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.
Yuksek – I Don’t Have A Drum Machine
This track has been putting me in a good mood all week…
French producer Yuksek has put together an absolute knockout of a tune with I Don’t Have A Drum Machine. It’s an upbeat disco track that effectively narrates you through its own production. Fun, retro and extremely catchy, it absolutely makes you want to dance.
Julia Jacklin – Pressure to Party
Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin recently released her second album Crushing and Pressure To Party comes from that record. It’s a tale of coming out of a failed relationship, and how you feel forced to act in certain ways.
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. Take the first four lines:
Pressure to party, gonna stay in
Nothing good can come from me drinking
I would run, shoes off, straight back to you
I know where you live, I used to live there too
The Penguin was so impressed he sent it to a friend who lives close to the Antarctic (South London) and he – unusually – responded with an excellent review, which is probably better than anything I can write. He said:
This is great btw, lyrically so engaging and the juxtaposition between the upbeat music and the very much less so lyrics just makes it all the more intriguing. Ironically I’d imagine plenty of people will miss the lyrical content and take it as an upbeat ode to partying.
A really great track and I can’t wait to tuck into the album.
James Blake, Andre 3000 – Where’s The Catch
The Penguin recently reviewed James Blake’s latest album, Assume Form. It’s an album that benefits from repeated listens, and helped to clarify the quality of some of the songs on the album.
The track that most obviously shone following repeated listens is the collaboration with Andre 3000, Where’s The Catch. Although it’s not obviously a single release compared to other Assume Form tracks, it really anchors the album and gives an otherwise generally upbeat album a gritty and striking moment.
With its unsettling, murky piano and deep beat, it turns the positives of the album on their head and questions if this really is too good to be true. Whether the love and joy that Blake is experiencing really has a catch; whether it’s too good to be true. For anyone who isn’t known to be wildly positive – which I think is a category we can classify Blake in, given his previous releases – it’s an understandable and relatable feeling.
Add in a sweet verse from Andre 3000 and you end up with a track that sounds good and makes you think.