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With so many releases flying at you, here are recommended vetted listens from Nialler9 for you this week, as collated in the Nialler9 New Releases Spotify playlist, updated weekly.
El Mal Querer
Spain isn’t generally known for its new music, but Rosalía might very well change that. The Sant Esteve Sesrovires native has become known for her unusual fusion of flamenco with R&B lacings and production, as well as for her gorgeous ornamented vocal abilities. We featured her two weeks go as an exciting new artist and her new album El Mal Querer confirms that assertion. Opening with her breakout single ‘Malemente‘, the album showcases the Spaniard as a unique artist with a clear vision, as well as a stunning vocalist. Tracks such as ‘Reniego‘ pay a clear homage to the music of her country with the vocal ornamentation and orchestral infused instrumentation. Check out her brilliant performance at the MTV EMAs in Bilbao here.
Vince Staples released his new album FM! last week with uncharacteristically little fore-warning or hype. Apparently in the Def Jam press release for it, Staples described the album as a “22 minute project with no concepts, no elaborate schemes, just music. Because nowadays, who needs more bulls***?”. This description is intentionally misleading in that the album might be Staples’ most concept-based album yet in that it directly references the ways that black-art is consumed by white people. ‘Feels Like Summer‘ acknowledges the uncanny experience of rapping to audiences of white, middle-class teens about black street life, “white fans at the Coachella / Never been touched, n****s know better”. In ‘Relay‘, Staples address black crime, “had her baby shower in her PJs / crime he kept it silent, least that’s what he say / from direct deposit to the lawyer plate / he gonna have to raise his baby from the visiting room.” It makes for a compelling listen.
Robyn returned with her first album in eight years last Friday Honey, and once you get over the initial shock at the absence of the bangers that the Swede is known for, it makes for a compelling and deep listen. Other than lead singles ‘Missing U‘ and ‘Honey‘, ‘Because It’s In The Music‘ bares the most resemblance to what we heard in classic Robyn albums Body Talk Pt. 1 and Robyn with smooth beats and a vocal melody you can’t help but sing along to.
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke made his debut as a film composer in writing the full soundtrack for Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Suspiria. The whole album is (seasonally) appropriately haunting and beautiful. Instrumental tracks such as ‘The Inevitable Pull‘ and ‘Belongings Thrown In A River‘ are haunting and soundscapey, but it is the songs that feature vocals that really steal the show. ‘Unmade‘ is one of the few tracks with vocals on the album, and it stands out for the unique idiosyncrasies in Yorke’s voice and gentle piano melodies. He performed a stunning rendition of the song live for BBC Radio 6 here.
Mr Twin Sister
SALT is Mr Twin Sister‘s first album since their eponymous third LP released in 2014. Since then, they have released a string of singles and the release of a new longform project will please many. The whole album is an interesting fusion of jazzy chords and form with electronic instrumentation and dream-pop undercurrents, distinctly urban. Album highlights include ‘Tops And Bottoms’ and ‘Keep On Mixing‘ with new-wave and funk derivatives contrasted by the unusual vocoder lines and jarring synth melodies that the band have become known for.
Heard A Long Gone Song
Lisa O’Neill is one of Ireland’s most authentic and proficient artists and lyricists (but you already knew that.) Her new album Heard A Long Gone Song saw release last week on River Lea (an imprint of Rough Trade) and it showcases the more traditional singing style that O’Neill can embody. ‘Rock The Machine’ is an ode to the traditional dockland workforce of Ireland whose jobs were replaced by machinery in between the 1960s and 1980s, “we’ll rock the machine until it dies”. Similarly, ‘Factory Girl’ remembers female workers in Ireland during a similar period. These are narratives that a lot of Ireland’s older generation will be able to relate to, and one that is still relevant now with machinery becoming more and more prevalent in modern workplaces.
Julia Holter truly embodies avant-pop and this is no more evident than in her new album Aviary. ‘Another Dream’ stands out as one of the more experimental tracks on the album; celestial organs blend with electronic synths and harps, while Holter’s voice is layered multiple times which renders chilling results. The song is just over 6 minutes long, by the end of which, you will be converted to Holter’s magic.
O Emperor‘s farewell album Jason asserts, above all else, that they are a band that will be sorely missed in the Irish music scene. The album incorporates an eclectic mix of styles and instruments, from the prevailing afro-beat rhythms in ‘Make It Rain‘ to the bass saturated ‘Girl‘. It’s sonically spontaneous with surprises at every corner; quirky voice-overs take to the forefront in ‘Chasin’ The Bang‘ while lo-fi guitar riffs take the wheel in ‘New Fish Tank‘ (the song titles alone are proof enough of this point). An invigorating and authentic album from a great band that will leave a lasting impression.
Ultraviolet is the latest album from New York pianist, producer, and composer Kelly Moran. An ambassador for Yamaha, Moran is a prolific pianist that pushes the instrument to its limit in terms of the sounds it is possible of creating; plucked strings juxtapose fluid arpeggios in album opener ‘Autowave‘ while ‘Water Music‘ conjures images of ripples and skimmed stones with delay-drenched staccato notes.