By Adam Robinson
Well done guys for getting through another mundane week of work! As a treat, here’s a playlist to help you unwind. Some weeks it’ll be like a mixed bag of oddities, other weeks it may turn into a thematic journey of self-discovery – who can say what will happen… it all depends on what sandwich is left for me to eat at the kitchen, I suppose. So enjoy all of this precious new (and not so new) music and let this be your excuse to procrastinate some more! This week we have nostalgia, struggles for identity, kickass women, motorbikes and green gloop along with other delights.
Now let’s get to it:
- Loote – Out of My Head
There’s nothing quite like organic simple pop. Loote serves up this cute, bubbly, soul-clicking song about the anxieties of everyday life and love. Anyone who can plug into the stress some people feel about what shirt to wear with what, as well as the struggle of leaving your bed in the morning and effortlessly pull it off in a song is instantly going to be relevant and grab your attention. This American duo certainly does this by singing: “I am the queen of overthinking…That’s why I’m always drinking” – we all are babe don’t worry.
- Rina Sawayama – Alterlife
I can’t quite describe Rina. She’s caught somewhere between Britney Spears and the band Garbage and yet she’s the most original sound coming out of this month. One things for certain, she’s definitely captured that noughties-esque plastic, digital style as she dances to a perfectly composed karaoke party for one singing of self-empowerment and redefining your identity. She quit her politics degree at Cambridge to work in music and modelling. Many people (including myself) are so happy that she did. Her whole new EP, entitled RINA, is similarly fashioned and her other song, called Cyber Stockholm Syndrome, packs the same potent punch about how we all live online. How many tabs have you got open while reading this I wonder? If you want to find out more about her, i-D magazine did a cool interview with her here.
- The Horrors – Something to Remember Me By
Well what on earth does this music video contain? Heavy synth? Yes. Capitalism and global war? Uh-huh. Sex and science? You betcha. Green Gloop and extracting fluids from people? Of course. Released last month, this song’s symphony of well-crafted noise, dial tones, beeps and old commercial jingles is certainly complex but pretty simple to dance too. Faris Badwan singing “And when the answers only divide…Nothing left to lose when there’s nothing left to find” might just be the political charged quip we need in this ‘post-truth’ era. Bonus misery points if you can spot Trump in the video!
- ‘Til Tuesday – Voices Carry
Now I know this isn’t exactly new. In fact, its nearly 32 years old having been released in 1985. But in spite of that, if you’re feeling the same void I’m experiencing after binge watching the new series of Stranger Things, and you’ve played not only the brilliant soundtrack by Kyle Dixon to death but Africa by Toto to death too, then this might be the song for you. “By the way, what’s with the hair? Is that part of the new image?” asks the smug, chiselled and cringey boyfriend of Aimee Mann, who is the heart-torn protagonist of this new-wave, New York one-hit wonder. This was the bands only majorly successful song and you can see why. It has all the hallmarks of an 80’s banger: distressed love, bleached hair and utter rage against the claustrophobic conformity of society and relationships. This song may also be getting some more attention soon as well: Sky Ferreira, the ethereal siren of the electro/synth/rock/artpop (I could go on…) genre, teased a snippet of a possible cover last week on Instagram. Perhaps after 4 years we may be getting a new release? One dares to dream.
- King Floyd – Handle with Care
Again, I know this isn’t new but it deserves some love and affection! New Orleans’s soul master King Floyd III (that is actually his name; I tell no lie, google it) was another musician, like ‘Til Tuesday, not to make a continuous commercial success with their music. But as history shows, underdogs are the undiscovered heroes. Handle with Care was neglected in the 70’s because of the disco fever going on. Floyd later helped make Shaggy’s Bombastic (1995) so you can either add him to your list of greats or blame him for that song – It’s up to you really. Listen to Handle with Care and be carried away by Floyd’s simple honesty and good-natured music.
- Kevin Abstract – ECHO
Everybody at this point, I’m sure, has heard of BROCKHAMPTON. In that collective, Kevin Abstract holds a soft spot for many. He’s another artist, like Rina and The Horrors, using unique sample sounds and experimenting with genres and, yet again, we can hear the throttle of a motorbike hurtling towards the horizon at the end of the song (what is it with motorbikes these past few years?). Calm, melancholic and breath-taking, it is a song about running away from that unavoidable ache you feel after losing someone. It’s also a powerful mantra-like ballad of escape to end the narrative rich album American Boyfriend on. I’m still not over it.
- SZA – Drew Barrymore
Annnnnnnd the award for the best album cover goes to… *drum roll* its SZA’s Ctrl! Seriously go see it. It beats Beyoncé’s flower goddess pregnancy photos in my opinion, if I was forced to choose. How anyone would pronounce that name I have no clue but this singer is clearly aiming for the top. So the presenter at the next Grammy awards show should learn. Quickly. I stumbled across this purely because of the cover alone and I was so thrilled I had done so. With a psychedelic guitar riff and a music video referencing the Beatles, it has a completely fresh feeling to it nonetheless. Instead of a hedonistic song about California however, we get a sober and completely self-doubting outlook on what people expect in love. With all this self-doubt being brought out, it can be hard to hear the persistent cry of independence from SZA. The chorus, especially, will warm you up as Durham continues to get bitterly colder. Side note: if you haven’t seen Poison Ivy or Never Been Kissed you’re missing out!
Illustration: Katie Butler