Hot New R&B Vol. 8

vol8

Originally published for The 405.

Things seem to have taken a bit of a moody turn this month, by absolutely no conscious effort of my own I should add, so I’ve tried to squeeze in a few upbeat tracks as well so as not to lead you all into a looming depressive state – you’re all very welcome.

We’ve got two experimental electronic tracks from SOHN and Anil Sebastian and an equally experimental remix of Azad’s track ‘Enough of You’ by SILKQ, as well as the seductive new slow jam from AlunaGeorge, a new solo release from The Internet’s Syd and a massive collab from GoldLink and fellow DMV rapper Ciscero, with KAYTRANADA and GoldLink on production.

Syd – ‘Amazing’

You’ll probably know Syd better as Syd the Kyd, ex-Odd Future member and current frontwoman of The Internet, but she’s dropped ‘the Kyd’ and gone it alone on new track ‘Amazing’ – well not entirely alone, as she’s roped in South London’s Dornik on production. Fun fact: Dornik used to be Jessie Ware’s touring drummer and after hearing his demos she helped him get signed to PMR Records, home of Ware herself and also of Jai Paul, Disclosure and Julio Bashmore. A commenter on SoundCloud described this collab as “neo-soul heaven” and neo-soul heaven it certainly is; not too far off what we’re used to normally hearing from Syd with The Internet.

GoldLink – ‘Fall in Love’ feat. Ciscero

It’s an all-star affair on this new GoldLink track, with a guest verse from Ciscero and production from KAYTRANADA and BADBADNOTGOOD. We’ve heard a couple of disco/funk-influenced tracks from GoldLink in the past but this is probably the biggest step he’s taken in to that realm yet. The production on ‘Fall in Love’ is phenomenal, incorporating KAYTRANADA’s funkiness and BADBADNOTGOOD’s jazziness to the best effect, whilst GoldLink and Ciscero spar it out on the verses. KAYTRANADA has since taken to Twitter to suggest that this isn’t the last collab we will hear from the two production powerhouses saying, “The whole universe ain’t ready for the future @badbadnotgood & kaytranada collabos.” If ‘Fall in Love’ is anything to go by, it’s safe to say we are definitely ready and waiting guys.

AlunaGeorge – ‘Mediator’

Massive Aaliyah vibes on the new one from AlunaGeorge. The track is taken from the London duo’s new album I Remember, which also features previous releases ‘I’m in Control’, ‘I Remember’, ‘My Blood’ and ‘Mean What I Mean’, and features guest spots from the likes of Popcaan, Zhu, Leikeli47 and Dreezy. Steering away from the dancehall influences on the album’s previous singles, ‘Mediator’ is the perfect slow jam to add to the group’s already bursting canon of tunes. Aluna Francis’ vocals are at their smoothest and most sultry, gliding over George Reid’s delicately soulful production, as the duo prove they can do down-tempo just as well as they can do up-tempo.

SOHN – ‘Signal’

Within a week of dropping new track ‘Signal’, his first solo track since the release of his debut album Tremors in 2014, London-born producer and frequent BANKS collaborator SOHN shared the track’s accompanying visual, directed by and starring Milla Jovovich. An unlikely pairing, you might be thinking, but Jovovich has confessed to being a huge fan of SOHN and described ‘Signal’ as “…everything I love about music, all there in one song.” The black-and-white video was shot in one-take and sees two versions of Jovovich – one in the foreground and one in the background – appearing distressed and tormented, bringing the track’s eeriness to life.

Azad – ‘Enough of You’ (SILKQ Remix)

Sad dancehall might just be my favourite genre going right now; that said, this is the only track I’ve seen labelled as it but I would definitely like to hear more. This remix is taken from LA rapper/producer Azad’s Enough of You (The Remixes) EP, with the original track produced by Sángo, Atu and Dpat. The stand-out remix on the EP comes from Canadian producer SILKQ, who changed up the original version from a dark hip-hop track into a dark electronic track with R&B undertones that sounds very Arca-esque. If you like this, check out SILKQ’s mini-EP for equally experimental, Arca-esque vibes.

