We’re back on track with our monthly music review. Here is our February 2018 new music review as well as a quick look back at an iconic track from the past. You can listen to previews of each track or, if you have iTunes and an Apple Music account, you can listen to the full songs and add the playlist to your library. Simply follow the instructions at the end of this post.
Download these songs this month…
Song: Surface To Air
From album: Marble Skies
On third album Marble Skies, Britain’s Django Django make the stretch for the big time. Gone are the twitchy rhythms and tricky melodies of before and in come stadium-ready pop giants. The creativity and experimentation remain intact, but everything feels a bit more refined. Guest vocalists soften lead singer Vincent Neff’s falsetto yelps and ticks. And in the case of lead single Surface To Air, he hands over the reins completely. Rebecca Taylor from Slow Club brings her sultry vocal sheen to a tropical dance track that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Rihanna album. While Django Django may never produce a perfect and consistent album, their genre jumping ride is always fun.
(Also download these songs from the album: Marble Skies, In Your Beat, Tic Tac Toe)
Song: Find Me
From album: The House
On Find Me, Aaron Maine (aka Porches) sounds like he stumbled into a room where a hi-fi was playing an old techno record from the early 90s (like this one). Deciding to press on regardless, he just sings the lyrics to one of his typical dream indie-pop tunes over the top. Somehow this crazy idea blends to an impressive result. So well in fact, that he comes close to repeating the trick on the other album highlight Anymore. Nothing else on his 3rd album The House comes close to matching those twin heights however, with the bulk of the tracks reverting to more typical synth-pop fare.
(Also download these songs from the album: Anymore, Goodbye, Now The Water)
First Aid Kit
Song: Rebel Heart
From album: Ruins
Southern US musicians stole heavily from Irish/Celtic folk tunes during the 1920s and thus country music was born. Ironic then, that one of the best current proponents of the genre happens to be two sisters from Sweden. Klara and Johanna Soderberg have produced four fabulous albums of classy folk-country under the moniker, First Aid Kit. Latest offering Ruins is chock-full of stunning harmonies and moving ballads. Opening track Rebel Heart is the meatiest number here and it’s where they combine their voices to dramatic and soaring effect. Also listen out for the glorious shift in backing that breaks in after the false ending at 3.30.
(Also download these songs from the album: It’s A Shame, Fireworks, Ruins)
Song: Zone 1 To 6000
From album: Weighing Of The Heart
Nabihah Iqbal is a digital music producer who previously recorded as Throwing Shade. Now opting to wear her Asian-British heritage more obviously, she releases material under her own name. Most of the tracks on latest album Weighing Of The Heart are sung in a quiet shoegaze style over a modernized New Order backing (see our New Order review below for more). Zone 1 To 6000 on the other hand draws cleverly from another 80s Brit influence. The track is a dead-ringer for the Pet Shop Boys’ West End Girls, even repeating the same off-hand deadpan delivery. On the other outing here, where Iqbal changes up her vocal style (Slowly), her lovely voice leaves you wondering why she doesn’t sing straight up more regularly.
(Also download these songs from the album: Something More, Eternal Passion, Slowly)
Song: Wolves Still Cry
From album: The Book Of Law
A simple Google image search on ‘Lawrence Rothman’ gives one an instant impression of multiple personas. Throw in a large dose of gender fluidity and you could well expect erratic musical output. Not so however. The Book Of Law is an album of classy, thoughtful pop. Rothman’s croon is the unique feature in the mix., not a million miles away from Roxy Music-era Bryan Ferry. Most of the tracks on the album come with an accompanying video. All are filled with Rothman’s anguished lyrics detailing the harsh realities of growing up gender uncertain in a conservative, lower class Jewish family. Wolves Still Cry is the lead single from the album and the track that best brings together Rothman’s singular vision.
(Also download these songs from the album: Jordan, California Paranoia, Shout)
In case you missed it…
Song: Age Of Consent
From album: Power, Corruption & Lies (from 1983)
What’s a band to do when their lead singer, chief songwriter and one of the most influential frontmen of all time commits suicide? Most would simply fold I guess. Not so for New Order, who sprang up from the ashes of Joy Division following the death of Ian Curtis. Not only did they survive, the remaining members of the group regathered and completely rethought their music. This completed a stunning transformation from the gloomy goth of Joy Division, to the shiny indie-dance of New Order. Their hastily released debut album in 1981 was not much to shout home about. Their 2nd outing however, Power, Corruption & Lies, was a huge leap forward and arguably their best offering to date. The iconic sleeve had no name or title, song titles bore zero resemblance to the songs themselves, and a policy of excluding singles from albums (in this case the massive Blue Monday) should not have been a recipe for success. However, the album plugged directly into the 1983 zeitgeist and was a huge success.
From tough beginnings, New Order went on to become one of the most influential acts of the 80s and 90s. Indeed, the band is currently experiencing a resurgence of interest, with many new artists replicating their sound and swagger.
(Also download these songs from the album: Your Silent Face, 586, The Village)
LISTEN TO OUR PLAYLIST
You can listen to previews of each track by clicking on the icons next to the song titles below.
If you have iTunes and an Apple Music account, you can listen to the full songs and add the playlist to your library. Simply click on the white Apple Music icon.
Read and listen more of our music reviews here.