In the words of Anne-Marie, "ciao, adios" this week.
In the words of Anne-Marie, "ciao, adios" this week.
If you're reading this it's a harsh reminder that you're not at Glastonbury and no matter what you do you're not going to have the best weekend of your life this weekend. But that's ok because you're housed and clean and don't have to listen to Brits bitch about how Kanye West is no Oasis. Also, you're reading this. That's another positive. Here's the best goodies we received this week.
Lianne La Havas
What You Don't Do
Lianne La Havas is such a class act every time she releases a track it feels like she's got nothing to prove. She's got effortless, honey-soaked vocals that feel easy but probably aren't really. What You Don't Do is a far more slinky, slender tune that its predecessor Unstoppable. It's armed with a radio-friendly tempo and a few doo-wops to please casual fans, but even for the avid LLH fans there's plenty here to like. She absolutely slays it vocally at the end, all the while remaining calm, cool and collected. What a gal.
Years & Years
We're used to hearing radio-friendly bangers from Years & Years but they took a slight left turn this week, dropping a moody, haunting number. The vocals, as always, are sweet but the instrumental is dark. The accompanying video goes for the same kind of vibe, showing frontman Olly come back to life in the middle of his own funeral. Funnily enough, everyone seems to be rather confused about the whole thing.
Its been said a number of times but it's so apt we need to say it again - Quiet Achiever is the most perfect name for a Yeo song ever. The track has picked up an add on triple j this week and with a Peking Duk feature on the way, Yeo seems to be poised for major popularity after chipping away quietly for plenty of years. Quiet Achiever gives the people exactly what they want. There's tropical steel drums, trap elements and delectable vocal samples. It's by far his most accessible thing yet, but it's also undeniably a Yeo song which is a major win.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/snackswithyeo/quiet-achiever[/soundcloud]
Disco crossed with EDM and electronica sounds like a devil of a genre-baby but Nero gave birth to one this week and it actually is pretty pleasing. Two Minds is taken from their forthcoming LP Between II Worlds and is by far their most melodically rich track from the album yet. We reckon this will be the track to really stand out on radio and return them to the chart-heights of UK number one Promises.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/nero/two-minds[/soundcloud]
We heard this a few months ago when Black Vanilla burnt the Sydney's Civic Underground down (not literally obviously, it's still very much in tact) and were instantly in a trance. Slug is a violent monster of a song driven by thumping bass and demonic vocals. It's the kind of song that goes wasted if it doesn't draw sweat from its listener - a track that's heavy and yet full of space to weave in thrashing dance moves. There's not enough violent dance music out there. Kudos Black Vanilla - we feel violated but pleased.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/factmag/black-vanilla-slug[/soundcloud]
Ngaiire was actually in the first season of Australian Idol but as people do in the space of XX years she's flourished into one of Australia's finest soul vocalists. Once is a track that doesn't throw itself in your face. Rather it just slowly walks closer and closer until it sinks into you. It occupies a space somewhere between Solange and Erykah Badu with a coolness matched by a fine mastery. She's worked with everyone from Paul Mac to Kilter but this feels like her defining track as an artist.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/ngaiire/once-blastoma-edit[/soundcloud]
There are a lot of Australian males crooning over electronic beats at the moment but Jack Grace stands out from the rest. Hills is an experiment in colliding electronic elements. There are sweet pop hooks, industrial beats and auto-tuned vocals are thrown into the mix and the result is thrilling, actually. The hook sounds a little Andy Bull but then the auto-tune is unashamedly Kanye and the production tips its hat to Hudson Mohawke. It's a song that didn't go unnoticed this week and that's because its an artistic risk. It's paying of if you ask us.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/jackgraceofficial/hills[/soundcloud]
Not many South African artists have been able to cross over into the Western music spectrum but things are about to change with the introduction of Petite Noir. Yannick Ilunga possesses the voice of an old soul and on Down he melds that with a feel for organic rhythm into something that feels summery and cheery without a hint of gimmick. It's taken from his debut album La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful which is due for release in September. Last time we wrote about Petite Noir we said we get naked to his music. We still feel that way.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/petitenoir/petite-noir-down[/soundcloud]
London vocalist Anne-Marie has toured with Rudimental as their live vocalist and this week she popped up on their latest track Rumour Mill but, dare we say, this one might be better. Gemini is taken from her debut EP and features production by Two Inch Punch who's produced for Sam Smith and Jessie Ware. It's a breezy, beautifully robust track centring around her airy, delicate vocals. Anne-Marie and Two Inch Punch are a dream team and if more stuff of this quality comes through she'll be making Rudimental her support act.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/iamannemarie/anne-marie-gemini[/soundcloud]
This is all you need to know. Janet Jackson is back, she's spelling sleep with three e's and she really couldn't care less what you think because she's in her fourth decade as a superstar and at the point you become immortal.
Here's a collection of tracks we loved this week. Tick them off your list so you can move onto next week confident that you took everything from this week that you possibly could.
