As we enjoy the last remaining rays of late summer, once more we've rounded up our favourite new releases the week has had to offer. Heading our playlist is the triumphant return of Kojey Radical, whose Cashmere Tears speaks up on issues of mental health and the journey to pierce through the veil of personal darkness; we'll be catching the talented polymath at Pitchfork Music Festival Paris in October.
Find our New Music Friday playlist below, along with a few words on our stand-out releases.
Kojey Radical – Cashmere Tears
"This the realest shit I ever wrote", admits East London's Renaissance Man Kojey Radical on 'Eleven', the gateway into the second half of his new full-length Cashmere Tears. "Ever spoke until existence I be letting go / Of all the burdens I was holding that's a heavy load".
Listening to the young artist's third album, it's clear he's not lying. Cashmere Tears maps the journey from pain and darkness – the universal, very real kind – into a new phase of meaning and contentment. Kojey has not been shy to speak out about depression and mental health issues, and this rapturous new release, two years in the making, seems to capture the fanfare of his return whilst dealing with these issues lucidly and maturely. Woven together with elements of jazz, G-Funk and boom-bap, Kojey's humour and lyrical play ('Just another Cobain searching for Nirvana') have only strengthened with time. JB
Djo – Twenty Twenty
The cast of cultural zeitgeist-saturating series Stranger Things have achieved such phenomenal fame, that any hodge-podge song they cast into the public realm would no doubt illicit the sort of rabid fanfare typically reserved for the British Invasion bands of yore. Interesting move then, that Joe Keery aka ‘Steve Harrington’ aka ‘Mullet fash guy’ has shunned throwing his loyal legion of teenage acolytes a proverbial bone by quietly releasing a full-length album under the moniker Djo with little-to-no publicity, attached with a solitary image disguised in large sunglasses and questionable facial hair.
Whilst clearly a talented musician (this is Keery’s second project following his stint with psych-jam outfit Post Animal), Twenty Twenty is not an overtly challenging body of work, but therein lies its breezy appeal. He wears his influences on his sleeve, with clear nods to enigmatic oddities Ariel Pink and Connan Mockasin, yet the warm tones, grizzly riffs, and smooth melodies feel just as at home in a West Coast hotel lobby of a bygone era as they do in a dingy venue on the sunset strip. Layered in analogue instrumentation and effects, the album is interesting, yet accessible; despite the resurgence in recent times, it’s still refreshing to hear that even a poster-boy like Keery has a penchant for authentic psychedelia. TC
FKA Twigs – 'holy terrain' (feat. Future)
The latest single from alt-R&B singer FKA Twigs sees her teaming up not only with Future for a featured verse but also Skrillex, Jack Antonoff and ARCA on production. The song has a brooding, cinematic vibe and finds both featured performers in their feels, with FKA Twigs wondering if she’ll still be loved once she gives herself to her partner, whilst Future reflects on his past transgressions, the worth of cheap intimacy and what it’ll do to his relationships going forward.
The theme of trying to tell genuine love from fake is well-trodden ground, but what’s interesting is taking the well-known story of sexual politics and applying it the relationship between artist and audience. In this way the single can be thought of as showcasing an artist’s anxieties at what can be a very fickle musical audience and fanbase.
As with anything FKA Twigs does, the visual side is an integral part of the experience, and the video for holy terrain really plays up the disorienting, unsettled side of the song, using fisheye lenses, unsettling costumes and David Lynchian dance moves to convey angst and overthinking.
This is not a showcase of blissful young love but instead the foreboding tensions of someone who’s been down this road too many times before. AW
Kojey Radical plays Pitchfork Music Festival Paris on Thursday 31 October 2019 – tickets & packages are available here.