A welcome to return to JUNKHEART whose new single Queen of the Nile landed today. He cites Tears for Fears, Blood Orange and The Japanese House as key influences – all of whom I love, obviously – and while inviting comparisons to other artists can be a risky business, Queen of the Nile is just so good he completely gets away with it. Without doubt one of the most vital, exciting new artists of the year so far.
Southside Chicago native Sunshine Lombre is a dancer, poet and musician set to release her debut EP in a couple of months, from which Just Verbs is taken. On the surface at least this a super sultry, warm, minimalistic piece with little more than Lombre’s closed-mic’d vocal and some gentle Rhodes-y chords playing softly in the background. So far, so relaxing: but there’s something about the ominous pad and sketchy vinyl crackles that run throughout that makes suspect a more sinister atmosphere, like this entire ballad is being whispered to a bound ex-lover as she runs a kitchen knife playfully down their chest. But maybe that’s just me.
Browni is producer Kovey Coles and singer/songwriter Hawa Sako, and Ready To Surrender is about as slick and sultry as R&B gets: the kind of record you listen to half a dozen times on repeat on your way back from a Big Night Out, half drifting off as you gaze out of the cab window at the yellow-white street lights and slowly brightening sky. Remember nights out? No, me neither actually.
There’s very little information out there about Burd Haus, but what I do know is: she’s from Philadelphia, she’s just released her debut album In My Sky and she makes really good music. Also, Fated Feel reminds me a lot of Yves Tumor, which can only ever be a good thing, even though it’s significantly more chill than a lot of their recent work. Possibly it’s the slightly tuned-out guitar licks or the drawling vocal delivery, but whatever, this sits somewhere between R&B, hip hop and indie rock and is highly recommended.
In times gone by Coi Leray’s No More Parties would sound more like a hungover pep talk delivered to yourself after yet another write-off of a Sunday than a grim prediction of just how little fun we’ll be having this year, but regardless: it’s still really fun and I really like it, and lyrics like “I’m only doing shit that’s gonna make me elevate / Only want people around that’s gonna make me better” is making me feel significantly more motivated to Get Shit Done than 1000 ham-fisted open letters from our utter fucking moron of a leader ever could.
JUNKHEART is – in their own words – “a mixed-race romantic, making gloomy-pop tunes for comic-book nerds and nostalgic rollerbladers”. God I miss rollerblading. Also, Typhoon is apparently for “fans of thinking about stuff too much”, so it’s bascially made for me. It’s just so good: a gloomy pop banger with both hope and heartbreak enough to spare. It’s an incredibly impressive debut, and Typhoon is the first of six track to be released over the coming months, leading up to the EP in summer, so I’m excited to hear where they take us next.
This isn’t the first time I’ve said this, but Quinton Barnes is a truly remarkable artist. Writing, singing, producing, mixing, mastering: he does everything, and at a quite incredible rate. As A Motherfucker is his second album in less than 10 months and it sounds as slick and polished as anything else you’re likely to hear this year. Packed full of big hooks, intricate melodies and propelled by his relentlessly wonderful voice, it’s everything I need from an r&b album. I HEART QUINTON!
I’ve always associated Father and Awful Records with a certain kind of drug-fuelled hedonism that seems to spark both creativity and extreme levels of lethargy, probably in large part due to that Boiler Room documentary where they all sit around in a pretty run-down house, talking about music, religion and getting extremely fucked up. His music has always been fairly tongue-in-cheek and hazily delivered, but Come Outside, We Not Gone Jump You – the title track from his latest LP – sounds almost sincere and, well, romantic? Maybe that’s taking things a little too far, especially given some of the lyrical content, but regardless, it’s a welcome return.
There’s a little chord change about halfway through simmerDown that absolutely destroys me: crushingly melancholic but simultaneously optimistic and hopeful, it’s everything I love about this kind of lo-fi, heartfelt r&b, and as it only happens once and the track’s less than two minutes long, I’ve probably clocked up 20 listens on this already today. Man, it’s great, and hopefully after a string of singles this year we might see an album in 2021. That would be lovely.
Quinton Barnes is just absolutely fucking brilliant. Not only did he put out one of our favourite albums of the year with Aarupa, he recently announced a new LP As A Motherfucker which will be landing in January to buoy us all when we’re skint and miserable after one of the weirdest festive periods of our lives. What a dude. Switch is stripped-back but punchy as hell replete with eerie pads and crisp drums, and further reinforces the fact that he’s a thoughtful, outrageously talented artist surely destined for greatness.