Anil Sebastian – ‘We Both Know’

Another dark, sweeping electronic track for you here, this time from London-based singer/producer Anil Sebastian, who has drawn comparisons to the likes to Arca, Rhye and Active Child and it’s easy to see why. ‘We Both Know’ was produced by himself, along with assistance from his brother Ingmar and Jon Hopkins collaborator Cherif Hashizume and is taken from his upcoming debut album Mesonoxian. Outside of his solo work, Sebastian is the leader and founder of The LCV (London Contemporary Voices Choir), which explains his exquisite vocal abilities. There’s so much going on here that it’s difficult to know where to start: from the insane range of Sebastian’s voice to the delicacy of the strings to the sparseness of the production, it is an absolutely stunning track and sets a strong precedent for Sebastian’s debut album.

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One More Time With Feeling review

nick-cave

Originally published for The Skinny.

One More Time With Feeling

Film Review

★★★★

Film title: One More Time With Feeling
Director: Andrew Dominik
Starring: Nick Cave
Release date: 18 Sep
Certificate: 15

Nadia Younes | 12 Sep 2016

Nick Cave has always felt untouchable, like some otherworldly entity you can never really get close to. In One More Time With Feeling, for once he feels within reach.

It’s no secret that Cave has never been a fan of interviews, or any kind of press attention for that matter, so to hear him speak so openly about his personal life is rather exceptional. At times it’s also very uncomfortable, especially as a fan of Cave, to see him so vulnerable, having to remind himself that he “must be kind.” During Cave’s interviews with his friend and the film’s director Andrew Dominik, he often appears dazed and lost, unable to articulate his thoughts, suggesting that he is still emotionally volatile following the death of his 15-year-old son Arthur in July last year. We witness a man struggling to come to terms with his grief and attempting to channel that grief into a positive form; Cave reflects that “Arthur was everywhere,” and it becomes clear that this is all for him.

However, the film also has its light-hearted moments, where Cave’s spontaneous sense of humour will have you laughing out loud: he and Dominik continually repeat the phrase “decaying and diminishing” back at each other with utter seriousness, in an attempt to try and define what ageing feels like. Part documentary, part live album, the film also includes studio performances of tracks from his 16th album with The Bad Seeds, Skeleton Tree. The cinematography is quite spectacular, giving added depth and poignancy to the songs. We follow the camera down a spiral staircase as Cave sings, ‘The song, the song, it spins, the song, it spins, it spins no more,’ on Girl In Amber, and zoom out to the Earth’s atmosphere during a performance of Distant Sky. One More Time With Feeling is a difficult watch, but it will leave you feeling closer to Cave than ever.

TeenCanteen – Say It All With A Kiss review

tc

Originally published for The Skinny September 2016 issue.

TeenCanteen – Say It All With A Kiss

Album Review

★★★★

Album title: Say It All With A Kiss
Artist: TeenCanteen
Label: Last Night From Glasgow
Release date: 9 Sep

Nadia Younes | 05 Sep 2016

Never ones to deny us of a singalong chorus, TeenCanteen’s debut album Say It All with a Kiss is packed full of infectiously catchy, sing-into-your-hairbrush indie pop anthems that’ll make you feel 14 again.

The album’s tracklist nods to childhood nostalgia in the playfulness of the titles, such as Kung Fu Heartbeats, How We Met (Cherry Pie) and Candyfloss. This theme runs throughout the album: the band bring their best cheerleader impressions as they belt out ‘It’s A-L-W-A-Y-S / It’s always for you’ on Roses (My Love), and frontwoman Carla Easton takes innocent hindsight to a new level on How We Met (Cherry Pie), singing, ‘Like sugar in my cup of coffee / Apples dipped in toffee / This is how we met.’ The Glasgow girl-band’s knack for combining sugary sweet, nursery rhyme-esque lyrics with hammering melodies is undeniable, and it makes for the best kind of punch-packing bubblegum pop.

Listen to: Dancing (Hey You), How We Met (Cherry Pie)

Mykki Blanco – Mykki review

mykki

Originally published for The Skinny September 2016 issue.

Mykki Blanco – Mykki

Album Review

★★★

Album title: Mykki
Artist: Mykki Blanco
Label: Dogfood Music Group / !K7
Release date: 16 Sep

Nadia Younes | 06 Sep 2016

Unlike their experimental mixtapes, Mykki Blanco’s first full-length solo release doesn’t leave much to hold on to. The New York performance artist and musical chameleon showcases a unique brand of warped, darkwave noise-rap on their debut album – but ultimately plays it safe.

