Playlist 13.10.17 : Five Songs for the Weekend



Stormzy is not only one of South London’s most formidable grime MCs, he’s also a devoted Drake fan. He lovingly covered “Hold On, We’re Going Home” on BBC Radio 1 two years ago, and has extensively sampled Drake’s music in the past. For his first new song since the release of his debut album, Gang Signs & Prayers, he riffs off Drake’s “4PM in Calabasas” to great effect.

On “4PM in London” Stormzy lifts the song’s original production—a flip of Puff Daddy’s “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down,” stripped down to just a spectral chorus of voices and thick, brutal bassline—and utilizes it for different ends. Where Drake tried to mix singing and crooning into his flow, Stormzy’s delivery is both more athletic and emotional. Arguably, Stormzy is better suited to the instrumental, accentuating its menacing elements more effectively with his blend of speed and control. His delivery on “4PM in London” is blunt and intensely physical, making his boasts land with particular power. Hoarseness creeps into his voice though, hinting at vulnerability. The song is largely biographical, grappling with complicated feelings about his family and friends and social media (“My friends supposed to tell me how they feel/But speaking up on Twitter isn’t trill”). Stormzy’s ability to open himself up as he barrages a listener is special, and “4PM in London” flips what was once a Drake party anthem into something more thoughtful.

Read the rest of this article at Pitchfork

Dave – Question Time

South London rapper Dave has been one of the most interesting voices in UK rap for a minute, and today he has very successfully turned his hand to political commentary. New track “Question Time” (named after the BBC news show and taken off forthcoming EP Game Over) is basically seven minutes of Dave saying what we’re all thinking – and it totally puts to bed any ideas that millennials don’t understand politics, or that we’re apathetic or unengaged.

Dave tackles issues from Syria (“The irony is, we have no business in Syria / but kids are getting killed for all the business in Syria”) to the the government’s treatment of NHS nurses, of which he has personal experience, via his mum. Speaking clearly and plainly, he voices his frustration with the status quo: “I just find it fucked that the government is struggling / to care for a person that cares for a person.”

He levels criticism at the largely wealthy and upper class make-up of parliament, talking about how weird it is that the country is run by “people who can’t ever understand what it’s like to live life like you and me.” This leads, pretty grimly – but necessarily – onto a description of the class problems highlighted by the Grenfell Tower fire, specifically by the fact that the Prime Minister refused to meet victims of the blaze after the fact. In a cutting but actually really refreshing section, he says, “At Grenfell Tower your response was ridiculous / You hid like a coward behind your five million / Dodged responsibility and acted like you’re innocent.” And, honestly, he’s not wrong.

And though the rightwing Tories are an obvious target for the vitriol of the young, Dave also addresses leftwing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn is highly popular amongst millennials, and it’s been a habit for many to view him as though he’s somehow above criticism. But, he’s a politician, so that can never be the case. Dave takes him to task, too, and also in doing so, he also invokes the memories of Edson Da Costa and Rashan Charles, two young black men while being detained by police in London: “Everybody’s great until you get them into office / And then guys start forgetting things / Prove to us you’re different / Go and get justice for Rashan Charles and Edson.”

Read the rest of this article at Noisey

Yaeji – Drink I’m Sippin On

The New York City and Seoul-based producer Kathy Yaeji Lee makes house music and pop tunes, but her vocal delivery often sounds like rap. In past songs, like “Guap” or “Last Breath,” with hard 808s, she flashed a unique flow that showed precision in both English and Korean. For her new track, “Drink I’m Sippin On,” Yaeji embraces her inclination toward the style and trades in her usual four-on-the-floor for a trap beat.

Instead of mirroring the aggression of trap’s bellowing bass and icy hi-hats, though, Yaeji raps in a lackadaisical manner, landing somewhere in between whispered sing-song and spoken word. Her nonchalant vocals even bear similarities to 21 Savage’s chilling deadpan, although Yaeji offers a breathiness that floats over hard drums instead of sinking right into them. As a result, her voice is eerily relaxing even when she fixates on her personal failings and conflicting memories. Rapping in Korean, she recounts the mundane events of her everyday life: “The drink I was sipping on/The movie I watched/The reason I don’t remember yesterday.” The second time she recites these lyrics she responds to each bar with the song’s haunting hook—“ 그게 아니야” (“That’s not it”)—introducing tension into the atmosphere. While she mostly raps about everyday anxieties, she takes ownership of them. With her confidence and propulsive production, she transforms the most banal worries into an earworm. Yaeji doesn’t just rap, she owns this persona with swagger.

Read the rest of this article at Pitchfork

Porches – Country

Porches, the music project Aaron Maine started in 2010, began as a muddy mix of DIY rock and folk. By 2016, when he released Pool, his production had reached an impressive sophistication. But now he may be turning away from the kind of glossy, electronic touches of that record: His striking new song, “Country,” the first offering from an upcoming and as-yet-untitled new album, works with a more limited palette to create his signature mood: melancholy cut with verve.

“Country” traces a narrative of vulnerability so complete that listening to it feels voyeuristic. Whispering synths, piano, and Maine’s wavering voice bring the song to an emotional climax without the insistent beats that defined Pool. The songwriting, too, is concise and impressionistic. Water has been a favored motif of Maine’s over the last several years, so much so that it’s become a kind of signature; if it’s not mentioned at some point, it might not be a Porches song. On “Country,” it appears in three different contexts: as the setting of a meeting (a lake), an unusual act of intimacy (“Watch the water drip/From my mouth to yours”), and, finally, the symbol of a kind of surrender. “Can you make it light?” Maine pleads in the song’s final line. “Can you do no harm?/Break the water with your arm.” Powered by Maine’s falsetto, it’s a moment so private, so tender, that it feels like an intrusion to be a part of it.

Read the rest of this article at Pitchfork

Anna Burch – 2 Cool 2 Care

Anna Burch has been kicking around the Michigan indie rock world for years, with a resume that includes singing in Frontier Ruckus, co-fronting Failed Flowers, and backing Fred Thomas on Changer (one of our favorite albums of the year so far). And now she’s signed to Polyvinyl, the resurgent Illinois record label that put out Changer and many other 2017 highlights. To celebrate, we’re premiering the Detroit singer-songwriter’s new single, “2 Cool 2 Care.”

The accompanying music video, directed by Burch, sincerely depicts a less than idyllic situation, one that not even a nonchalant bike chase or hula hoop can mask. Burch’s efforts throughout the video are all one-sided and she knows it. “From what I can see, reciprocity is boring,” she sings as she follows her self-absorbed unrequited lover to the backyard. Beneath the steady guitar strums and catchy harmonies are Burch’s sobering lyrics about the habitual self-sabotage attached to wanting someone who doesn’t want you back. It’s a feeling that, as much as it stings to admit it, is addicting.

“I have a tendency to overanalyze my relationships,” Burch wrote in an email. “When I started writing songs, they became a productive outlet for these near obsessive thoughts. I let the bridge of this song be a space for that kind of dissection and it wound up taking up almost exactly half of its entire length.”

Read the rest of this article at Stereogum

P.S. previous PLAYLISTS & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @jeannedamas, @bluejeans__whiteshirt, Belgrave Crescent