Grimes – ‘REALiTi’
Although it definitely lives up to the word ‘banger’, ‘Go’ put Grimes into an alien environment, trading obnoxious club seeking drops for warm pop experimentalism. ‘REAliTi’ instead presents both the logical step forward for Grimes, as well as showcasing her most lovable qualities.
As an imperfectly perfect demo, the backing of the song is the audio equivalent of a hug, due to her wondrous vocals and oceanic synths, while clanging beats and hard-hitting glitches permeate the charming atmosphere. What was never suppose to be heard actually sounds more an outstanding lead single and, post ‘REALiTi’, proves the impossibility for Grimes’ biggest naysayers to deny her as a rising force within the pop spectrum.
Connor Cass @connorcass
Flatbush Zombies – ‘RedEye to Paris (feat. Skepta)’
Fuck, okay… This has happened now and we have to come to terms with the fact that Skepta is our official ambassador for grime in the States. Give him a huge desk, infinite zuggies and all the studio equipment he needs in the newly founded Grime Consulate, because he is going too hard right now for us not to give him that level of support. There’s no need to discuss his verse because you already know it’s straight fire – Skeppy can’t be caught slipping right now. We’ve always dreamt that grime might one day be appreciated by the world, and one man is making sure that happens.
(Side note: Flatbush Zombies also have shit-hot verses – EVEN ERICK ARC ELLIOTT!)
Nathan Butler @
Tame Imapala – ‘Let It Happen’
Despite having a prominent role on one of the year’s biggest pop album’s (Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special), Kevin Parker of Tame Impala apparently doesn’t seem too into the idea of shooting for popstardom given that ‘Let It Happen’, his band’s first fresh piece of material since 2012’s lauded Lonerism is almost eight minutes long.
Parker continues with the troubled solitude-seeking lyricism that both Innerspeaker and Lonerism championed as the track revolves around an infinite groove which loops on itself continuously before revealing a beastly guitar riff in its tail. Credit to Parker is due, as the whole thing glides by effortlessly in a way that few songs of this length can.
James Barlow @BassOddity
Best Coast – ‘Heaven Sent’
Sometimes when you grow up and go through several changes, you leave behind artists that you once loved in pursuit of more ‘relevant’ or ‘mature’ ones. Best Coast are a band that, time permitting, one could grow up with, holding them dear to your heart regardless of every lame phase that dictated your taste. ‘Heaven Sent’ is a great example of an endearing song, whether you’re 7, 17 or 70. It’s a Californian love song riddled with anxiety, undying dedication and a killer guitar solo to boot. Every Best Coast track has an extra layer of cute to be found in the lyrics – imagine Bethany Cosentino singing to her boyfriend Nathan Williams from Wavves, or better still, her cat Snacks. Do it, it’s adorable.
Nathan Butler @
Sufjan Stevens – ‘Should Have Known Better’
On a record that’s being described as a stripped to the bone and painfully honest statement ‘Should Have Known Better’ could perhaps be Carrie & Lowell’s brightest light although you might not think so upon listening to it’s first couple minutes. It opens with minor guitar appregios and Stevens’ sorrowful whisper before a keyboard sneaks in, transforming the song into a more triumphant dance reminiscent of Illinois. The keyboard’s entrance lifts the ‘black shroud holding down’ Sufjan’s feelings and instead turns his focus to a source of hope: his brother’s newborn daughter.
As are most things the man writes, it’s gorgeous.
James Barlow @BassOddity
One of our writers was so unimpressed with a track he listened to that he simply had to write about how awful it was. Introducing a special, one off version of… Hey, Don’t Listen!
Mumford & Sons – ‘Believe’
I never thought in a million years I’d support any posting recommending ‘more banjo’, but I find myself doing so.
What’s becoming a standard of writing ‘the song for the festival’ continues with what is, at best a soundtrack for a Microsoft or Nokia advert in its formulaic and uninspired way. This could have been U2, Coldplay or a multitude of other acts.
There are none of the Mumford trademarks; their big acoustic guitar thrash, manic banjo (there I go again), moody verses followed by raucous choruses that you can’t help but sing along to. This permeates your psyche more as you listen to it, but it doesn’t get any better, it just gets more familiar. Like an eczema rash you’d learned to deal with.