Without cursing our luck, it looks summer is finally here. If, like (some of) us, you're not lucky enough to be at Glastonbury enjoying the higher temperatures this weekend, then as a slight consolation we have a playlist of the week's best new music to enjoy, not least the new DJ Kicks from Korean icon Peggy Gou, who plays a dizzying list of festivals this summer, from Tomorrowland to Kolorz.
As ever, find this week's playlist below, along with some words on our favourite new offerings.
Peggy Gou – DJ Kicks (Peggy Gou) [DJ Mix]
If you’ve yet to discover Korean-born, Berlin-based DJ Peggy Gou then let us do you a massive favour; painfully hip, beautiful, and talented, she’s acquired the attention of listeners far beyond the underworld of warehouse raves, establishing common ground with hardened ravers, chipper two-steppers, and even the more moderate of dance music enthusiasts. ‘It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)’ stimulated the recesses of my brain that I had subconsciously resigned to the intellectual dustbin upon its initial release, and still continues to do so.
In what is essentially a coagulated blend of Gou’s myriad influences and ideas, DJ Kicks is an expertly crafted tapestry that underscores not only her technical prowess but her effortlessness in selection. Gou’s portal of mixes transgresses from acid-house to cerebral ambience to breezier funk, ratcheting up the punchy kick and languid rhythms to seamlessly merge each dimension of electronica.
Serving as a time capsule of her current tastes, Gou’s eclectic, crate-digging approach can only cement her soaring trajectory; artists can often lose credibility when messing with varied genres, but if anything, it’s merely indicative of her sophistication. I’m eager to hear what she’ll tackle next. TC
The Black Keys – "Let's Rock"
The kings of radio rock are back! It’s been a long five years since their last album Turn Blue came out and I think the duo deserve credit for knowing that the public needed a break from hearing their music everywhere. Actively rejecting the spotlight is rare in this age of over-saturation.
By now, most people know The Black Keys’ story. Growing to vaunted underground status over their first four albums, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney used their next four albums to transform themselves into a music festival headlining juggernaut.
Along with good timing, their metamorphosis to stadium status coincided with a partnership with uber-producer Danger Mouse who took the sonic reigns on The Black Keys’ 2008 gem Attack & Release and went on to work closely with and guide the Ohioan duo on all four of their mainstream success albums.
"Let’s Rock" sees Auerbach and Carney back in control and handling producer duties on their own for the first time since 2006’s Magic Potion. It’s tough to gauge how much of an effect this had on the album, but it unquestionably has a back-to-basics vibe. That being said, it’s not quite the return to the old Black Keys’ sound that it’s been billed as.
Rubber Factory this is not. There’s no turning back the clock and whether they like it or not the duo can’t help but maintain a more polished sound that they developed over their world-beating period from 2008-2014. But if you think about it that’s probably for the best. Any artist worth anything doesn’t just return to their previous sounds, they move forward. And while this is definitely an ode to days gone by the album doesn’t sound like any in their discography to date.
It’s not their best, but it’s also not trying to be. It’s just a fun 40 minutes of music for the summertime and there’s nothing wrong with that. What it does do, though, is show that The Black Keys understand the concerns that developed over their previous four albums and that’s oddly comforting.
Come on then, Let’s Rock. AW
Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
Though not brand new per se, Chicago's universally-loved Chance The Rapper has now released his first two mixtapes – 10Day and Acid Rap – on vinyl and both are now available to stream online. A personal favourite, Acid Rap revealed the first signs of Chance's knack for melody and despite its interweaving styles – soul, gospel, acid jazz to name a few – it felt much more cogent and consider than what you might normally consider the loosely defined 'mixtape' to be. With immediately loveable and uplifting hits such as "Cocoa Butter Kisses" and "Favourite Song", this old gem has come to light just in time for summer. JB