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Playlist: Quarantunes

Here are some of the new releases I’ve been enjoying during lockdown! Some nice (sad and happy) quarantunes. There’s a link to a playlist at the end if you’d like to listen to them.

‘A Hero’s Death’ – Fontaines D.C.

Dogrel instantly became one of my favourite albums last year, so I was very excited to hear how Fontaines D.C.’s sound would take shape on their new album. The first single from the album, ‘A Hero’s Death’, definitely defied my expectations. I didn’t think I’d ever focus on the harmonies of a post-punk song but the ‘ba ba ba’ backing vocals really made the track for me. The way they clash with the guitar and bass line gives off a kind of spooky feel. I am very eager to hear how the rest of the album will sound.
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Singles’ Round-Up

‘The Races’ by Sports Team

Always erratic but fun, Sports Team provide another indie track that you want to jump along to.

Distortion from the electric guitars and a strong drum part gives them their distinct 90s indie sound, and brings hope of a post-punk revival. I’ve never been to the races but the man they sing about sound like the archetypes I’ve always assumed go to the races (‘He’ll never buy a drink but he’ll let you know he can’).

Featured on Vevo’s ‘DSCVR Artists to Watch 2020’, the high energy of the song emanates through frontman Alex Rice’s performance. Very Mick Jagger and Jarvis Cocker-esque. Known for lively and chaotic dancing, Sports Team always put on a phenomenal show; undoubtedly ‘The Races’ will be incredible live. Continue reading Singles’ Round-Up

Review: MAGDALENE by FKA twigs

When FKA twigs released ‘cellophane’, the lead single from her new album MAGDALENE in April, I was blown away by how such a beautifully minimal song was able to convey such intense vulnerability. With the accompanying music video in which twigs performs a pole dancing routine before falling into an underworld, the overall effect shows just how powerful she is; both mentally and physically. Andrew Thomas Huang, the director of the music video, referenced the surgery which twigs underwent to remove fibroid tumours prior to working on the new album as inspiring her to learn how to pole dance. Knowing that she only started to learn how to perform on the pole a year before filming the music video, the intensity expressed becomes even more intoxicating and emotional.
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Singles’ Round-Up

Kanye’s latest album, Jesus is King, has interesting ideas about how to blend hip-hop and gospel but is let down by inconsistent execution and poor lyricism, and is a disappointing return after two years of leaks and teasings. A track that is emblematic of this is ‘Water’, where Kanye raps on themes regarding rebirth and the healing power of faith, and its ability to purify. These are especially relevant given Kanye’s attempt to rebrand and move away from topics like sex and drugs. The production is simple but effective and provides a smooth, solid base for Ant Clemons’ excellent feature. Clemons sings well and is the highlight of the song, but he is let down by lazy lyricism from Kanye. Rather than speaking on his evolution as an artist, he decides to repeat variations of Jesus save us, which marks a concerning decline for the once revolutionary, boundary-pushing artist. Continue reading Singles’ Round-Up

Singles’ Round-Up

‘Family and Loyalty’ by Gang Starr (feat. J. Cole)

In their first project in sixteen years, classic rap duo Gang Starr (featuring J. Cole) harken back to the golden age of hip-hop with a single reminiscent of their seminal album, Moment of Truth. DJ Premier constructs a jazzy, boom-bap beat around an unreleased verse from Guru, who tragically passed away in 2010. The beat perfectly suits Guru’s flow, with the gentle pianos underscoring his smooth voice. The lyrics are unsubtle, with ideas of the longevity of friendship and classic rap at the forefront, which is juxtaposed with comparisons to the modern genre that is moving away from conscious rap. Cole’s feature serves to hand over the baton to the next generation of conscious rap, and whilst his flow sounds clumsy at times, his message is no less important and relevant. This is a well-constructed single that reinforces the value of old school rap to the rest of the genre. Continue reading Singles’ Round-Up