Everything about Beabadoobee feels completely natural. Born in Manilla and raised in London, she used music as a means to escape, to communicate, and simply to fill time. Placing some recordings on Spotify earlier in the year, she sat back and watched as they became word of mouth hits, with some reaching more than one million streams.
‘Patched Up’-her brand new Ep- features seven new songs, with her sighing vocals masking all kinds of emotions, the complexity of the songwriting married to the simplicity of her approach. Patched Up’ feels like the entrance point to another world, one in which you feel completely at ease.
Let’s talk about the cause and effect factor encapsulated in Tirzah’s music: if Arca says he loves her songs and admits that he has listened to Devotion 20 times on the run while walking around London with goosebumps, it means that the balance between emotion and experimentation in Tirzah Mastin’s music is simply perfect. If her childhood friend, travel companion and unconditional producer on this first album is Mica Levi, aka Micachu, an exquisite instrumental depth is assured. If in 2010 Tirzah was already militant (“I’m not dancing, I’m fighting”, she sang on her collaboration with Micachu), in 2018 she is empowered: “Don’t raise your voice to me”, she now retorts on Go Now. If her name is the Hebrew word for “she is my delight”, and her first album is called Devotion, and she is compared not only to James Blake and also to D’Angelo, it means that she is not just another artist. If Tirzah has released the most stimulating debut of the year in the UK, we’ll just say it.
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.
U.S. Girls, an experimental project of Meghan Remy’s, is in Barcelona to present her latest album, ‘In a Poem Unlimited’ (2018). The versatile Illinois-born artist showcases her powerful and political album, which has underlined her status as one of the most brilliant and singular minds of the new psychedelia. Tonight at La2 Apolo.
Danielle Aykroyd is Vera Sola; a poet, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist. A self-described drifter, Aykroyd has worked on a number of projects over the years with other artists; including touring with singer-songwriter Elvis Perkins, writing film scores, and creating music for theater productions and performance art pieces. When she did perform solo; she donned a pseudonym and chose dimly-lit settings where she could remain anonymous.
Sola’s sound is captivating; almost hallucinatory. Her voice sends shivers throughout the body, as she stands with resilience and ethereal grace; at times flashing a knowing smile. Uniting the surreal and the deeply innate, Sola taps into the spiritual subconscious; conjuring an alternative, (in my interpretation, distinctly Lynch-ian) universe, while elucidating something hidden within ourselves. We are enveloped in a poetic narrative, as though traversing an uncharted environment. She has just released her debut album “Shades”. Tonight in concert at Razzmatazz.
Buzzy Lee is the mask behind which Sasha Spielberg hides. Yes, those Spielbergs. Her dad is Steven Spielberg, and now the cat’s out of the bag. But Sasha has spent all her career running away from the privileges associated with that surname and has never put it out there. That’s why she set up a weird-folk band with her brother Theo in 2010 and called it Wardell, rather than Spielberg Sons & Daughters. For the same reason, also, she later got together with her high school friend Nicolas Jaar and started the indietronic duo Just Friends. Now, in the same spirit of discretion and self-assertion, she is debuting solo under another alias (although she is still with Jaar, this time as a producer) with a selection of fragile tracks that float as gracefully and beautifully as water lilies do. Bedroom electronic music that is knocking on the door of the room that Julia Holter used to occupy.
Yassassin, the aussie female band, are developing into one of the capital’s most exciting new bands. Each time we see them seems to take the group further down the line, matching spiky post-punk riffs to a tremendously engaging attitude.
Fascinating songwriting, too, and nowhere is this more evident than on crisp, intense new single ‘Wreckless’. All jagged edges and sharp about-turns, it’s a feedback-driven affair that relentless drills its point home.