Friday, 31 March 2017

new (and old) music friday #17: ALMA, charli xcx, FLORIO, steps, bon iver

maybe one day i'll learn the art of moderation, i.e. writing a post every week so that i don't end up with a backlog of songs from the last three, which is the situation i find myself in now. never fear though, for a long post is here to save the day (and potentially bore anyone who actually reads this to death). 

1. FLORIO

i'm starting at the beginning, with this song that i apparently shazamed (?) on the 9th of march (my internet footprint comes in handy sometimes). i heard it in H&M in kingston, which always plays such good music. i was back there today, looking for a potential graduation outfit (unsuccessfully) and heard another great song that i sadly didn't have time to shazam; by the time i'd rooted around in my bag for my phone, i was only able to catch the last few seconds, which the app obviously didn't pick up. anyway, back to this song, titled wait by an artist called FLORIO, who i'd never heard of until this song stopped me in my tracks. it's a perfect blend of current and 80s-style pop, filled with the classic highs and lows that make the era's music so dramatic, without sounding like a rip-off. his soundcloud currently only has the one song on it, but i'm excited to hear more from him in the future. 

2. lorde (again)

i know i mentioned the new zealand starlet's comeback single green light in my last new music friday post, which i'm still playing obsessively - i love the way it makes even the most mundane trips to tesco feel like i'm the star in a hollywood blockbuster - but the second song she released not long after, titled liability, tugged at my heartstrings so hard i'm surprised they're even still in tact. i can't help but marvel at the fact such a talented songwriter is only 20, and the way she can pinpoint every single emotion i've ever felt from my teenage years right up until now. her evocative performance of the track on saturday night live has, in my opinion, further cemented her as one of the most interesting, outrageous acts in pop right now, and i'm counting down the days until melodrama is released on the 16th june. 

3. jakil

i wrote about this song for guestlist not too long ago, but i still can't get enough of it's infectiously catchy guitar riff and - of course - the 80s style synths. in the article mentioned, i described every time we talk as the love child of whitney houston and the 1975, and i don't think there's a better way to sum it up. the scottish five piece have promised to release a further three singles this year, and i'm praying they retain this 80s influence.

4. alt-j

apart from their breakout hit breezeblocks, i never really got into this band, but their comeback single 3WW caught me off guard. the song is a far cry from their indie debut, as they experiment with electronica, prog rock and everything in between, telling the story of a "wayward lad" who ends up stranded on the north east coast, from the perspectives of three different characters. it sounds absurd, but somehow the whole thing works. it's hopefully the shape of things to come on their upcoming album relaxer, due for release on the 9th june. 

5. charli xcx 

pop princess charli returned with her highly anticipated mixtape, number 1 angel, and though i don't love it as much as her previous EP vroom vroom, it still showcases her knack for writing an excellent pop song. she continues to work with SOPHIE and PC music founder A.G. cook, as well as collaborating with artists such as rapper starrah and french electronic musician uffie. though she told NME that this was just "songs that me and AG cook made in two weeks in LA when i was feeling really depressed" - if only i could channel my depression into something so good - she stressed that it was a "whole new album", and songs like dreamerblame it on u and ILY2 will tide me over until the new album arrives. i also got a ticket to see her at the jazz cafe in camden in april, which will also feature hannah diamond and RIVRS; aka my dream line-up. sadly it's sold out, but i'm sure a whole tour will follow later in the year.

6. steps

the ultimate purveyors of nostalgia made their return to the music world not too long ago, and i couldn't not mention it here. like most kids in the early 2000s, i adored steps, playing their gold album on repeat and trying to learn all the dance moves. fast forward to 2012, and i saw them live, which was one of the best - and most camp - experiences of my life. seriously, if you haven't belted out the words to tragedy whilst wearing bright red light-up devil horns, you haven't lived. so i was delighted to hear they were reuniting for scared of the dark, which was an ABBA-inspired delight featuring one of the best key changes of all time, and this noisey article sums it up better than i ever could. 

