Well here we are. August. Please excuse the clichéd patter that resembles something your auntie might say at a family gathering, but "doesn't time fly!?". And like the inexorable passing of the months, music shows no sign of letting up. Just when you thought you were all caught up, here comes a whole bunch more to get your ears around.
Specifically, in the case of this week, we've been getting our ears around the heavy-hitting new Foals single, the retro-futuristic new record from producer Klasey Jones, Kojey Radical's continued ascent, and Lora-Faye Åshuvud's Arthur Moon project. Among plenty of other things, naturally. Have a little listen to our playlist of the week's best new releases below, and read our initial thoughts on the aforementioned projects below.
Arthur Moon – Arthur Moon
Much of the expectation that weighed on Lora-Faye Åshuvud to abide by the conservative path of gender norms is likely why she has resisted conventional tropes of pop music as much as the pressure to conform to binary classifications. Under her pseudonym Arthur Moon, Åshuvud challenges abhorrent practices like conversion therapy, yet offers a nuanced perspective of both the liberation and pitfalls of navigating a pathway of freedom without boundary wielding solemn, uplifting, and glitchy compositions.
Dubbed ‘queering pop’ by a number of publications, the eponymous Arthur Moon marinates the enigmatic allure of queer contemporary Perfume Genius with the production stylings of guitar virtuoso and LGBT icon St. Vincent. After an initial listen, it could be mistaken for a Sigrid and Bon Iver helmed collaboration, such is the prominence of the vocoder, bedazzling key arrangements, and synthetic beats. Let it sink in, however, then you’ll realise Åshuvud is a pop music mogul in-waiting and an indefinable one at that. TC
Klasey Jones – Arrival
Released on Terrorhyhtm – the label launched by bass music veteran Plastician back in 2003 – Arrival is the latest project from the somewhat mysterious producer Klasey Jones.
As an artist, he can be broadly categorised as being part of the ‘wave’ subgenre that emerged a few years ago, a style born out of SoundCloud that stylistically sits “somewhere between Burial and Metro Boomin’”, according to early champion and early supporter Plastician.
But this project sees Jones move away from the sounds most readily associated with the aforementioned genre; certainly the sonic cues from Burial’s landscape-altering early output are still there, but the rolling hi-hats and trap-influenced production are less present than before, with a greater variation in BPM and rhythm across the six tracks – taking in elements of downtempo, electronica, R&B and, perhaps most notably, synthwave.
The 80s influence and retrofuturism is definitely more obvious – not least in the characteristic anime-inspired artwork, awash with purple neon lights and featuring a vintage sports saloon, in a style that brings to mind famous synthwave figure Kavinksy – but it nonetheless feels like a very modern project, Jones’ atmospheric production going a long way to capturing a sense of the cinematic. JK
Kojey Radical – '2020'
"Thought I'd have it all by 23, look at me", admits East London's Kojey Radical on new single '2020', "Damn near lost it all by 24, 2020 vision". On the track teased at the end of the phenomenal video to previous single "Can't Go Back", Kojey humbles himself by reflecting on the naivety of youth and acknowledging on the necessity of hurdles and hindrances to grow and develop. JB
Foals - Black Bull
About a week after the release of Everything Not Saved We Be Lost - Part 1 back in March, I tweeted something along the lines of "I think the latest Foals album is comfortably my favourite since Total Life Forever". For me, Foals are at their best when they retain some of the energy, intricacy and vibrancy that defined their earlier work, and as far as I'm concerned that was lacking from Holy Fire and What Went Down. A friend of mine replied saying that he"couldn't disagree more" and that he was "excited for Part 2 though, supposed to be much heavier".
Well with the release of new single 'Black Bull' it seems like his prayers might have been answered, if this song is a reflection of what we can expect to hear when the album is released on 18 October. It's a raucous, unapologetically heavy, guitar-led stomper that will no doubt whip crowds into a frenzy in their live shows. I suspect I may not enjoy the next album quite as much, but my love for Foals endures. JK