Here are 9 of the best new songs we’ve heard in the past week, tried, tested and true for you.
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British producer and composer James Blake is making the best music of his life on Assume Form. Having spent the past couple of years on production duties for some of hip-hop’s biggest artists, there’s zero surprise that Blake borrows so much influence from contemporary trap on Assume Form. The surprise is just how effectively he executes the sound. The album is littered with supreme beats and any of the songs could merit a spot on this list, but ‘Power On’ is a superbly produced track and lyrically, showcases Blake’s humour, “let’s go home and talk shit about everyone, let’s go home, finally”. We’ve all been there and thought the same thing.
Foals are gearing up for the release of a new “dual album” later this year (two albums) with the first album Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1 due for a March 8th release with part two to follow in the Autumn. We got a taster of what they’ll entail this week with ‘Exits‘: the track is bright and bouncy and considerably more buoyant that the material on their last album. The title is a warning that anything – from the tiniest fleeting moment of inspiration through to the planet’s own biological diversity – can be under threat of being irrevocably erased.
Vampire Weekend just announced that the name of their upcoming album is Father Of The Bride (hopefully it’s inspired by the Steve Martin film of the same name?) with tour dates expected to drop soon. ‘Harmony Hall’ is one of two songs that we have already heard from it, the basis of this one being on a 2-hour Youtube loop. The track showcases what the band do best with layers of tight vocals and eclectic instrumental sections, buoyed by relentless, bouncy percussion. Danielle Haim and Dave Longstreth of Dirty Projectors feature on it too.
Bas Ismaa Meny
Dublin producer Jamal Sul aka Moving Still has featured on Nialler9 before with a mixtape of beats along with mixes on Nabihah Iqbal’s NTS show and Jheri Tracks Compilation Vol. 2. ‘Bas Ismaa Meny’ is an edit of Sarya Sawas’s ‘Bas Asma3 Mini’ and is the A-side of a new release on the Dar Disku label. Sul played the track at one of Scully’s recent Woweembeem nights and the track got a big reaction, and it’s easy to hear why. The edit of the original is the latest in a line of merging his Arabic heritage into his work and he has succeeded with flying colours with this track.
Boy Harsher‘s sophomore record Careful is due out next Friday and their new single ‘LA’ is making us very excited for it. The track echos 80s dance tracks with relentless 808s and sweeping analogue synths, topped of by a stellar music video. February 1st cant come quick enough.
Karen O, Danger Mouse
Yeah Yeah Yeah‘s front woman Karen O joined forces with Danger Mouse last year to work on a new album due out March 15th, and this week we heard the most recent fruits of the collaboration. (last year we heard the album title track ‘Lux Prima‘). ‘Woman’ is exactly what you would expect from the fusion of both artists’ styles, with Karen’s acrobatic vocals and Danger Mouse’s groovy bass lines. Karen’s affirming vocals and female empowerment-oriented lyrics are enhanced by a syncopated beat and layers of backing vocals, all making for a real bop.
The Japanese House
Maybe You’re the Reason
The Japanese House‘s forthcoming album Good At Falling is set for release on March 1st and we can’t wait. The latest single from it is titled ‘Maybe You’re The Reason’ and it possesses all of the sunny synths and melodies that we know her for, yet as always, there’s a deeper undercurrent. Co-produced by The 1975’s George Daniel, the track features a lot of vocal distortion and swirling melodies in the instrumentation, “I think I’m dying ’cause this can’t be living, should I be searching for some kind of meaning?”.
‘Say It’ is a definite highlight of Maggie Rogers’ debut album that came out last week. Gentle synths in the verse build into an irresistible chorus of pitched vocals (à la her debut single ‘Alaska’) and a steady backbeat that render head bobbing an involuntary reflex. It’s a love song and a narrative that we’ve heard countless times in songs and yet it’s at moments like this that Rogers is at her best; when she showcases her innate ability to tell old stories in fresh ways. ‘Overnight’ is also a favourite from the record.