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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 9 below, or scroll to the end for playlists on Spotify and Apple Music. Previous instalments available here.
As live music is becoming more of a reality in the future around the world, artists are conveying this excitement with music that is intended to celebrate the return of concerts and festivals.
This week’s selections feature jubilant songs that will make you want to dance in a field with a plastic cup of your favourite drink, as well as reflective tracks that will give you comfort on your evening walks. Enjoy!
Jungle | ‘Keep Moving’
The time is coming when we can all come together to sing and dance in a field and Jungle want to provide the soundtrack. This is a joyous return from a band that have shown that they are masters of creating modern disco anthems.
This track clearly has the direct intention of getting the listener to move their feet, but it is also an addictive, groovy remedy for gloomy days. Lyrically the track is about accepting who you are, no matter what the world throws at you, and the production reinforces that sentiment. It is a confidently produced track, with elements of funk and soul, that feels immediately nostalgic. Reminiscent of the production on Random Access Memories, it is as if Jungle have picked up where Daft Punk left off.
The UK duo have announced that their new album, Loving in Stereo, will be released August 13 and is already in contention to provide the soundtrack for the summer.
Hiatus Kaiyote | ‘Get Sun (feat. Arthur Verocai)’
In order to finish this track, Hiatus Kaiyote travelled to Rio de Janeiro to work with the legendary Arthur Verocai who added strings and horns to the track. This experience ended up reshaping the song and much of the album they were working on too.
Lead singer Nai Palm ended up spending an extended amount of time living with a local tribe in the rainforest, learning to live on the bare minimum. This eccentricity can be heard all over the track. The song ebbs and flows vibrantly, with elements of improv throughout including bird calls, glinting synths, and fuzzy effects. But while the production jumps between jazz, trip hop and soul, Nai Palm’s beautiful vocals tie the song together.
The Melbourne band have announced that their first album in six years, Mood Valiant, will be released on June 25. Given what we have heard so far it will be an album to watch out for, and you can imagine the live performances will be a highlight of festivals in the future.
Jelani Aryeh | ‘Marigold’
The feeling of transitioning from winter to spring is one that most of us can identify with, however, it is difficult to describe and harder to capture in a song. Jelani Aryeh tries to express this feeling of hope with this refreshing new track.
Aryeh has explained that the reference to marigold flowers is special for him as they are nicknamed little lion, while the meaning of his own name is mighty lion. But in essence, this is a track that does not take itself too seriously. The upbeat production provides a backdrop for Aryeh’s smooth, optimistic delivery.
The nineteen-year-old has shown that he is not afraid to dabble in different genres and this mix of R&B and indie pop will only build anticipation for a full-length project from the artist.
Saint Sister | ‘Karaoke Song’
Irish duo Saint Sister return with an ode a fun night out doing karaoke. Interestingly the karaoke song that inspired this track was ‘Sex Bomb’ by Tom Jones, an unexpected, but excellent choice.
This track represents a new sonic avenue for the band. The ethereal vocals and pop melodies that brought them success previously are still present here, but they have also introduced drum machines, synths, and an electric harp. These additions give the track a disco edge alongside their folk driven harmonies.
Their mesmerising vocals are still the stars of the show and their ability to create rich, atmospheric melodies is captivating. They have announced their new album, Where I Should End, will be released on June 25, and it will be interesting to see how these new sounds fit with their acoustic sensibilities on a full-length project.
Fynch | ‘Soon (feat. Willhouse)’
Like everyone else, Drimnagh rapper Fynch is counting down the days to when things return to normal, and we can go dancing again. He manages to express this without any self-pity or anger, he is simply reflecting on the situation and looking forward to what is to come.
The track is an honest and vulnerable look at his mindset and his feelings of confinement, but he maintains a hopeful outlook and is looking towards the light at the end of the tunnel. His refrain, acknowledging that everything will be alright acts as a statement of hope, but also, he appears to be trying to convince both the listener and himself. Producer Willhouse provides a stunning backdrop to these reflections with dusty drum pockets and simple synths. The track is reminiscent of British artist Rex Orange County both in terms of production and delivery.
Fynch shows that he has the ability to approach a tough subject matter with a laidback flow and witty observations. His new EP will be released this year through Burner Records and, based on this, it will be an interesting listen.
Inhaler | ‘Cheer Up Baby’
Inhaler were first introduced with the heavy note that lead singer Elijah Hewson is the son of Bono, but they have shaken any preconceived notions based on this association and delivered a string of captivating singles.
They described this track as a love letter to their fans and its classic feelgood energy is something everyone can relate to. Hewson delivers evocative lyrics oozing with sadness and longing but always maintaining a sense of hope. The infectious indie instrumental pivots around a guitar refrain with dynamic drums and a groove-stricken bassline. This expansive soundscape opens up to a thunderous chorus creating an anthemic sound that is beyond their years.
Inhaler have shown a finesse on their tracks released to date and their debut album, It Won’t Always Be Like This, set for release on July 16, promises to be a special album.
Chloe Angelides | ‘Different’
Chloe Angelides is an accomplished songwriter and producer; she has worked with Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande among many others. As soon as you hear her voice you can understand why she has decided to release music under her own name.
As you’d expect, lyrically Angelides is honest and vulnerable throughout as she addresses a relationship that has ended and watching her former partner move on. The track unfolds as if Angelides is progressively making herself more frustrated as she reflects on the relationship and builds to a cinematic climax as she shows the full extent of her vocal abilities.
Her debut album, Friends Who Failed at Love, is out now and showcases the abilities of this talented young artist.
Ingrid Michaelson & ZAYN | ‘To Begin Again’
Watching her neighbours celebrate with pots and pans following the announcement that Joe Biden was to become the next U.S. president, Ingrid Michaelson was inspired to write this track. She described it as a sigh of relief that was felt worldwide, and she wanted to capture that feeling. Once it was written she knew that it had to be a duet and she knew that ZAYN would be perfect for the collaboration.
ZAYN has had a mixed reception to his solo work following his unbridled success with his former band, but there is no denying his tone and his ability to deliver a stirring vocal performance. Both artists here deliver captivating, emotive performances. The production is pared back to maintain the focus on the vocals, but the track does build to a swelling chorus that imagines the beauty of the post-pandemic world.
It is a beautiful, uplifting track and a great example of songwriting that captures a specific moment in time and shares it with an audience that will be able to relate and seek comfort in it. For now, it seems to be a one-off single as Michaelson continues her work on the Broadway adaption of the bestselling novel, The Notebook.