I’m back! Did you miss me? Didn’t even notice I was away? Well, I was – moving house since you asked. Yeah, it was pretty brutal. Boxes breeding boxes and all that. Anyway, here’s an absolute banger from Ora The Molecule’s new album Human Safari that you might not have heard yet by way of an apology. I won’t let it happen again.
My obsession with anything that even vaguely evokes the 80s continues unabated, satiated generally today by Bristol-based artist Lucy Gooch’s beautiful EP Rain’s Break, and specifically by this track, with its sparse, crystalline synth lines and breathy vocals. Gooch said of the EP that she wanted to create something “with a dissonance and eeriness to it”, and those aims have absolutely been fulfilled, the resulting EP providing a brief but engrossing escape from the relentless grind of reality.
I’m a little conflicted about today’s post. On the one had, I love The War On Drugs, have listened to both Lost In The Dream and A Deeper Understanding relentlessly over the last few years, and an incredibly excited about their recently announced new album and European tour. All of that: great. Their new single however, I am not entirely convinced by. I’d even go so far as to say it was (whisper it) a bit boring and forgettable and fairly cliched? Note the question mark: I’m not even sure about my own opinion. What a sorry state of affairs. Anyway, here it is: make your own mind up.
I personally find Yves Tumor be to at their most compelling when they’re balancing visceral electronic experimentation with big, rocky hooks, either in a single track or across an entire albums worth of material; see: Safe In The Hands Of Love, in which you never quite know what’s lurking around the next corner. Their latest EP Asymptomatic World leans way further into the rockier of these two worlds, forgoing the crushed, fizzing synths in favour of prominent guitars and stadium-friendly vocals, so while it’s by no means my favourite release of theirs, it’s still comfortably better than pretty much everything else that came out last week.
The term “easy listening” has a fairly bad rep, and probably for good reason. It evokes mindlessly inoffensive music that seems to be almost wilfully devoid of character, and while I’m by no means arguing that Durand Jones & The Indication be reclassified into this vague sub-genre, one of the things I enjoy so much about their music is that it’s such an effortless pleasure to listen to. Latest single The Way I Do combines elements of funk, soul, disco and pop into an intoxicating blend that infects everything with its breezy, understated optimism, and I am fully here for everything it stands for.
In September Lee Gamble brings his Flush Real Pharynx 2019-2021 album cycle to an end with A Million Pieces Of You, a seven-track LP that was written “in a time when the subjective experience of overload came to a halt, giving way to an overbearing sense of loss, burnout and a desperate need for hope,” which I’m guessing means Covid o’clock. Playing with rhythms and tones and switching effortlessly between wide-eyed optimism and almost overwhelming despair, Hyperpassive, then, seems like a fitting representation of the emotions many of us went through on an almost daily – if not hourly – basis in 2020 and beyond. Oh, and it’s also really good, just in case that wasn’t clear.
New York-based artist and songwriter BAYLI teams up with Atlanta-bred hip-hop artist and songwriter ILoveMakonnen on SICK!, which her first release since her recent signing with Snafu Records and a precursor to her forthcoming debut EP, stories from new york, which lands later this year. SICK! rolls along on a squelchy trap beat underpinning some solid verses from both artists and is elevated by the haunting synths which flutter around in the background in a very pleasing fashion indeed.
The Swedish group on finding inspiration from fellow Gothenburg band Little Dragon
The premise of One Track Mind is pretty simple: I ask artists to pick one track that means a lot to them – either something they’ve discovered recently, something that’s been with them for years, or one that reminds them of a specific time in their life or career – and tell me what makes it so special to them. I get to talk to the artists I love, and they get to talk about the artists they love. Love all round!
Wildhart’s 2016 album Shine absolutely blew me away on its release, and is one I return to on a regular basis, especially the title track which is about as perfect as synth-led pop gets. After a brief hiatus following 2018’s Caught In A Fisheye EP they returned with new music this year, releasing singles His Arrows Won’t Hit Us and Beter Bby, and sounding just as beguiling as they ever have. It’s wonderful to have them back, and to welcome them to TPW today.
For their One Track Mind selection they have chosen a song from fellow Swedish group Little Dragon and discuss the delicacy with which light and shade is kept in perfect balance: something they’re very adept at themselves.
NANAO follows the release of GILA’s debut album Energy Demonstration which landed last year, and is his first collaboration with LA based vocalist Kloxii, a Chinese-American producer and experimental pop musician who has released music via Tricky’s False Idols, and been mentored by Marie Davidson for Amplify Berlin. Exploring various themes including unrequited love and vulnerability, NANAO is looser and rougher than the tracks found on Energy Demonstration, with stuttering, over-saturated beats and ominous synth lines creating an oppressive, but oddly uplifting atmosphere.
Atlanta-based R&B artist Mariah the Scientist completely blew me – and lots of other people – away with her 2018 album MASTER, especially the song Reminders which I maintain is one of the most underrated tracks of that year. Released today is the follow up RY RY WORLD which on the first couple of listens at least sounds even better than its predecessor, and All For Me – with its delicate pads, retro drums and gorgeous chord changes – is an instant classic.