Friday, April 24, 2015

A tiny Jessie Ware concert, and other songs you may have missed.

A semi-regular round-up of all the music I couldn't squeeze onto the blog in the last seven days.

Here's this week's selection...

1) Jessie Ware - Tiny Desk Concert
The brilliant Tiny Desk series on US radio network NPR requires musicians to play a no bells and even fewer whistles acoustic set in their offices.

Jessie Ware is the perfect artist for this sort of thing. Her gorgeous, complex alto is enough to keep you captivated, even when the backing track disappears.

She performs Say You Love Me, Wildest Moments and Champagne Kisses. The best 15 minutes you'll spend all week.

2) Rihanna - James Joint
Released in celebration of cannabis enthusiasm day 20 April (420 in American calendar-speak) this is a brief interlude from Rihanna's forthcoming LP.

Suitably laid back and hazy, it's easily the best thing she's released this year.

3) Raury - Fly
Written immediately after news broke that police officer Darren Wilson was not being indicted for murdering unarmed teenager Mike Brown, Raury's heartfelt, complicated plea for a peaceful revolution was a sucker punch to the gut when it premiered in January.

It's even more powerful now that it has a video, which takes an animated trip through the highs and lows of black history in America.

4) Wolf Alice - Bros
Sadly not a tribute to Matt, Luke and Ken, the new single by Wolf Alice is instead a sentimental ode to childhood best friends.

It's been re-recorded since the 2013 original, much to the anger of fans, who seethed on Soundcloud: "Another great song completly ruined by the record business".

I think both versions approach perfection.

5) Natalie Imbruglia - Instant Crush
A Mad Men-inspired video for Imbruglia's acoustic take on the Daft Punk / Julian Casablancas track. What's not to love?

6) Hudson Mohawke - Ryderz
Hudson Mohawke sounds like a Hoxton clothing brand, but actually it's Scottish producer Ross Birchard. He's the backroom boffin behind many of Kanye West's more sonically adventurous productions. In fact, it was to his studio that West fled after this year's Brits to finish off All Day.

He's got his own album, Latern, coming out very soon and this song - which samples D.J. Rogers' Watch Out For The Riders - is one of its many highlights.

7) Chemical Brothers - Sometimes I Feel So Deserted
Back after a break of five years and sounding exactly the same as they did in 1998, here are the Chemical Brothers doing a song that goes bleep and bloop with the sort of computer generated visuals that make stoned people think they're in hyperspace.

Their eighth album, Born In The Echoes, will feature vocals from St Vincent (hooray!), Q-Tip (huzzah!) and Beck (Beck!).

8) The Go Team! - Ya Ya Yamaha
This Record Store Day exclusive is described as "a French girl on a motorcycle song," whatever that means.

All I know is that it's bloody racket, and all the better for it.

9) Sia - Fire Meet Gasoline
Starring Heidi Klum and Game of Thrones' star Pedro Pascal, this video tells an age-old story: Boy meets girl, boy falls in love, boy murders someone with a rock, boy shows girl the murder weapon, boy and girl have sex, boy and girl burn a house down.

Don't say it hasn't happened to you, too.

10) Tove Lo - Elastic Heart
Earlier year, Tove Lo had to cancel a bunch of performances to have vocal surgery - and doctors warned her she may never sing again.

After coming round from the anaesthetic she "couldn't say anything for five days," the singer told Billboard. "I almost choked on a spring roll because I wasn't supposed to cough! My voice started coming back a little; it sounded very different at first, which is scary."

But judging by this Sia cover, her voice is better than ever. Welcome back, Tove!

11) Young Wonder - Sweet Dreaming
Irish electro-pop duo Young Wonder have been biding their time while they piece together their debut LP. Rather than rush out a half-finished record to capitalise on the success of their eponymous 2013 EP, they've spent 24 months getting it just right.

The delicate production buoys Rachel Koeman's overlapping vocals to create something people are going to be very, very fond of.

12) Jones - Indluge
A gentle love song that's as wickedly indulgent as clotted cream.

13) Adam Lambert - Ghost Town
I've never warmed to Adam Lambert's music - whose lack of originality runs in direct proportion to the intensity of his eyeliner.

But teaming up with Max Martin seems to have solved all of that. Ghost Town is unexpected and unusual, combining guitar-pop and house beats with a surprisingly catchy whistled hook.

14) K Stewart - Keeping You Up
KStewart says she's influenced by Mariah, Whitney and Christina - but thankfully it's only the restrained, pop-centric moments she's interested in, as evidenced on this bubbly, 90s-style slice of harmonic pop.

Self-released on her own imprint Cherry Jam Records, it is one amazing remix away from being the sound of the summer.

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