Field Music have never compromised, though their existence is less about letting their freak flag fly than a refusal to submit to the conventions of music industry excess. They maintain careful, hands-on management of their own affairs: Rather than move to London, the Brewis brothers have always lived in their native North-East. They record their own albums, drive their own tour van, and don’t take advances from their label. It’s admirable, if not particularly sexy. Similarly, “Disappointed,” from their fifth album, Commontime, tackles the need for managed expectations in relationships by digging into the anxious, frustrating nitty gritty of those conversations: “Should it be clear to me?/ Should I understand it?/ Have I been asking too much?/ Or not enough?” David Brewis sings with a hint of desperation.
If you like pop music we fail to see how you cannot love this new song from ANR front man John Hancock. All tropical grooves, thumps, shiny samples, keyboard twinkles, harmonies and a hook that’s hookier than Captain Hook’s hook, Left Me sounds like it’s heading for a journey to paradise. Lyrically it might not all be gold and glitter though even if musically this song is what we’d imagine a rainbow to sound like. “You said goodbye, then kept trying to say hello, what were you’re reasons for keeping me on hold?” John questions before adding “I tried and tried to move on my life, you keep on returning so I never get it right.” Oh, relationships, they’re so confusing aren’t they? Why does anyone have them? Well, if we didn’t the world of pop would probably be very empty wouldn’t it? Keep mucking them up musicians, your songs rely on you doing so.
Neko Case, k.d. lang and Laura Veirs, “Atomic Number” (Anti- Records). With more than 30 studio albums among them, Neko Case, Laura Veirs and k.d. lang understand how to build a song, be it a torch-and-twang ballad by lang, a Case-built Brill Building bruiser or a Veirs-ian folk-pop shape-shifter.
Now the artists have united for a project simply titled “case/lang/veirs,” in which the musicians play songs they wrote together. This week, they released the first of them. It’s called “Atomic Number,” and if the song’s any sort of portent, fans are right to mark the June 17 release date on their calendars.
Like the other 13 tracks coming on “case/lang/veirs,” “Atomic Number” is the result of a seemingly offhand email from lang to the two a few years ago. It read, “I think we should make a record together.” Eventually they did, and Los Angeles label Anti- signed on to release it.
There is nothing I like better than a good debut single. And a good debut single is exactly what Opia has delivered to SoundCloud for our listening pleasure.
Based in L.A., Opia is a collaboration between Jacob Reske and Cole Citrenbaum, who met as math and physics majors at Yale.
Jacob’s electronic production background, paired with vocalist and blues-leaning guitarist, Cole, serve to create a wonderful blend of genres, and I pretty much fell in love with the track straight away. Playing into the sound that Honne and Klyne have pioneered, there is a wonderful play with space, as well organic and synthetic elements within the music.
Rejoice, rejoice, for cosmically-inclined balearo-beardy-deep-disco-psyche-folk-Spacemen-3-meets-MDMA duo Beyond the Wizards sleeve are back with a brand new single. What a Monday this is turning out to be! EZ! Lolina! BTWS! What next, a free lunch and a hangover-free six pints after work? We can but only dream.
Erol Alkan and Richard Norris’ long-running project has seen them release a string of fantastic remixes alongside some brilliant original material. They’re basically one of the dreamiest groups going and “Diagram Girl”, taken from a forthcoming album, is an elegiac, elegant, ebullient little slip of a record that sounds like falling asleep at 3pm on a summer’s afternoon with “Big City”playing in the background.
Kendrick Lamar’s Untitled Unmastered: ‘The work of someone who’s in it for the long haul’ – first-listen review
At first glance, Kendrick Lamar’s fourth album – if Untitled Unmastered is an album, rather than a dumping of offcuts – looks suspiciously like a reaction against his third album. To Pimp a Butterfly was a dense, grandiose statement: equal parts soul-bearing confessional and state of the nation address, complete with a narrative thread and a vast cast that underlined its expansive musical ambitions and sense of place in the pantheon of legendary black music (guest appearances from Ronald Isley, George Clinton and Tupac Shakur, and samples from Sufjan Stevens and Fela Kuti amid the bursts of jazz playing from Kamasi Washington and Robert Glasper)
By contrast, its successor is less than half as long, arrives in a plain sleeve with its tracks unnamed, save for a series of mysterious dates that may allude to when the tracks were written or recorded, or the incidents that inspired the lyrics took place, or indeed neither of those things. It appears to suggest it’s unfinished and no credits – a state of affairs that’s enabled producer Swizz Beatz to claim that his five-year-old son produced the penultimate track. In fact, the latter isn’t an entirely ridiculous suggestion: the second half of 2014-2016, as we’re going to have to call it, appears to consist of a rough lo-fi recording – it might be of a rehearsal or a songwriting session, but it sounds like Lamar trying to amuse his mates with the aid of a bass guitar riff, endlessly harping on a pun about oral sex that also turns up in 08/14/2014 – might conceivably have been captured by a child inadvertently pressing record.
Recently on THUMP we looked at the rapper’s relationship with electronic musicthroughout his career, and how he went from making beats to setting trends with every album. While his cast of collaborators has ballooned and changed over the years, West’s knack for picking samples, both obscure and unexpected, (and the right producers to turn them into chart-topping hits) remains unparalleled.
Without further ado, here’s a guide to every song sampled on The Life Of Pablo.
I have rarely – if ever – spoke to someone who so succinctly sums themselves up as Craig David. The man is a joy to interview, radiating good vibes and a passion for music that goes far beyond chart positions, sale figures and numbers. It’s about the art, it’s about the passion, and it’s about making the audience – and himself – feel good.
“I don’t take things too seriously, because – especially within music – I’ve seen the journey, I’ve seen the rollercoaster ride,” he explains at one point in our conversation. “And I know that the only thing that I’ve ever really loved is making music, and being able to connect with an audience that’s in front of me. All of the things that people aspire to – the material things, money, and what as a kid you dreamed of having – for me, it never fulfils you. So I just realised that when I jump onstage and perform in front of a crowd, that for me is like: this is incredible.”
It’s certainly been an incredible 12 months for Craig David. When 2015 dawn a comeback was about the last thing any onlooker would predict, but a series of live shows seemed to completely re-ignite his career. Hopping onstage at Notting Hill Carnival sparked a flurry of appearances, culminating in a notable weekend when Craig David seemed to wage a one-man entertainment blitz on London – appearing at fabric, and then at Alexandra Palace alongside Major Lazer. The time, it seems, is right.