it’s a beautiful sunny day outside again and i’ve finished the majority of my work cycle for the month with a couple of loose ends to tie up, so i don’t know if i’ll get around to this today but who knows maybe the weather will break and force me inside to hunch over my computer and tap out some thoughts on this weeks newest crop of music.
i went to a gig this week – the lovely australian mr harrison storm (i keep wanting to type ford) played the attic bar at garage in glasgow, a gig that iain from two months or so ago booked it on a whim. if you like slightly moody but well put together folk-rock songs then give him a listen, his latest single which dropped today is in this round up so look out for it further down.
as for today, i’m happy to see new releases from emily burns and jade bird, interested to hear the new jessie j and cuts from shawn mendes’ album that dropped today, and nervous to hear zayn’s latest track to see what musical trajectory is on and if i’ll be on board with it. re: last week i’ve been pretty out of it for relistening to new music and listening to music generally, but i did burn my first ever cd for playng in my car titled summer vibes, which featured in my head and barbed wire by james bay and tom grennan respectively from last week.
call me loop – love the lie
i guess loop decided loop alone wasn’t enough, so now with her next single under the moniker ‘call me loop’, we have an island/latin-pop-sounding track with a couple of talk singing lyrics in the verse that you wouldn’t be surprised to have heard on the recent anne-marie album. it’s a decent pop track for what it is, not lighting my world on fire and i think any enjoyment i’m getting out of this will be as short lived as her last one-week stint on my current playlist, but i could easily hear myself cranking up the volume if this came on in the car.
chvrches – graffiti
graffiti is a very chvrches sounding song, but i’d say it’s as commercial as they come. there’s a basic melodic appeal to heartache and growing up that stopped me for a second and for me that makes this the most accessible track they’ve put out so far on this album cycle, very remnant of the mother we share, i could see it as one of those arena show closer moments before the encore when the glitter cannons shoot and the balloons are dropped from the ceiling and the band walk of stage one by one and the lights go out before they come back a couple of minutes later to play get out. the only slight falling point for me was the actual song concept about graffiti on the bathroom walls was a little thin, but for me chvrches have always been about sound over subject and they absolutely deliver here.
cloves – wasted time
i don’t know anything about cloves, i’m getting a nice mix between lana del rey and london grammar. a bit too slow and dreamy for me, it feels like cloves is just someone who has a good voice that likes to show it off in an understated way which i’m fully in support of but it won’t be making its way onto any playlists of mine.
crystal fighters – boomin’ in your jeep
so crystal fighters have heard plot twist by sigrid and injected part of their hook into this country-song-titled non-country song. i have fond memories of crystal fighters, this is kinda summery and feel good, but this is giving me nothing that a hundred of other indie-pop bands are giving me and it doesn’t stand out apart from a ridiculous title, which of course means that i’ll be playing it constantly.
emily burns – cheat
burns is easily one of the most exciting new voices in the industry at the moment – both bitch and girlfriend at the time were surprise hits (for me at least) earlier this year – and the good news is that cheat is her best track so far. the production is simple, she knows her voice and how to use it on a track not only as a lead but for the backing vocals too, which pushes her a thousand feet ahead of most other female pop vocalists skirting the edges of the musical landscape. most significantly she has delivered a real life, bonafide chorus on which she sings in her own, understated style rather than chickening out and sticking some edm anthemia like so many others have done in recent memory and it’s got me feeling on top of the world. only five songs in but i can already tell this is my song of the week, so much so that i’ve already played it twice.
SPIN SPIN SPIN
glades – not about you
there’s so much indie-synth-dream pop out there right now and i’m absolutely here for the vibe it gives me, i really need to make a dedicated playlist because whenever it comes on i can’t find myself able to fault it. i wasn’t immediately into not about you but by the close i felt myself coming around. i feel like once again i’m reaching for a nostalgic past that existed before i was born.
harrison storm – feeling you
i saw storm on wednesday of last week and whilst i couldn’t say absolutely if he played this song since his style is so consistent that his songs feel like a cohesive body of work, i’m sure he probably did in his 45 minute set. you can hear his ben howard influences (mercifully not in the 6-minute track length way) and it’s obvious that he knows his way around a guitar which gives him a stretch more authenticity than a lot of artists of his kind can boast. broody moody folk rock that has a strong build and fits right in to the rest of his back catalogue. one to watch for sure.
