Download these songs this month…
Lana Del Rey
Song: Lust For Life (ft. the Weeknd)
From album: Lust For Life
Four albums in and its now clear that Elizabeth Grant’s Lana Del Rey alter-ego is here to stay (and represents much more than the thin veneer she’s been unjustly accused of). But something is different this time around. Maybe it’s the vocal collaborations that break into her deep, smoky voice from time to time. Perhaps it’s the quietly anti-Trump turns to some of the lyrics. Or possibly it’s just that sweet broad smile on the album cover at long last. Whatever, Lust For Life is her strongest collection to date and is chock-full of great songs. The second single (and title track) from the album is an uber-cool duet with the Weeknd, in which he harmonises in stunning fashion one octave above Del Rey.
(Also download these songs from the album: Love, 13 Beaches, Beautiful People Beautiful Problems)
Song: Intentions (ft. Chachi)
From album: Sounds Of Crenshaw, Vol. 1
While his day job may be providing backing to the world’s biggest hip-hop acts (the amazing music underpinning Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly for one), Terrace Martin is proving a force in his own right. Multi-instrumentalist and composer Martin has now produced two stunning jazz-R&B albums. On this second outing, the numerous instrumental tracks evoke an early Miles Davis. It’s on the vocal tracks such as Intentions, where Martin lifts the funk quota though. Rapper Chachi (aka Problem) talks/sings in a groove, guiding us through a club night where he’s torn between longer-term love or shorter-term lust. Also try Wake Up for a slice of glorious traditional piano ‘n sax; you could do worse than go ahead and use this as a morning alarm. The album’s title suggests there’s more to come. Let’s hope…
(Also download these songs from the album: You And Me, Wake Up, Mama D/Leimert Park)
From album: Universal High
Londoners Childhood embark on a sublime makeover for album number two. From indie-pop also-rans into magpies stealing the best bits of 70s soft-rock. Far from being a simple ode to a past era, however, they twist the theme to make music firmly planted in the present. You can almost hear the vinyl crackles on A.M.D., and when frontman Ben Romans-Hopcroft launches into falsetto for the plaintive chorus, you can’t help but feel transported to a different time and place.
(Also download these songs from the album: Californian Light, Cameo, Universal High)
From album: Soft Sounds From Another Planet
Japanese Breakfast is the moniker of Korean-American Michelle Zauner. After penning an album of mostly low-key songs to help deal with the terminal illness of her mother, she opted to stay solo. Now she returns with Soft Sounds From Another Planet, an altogether lighter affair. Lead single Machinist could even find a place on the dancefloor with its pitch-shifted vocals and arpeggiated synth-backing.
(Also download these songs from the album: The Body Is A Blade, Road Head, Boyish)
Song: Nine Lives
From album: Pop Voodoo
How on earth Shaun Ryder and Kermit survived the chemical-fueled charge of their 90s heyday is anyone’s guess. Thankfully for us they’re back. And with them returns all the energy, wit and of course banging tunes. With a backing sounding like it was lifted straight from the soundtrack of a 70s cop-movie and hilarious lyrics mocking their survivor status (‘this is the first day in the rest of my nine lives’) single Nine Lives is sure to bring on a grin. And when Ryder let’s out a “whoo” at the 2:16 mark, you’ll be hard-pressed not to wiggle your hips a little as well.
(Also download these songs from the album: Money Burns, I Wanna Be Like You, Sugar Money)
In case you missed it…
Song: The Dead Heart (from 1987)
From album: Diesel and Dust
On a beautiful winter’s afternoon at the end of July, I watched Midnight Oil perform live at Marks Park in Joburg. Despite their age (all in their 60s) and vocations in the ensuing years (front man Peter Garett was an MP and then Minister in the Australian government for 10 years) the fire still burns. In 1987 they released their 6th album Diesel and Dust, enraged by the treatment of local aboriginal folk. They weren’t to know how strongly the themes of racial integration would resonate with the pre-1994 white South African youth and become a rallying cry for change. Their set opened with the still glorious and powerful The Dead Heart. A time then to reflect, with a drink in hand in the warm winter sun, on just how far our country has come.
(Also download these songs from the album: Warakurna, Put Down That Weapon, Beds Are Burning)
To read our previous New Music Reviews click here.