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New Music Weekly is your one stop shop for new releases in the world of music each and every week. From the best of the best, to some of the rest, Mark Conroy is here to give you the low down on what you might have missed. This week; Charlie XCX, Angel Olsen and more….
Charlie XCX ‘Babygirl’ (feat.Uffie)
The cocksure swagger of Charlie XCX was back to its best this week when she dropped her latest mix-tape Number 1 Angel. It’s arguably the best pop release of 2017 (even it is only march), and is sure to stand a good chance of staying that way come December. ‘Babygirl’ is shimmering sultry song drenched in early 80’s new wave Prince-isms, interesting and told from the point of view of a pin up poster.
Hurray for the Riff Raff – ‘Pa’Lante’
The supremely empathetic, folksy blues of Hurray for the Riff Raff is the unexpected antidote to toady’s toxic populism that I didn’t see coming. The groups excellent new album The Navigator was just released, documenting and amplify the marginalised voices who didn’t enjoy the benefits of gentrified, revitalised New York. ‘Pa’Lante’ is its fist shaking centerpiece, a near 6 minute epic with a Puerto Rican colloquialism for a title, meaning “forward”. In its final hair raising stretch, singer Alynda Segarra sounds like a revolutionary leader making a powerful call to arms to the forgotten masses at a packed time square, as her vocals soar above every face in the crowd. “To all who came before, I say …Pa’Lante” she bellows with an aching croak.
Valerie June – ‘Long Lonely Road’
Another New York act who released a LP worth your time recently is Brookyln based singer songwriter Valerie June. The Order of Time blends genres both traditionally black (delta blues, soul) and white (folk) to result in music that luxuriates in the best of gentle coffee-shop strumming. Opening track ‘Long Lonely Road ‘ has a fitting name, sounding like soundtrack to an easy-going, all night drive on a well paved highway in which your thoughts are your only company. The track, like the woman herself, moves at its own unique pace until it accelerates oh so gently.
Angel Olsen – ‘Who’s Sorry Now’
Angel Olsen has a voice so good, it seems to be able to transcend time itself. She’s gone and covered the 1958 Connie Francis take on what was already an old classic for the soundtrack of the upcoming season of The Man in The High Castle. Somehow though, Olsen contorts her voice in a crackly croon, enough to make this version sound even older than the Francis hit. Her mournful delivery, coupled with the Phil Spector drone that surrounds her, adds extra bite to already scornful words.
Check out the track here via NPR
Spiral Stairs – ‘Exiled Tonight’
Although the former Pavement guitarist was often overshadowed by front man Stephen Malkmus, Scott Kannberg AKA Spiral Stairs was always a strong songwriter in his own right. Considering he was in arguably the best band of the 90s, if he wrote even a sub-par effort, chances are it would still be pretty good—and he gave us some of their best work. These days, Kannberg is releasing some decent solo material and ‘Exiled tonight’ is a nice jangley outing that will appear on his upcoming Doris and the Diggers. It’s no ‘Kennel District’, but it’s a laid back relaxer that features both The National’s Matt Beringer and an ear-worm of a riff.
Depeche mode – ‘Poisin Heart’
Depeche mode have made headlines in recent weeks after hilariously denouncing the white supremacist fan base that seems to have latched onto them—they called Richard Spencer a “c**t” so they are already the greatest thing to return in 2017. Their new politically charged album Spirit came out this week and ‘Poisin Heart’ is the track that caught my attention. It’s a thumping, semi-industrial break up anthem that cuts with enough spite to ensure a lifetime of estrangement from that former special someone. “It’s time to break up/ You’ll always be alone” snarls Dave Gahan. Ouch.
Feist – ‘Pleasure’
After a lengthy five years without new material, Canadian darling and singer/songwriter Feist has returned. ‘Pleasure’ is miles away from the TV ad ready, commercial ubiquity of ‘1234’—a song I loathe as much as any [It’ such a tune – Ed.] Feist has stripped herself back to the barest of bones, and it’s a welcome sound. ‘Pleasure” is an atmospheric lo-fi, bluesy number with a kick. Feist is nothing if not an act who refuses to stay in one place.
Scarlet Pleasure – ‘Déjà Vu’
‘Déjà vu’ is a song that so deceptively catchy that its hooks land only after listening to it. It’s part 80’s nostalgic throwback, part modern chart topper, but really its none of those things. The title describes that feeling when you feel like you’ve experienced something before, but not quite like this and the track is a pretty audible representation of that . There are warped synthesizers, The Weeknd-like vocals and club ready throbbing beats and the result is a something that is more than the sum of its disparate parts.