7. keane

this next one is incredibly random; whilst listening to spotify on my phone, i searched for everybody wants to rule the world by tears for fears (one of my favourite songs of all time), and underneath it appeared everybody's changing by keane, which was a major hit back in 2004 (!!). this was another album i devoured when i was younger, though it's only when i look back at the song's lyrics that i realise how pertinent they are to my own life right now as things are in such a state flux (read: finishing uni in two months with no idea where my life is heading). so once i'd finished belting out said lyrics, i revisited their debut album hopes and fears, and fell back in love with songs like bend & break, can't stop now, this is the last time, and somewhere only we know. they might not be the coolest band around, but their songs have that stadium-ready kick, not unlike coldplay, and i've been listening to them non-stop since

8. little mix

i find myself constantly frustrated with this band as i know they're capable of producing excellent pop songs (if you listen to move, salute, weird people and touch and don't find yourself up on your feet/belting out the chorus, you are a liar), yet their albums are full of dull, unmemorable piano ballads, and their latest album glory days is no exception. if they keep it up, i fear their own glory days may be numbered, yet i wait patiently for that fifth harmony moment; another group who didn't produce a good full length album until last year's 7/27. however little mix's latest single, no more sad songs was an instant hit with me when i saw the new video last night, and is a perfect Getting Ready To Go Out number. 

though it might not pack the emotional punch of say roxy music or lady gaga (the reasons such songs make me feel that way deserve a whole other post), it serves as a perfectly catchy pop song that should remain in the charts (if they're even still relevant in this day and age) for a good few weeks. i still want more from the girls though, so i continue to hold out hope that someday, free from the evil clutches of syco music, they will experiment with more left-field production one day and go all lorde on us when we least expect it. for now though, no more sad songs is on repeat, though i highly recommend the version without machine gun kelly (when will song writers and producers realise that adding a struggling-to-stay-relevant rap artist to an already excellent pop song does nothing to improve it?) (see: work from home and worth it), which can be found on the full length album.  

9. bon iver

this artist comes with a slightly embarrassing back story. basically, a few weeks ago i downloaded tinder for what is probably the fifth time and discovered a new feature, where you can add an "anthem" to your profile (spotify strikes again); i'd be lying if i said that 95% of the people i swiped right on were mostly because of their song choice. then something odd happened; i got talking to someone who wasn't a creep purely interested in sending inappropriate messages to every girl they match with, and after a few days of talking, i listened to the anthem on their profile. it was friends by francis and the lights, featuring bon iver and kanye west (!!), and i was hooked straight away. i then somehow found another song by bon iver, titled 8 (circle) from the band's 2016 album 22, a million. 

i hate to say it, but it was a monday night, and after going to the nearest wetherspoons with some friends from my uni course, i was Quite Drunk, and i think the combination of alcohol and hearing these songs for the first time led to some kind of transcendental experience at around 6am, as the effects still hadn't worn off. i made it into uni the next day though, so all was well on that front,but only time will tell how well things go with my tinder match.

10. ALMA

after reading an interview with the finnish artist on noisey, i listened to her music and was obsessed almost instantly. after zara larsson flew the flag for sweden (though i must admit her debut album failed to thrill me after the release of her ridiculously catchy singles i would like and ain't my fault), it seems finland wants in on the act, and with songs like dye my hair (i love how her vocals in this acoustic version sound exactly like the single) and the euphoric chasing highs under her belt, it won't be long before ALMA is being played on radios and in nightclubs the world over.

11. bleachers

(another odd number!) 

i discovered don't take the money in the middle of last night and though this post was ready to be published, i couldn't leave it out. this is the kind of song that could quite literally knock you off your feet; luckily i was sitting down. it's explosive, euphoric and makes me want to drive down a long desert road in a convertible, the wind in my hair, and someone i love next to me in the driver's seat. (it also features guest vocals from lorde!)

this week's playlist is here

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