Playlist Reviews: Week 3-4

1 Wild Beasts - Sweet Spot

From the unmistakable combination of Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming’s voice, the typically poetic yet almost overtly sexual lyrics and the evocative, layered guitar, this is a classic Wild Beasts track. Yet there are flourishes of something new in the synths and perhaps even in the swirling harmonies which accompany each mention of the ‘sweetest spot’. This is an alluring, sensual song which feels much shorter than it’s 4 minutes and is perhaps more accessible than anything the band have yet released, without betraying any of the flourishes which make them so unique. And it’s really, really gorgeous. Holly Read-Challen

It shamelessly nicks a fair bit from Roxy Music circa Avalon, but the bits they choose are perfect for this gorgeous slice of dreamy synth pop. Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming once again trade vocals, floating over a backing with drives things on towards the clouds without feeling the need to change pace. New album Present Tense is shaping up to be quite special. Richard Fitzpatrick

2 Todd Terje - Delorean Dynamite

The Norwegian producer treats us to a brilliant new cut from his debut album that comes out this year, appropriately titled It’s Album Time. The album will pair some of Terje’s older releases (including the excellent ‘Inspector Norse’ from 2012) with newer material; the most noteworthy being a collaborative track with Bryan Ferry. In ‘Delorean Dynamite’ listeners will likely hear comparisons to the works of Giorgio Moroder, however a sensational guitar riff sample in combination with Terje’s own spacey personal touch leaves this track feeling fresh. Charles Gillies

3 Shlohmo and Jeremih - No More

After the success of their impressive ‘Songs-from-Scratch’ collaboration track ‘Bo Peep (Do U Right)’, Shlohmo and Jeremih announced last month that they will bring out a full length collaborative EP in 2014. ‘No More’ is the first single, and if this track is anything to go by, we should be in for a treat when the EP arrives. A track of two halves: in the first LA producer Shlohmo’s smooth rolling beat pairs perfectly with Jeremih’s silky falsetto, while in the latter part the Chicago R&B star’s increasingly distorted vocals intertwine themselves round a more minimalist and experimental beat. CG

4 MØ - Say You’ll Be There

MØ released this infectious cover of Spice Girls’ ‘Say You’ll Be There’ as a Valentine’s treat, and treat it definitely is. With a Grimes-esque beat by vindahl and MØ’s haunting vocals, it’s the perfect 2014 homage to the classic girl group. Rachel Earnshaw

What better way to get yourself on the radar than a Spice Girls cover? You wouldn’t get Baby Spice et al. singing over the stuttering backdrop MØ chooses, but she infuses it with a modern day edge. If you didn’t know any better you’d swear it was written by Sia. RF

5 Playlounge - Zero Four years on from their formation, London duo Playlounge are finally getting around to releasing their debut album, Pilot. ‘zero’ is exactly what you’d expect - it’s scuzzy with a quirky pop feel to it - only it’s much better than what’s came before. Hopefully it’s an example of what their album will sound like. Charles Thomas Lang

6 Johnny Foreigner - WiFi Beach Noisy, fuzzy guitars teamed with male/female vocals can only mean one thing, Johnny Foreigner are back. The second track taken from forthcoming album ‘You Can Do Better’ is the perfect combination of noise and poetic lyrics like ‘i slip over borders like loose leaves on the last of the breeze’. ‘Wifi Beach’ is Johnny Foreigner back to their old tricks, leaving everyone excited for the next album and upcoming tour. RE

7 Kirkis - Mirror The new song from Kirkis, a Melbourne based trio, is one of the funkiest tracks dropped this year so far. The bass playing running up and down throughout the track brings to mind Thundercat and the squelchy synth breakdown that occurs half way through the track is very reminiscent of the wonky production Flying Lotus is capable of. Hopefully this is going to be the start of more great tracks to come from these newcomers. Patrick Cartlidge

8 Temples - Shelter Song Imagine taking Tame Impala and planting him in the 60s. If - like myself - you disregarded Temples because Noel Gallagher said they were “the best new band in Britain”, then you were wrong to do so. Their debut album Sun Structures is brilliant, and ‘Shelter Song’ is the best track from it. CTL

Ooh I seem to have stepped back to the 60s. Not exactly updating the sound as just giving a bit of a spit and polish, Temples are the gateway band you never knew you needed to head on back to the days of psychedelia and really bright clothing. RF

9 Isaiah Rashad - RIP Kevin Miller In anticipation of his debut EP to be released later this year, the newest signee to the TDE label (home to Black Hippy), the 21 year old Tennessee native, Isaiah Rashad releases a new track that utilizes a hook penned by the late Kevin Miller (brother of Master P, who was gunned to death in 2005) and exhibits his own impressive lyrical ability. Rashad is clear that he does not want to go the same way as Miller (gunned down in 2005), mournfully recounting the drug addiction, poverty and criminality that beset the ghetto, and issuing a call to the youth to ‘wake up’. Poweful stuff. TDE again look set to have another impressive year, and this young man is likely to play a major role. CG

