The spare, gorgeous ballad is her first new solo music in over three years.
The lead single from their upcoming third full-length, Patience
Lees de bespreking
Lees de bespreking
Lees de bespreking
Lees de bespreking
When Herlin Riley came to Britain with Wynton Marsalis’s band some years ago, his serene smile behind the drums radiated what Ira Gershwin might have called his sunny disposish. This album does the same. It has the kind of good-natured ease that could seem casual if it weren’t so brilliantly done. The tunes are lucid, the rhythms catchy, and the bright ideas keep on coming. Riley’s band are the young quintet who made their debut album, New Direction, in 2016.
The basic sound is quite distinctive, particularly the blend of trumpet (Bruce Harris) and alto saxophone (Godwin Louis), each with his own felicitous solo style. Five of the 10 pieces are Riley compositions, and the title track sums up the attractions of the whole set. You can tell by the clipped phrasing that this is the work of a drummer, and there are some tricky little turns to keep us on our toes, but it’s so rhythmically elegant – as befits a New Orleans-born percussionist. Other numbers range from the sparsely voiced, almost abstract Touched to a joyously unbuttoned excursion into the old Willie Dixon favourite Wang Dang Doodle.Continue reading...
A band always seemingly more interested in notoriety than grand musical statements, Fat White Family’s creative core appeared to have split in two after 2016’s controversy-craving (Goebbels! Shipman! Auschwitz!) but underwhelming Songs for Our Mothers, with guitarist Saul Adamczewski forming Insecure Men and frontman Lias Saoudi reappearing in Moonlandingz. So Serfs Up! represents a double surprise: first that it exists at all and second that it’s unrecognisably good.
Whereas their past excursions into lo-fi art-rock were all too in thrall to Throbbing Gristle, there’s a hitherto unheard melodic nous to the likes of recent single Feet and I Believe in Something Better, the former a skyscraping epic meticulously and irresistibly built up layer by layer, the latter redolent of early-80s Sheffield synthpop. Elsewhere, they boldly meld genres: Fringe Runner is White Lines engulfed in drones; Tastes Good With the Money segues from Gregorian chanting to T Rex glam-boogie, complete with Baxter Dury matter-of-factly warning of “a mushroom cloud for the middle classes”. Not everything comes off, however. Kim’s Sunsets, despite its provocative angle – empathy for Kim Jong-un, having all that firepower but doomed to never get to use it – fails to transcend its anaesthetised reggae backing. That aside, Serfs Up! feels like a giant leap forward.Continue reading...
Intricate and sculptural, North Carolina singer-songwriter-producer Kelsey Lu deals in music where the unifying genre is, essentially, beauty. Having previously collaborated with the likes of Sampha, Solange and Florence Welch, the Los Angeles-based artist’s sublime debut album arrives, delving between everything from absorbing dream-pop, twangy blues, left-field electronics, serene ambient and even delicate classical (Lu is a trained cellist). Blood is meditative, surreal and deeply imaginative – be that in the lush, cryptic cover of 10cc’s I’m Not in Love, the rapturous gliding disco of Poor Fake, or the birdsong that intermingles with harp over Kindred parts one and two.
Crafted with producers as far afield as Skrillex, Jamie xx and Rodaidh McDonald, the album ekes out a warm, naturalistic yet experimental space, all topped with her powerful, disarming voice that implores light in the darkness – “History taught us hope is the answer / yes it is”, she sings on the title track, as the record draws to a close. Lu seems intent to immerse us fully, deeply, intimately into her gossamer creative vision – and she succeeds. An astonishing first album.Continue reading...
It’s possible Loyle Carner is trolling contemporary hip-hop. For his second album, the 24-year-old’s flow remains defiantly old-school, concerned with language and jazzy storytelling rather than the Autotuned postures that get the streams.
Carner’s food obsession has gone full bougie too, with tracks called Ottolenghi and Carluccio. The former, though, only uses the chef’s Jerusalem cookbook as a jumping-off point, and Carluccio only mentions the restaurateur’s death as a way of fixing a memory in time: red herrings both, on an album about relationships.Continue reading...
Colourful, positive and shamelessly retro, US singer and rapper Melissa Jefferson’s third album is the biggest, most focused set of her career thus far
Lizzo is a dab hand at getting people’s attention. Her third album, Cuz I Love You, opens with a holler that instantly pushes all the dials far into the red. “I’m crying…. cuz I love you!” she bellows, a cappella, on the title track before the band tumble in. On anyone else’s set, this dazzling outburst might be held back – the peak posture of the album’s most climactic tune.
For Lizzo, it’s just the opening gambit of a record that is unapologetically loud, bold and full-on, simultaneously old-fashioned (soul, doo-wop and romance figure) but immensely fresh in the bargain. Such saturated levels of volume and colour land as downright audacious when so much contemporary music, let alone hip-hop, currently comes in greige, narcotised hues. Or as Lizzo puts it mischievously on Tempo, her banging collaboration with obvious forebear Missy Elliott: “Slow songs, they for skinny hoes… I’m a thick bitch, I need tempo.”Continue reading...
