New Music Friday #24

On a personal admin note, I am off to Bangkok on June 29th and I need to know all the exciting places to go and things to see, and preferably get through them in one day because the other couple I have to work. Hit me up, people! As for today’s blog – friends, I warn you now… it’s a bumper New Music Friday this week. 17 fucking songs. Just looking at the titles I’ve picked out for a once over this week, based on rumour or artist name or hunch that I might get a little drag in is giving me convulsions. I can barely be arsed writing this so if you wanna tap out at any point, I won’t blame you or be offended. Of course you can always follow along with those new releases HERE and if you don’t wanna trouble yourself reading my words (who can stand reading? in this heat?) jump to the end and follow my 2017 playlist which adds all the best bits anyway.

So, what do we call it if instead of a drop the music actually lifts a little and bursts into a proper chorus with words and stuff? Is that just traditional songwriting? I feel like I’ve forgotten what it’s like when a song does this, I’m disoriented. Anyway I’ll be real, this track sounds like it could very easily have been a #1 from The Wanted back in the day – it literally sounds like ‘Glad You Came’ – but that’s no bad thing I guess, since it’s not barrel of scumbags The Wanted, it’s Astrid S, pristine scandi-pop queen. There’s no sick, sweaty sense of shame listening to this perfectly serviceable summer banger, just breezy good vibes.

I have already decided that this Calvin Harris record is a classic, an essential for every music lovers collection, the soundtrack of the summer, and ‘Feels’ is right up there with the quality of all the other tracks that have been released so far. Katy Perry sounds almost unrecognisable, having never ventured into funk/R&B territory she’s putting on her best Ariana, but it works for her, she sounds absolutely great. Big Sean’s verse is completely functional and I could have done with less Pharrell but overall I’m a fan of this cute lil’ jam.

Chlöe Howl was a hot tip a few years ago but the music was bad and she’s not a very good popstar, to be frank. In 2017, the music is a little better (marginally) – there’s a nice flourishing chorus on this – but I’m still hugely unconvinced by her. Who is this music for? It’s not cool enough to be muso and not populist enough to chart. Pass.

After his last Calvin Harris collaboration went (unjustly) unnoticed, Dizzee is back on his pure grime grind and it goes hard. It’s been easy to forget that Dizzee can spit for minutes without ever taking a breath but he reminds across almost 4 minutes of ‘Space’, a mission statement about not playing it safe and coming for blood on new album Raskit. My body is ready.

Let me just get my goddamn motherfucking LIFE to this Santana sampling banger. I cheated by listening to this with the video first – Rihanna is an absolute vision! – which definitely contributes to the relentlessly sexy vibe. ‘Maria Maria’ for 2017. It is full grown and it’s fucking your man while you watch.

Etta Bond has done literally nothing to set herself apart from the other Soundcloud R&B girls and she’s been knocking around for ages. Still, this track is supremely listenable, if a little linear, and worth a few spins to see if it grows if you’re into this kind of thing.

Everything Everything have had a couple of tracks that have pricked my ears up over the years, but this isn’t really one of them. The hook is more ear maggot than ear worm and the beat is so gloopy I can’t see myself strolling around enjoying this in the summer sunshine. Maybe I would have felt differently about it in the autumn…?

What I like about George Ezra is how he’s successful in a bubble – he quietly launched, shifted a shit ton of albums, picked up an award or two, sold out a tour and fucked off to write a second album, all without the usual media slew of forcing some white dude with a guitar down my throat in the way James Bay or Jack Garratt or Rag N Bone Man et al seem to pop up everywhere even in places they aren’t welcome. ‘Don’t Matter Now’ is jaunty, with a catchy “d-d-doo d-d-doo” refrain that is welcome to be played on radio stations and land George more acclaim and success completely independent of me having to know or care about it. Happy for him.

The Killers are back and they’re funky. Everyone’s funky at the moment, aren’t they? I’m into it though. Brandon Flowers croons in falsetto about being the man with a plan over rolling drums and fidgety guitar, and no this doesn’t have the instant rock theatre dramatic effect most Killers songs do, but you know what? It’s great.

A weird tropical and deep house hybrid that might just be crazy enough to work. Icona Pop’s trademark shouty chant choruses are in full effect on this GIRLS ARE AWESOME anthem, though it’s missing some of their more raw, one-take style energy – the vocals even risk being, dare I say… generic? Cut to me next week crying and screaming about how this is my favourite song of the year.

Am I a stan for The Japanese House now? It feels like after a couple of EP’s the sound has finally fully solidified into something warm and electronic and lush and I can’t get enough. This is the third of her recent releases that I’ve been all over, and if you’re a fan of dreamy layered vocals and synthy grooves you should be all over it too.

Okay listen, this song slots almost perfectly into whatever formula Jax Jones used to work out their Raye collaboration, but do I care? Will you? Absolutely not. It’s a mega tune – sassy, snappy and instantaneously catchy – clocking in at 2 minutes and 45 seconds, lean with the fat all trimmed. Let this be the beginning of the Demi Lovato revival and the launch of Stefflon Don as a fully formed star.

The woman single-handedly responsible for ensuring that Girls Aloud went out on a wet fart instead of a roar of approval (she wrote ‘Beautiful ‘Cause You Love Me’ the chart dodging single we all pretend never was even though it got a radio premiere and a music video) has her own track out and what about it? Well it’s definitely better than the abortion she gave to Girls Aloud, that’s for sure. In fact, it’s actually really good? “I sleep much better knowing I still get to you” is the petty hook I’ve been waiting for all year.

A generic feel-good dance-pop track about everyone being shining stars that actually, despite how trite it is, has settled itself in my chest anyway and is making me feel feelings? It sounds a little bit like something from Body Talk era Robyn actually, which couldn’t be more of a compliment.

Like most things I enjoy, Taylor Swift ruined Owl City good and proper for me. His twee, twiddly, speak ‘n’ spell schtick – which by rights I shouldn’t be paying any mind to anyway – became unbearable after T-Snake hissed her approval of it, like can I have even one guilty pleasure? Anyway, this song isn’t good enough to win me back – if the mawkish clunky metaphor wasn’t enough to stick in the throat when you realise it’s an ode to dad’s, literally like a John Lewis advert for father’s day, you’ll gag to death and be grateful for it.

Am I mad, or does this not sound like Shania Twain at all? Her voice sounds very odd, but perhaps that’s just Spotify compression and average quality Macbook speakers. Anyway the song – it’s alright, I guess. I wanted to like this a lot more, if I’m honest and maybe it will grow on me, I’m prepared to give it a chance for sure. But honestly? It’s a little cheap and cheesy – it has none of the wry humour of Shania’s more upbeat numbers or the sweet honesty of her slowies. I doubt it will be troubling the chart.

Unlike most of pop twitter, I thought Wolf Alice’s debut album was fairly decent. Sometimes I really need to enjoy something shouty and a bit tuneless to remind me that I still have the range to play the sardonic best friend sidekick in a teen movie. This isn’t hitting the right spots for me, unfortunately – I quite like the guitars but I’m not keen on anything else. Do give it a go if you feel like thrashing about and clawing at your own skin, though.

Follow my 2017 playlist here…


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