10 Future - Move That Dope ATL-Born Nayvadius Cash (yep really) has, over the last couple of years, crafted one of the strongest singles discographies of any current rapper, from ‘Sh!t’’s righteous ire to the official Freebandz power ballad ‘Turn on the Lights’. Ahead of oft-delayed second LP ‘Honest’, Future teams (and turns) up once again with super producer du jour Mike Will Made It (Miley Cyrus’ homie) on a more unsettled and far less glossy backing than usual almost sounding like Death Grips, throwing in decidedly post-Migos flows about trapping while Pusha T and Pharrell revisit territory familiar to Clipse fans on a pair of, well, dope features. Emmett Cruddas

11 Sticky - Pablo ‘Pablo’ is the certain highlight from London-based lo-fi project Sticky’s debut EP. Recalling Guided by Voices’ captivatingly primitive home-recordings, Elliott Smith’s intimacy (string scratching and all) and Times New Viking’s insistence on a steady trebly riff, Sticky positions endearing vocals next to a couple of great lead parts, pointing towards an impressive live sound while providing a pretty perfect debut EP whose brevity and roughness in no way compromise the songwriting and recording brilliance on display. EC

12 Fatherson - I Like Not Knowing Having a hardcore following and selling out gigs across the country is almost impossible for a band that have yet to release their debut, unless, of course, you’re Fatherson. They continue to go from strength to strength, and this is undoubtedly their most confident single yet. Ross Leighton’s vocals are as wonderful as ever, well suited for the incredible, anthemic chorus. Simply put, this is top of the range alt. rock, and a perfect example of why I Am An Island is one of this year’s most anticipated albums. See you at the Arches, 26th April. CTL

13 Duke Dumont - I Got U The follow-up to his number one single, ‘Need U (100%)’, and the second single from his forthcoming debut album. This is what heaven sounds like. CTL

After his smash hit last year, “Need U (100%)”, Duke Dumont has had some pretty hefty hype to keep delivering. If this blast of Whitney-esque Balearic pop is anything to by, I think he’ll do just fine in 2014. RF

14 Machinedrum - Back Seat Ho Following last year’s career-best Vapor City, Sepalcure’s Travis Stewart showcases once again on this new cut why he’s one of the most versatile producers working today. ‘Back Seat Ho’’s hyperactive juke-esque programming and heady overlaps of vocal samples make for a pretty stunning few minutes. EC

15 Sun Kil Moon - I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love Taken from the astonishing new LP ‘Benji’, Mark Kozelek’s (Red House Painters) 6th record under the Sun Kil Moon monicker, ‘I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love’ sees the Californian songwriter duetting with kindred spirit Will Oldham (Bonnie “Prince” Billy) on a confessional, beautiful and textured cut from a stunning LP that covers more emotional ground than other tracks sure to turn up on a Brooklyn Vegan-approved Mothers’ Day mixtape. EC

16 Freeform Five - Leviathan (feat. Roisin Murphy) It’s about time Mrs Murphy showed up on a song again. This collaboration with Freeform Five showcases her ability to make any song that much better. The radio edit gets straight to the point, giving sultry vocals over a great electro house beat. RF

17 Fear of Men – Alta/Waterfall The Brighton-based dream-pop band with a killer ear for melodic hooks (see the brilliant singles compilation Early Fragments) prefigure the release of very promising debut album proper Loom in April with this great new track, filled with all the adrenaline, mystery and depth that has made Jessica Weiss’ songwriting so compelling over the last couple of years. Fans of Julia Holter, The Cure or Slowdive will find lots to love amid the impressively tastefully-wrought string layers. EC

18 Francis Lung – Age Limits After the impressive first single ‘A Selfish Man’, Tom McClung’s second release under new monicker Francis Lung is another great, mysterious and engaging piece of slow-paced echo balladry popular among Londoners King Krule and Only Real. McClung’s bass playing was a vital part in making WU LYF one of the most propulsive and inspiring bands in recent British music but, following their implosion, ‘Age Limits’ suggests Lung is equally adept at lending his talents to more modest and careful brand of indie pop, whilst losing none of the Manchester-born upstarts’ charisma. EC

19 Spiritualized - Always Forgetting With You Surprise new single from the Wigan-based classic band, making their ‘space-rock’ mantle more appropriately literal than ever. J Spaceman’s characteristically simple hymn-like songwriting is here underwritten by a beautiful bed of field recordings made in space, while the expansive and powerful work done by the rest of the band recalls 1997 masterpiece Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space’s more tender and patient moments. Beautiful. EC

20 A$AP Ferg - VMA Tales After releasing one of the best hip-hop albums of 2013, the pint-sized A$AP crew member returns with a fantastic rework of ‘Man of the Year’ by ScHoolboy Q. Over a smooth beat that samples the Chromatics, Ferg shows off his impressive lyrical versatility in telling the tale of his VMA award experiences. Switching between a silky honey-like flow on the hook, and his more recognisable trap flow on the verse, Ferg tells us of his disbelief as being praised by Lil Wayne, and of almost being brought to tears by shaking Will Smith’s hand. However, don’t let this high-flying red carpet tale mistake you: Ferg is “never gon be Hollywood” because he will always be in “love with the streets.” CG

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