Happy Friday folks,
Have we got a whopping new music playlist for you today. Expect explosive euphoria from Friendly Fires, moody brilliance from Belgium's Tamino, some cerebral techno from The Lotus Eaters and an astral Four Tet reworking of Sigrid, more dreamy psych-rock from Sam Evian and of course the glorious new record from Neneh Cherry. Find some words on why they made the list below.
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Neneh Cherry – Broken Politics
While the title suggests an angry or combative record, in fact the name Broken Politics portrays a quiet, reflective and personal tone offered up throughout.
They say the personal is political, and the ’politics’ of the album’s title seems to refer much more to the artist weighing up her place in the world, addressing her feelings of disappointment, loss, and frustration, and considering what she can do to facilitate change (an early interlude includes the line ‘Better to die for a noble cause than to live and die a slave’).
Beneath all that is the unmistakable production of Four Tet, with the opening track's piano and harp combination sounding like something straight from the New Energy studio sessions. As you'd expect, the revered producer succeeds in bringing it all together in cohesive and engaging manner, elevating the record even further. JK
Sam Evian – 'Next to You' (feat. Kazu Makino)
New York's Sam Evian is finally starting to receive the acclaim he's always deserved, bolstered of course by the response to his sophomore record You, Forever, which was released earlier this year on Connor Oberst's Saddle Creek Records. 'Next to You' was one of my favourite tracks from the record; it has this dreamy pace and texture to it, a gently trippy sheen above sultry vocals and delicately produced instrumentation. Yesterday Sam released an alternative version of it with friend and multi-instrumentalist Kazu Makino (of Blonde Redhead) taking on the vocals. Her soft, breathy vocal tone sits perfectly in the mix and further adds to the track's doziness, whilst having its own idiosyncratic charm. JB
Open Mike Eagle – What Happens When I Try To Relax
The year of Chicago's dominance continues. There was Saba's breakthrough album CARE FOR ME, Chance The Rapper's consistent attempts to help improve his city, Kanye grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons but also putting out the album of the year with KIDS SEE GHOSTS, Noname's star-making album Room 25, and now OME with What Happens When I Try To Relax. Putting out music for years, it's taken string of critically acclaimed albums to get Open Mike Eagle the attention he deserves. Better late than never, this new EP finds him at his most confident, switching sounds on each track while presenting his deceptively confrontational opinions through laid back flows. AW
Sigrid – 'Sucker Punch' (Four Tet Remix)
The transformation of Norway's Sigrid from hotly-tipped development artist to Island Record's priority and pop poster girl was so quick it's quite boggling. Though her latest single 'Sucker Punch' had a slight rough-around-the-edges feel to it with its bouncy, garbled synths and its plosive drums, this was only in relative terms, and still had all the glossy tropes of a pop song, not least its twisting falsettos and elevated choruses. Kieran Hebden's Four Tet reworking initially seems at odds with the original, with its thumping four-on-the-floor bass drum and minimal and fragmented sampling of the singer's voice. But as it picks up the energy and the layers get busier the song leads to this euphoric middle-eight section where those poppy vocals return with this astral quality; fitting for Norway's rising star indeed. JB
The Lotus Eaters – Desatura
Experimental techno artists Lucy and Rrose have been remixing each other's work and collaborating for a few years now, releasing a string of EPs signed Lucy/Rrose. Now though, the pair forge even deeper ties, working together under the name The Lotus Eaters and releasing their debut album Desatura*.
Anyone familiar with either of their previous work will know to expect, this is a record that steers clear of pounding, club-centric tracks. Instead, Desatura is 50 minutes of deep, ambient techno; spacey and cerebral, and that'll leave you feeling like you've emerged from a murky trip at the end. The Lotus Eaters will also be debuting their live show at ADE this Saturday.
*Technically released last week, but the vinyl only came out today. And as we all know, that's all that matters. LN
Poppy Ajudha - White Water
Poppy Ajudha is part of the exciting new wave of acts that sit somewhere at the meeting point of neo-soul, contemporary jazz and alternative R&B – along with the likes of Yazmin Lacey, Oscar Jerome, Cleo Sol, Jordan Rakei and loads more.
As far as technical vocal ability is concerned, she can match more-or-less anyone in that scene. But it takes a little more than that to be truly engaging. And it’s that vocal talent combining with the frantic drum breaks, faintly ominous piano, and hugely satisfying crescendo that make latest single ‘White Water’ one of her standout tracks to date. JK