Much like Bicep’s ‘Apricots’ , the song is based on a Bulgarian choir and bridges Bonobo’s global sounds with O’Flynn’s tougher dancefloor characteristics.
Silk Sonic, Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak
Leave The Door Open
The Silk Sonic duo of Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars have left the door open and breezing out of it is a retro funk soul tune sweating with lusty energy.
“We must shock this nation with the power of love!”
Burial’s moving and cinematic club tracks perhaps hits its most recent apex on this track. Ravey, dystopian, discombobulating and euphoric. The other track ‘Space Cadet’ is great too.
Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen
Like I Used To
Not the only great classic rock song of the year, but certainly the best duo doing it.
Know Me (feat. Demigosh)
Irish artist Demigosh (Shadeemus) provides some spoken word and melodic vibes throughout UK producer Moiré’s new album Good Times, one of the better electronic albums released in 2021.
Billie Marten addresses the vulnerability of women alone at night, with a tank.
The Afghan-born producer is making jazzy trip-hop a la Maribou State.
Bow And Balance
Houton is a New Yorker with Irish roots in Donegal and The Bath is an album inspired by the artist conducting an ethnographic study into their Irish folk song roots and was recorded as part of their senior thesis in electronic music.
It was originally written to be performed for eight voices to sing live, but COVID meant that Houton recorded all parts themselves, and ‘Bow and Balance’ is a beautiful choral murder ballad inspired by the dominance of water in Irish folklore that serves as a fine introduction to the immersive world of The Bath.
“It tells the story of two sisters who are in love with the same man. When he proposes to the youngest sister and she accepts, the oldest sister pushes her sister into the sea. A bystander nearly saves her, but the oldest sister gives him gold in exchange for pushing her sister back into the sea. The youngest sister drowns, and the oldest sister is hung, and the miller is burned at the stake.”
The album was released on Trapped Animal (home to Maija Sofia’s Bath Time album).
Kiss Me More (feat. SZA)
An earworm about kissing.
A beautiful jazz instrumental from Alfa Mist.
Send 4 U
Ragz Originale’s distinctive vocal style first came to my attention through his collabs with Oscar #Worldpeace (though he has worked with Skepta, Georgia, Denai Moore and Benjiflow too), and this track comes from 2021’s WOAH mixtape.
Georgia Ann Muldrow, Shana Jensen
A rolling piano instrumental from Georgia Ann Muldrow’s VWETO III LP.
Brent Faiyaz, Tyler The Creator, DJ Dahi
Brent Faiyaz hooks up with DJ Dahi and Tyler on a gorgeous track I keep coming back to. “Don’t act like I’m average….” is the hook.
Law Of Averages
A highlight of Vince Staples’ self-titled 2021 album.
Cadence Weapon, Jacques Greene
Canadian rapper and artist Cadence Weapon’s Parallel World album is a fine exploration of systemic racism, structural inequality, police profiling, gentrification and digital pervasiveness, but ‘Senna’ is a high-octane banger with production by Jacques Greene that purposely channels the spirit of early UK grime.
Black Country, New Road
Seven-piece post-rock jazz punk indie band Black Country, New Road’s six-track LP Ninja Tune features this standout.
This is an absolute bop from the York-based rapper ATO which switches up into a drum and bass second half.
Seventeen Going Under
The title track from Sam Fender’s album Seventeen Going Under is an authentic, anthemic, chestbeater of a song about reckoning with coming of age and childhood memories.
Te Kete Aronui
There’s lots to recommend on the Māori-Scottish singer Mara TK’s (who was formerly of New Zealand band Electric Wire Hustle) Bad Meditation album. ‘Te Kete Aronui’ conjures up psychedelic folk and Dilla-esque arrangements at once.
The song’s Māori title references one of the three baskets of knowledge retrieved by the god Tāne; te kete aronui being the basket of love, peace and art.