I love music. I love it so much. As life has been reduced to just wiggling mouses and looking at screens, with some people attempting to call it “work”, we are turning our backs on a brilliant medium: music. Music transcends this endless boredom we are now in and we should be fighting to save it and the people behind it. No one grows up wanting to be good at excel or making mind numbingly dull powerpoints (yet we are indoctrinated to believe we did want this) but people do grow up with music and wanting to be part of it, enjoying it and being moved by it. It deserves protection so the few brave geniuses who manage to make music can do it, all for our selfish benefit. Therefore, we should be doing what we can to support those involved: follow your favourite artists livestreams, buy their tracks or donate to their funds and encourage others to do the same. For the musicians: never retrain to do something else no matter what a privately educated suit tells you.
1) “Clouds” – Wildlife Freeway, Sunny a Atema, Alex Ebert
This is a brilliant track. The way the singer talks to the piano to find her answers is very clever. Rough and live sounding in a very nice way. This relatively new comer managed to get Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros fame to be on cymbals and produce the track. Impressive. The whole album was made and produced in January 2020 but unfortunately due to everything that’s happened we will have to hold tight for the release.
Single: “Clouds” (2020)
Label: Wildlife Freeway
2) “Harness” – Wilma Vritra, Wilma Archer, VRITRA
Wilma Vritra is London based Wilma Archer and LA based rapper Pyramid Vritra who is part of the Odd Future group. This transatlantic tune is great and the noodling and lyrics at the end are my favourite part. A terrific start to an album as well. Wilma Archer just sent an email to Pyramid Vritra and they managed to make the album across a two year time period by sending samples back and forth. Why not reach out to a friend and do the same?
Album: “Burd” (2019)
Label: Bad Taste
3) “Connaissais de Face” – Khruangbin
I was fairly disappointed by Khruangbin’s singles that were released prior to their latest “Mordechai” album, so much so I gave the album a miss at first. The reason being is that I think a lot of their music sounds the same. However, I finally checked out their album and although disappointed on the whole, this track was a standout that I think should have been their lead single. The conversational lyrics are great and accompanied by the guitar licks the song moves along nicely.
4) “Hurt” – Arlo Parks
If COVID hadn’t been here, a lot of people were predicting this to be Arlo Parks’ year and for good reason. She has released some brilliant tracks over the last couple of years and has been gaining a lot of momentum. If she had had the summer festival circuit I’m sure she would be a big name by now. However, it wasn’t to be and Arlo Parks will need to wait until next year; although she has still managed to release this brilliant tune from the summer and become a firm favourite of Radio 1. This has a really nice chorus and I’m sure her debut album will be great.
Beverly Glenn-Copeland profile
In June 2019, I discovered Beverly Glenn Copeland’s terrific track “La Vita”. It is brilliant: the drums, the RnB lyrics, the operatic background and the way it sounds timeless. Beverly Glenn Copeland, now in his 70s, is a trans man. It took a long time for Beverly to be recognised for his work but he was finally getting traction in the last couple of years thanks to great reissues of his earlier work alongside significant support (check out this article with artists including Dev Hynes, Robyn, Caribou and Moses Sumney explaining why they were influenced by him). Unfortunately, COVID hit just as he was about to start international tours. However, his fans pulled through and managed to raise $90,000 for him and his wife to support the loss of their house as his income dried up. Go show the man some support and be inspired by someone who stayed true to himself!
Here’s a quote from Beverly’s website to end with: “There are three challenges in my life. The first is being black in a white culture. The second is being transgendered in a hetero-normative culture. The third is being an artist in a business culture”.
Standout tracks: “La Vita”, “Slow Dance”
Albums: “Beverly Glenn- Copeland” (Transgressive Records, 1970), “Keyboard Fantasies” (Transgressive Records, 1986), “Primal Prayer” (Transgressive Records, 2004), “Beverly Copeland” (Majikbus Entertainment, 2018), “Transmissions: The Music of Beverly Glenn-Copeland” (Transgressive Records, 2020).