Read about our 5 favourite new music releases for the month of May, as opposed to our normal 4 albums plus an oldie. ‘In case you missed it’ returns this month. Listen to the tracks at the end of the post or download or stream these songs this month…
The Chemical Brothers
Song: We’ve Got To Try
From album: No Geography
The Chemical Brothers are witnessing a bit of a late career revival. Starting with 2010’s Further, through 2015’s Born In The Echoes and now latest album No Geography. This recent streak has arguably produced the best music they’ve ever delivered. Sure the acid-soaked bangers they brought us in the mid to late 90s are still massive fun, but there are new levels of depth and maturity. There’s still plenty here to get the feet moving and fill club floors mind. Take lead singles Got To Keep On and We’ve Got To Try as prime examples. The latter just pips it as our track of the month on account of an awesomely squiggly synth track that could smash down walls. Then there’s it’s even more awesome tear-jerking video starring a dog. Aurora (featured in our November 2018 edition) takes responsibility for lead vocals on many of the tracks.
(Also download from the album: Got To Keep On, Free Yourself, Catch Me I’m Falling)
Song: Make It Better
From album: Ventura
We brought you Anderson .Paak’s debut album Malibu as our ‘in case you missed it’ feature in our inaugural edition in May 2017. That record came suddenly to music lovers’ consciousness with its super-cool, jazzy, trippy old-skool soul-funk vibe. Inexplicably then, for last year’s follow-up Oxnard, .Paak swerved hard left to bring us a set of rap tracks. The negative critical and commercial reaction was swift. So swift in fact that he hurriedly released third album Ventura to set matters right. Whilst rapidly released (only 6 months after Oxnard), the tracks here don’t sound hurriedly put together. The languid, sultry sound is back, and .Paak’s scratchy voice returns to default singing mode. Make It Better is probably the closest he’s come to producing a Stevie Wonder ballad, complete with a cameo backing vocal from a now 79 year-old Smokey Robinson.
(Also download from the album: Reachin’ 2 Much, Jet Black, King James)
From album: Only You Can See It
On first listen, Emily Reo’s Strawberry sounds like a modern teen-pop tune. Peppy synths bring us in gently, followed by the entry of a booming chorus (complete with shout-out), and then in comes the heavily auto-tuned verses. So far, so 17 years old. But pierce beneath the surface and things become much more interesting than they seem. In the first instance Reo is in her early 30s. She also hails from Brooklyn, NYC (hardly the hot-bed of radio-friendly Katy Perry types). Plus she looks absolutely nothing like the current crop of pop-princesses. But it’s the lyrics that really twist. Mostly modern-poetry of the difficult to decipher variety. And when she bites it hurts. Take for instance a line that has to be one of the best put-downs of the year: “your eyes close when you talk about champagne, my eyes roll back so far I see my brain”. The album took Reo 5 years to make. It shows.
(Also download from the album: Phosphenes, Ghosting, Balloon)
From album: Part 1 Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost
Math rock was a term coined in the mid 2000s for bands that combined odd time signatures, angular instrumentation and opaque lyrics. At first a term of admiration for the artists’ technical proficiency. In time, as is the case with all hip trends, it soon soured and fell into the ‘something to poke fun at’ category. Leading the original pack were British band Foals. With frontman Yannis Philippakis’ sing-yelp and wacky haircuts, they were the picture-postcard protagonists. In their last few releases, however, they have shown signs of dabbling in a shift in direction. Now with the latest album Part 1 Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost the transition is complete. Foals have become a fully-fledged stadium rock outfit. Gigantic riffs, bold choruses and even some disco breaks. Singles Exits and In Degrees are the best examples. Who knows, perhaps the Part 2 implied by the album’s title will bring them back full circle to their roots…
(Also download from the album: In Degrees, Sunday, Cafe d’Athens)
Durand Jones & The Indications
Song: Morning In America
From album: American Love Call
“They don’t make ‘me like they used to”.
Well, in the case of Durand Jones & The Indications, actually they do. You could readily file this alongside albums by The Temptations or Smokey Robinson from the 60s and 70s and a casual listener skipping through wouldn’t notice the difference. There is of course a fine line between inspiration and out-and-out copycatting, but Jones’ outfit fall just the right side of that line. Sure, the backdrop is all old soul – sweeping string and brass, light-touch drumming, gentle rolling bass. But it’s the lyrical content that places this directly in the crosshairs of the present. Take album opener and lead single Morning In America for instance. Beneath the gentle-seeming wash lies some pretty crunchy words about living in 2019 USA. A What’s Going On redux for modern times. The more things change, the more they stay the same then.
(Also download from the album: Long Way Home, Sea Gets Hotter, Don’t You Know)
In case you missed it returns next month.
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 grey Apple Music icon.
RELATED POSTS: See more of our music reviews here.