14 songs, 1hr 3 min, 15 min reading time.
Back again, and no I am not going to mention what’s going on. Instead just stick on your speakers or your headphones and drop into the following tunes. Without looking at the news.
1) “Fantasy” – Against All Logic
What a way to kick this all off. I didn’t think I would like this but then wait until about 30 seconds in and it becomes something pretty special. The sample is Beyoncé and Sean Paul’s collaboration “Baby Boy” released in 2003 as part of Beyoncé’s “Dangerously in Love” album. In my opinion it sounds a lot better in this song than the original. Against All Logic is a project run by Nicolas Jaar a Chilean-American artist. Prior to the album “2017-2019” he released “2012-2017” (2018) under the pseudonym Against All Logic. He has released three albums as Nicolas Jaar as well, one of them recently, just a month after “2017-2019”. A hard worker.
Album: “2017-2019” (2020)
Label: Other People
2) “Start Again” – Keeley Forsyth
This is magnificent, it makes me want to scream and get in a ball and thrash about. Haunting yet beautiful at the same time. True art. This is the final track on the album “Debris” (2020). Before this Keeley Forsyth was originally known for acting including a major role in Happy Valley. She released this work on The Leaf Label who also released Sarathy Korwar’s recent work, who has appeared in a recent Human Rights based post.
Album: “Debris” (2020)
Label: The Leaf Label
3) “Pingpxng” – Yin Yin
Cowboy sounding music. Would it have been chosen for a Spaghetti Western alongside “Breath Hold” by Fellini Félin if Sergio Leone was around today? Yin Yin was conceived by Kees Berkers and Yves Lennertz, from the Maastricht underground scene. In the summer of 2017 they started writing and recording songs in a ballet school in a remote village at the foot of the Plateau of Doenrade near Alpaca Mountain. They use South East Asian music from the 60´s and 70´s as a main inspiration. This is from their debut LP “The Rabbit That Hunts Tigers” (2019) released on the Bongo Joe label. Bongo Joe’s is a cool record shop in Geneva also boasting The Mauskovic Dance Band (featured on Jake 15) among many others in its repertoire.
Album: “The Rabbit That Hunts Tigers” (2019)
Label: Bongo Joe
Nice and easy in a good way. Gorillaz and Malian musician Fatoumata Diawara (featured in More pop than I’d care to admit and Jake 17) venture to scenic Lake Como in Italy in the music video (below). The track and video mark the second installment of Gorillaz’s “Song Machine” series (more on this on the best curated playlists you can actually finish post). Though this is Fatoumata’s first time collaborating with the Gorillaz, she has previously worked with Damon Albarn as part of Africa Express.
Album: “The Song Machine Series 1” (2020)
5) “Nuts” – David Bowie
Drum and base David Bowie, of course he was working on it. “Nuts” (previously unreleased) was made available by Parlophone Records for streaming on February 14 2020 (Happy Valentine’s) as part of the “Is It Any Wonder” EP of six unreleased and rare tracks. “Nuts” was recorded during the final “Earthling” sessions in November 1996, the same session during which “The Last Thing You Should Do” was written and recorded. A 9 track album entitled “ChangesNowBowie”, is set to be released on Record Store Day 2020 which has already been postponed to June 20 from April 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so who knows when it will come out…
EP: “Is It Any Wonder” (2020)
6) “Cheap Regrets” – The Districts
It takes a bit of time to get going and the rest of the album, “You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere”, isn’t worth it but this is a great track. Singer and guitarist Rob Grote said of the track: “”Cheap Regrets” is some late capitalist nihilism channeled into a Districts dance party. It’s about the extremes of American culture constantly reinforcing the self. The mirror reconfirms you. It’s all iPhone, selfies, and mirrors.” The Districts were formed in 2009 by four high schoolers from Lititz, Pennsylvania.
Album: “You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere” (2020)
Label: Fat Possum Records
7) “Wolf” – Darkstar
Another quite haunting track, along with what’s coming next I think that is a theme. “Wolf” is Darkstar’s first release since 2016’s “Made To Measure” EP. Darkstar are a British electronic music duo made up of Aiden Whalley and James Young; the pair say “Wolf is about something ominous catching you back up. Bills, the big bad wolf. Who knows? We wanted to have some fun with how brazen the lyrics are in comparison with how soulful the track is.”
