Songs We Liked - December 2020
A roundup of some of the best songs that arrived in our inboxes over the last month that will hopefully help conclude 2020 on a higher note!
Kerri Watt - "Chasing Aeroplanes"
Taken from the Glaswegian singer-songwriter’s highly anticipated upcoming album Neptune’s Daughter (pre-save here) Chasing Aeroplanes is Kerri at her finest - opening with a powerful, pounding drum intro, with a rich bassline and dark piano fused with Kerri’s impeccably saturated vocals; saying the things we all think, but fear to speak aloud. The chorus is a glorious pop/americana/blues blend - and is all you need to get you through the day and to stop second guessing yourself.
Produced by Machine (Clutch, Lamb Of God, Fallout Boy) - on working with the producer Kerri says “I loved the idea of joining forces with someone from a totally different genre to bring something unique to the sound. Machine and I spoke at length about the sound of the album, influences, bands/playlists/moods we liked and found we had a lot in common.”
Katie Melua - "Joy"
Joy sounds like a song plucked from a favorite childhood memory. Taken from her top 10 album 'Album No. 8 - Joy features a gentle acoustic guitar accompanied by a glorious string section; which soothes and transports us to a warm, sun soaked time. I first heard this performed at Katie’s absolutely spectacular Rivoli ballroom concert - and the live version sounds equally as luxurious; with Katie’s voice sliding over the accompaniment like molten silk.
The accompanying video to Joy was filmed in both her hometown of London and in the country of her birth.With a charming story written by the celebrated Georgian screenwriter Keti Devdariani, the video features a special cameo appearance by Katie’s grandma Tsaro Nozadze.
Re the video Katie says “this means the world to me, if there ever was a living icon, in my eyes, it's Keti Devdariani, the writer of Chemi Tsolis Dakalebi, a TV show loved by many in Georgia, which in my humble has revolutionized Georgian popular culture. Keti has kindly and beautifully collaborated with us here on the music video to 'Joy'. Mariam Sitchinava directed our Georgian crew and Charlie Lightening, directed the band and me here in London.”
“But most important my grandma, Bebo Tsaro, is also featured in the video with Sophie Khutsishvili as 'little Katie.' Bebo has always inspired me, whether it's fixing a phone – yes, I kid you not - to making the best plum jam you could wish for. And when I asked her if she wanted to be in my new music video, her expression suddenly turned into the expression of an ageless star, some layered mixture of both proud and humble.”
Ruth McGinley and Ryan Vail - "Chrysalism"
Electronic producer Ryan Vail teams up with concert pianist Ruth Mcginley for this new release; the results are an eerie, rather dystopian soundscape; with haunting and otherworldly elements. Littered with lush vocal samples and metallic percussion - this is one to meditate on in the barren wasteland.
Connect with Ryan Vail
Connect with Ruth McGinley
LPRBeatzy - "Ozob"
Ozob is the most recent release from Brazilian producer LPRBeatzy - and is a tribute to the beloved Brazilian character created by Azaghal. Ozob is an albino clown with a grenade on his nose who is present in the game Cyberpunk 2077. LPRBeatzy’s production is ominous and imposing Cyberpunk at its best - the metallic and drone like darkness consuming you from the moment it begins - and does not let up.
Maia Zakay - "2 Nice"
Taken from the Los Angeles artist’s new album #SpeakUp - 2Nice is a slick, chilled RnB track, opening with a 90s style harp and synth intro - before giving way to Maia’s sultry vocals effortlessly sliding over smooth 808s. Maia wrote and co-produced her album (alongside Stephan Oberhoff also on production duties) - with both her singing and production skills being entirely self taught. A highly impressive debut.
Middlemist Red - "Blue Moon"
Taken from their new album The Other Side of Nowhere - “a true sonic experiment that aspires to recall the Western genre’s essence, following its aesthetic while rethinking it with altered tools, instrumentation and arrangements. The album is a reinterpretation of the cinematic style, merging psychedelia, electronic sounds, Hungarian folk, and tribal music. The album maintains the legacy of the Wild West, with following the footprints of its hero’s journey through solidarity under the scorching sun”
Blue Moon opens with uneasy guitars, a pounding beat, creating a tense and dark atmosphere, before rich, saturated vocals come in (would not be out of place in a show like True Blood) The chorus is a wall of sound with powerful, layered vocals.
Thérèse - "Chinoise?"
