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?

Free Love – Sylvan Esso

Put simply, Sylvan Esso are the band we all need right now. Let them take you to your happy place with their hotly anticipated third album Free Love which dropped on Friday. Ferris Wheel, Frequency, Free and Rooftop Dancing were all released before, but my pick is Numb (and Frequency is also bit nice).

To present the release they hosted a virtual album launch. It is full of live performances, behind the scenes content, bits of art, and little previews of things to come on the album. Also a sensationally dodgy DJ mix by one of their mates. But anyway, all wholesome. All lovable.

More of my gushings on the band here, here and here. ❤

Laurence Guy

Laurence Guy always delivers. Two 2020 EPs on Shall Not Fade consisting of 7 tracks for your listening pleasure today.

First up, the wonderfully titled, The Sun is Warm and Directly Above You. My pick is Untitled Needs – it wanders and sprawls, all the while punctuated beautifully by Laurence’s trademark piano chords. Healing and heartwarming. The title track is equally picturesque. What stands out for me is the gentle chatter sample that lives in the background – it gives me the feeling of being surrounded by people I like, having a good time – a feeling that is seemingly tough to create in 2020.

Your Good Times Will Come – how sweet is that? My favourite is The Spirit. It has, you guessed it, stunning piano chords, and also a bass section that resonates and vibrates with warmth and beauty. Also a shout out to Experience Health which somehow manages to create a meditative acid vibe; strings and gurgles combine in a way that I didn’t think was possible.

More of my favourite LG here and here. I’m a bit of a fanboy. Sue me.

WITH – Sylvan Esso

Over much of Europe lockdown may be easing (for now) but there is one thing that we are all still missing: live music.

This is a beautiful recording filmed in Sylvan Esso’s homestate of North Carolina in November of last year, with behind the scenes content that ramps up the intimacy. Live music at its tip-top, spine-tingling, goosebump-raising best. I honestly can’t recommend this enough.

Their third full album, Free Love, drops on the 25th. Two singles, Rooftop Dancing and Ferris Wheel are already out – check them out now.

Thin Skin – Pèt Nat

Remember New Navy? Well the producer from that (James Chave-Dubois) is back on the airwaves. He has combined with singer Jazz Barry to create Pèt Nat. Probably your new favourite Australian indie electronic duo. Their debut single is Thin Skin, it’s out now, and it’s lovely. Keep your eyes out for more soon.

Bonus track: fun fact, I once convinced a random American that I was on tour as a part of New Navy. Just about obscure enough to get away with…

 

 

Douha (Mali Mali) (Feat. Fatoumata Diawara) – Disclosure

*GUEST POST*

Another release from Disclosure, another banger. This first featured in their Streaming From Isolation set for Boiler Room and they’ve been good enough to grace us with the full release just as the sun comes out.

The prolific pair team up again with Malian singer-actress Fatoumata Diawara (if you like this, check out the 2018 release Ultimatum), who gives an impassioned tribute to her home country, heralding its ‘unity, harmony, love and brotherhood’. An uplifting message over characteristically uplifting beats from Disclosure which will transport you from home office onto a sweaty, packed, carefree dancefloor (remember those?) in an instant. The video is great; it was shot via drone during lockdown in Jo’burg, Como and NY and features phenomenal scenery and dancers alike. Disclosure’s new album ENERGY drops end of August…

Written by Al Richards

Jigoo – Peggy Gou & Maurice Fulton

Big ol’ housey banger. It’s strange, it’s creative and it’s large.

This is a track that I cannot wait to hear out. As in out out.

I came across this little beauty in another of Boiler Room’s Streaming From Isolation mixes. Peggy Gou from the highest point in Seoul. Solid. Very solid indeed.

P.S. A divisive question for you: is Peggy Gou…
a) fucking awesome – the incredible global female DJ superstar from a traditionally underrepresented minority that the whole world needs, OMG I love Peggy!
or
b) a bit basic?

I’m hearing both sides of the argument. Let me know please

Photo credit: JUNGWOOK-MOK