Good morning and welcome to this week's New Music Fridays: Festicket Staff Picks, where we round up all of our favourite new releases from the week. On this drizzly December morning, we have some groovy new Toro Y Moi, the cold wistful piano works of Lubomyr Melnyk, the soulful and spiritual new EP from Poppy Ajudha and a whole lot more to brighten your weekends.
Check out the full playlist below, along with some words on our particular favourites.
Poppy Ajudha – Patience
We featured Poppy Ajudha on here a few weeks back with the superb, soulful, and frenetic ‘White Water’. Now the EP from which that track was taken has been released, and it’s really quite good.
An eerie intro feeds atmospherically in the aforementioned ‘White Water’ – which remains the standout track – and later on ‘Searching/Inside of Me’ doubles-down on this mood with certain aspects being played in reverse, underlying sounds of rainfall, and a softy-spoken Ajudha poetically exploring ideas of self-reflection and love: “find the spaces in your spirit”, “you grow flowers inside of my body and water them daily”.
Elsewhere, ‘When You Watch Me’ brings to mind Amy Winehouse at her most tender and engaging, while closing track ‘The Man You Aim to Be’ brings the groove to proceedings whilst exploring ideas of unhealthy masculinity.
Amidst all this, it’s important not to lose sight of just how incredible Poppy Ajudha’s voice is. While that should seem like a given, with the lyrical content and themes explored adding the extra intrigue, there’s no getting away from the fact that her voice is what (rightfully) takes centre stage. JK
Deerhunter – 'Element'
It has been three years since the release of Deerhunter's landmark Fading Frontier, and frankly their return set for January 2019 couldn't come sooner. Thankfully then, the Georgia band have today dropped 'Element', one more teaser which follows lead single 'Death In Midsummer', and like the latter is draped in that classic Deerhunter baroque pop opulence. A bit of a grower, it should keep Deerhunter fans satisfied for a one more month. JB
Lubomyr Melnyk - Melnyk: Fallen Trees
At the tender age of 69, it would seem that Lubomyr Melnyk has saved his most superlative works until his twilight years listening to new 8-part EP, Melnyk: Fallen Trees.
Signed to Erased Tapes, the same label as neo-classical peers Nils Frahm and Òlafur Arnalds, the confines of rigid classical doctrine are moulded around Melnyk’s individualistic and groundbreaking playing technique, dubbed ‘continuous music’. On the polar opposite of the spectrum to say, Erik Satie, Melnyk creates a cascading cacophony of twinkling notes that meander assiduously to and fro; the sense of flow is amplified with a sustain pedal, looping the overtones around haunting operatic female chanting on ‘Requiem For A Fallen Tree’ whilst his fingers softly throb on the piano keys.
Though not dissimilar to his recent works, Melnyk: Fallen Trees is a powerfully wistful, minimalist, and emotive collection of pieces consolidated by the Ukrainian composer's unique style that is both energetic and evocative. Considering that Melnyk only began to garner any sort of notoriety until the 21st century, his plaudits are rightfully (albeit belatedly) granted. TC
Little Simz – '101 FM'
The latest offering from Little Simz is less fierce than other recent tracks ‘Boss’ and ‘Offence’, with Simbi offering up a more reflective and reminiscent mood as she looks back over her story so far – from playing PS2 in her North London flat, to doing radio sets, to her current position in the rap world.
Flowing insouciantly over the laid-back Eastern-influenced instrumental that brings to mind the superb ‘Mandarin Oranges’ from breakthrough 2014 mixtape E.D.G.E, she proves yet again that she is one of the most captivating hip hop acts to come out of the UK in recent years. JK
Broken Bells – 'Shelter'
As an old fan of The Shins and Broken Bells’ first album, I was happy to hear the James Mercer and Danger Mouse collab project was coming back after years of silence. On their self-titled debut I felt Danger Mouse’s instrumental mastery complimented the pure songwriting prowess of James Mercer quite well.
I wasn’t such a fan of their followup or The Shins’ last couple of albums but still the pairing intrigues me. This single doesn’t attempt to do too much which I think was the problem with the duo’s last album; it’s just an affective track that’s centred around the push and pull between Mercer’s vocals and Danger Mouse’s drumbeat. AW