hatchie – bad guy
without repeating too much what i said re: glades new song, i’m all here for this dreamy indie-synthy-pop thing that is so prevalent right now and throwing back to the late eighties/early nineties (if my poor knowledge of pop culture is correct) of someone standing outside of someone else’s bedroom window holding a boombox asking them to go to prom or to forgive them or whatever and then the person inside rushing out to kiss them passionately, maybe the rain comes on, yadda yadda, beautiful cliché cinematic moment another win for hatchie, get me a ticket to whatever festival she’s playing at this summer.
jade bird – furious
maybe my expectations were too high for new jade bird, but i really thoroughly unashamedly came around to her first track this year lottery which is very folksy-white-girl-with-guitar twee love and happiness. furious would be going too far to describe my feelings, it’s not surprising that this release is a more sombre balladry affair that i’m sure will make up a solid chunk of her live sets and albums. i’m all for storytelling music, but as yet i’m not compelled enough to pay that much attention to the lyrics so for now it’s a pass.
jake shears – creep city
i liked scissor sisters well enough to give shears’ solo efforts a spin, but so far so blah. it feels too polished like an-actor-who-has-turned-to-singing-and-has-big-label-management-who-don’t-know-about-popular-music, all a bit loungey, like i could see the music video for this just being him singing in the studio, i don’t know what this creep city is supposed to look like so for that reason it fails.
jay prince + mahalia – with u
breezy rap music that i thought for a second was craig david. i said this last time i listened to a jay prince track but that artwork is just so pleasing, no? good colour choices, kudos to whoever was behind that. mahalia is one of those singers that keeps cropping up and i know the name but couldn’t for the life of me one song that she was on. her backing is nice, it definitely injects life into with u but not enough to justify the 255 second timestamp.
jesse james solomon + eliza – don’t make me
i’ve given new eliza doolittle enough chances now that i think it’s time that she delivered a song that i would spin rather than bin, as that lasting memory of her at t in the park from seven years ago when she took the top spot as the best person i saw not only all weekend but as a live performer is feeling more and more like a dream. i can hear her vocal hasn’t diminished so i’d selfishly like more commercial bops (pack up, mr medicine, skinny jeans) and less of this silky r&b nonsense that doesn’t interest me at all.
jessie j – someone’s lady
the wildest thing about recent that jessie j, self-proclaimed one of the greatest living vocalists, coach of the voice uk and australia, felt compelled to enter a chinese reality singing competition, and win. maybe it’s because she’s been feeling underappreciated following some underperforming, lukewarmly received efforts to continue her international career and needed that revalidation that she’s a good vocalist and that people actually endear to her enough to vote for her. problem is, jessie, nobody was doubtful of your talents, your songs were just shit and self indulgent. get some new writers in the room and get rid of whoever helped you put together this disaster.
jonas blue + jack & jack – rise
it’s that jonas blue song that comes out every two months with very minor alterations so that you think you’re listening to a new song and will wilfully play it as part of your gym mix for two months until it’s time for the next one.
loote + joe jonas – longer than i thought
there’s a big synthy chorus which leans me over to the bin pile, but damn if i’m not a sucker for a male-female pop vocal. loote and jonas’ voices are a good mix, and this is verifiably an uplifting get-over-you bop that is for some reason i can’t quite pin is sending me to a state of euphoria.
maggie rogers – fallingwater
this is some jessie-ware-level gorgeousness. a vocal that engages and soars, a very pretty pre-chorus, strong real -instrument backing and a stripped back piano bridge that breaks it down nice and slow and carries you into a silky (ever so slightly unsatisfying because it doesn’t return to the chorus but otherwise perfect) outro. props to rogers.
mt. desolation – how to fly
methodical indie-rock perfection. i love this genre because it can really quickly get to that feel good sensation that a lot of songs take until the bridge to get to, and by thirty seconds you’re there. a very full, rounded product that i’d be elated to see on the main stage as the sun is going down at a festival this summer.
