Category: Music chat

Nao That’s What I Call Music

Little bonus album for the Brothers.

This has been bubbling under on my (metaphorical) turntable in the last couple of weeks, and it’s slowly dawning on me that’s it’s a work of complete genius. Nao’s one of the brighter lights of the British neo-soul/R&B scene, and she first came to my attention via the brilliant collaboration she did with Mura Masa a couple of years back:

I liked her debut, but I didn’t love it. This is her second album and it is a GIANT leap forward. It has such a beguiling mix of classic soul tropes, great 90s R&B arrangements (of the kind Brother Joey and I used to lap up back in the day), but it also strays deliciously into Frank Ocean territory, like this gem:

Best of all, it is just JAM PACKED full of great songs and top songwriting chops. It starts off pretty slowly, but really gets into its swing mid album, and the run of songs – Saturn, Gabriel, Orbit and Love Supreme – are as good as anything I’ve heard in a very long time.

What do you reckon, Brothers? Thought I’d throw a little extra listening into them mix.

Introducing Nilufer Yanya

Good Sunday Morning Brothers.

Again, as per ‘Pa’Lante’ I’ve been meaning to write about Nilufer Yanya for over 6 months, never got round to it and keep kicking myself each time she releases something amazing. My main concern is that one of the other Brothers will introduce her and I will be ‘yeah man, I’ve been listening to her since she was recording in her bedroom’ like a proper ageing muso tit.

My intro, as so much of my new music does comes through Pitchfork ‘Best New Tracks’. Looking at a quick Google search she’s been tipped as one to watch by The Guardian and BBC Music. ‘Beautiful, unfussy guitar music’ is such a lovely way of putting it but for me, most of these recommendations miss that I don’t really hear anyone else sounding like this at the moment. Beautiful instrumentation, arrangements, simple but effective production and a voice that is difficult not to fall in love with and fantasise about a deep meaningful relationship with Nilufer!

What do you think ( tip – please listen to the music … not watch the 1st video!)?

Singles/EPs on Spotify in order of release;

Hookworms – roll up for your LCD fix and more

Long time since I’ve been as taken with an album as the new Hookworms album. As a local band, I’ve kept an eye on them for a long time (they’re FEROCIOUS live), and have enjoyed their heavy Krautrock workouts, but I wouldn’t say that either of their first albums have stayed with me that much.

All that has changed with the new album, Microshift. It’s a complete reinvention of everything they’ve done – suddenly full of wide open spaces, electronics and dance rhythms and MJ’s voice – which you suddenly realise is actually brilliant. I have been playing it to DEATH for the last week.

Bearing in mind this blog’s collective love for LCD, Hot Chip et al, I’d be absolutely astonished if there wasn’t a fair bit of love for this. I urge you to listen to the whole album in one go. It’s still an indie record, sure, but it has its eye on so much more than that.

I also love the way they’re using their sound to really dig at real stuff. This is about depression and the death of a friend and other disaster – and finding a way out of the other side. It’s compelling and really life-affirming. Again, James Murphy would be proud.

This is an absolute contender for album of the year for me, and yup, it’s only Feb.

Aromanticism – by Moses Sumney

Welcome to my 2nd write up of an AOTM. First it was the write-up of Plunge by Fever Ray that I wrote before finding out that it was not released on CD yet. The second is an album that I chose Plunge over initially. The first reason for this is that I am committed, long term lover of The Knife and Fever Ray and wanted to take the opportunity to choose an artist who has meant so much to me for such a long time. The second reason was that David chose a ‘soul’ album for for the November album and I thought this might be a bit ‘samey’ for the following month. However, I have listened to this and Jordan Rakei back to back a few times and in doing so am pretty confident that this is a different enough proposition to propose for the festive edition of AOTM.

Apparently Moses Sumney falls into the sub-wanky-genre of ‘Art-Soul’. Have you heard this term before? I hadn’t and didn’t/don’t really understand it. I was expecting this to be a lot more ‘noodle’ given this art-soul description. While the tracks rarely fit verse / chorus / verse structure, i do feel its relatively conventional and accessible. I have had this in my life for a few months now and it has delivered more over time. I am sue that I think this is absolutely a soul album. But it is a very sparse, austere, often fragile but always perfectly beautiful version of ‘soul’. The album relies heavily on the blues, melancholy and introspection.

This feels like an album of it’s time without borrowing contemporary tropes and production flourishes from it’s recent ‘R&B’ cousins. Again this is perhaps closer to Michael Kiwanuka than it is Jordan Rakei? I think the brothers will like it at first, and those brothers that stick with it will love it.