A fragmented, glitching and electronic hint into the vast talent of James Blake is perhaps a good way to describe “If The Car Beside You Moves Ahead” – his latest single. Layering thick bass with the ongoing noise of everyday hustle, he produces a sound which is both frantic yet woozy at the same time. Quite what the car is remains a mystery, but one thing is certain: its exploratory journey of ‘chemical haze’ remains more important than the destination.
“The List” is a warm drink on a cold evening. It is the soundtrack to a midnight stroll around New York and it is the loving embrace after a tough day. Brought to us by Moonchild – a trio of LA-based multi-instrumentalists Amber Navran, Max Bryk and Andris Mattson, the track is a complex dessert of all things sweet. Rich, decadent neo-soul jazz at its finest.
Biig Piig is a lost youth. She is the vintage jacket-wearing cool kid a few years above, drinking cider out of a mug and proudly soaking up every minute of an underage house party. Her music – a tangy mixer of neo-soul, rap and jazz – makes a beautiful commentary on everyday life, and celebrates the ordinary. What makes us human are the imperfections and struggles we go through everyday, and Biig Piig places no filter when it comes to talking about human nature. But it’s glorious.
Let me introduce you to the wonderful Jorja Smith – a singer-songwriter from the West Midlands. Having won the Brits Critics’ Choice Award earlier this year, she has exploded into the public eye with an exquisitely soulful repertoire to hand. “Beautiful Little Fools” was inspired by The Great Gatsby and written when she was only sixteen years old – specifically when Daisy hopes for her daughter to be a beautiful little fool. With a distinctly unapologetic message, this song talks out against societal constructs and sexist power structures in place.
Having originally trained in acting, Sinéad Harnett is a lady of many talents. She entered music as a guest artist on Wiley‘s track “Walk Away” after he posted an open call for applicants on Twitter, and soon became acquainted with Disclosure with whom she worked to create the track “Boiling”. Her latest track, “Body”, beautifully swirls together the delicate intricacies of her vocals and the rich, bluesy undertones for which she is known.
This week we were fortunate enough to be able to attend Sam Smith‘s fourth consecutive gig in London’s O2 Arena. Concluding the UK portion of his sold-out “The Thrill of it All” world tour, the night was something to celebrate for a multitude of reasons. Support came from the talented Lewis Capaldi, whose guitar-based and earthy songs were authentic but let down by his self-demeaning stage presence. Luckily, however, Sam is a natural entertainer and wooed the crowds from the second he rose from the floor on a solemn chair; singing “Burning” with all the melancholic trimmings with which we fell in love. Accompanied by an equally talented live band and four backing singers, the night was both triumphant and heartbreaking. Leading us through his best work – including a remastered version of “Money on my Mind” and “Nirvana” – the crowd was enveloped in the rich and cascading vocals of his heart. Special mention must go to his breathtaking rendition of the Oscar-winning “Writings on the Wall”, during which the large pyramid adorning the back of the stage erupted and broke apart. A truly phenomenal concert to which no amount of praise can do justice: deserving in every way of the exclusive boat-based after party that followed for friends and family.
At just 21 years old, there is a discrepancy between the aged wisdom of Phum Viphurit‘s distinctive sound and the youth of his face. Born in Thailand but spending his childhood in New Zealand, it is perhaps unsurprising that his field of expertise lies in the combination of different sounds. Taking inspiration from Bombay Bicycle Club and Ben Howard, he one day hopes to make music in his mother tongue, Thai. We can only assume, however, that it will be as accessible and lovable as the track below, “Long Gone”.
Today we introduce you to Mansionair, an Australian trio perhaps best known to this date from their acclaimed support slot of the CHVRCHES UK tour. Their latest track, “Astronaut” encompasses beautifully their trademark electric soul, and comes from their experience of life on the road. In a recent interview they discussed their absolute love for touring and its relationship to the isolation also present, with the result being a feeling of weightlessness and confusion – in other words, that of an astronaut.
Chasing Grace may well be on a break, but thankfully for us their music keeps on giving. “Free”, as is their trademark, so beautifully tells a story of great importance – illustrating a tale in the listeners’ minds through intricately layered instrumental and volume blending. The protagonist’s introduction so beautifully comes in the form of a recurring piano motif, before the high-energy (yet understated) guitar and drums come in to take us on a journey, whilst lead vocalists Grace and Phil effortlessly alternate for maximum musical effect.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last year, then you will no doubt be aware of the infamous charm of today’s artist, Sufjan Stevens. Fresh from his successes with the breathtaking “Visions of Gideon” and “Mystery of Love” (commissioned for the soundtrack of the film “Call Me By Your Name”) he brings us “Tonya Harding”. Interestingly, this did not come about because of the latest production – but simply because of his fascination with the song’s focus. He sent it to the filmmakers for consideration, but they could not find a place for it and so it remains a standalone single. All for us? No complaints here.