nicky jam, will smith + era istrefi – live it up
i’m struggling that waka waka was the song of the world cup from eight years ago. eight years. yikes. it was an anthem so everything that takes on the world-cup-song moniker sure as hell better live up. it was exciting to hear that will smith was on this track, but i wish his vocal was a bit more prominent because he’s just got one of those commanding voices. it’s a very football-party-song and i reckon i’d be going wild for it after sinking a few too many beers watching a football match if that was how i lived my life, so i’d say it’s definitely doing its job, it definitely bangs, but i just don’t see me playlisting this.
panic! at the disco – high hopes
i’ve been having a pop-punk renaissance this week and been listening to a lot of green day, fall out boy, my chemical romance et al. so this new panic song is definitely welcome. i stand by my belief that they are just fall out boy with a different name, it’s all very the same and i’ll probably be bored of it all again in a week, but it’s going right on my playlist
polar states – roads
another indie rock band that i can’t distinguish from their genre-peers. there’s something here that i like, maybe it’s just the fullness of the sound that any competent band can put together, i thought the introduction was nice and you get a bit more of that when the bridge come around, but mostly it just sort of plateaus really quickly and doesn’t give me anything to get my teeth into. i started playing this before i took a break but i was beat so thought coming back to it with a fresh ear would bring me around but it wasn’t enough.
rudimental, shungduzo, protoje + hak baker – toast to our differences
i’m quite into this run from rudimental, by which i mean i thoroughly enjoyed these days and it feels very much about the guest artist rather than peddling themselves as a dj squad* with over the top “we are djs listen to our synthetic beats” it’s more “we are producers and here is what we’ve created in our collaboration projects” which is cool. toast to our differences feels like a short step from these days in terms of vibe, it’s light and breezy and i can get behind it as a project, but as a standalone it doesn’t do enough to make me want to hear it again.
*not a technical term
shawn mendes – nervous/like to be you feat. julia michaels
i won’t even whisper that i’ll be listening to the self-titled album from mendes from which these two new music friday-featuring songs were cut, because i know in my heart that i just don’t have much patience for albums right now. taking them as standalones, nervous is a fun easy listen that will be making its way sharply onto my feel good mix, it’ll never be a fav but it’ll keep my good mood riding on. like to be you is obviously michaels’ handiwork, and as i’ve said i’m a sucker for a duet. i’ve given micheals a lot of flack for her lasting impact on the chart sound that’s got me longing for something new but a) chances are she wrote a bunch of these songs all at once and they’ve just taken a couple of years to hit the airwaves, and b) they’re annoyingly kinda good in their simplicity, so call this peace. again, don’t think like to be you makes for much of a single but it’s nice.
shirin – almost lover
it’s really satisfying to hear a bit of grit in among an overpopulated landscape of pretty-but-samey-and-a-bit-whiny female vocalists, and to hear a song that really projects that strength. and it’s a controlled grittiness, not done to excess, as if she’s been doing this her whole life. almost lover might stumble a little in being a little derivative, it sounds like an adele reject from her latest album, but it is undeniably commanding and i can only imagine how this would be to experience live. soaring and glorious and i’m excited to hear what shirin does next.
shy martin – forget to forget
first forty five seconds i was doing a big eye-roll like “this is just another bebe rexha that nobody asked for” but then when the chorus came in and shy martin gave that deep bassy breakdown like in tongue by mnek i woke up. this bangs.
train, cam + travie mccoy – call me sir
i don’t know when i lost patience for train, they were big faves for a while around the drive by era, but i think it’s patrick monahan’s voice that just goes through me now and there’s no going back from that. travie mccoy is equally as jarring and cam, whoever you are, i’m sorry you were a part of this. who is this for, who asked for this, why is this a song that people gave the green light for release?
vistas – tigerblood
fresh feeling if not fresh sounding indie-rock from a scottish band i feel like i’ve come across before, an instant feel good summer track. it’s got energy, it’s got a central hook that i feel is gonna grow on me and i’m feeling buzzed.
xavier rudd – storm boy
cute folk rock, effective storytelling and some pretty imagery, never heard of rudd before but this is certainly welcome. not strong enough to put it on my playlist but captivating enough that i’ll put him on my white-guys-with-guitars-to-check-out list.
zayn – entertainer
weak chorusless and forgettable, c’mon zayn, you can do better than this.