Monday, 22 August 2016

Azekel - Linger (Maths Time Joy remix)

I've lost count of the millions of times that I've listened to Azekel's 'Linger' this summer. So, you know what's really good when you've listened to a great song a trillion times? When somebody just as good makes a sweet af remix of it. New song but also song that you already like all rolled into one. The. Actual. Dream. Every time I mention anything mildly related to Maths Time Joy I sing his praises because his stuff is always so good. I'm also painfully still hung up on the genius of Maths Time Joy being an anagram of his real name Timothy James. I can tell you now that I am categorically never getting over that.

Azekel recently released new EP Raw, Vol. 2 so thought I might as well sling some words about that in here too. Azekel is actually the UK's answer to Gallant, isn't he? Which begs the question why people don't seem to regard him anywhere near as highly as everyone sees Gallant. It's all very odd. There's something that feels quite intelligent about the way this EP has been put together. 'Stuck' and 'The War Inside' are the two traditional tracks that accompany 'Linger'. Any notion that Azekel's music sounds American influenced is blown to shreds by 'Sketch, Pt. 2' and 'England Is A...', showing that British R'n'B in 2016 has so much more depth to it than one might initially perceive. The sound of static between tracks really reinforces the "raw" element in the release's title too.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Sinead Harnett - If You Let Me

Here's where I stand... or where I stood with Sinead Harnett: I absolutely loved her on the Disclosure album, and then on the Rudimental album. Those two could literally do no wrong when it came to picking vocalists for their debut albums and I don't know if the likes of Ella Eyre and and even Sam Smith to an extent would be without those as a platform.

I really didn't enjoy Harnett's recent singles 'She Ain't Me' and 'Do It Anyway' which I was really disappointed by but I personally for me on a personal level just found them really bog standard British female pop artist, but I absolutely loved her single 'No Other Way' featuring Snakehips. So if you take that formula of putting Harnett alongside great electronic music producer types, we should be on to something good, right? Correct because the single 'If You Let Me' featuring Grades from Harnett's new self-titled EP is excellent.

I actually think slow-jam Sinead Harnett is far better than big pop song Sinead Harnett but it's the balance between the two that is key. Still whatever Grades has done on this single is absolutely stellar. I don't know if this is the type of stuff that radio cares for, but it really should be. I really hate using the word "vibey" now, mostly because it's not a word but also because I've been doing this for so long that I should probably be better at words by now, but that's how I feel about 'If You Let Me'.  That new EP I mentioned, the second track is called 'Rather Be With You' and that's quite good even though it's far more upbeat that 'If You Let Me'. These are the standouts on this EP, so if these tracks are a sign of things to come, it's lookin' alriiight.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Last Friday Night: Geovarn, Horrorshow, Jake Miller, Janelle Kroll

I don't know if I'll end up doing this every week i.e. I definitely won't do this every week.
Every week I put together five NMF posts and trawl through around 130 songs and whittle them down to about 30 really good ones. In light of this, I'd like to share some that you almost definitely won't have stumbled across.

Geovarn - Say Now

I am lost. Proper fuckin' lost on this, guys. You take what The Weeknd sounded like on those mixtapes, mix that with what Bryson Tiller and Tory Lanez are doing right now, and in Geovarn you've got the London based equivalent. So, answer me this: Why, at the time of posting, does the official video for this track, 'Say Now', have less than 1000 view? Fucking answer me. Perplexed. From what I understand via some sketchy research Geovarn James "won" a Sony Music record deal which sounds like an absolute disaster but we'll see... because this guy is good but I guess it depends what Sony decide to do with him... if anything.

Horrorshow - If You Know What I Mean

I have some kind of fascination with Australian hip hop. I don't know why but something about it really intrigues me. Although one time I did stumble across Seth Sentry and Jackie Onassis in the same week... that probably did it. Anyway, Horrorshow are a duo from Sydney and as they quaintly put it "Adit makes all the beats. Solo talks all the shit." and they have a new single called 'If You Know What I Mean'. The video's a bit weird, but they're from Straya so what you expect? But it does a really cool thing with greens and maroons a bit like that new Mac Miller video and I'm really into that. This is a reet vibe though, some might even say a "bop".

