Anna Clendening – Dead End
“I don’t know whats worse
That you walked in my room smelling like her perfume
Or that I called you first”
Sometimes pop music can be devastating. Sometimes lyrics just jump out of a song and into you, where you feel every emotion the songwriter felt.
North Carolina native Anna Clendening has penned some masterful lyrics for Dead End. Simple, effective, devastating. The sense of guilt, the shame the desire to be stronger – better – shine through in every line. I was particularly struck by:
“You lie in my sheets then lie to my face
I lie through my teeth and say I’m okay”
Dead End is a pithy two and a half minutes and the minimalist production lets the lyrics shine. She also has an EP ‘waves’ out on the 22nd February, which I’m very much looking forward to.
Gary Clark Jr. – This Land
The political and racial climate in the United States is inspiring some incredibly moving art at the moment, but This Land may just be the best that I’ve come across.
Merging an undertone of hip hop production, blues and old-school rock and roll, you can feel the frustration and anger pour out of every single note of This Land.
The video is superb. The lyrics are hard-hitting and personal. And the energy is off the chart. I have to be honest, in any other week – and probably month – this would be the best thing I’d post by a mile, but January 2019 has proven to be the most generous of months when it comes to quality music.
James Blake, ROSALIA – Barefoot In The Park
On Friday James Blake’s latest album was released. Assume Form has jumped to the top of every hipster’s ‘must listen to’ lists and features a number of star collaborators, including Andre 3000, Travis Scott and Moses Sumney.
But it’s his duet with Catalan-born flamenco star ROSALIA that has truly won my heart.
There’s something magical about the track. It feels so enticing, but never quite real. You don’t want to move in case the spell is broken. Emotionally it first feels joyous, but there’s a lurking edge of darkness that creeps into the corner of your eye.
I have no idea what the Spanish lyrics say and I have no desire to know. This track is simply beautiful as it is right now, so please don’t break the spell.
Lucy Rose – Conversation
29 year old singer-songwriter Lucy Rose has released Conversation, the first track off her forthcoming fourth album No Words Left, due for release on the 22ndMarch.
The track is both simple and hard hitting. Full of atmosphere with some beautiful strings, there’s an air of strength and finality surrounding the delicate vocals.
The general story of the track is rather neatly encapsulated in two lines of lyrics:
“No-one loves me quite like you do
But no-one lets me down like you do”
Conversation reminds me a little of Laura Marling and has certain whet my appetite for the album.
Check it out here:
Nightdubbing – Frontline
I’ll be honest, ever since I first heard this track last week I’ve been excited about posting it.
With perhaps my favourite – and funkiest – bass part of 2017 driving this track along, Frontline meanders between elements of house and disco to create what – to my ear – would be the perfect soundtrack to a day out in the sun. It’ll certainly work on the dance floor, but there’s enough to make this an excellent listen on headphones or – ideally -at a house party or barbecue.
There’s not a huge amount on the internet about Nightdubbing beyond them being ‘Manchester based DJs and Producers’ and it being the first release from Liverpool record shop Dig Vinyl’s new label.
Frontline comes from Nightdubbing’s EP of the same name which came out in January. You can find all eight tracks from that EP on Spotify or on their Soundcloud.
Jacob Banks – Unholy War
Trends in popular music tend to repeat themselves; guitar music is ‘in fashion’ for a eighteen months or so before being replaced by hip hop, or boy bands, or whichever style it is we’ve been missing without realising.
At the moment the retro soul/gospel sound is back with a bang. Rag’n’Bone Man has been leading the charge, but here Birmingham-born R’n’B singer Jacob Banks provides his own contribution, and it’s rather good.
With a rich, deep and powerful vocal performance, excellent production and a more modern, electronic-laced chorus, Unholy War ticks all sorts of pleasurable boxes. On first listen this stood out, and it gets better with every listen.
Fionn Regan – The Meetings of the Waters
Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan recently featured on Bon Iver’s album and has his own LP – of the same name as this single – due for release in April.
Meetings of the Waters is not a revolutionary recreation of the indie folk genre, but it is a rather pretty and delicate tale of love, tenderness and contentment. In the second verse he sings:
Your skin tastes of gorse flowers, as we lie in the dark
Mouth is of sapphires, when you speak there’s a spark across the room
It’s a gentle poetic ripple as two streams entwine. Elegant in its simplicity, and fragile in its construction, its long fade out only adds to the sensation that if you move too quickly, you could break this rather enchanting spell.