Future, Kendrick Lamar – Mask Off Remix
Rap’s most insidious song of the year. This slowly wound its way up in rotation over the months of release.
King Krule — Dum Surfer
The most menacing cut from his album The Ooz, Archy Marshall’s newest as King Krule is saying something. Marshall’s voice moves between ominous hedonism, speedy narrator caught in a night of gambling, car crashes, puking and shit bands. A seedy modern villainous jazz song.
Vince Staples – ‘Yeah Right’
‘Yeah Right’, from Staples second album Big Fish Theory encapsulates how different this album is and how much of a sonic weapon Staples has deployed throughout. Producer Sophie’s clattering fizzling metallic production is like a vehicular juggernaut with some distorted bass tones, Kilo Kish provides otherworldy vocals and Kendrick Lamar kills the whole thing in a verse.
Aldous Harding – ‘Horizon’
The most intense song of 2017? The New Zealand artist’s debut was heralded by this sustained note torch song and its live performances only heightened its inherent drama.
Kelela – LMK
No-one does sensual clubby R&B better than Kelela and ‘LMK’ is the singer at her most accessible without sacrifice.
Fort Romeau has one of the most consistent outputs of any electronic act aronund and this year’s Emulators EP is one of his best. ‘Emu’ is an example of what he does best – building and releasing tension with synths and sirens.
‘Tin’ is a euphoric reminder how good Dan Snaith aka Caribou is at creating warm and resonant dance music.
The Black Madonna – He Is The Voice I Hear
Chicago DJ and producer Marea Stamper’s career has exploded out of nowhere because her love of Chicago house music and her deep record collection has become abundantly clear. ‘He is the Voice That I Hear’ is a song recorded with an ensemble of live musicians and is a joyous 10 minutes of music that draws from house, disco and gospel in its creation – a stirring stringed dancefloor epic.
Alex Cameron & Angel Olsen – Stranger’s Kiss
If the the music world wasn’t so fractured by streaming platforms, Youtube and echo chambers, this duet is the kind of song that would make a surprise entrance to the mainstream. Sounding like a curtain-closer of John Hughes films proportions, the indie darling Olsen and Australian Cameron revels in derisive lovers finding comfort in others (“don’t bother flying when you jump off the cliff”) while cascading synths and horns add a triumphant tone to their taunts.
Karen Cowley, Caoimhe Barry, Saoirse Duane are a Wicklow trio whose sound has exapanded exponentially in 2017. It wouldn’t have been obvious from their previous output that they would have conjured up such a soulful R&B pop song, not least one that lyrically embraces the soft edges of masculinity and the hard edges of feminity at once. Wyvern Lingo’s debut album is released in February.