A very good week for music discovery so far. Perhaps one of my best. As a result, I have gone one over my five track rule(!). Wow. I know, but if you think about it I had been slacking and only posting three or four track posts recently, therefore I owe you some discoveries.
Table of contents
1) “Can We (with Kacy Hill)” – Jim-E Stack
What a way to end an album. Take a bow Jim-E Stack.
On the whole the album has its ups and downs not being perfect but it was a pleasant listen. This track however shows exactly what Jim-E Stack can do. Use a brilliant featured artist and fantastic production to elevate something profoundly. That chorus of just the sounds Kacy Hill makes is really very good. Bordering on a mumble but more high pitched and with melody, then that crescendo of drums ending on the Star Wars zap sound is divine. Really very good. This has been on multiple repeats for me. I like to think this was just made in his room using a few pieces of tech and that pleases me. Jim-E Stack produced and co-wrote a lot of songs on Kacy Hill’s recent album “Is It Selfish If We Talk About Me Again”. Apparently they are boyfriend and girlfriend.
2) “Started Again” – This Is The Kit
This Is The Kit has produced a stunner of an album. No prizes guessing what album will be talked about on Friday. Really the whole thing had me pulling a face as if I was raving and this is indie folk. That is no mean feat. A delight. Anyway to track two of the album, “Started Again”. It has heartbreaking, gut wrenching, beautiful guitar carrying heavy lyrics. The assortment of sounds throughout accompanied by the haunting chorus is special. Building up to the final 90 seconds, it really gets you going in a magnificent way. Rocks and water. Kate Stables shows her prowess of songwriting on this.
Album: “Off Off On” (2020)
Label: Rough Trade Records
3) “Pattern Thinker” – Haiku Salut
In October, Haiku Salut released two 10 minute plus songs as scores for BFI National Archive Films. They did this for the rescore project, commissioned by Live Cinema UK from which the funds helped local cinemas to Haiku Salut. This track was for a film about a group of women working during World War Two. Every now and then one of these relaxing, calming tracks comes along. This is all you need to get that heart rate down and just zone out, thinking of nothing at all. Enjoy the delicate sounds. A long one but worth the wait. Haiku Salut is in contention for one of the best band names I’ve heard in a while.
Single: “Pattern Thinker” (2020)
Label: Secret Name
4) “Then We’ll Wave (So Long)” – Paul & The Tall Trees
Some of you may have got to the bottom of my post on Monday, firstly well done. Secondly, you may recall that Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band are signed to Big Crown Records? Regardless, I spent quite a big portion of my week sifting through their previously released music and this is one of the gems that emerged. A goodbye to an old friend. Paul & The Tall Trees spent time backing the late Charles Bradley, now going it alone but what a way to cut your teeth.
Album: “So Long” (2019)
Label: Big Crown Records
5) “Day of Show” – Skullcrusher
A downer guitar track. But a good one at that. Sometimes you just need indie tracks to help you along. Skullcrusher wrote this on a really hot day in summer 2019 and you do get that dazed and restless feel about it.
EP: “Skullcrusher” (2020)
Label: Secretly Canadian
6) “Monsters” – SAULT
Sault have been on the radar for some time. Anonymous up and comers with a great sound. This year they responded to police brutality and Black Lives Matter with the album this features on. A great protest album and this track implies there are monsters pretty much everywhere, which is very true. Choosing to stay anonymous and not make a fuss about their music, instead working relentlessly on their craft releasing a second double album in September just 12 weeks after the release of this one in June. The Guardian hails that they released the album of the year… again.
Album: “Untitled (Black Is)” (2020)
Label: Forever Living Originals
Lady Wray profile
Following on from my Big Crown Records research, I realised I hadn’t listened to the work of Lady Wray for a while. One listen to “Guilty” and I’m sure you’ll be blown away. Lady Wray was thrust into the spotlight at the age of 17 having been found by Missy Elliot. This led to a certified gold track “Make It Hot” in 1998 and a relatively well received debut album of the same name. Eventually she left Missy Elliot’s Goldmine label after the singles released from her upcoming second album didn’t garner enough attention, resulting in it being scrapped. You don’t always hear about the cutthroat nature of music do you? She then tried to team up with Roc-A-Fella records but had the same outcome. A tough 00s!
After enough perseverance and the help of contacts, she was introduced to The Black Keys just as they were taking off in 2009, featuring in their rock/hip hop group Blackroc and on their seventh LP “Brothers” which led to near mainstream success for them. From here she joined Kid Cudi for his 2010 “Man on the Moon II”, before eventually getting her confidence back to begin her own work again. She started with a retro soul album called” Lady” as part of a duo also featuring Terri Walker. “Lady” received high praise and gained a following, but if that wasn’t enough Terri Walker left the duo so Lady Wray had to do all the gigs and tours on her own.
Thankfully, 2016 showed up and she signed to Big Crown Records to release the superb “Queen Alone” album. The title speaks volumes for what she has been through. Idly, we are twiddling our thumbs waiting for that new album on the horizon going by the two singles released last year, one of them making the standout track selection below.
Standout tracks: “Guilty” (2016), “Piece of Me” (2019)
Albums: “Make It Hot” (1998 as Nicole Wray), “Lady” (2014), “Queen Alone” (2016)