Clairo (aka Claire Cottrill) is getting ready to release her debut album Immunity next week. We’ve already heard two excellent singles from the ascendant pop star, “Bags” and “Closer To You.” Today, we’re hearing our third and final taste of the record before its release.
“Sofia” has hints of The Strokes and Sleigh Bells in its production, with heavily processed guitars and crunchy drums supplied by Danielle Haim. The real marvel of the track is in its synthesized atmosphere, though; co-producer Rostam Batmanglij’s glossy flourishes are all over the track, peppering “Sofia” with arpeggiated synths and vocoder melodies that recall Daft Punk’s lovelorn slow-burns.
And while you can sense that emotion in the instrumentation of “Sofia,” it’s Clairo’s vocal performance that really sells it. With tears held back, she sings of queer love and societal strains, imbuing lovely lines like “I just want to say / How I love you with your hair down” with the same bittersweet disquiet she gives “Sofia, know that you and I / Shouldn’t feel like a crime.” During the song’s climax, Clairo repeats those last lines as additional harmonies, and textures emerge and overwhelm the singer with lilting vocal runs and tremendous feeling. “Sofia” sounds like feeling lost and knowing there’s only one person you want to find you.
Last month, Ghost Orchard announced his new album, Bunny. We’ve heard two songs that’ll appear on it so far — “Station” and “Balloon” — and today he’s sharing its title track, an intoxicating blend of scratchy acoustics, wriggling beats, and mumbled vocals that manages to sound like momentary freedom and blue skies.
Hall had this to say about the track in a statement:
bunny serves as the title track for a few reasons. to me, it kind of showcases everything the record has in store for a listener. it was one of the first ones i had finished when i was kind of figuring out the direction i wanted to take for this release and pulls from all of the influences for it while also pulling from my past releases. frank, sam ray, aphex twin, brockhampton- it’s all kind of there if you’re looking for it.
‘bunny’ is also the nickname my partner calls me and the song kind of chronicles our start and the feeling of coming into adulthood and not really knowing what the hell you’re doing. no one really tells you that growing up is hard. i’ll leave the rest up to the listener because i don’t want to say to much, but the song means a lot to me.
With artists releasing songs at a fast and furious pace it’s difficult for the average hip-hop head to keep track of it all—no matter how tapped in they are. That’s why we created The Ones, a daily post to highlight the song you need to hear curated by the Levels team. We sort through all the new songs—across all the platforms and subgenres—so you don’t have to. Thank us later.
After carving out space in the hip-house community for straight-faced smooth talk, Compton’s Channel Tres takes his music to a much slower and even darker place with “Black Moses.” Evoking his inner Isaac Hayes, he plays the big shot so effortlessly that it feels like an afterthought, his voice never raised above a murmur. “I used to ask for change in the streets/Now I’m changin’ the streets,” he chants, his command apparent. He’s joined by JPEGMAFIA, who has yet to find a song he can’t make even weirder and more interesting. Tres and JPEG aren’t exactly an ideal match but in their inverse relationship they feel like complementary circus acts: Tres the calm beast tamer and JPEG the risk-taking firebreather. The rapper is his usual eccentric self, boisterous and unflappable, rattling off out-there one-liners like “I pistol-whip a nigga dressed like I caught the bouquet” and “Thought I wouldn’t buss back, bitch, I ain’t Rosa Parks.” Neither performer is quite as cool as the voice of Shaft, but together they’re close.
Swedish favourite DJ Seinfeld has announced the second release on his Young Ethics label, the self-produced ‘Lilium EP’.
The four-tracker, which will be released July 26, marks the year anniversary of his DJ-Kicks compilation. It also follows his ‘Galazy EP’ which kicked off Young Ethics in May; for the time being, the label will be reserved exclusively for the artist’s output.
“These are tracks that I would probably feel break too much with what I’ve previously done and released to give to other labels,” explains the Swede. “Having started my own [label] I wanted these tracks to showcase the freedom I feel in other sounds of my production that perhaps haven’t seen the light of day that often in the past; happiness, fun and a sense of ”anything goes.”
In June, it was announced that the producer would host a monthly ‘Young Ethics’ radio show on the Ibiza-based art and music platform, OpenLab, which was founded by the late Robert Miles.