Loner and Hideaway show the rapper in full flow, and the production is largely trap-influenced, with industrial, minimal 808s and distorted synths throwing back to earlier work with the likes of Kingpinning and Haze.Boogie.Life. However Blanco has always fallen slightly short in lyrical content and, although there are hints of depth and melancholy, on tracks like High School Never Ends and You Don’t Know Me, Mykki never quite goes deep enough.

Listen to: Fendi Band, Loner

Deap Vally – Femejism review

deap-vally

Originally published for The Skinny September 2016 issue.

Deap Vally – Femejism

Album Review

★★

Album title: Femejism
Artist: Deap Vally
Label: Nevado Music
Release date: 16 Sep

Nadia Younes | 08 Sep 2016

LA rockers and crochet enthusiasts Deap Vally return with loud, sludgy, stadium-filling rock’n’roll on Femejism, but not much new ground is covered.

On Gonnawanna, the duo shows some serious promise at breaking into new territory: it’s a bit psych, a bit garage, a bit punk and a real testament to their musical abilities. The same goes for the downtempo, reverb-laden Critic, which is a welcome break from the noise halfway through the album. It’s one of the rare moments where singer and guitarist Lindsey Troy shows some real vulnerability, singing, ‘Everyone is a fucking critic / Fucking cynic.’

However, tracks like Royal Jelly, Teenage Queen and Turn It Off follow the same repetitive equation of fuzzy guitar riffs, thrashing drum fills and grizzly vocals. There is probably a message buried somewhere within Femejism, but unfortunately it just comes across as lacklustre and contrived.

Listen to: Critic

131 Northside launch ‘Lost Memories’ series

131

Originally published for The 405.

Edinburgh-based hip hop duo 131 Northside launch their ‘Lost Memories’ series today with a visual for the track ‘Issues’.

The lo-fi, single shot video is in keeping with the group’s distinct aesthetic that they have built over the course of their career so far, with the track being taken from the duo’s debut EP Digital Memories, which was premiered on Complex earlier this year and featured production from Watgood and Midas.

Throughout the series, the genre-bending group, made up of WTKAKACB and King Wavey, will release old and new pieces of material, including visuals and new music, every Monday at 1:31pm for the foreseeable future.

We spoke to 131 Northside about what we can expect from the rest of the ‘Lost Memories’ series, their visual identity and their penchant for San Pellegrino.

How did you come up with the idea for the ‘Lost Memories’ series?

The idea for the ‘Lost Memories’ series came from the sheer volume of work and ideas we had been creating and discussing over the past year. With ‘Lost Memories’, we decided to take a different approach to its release for people to really engage and feel a part of what we are doing. We are on a journey with this shit and want to share it with our audience by bringing them with us piece by piece every week.

The first in the series is a visual for the track ‘Issues’ which was included on your debut EP Digital Memories – why did you decide to start the series with this?

‘Issues’ is a special track for us as it was one of the first videos we shot and self-produced as 131 Northside. The creation of this song was a key part in the birth and development of our musical and visual identity so it was only right that this was the first memory released in the series.

What else can we expect from the rest of the series?

We don’t want to give too much away but the series will be more than just music. We have been working closely with different creatives from around the globe really trying to push boundaries and create a new and exciting movement. What we can say is that the series will see the first appearance of our third member Jiggy, who up until now has been a silent and unseen but integral part of the group since the beginning. We will be releasing the majority of our work online but not everything. There will be physical installations and live aspects as well.

You have a pretty strong visual identity and aesthetic – why are visuals so important to you?

Visuals are just as important as sonics for us to really get the message across of what we stand for. When we started this, it wasn’t so much to be a music group as to create a platform that we felt lacked from our city. We wanted to create and showcase our collective talent in any and every way we could. All aspects of art and design are something we all hold close to our hearts and believe in. Edinburgh is a city that can be very suffocating and conservative at times. We had to do something.

Finally, what is the San Pellegrino thing all about?

Simply put, it is an oxymoron: something that is the best juxtaposition and example of who we are, by taking a different approach to the concept of success. We have adopted the luxury aesthetic of the bottles to be a part of our brand, as well as the purity of it being just water. Growing up and watching films, it is commonly used as a status symbol – for example in The Sopranos,Scarface etc. We aren’t drinking five litre bottles of Cîroc or Moët every single day, but we do drink San Pellegrino every day. You could say it’s an ode to the term “keeping it real.” SP for life.