Many records, really too many, claim to be the “most personal” work of their respective authors. A stereotype like any other except for Both, Okay Kaya’s debut. Listening to it feels like sitting with its author, Kaya Wilkins, for a whole night. Looking deep, right into her eyes. This sweet treatment of nocturnal folk, which at moments is close to R&B, is a journey that dives into the interior of this Norwegian who shows an endlessly deep, penetrating look. Being signed to a renowned label in 2015, Wilkins discarded two years’ worth of songs because she didn’t want to lose control of her songs, and she retreated to her home, alone only with the occasional help from her partner, Aaron Maine from Porches. This is why Both is a record where she opens herself about her conflicts (the racial, sexual and mental ones -Wilkins is bipolar-) with overwhelming frankness, vulnerability and intimacy. A truly personal album.
Easy Life, the Leicester five-piece, are having ‘Nightmares’; not literally of course, just the new single, produced by Fraser T Smith (Stormzy, Adele, Florence) and out this week.
The track exudes a confident, charismatic twist on those long days (and nights) when you feel anything but. Blending hip-hop swing, jazzy horns and the band’s innate ear for pop hooks, ‘Nightmares’, says the band’s lead singer, Murray, “started with the trumpet sample that we loved from Dionne Warwick’s version of Burt Bacharach’s ‘Loneliness Remembers What Happiness Forgets’. This instantly gave us the feels, and the rest just kind of fell into place.”
After making waves with his debut album Scum and the seven-track Civil Disorder, Rat Boy has teamed up with Tim Armstrong for his new project Internationally Unknown. Separated by 30 years of age and the Atlantic Ocean, Rat Boy and Armstrong sound like the very definition of an odd couple. But they immediately connected on their first phone call, through a shared love for mixing the visceral energy of punk with hip-hop beats. In many ways, it’s hardly surprising: both musicians share similar influences and often reflect on their upbringing in their lyrics. The pair met in Los Angeles and immediately captured three demos on their first day together, with members of The Interrupters backing them on bass and drums. Rat Boy has diverse influences which echo, at various points, The Clash, Beastie Boys, The Prodigy, Rebel MC, Green Day and Run DMC. Standout tracks include the title track which contrasts manic verses with an anthemic downtempo hook; the aggy street-punk rush of opening track Chip on my Shoulder. Tonight in concert at La Nau.
So, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines on their fourth LP? After the 2015 release of English Graffiti, a hyper-stylized dream-pop reinvention of sound, and the departure of drummer Pete Robertson in 2016, the British indie-rock band left us not really knowing what to expect at all. But since the release of ‘I Can’t Quit’ and the four more singles that followed, it has quickly become clear that what we could expect from The Vaccines was a return to a guitar-driven, classic rock feel. Combat Sports takes The Vaccines back to that foundation of their original sound, while also mixing in vibrant 70s and 80s pop and glam-rock influences. The result is an energetic compilation of music that seems to hit a sweet spot for the group in terms of finding their sound in hopes to be more than “just another indie-rock band.” Tonight in concert at Razzmatazz.
Lately, the cosmopolitan New York rapper Theophilus London and the Tame Impala main man Kevin Parker have been putting in a lot of work together. They’re calling their project Theo Impala, and they dropped three new songs (one of which features Ariel Pink) on Beats 1 Radio. They unveil the video for “Only You,” their faithfully slick cover of a 1984 synth-disco track from the Nigerian musician Steve Monite.
In times of apathy and half-hearted music, IDLES’ motorik is geared towards sweat. Apathy, half-heartedness and inertia? Fold. Excitement, devotion and chaos? All in. From their first EP Welcome (2012) to their debut album Brutalism, this five-piece band has firmly established itself in a brand of sharp English irony and guitars that reject the post-punk label and venture into the realms of grime and nocturnal revolution. Brutal honesty to laugh in the adversary’s face, to pogo until you lose your phone crushing underfoot… because we all know the only good phone is a smashed one. Tonight they will play at La2 Apolo.