A certified club banger, ‘Just Say’ is a song that that was played at Ibiza this summer and spread out across the clubbing landscape over the last few months, including over very own Lumo. The song by the UK producer is also a bit of a pop smash and having U.S. R&B singer Tinashe on board for vocals only helped the song breakthrough.
‘Just Say’ has just been given a video by Sarah McColgan featuring Tinashe and set in a Los Angeles motel.
Follow the Nialler9 New Music playlist on Spotify. This week’s additions include new songs from all the below along with Glass Animals, Skott, Chance The Rapper, Ardyn, Father John Misty and Hvmmingbyrd.
Justin Vernon’s shelving of Bon Iver a few years ago never felt absolute. As it turned out, as detailed in this essay by fellow bandmate Trevor Hagen, Vernon was at an emotional impasse. Unsure where to go next, he collaborated with Kanye, James Blake, Francis And The Lights, made music with Volcano Choir, he built a studio in his hometown of Eaux Claire in Wisconsin, he put on a music festival. He sought solace in personal understanding.
It was the second edition of the Eaux Claires music festival that Vernon chose to announce a new Bon Iver record. Having made it through that fraught period, Vernon was ready to start anew. ‘Over Soon’ is a fragile acknowledgement of the thin line between moving on and giving up and the empathy that music offers between us.
Pional began for many, as the right hand man to fellow Barcelona producer John Talabot. But if you’ve paid attention to his solo work, there’s been much more substance inherent than mere coat-tail riding.
A New EP When Love Hurts, out on Counter (Ninja Tune) on September 30th will feature Empress Of on vocals on ‘The Way You Like’ but lead track ‘Casualty’ is a distillation of his appeal: spacious minimal electronic music that recalls Michael Jackson productions and creeps under the skin hypnotically.
KDA feat. Tinashe – ‘Just Say’
A recent Ibiza highlight.
This came on the stereo earlier this week, only to to flash me back to a trip to Ibiza last month (courtesy of Absolut). I heard this at Pacha one of the nights I was there. This is just decent big-room dance music with US singer Tinashe bringing the R&B vibes as played by Claptone (I think) that night.
Emmanuelle – ‘Italove’
A recent highlight from Soulwax’s Dee Wee label
Brazilian-born singer Emmanuelle gave us absolute shade of the highest order on ‘Free Hi-Fi Internet’ a song in which she was more interested in the Wi-Fi password than talking to you the club.
‘Italove’ is a lot warmer in sentiment and leads with a ripe summery synth disco sound. ‘L’Uomo D’affari’ is also on the release.
All Tvvins – ‘End Of The Day’
The Dublin lads channel Talking Heads
From last week’s album of the week, the finally-released debut album from All Tvvins, ‘End Of The Day’ has an undeniable “Once In A Lifetime’ buzz to it both rhythmically and vocally. Hopefully, someone is let loose to make this as club friendly as possible.
Florence + The Machine – ‘Too Much Is Never Enough’
A Final Fantasy XV soundtrack song.
Surprise. Florence + the Machine dropped three new songs last week which are to feature on the upcoming Final Fantasy XV game.
Alongside a cover of Ben E King’s ‘Stand By Me’ and the xx-esque ‘I Will Be’, ‘Too Much Is Never Enough’ is a sprawling orchestral epic. Welch says her decision to get involved was inspired by a Classic FM radio broadcast.
“I was listening to Classic FM and there was a whole two hour program about classical music in videogames. It was so inspiring and a whole scope of music that I didn’t know about. ” Florence says of her decision to get involved in the project. “It was really fascinating, the music was incredibly beautiful and emotional and I took it as a sort of sign, to see what I can do in this medium.”
Two upcoming artists, Swedish pop male Erik Hassle (who has written for Shakira) and American R&B singer Tinashe team up for a perfect synergy of both worlds with some horn-featuring hip-hop production and lyrics about a woman who is like alcohol. Totally worth the hassle.
If you weren’t already aware of the significance of South By SouthWest (SXSW), the shorthand goes like this: thousands of bands and artists at all levels in their careers come to Austin, Texas for a week in March after the tech industry has done its business the week before. They come to SXSW to be seen, to make deals, to spread the word about their music and to further their career.
