Playlist 03.24.18 : Five Songs for the Weekend


Playlist 03.24.18 : Five Songs for the Weekend
Playlist 03.24.18 : Five Songs for the Weekend
Playlist 03.24.18 : Five Songs for the Weekend

Jim-E Stack – Somebody

For producer Jim-E Stack, a lot has happened since 2014, the same year he put out his debut album, Tell Me I Belong. The now-25-year-old left his home in Brooklyn, New York, for the sunny shores of Los Angeles, which in the last few years has emerged as a sort of ground zero for artistically ambitious pop-minded musicians. It’s the city where Stack, who was born James Harmon Stack, met Ariel Rechtshaid, the Grammy-winning producer who signed Stack to a publishing deal and who led him to HAIM, who then let Stack contribute production on “Want You Back,” the lead single from their sophomore album Something To Tell You.

But the most significant thing to happen to Stack during this time was the end of a long-term relationship. That breakup was the catalyst for his brand new EP, It’s Jim-ee, a collection of minimalist electro-pop earworms that features contributions from Charli XCX and Rostam Batmanglij. Each song represents a different stage in the breakup—Stack’s first-ever—and here, he takes us behind the scenes and details how each of the songs was created.

Read the rest of this article at Nylon

Nilüfer Yanya – Thanks 4 Nothing

The 22-year-old London singer Nilüfer Yanya makes jazz-pop that feels both effortless and urgent. Though her instrumentation is sparse—usually just guitar, saxophone, and drums—and her voice is mellow, Yanya’s hooks are always rife with dizzying romantic insight. On last year’s single “Baby Luv,” the repeated phrase “again, do you like pain?” relayed the many facets of Yanya’s heartache, her tone oscillating between an accusation and a plea. On her new single, “Thanks 4 Nothing,” Yanya continues playing with the tension between her nonchalance and her anger, this time articulating her frustration surrounding a failed relationship that her ex won’t leave in the past.

On “Thanks 4 Nothing,” Yanya confronts an ex who is trying to win her back after treating her badly—and on a first listen, it seems that she is unfazed as she rejects him. A voice as understated as Yanya’s could easily sound bored or removed, especially in contrast to the sunny guitar riff that introduces this song, but her masterful use of pauses indicates the deep passion bubbling just below her cool facade. This effect reaches its height at the chorus, when, elevated by a dramatic staccato guitar solo, Yanya lands her most explicit blow: “I don’t want to make things better/Thanks for nothing/Lasts forever,” she sings. Yanya may feel like she has nothing to show after her relationship deteriorates, but the music she makes out of this frustration is riveting.

Read the rest of this article at Pitchfork

ODIE – North Face

Here’s a philosophical brain teaser to kick your mind into high gear: Is it possible for Odie to make a bad song? You know what, forget it. I’ll answer it for you. No. No, it is not.

The San Diego resident has released three songs over the past few months, and they’re all fire. What’s more, each has a different sound from the last which says a great deal about the young artist. Not only is he talented, but he’s not afraid to branch out. And, even when he does branch out, he still keeps a high level of quality

On his latest, “North Face,” Odie recounts a tale of love while he worked retail at North Face. The story finds him worrying about the current position he finds himself in, with respect to both his career and with this lady.

For anyone struggling to find their place in the World (read: most of us), the theme is a relatable one. And when Odie delivers it with a voice like his, well, there’s not much more you could want in a track. To think, this guy is still in college. Sheesh, the future is looking bright.

Read the rest of this article at Earmilk

JPEGMAFIA – Panic Emoji

There’s a particularly absurd song called “Goin’ Down” on Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s debut album that opens with the late rapper doing this sort of open-throated croaking kids do to annoy their parents. This sample of ODB’s disembodied voice looped over and over again provides the framework for “Real Nega,” from the experimental rapper and producer JPEGMAFIA’s new album, Veteran. The album’s title refers to both the time that the 28-year-old JPEG—born Barrington Hendricks—has put into his craft and his time in the U.S. Air Force. A four-year military bid took him around the world, but he also spent some time in the American south, which was clearly formative: He cites living in Alabama as foundational to his understanding of racism, and one of the covers for Veteran features JPEG’s own Louisiana driver’s license, evoking the mock food stamp card on the cover of Return to the 36 Chambers. ODB at his most formless would be an impossible model for most artists in any century. For JPEG, it’s just the starting point.

Veteran, his fourth solo record, is a glitchy, frantic, confrontational album on both a musical and political level. The record’s social commentary amounts to more than darts tossed at critical music outlets like Dead End Hip Hop and Pitchfork, rifles that get compared to Lena Dunham, and the scathing takedown, “Word on the street: You fucked Tomi Lahren.” There’s a sort of ideological rigor, an N.W.A.-ish promise that girds his provocations. Where MC Ren, Ice Cube, and Eazy-E mixed their politics with language that stoked the post-Reagan moral panic, JPEG—fluent in internet-native irony and bad-faith arguments—wields those tactics to serious, sometimes disarmingly earnest ends. On the grim “Williamsburg,” he opens the song “selling art to these yuppies” and burrows down a rabbit hole of Phoenix Suns jerseys and expensive coffee. It makes gentrification sound cold and creaky, empty and industrial, which it is.

Entirely self-produced, Veteran is a remarkable exercise in sound and texture. At its best—“Baby I’m Bleeding,” “Rock N Roll Is Dead,” “Panic Emoji”—the production makes the frayed edges of each element part of the atmosphere, a mess of distortion that works percussively and melodically. JPEG gestures at broad, propulsive flows but parcels them out in fragments. He sings on “Thug Tears,” then raps in heavy staccato, smooths things over, and loops back to singing again, all in brief, energetic bursts. At other points, like on the semi-sober “Macaulay Culkin,” he has the droll bounce of mid-period Cam’ron, casually melting “Orange is the New Black” references down to a grim reality. JPEG’s greatest trait is his ability to move from rap’s center toward its fringes by reimagining soul-sampling New York rap in a late-2010s internet wasteland.

Read the rest of this article at Pitchfork

Oklou – Samuel

Yesterday London based French artist and producer Marylou Mayniel, aka Oklou, released her diverse and affecting new EP, The Rite of May. January and February saw the member of Parisian All Female DJ/Radio collective TGAF* (These Gyals Are On Fiyah) release two high calibre singles from it in the lead up, the drama filled ‘Friendless’ and the club ready ‘They Can’t Hear Me’. We’re more than pleased then that the other two tracks and the two parted ‘Valley’ are in the same class. Today we share one of them, the delicate, poignant and slow burning ‘Samuel’.

Like on ‘Friendless’ you might think there’s a guest vocalist at work but both voices are Mayniel’s and she intertwines the natural with the heavily processed beautifully. That combination is applied deftly to every musical element and along with the use of space captures the essence of the record perfectly. It is also a reflection of both her classical music background and latent electronic proficiency, the latter recognised in the calibre of co-producers who joined her on the release – Bok Bok (Kelela, Night Slugs), Rodiah McDonald (The XX, Sampha), Sega Bodega (Crazylegs) and new Paris engineer Krampf.

Read the rest of this article at Indie 30

P.S. previous PLAYLISTS & more by P.F.M.