Challenging social struggles by breaking common stereotypes around Asians, Thérèse mixes French-influenced hip-hop, electro-pop and samples of traditional Chinese instruments, using six different languages. Chinoise? is impeccably produced -traditional instruments with slick, smooth 808s- all fusing with Thérèse’s furious and unforgiving flow.
As an activist, she has been fighting racism especially towards French Asians, who have been fighting back using the hashtag #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus (I'm not a virus), through her work with anti-racist associations, Thérèse has become one of their most radical voices on national French media, appearing on daytime TV shows.
Harry Jay-Steele - "Not Quite Like This"
Upon listening to this - a wave of calm came over me almost instantaneously. Taken from the Naim Records producer’s album Boundaries - this is an impeccable production both artistically and sonically.
The accompanying video has been released recently featuring dancer Moshood Azeez - on the video Harry says ‘the lyrical content of the song is about not being able to be defined/captured in the same way more than once. “See me as you hear my Now, 'cos you won't hear it again, Not quite like this" For this music video, I wanted to capture this message and feeling in the medium of dance. The song is deeply inspired by afrobeat and African rhythm so I chose to work with Moshood Azeez, an incredible British Nigerian dancer, who got behind song and perfectly translated its emotions into movements. The video was shot on the famous Hackney marsh football field which contains around 82 pitches. The staggering number of goals appear like an elaborate minimalist installation interweaving and overlapping in different ways depending on your point of view. I wanted to manipulate and capture this in the film as a backdrop for an incredible dancer. I didn't want it to be overly complicated. I just wanted to focus on the dance and the setting”.
Check out the video here
Darshaan, Katus Myles, Nysza - "Jungle"
The artwork for Jungle is nothing short of spectacular - and the track equally as kaleidoscopic. Electronic-R&B craftsman Darshaan features Birmingham rapper Katus Myles and Indian-born soul vocalist NYSZA in this bouncy production.
The first single taken from the singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer upcoming EP, due for release in 2021, Jungle sees Darshaan blurring genres, cultures and sounds, with a contemporary electronic-R&B sensibility which sits ahead of the curve while still holding storytelling at the heart of his sound.
Samples evoking the British Indian experience are scattered through the track, from the dhol drum sounds Darshaan heard going to Pujas Hindu religious festivals - as a child in London; to the marimba and a dripping water style synth that recall the torrential downpour he experienced during the Indian monsoon season.
Speaking on the track, Darshaan says: “I wanted the song and the artwork to evoke the blurred lines that come with being born as a British Indian or as a person of colour. It can be confusing, painful and conflicting trying to understand how to fit in when growing up. This song is about how freeing it can be to embrace that dual heritage. Celebrating both cultures and allowing both worlds to be part of who you are can be liberating. The artist behind the compelling artwork, Mahnoor Ahmad blends the three worlds of ornate architecture of the Moghul style archway, the thick jungle and the vinyl records scattered around the room to give a sense of the cultural dysphoria that Darshaan has experienced in his life. While Katus Myles British flow and Nysza’s Hindi lyrics represents the culture and sound clash of the genre-bending song”
Jacob Green - "Shady Bone Grove"
Taken from his latest album "Little Courage" (an even mix of his foot stompin' roots blues one man band material and electric blues rock with a full band) Shady Bone Grove features Jacob on vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica, stomp box & foot tambourine duties. This is reminiscent of some of the finest songwriters of our time; Jacob having toured in 40 states in the U.S. total, averaging 140 shows a year, and now resides in the Green Mountain State of Vermont. He has had musical homes all over the country, from Northern California to Colorado, or Southern Appalachia States & of course where it all began in his home State of Wisconsin.
Belau, Amhala - "Risk It All (Hillsdom Remix)"
A remix of a track from their debut LP, “The Odyssey” (which won the Hungarian Grammy in best electronic music album category) “Risk It All” is a song of possibility. Belua (made up of Péter Kedves and Krisztián Buzás) said re the remix: " the newest tune is Hillsdom’s brilliant and energetic drum and bass remix of Risk It All, which has already debuted on BBC Radio 1”
Twist Helix - "Louder"
Twist Helix is an alt pop trio - made up of Bea Garcia, Matthew Barron and James Walker. Louder is taken from the alt pop group’s album Machinery (and is the opening track).It begins with a glorious wall of pop synthesis which fuses with Bea’s glistening vocals.
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