There appears to be inherent dumbness amongst “real” music fans. You know the ones, the guys who pine for whatever time they were 17 and anything but the Beatles and Oasis, isn’t “real music”. Yeah those guys, those boring guys!
Should we resent or pity their loss of passion for life? Some recent conversations uncovered these gems:
“If women made better music they’d be booked for more festivals and do better.”
“1998 was the last year with good music.”
“(c)rap music has nothing to do with music, it’s not even music, it won’t last!”
Dumb, right? Imagine having ears and thinking that! Oh well, ignore the dullards and get stuck into some of the amazing new music (not from 1998) that we’ve heard recently.
The best music is being made NOW – why limit yourself?
Euroboy – Universal Weltschmerz
As if Subroutine records weren’t doing enough with their insane roster, they have started the Glove Compartment imprint to give us more. Euroboy, the solo work of Doortje Hiddema, is one such offering, with blasts that sit at the intersection of post-punk, no wave and noise rock.
The visceral ‘Universal Weltschmerz’ precedes the coming OK Mom EP coming on 7th May. This is wonderful noise.
Alicia Breton Ferrer – No Suicide In The Kitchen
Glove Compartment isn’t messing about! Away from her roles in noise conjurers The Sweet Release of Death and post-punk wonders Neighbours Burning Neighbours, Alicia Breton Ferrer unleashed a different side during isolation. The result is Headache Sorbet, an album that infuses minimal electronics to the minimal aggression of no-wave.
‘No Suicide in the Kitchen’ creeps along, stalking the listener, like a beautifully serene moment just waiting for violence to erupt. Glove Compartment is already essential!
Toumani Diabaté And The London Symphony Orchestra – Elyne Road
The fruits of this collaboration between Malian kora player Toumani Diabate and the London Symphony Orchestra couldn’t be sweeter. Connecting eras as well as European and African musical traditions, ‘Elyne Road’ runs the chimes of the kora through stunning neo-classical composition – think Max Richter embracing the music of Mali.
The full album Kôrôlén is released through World Circuit on 23rd April.
Alex Epton – Games
Alex Epton has quite the industry pedigree – as the in-house producer at XL Recordings he has produced, engineered and remixed everyone from FKA Twigs and Bjork to Thom Yorke and David Bryne. He was also a key component in Spank Rock’s incredible 2006 album Yo,Yo,Yo. It’s safe to say he knows his way around a tune!
‘Games’ comes from his debut solo EP Episodic Buffer Vol.2 and is a good indication of the release’s playful instrumental hip hop. It floats as a piece post-rave that would act as the perfect foil to any number of forward-thinking MCs.
Crumb – BNR
We are big fans of Crumb’s hypnotic melodic charms. 2019’s album Jinx burrowed inside our heads like a worm, taking up residency in our minds (but in a good way). ‘BCR’ is amongst the first batch of tunes leading up to new album Ice Melt coming on 30th April.
Elkka – Burnt Orange
Euphoric Melodies is an apt title for the forthcoming EP from London based producer, DJ and label boss Elkka (or Emma Kirby to her folks) coming 21st May on Technicolour. The whole thing revels in euphoria.
‘Burnt Orange’ pulls the neat trick of being both a massive floor filler and intimate armchair listen, combining ambient static, with the biggest techno beats and most soulful vocals. Whether you heading to the club or looking for some alone time it works in both environments. Dance music as it should be…
Yaya Bey – September 13th
Big Dada’s recent transformation into a label solely run by black, POC and minority ethnic people set out their stall as a vital voice in music. Yaya Bey is a vital new soul voice, it’s really that simple. The album The Things I Can’t Take With Me is out now, stick it on in the sunshine and feel better about the world.
Poté – Young Lies (feat. Damon Albarn)
With the album A Tenuous Tale of Her (out in June), Poté (aka Sylvern Mathurin) marks the debut album release for Bonobo’s OUTLIER imprint. It’s a record that is tender and tough, understated and grandiose all at once. This single features Damon Albarn (a man who knows who to work with). Poté’s music has always balanced contrasting impulses. On the one hand, there’s the rhythmic, celebratory music of his Caribbean upbringing, and on the other, there’s his interest in exploratory, emotive songwriting. On this record, he takes that approach in a bolder direction: immersive and atmospheric, it’s a platform for those two sides of his music to strike a fresh dialogue.
It is that interesting. One to watch out for over the coming year…
Penelope Trappes – Fur and Feather
Trappes’ third album Penelope Three is already shaping up to be one of the most mesmerising albums released this year. It is an austere, dream-pop work delving deep into the emotional heart of the artist. Minimalist, experimental electronics dance with sub-classic surges and soulful, pain-filled vocals that never overstate but are always powerful. ‘Fur and Feather’ is a grand cut from that album.
Tirzah- Send Me
London singer-songwriter Tirzah quickly established herself as one of the UK’s most vital new artists with her debut album Devotion. ‘Send Me’ is a return that proves this is still the case. Taking the looseness and emotional core of previous work this is a more minimal take on her sub-RnB format.
Written, recorded and performed alongside her close, long-term collaborators, Mica Levi and Coby Sey, this core team has again provided epic forward-thinking pop.
Wu-Lu – Times
There’s a real buzz around vocalist, producer and multi-instrumentalist Wu-Lu – you don’t get shoved on the 6Music A-list and get included in Mixmag’s best tracks of 2021 for nothing (protest track ‘South’ did both those things).
‘Time’ takes 90s alt-rock fuzz and adds a funky rhythmic edge, driven by almost mumbled rhymes. It sits comfortably in the here and now, and would have been a banger back in 1991!
SPELLLING – Little Deer
SPELLLING returns with ‘Little Deer’ taking on a slightly different vibe. The strange electronics of her previous record are largely gone in favour of an off-kilter take on orchestral soul and the disco slow-jams. The penchant for adding strangeness to the recognisable is still there. This is classic music given a wonky upgrade.
Sylph – In The Morning Light
The solo project of former S.C.U.M founder and vocalist, Thomas Cohen, now collaborating with Berlin-based producer and artist Nicholas Bougaïeff, presents this collision of pop, techno dancefloor epicness and wiry electronic experimentalism. ‘In The Morning Light’ has a euphoric, after-the-party-sunrise glow emanating from its psychedelic core. The debut EP Silver As It Was Before is out via Mute on 21 May 2021.
TEKE:TEKE – Barbara
If you know, you know! Anything that comes via Kill Rock Stars is worth checking out. This has always been the case. This is still the case with the Montreal-based seven-piece, Japanese psych-rock band TEKE:TEKE. This is proven by the surf-psych banger ‘Barbara’ which is one of the tracks taken from their debut album Shirushi coming on the aforementioned legendary label on 7th May.
Aga Ujma – Night
There’s a childlike wonder to ‘Night’ the new one from this Polish-born artist, it dances with an otherworldly charm, a poetic narrative from beyond, a fairytale from the dark. It makes sense that her debut EP Songs of Innocence and Experience (coming 13th May on Slow Dance) is named after a collection of illustrated poems by William Blake.
Ghost Woman – Demons
So much new “rock” music is lacking in the dirty scuzz and fuzz, the rough edges and wooziness that always made it so thrilling. ‘Demons’ is built on those rough edges, a short 2 minutes 15 seconds blast of kinetic garage rock energy. Like Link Wray trapped in the early 90s bedroom cutting lo-fi indie-rock on a cheap four-track tape recorder. The album Lost Echo’s comes in July…