Azealia Banks, The Killers, R Kelly
Azealia Banks – ‘Jumanji’
Updating the ‘difficult second album’ prospect for the blog generation, Harlem rapper Azealia Banks has found herself facing the problems of the difficult second single. With breakout track ‘212’ becoming hip-hop’s answer to ‘Video Games’, it’s with overly judgmental cynicism that most people will approach ‘Jumanji’, but thankfully there are few [i]Saturday Night Live[/i]-style clangers to be found on this one. Floating in on the ethereal twinkles of a harp (yep, we didn’t expect that one either…) before dropping in some playfully wonky, MIA-style backing beats and even calypso drums, ‘Jumanji’ is as brattily, brilliantly fun as you’d hope. Azealia’s throaty husk and spat out lyricisms still sound uncompromising, but with Banks clearly prioritizing sound over sense (“[i]That can and can and continue/Your anti-nanas and cameras[/i]” – anyone?) the general atmosphere still rings out with light-hearted exuberance. There are nods to the confrontational content of ‘212’ in ‘Jumanji’s “[i]designer vagina Gucci[/i]” and its central call to “[i]Rule bitch, all day, Uptown Broadway[/i]” but, in general, the first cut from the rapper’s forthcoming mixtape ‘Fantastic’ is a slightly more crowd-friendly affair. After her first forays into success it will be interesting to see whether Azealia continues down the commercial path, but with Minaj’s recent offerings providing few thrills, there’s still a lot here to be hopeful about.
The Killers – ‘Go All The Way’ (Raspberries cover)
So we were expecting the guitars to be turned up on the follow-up to Brandon and co’s electro odyssey ‘Day & Age’. But balls-out power pop, as evidenced by this cover of the Raspberries’ 1972 monster for the soundtrack to new Burton-Depp movie Dark Shadows? Few probably saw that coming…
d’Eon – ‘Al-Qiyamah’
The Oneohtrix Point Never protégé and recent Grimes collaborator is set to drop the follow-up to 2010’s ‘Palinopsia’ on June 5 – minimally titled ‘LP’. This final track on the album is an elongated run of agitated synths and muddled vocals with all the ephemeral flourishes of his debut. Brilliant stuff.
TNGHT – ‘Bugg’n’
Avowed vowel haterz Hudson Mohawke and Lunice have come together to produce this spooky slice of post-grime (and Grimes) beatology, that spools out like driftwood on a sea of atmospheric R&B. Sonic references to Aaliyah and The Knife abound, and by the end you’re left blissfully marooned in the middle of their musical soup.
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Liars – ‘Octagon’
One of the tenser moments from new album ‘WIXIW’, this creepy mechanoid meandering is like being trapped in the pouch of a robotic mother kangaroo as it hops down the central reservation of the dystopia freeway and Angus Andrew cruises alongside, slurring drunkenly. Funtimes!
Liars – Octagon by Mute UK
King Tuff – ‘Anthem’
Sooner or later there has – HAS – to be a glam rock revival, and when there is, Kyle Thomas will be quids in. This is the opening tune on the King Tuff album, and utilises every conceivable glam trick in the book, up to 11, without any annoying irony behind it.
Savages – ‘Husbands’
With the kind of urgent, twitchy bassline that’s like the neurotic output of a riot grrl Joy Division, Savages’ forthcoming single begins in visceral form before transforming into some kind of musical mental breakdown. As singer Jehnny Beth yelps “[i]My house, my bed, my HUSBANDS![/i]” we’re not sure whether to be terrified or aroused.
Sigur Ros – ‘Dauðalogn’
In a move that can only be described as quite interesting, Sigur Ros debuted their new tune in the closing minutes of a Vampire Diaries episode in which some people drown in a car. It suited the scene, floating as it does like a sad, peaceful cloud above bad stuff happening in the world.
R Kelly – ‘Feelin’ Single’
Lock up anything with a pulse! The Kelster has escaped from not just the closet, but the clutches of his former flame and he’s on the prowl. Cause for concern? Not when the result is a slice of sleek and delectable sunshine soul like this which recalls and even-more-carefree ‘70s Jacko.
Childish Gambino feat Schoolboy Q – ‘Unnecessary’
Ignore the near-constant accusations of him being the corniest rapper on earth, and this quietly – and rather impressively – proves that there’s a talent to ol’ Danny boy underneath the media fuckstorm. An appearance from Schoolboy Q and an equally tidy Quincy Jones-aping beat seems to cement his growing decency.