Róisín Machine – Róisín Murphy

The inimitable Irish songstress Róisín Murphy back with her first album for 4 years.

The whole release has a really fun, chuggy, funky feel with heavy disco influences. As always, her vocals range from the sultry to the melodramatic in a way that only she can pull off.

There are some great tracks on the album (Simulation, We Got Together and Murphy’s Law are my picks) – but what really stands out is the quality of the package. The mixing has been given so much attention and love. Each track flows into the next in a natural, but original and exciting way. Maybe it is a bit of nerdy thing to call out, but it all comes together to create a very cool 54 minute experience that’ll give you a good lift.

Sidenote, she released this on her own label which is called Mickey Murphy’s Daughter. That has to be one of the best label names going.

Mander House, Vol. 2 – letherette

If you like your house creative and sample heavy then you are in luck today. It’s letherette, back on Wulf with what they describe as a ‘house beat tape’, and it is packed with lively, fun listening.

They pack 15 tracks onto the album. As a result it constantly feels fresh, with new sounds hitting you every few minutes. Maybe also as a consequence, it can also feel a little superficial – each idea not fully fleshed out and explored to its maximum. The duo are clearly incredibly talented, and their sound feels original, so I’m sure they’ll have plenty more to come.

You can read my take on Mander House, Vol. 1 here.

Song Exploder

Something a little different for you to dive into today. Song Exploder is a podcast that gets artists to open up about a track they have made. It goes deep on why and how they made it. It will honestly add a whole new layer of appreciation to some of your top tracks and artists.

At the time of writing there are 194 episodes, each at about 20 minutes in length, so plenty to choose from. Scroll through to find your favourites, including: Phantogram, Fleetwood Mac, Tame Impala, Robyn, Bon Iver, Little Gradgon, Gorrilaz, Bonobo, DJ Shadow, Mobb Deep, and whole load of others. The best I’ve listened to so far was Caribou, explaining both the message behind Home, and the techniques he employed in the production.

You can subscribe via your favourite Podcast provider here. Shout out to Ollie Lyth for the recommendation.

We Should be Free – Mark Hawkins

Dear reader, I have an apology to make. This track came out in 2018 and came into my life hard. And I’ve just been sitting on it. It’s not good enough from me. No excuses. You come here for quality music, and I’ve let you down by taking 24 months to serve it up. Please accept my apology.

Now, what do we have here? It is a house track with massive energy that walks the line between sweet and sour. It’s screwy, it’s pumping. Huge vibes. A real monster. Enjoy.

Interesting sidenote: in much the same way as The Black Madonna rebranded to become The Blessed Madonna during the BLM movement, Marquis Hawkes has switched to his birth name – Mark Hawkins. He explained his original choice of artist name as a nod to the legendary late house producer Kenny Hawkes. However, he has been criticised for co-opting black culture for his own gain, and with the additional scrutiny and awareness that the BLM movement has created, decided to go with the name his mother gave him. Fair play.

Freedom (Never Let Me Go) – Karma Kid

It took all of 2 seconds for me to know that this was going to be a banger. Strong Sizzling energy. It would have been the track of the Summer if we had one. Soak it up all the same.

Bonus track: if it feels like Karma Kid has been around an age now, you may be surprised to hear that he is only 26. He came onto the scene with this, when he was just 18, with strong Michael Cera vibes. Nuts.

Hyper Romance – Jadu Heart

The last real proper gig I went to was on the 14th March, to see these guys, and it was fucking awesome. (God I miss it so much). Since then Diva and Alex have been busy, and last week they came out with their second full album, Hyper Romance.

Since Melt Away a lot has changed. They have moved from London to Bristol. Gone are the masks and the alter egos – in comes stripped-back intimate honesty. Gone is the electro-pop sound they became known for – in comes a grungy style that occasionally borders on shoe-gaze. They built up their new sound in their basement studio, using cheap amps and distortion pedals. If nothing else, the album is a showcase of their enormous potential as a duo. Plenty of promise to keep developing and growing.

But are they living up to this potential in Hyper Romance? There are some notable highlights – Metal Violets and Burning Hour are up there with my favourite JD tracks – but in general I think the release falls short on spark. The creativity and originality of their former releases aren’t quite hit with the same regularity. Granted I’ve set them a high bar, but hey, I think they are good enough. Looking forward to the next one. Also I hope they don’t read this because I would like to be their friend.

Notable mention to the title track Hyper Romance which samples the 1984 documentary Streetwise (about homeless kids in Seattle) in a subtly beautiful and incredibly emotional way. Definitely worth a listen.

Heartbreak – Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs & Bonobo

It’s a big day when two of your favourite artists come together to release new music. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Bonobo. What a combo. The track they have come up with is Heartbreak and it has each of their fingerprints all over it.

I like it. In fact I really like it. It’s the kind of track that will blow up a Printworks set. Nice ravey 90s drums and a soulful vocal sample. What’s not to like really?