By ALEX LYALL
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Haul, where we check out hot new tracks from St. Vincent, Tyler the Creator, Kacy Hill, Summer Thieves and Arcade Fire. We’re now into what should be the coldest month of the winter, but stick with these jams and you’ll be hard pressed not to dance away those winter blues. We also have a sneak preview of the upcoming Morrissey biopic.
St. Vincent – New York
The new single from St. Vincent is a ballad, one that is unfortunately free from the guitar insanity of her previous works. But boy oh boy, does it make up for it. She pours her heart into it, giving the track a very rich quality heightened by the backing strings.
However, the track is not at all devoid of any of the magic that is found in other St. Vincent songs. Present is Annie Clark’s whimsical voice as well as her lyrics. They are so punchy that they revert back to being delicate.
Oh, and just as a side-note: the way St. Vincent sings “New York isn’t New York without you, love” sounds like some kind of cheesy romance pun (i.e. “you can’t finish the alphabet without ‘u’ and ‘I”). But in fact, you can actually spell ‘New York’ without ‘you love’. Just saying.
Tyler, the Creator drops two shiners
Provocateur Tyler, the Creator is back with two bouncing and cheeky singles.
The first is Who Dat Boy. It begins with aggressive strings, inching closer to the explosive beat that carries Tyler’s charged rap. A$AP Rocky appears half way through the song and, surprisingly, carries a lot of chemistry with Tyler. Although A$AP Rocky’s trim style contrasts with Tyler’s aggro, the two entwine their rhymes masterfully.
Then we have 911/Mr. Lonely which features Frank Ocean. Where Who Dat Boy heightens suspense with strings, this track pumps out the bass. I’m not entirely sure what the line “911 / Call me sometime” means but I’m sure it’s great.
What’s especially noteworthy about these singles is how much Tyler, the Creator has grown up. He’s no longer relying on the overt shock tactics that marked his previous music; instead we have a track that is good for its production, chemistry, lyrical content and delivery.
Kacy Hill – Like A Woman
Kacy Hill is an American singer-songwriter and a Kanye protégée of sorts.
Like A Woman is her debut album and the former back-up dancer/label-mate to Kanye is able to simultaneously play it delicately and turn it up.
Hill has stated that it’s an album with an aim. She wants to create a space for young women in which they can know themselves better. It’s a great message, and you just can’t go wrong with one of those. Especially when it’s got the tunes to back it up, as this album definitely does.
Summer Thieves – No Shadow
Summer Thieves are like the Peter Pans of the weather – thieving our summer, only to give it back to us when we need it most.
We’re in July – it’s blimmin’ cold. But these guys have treated us to some music that is warm in its reggae mastery. Every part of this song works to show us what an energetic and genuine reggae band can sound like, which makes sense considering it was produced by Tiki Taane.
It’s a welcome refuge.
Arcade Fire – Signs of Life
The third single to be released off the band’s upcoming fifth album is its most blatantly dance-influenced. While Creature Comfort sounded intentionally stiff, Signs of Life tries to feel a bit looser.
It’s hard to think of a word other than ‘groovy’ to describe the song. The high-octave vocals, the brass and the two-by-four drumming combine into something the band have tried to master for a while now.
It’s a really fun track, which is helped by the commitment the band give. You can tell they’re just having a blast doing it.
England is Mine trailer released
The first trailer for the upcoming Morrissey biopic England is Mine has been released. The film’s not about The Smiths exactly, it’s about the band Morrissey fronted before them. From what we can see here in the trailer, Morrissey is as how we would expect somebody to play him – dull, sad and openly rude. He doesn’t yet have his famous quiff either.
It’s his life before The Smiths, but then at the end of the trailer we see the very young (14 years old!) Johnny Marr knock on Morrissey’s door and ask to be his band mate. History was made right at that very point.
The movie should be corking, and should be commended for telling us the untold story of Moz. It has been premiered in Edinburgh and will be released internationally soon.
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