As ever, today we've collated a mix of our favourite picks of the week's new music. Topping the playlist are new releases from Canada's rhythmic wizard Kaytranada, Dublin's hotly-tipped newcomers Fontaines D.C. and of course the brand new single from the unstoppable Tame Impala.
Check the playlist below, along with some words on our favourites that aren't to be missed.
Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel
“Dublin in the rain is mine”, affirms Fontaines D.C.’s Grian Chatten on the ardent ‘Big’, “A pregnant city with a catholic mind”. It's the perfect opener for the debut record from the proud Dubliners who have rocketed from showcase gems to household indie names within half a year.
The Irish capital has been the muse and focus of much great modern art from James Joyce to The Pogues, though quality isn’t inherited by association alone. But on Dogrel, a derivative of the Irish folk-poetry form doggerel, Fontaines D.C. prove their weight with 40 minutes of raw, thrashy and emotive guitar music that helps expel Chatten’s sharp lyricism that vignettes observations of the people around him.
In contrast to the nervous energy of ‘Big’ and the ‘London Calling’-esque ‘Sha Sha Sha’, the brief moment that take the pace down at the halfway point with ‘Roy’s Tune’ and ‘The Lotts’ silhouette the band’s cathartic power, daring anyone after to undermine these five Dubliners as mere scruffy young punks. JB
Anderson .Paak – Ventura
Breaking his previous cycle of releasing an album every two years, Anderson .Paak has waited less than five months to put out new record Ventura. Although ostensibly a companion piece to Oxnard, this album doesn’t sound like off-cuts from that project, maintaining a consistent tone and flow that was perhaps lacking from the last album at times.
More understated than its predecessor, Ventura is a stripped-back, soulful experience that draws more from the timeless sounds that emerged in the 60s and 70s than from modern hip hop – with generation-spanning features from the likes of Smokey Robinson, Lalah Hathaway (daughter of Donny), Sonya Elise, and Brandy. The album is also bookended by two superb guest appearances, one from the peerless Andre 3000 on fine form, the other a captivating and previously unheard contribution from the now-deceased Nate Dogg.
Essentially, it’s tough to argue with the apparent critical consensus that this record is an improvement on Oxnard – not that there was anything massively wrong with that album – and a project that confirms that Anderson .Paak has a lot to offer, whether as a soul throwback, or a key figure in contemporary hip hop. JK
Broken Social Scene - Let’s Try The After (Vol. 2)
The second EP from Broken Social Scene in 2019 finds the group feeling atmospheric. There are still some danceable grooves that we’ve become accustomed to hearing from the Toronto based collective, but what really stands out is the collective’s ability to create lush sonic soundscapes.
I’m not sure if back in 2002 when their breakthrough You Forgot It In People LP came out you’d have seen this becoming their sound, but over the years the group have matured, harnessing their once raw energy into a more focussed studio quality. And if you predicted you’d hear auto-tune on a BSS track, kudos to you.
From the opening seagull caws to the final ambient sounds this is a cohesive experience that works as a wave that takes you over and then just moves on by. AW
Tame Impala – 'Borderlines'
Surprisingly debuted on SNL a couple of weeks back, Tame Impala have officially released ‘Borderline’ just in time for their milestone Coachella headline performances this weekend and next. Not as glittering as preceding single ‘Patience’, it’s narrative dilemma follows the traditional introspective fluctuations of Kevin Parker’s oeuvre; “Starting to sober up/ Has it been long enough?/ Will I be known and loved?” undeniably references his personal anxieties with the pressures of popularity. No longer the cosmic up-and-comers of old, Tame Impala are now regarded amongst the world’s elite musicians. But for how long?
In a similar vein to Michael Jackson’s studio tinkering (sorry, not woke), Parker utilises vocal inflexions and phrases to weave emotional texture in and out of the reverberated harpsichord and string synths. Both the rigid drumbeat and thickset groove of the bass-line set the template for twinkling keys, the customary echo-chamber vocal, and bongos – which are beginning to feel like a mainstay of the new direction – to flesh out the prismatic, disco dynamic.
Over the four years since the release of Currents, Parker must’ve been honing his dance moves. TC
Tame Impala play a mesmerising mix of festivals this summer – click here to see more.