Ty Dolla $ign – ‘Drop That Kitty (ft. Charli XCX & Tinashe)’
Over the past year or so, the name Ty Dolla $ign has become as synonymous with club rap culture as cups of lean and DJ Mustard beats. Although the first glimpse into his debut album Free TC ‘Stand For’ was a somewhat introspective departure for the Cali rapper/crooner, ‘Drop That Kitty’ is a sharp u-turn back to the sleazy sonic territory in which his sensual slurring is both accustom and best suited to. Enlisting 2014’s prime hip-hop hook-for-hire Charli XCX and R&B’s latest phenom Tinashe to serve up a searing two for one chorus combo over Cashmere Cat & Stargate‘s bubbling Bay Area reminiscent production, ‘Drop That Kitty’ seems destined to relentlessly claw its way onto the airwaves – and probably onto the playlists of a few Los Angeles strip clubs, too.
Joshua Pauley @PutUp0rShutUp
Jack Garratt – ‘Chemical’
In the week that Zane Lowe announced his imminent departure from the Radio 1 throne, he premiered another blissfully exciting track from one of the UK’s next biggest hopes: Jack Garratt.
‘Chemical’ showcases Garratt’s head bobbing and body popping house-y tendencies but also further confirms his devotion to his R&B overture, that reeks of Chet Faker bearing child with Disclosure, through vocals that will reverberate for eternity. His lyrics push the track closer to deep poetry rather than deep house though as he describes his love as ‘’overdone/selfish and domineering’’ and ‘’chemical/shallow and chauvinistic’’ as he once again pushes genre boundaries to bend and mold to his conduction.
‘Chemical’ is a tune for those who like to rip it up in a club or, if you prefer, in your own headspace away from the world.
Matthew Bisgrove @mattbsgrv
Royal Blood – ‘Roxanne’
Covering such a prestigious song by one of the biggest bands of the seventies and eighties is a risky move to take, however, for Royal Blood it’s just another step in their stride .
Royal Blood’s cover of The Police’s classic hit for BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge is a clear show of the duos natural talent. With Ben Thatcher’s signature Lemmy Kilmisteresque bass tones and Mike Kerr’s tremendous drum thrashing, the song is Roxanne with an edgier rock twist, and it’s the perfect combination for a brilliant song.
Sufjan Stevens – ‘No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross’
Although only brief, ‘No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross’ acts as the fantastic first ambassador for Stevens’ return to his folk roots, featuring nothing more than his heartfelt whisper, acoustic guitar and the air conditioner rumbling away in the background. That’s how bare this thing is.
It’s a simple but beautiful song which touches on his affinity with religion in addition to his problematic relationship with his now late mother – a theme which supposedly defines his imminent seventh record Carrie & Lowell. The words are truly poetic, the melody swooning and that ‘fuck me, I’m falling apart’ line – daaaamn. It’s good to have the man back doing what he does best.
James Barlow @BassOddity
Halestorm – ‘Mayhem’
Halestorm‘s second single from their highly anticipated 2015 album has that rebellious attitude of punk while still having that wild energy hard rock is known for and the band have been synonymous with. Lzzy shows her wide vocal range here. In the verses her voice is subtle and husky, but during other parts she reaches her optimum power. The catchy, sleazy riffs, fast chord progression and big chorus give the song ‘rock anthem’ status, a formula that Halestorm have mastered in their first two albums. The only downfall of the song is that the lyrics are cheesy and predictable, however this makes them memorable and easy to sing a long to. Overall, Halestorm have produced yet another solid rock track that would get any crowd rowdy and pumping their fists in the air in anarchy.
Earl Sweatshirt – ‘Quest/Power (feat. Budgie & Samiyam)’
The last track Earl Sweatshirt released was ‘silenceDArapgame’ as part of Hog Slaughta Boyz with skater and Odd Future cohort Na’kel Smith, and it was a hilarious mockery of modern rap. This time, Earl isn’t playing around. He lays down his first verse with a newfound braggadocious enthusiasm, proclaiming “cool coals you spitting just ain’t hot, this fire and brimstone/you guys should’ve went home”. The beat then switches up and Earl spits a couple of truths we’ve all known for a minute now: “I’m not like the cowards on the fence/I’m not like I’m lounging on the bench.”
He says what he wants and he works hard to get all the plaudits he so rightly deserves.
Nathan Butler @PeakFiDem
Chvrches – ‘Cry Me A River’
This Live Lounge version of the Justin Timberlake classic has been given the synthpop treatment by Chvrches.
The cover has a similar sound to the songs from Chvrches debut album so expect plenty of glossy synths and chaos pads. In terms of vocals, lead singer Lauren Mayberry is on form as she delivers the lyrics in her distinct Scottish vocals, giving the cover a unique feel.
Justin Timberlake and Chvrches fans alike will love this cover. It’s pure synthpop goodness that’s easily accessible to all music fans. More Chvrches in the Live Lounge in the future please BBC Radio 1!
Joel Hernon @HernonJoel
Everything Everything – ‘Distant Past’
Another tantalising first taste of an upcoming album, ‘Distant Past’ is still undoubtedly Everything Everything. The band’s most recognisable trait – the eclectic, acrobatic and rapid vocals of frontman Jonathan Higgs – rule the song and provide one of the band’s biggest hooks to date atop an almost house-inspired bounce of a chorus. Yet with their third record, Get To Heaven reportedly finding inspiration from the many tragedies of 2014 and boasting such graphic lyrics as ‘saw off all my stinking limbs/blood dripping down my sunken monkey chin’ it’s comforting to see that the Manchester quartet haven’t lost their bite yet.
James Barlow @BassOddity