Blending jazz, hip-hop and some enjoyably throwback production styles (vinyl rewinds ftw!), the second album from Tom Scott’s Avantdale Bowling Club project TREES comes in like a breath of cool breeze blown all the way from New Zealand. Without You is typically laid back, with warm keys and plucked basslines rolling up lyrics like “Feeding you dreams of big, honeybees / Licking fuzz from your buds, but you never heard the buzz”.
Last seen collaborating with Raw Poetic on Laminated Skies – without doubt one of the finest albums of the year so far – Damu The Fudgemunk has now teamed up with Pan Amsterdam on EAT, which is a similarly brilliant collection of usually chilled and always well-considered hip-hop. The title track mixes the sublime and the absurd incredibly effectively, with triumphant piano chords and choral backing vocals rubbing up against lyrics like “Chicken and rice, going down nice with a side of tomatoes / Cuttin that spice, gonna pay the price on the toilet lil later”. What we gun EAT??
I think I’ve used the word “breezy” to describe Kota The Friend’s music every time I’ve written about it, and I’ve been sitting here for about 20 minutes trying think think of a more appropriate term. I do not believe one exists. Just listen to those playfully skipping drums! The jauntiness of the keys! The effortless of his delivery! The airhorns!!(!) Everything about it makes me wan bounce gently from side to side while softly grinning. Breezy AF.
I find myself in the minority whenever the subject of Kendrick Lamar is raised. Either people have never heard of him (legitimate) or they are somewhere on the scale between quietly impressed to completely and utterly obsessed. Like, no-one says “Yeah, he’s decent. Some bangers, but I’m not actually that into him”. That’s pretty much exactly how I feel. And with every album that comes out, that feeling increases, like I’m just missing something. Obviously it’s good, but I don’t quite understand the complete reverence in which he’s held by a large percentage of the musical community, professional or otherwise.
Anyway having said all that this song is amazing. Also he’s headlining Glastonbury, and the only headliner I’m even vaguely interested in, so I better get on board, I guess.
I really liked Syd’s 2017 album Fin, so it’s great that’s she’s back releasing new music this year after a fairly extended hiatus. Broken Hearts Club came out last week, and seems a lot less angsty than Fin, with delicate melodies and sparky drums replacing the often moody, introspective atmosphere of her previous work. Tie The Knot is a real standout, reminiscent of the jaunty bounce of someone like Tierra Whack’s, in her lighter moments.
This is an absolute banger. The drums hit outrageously hard and… that bass! Insane enough on headphones, so fuck knows how much it would wallop you on a decent system, my chest hurts just thinking about it. Taken from Conway The Machine’s new LP God Don’t Make Mistakes which came out last week, which is pepping me right up on this grey Monday.
I shared a track from Don Lifted earlier this month which I really liked, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how much I would enjoy his album, 325i, which landed last week. Releases like this are pretty much the entire reason I started this blog – to support music from insanely talented artists that might otherwise go unnoticed. Don Lifted definitely falls into that category – aside from a very positive Fader feature I’ve seen very little promo for the album, but it’s fucking brilliant – a hazy, understated, atmospheric delight that incorporates elements of soul, hip-hop, indie rock and plenty more besides. Light Figure stands out for me due its heavy melancholic, yearning vibe, but it’s absolutely worth giving the entire album your attention.
I’m not sure serpentwithfeet can really be classed an ‘underrated’ given all the plaudits he regularly attracts, but I still don’t think he’s quite given as much due as perhaps he deserves. His output this year has been truly remarkable – DEACON is unquestionably one of the best albums of the year – and he seems to have fully found his groove, nailing the emotions without losing sight of the subtlety of production that makes him stand out. Down Nuh River is moody, understated and – yet again – outrageously good.
The latest from rising Memphis artist Don Lifted is a moody rap cut based around themes of sexual and gender multiplicity, desire and vulnerability, and according to the artist written from “a moment of extreme longing for something that didn’t exist and I feared never would and what it would be like if the moment was presented to me.” That’s a whole lot of double (triple?) negatives that I haven’t quite got my head around, but suffice to say it’s a very fine, evocative piece of work.
Brilliantly woozy retro-leaning hip-hop for you today from a heavyweight lineup of exceptionally talented dudes, but I’m having a bit of a hectic day and can’t go on about it too much so just listen to it, it’s a vibe.