It's Friday and after a week off finding our favourite new acts at The Great Escape last week we're back to valiantly present you with fresh new music. This week's playlist features new beauties from The National, Carly Rae Jepsen, slowthai, Tyler, The Creator, Sam Cohen and more.
As always, find the playlist and some words on the particularly stand outs that pricked our ears.
slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
Assertions that this album is the Boy in da Corner, Original Pirate Material, or even Never Mind The Bollocks… of its age seem a little premature and overstated, but there’s little denying that slowthai’s debut captures a snapshot of everyday life for a significant portion of the UK populace in a similar way to those records.
In this instance, those that feel alienated by modern politics, abandoned by society, and frustrated with the current state of Britain – from lack of opportunity, poverty, and drug addiction to the rise of the far right; “Three lions. Real McCoy. You're EDL, real English boys. St. George's flag, Doc Martin, boy”. Although not as unrelentingly angry as the album’s title suggests, the punk and Sex Pistols comparisons are seemingly unavoidable; ‘Doorman’ taking obvious cues from the revolutionary genre, and the Northampton artist going one further than Johnny Rotten & co. in calling Her Majesty the very rudest of slurs. Similarly, echoes of early Mike Skinner are prevalent – never more so than in both the production and lyrical content of ‘Peace of Mind’ – “walking through the blocks, I see the cracks, dodge syringes. I was with the lads, bookies tryna watch the fixtures”.
Comparisons aside, slowthai’s voice is very much his own, and with his debut album he has further carved out his path as one of the UK’s most distinctive and intriguing artists. JK
Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated
Carly Rae Jepsen's position within the pop world isn't conventional. She began her career (at least on a worldwide-scale) with a bubblegum-pop track that instantly hit you with the Marmite dilemma; you either loved 'Call Me Maybe' and joined the bandwagon singing along with sickeningly wide smiles and finger pointing or you cringed in pain and depression as it dominated the airwaves.
But since then the Canadian star has become something of a cult figure, fully adopted by the 'muso' indie world whilst maintaining a loyal and crazed fan-base in the traditional pop-star sense. Listening back to 2015's EMOTION the combination makes sense; a fashionable but well executed 80s aesthetic gleamed over tracks such as 'Boy Problems' and 'I Really Like You' that exploded with saccharine rainbow confetti blast choruses.
On her fourth album Dedicated, Jepsen continues with the retro sound, though either it's been taken down a notch or she's not letting the enthusiastic smile of "hey, check out my new sound" slip as she did so boldly on its predecessor. Indeed, there's a quiet confidence and self-assurance throughout, from the half-time banger 'No Banger Like Me' to the minimal Afro-tinged and record higlight 'For Sure'. JB
Sam Cohen – The Future's Still Ringing In My Ears
Fully fleshed-out musings come to fruition on Sam Cohen’s debut full-length album The Future’s Still Ringing In My Ears, the patience and frustrations of which it took to craft it’s eleven songs warmly vibrating in its overarching narrative. Packed with heart, soul, a begrudging dose of optimism, Cohen’s plight is endemic of the age of ‘millenials’, where the uncertainty of our futures is more of a proverbial albatross around our necks than past mistakes or regret.
It’s a melancholic journey of soft, introspective psychedelia, with Cohen’s droll, and at times pained mumble evoking Blood On The Tracks-era Bob Dylan; you can see why he has a fan in Americana troubadour Kevin Morby. Seemingly wise beyond his years, but succumbing to a perpetual stasis of millennial-dom, I sense that standout tracks ‘Something’s Got a Hold on Me’ and ‘The Future’ will gain retrospective adulation as artefacts from a confusing social, political, and economic era. TC