12 songs, 53 min, 15 min reading time.
Time seems to be blending into one with another month down.
1) “Boy With The Sun Song” – Lucy Lu
Nice and mellow. Something to ease us in with. Lucy Lu seems relatively unknown from some social media stalking and google searching. However, thanks to an interview with the blog Indie is not a genre, I learnt that he was named after the Charlie’s Angels character Lucy Liu and seems to hail from the London jazz scene having played at shows with Nérija and KOKOROKO.
Single: “Boy With The Sun Song (Demo)” (2020)
Label: Luke Bower
2) “Je k’abere” – Surv
Following the theme of under the radar bands, here we have Surv. Again, from the internet it appears that there’s not much on them except that they might come from Germany while their Spotify description only says that they are formed of Luca and Jannis Hönick. Anyway, interesting things to come because this is a mighty fine track.
Single: “Je k’abere” (2020)
3) “Slave” – Duval Timothy, Twin Shadow
Duval Timothy shares: “the song explores the history of the transatlantic slave trade. The idea that we live in a world that not only feels the effect of this horrific history but one that takes elements from the slave system and implements them in different ways adapted to our contemporary life.”
“The song samples a spoken-word passage (a YouTube audio rip of Pharrell Williams nonetheless) which implies standard record contracts are used as a mechanism of oppression and control, pointing out that these contracts are worded in terms of ‘Slave’ and ‘Master’. In this way, the song criticises a model where record companies coerce artists into handing over or selling ownership of their masters in favour of a model where artists partner with people and companies within the music industry while maintaining ownership and control of the music they created.”
Single: “Slave” (2020)
Label: Carrying Colour
4) “Village of the Sun” – Village of the Sun, Moses Boyd, Binker Golding, Simon Ratcliffe
Village of the Sun is a new collaboration between London jazz musicians Binker Golding and Moses Boyd as well as Simon Ratcliffe, one-half of Basement Jaxx. Drawing on inspirations such as Alice Coltrane, Airto Moreira and Masters at Work, the track is a delight with great playback value, letting you discover something new every time you listen. Gearbox Records seem to be onto something with their recent crop of great output that they’ve released including, RunPip favourite, Bastien Keb’s new work.
Single: “Village of the Sun” (2020)
Label: Gearbox Records
5) “To Keep a Memory” – Jono McCleery
Recorded in a shed in his garden in Rotterdam, this is a lovely, heart warming piece. You can tell it’s a stripped back song, but it is better for it. Understated but powerful and a firm favourite of mine over the past month. This could bring you to tears while providing great happiness. A profound effect.
EP: “Keep a Memory” (2020)
Label: 135 Records
6) “This Is What You Did” – This Is The Kit
This Is the Kit (aka Kate Stables) said this was a panic attack song with the layered voices confusing the narrator by not knowing if they are theirs or not. She went on to say in her release notes, that getting outside more is the answer, by enjoying fresh air and staying healthy and active. Useful advice for these times.
Single: “This Is What You Did” (2020)
Label: Rough Trade Records Ltd
7) “This Too Shall Pass” – Laraaji
This becomes very magical roughly two minutes in as the chords become heavier and increase the tempo making it seem as if another instrument has joined the piano. However, this is not the case and instead a master is at work on the keys. Laraaji’s recently released album, “Sun Piano”, is comprised of 12 improvised piano pieces that were performed in a Brooklyn church. A bit like what Nick Murphy did earlier in the year. Laraaji is a 77 year old musician who produces brilliant music regardless of his age. Having said that, I wish to be doing something of this quality if I live to be that age.
Single: “This Too Shall Pass” (2020)
Label: All Saints Records
8) “Head Above The Parakeets” – HAAi
Something new from HAAi is always worth listening to. She explains: “‘Head Above The Parakeets’ is an obvious play on words. To signify the feeling of risk, apprehension and being exposed in what you create.” Well the risk was worth it, this has a terrific build-up and the percussion in the final third is something special that has had me gripped. I can see this being a song to soundtrack my summer.
9) “Heaven – Edit” – Romare
The third and final single released from his forthcoming album “Home”. The idea of ‘collective joy’ is something that inspired Romare when working on the album. ‘Heaven’ follows this theme, “it took shape after playing a live version at Printworks in London at the end of 2018”. While the joy is clear, this is another contender for the soundtrack of summer. Repetitive in a fun way and you can imagine driving along to this or popping some moves to it while the sun is beating down on you.
Single: “Heaven” (2020)
Label: Ninja Tune
10) “Note To Self” – Jim-E Stack, Empress Of
Jim E-Stack’s writing credits are very impressive having worked with HAIM, Charli XCX, Caroline Polachek, Perfume Genius, Bon Iver, Kacy Hill, Diplo and Octavian in the past few years. Earlier this year he also collaborated with Empress Of on her album “I’m Your Empress Of”. Continuing this teamwork, they’ve come up with this indulgent pop song to get you through the summer.
11) “The Boon” – Wilma Archer, Samuel T. Herring
Not to be outdone, Wilma Archer also has impressive writing credits to his name having worked with Sudan Archives and contributing to, arguably, her most well known song “Confessions.” Anyway, that’s besides the point, back to this track featuring the Future Islands front man. It’s terrific. It did take me a while to confirm that judgement but I am now very hooked and think this is a great piece of work matching his brilliant track with Amber Mark, “Like A Hunger”, from 2017.
Album: “A Western Circular” (2020)
Label: Domino Recording
12) “Weird Fishes” – Lianne La Havas
The only cover to feature on her cracking, self-titled, fourth album. It is a cover of the Radiohead song from their album “In Rainbows”. Lianne has been performing it as part of her live set since 2012 but only decided to record a live version following her Glastonbury performance in 2019. Thank you Lianna La Havas, we are better for it.
An embarrassing but funny story: somehow a course mate of mine from university knew Lianne La Havas. Prior to this knowledge, I had agreed to help one of her friends out by doing a survey thing in person, somewhere in Islington, London. To say thank you, we were taken for a few drinks in a local pub afterwards by the people who conducted the survey. Then Lianne La Havas appears and seems to know my course mate and all the survey people. What a surprise that was for me, having seen Lianna La Havas twice prior to this and being a fan since I was in school. Subsequently, I did the only thing I knew how to in a pub – get stupidly drunk, become overly silly and enthusiastic and not remember much more. To this day I am slightly embarrassed for not asking more about her music or influences or being a bit more “grown up”. Lianna La Havas, I am sorry.
Album: “Lianne La Havas” (2020)
Label: Warner Records UK