There’s no staying humble with the return of Paak. Having made the best album of 2016, and collaborated all over the shop, .Paak returns with a bombastic song that talks up his status as one of the best? And why not? He’s known for his soulful voice and his drumming sure, but very rarely have you heard him go this hard in rap terms, not even on the NxWorries record. Paak’s exuberant almost-delusional flow is matched by a busy production by Jhalil Beats and Antman Wonder and an ecstatic video to match.
Christine And The Queens
Two years on from the French artist’s breakthrough album Chaleur Humaine, Héloïse Letissier is back and has teamed up with West Coast G-funk artist and Snoop Dogg collaborator Dam Funk for a lustful slice of magnetic synth-pop that explores gender stereotypes. It arrived with its original French version so you can get double the helping.
Black Walls (Minimal Oxygen)
Dear Tommy is finally coming! You just have to wait until the Autumn. Whether you care or not is another thing though, as the Chromatics saga has been a long game one. Still, Johnny Jewel has been releasing a lot of cinematic music and even released an album this week of some of the music he sent to David Lynch for Twin Peaks that wasn’t used (there was 7 hours total). ‘Black Walls (Minimal Oxygen)’ isn’t much to get excited about, though it’s just good to hear some dark wave minimalism with Ruth Radelet singing again.
I’ll Be Your Ladder
The former Majical Cloudz singer has continued making music as sparse and as effective as that band as a solo artist. ‘I’ll Be Your Ladder’ is basically a vocal drone with a slight uplift in the form of a song. The Montreal singer elongates his vocals with a production that relies on faraway horns and ambience with production by Austin Tufts of Braids.
“Time cools me with laughter / as I see the ways I am changing / and I know I want to be your ladder / with love’s elation in your eyes / I’ll be your ladder while you’re changing,” is how the song’s lyrics go.
Swedish producer Baba Stiltz, yes, that’s his real name, is a young 24-year-old who has made a name for himself with some emotionally-charged dance music like ‘Can’t Help It’. XL Recordings have taken note and signed him up for a new EP called Showtime, lead by ‘Maze’ a parping slice of electronic pulses and warped mumble-rap style vocals. He plays Wigwam on October 13 this year.
Ultimatum (feat. Fatoumata Diawara)
A one-off single from the Disclosure brothers and it has all the hallmarks of it TBQH. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of summery Afrobeat house music at all, especially if they’ve drafted in the excellent Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara to sing it rather than sample something. It’s a fine tideover for now and a lot better than more than half of Caracal, which was mostly awful.
Happy (feat. KT Ball)
Dundalk’s Shane Clarke has been moving his music from folk to a more starry-eyed layered direction with nods to Bowie on recent tracks. For ‘Happy’ with vocals by KT Ball, the contrast is even more stark with alt-rock, synths and layer upon layer building up. KT Ball’s vocal add a nice counterweight. A new album called 88 will be released on the July 20th. Elephant’s next Dublin show is on August 24th.