With ...British Summer Time, Mad Cool, and Lovebox kicking off this weekend, things are a little quiet at Festicket HQ. But those of us, ahem, lucky enough to be by our desks have taken our ears off the ground momentarily to report back on the week's best new music. This week the illustrious Blood Orange is in the spotlight with his new mixtape Angel's Pulse released today ahead of a string of festivals this summer, including Way Out West and Flow Festival.
Find the playlist below, along with a few words on our particular favourites.
Blood Orange – Angel's Pulse
Less than a year since the release of his sleek and magnificent fourth Blood Orange album Negro Swan, London via Brooklyn's Dev Hynes has today released the mixtape Angel's Pulse. Though he has called the release "somewhat of an epilogue" to its predecessor, the fourteen new tracks feel like a broader stroke than the sharp, central focus of Negro Swan, perhaps an indication of their collective status of the loosely-defined mixtape.
Once again Hynes showcases the virtues of collaboration, though here his guests are a little further left of the spotlight, including Venezuelan abstract producer and Björk collaborator Arca, as well alternative/chamber pop songwriter Kelsy Lu and of the loveable, creative chameleon Toro Y Moi. But though many a quick to describe the vast breadth of sounds as a result, actually there is a discernible logic to it, held together by variants of hip hop percussion, subtle swathes of flute or string, and melded with Hynes' characteristic emotive and vulnerable vocal melodies. JB
Lower Dens – 'I Drive'
It’s evident that Lower Dens’ frontman Jana Hunter’s experiences have transformed the band’s previous atmospheric, psychedelic aesthetic into something more biting thematically, and incorporative of synthetic textures rather than relying solely on fretwork. As the second album from their impending fourth album, ‘I Drive’ is a punchy signal of Hunter’s intentions to let go of negativity and unnecessary baggage, focusing purely on his future trajectory as an artist, and crucially as a person.
‘Poppier’ is an adequate way to describe their recent efforts, but Hunter has found solace in pop songs, using them a vehicle to grasp positivity and hope rather than merely appeal to a wider demographic which is where the accessible nature of the track is likely derivative of. “Like a lot of queer and trans people, I’ve learned that real family is made, and it isn’t necessarily blood,” so whilst Hunter has been cutting the wheat from the chaff in terms of his inner circle, he’s embraced this experience and opened up the band’s palette to hopeful, enlightened, and infectious disco-pop stylings. Lower Dens are sure to widen their family unit, and the number of fans with their new, and inclusive, direction. TC