priests – Jj (New Entry)

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.

8. Tiga – Eye Luv U (New Entry)

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.

9. Esther Joy Lane – Ever Ever (Down 5; 3rd week)

Ever Ever starts off on familiar terrain for Grimes fans, which is certainly no bad thing. But it then takes a different path; meandering between synth pop, electronica and dance

10. Bonobo – No Reason (Down 5; 3rd week) 

Mournful vocals are matched by elegant electronic touches; it’s a claustrophobic listen that leaves you wanting to curl up in a blanket and hide away from the world.

 

 

The missing This Week Playlist

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As explained here, I didn’t post the This Week playlist last Monday, despite having it ready. However, in the interest of full disclosure, here are the ten tracks I’ve been listening to on repeat this week.

1. Jamiroquai – Automaton 

What an extraordinary return. An electro pop masterclass with euphoria, menace, and a playful 90’s pop-meets-hip hop breakdown. I’m not sure anyone realised the world needed a Jamiroquai return, but Automaton sounds as fresh and innovative as anything released so far in 2017.

2. Parcels – Allaround

This was nailed on to be one of my tracks of the day. Taking 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. Parcels have released a steady series of hugely impressive singles, and this is my favourite so far.

3. Rationale – Reciprocate 

Back in 2015 I fell in love with The Mire, a track from Rationale’s Fuel to the Fire EP. I’ve kept an eye on his stuff since then and Reciprocate finds him back on form; a rich and distinctive voice elevates this r’n’b track.

4. Priests – Jj

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.

5. Tiga – Eye Luv U

Canadian DJ and producer Tiga has a pretty stunning back catalogue, creating some of the most innovative of off-beat electro bangers. The ridiculously titlted 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.

6. IDLES – Stendhal Syndrome

IDLES are one of my favourite up-and-coming bands. Back in August 2015 I saw them in London and, for lack of a better word, it was frightening. Delivering aggressive post-punk, these Bristolians are gearing up for another tour and possibly world domination. Stendhal Syndrome is brash, loud and hilarious.

7. Brett Gould – Say It Loud

East London DJ and producer Brett Gould has been steadily releasing great tracks over the past eighteen months. Say It Loud is surely designed for a small, sweaty club with a good sound system at 4am; it’s all about the menace lurking in the bass lines.

8. Skott – Glitter & Gloss 

Scandinavian pop songstress Skott would – had the blog existed – been one of my tips for 2017. Since her debut single around seven months ago she’s released some stunning pop tracks; Glitter & Gloss is a little bit like eating a chocolate bar that you’ve taken from a communal fridge; it’s sweet and satisfying, but there’s a lurking sense of guilt and troubles to come.

9. Allan Rayman, Jessie Reyez – Repeat

Gig-buddy Matt sent me a Jessie Reyez track late in 2016 that I liked very much. However I’d never heard of Allan Rayman, and the first google hit is ’10 Reasons Why Allan Rayman Is The Most Mysterious Man in Music’, which is good work. His voice is extraordinary; it elevates what is a slightly off-kilter r’n’b meets indie pop track into something very compelling.

10. Husky Loops – Fighting Myself

Rock and roll newcomers Husky Loops offer an intriguing and eccentric new single in Fighting Myself. 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’m seeing these guys this week and I’m hugely excited to see what they do live.

Ramblings: new monthly column, Black Madonna intrigue, Kasabian and Cortes News

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Yesterday we unveiled our new monthly column: Word on the Street. George has for many years been a passionate follower of beat-driven music (he hates the term ‘urban music’) and if you have an interest in grime, garage, dance, hip hop or r’n’b, then the column is going to be a ‘must read’. I think its a fantastic read and I’m very grateful to George for pulling it all together.

On Friday evening George sent me an intriguing Black Madonna-related link; you can find it here. What does it mean? a UK tour? a residency? an album? I guess we’ll find out on Tuesday, but any new Black Madonna news is welcome in my world.

Speaking of welcome news, there was a distinct whiff of 2002 about two of this week’s biggest new releases; new singles from Missy Elliott and Jamiroquai. The latter has also announced a gig at the Roundhouse in London. Both of these artists were huge influences on my music taste in my teens so I’m pretty chuffed that they’re back.

The Astral Penguins blog is growing in content and readership, and over the next couple of weeks we’ll be unveiling some new regular features. (at least) One of those features revolves heavily around the festivals coming up over the summer, and on a related note Kasabian were announced as the second of three headliners lined up for Leeds and Reading Festivals (the third is rumoured to be Eminem).

I confess I have a massive soft spot for Kasabian. I first saw them supporting the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Leadmill in Sheffield many years ago, and it was obvious then that they were supremely talented. They’re one of the few British guitar-heavy bands to ascend to the top of festival line ups and stay there in the past decade, and with a new album on the way, this could be – yet another – big year for them.

Kasabian gigged day in and day out to hone their craft, and another British band who are following a similar approach is Cortes. I first saw them a couple of years ago as a support act and have seen then around five times since then. They posted two things on Facebook this week; (1) they’ve passed a million streams on Spotify – congrats! – and (2) they’ve been in the studio recording new music. Every now and then you see a band and think ‘these guys could – and should – be massive’; Cortes are one of those bands and I only hope Radio 1 and others continue to give them the support and air-time they need.

I’ll be back later on with the A List and tomorrow with the This Week Playlist. Until then…

Mark