Label: Warp Records
8) “Meet the Man” – Cate le Bon
This is outstanding, it really hits hard. Those monotonous honks are divine. That saxophone, wow. A brilliant album and this is a brilliant song. “Reward” (2019) was the fifth studio album by Welsh musician Cate Le Bon. She can sing in English, Welsh and Cantonese. I’m waiting for all three in one song unless that has been done?
Album: “Reward” (2019)
Label: Mexican Summer
9) “Stoned Again” – King Krule
We needed a song to get angry along to. When times were simpler I was driving to and from places with this blaring out for quite a while. I love the gruffness and anger in it. Before King Krule, he began recording music in 2010 under the moniker Zoo Kid. Both good names. This track is from his fourth studio album “Man Alive!” (2020).
10) “I’ll Take Care of You” – Gil Scott-Heron
This is beautiful and raw, what we needed after the aggression from the track before. “I’ll Take Care of You” is a song written by Brook Benton and originally recorded by Bobby Bland in 1959. Gilbert Scott-Heron covered it for his final work in 2010, part of his first album in 16 years (“I’m New Here”). It was a moving but unfinished statement from an important but overlooked artist. Makaya McCraven a drummer and producer transformed Gil-Scott Heron’s final album into a masterpiece including this track, one of the many highlights. Gil Scott-Heron was an American soul and jazz poet, musician, and author, known primarily for his work as a spoken-word performer in the 1970s and 1980s. Scott-Heron is considered by many to be the first rapper/MC ever. His recording work received much critical acclaim, especially “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”.
Album: “We’re New Again: A Reimagining by Makaya McCraven” (2020)
11) “Come Down On Jupiter – Dreamy Party Mix” – The Orielles
This drifts along very nicely and the layers of the singing work very well, intertwining with each other and the powerful bass line. The Orielles are an English indie rock band. Their second album “Disco Volador” was released in February 2020 and this is one of the remixes of their track “Come Down On Jupiter”. Personally I prefer this version.
Single: “Come Down On Jupiter – Dreamy Party Mix” (2019)
Label: Heavenly Recordings
Maribou State have featured on too many of the previous posts to list here so give them a search in the search bar to discover more. Although this one still uses their signature synth sounds which potentially they are using too much of (?), it is still an interesting song that is worth listening to. Since their teenage years they frequented fabric in London and this work is a homage to that. This is what they said about the release:
“In this mix we wanted to create a world of music that in its entirety you wouldn’t expect to hear within the walls of fabric, but would reflect the hours spent before heading to the club; drinks at a friend’s house, the journey into London, travelling on the underground and the anticipation in the build-up beforehand. We captured and used a bunch of field recordings of us re-taking the journey to and from the club to help this narrative.”
Album: “fabric presents Maribou State (DJ Mix)” (2020)
Label: fabric Worldwide
13) “Can’t Cool Me Down” – Car Seat Headrest
Can’t really beat some good indie rock can you. This was a pleasant surprise in one of my Spotify Release Radar’s recently. Car Seat Headrest started as a Bandcamp project by founding member Will Toledo where he would go to the car to record his vocals, hence the name. Since 2010, where they released 12 albums on Bandcamp in 5 years (giving Nicolas Jaar above a run for his money on who can release the most!) before signing to Matador, the band have built a reputation for being good live and grown a strong following. “Can’t Cool Me Down,” is the first single from the upcoming album “Making a Door Less Open”, slated for release in May 2020.
Single: “Martin” (2020)
14) “Rabbit Feet” – Nick Murphy
This is a beautiful and relaxing song. Nick Murphy (aka Chet Faker prior to 2016) released a surprise meditative instrumental album “Music for Silence” at the beginning of March. Well worth putting on if you want some good background music.
On Instagram he stated: “I found an old empty church and slept there for a week with a piano and the pigeons in the rafters. I played all day each day and recorded all of it. I didn’t have the words but my hands and that space helped me work it out. Like kneading dough. These recordings healed me and I wanted to share them in the hope some of that healing might pass on to a listener. Everything is so dense these days it’s important to take some spiritual rest when you can.”
Album: “Music for Silence” (2020)
Label: Detail Records