In some cases, larger acts like Jay-Z, Kanye and Lady Gaga pick up the big cheques (sorry, checks, we are in America after all) and while there were a lot of mid-to-top level artists like St. Vincent, Damon Albarn, Cee Lo Green, Kendrick Lamar and err, Spandau Ballet in Austin last week, my focus, as it has been for the last six South Bys is on new music. Seeing an upcoming artist playing live for the first time is one of the main reasons I come here.
A bit of housekeeping: You can find out how the Irish got in with two pieces in print just published: Heathers and The Strypes at SXSW in Irish Independent’s Day and Night Mag last Friday. My interview with Hozier was in the Sunday Times Culture. He was blowing up at SXSW last week. Finally, there is a ton of daily updates from me to be found at Red Bull Ireland too.
Here are the 15 best sets I enjoyed in a sensory-overloading fatiguing but ultimately supremely rewarding SXSW.
American indie music’s best kept secret for the last ten odd years will be familiar to Irish audiences due to Foggy Notions bringing them to Dublin for a few times over that period. A timely reminder of the band’s live prowess was provided by the Baltimore band’s appearance on Late Night With Letterman a few weeks ago where singer Samuel T. Herring put in a towering magnetising PERFORMANCE of realness that included teary-eyed facial contortions, air-punching stage delivery, a voice that went from yearning wedding singer to a growling gutteral metal band craw, crab-like meme-friendly dancing and in ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’, one of their most anthemic songs yet.
Their synth-pop music, especially new album Singles is pleasing, a career-best release from a live band at their best. In Cheer Up Charlie’s (formerly Club Deville) for the 4AD Showcase, the band codify all of these things into a lightning set.
Herring encourages crowd surfing and gives as much as he gets in terms of compliments. The set was such a feelgood masterclass, I hope performers were taking notes. A masterclass in music and showmanship.
2. Glass Animals
Some bands leave such a good impression you have to see them again. Of all the artists at SXSW, Oxford’s Glass Animals sound like the band most in waiting to hit a bigger level of popularity. They might be English but their alternative R&B music has a definite American swagger to it. Alt-J R&B, the journo part of my brain kept thinking.
Crucially, they already have songs that sound like people just need to hear to get on board with – ‘Gooey’, ‘Black Mambo’ and ‘Psylla” in particular. The two shows I caught, the band were meticulously prepared and their music intricately played. Their Harvest Records showcase set suffered from poor sound (as did everyone that night with the PA cutting out for every artist) but their last set of SXSW in Holy Mountain was a precursor of larger things to come.
Firstly, Sophie is a guy from the UK, not a girl at all. But there were other diverting things happening on stage during the Sophie set at The Hype Machine’s Hype Hotel that set my brain off the wall and my feet off the floor. Sophie’s electronic music is as modern as you can get: a unique tapestry that takes in threads of Rustie-style hyperactivity, zippy electro synthesizer lines, high-pitched female vocals and rap samples. Where Saint Pepsi and Cashmere Cat throw all of their influences in the mix, Sophie’s creates a symphonic digital experience that bounces off the walls in its own language. It’s a divisive sound that’s like listening to a kids TV theme song derailed by amphetamines.
The only long queue outside a venue during SXSW for me, occurred outside the Empire Automotive Garage, an actual car garage that had a reduced capacity that leant itself to such occurences. In the case of Kelela though, the line was warranted, the LA singer has teamed up with some of the most sonically inventive future music producers including Nguzunguzu, Jam City, Kingdom and Bok Bok.
Kelela’s voice on her own is honey-dripped, akin to Janet Jackson in tone. Those outsourced productions create stuttering bass-rattling synth jams for her voice to ride and it results in an atmospheric club music that transcends the plain surrounds. The music was suspended above our heads and encased us in laser-guided sonic comforts.
Jillian Banks’ performance at Haven for the Harvest Records showcase was one of the first of the week at South By. A series of excellent alternative R&B pop singles had already established Banks as one of the most exciting new artists around.
Like Kelela, she has outsourced beats from TEED, Sohn and Shlohmo. All the songs so far share a monochromatic sombre feel. Banks uses that vibe as a starting point to emote in full colour with her bellowing and sometimes wailing voice.
Most obvious from her set, was that Banks’ performance style has endearing. The nerves were clear but she was steely-eyed and gutsy in her delivery. There are relieving smiles after the first few songs as if a large hurdle has been crossed.
In songs like ‘Warm Water’, ‘Brain, ‘Waiting Game” and ‘Fall Over’, she has an embarrassment of great songs that people were already singing back at her and a new song from the forthcoming debut album was of the same calibre.
