As Midwife, Madeline Johnston plays what she describes as “Heaven Metal,” or “emotive music about devastation”. In other words it’s very low-key and gloomy, but in beautifully uplifting way. This is taken from her new album Forever which is definitely worth checking out, especially if you want to gaze out of a window and Think A Lot About Sad Things for a while. Also has a touch of early Sufjan in the vocal delivery and atmospherics, which is never a bad thing.
Chynna – Leo Season
I just found out that Chynna died last week. She had a long history of drug addition and some mental health issues, and made (mostly) brutally nihilistic rap. She was only 25: way too young and ultimately a really sad story. This was one of my favourites of hers.
Cindy Lee – Plastic Raincoat
An alias of former Woman frontman Patrick Flegel, this is taken from Cindy Lee’s fifth studio album What’s Tonight to Eternity?, which is partly inspired by the music and ultimately tragic story of Karen Carpenter. If these names mean nothing to you, worry not: you don’t need to know any of the backstory to enjoy it. The album’s a real gem packed full of spectral synths and icy vocals, and Plastic Raincoat is a superbly absorbing opening track.
Saint Mela – [Root]less
Rolling back to the heady days of winter 2019, when everything was simpler/better/precedented and Saint Mela were putting out absolute bangers like this. They’ve got a new EP out now which is what made me go back to this one. It’s good, but I reckon [Root]less is definitely still the one.
NNAMDÏ – Gimme Gimme
It’s pretty remarkable that someone as clearly talented as NNAMDÏ can release four albums before I’ve ever listened to a single piece of his music. Not that I’m by claiming to be an expert on Chicago rap by any means, but fairly surprising nonetheless. This is fantastic, as is the album it’s taken from, BRAT. And now I have an entire back-catalogue to explore as well.
Versalife – Aegis
Conforce was already one of my favourite producers even before launching his Versalife alias a few years back. Now I love him and his music even more. This is pretty much perfect: big emotional pads, little acid line bubbling happily away…. just brilliant. And if you like this you should definitely listen to his recent Live in Los Angles mix, it’s ace.
Yaeji – MONEY CAN’T BUY (feat. Nappy Nina)
This is taken from Yaeji’s debut album What We Drew, although she refers to it as a mixtape. I’m still not entirely sure what the difference is, despite multiple conversations and Google searches. Regardless, this is really, really good and the entire album/mixtape is definitely worth checking.
Lady Wray – Piece Of Me
Just heard this on Huey Morgan’s 6 Music show – it’s so good. Sounds like it could have been made in the heyday of 60s soul but actually came out last year. Perfect ‘bbq and beer in the sun’ soundtrack… if only.
Empress Of – Bit Of Rain
Frothy pop from the eternally effervescent Empress Of today to celebrate surviving another week of #lockdownlife. Really love this, and serves as a reminder that at some point we’ll all be able to drink ciders in the sun and watch actual live music again. Won’t that be something.
Windy & Carl – Recon
Michigan duo Windy Weber & Carl Hultgren have been making incredible, often very delicate, atmospheric ambient for close to thirty years, and this is one of the best things I’ve heard from them. Taken from their new album Allegiance and Conviction: it’s absolutely magnificent.