The Official Chart for April 17
I’m really enjoying Sizzy Rocket’s debut album Thrills. The obvious comparison is with Kesha, with the belligerent hedonism (“we’ll never stop feeling if it kills us”) and the stylophone-esque synths on the title track. But, also like Kesha, Sizzy Rocket doesn’t let this attitude preclude being more open and affecting, as on “Helium” and the more eighties-synthpoppy “Need Somebody.”
As ever, you can listen to a compilation of these tracks on Mixcloud.
Chelsea Lankes is another great new artist working in the pop styles of the recent past. “Home” from her new EP is gorgeously light, recalling the kind of power-pop that was the go-to style for Disney stars a few years ago.
The new All Saints album is much better than we had any right to expect. It mostly sounds, well, like All Saints, perhaps especially on the best track, “One Woman Man.” But for a band to sound like themselves after 15 years isn’t a simple matter of repeating note-for-note the sounds of 15 years ago. They sounded the way they sounded because of what their music sounded like against the background of what music sounded like then; the difficulty is to recreate that sound against todays different musical background. So the production on their new album is often more contemporary than it first seems, as on the lead single “One Strike.”
I mentioned HQFU’s track “Good Reason” a few weeks back, and she’s now followed it up with an album; there’s a bit of a similarity to the All Saints record, in that HQFU also creates a very 90s atmosphere through much more up-to-date production, although here the 90s being evoked is the rave sound of people like Sunscreem, particularly on a track like “Sat Nite.”
Evidently I’m still not bored of generic EDM.
Saturday Monday’s EP Superset is quite interesting for the way it starts off with a fairly straightforward chart house sound, as it does on “Make it up or Let Go,” but adds enough unexpected details to become something slightly different, a balance of banger and slightly cerebral alienation.
Björk’s “Hyperballad” is an amazing record that captures the vertiginous fragility of a certain kind of contentment. It’s so good I’m astounded to find a cover that comes close to being worthy of the original, but Jim-E Stack and Jana Hunter have made something really special, with a dance production that emphasises the lurching terror implicit in the original, and vocals with the grit to match. Jim-E Stack’s “Deadstream” is also worth a listen.
Hints of Björk, perhaps, in Vittoria Fleet’s album Greed, along with the industrial techno sounds of a band like Lakker.
A certain amount of industrial clang and disorienting cut-ups in Alo Lee’s Videos EP, but wedded, I would say, to a more pop song structure.
You could say something similar about Funktionlust’s Windows, although here there’s a slightly more mystical enveloping vibe, making Bat for Lashes a more obvious comparison.
I’ve seen Wyldest described as shoegaze, and I guess they are, but they don’t quite have the complete oneiric detachment I associate with shoegaze, from bands like Lush or, more recently, Tamryn. But Wyldest are enjoyable in a more upbeat way.
“Underdressed” is such a good title for a song there’s a risk of over-rating the actual song, but I don’t think I’m doing that with the new song from Vérité, which is a great slice of moody Lorde-wave.
Raye’s “Distraction” is similarly moody.
A cool thing about Miles from Kinshasa is if you Google his name, Google tells you how far you are from Kinshasa. Another cool thing is his electronic-funk track “Ivry.”
Why Not Y’s album Blue Lazers is also kind of electronic funk, although mostly of a slightly chillier variety (e.g. “These Walls“), with the exception of what is also the best track, “Future Feel.”