Years & Years
British trio Years & Years had a mighty task following up their UK chart-topping single King, but it seems as though they've done it with ease. Shine takes a slightly different pace to King but it's no less euphoric with frontman Olly Alexander's vocals once again sounding flawless. At this point it's hard to see the band making any missteps on their forthcoming album Communion which is due out 10th July.
Love Me Badder
Swedish songstress Elliphant has been churning out perfect pop for the better part of two years but it finally feels like she's hit her stride. Last year's MO-featuring One More was one of our favourite tracks of 2014 and this latest one Love Me Badder is just an impressive. It's a big-sounding, dancehall-sampling ballad with a chorus made for the masses. Elliphant's voice is smokey and full-bodied and tackles the huge melody without any problems at all. Her Splendour In The Grass shows should make her plenty of fans here.
Ignore And Wot
I've spent the better part of the week trawling through grime history for a piece that is about to go up on the site. It feels like an appropriate reward that at the end of it all a new Novelist track emerged. Ignorant And Wot popped up on Novelist's soundcloud and it's a corker. It's a ready-made anthem with a simple but hard-hitting hook bookended by fast-flowing verses. It's baffling that this guy is only 18 years-old.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/novelist/ignorant-and-wot[/soundcloud]
Rudimental collaborators have had a pretty good track record when it comes to moving onto their own solo careers. John Newman had a number single on his own, Ella Eyre is making waves with her solo tracks and Sinead Harnett looks set to make a big splash with She Ain't Me. Anne-Marie has toured with Rudimental as their live vocalist but looks to be more than ready to do it alone. Karate, her debut single, is a little more left-field than what the aforementioned names are making. It's experimental pop with a strong melody and airy vocals. It may not be a number one single in waiting but it doesn't feel like that was the goal.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/iamannemarie/anne-marie-karate[/soundcloud]
Bitch Better Have My Money (Diplo & Grandtheft Remix)
For one of Rihanna's less-successful tracks Bitch Better Have My Money keeps popping up everywhere. Last week we got the EDM remix courtesy of R3hab and now we have a remix firmly in the trap-world courtesy of Diplo and Grandtheft. It's far more true to the original than any other remixes we've heard but it does give it an extra dose of oomph with abrasive horns and hard-hitting beats. It's definitely one of Rihanna's more curious singles but it really does just keep getting better. Diplo and Grandtheft have helped that cause.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/diplo/bitch-better-have-my-money-diplo-grandtheft-remixofficial-you-losers[/soundcloud]
Doing It (Carmada Remix)
It's criminal that the original of this song didn't reach number one for 40 weeks on the Australian charts but Aussie duo Carmada may have the answer to ensuring its resurrection. They have been on the Groovin The Moo festival trail with Charli XCX playing their Doing It remix along the way but now we finally have the proper, final product. They keep that stellar chorus and around it build a world of flickering synths, high-pitched vocal samples and mournful keys. We reckon Charli would approve of this one.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/carmadamusic/charli-xcx-doing-it-carmada-remix[/soundcloud]
Rita Ora really doesn't get enough credit. She's currently trying to crack America and in that market she looks like an underdog but in the UK she's had four number one singles. That's damn impressive. Poison is the latest tune to be taken from her forthcoming second album and it's another perfect piece of pop. "I've picked my poison and it's you," she sings over a hard-hitting beat that only eases up for the euphoric verses. It may not be as immediate as I Will Never Let You Down but after two days of listening we can guarantee it's a grower. Listen here.
I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times) (Feat. Young Thug)
Popcaan and Young Thug may not be the most likely suspects for a Jamie xx track but goddam does it work. This version that leaked this week only features Young Thug but you can see where Popcaan would happily slot in on the album version. While the feature-vocalists may suggest otherwise, it actually doesn't sound that far out of Jamie xx's world. There are still steel drums, warm bassy synths and a soulful throwback sample (of The Persuasions' Good Times. Like Gosh and Loud Places, it's uplifting music, which seems to be a theme of In Colour when you also consider the multi-coloured album art.[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/looie31007/young-thug-ft-jamie-xx-i-know-theres-gonna-be-good-times[/soundcloud]Laura Clock
Robyn is the queen of mournful dancefloor stompers but in her absence there are plenty of other artists keeping the space warm. One of them is Laura Clock (previously known as Butterclock) who's gearing up to release her debut EP under the new moniker, Baby - Part One. Fade is the first single from that and it's a dancehall-inspired track made for the latest point of the night when the dancefloor is empty enough to really cut loose - Dirty Dancing style.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/goldenbruise/fade/[/soundcloud]
We've been waiting a while for new material from London singer Billie Black but now we finally have it. Black has returned with a killer new hairstyle and a sleek sound that recalls Sade and Jessie Ware. Going Under is her most confident sounding track yet with the latter half exploding into a clean slice of electronica that immediately sounds like London. The track is taken from her forthcoming Teach Me EP which is due to drop 25th May.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/billie-black/billie-black-going-under[/soundcloud]