Friday 29 June 2018

new (and old) music friday #26: charli xcx, years & years, loote

given the mostly terrible time i've had since graduating, it's hard to believe it's only been a year since i arrived at london's royal festival hall, put on my cap and gown and shook hands with fashion designer zandra rhodes after collecting my certificate. 

of course nothing is ever as it seems, and in reality the day was a sweaty, stress-inducing blur. travelling to london and back in one day with temperatures reaching the early 30s and nearly having a breakdown in a toilet cubicle at euston station because the dress i bought specially for the event wouldn't zip up is hardly the height of sophistication. my life continued on a downward spiral as i hurtled through a series of retail jobs and hellish internships, but recently things have started to improve. 

as well as having some semblance of a social life thanks to meetup and securing a place on the news associates course in september, i also managed to arrange some work experience at mancunian matters for august, the online magazine set up by tutors from the course. 

though i'm still nowhere near my goal of becoming an Actual Journalist and find myself questioning if i'm doing the right thing, poring over this interview with florence + the machine - in which she questions "did i dream too big?" - and this speech lorde made before performing liability, in which she described feeling like she was "too much" for anyone to love was heartbreaking yet weirdly empowering. to some people i might be too passionate, too driven,  wear too much make up, care too much about what i wear, but already i've found people who will be screaming along with me when my favourite songs get played on a night out, and they remind me that it's okay to be "too much" and i'm not the only one who feels things so deeply. 

i'm getting to the point, i swear.

what i'm trying to say is that for all the people who've told me to just get a "normal job" and made it clear they don't understand my love for fashion and pop music, there are those who understand and who never gave up, and i only hope one day i can be one of them. 

for now though, i've been overwhelmed with the barrage of new music released this week, so i'm going to try and cover as much of it as possible before my brain overheats. 

1. charli xcx

just over a year since i saw her perform at the jazz cafe and held back tears when the opening notes of no angel rang out, charli has finally released a studio version of the track, as well as another "new" track focus. i put "new" in quotation marks because she's been playing both tracks as part of her live shows for the past few months, so it was more of a relief than anything when she finally unveiled the official versions. all i can say is i hope my neighbours like the sound of A.G. cook-produced pop, because that's all they'll be hearing in the days to come. 

2. bebe rexha

it seems like we've waited an age for a full length album from the albanian star, and expectations was finally released last week. overall i wasn't thrilled - aside from previous single i got you, the only other stand outs were two piano-heavy ballads. usually these are the kind of tracks i'd skip in favour of something more upbeat, but her raspy vocals take centre stage on grace - which sees her agonise over how to amicably break up with someone - and pillow, where she pines for an absent lover. though they might not be contenders for song of the summeri'll be playing them on repeat. 


since finding fame on soundcloud in 2015, GIRLI's back catalogue has been mixed, so i was pleased to discover her latest single day month second is an Absolute Bop. the track features much more singing than her previous rap-heavy releases, but her lyrics are sharper than ever as she calls out a cheating ex. 

4. years & years

it's no secret that i've been less than impressed with the trio's latest singles in the lead up to the release of their second album palo santo, but they finally came through with a party-ready banger reminiscent of G-A-Y favourites shine and kingall for you is pretty much the only song i'll be listening to as i get ready to go out tomorrow night. 

5. pale waves

i think i must have written about pretty much every track the manchester four piece have released so far, but noises stands out in a way i can't quite explain. perhaps it's the lyrics which address heather's own insecurities and like lorde, feelings of being Too Much, as she told the BBC "it’s about dealing with how you look, you feel, the pressure of everyone else these days telling you how to look, what to say, don’t make a wrong move." i also can't get enough of the synth-heavy breakdown which reminds me of pegasus bridge, another manchester band who are sadly no longer. following the premiere of the track on beats 1 yesterday, heather also revealed the group's debut album will be out at the beginning of september, which gives me plenty of time to get acquainted and learn the words before i see them for a second time at the ritz on the 28th.

6. betty who

another artist who has featured heavily in my new music posts, the girl really can do no wrong. her latest EP features the starship-esque just thought you should know as well as the uber-catchy taste and low-key break-up anthem ignore me. i also stumbled across her collaboration with nordic dance duo lemaitre; rocket girl will have you up on your feet in seconds.

7. loote 

the best discoveries always happen by accident - as i clicked on the video for my my my! for what must be the tenth time this month, a notification popped up inviting me to try out youtube music, which i presume is their equivalent of spotify. like the streaming giant, it also provides a selection of songs it thinks you might enjoy, and though this slightly terrifies me, i can't deny that they picked out some excellent new tracks i'd never heard before. 

one of these was your side of the bed by electro-pop duo loote. alarmingly catchy, i couldn't get it out of my head and checked spotify to see if they had any other songs. i wasn't disappointed; my searched yielded a whole EP titled single, which was released earlier this month. highlights include wish i never met you and longer than i thought, which features vocals from joe jonas. 

8. aly & aj

i played the former disney stars' comeback EP ten years endlessly last year, so i was delighted to see they had a new single out a few weeks ago. good love is a tad more subdued than their previous offerings, but after a few plays, the 80s synths which have now become their ~signature~ and achingly honest lyrics were impossible to forget. 

9. king princess 

i've fallen hard for the new york native since harry styles led fans to her debut single 1950, and she delivered once again in the form of two new tracks which form part of her make my bed EP. upper west side has a country lilt but still features her trademark autotune and details her feelings for a super rich girl who'll never give her the time of day. however my favourite is holy, which is rich in innuendo and really needs no explanation, so i urge you to just press play. 

10. blair st. clair 

never did i think i'd be the kind of person to eagerly await the release of a new track by a drag queen, but following my recent immersion in all things drag race - as always, this a spoiler free zone - i was ecstatic following my discovery of blair st. clair's new EP, call my life. the super catchy title track dropped the other day, but barricade and irresistible manage to fuse club-ready beats and honest songwriting.

all these songs - and more - can be found here.  

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