Jake Miller - Overnight

The cool thing about NMF playlists is that they throw up songs and artists that kids are "stanning" that you've never heard of. There's something about just listening through 100+ artists you know absolutely nothing about and then looking into them later. Jake Miller is one of those. Turns out he's a guy from Florida who does songs and stuff and people are kinda into him. Apparently he used to rap and people seem kinda annoyed that he's not really doing that anymore but when you've got a great pop song like 'Overnight' I don't know what the beef is. He's releasing a seven track EP next Friday, that might be good... it might not... we'll see.

Janelle Kroll - FVR

In a slight continuation from that last track, Janelle Kroll doesn't look one bit like I thought she would and my brain's imploded. Kroll is based in New York and she states her musical genre as "emotional" and I really respect that in a "that's not a genre!" kinda way. Her new single 'FVR' is probably my favourite pop song that no one else in my immediate sphere seems to be talking about of the week. It starts a little slow but I beg you don't let that put you off because by the time the chorus hits this is lit AF. Kroll's voice is super rad as well, most definitely a voice for great pop songs. Now listening to this on repeat quite contently as the sun sets out the fourth floor office window. So lovely. But it's noq distracting me from actually finishing, formatting and scheduling this post.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Mac Miller feat Anderson .Paak - Dang!

Is it too late into the season for a chill summer anthem? Not if you're Mac Miller and/or Anderson .Paak because they just (read: recently) released the low key song of the summer and I am ever so concerned that absolutely nobody is going to notice.

Let's be honest, Mac Miller's never really "hit it big", well, not this side of the Atlantic anyway. And personally, I haven't really given a monkey's about him unless he's been alongside Ariana Grande or since 'Frick Park Market' and that was purely for the line "I ain't no hipster but girl I can make your hips stir". Rest assured, he couldn't, but I guess he tried. Regardless, Miller's not really had a particularly rough time of it, has he? It just hasn't been for me. But dang, this is the straight up best thing this guy has ever released and I for one am extremely thankful. 'Dang!' is the first single to be taken from Miller's upcoming fourth album and hell is it a sign of good things to come... or is that just the Anderson .Paak feature talking? It's hard to tell.

If 'Dang!' alone wasn't great enough, the video is absolutely stunning. I'm not one for cinematography, heck, I had to Google the definition of that word and I'm still not sure I'm using it correctly, but this visual is one of the prettiest things I've seen this year. Despite being pretty dark and melancholy in life generally I absolutely love bright coloured stuff and this video plays beautifully on the three primary colours and injects the fuck out of them into every aspect of the visual. On first watch you don't really get a sense of the whole colour thing until .Paak's love interest steps outside their apartment, but when she does it hits you in the face like a vibrant punch and it's just so fun to watch even though 'Dang!' at it's heart isn't the cheeriest of songs but it just works.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Aluna"George", Leikeli47, Dreezy - Mean What I Mean

Someone needs to fill me in on what the heck is going on with AlunaGeorge because I'm not sure I can bear to be in the dark any longer. Where the fuck is George? George Reid has been absent from all of Aluna"George"'s Facebooking for almost a year (with the excpetion of one tbt post) and I for one am very concerned. I just don't really get it. Because obviously all one needs to do is take a glance at the artwork for the pair's upcoming second album I Remember in order to see that he is definitely still on. So why the illusiveness, George? What's up?

Anyway, we're gathered here today to discuss the fourth track (because where does a single begin and end these days?) to be taken from the aforementioned I Remember. The song in question is 'Mean What I Mean' and we seem to have reverted back into 'I'm In Control' territory but then steered in the direction of "generally just a lot better". Come on, Popcaan is and was the only thing holding 'I'm In Control' together. On this new cut we get a taste of two female rappers I personally hadn't heard before and this is definitely a good sound for Aluna"George".  With three women at the helm of this track it's sassy as hell, with fire dance routines, and 'Mean What I Mean' has got me so intrigued into Dreezy. Tkay Maidza vibes with a touch of Azealia Banks (obviously purely in terms of tone and delivery, absolutely nothing else).

With this, 'My Blood' and 'I Remember' (and 'I'm In Control' but whatever) in tow this second album is shaping up to be quite good, isn't it? It's out next month and I'm looking forward to it. I think I'm also seeing Aluna"George" in November at Koko. Never seen them before. Will George be there? Who knows! Let's hope so!