Following a string of short prison sentences in his 20s, for drugs, firearms and burglary, in May 2018 Los Angeles rapper 03 Greedo broke his last straw: he was sentenced to 20 years after methamphetamine and stolen pistols were found in his car. This poignant, irrepressible album is his first release since being inside, and his idiosyncrasies ensure that his career should sustain at least until his parole comes up in 2020.Continue reading...
A softness permeates the music of classically trained cellist and songwriter Kelsey Lu. Not the softness of background muzak or meditative introspection, but a concentrated, purposeful mood – one teased out by billowing melodies, bowed beneath her crystalline vocals.
After dropping out of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and moving to New York to record her one-take debut EP, Church, in 2016, there has been a buzz of anticipation surrounding Lu’s compositions. Where Church seemed to absorb its ecclesiastical surroundings in the eerie, incantatory feel of her solo playing – looped to surround her vocals – the arrival of her debut LP marks Lu out as a formidable singer and songwriter, as much as a composer.Continue reading...
Loyle Carner’s second album opens with a love letter. Titled Dear Jean, it’s addressed to the musician’s mother, reassuring her over tinkling piano and the gentle tapping together of drumsticks that, despite his decision to move out of the family home and in with his girlfriend, he is not abandoning her. It is, like the majority of the south Londoner’s output, utterly heartfelt and startlingly intimate – delivering his lyrics in a wistful mutter, the 24-year-old sounds moved to the point of tears by the tenderness of his own relationships.
Carner, whose real name is Benjamin Coyle-Larner, is cut from a different cloth to most rappers. Not because he’s a dyed-in-the-wool mummy’s boy – maternal affection is a well-established trope of the genre – but because he extends this mawkishness to the rest of the world. When he’s not waxing lyrical about his girlfriend’s loveliness, Carner is earnestly mourning a longstanding friendship (Krispy), or a recently deceased celebrity chef (Antonio Carluccio). The Stevie Smith poem this album is named after is about a man whose jovial character masks inner turbulence, yet its relevance is never clarified: Carner is an artist who seems quite happy to wear his heart on his sleeve. His 2017 debut, Yesterday’s Gone, included a track in which he fantasised about caring for a fictional little sister, and both albums feature his mother reading out self-penned poems about how special her son is – a gesture that would cause most people to break out in a cold sweat were it directed at them, and with good reason: the device feels both cloying and slightly smug.Continue reading...
Jade Bird talks a good fight: she writes her own songs; doesn’t want other people telling her how she feels; made her first recordings in the Catskills with Simone Felice. She’s got some people very excited – one US industry commentator reckoned last year: “If this were the late 80s, Jade Bird would already be a star.” That’s perhaps a decade out: her debut album is MOR-Americana-with-edges of the kind that Sheryl Crow and Meredith Brooks were having hits with in the 90s.
Bird is unsparing about disappointing relationships (Uh Huh, Love Has All Been Done Before, Going Gone), and sometimes the plainness of the language imparts an unexpected force: in Good at It?, the “it” is the it of the eternal teenage urge – “Have you done it yet?” – and the angry baldness of the question hits home. Other times, though, the hominess of the phrasing undercuts the slyness of the song. Going Gone takes an unusual subject – the role of the girlfriend in propping up a feckless boyfriend – but “I hate to inform you’re still living in your mother’s house” sounds like the retort you blurt out before the killer line comes to mind.Continue reading...
Angélique Kidjo: Celia review – magnificent African reinvention of salsa | Robin Denselow's world album of the month
Kidjo’s album takes the songs of Celia Cruz and adds Afrobeat and other influences with stars including Tony Allen and Meshell Ndegeocello
Angélique Kidjo is on a roll. For years, she has been an entertaining, reliable fixture on the world-music scene, a powerful singer famed for mixing African material, including songs by her heroine Miriam Makeba, with old favourites by anyone from Bob Marley to Sam Cooke. But it’s her most recent albums that have demonstrated the scope of her ambition. First came her original reinterpretation of Talking Heads’ 1980 album Remain in Light, in which she advanced the African influences in their music. Now she applies the same technique to the songs of Celia Cruz, the queen of salsa. This is not just an album of covers but an inventive reinterpretation.Continue reading...
‘It’s been a long time,” announce Bananarama at the start of their first album in 10 years, which declares its arrival with a banger. Originally recorded by former Sugababes Mutya Keisha Siobhan but never officially released, the Richard X-produced Love in Stereo is a dancefloor whopper: Giorgio Moroder-type electro pulses combine with a belter of a chorus and several audible cries of: “Woo!”Continue reading...
Beyoncé’s historic Coachella set is preserved as a stunning live album that captures an artist at her peak, flexing her catalog and shining a light on the genius of black artists that came before her.