Niall’s favourite songs of the past month, all in one place.
Take a look around this site in the past month and the presence of Rosalia will be obvious. The Spanish /Catalan Flamenco R&B artist is making arresting pop music on her own terms and visuals that elevate the songs to new heights. Her performance of this track over the weekend at the MTV EMAs as her excellent album El Mal Querer dropped on Friday caused a splash and ‘Malamente’ was the jumping off point for this global excitement.
A highlight from the Arklow singer’s recent gigs at All Together Now and Metropolis, The Rumble features on the last of four 12” releases produced by Maurice Fulton. As with many of the dance-friendly tracks released by Murphy this year, the song takes a while to get under the skin but by the time the backing vocals kick in, its earworm status is complete. Roisin can sing a tune time and time again.
London songstress Jessie Ware broke her radio silence with the release of her new Bicep-produced single ‘Overtime’. The track sees Ware return to her dancier, uptempo roots with an irresistible bass line and chorus melody which, combined with Ware’s breathy vocals makes for a captivating listen. Given that Ware first came to prominence through collaborations with DJs such as Disclosure and SBTRKT, her return to this vein of music feels like she has come full circle.
To say I waited a long time for Norwegian synth-pop band HubbaBubbaKlubb’s debut album would be a lie. I had given up on getting any more new music from them but then they surprised me with the warm and engaging album Drømmen drømmerne drømmer. The opener sets the vibe perfectly.
‘Honey’ was one of the two pre-release highlights from Robyn’s long-awaited album of the same name and probably the most traditional Robyn song on an album that makes new moves and provides new shade for the Swedish pop star.
I’ve Got Love
A highlight of Empress Of’s second album Us, which has been growing in stature with every listen. Lorely Rodriguez makes sleep indie pop earworms on her own terms. She makes her Dublin debut next March.
Le Boom’s fourth single ‘Animal’ is a song that successfully matches the band’s danceable low-end, glass and handclap percussion and shimmering synths with lyrics about the version of ourselves we portray to others when out. It’s all wrapped up in a thumping electro-pop style that Le Boom are making their own. (DOI: Nialler9 manages the band).
Pennsylvania’s Kurt Vile does what he does best – porch rock’n’roll with catchy melodies.
The Santa Ana California singer Miya Follick’s voice has the ability to stop you in your tracks, such is the enigmatic power of her voice. On ‘Thingamajig’, the opening track to her just released debut album Premonitions, her voice rises from a resigned tone to a colourful battlecry falsetto that whirls with a deep impact in apologetic vulnerability that leaves the ultimate answer up to the addressee. “I am sorry, I know I am wrong / Only you know what to do now.”
A highlight from Yorke’s Suspiria soundtrack, ‘Has Ended’ is a lumbering waltzing track suitable for the suspense of a soundtrack with Yorke singing of eagles, soldiers, loud mouths and witches so not all that unfamiliar from his Radiohead work.
We posted ‘Escape’, an R&B track from this Canadian musician’s forthcoming We Share Our Blood EP but frankly there’s no crossover on the rest of the EP with this highlight ‘Hypersensis’ trodding down a path of power that Jon Hopkins may have paved. I recommend the entire EP on Ghostly.
A late-tracklist highlight from Saint Sister’s gorgeous The Shape Of Silence album, ‘Steady’ shows that Morgan MacIntyre and Gemma Doherty are capable of moving textures in their self-appointed atmosfolk moniker. The song is delicate, digital, analogue and ethereal.
Mr Twin Sister
Tops and Bottoms
Long Island band Mr Twin Sister do languid funk well and a song about choosing an outfit is an oddly perfectly meandering way to represent that rhythm. It’s taken from the band’s new album SALT is the band’s first album since their eponymous third LP released in 2014.
Sharon Van Etten
Having spent the last few years making her acting debut in the Netflix series The OA, studying psychology and having her first child, the NYC musician’s musician has returned with a fire in her belly and a new album Remind Me Tomorrow album on the horizon. Comeback Kid is the artist’s most bombastic song of her career yet and it’s delightfully redolent of PJ Harvey.
An artist who crops up here occasionally, Pietro Iannuzzi has a new EP out on Friends of Friends called Phase Transition. Leading the release is this Four Tet-esque hypnotic production. For more from Indian Wells, check out last year’s album Where The World Ends
Everybody Loves You
When an artist’s youth is indelibly linked to their work, it can be difficult for them to get out from underneath that weight. Derry-born Bridie Monds-Watson has ably demonstrated development in her music that quickly went from cute folk to a Choice Music Prize-winning album. Now 22, Everybody Loves You is further proof as a song about denial that by the end unravels in acceptance, with the help of soaring strings and advanced songcraft.
Natural Skin Deep
A highlight from Ms. Cherry’s fifth solo album Broken Politics, which features production from revered UK composer Four Tet. Natural Skin Deep is part proof that Cherry has never ditched her hunger to make cerebral electronic pop music. Cherry plays The Academy, Dublin on February 16th.
Yaeji was one of my favourite discoveries of the last year so her return is most welcome around here. The NYC/Korean perfectly brings ambient house, whispered vocals and pop melodies in a way that feels understated but gets deep into your skin.
Dublin-based rock group Pillow Queens’ new song features the distinct brand of pop-punk the group’s former material has boasted. There’s a self-assuredness to the music now, a confidence the group have earned. One which allows the music to breathe, the sound of a band who know exactly what they’re about and how they want to go about doing it. The song deals with intoxicating lust and the consequences of religion. There’s also a strong religious undercurrent to the music, one which is highlighted but the presence of a choir in the song’s final moments.
Dublin-based electronic trio Tanjier’s shimmery pop track ‘Lights’ plays like an anthem for summer nights, complete with silky smooth vocal delivery and sharp guitar riffs. Lyrically, the track deals with the “the challenges of breaking the typical parental expectations of going to college, getting a 9-5 job, and making enough money to buy a house.” A contrast in mood and tone to the upbeat swells of the instrumental.
Them Is Us
Ryan Lee West, AKA Rival Consoles released his new album Persona earlier this year, and have wasted no time producing a predecessor. ‘Them Is Us’, which was written for the Adult Swim Series, is a euphoric, electro-infused instrumental track with varying percussion lines and unusual string patterns. It’s hard not to become totally invested in the rhythms as the song progresses; intricacy meets pure hypnosis.
Tints (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
Anderson .Paak’s 2016 Malibu was a breakthrough for the LA artist after a couple of years under Dr. Dre’s wing. The jazz-smudged funk, soul and R&B feel of that second record returns on this preview of his forthcoming Oxnard album (November 16). It’s a song about privacy on tour with a sunny vibe that features a verse from the greatest rapper alive.
Santa Muerte Bluff
‘Santa Muerte Bluff’x is the first track on Kelela’s new remix album composed of new versions of songs from her 2017 album Take Me Apart. The track is truly hypnotic with a varied mix of drum sounds rhythms and dynamic synth melodies complemented by Kelela’s smooth vocal.
Attention Span of A Cookie
That this Fatima song has some deep-fried funk as its backbone that sounds like JT’s ‘Cry Me A River’ is no bad thing at all. From her new recommended album And It’s All Love.
Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin has been busy with her band Phantasic Ferniture all summer but last Friday marked the return of her solo material. ‘Body’, her new single, is speculated to be the first release from her sophomore record due out early in 2019 though that hasn’t been confirmed. The delicate track is accompanied by a gorgeous music video featuring stunning Australian outback scenery and sunset hues.