RIVRS - Falling

RIVRS are a London based duo and they're actually quite good. The only problem with that is that the universe neglected to share that information with me until last month which is all pretty not ideal but what can one do? Make up for lost time, really.

Charlotte and Fin, whom I have no choice but to be on first name terms with (Hi I'm Natalie, wassup?), have just released their debut EP, it's called Falling and I think it's probably worth chatting about. Falling is five tracks long so we're already off to a great start because five is without a doubt the optimal...? optimum...? correct number of songs for an EP. Essentially, this release is bookended by two excellent jams, title track 'Falling' and 'Something About You'. 'Falling' is the single, it has a video and it begins very Banks-like which is great, because everybody loves Banks but then it has this massive pop/RnB chorus almost Destiny's Child worthy post-chorus "I can't be without you" bit. As far as singles go, this is up there with the best of them.

Then final track 'Something About You' is full of electronic/production quirks that blogs akin to mine are really keen on. You know the stuff like Oceaan/Ben Khan do (#wherearetheynow) that blogs and general music tastemaker types really like? Well there's a load of that in this and it sounds great. What we've seen on these two songs is real pop potential for this two-piece, like, for real. Which brings me to the other three tracks on the EP... they're not as good, not as instantly vibable... vibeable? You don't like em as quickly as you like these too, but they definitely aren't bad.

Afterthought: So, 'Friend Lover' was also a single, it's got a video and all that, and this was the song that was released when Charli XCX was doing all that Vroom Vroom stuff or whatever that was about. And that's all well and good when you're Charli XCX but I personally didn't feel like that worked for RIVRS, and that's why I forgot all about them and then didn't even link them to these tracks now. Anyway, that all sounds really negative, but that's not the intention at all.

They're playing Kamio mid-next month, I'm going, that should be good. My fave D/C is opening so that should all be extra good.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Slackerpop Part Four: CVIRO / GXNXVS, Catch Fire

Slackin' all day every day.

CVIRO & GXNXVS - Problem

So CVIRO & GXNXVS released one of my absolute favourite tracks of 2015 (it's called 'Sober', you can listen to it here) and to be honest it's still one of the hottest jams ever. In light of this I think it's okay to be as skeptical about a new song from this collaboration dream team as I was. Luckily the duo's new song 'Problem' is nigh on as good as their last. The chorus sounds like some next early 00's hip hop track I can't put my finger on and CVIRO's vocals are still dreamy AF. But I still don't know how the fuck I'm supposed to say GXNXVS out loud; this is even post-emails with MDWS about the GXNXVS remix of one of his tracks. Literally none the wiser. Send help. Please.
EDIT: Something about this sounds like some next level Destinys Child x Dr Dre shit. Still can't work it out.

Catch Fire - Wild Things

Less pop, more punk, but then actually technically still pretty pop. In terms of UKPP bands I quite rate Catch Fire, I don't think they do a bad job at the whole being a band thing. Even more so it's cool when bands aren't afraid to step outside the genres they're often constrained by, so here we have Catch Fire covering Alessia Cara's 'Wild Things'. Essentially Catch Fire have kept the songs original structure and the lyrics and then totally re-vamped everything else and it sounds really great. Obviously there are reasons why so few bands do covers, you know, there's only so much that they're good for, but this makes me wish that more bands did them. When I rule the world I'll instil some kind of conscription where bands have to do a cover a year or something like that.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Julibrary 2016

Writing is a chore. Well, writing forced things like this post was going to be is a chore.

So once again, I've abandoned my (late) end of month post in favour of some good old visuals instead. That peculiar visual above is an amalgamation of my favourite releases from last month.

I listened to an insane amount of stuff throughout July and sifted through hours of songs and albums and EPs and essentially compiled everything into a massive 300+ song playlist A.K.A. my Julibrary.

There are some full albums, there are some entire EPs, and then there are also just "the good bits" of some releases, with a whole load of singles plonked on the end.

I'm looking to do a something similar to this for August too, but we'll see how I get on because... this was a task.

The Julibrary embedded under only shows the first 200 tracks, I mean, I'm sure that's plenty for you to be getting on with, just a note that there are so many more if you give it an actual view on Spotify. (I have NO idea what this will look like on mobile. Pray for me.)