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Welcome to The Rotation, a roundup of the week’s key moments in music and why you should listen. Read Volume 12 below, or scroll to the end for playlists on Spotify and Apple Music. Previous instalments available here.
The weather is getting better, the restrictions are lifting, and there is a palpable sense of relief and hope around these days. Many of us will be particularly excited about the return of barbers and hairdressers! Music, as always, captures this excitement and reflects it in this week’s new releases.
This week’s selections feature great tunes to soundtrack your evening walks and your time catching up with friends in the sun. Enjoy!
Jake Bugg | ‘Lost’
British singer songwriter Jake Bugg approached his new album wanting to experiment with new sounds and the results so far are fascinating. He described how this track was inspired by those who felt lost and parted from loved ones during the pandemic, he wanted this tune to soundtrack the summer coming out of lockdown.
The track starts with a thumping beat and a gorgeous piano riff reminiscent of Nina Simone’s ‘Sinnerman’ loop, before transitioning into a soaring festival-ready chorus. It is a dynamic new sound with a refreshingly upbeat energy but the melancholic lyrics and authentic sentimentality that we associate with Bugg are still present, creating a layered texture to the track.
His new album Saturday Night, Sunday Morning arrives August 20, and it will be interesting to see where else this experimentation leads him.
Jany Green | ‘Lost in Love’
The idea of boxing artists into specific genres is becoming increasingly outdated. Jany Green has already shown that he does not want to be limited to one type of sound, and this new track is an exciting mix of hip hop, rock and funk.
Reminiscent of N.E.R.D. during the Seeing Sounds era, this track takes off at a bustling pace and doesn’t slow down. The experimental production is upbeat and lyrically Green is motivating the listener to do what you love and feel how you want.
It’s an optimistic track, full of swagger that will suit sun-drenched afternoons with friends. Green plans to release an EP during the summer and it will be interesting to hear what direction he takes.
Snøw, Rxseboy & Jack Cullen | ‘Spilled My Coffee’
It’s rare that a remix would be released before the release of the original song, but this is the case here with Snow’s new track—and it speaks to the excitement around these three artists. Jack Cullen’s vocals are pitched down, but still sound so smooth over the vintage beat. Rxseboy and Snow flow effortlessly, retelling their stories of misfortune.
All three artists are known for their lo-fi sounds and this track is a perfect example of the genre. Following collaborations with Powfu and Kina, among others, Snow and Rxseboy have established their place in the genre, while they came across British singer Cullen online and reached out to him to work together. Interestingly, Cullen spent a period living in Ireland when he was a professional rugby player in the Munster academy.
There is a lot of excitement around these artists, and it is great to hear them together on a track. It will be fascinating watching their careers develop from here.
DWLLRS | ‘Fiction’
DWLLRS are a new band based in Southern California, where Bren Eisman and Joey Spurgeon met in first year of college and bonded over their taste in music. This track has an interesting mix of aggression and peace—pulsating elements of the track are balanced with moments of calmness in the breezy melodies.
Lyrically they focus on looking forward to what’s ahead, while trying to solve issues living in the shadows of your mind. It is evocative storytelling based on self-realisation and their vocal range is impressive throughout. The production is captivating as the instrumental fluctuates throughout with soft vocal harmonies adding a peaceful texture where required.
This is an impressive track from a new band and based on their previous releases it will be interesting to keep an eye out for a full-length project from them.
Self Esteem | ‘I Do This All The Time’
British artist Rebecca Taylor returns with a reminder of what’s important in life. Taylor is known for her work with Slow Club for more than a decade but emerged as a solo artist in 2019 with the album Compliments Please.
This track is a mix of spoken-word verses, airing out frustrations about social norms, and a soulful chorus that feels uplifting and aspirational. The verses, delivered in her thick South Yorkshire accent are self-effacing and endearing. She is exploring the complications associated with being a human and learning that comparing yourself to others is only going to end in tears.
But the gorgeous melodies and experimental production elevate this track to a higher level. This is a fascinating release and will only build anticipation for more to come.
HousePlants | ‘What’s With All the Pine?’
We have all had our fair share of soul crushing Zoom calls at this stage and found ourselves quietly critiquing someone else’s backgrounds. HousePlants delve into this subject on their first release.
The band comprises of Daithí on production and Paul Noonan, of Bell X1 fame, on vocals and, in their own words, they form a band greater than the sum of its parts. The production has hints of deep house with a funky edge, while Noonan makes playful observations and paints a relatable picture.
It’s easy for tracks like this to come across as a gimmick, but the high-quality production and engaging delivery elevate this to another level. HousePlants have said they want to make music they could imagine playing at 2am at a festival and, if they keep delivering tunes like this, they’ll have plenty of festival slots to look forward to.
The Marías | ‘Hush’
Music and film have always been intrinsically linked, and this is certainly the case for The Marías, who started as a band writing music for movie scenes after they would receive a brief synopsis from the filmmaker. The cinematic sound is very evident on this new track with its lush, sensual production and intoxicating vibe.
The band is made up of singer María Zardoya and drummer Josh Conway, although Conway adds some distorted vocals on this track as well. The driving concussive beat and refreshingly dark soundscape provides the backdrop for María to advocate for empowerment and inner strength.
Their appropriately titled debut album CINEMA is out on June 25. This track marks a departure from their quieter bedroom pop sound on previous releases and will make fans very excited to see what a whole project will look and sound like.
It has been 5 years since Daya was catapulted to fame and success after being featured on The Chainsmokers hit ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, and she admits that it has taken that long to recalibrate and figure out what she wants from her career and her sound. Here, she returns with a beautiful track appropriately themed around escaping the noise with your partner.
The production is refined, and her performance is mesmerising. The chorus is simple, but you’ll find it stuck in your head after listening. Her subtle references to her girlfriend are part of her campaign to normalise queer relationships.
Her new EP, The Difference, is out May 14, and if this track is anything to go by it will be the perfect soundtrack to a quiet Sunday afternoon.