Photo: James Goulden. So, as an Irish music person who goes to gigs regularly, I’ve seen Hozier four times since his ascension into a global concern (read my interview with him in the Sunday Times from March 23rd). It’s been a startlingly rapid rise and one that has knocked lesser musicians into career oblivion.
The answer to whether Hozier’s move into mainstream acceptance was too soon was plain to see in at the Communion Records showcase in St David’s Historic Sanctuary. Mr Hozier-Byrne has stepped up his live game significantly. Before he was shy and gangly looking, in Austin he was commanding and charming. He lead his seven-piece band where he had fronted them before, and when the song required a solo performance he was able to keep focus.
The new songs reveal a deeper connection to Delta and Chicago blues with bottleneck swamp guitar and a “howling at your door” outlook. Hozier played six or so shows in Austin and was on the tip of many tongues. Local radio was playing Take Me To Church and there was a deserved buzz around him.
There’s a glimpse of what may come in St. David’s Historic Sanctuary as the seated crowd hung on every sweetly sung Bill Withers-esque syllable.
Special shoutout to the ever-brilliant Stephen Maurice Graham for his illustration. This one, he says, is down to that Psychemagik track and the film Dazed and Confused. Please enjoy 15 tracks in under an hour. A bit less talking, a bit more mixing on this one than usual.
Tinashe Jorgenson Kachingwe, best known as Tinashe has spent her short career making significant moves in the worlds of entertainment. As an actor, she’s featured as Michael Clark Duncan’s daughter in Two And A Half Men, provided voiceovers alongside Tom Hanks in The Polar Express. She’s recently featured in an advert touting the benefits of a acne-treatment product.
Her own music is of a rhythmic pop persuasion taking in R&B, electronica and hip-hop. As a vocalist, she’s guested on tracks from electronic producers Ryan Hemsworth and Jacques Greene and was formerly a member of the girl band The Stunners. In the last few years, she’s released three mixtapes of ambient R&B music, the latest being December’s Black Water, the highlight of which was the dark-paced ‘Vulnerable’.
This year, she’ll finally release her major label debut Aquarius after over two years of preparation. Hemsworth guests as a producer as does Clams Casino, the man who helped A$AP Rocky’s rise to prominence. Rapper Schoolboy Q provides a filthy verse on a promo track ‘2 On’, a more-direct track with Tinashe getting faded with the big boys. With her current momentum, it’ll be no surprise when she ends up there.
SHABBA SHABBA RAAAAANKS. For the hook alone, this track could feature here but stick Busta on this track (like his recent highlight guest verse on Q-Tip’s ‘Thank You’) and it’s game over. It has a serious sinister horror beat to follow up on the equally great remix of Ferg’s ‘Work’. Both remixes have slayed the originals.
5. Future Brown – ‘World’s Mine’ ft. Prince Rapid, Dirty Danger, Roachee
UK grime meets LA aquatic R&B. Fatima Al Qadiri, Nguzunguzu and J-Cush of Lit City Trax’s Future Brown project has a debut album coming next year with collabs Tink, Shawnna, 3D Na’tee, Maluca, Riko Dan, Ian Isiah and Kelela.’World’s Mine’ is the latest track from it after ‘Wanna Party’.
6. Ikonika – ‘Beach Mode’ feat. Jessy Lanza
Ikonika’s remix of Chvrches this week had me going back to her recent Aeropolis album, particularly this standout track with Jessy Lanza.
7. Friends – ‘The Way’ (Blood Orange remix)
Dev Hynes and Samantha Urbani team up for a smooth ’80s-style R&B remix. Not entirely different to the new Blood Orange album Cupid Deluxe which I’m finding hard to get into.
Slow building euphoria from the Kildare duo’s new EP.
9. Tinashe – ‘Vulnerable’ feat. Travi$ Scott
American R&B singer Tinashe has been building her rep over the last few years with underground-leaning mixtapes and collabs with Ryan Hemsworth and Jacques Greene. ‘Vulnerable’, from her new Black Water mixtape is sensual R&B pitched from a darker place.
10. Dornik – ‘Rebound’
He’s a member of Jessie Ware’s band but he’s also keeping things on the side for himself is this Dornik Leigh kid. He gave us the hazed ‘Something About You’ a few months back and ‘Rebound’ gives us a little more beat to bounce to. Out soon on PMR Records.