Friday, March 10, 2017

Lorde, Louisa and the rest of New Music Friday: 10 March 2017

Here we are again. In a post-Ed Sheeran landscape, none of these songs have a hope in hell of charting but what are the charts really for any more? Just listen to this stuff on Spotify and get on with your life.

Louisa Johnson - Best Behaviour
It starts off with a Curtis Mayfield bassline and a distorted vocal sample. Then Louisa summons in a chorus of handclaps (never not a good thing), then the hook is played on a panpipe. One of the most unusual and brilliant songs ever released by an X Factor winner. 10/10

Lorde - Liability
A sombre piano ballad inspired by Rihanna's Higher - and which really highlights Bowie's influence on Lorde's new album. Contains the lyric "he made the big mistake of dancing in my storm". Amazing.

Nicki Minaj ft Drake and Lil Waybe - No Faults
Nicki is on fire in this rapidly-recorded response to a Remy Ma diss track. "Soon as I wake up keep an eye out for the snakes," she spits on the single, which precedes her fourth album later this year.

Steps - Scared Of The Dark
Astonishingly good. Imagine if this was our Eurovision entry.

Alt-J - 3WW
If you can imagine Fleet Foxes covering Massive Attack's Teardrop, you're well on your way to imagining Alt-J's new single. Complete with choir chants, strings from the London Metropolitan Orchestra and guest vocals from Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell, it's "quite the thing".

Astrid S - Breathe
A 100 carat electro-pop anthem, mined from the jagged fjords of Norway. Contains my favourite lyrics of the week: "Did you slip me a magic pill? You got me lifted like an astronaut, no helmet on and my lungs just stop. I forget to breathe when I'm with you".

Laura Marling - Wildfire
Laura's sixth (sixth!) album, Semper Femina, is out today and it's possibly the best thing she's done. Wild Fire is one of the standouts, but you should also investigate the jazz-infused Soothing and the gorgeous Nouel.

Charli XCX - Babygirl (ft Uffie)
Today sees the release of Charli's long-awaited Number 1 Angel. It might be a mixtape, but most artists would kill to have these 10 tracks as a single. Babygirl is a highlight - all chunky mid-80s Madonna basslines, with a funky rap verse from Uffie.

Stargate ft Sia and Pink - Waterfall
Stargate are the Swedish team behind Beyonce's Irreplaceable, Rihanna's Rudeboy, and the majority of Coldplay's last album. Sia is a songwriter of some repute. Pink is a pop star turned trapeze artist. Together, they have turned in a song that sounds exactly like you would expect based on their standard operating parameters. Not bad, just so-so.

Steel Banglez - Money
While Stormzy and Skepta make great strides in broadening Grime's horizons, this single relies on the same old stale tropes we've heard a million times. It's a shame, because the production - from one of London's hottest young musicians - is on point.

Goldfrapp - Ocean
"We wanted to sort of bring the synths again," Alison Goldfrapp told Billboard about this new track. And, oh boy, are the synths back. This is huge - recalling the tougher moments of Black Cherry and Supernature, with a shade of Depeche Mode darkness. Not a single, but a stunning song nonetheless.

There's also a Clean Bandit single due out today, but it hasn't appeared yet. It'll probably turn up on Greg James or Zane Lowe's show later this afternoon. Radio, eh?

Update: The Clean Bandit single is out next week. As you were.

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