Here are the best new songs we’ve heard in the past week, tried, tested and ready for your ears.
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Love Me Not
Skepta’s 6th studio LP, Ignorance Is Bliss marks the MC’s peak evolution into British hip-hop kingpin status. Inspired largely by the birth of his first child, the LP is flush with the artist’s collated life lessons and philosophies. The superb ‘Love Me Not’ takes a look into the falsehoods of prospective romance – a topic the MC treats with notable cynicism “told me she loved me/I was like when/ treated me like a sideman back then”.
The beat is archetypical, marrying UK Grime rhythms and US rap production aesthetics. It’s all too easy to get lost in the subtle lingual nuances of Skepta’s verses, the Sophie Ellis Bextor sample is the cherry atop the cake.
The Juan Maclean
Considering their magnanimity in the indie-dance scene at the start of the decade, DFA Records have been without truly exciting material for a long time now. ‘Get Down’ from electro-synth duo The Juan Maclean offers some hope. Nancy Whang’s vocals still retain that same air of cool which helped define the label’s sound, the rubbery disco synth basses and overt pop sensibilities are, however, new.
Without an album since 2014, the Juan Maclean have clearly been undergoing some form of transformation and from this single alone it seems to be working. We’ll be keeping an eye on their movements from here on out.
The water in Australia must produce fantastic indie rock. Bonniesongs joins the likes of Courtney Barnett and Julia Jacklin in composing some of the most sincere and compelling guitar music out there right now. The artist, originally from Ireland, shifted continent and scenery sometime ago. ‘Ice Cream’ is disaffected and at times, disorientating. There’s a slight dissonance in the fuzz on Bonnie’s guitar, skewing the harmony – sounding in loose tandem with the warble on her high falsetto.
Future Times Records’ artist Model Home’s 8 is a virtual treasure trove for fans of highly experimental hip-hop and industrial sound palettes. Freeform rhythm structures and schemes playoff against grainy and often menacing analogue synth riffs. Sweet.
One day we may just be disappointed with a new Róisín Murphy single, who’s been an absolute roll in terms of once-off releases over the past couple years, but that day still seems a million miles off when listening to ‘Incapable’. Murphy’s lyricism takes the spotlight here like a duck to water. The lilt on second couplet “It’s gone stone cold and you know we should have got it together” won me over straight away.
There’s been intangible psychedelia to Murphey’s lyrics and vocals on her recent material. As if her voice floats into the mix from some kaleidoscopic ether.
They’re back. New album on the way too. Best of all? ‘Shoulderblades’ is every bit as sharp, innovative and blistering as Girl Band’s reputation demands it should be.
Not new, but newly released via archival record label Music From Memory. Akira S’s ‘Tokei’ is taken from Outro Tempo II, a project which exams the best electro music that emerged out of Brazil from 1984-1996. This cut is woozy and hypnotic, carried in some foundational 80s synth pads and the vocalist’s passionate delivery.
Vi Er Uendelig
Cinematic instrumental folk group Efterklang make their long-awaited return to new music with ‘Vi Er Uendelig’. It’s their first new non-collaborative material in many years and though there’s not a whole lot new going on here but, the formula was never broken in the first place.
There’s a slight shift in production aesthetic, pushing the instrumentals further into the stereo panning. While this does take away from the group’s usually larger than life arrangements, it does give the dominant forces a relentless tension – as if at any moment the track might erupt.
Florida MC Denzel Curry has effectively gone from massively underrated MC to hip-hop heavyweight over the past few years. While that transition was cemented with last year’s experimental TABOO, this new short project does more than enough to excite listeners for the direction Curry will be pursuing in his next full length. Don’t expect the strange concepts and leftfield textures of TABOO, ZUU and it’s title track use every second at their disposable to come through with some of the hardest hip-hop bangers of 2019.
Manchester producer No Moon’s new Where Do We Go From Here? EP comes out on hotly-tipped Glasgow dance label Cragie Knows. ‘Breakpoints’ is an EP highlight, filled with celestial pads, grainy analogue synth basses and slightly off-kilter drum programming. It’s an imaginative and enticing mix of electro and house sound aesthetics.