My favourite songs of the past month – all in one place.
Talos – Kansas
Corkman Eoin French’s 2017 album Wild Alée was a debut of beautifully-constructed falsetto-laden ambient electronic music, that created big skyscraping music moments. With the album getting a re-release in the US on BMG, a new Then There Was War EP is released in June. Kansas features on the release and finds French’s already-anthemic glacial music adding powerful layers of synth noise and voice samples that place it in a pantheon equal to the scale of Bon Iver’s recent album 22, A Million.
DJ Koze – Pick Up
Last year, Midland’s Final Credits employed a pitched-up Gladys Knight sample into a club smash. In response, accidentally or otherwise, the German producer DJ Koze has used the same line from the song Neither One Of Us on his new track that more deftly weaves the line “It’s sad to think / I guess neither one of us / wants to be the first to say goodbye” into a song that puts that melancholic sentiment into an uplifting disco-specked number that glistens with rawness.
Lykke Li – Deep End
The two songs that the Swedish singer has debuted from her forthcoming fourth album So Sad So Sexy, her first in four years have whetted the appetite for an album of modern sad bangers. Embracing hip-hop production techniques by working with the likes of Malay (Frank Ocean’s Blonde) and T-Minus (Drake’s More Life), Deep End has a similar ambient R&B vibe to the music of The Weeknd, without the overwhelming self-pity. Lykke supports LCD Soundsystem in Malahide Castle in June.
Ross From Friends – John Cage
Pisstake experimentalism? New age fakery? Chris Morris-esque japery? On the surface, John Cage, the song from 24-year-old Felix Weatherall is a joke track with a narrator spouting new age pleasantries over an aquatic ambient track. But on second and third plays, this six-minute song unfolds into something that transcends its parts on paper. A repeating vocal is the hook, a simplistic link into this weird and wonderful track on the Brainfeeder label.
Soulwax – Essential Four
Soulwax are set to release new album Essential on June 22nd via DEEWEE with each track receiving the title Essential with digits 1 to 12. The album was a submission for the Essential Mix series on BBC. Essential Four is a joyous upbeat groove that features soulful vocals from Belgian vocalist Charlotte Adigéry.
Drake – Nice for What
‘Nice for What’ is the lead single from Drake’s forthcoming fifth studio album Scorpion which is set for release on June 28th. The track released via Young Money Entertainment and Cash Money Records features a sample of Lauryn Hill’s ‘Ex-Factor’ throughout, a sheer uplifting and catchy number.
Le Galaxie – Can’t Stop
‘Can’t Stop’ comes from Le Galaxie’s new album Pleasure which came out last month. the track features a banging bassline with rave pop and robotic vocals. Punishingly mechanically good.
Arvo Party – Liberté
Formerly a member of Northern Irish rock band Lafaro, Herb Magee released one of the best albums of Irish electronica last year with his Arvo Party project and the album Null Set, which was nominated for a Northern Ireland Music Prize. Liberte, a new song takes the experimental electronic tones into new maximalist heights drawing on synthesiser trance euphoria for a wild six-minute Jon Hopkins-esque rush.
In the week of the second anniversary of Prince’s death the Prince Estate and Warner Bros. Records shared the original studio recording of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ to mark the occasion.
In a video for the track recorded in 1984, six years before Sinéad O’Connor’s version was popularised as a classic in 1990, you can watch rehearsal footage of Prince & The Revolution from that summer. it was also in that room at Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse in Eden Prairie by Prince’s long-time engineer Susan Rogers, and originally composed, arranged and performed in its entirety by Prince, aside from the backing vocals by Susannah Melvoin and Paul “St. Paul” Peterson. Also featured on the original track is saxophone work by Eric Leeds.
Cardi B feat. Migos – Drip
My highlight from Cardi B’s Invasion Of Privacy album is this absolute banging earworm.
Gilligan Moss – What Happened?
A new tune from the Chicago producers Evan and Ben who had a song in 2015 called ‘Choreograph’ that was all bright marimba electronica. An EP and a Glass Animals remix followed and this is an electronic track of texture that has personality to it.
Laura Marling & Mike Lindsay – Curse of the Contemporary
Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay (Tunng) have teamed up to record a full-length album called LUMP out on June 1st on Dead Oceans. ‘Curse Of The Contemporary’ is our first taste of it, a woozy folk song with an eera aura. “If you should be bored in California / I’m sure I’m not the first to warn you / We salute the sun / Because when the day is done / We can’t believe what we’ve become / Something else to prey upon,” Marling sings sounding more like Broadcast or Stereolab than her customary influence Joni Mitchell.
Electro-pop duo Le Boom, who I manage, dropped their third single last month and it came with this one-take video featuring Conor Davis and shot by Peter Fleming. Next stops – The Great Escape, Brighton and Primavera Sound in Barcelona this month. They also dropped a Late Night edit of the song.
J. Cole – ATM
The world’s biggest rapper who isn’t as well known as perhaps he should be – J Cole dropped his album KOD last month and ‘ATM’ is the easy/way-in highlight.