Damon Albarn brings back Gorillaz, with help from a jazz legend
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Gorillaz – 'Humility'
Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz are back – this track, ‘Humility’, comes from their new album, The Now Now, which will be out on June 29.
The song is everything you expect from the animation-driven project – a super-cool, mid-tempo beat with lots of melody and synthesizers over the top.
Albarn said recently that the new album won’t have as many guests as last year’s Humanz, though it does feature Snoop Dogg on one track, and ‘Humility’ includes a guest from jazz legend George Benson. (The video also stars Jack Black.)
Gaz Coombes – 'Walk The Walk'
‘Walk The Walk’ comes from the third solo record from former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes.
This song keeps the funk elements of the band that made Coombes famous but removes the punk edge.
‘Walk The Walk’ chugs along at an R&B tempo, with spiky base notes, pretty backing vocals and Coombes’ voice, still full of attitude and edge after all these years.
Pusha T – 'If You Know You Know'
It takes a bucketload of talent to out-gun Drake – the most popular artist on Spotify – in the prickly world of online debate. Pusha T seems to have done that this week, pushing the Canadian rapper into a corner as the two continued their much-publicised feud.
Rap beefs aside, you can see that talent on ‘If You Know You Know’, the first cut from Pusha’s new record Daytona.
Daytona was produced by Kanye West, and you can hear some of that influence on this track, which stops and starts and uses samples and synths to make its point.
Tricot – 'Potage'
It’s hard to pin down Tricot, a band from Kyoto, Japan.
They make complex, mathy guitar music that sometimes sounds warm and, almost, Top 40-worthy. For all the lovely melodies on ‘Potage’, their new single, there are also some very unlovely elements – a guitar sounding like its being ripped apart by Glenn Branca; a vocal overdub that might have been sampled from The Ring (listen with headphones on).
It’s this dichotomy that makes Tricot so alluring, and after a few listens to ‘Potage’, everything sounds like it’s in its right place. That’s quite an accomplishment: to make interesting and challenging music that is also very enjoyable.
Rudimental – 'Toast To Our Differences'
‘Toast To Our Differences’, from the new album of the same name by British act Rudimental, is a toast to our differences – social, cultural, racial, and more.
The song, featuring the Zimbabwean songwriter Shungudzo as lead vocalist, is a celebration of looking past things that divide us and a thought experiment of what it would be like to live in a fairer world.
Watch the clip to get the full message. It toggles between images of multi-cultural harmony in London and clips of social struggles past and present – riots about wages and taxes; protests about the Grenfell tower tragedy.
Emma Davis – 'Best Of Times'
‘Best Of Times’ is a new single from Sydney musician Emma Davis.
It was produced by J Walker of Machine Translations, who aside from making his own music most recently produced Jen Cloher’s self-titled album. That wide-open, multi-instrumental approach that Walker brings to his own work and his production method is showcased here.
‘Best Of Times’ is driven by a catchy drum beat, and brings in lush backing vocals, gentle trumpets and finger-picked acoustic guitars. Davis’ voice is delicate, never overbearing. Think Sally Seltmann/New Buffalo and Holly Throsby and you get an idea of Davis’ sound.
Hannah Cameron – 'What’s It For'
Melbourne singer Hannah Cameron’s versatile voice drives this dark, brittle piece of music, the first cut from her new album, I Lay Where You Lie, out this week.
It brings to mind artist like Gillian Welch and, more recently, Mothers and Big Thief. According to her Unearthed page, Cameron is influenced by acts like Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Laura Marling.
Judging by the other tracks on I Lay Where You Lie that are already available, this will be one of 2018’s slow burners, a collection of songs you should get your ears around before everyone else picks up on it.
Big Orange – 'Goodnight Kiss Vampire Bite'
‘Goodnight Kiss Vampire Bite’ is fun bit of pop rock about contradictions and missed connections from Perth trio Big Orange.
There’s a swing that resembles Meg Mac, and a sense of abandon and revelry that recalls Cloud Control and Irish band The Thrills.
Keep an ear out for what this young band does next.
Cool Out Son – 'Fire For'
Cool Out Son is a new project from Melbourne producer Sensible J. It features N'fa Jones, best known as frontman of 1200 Techniques, on vocals as well as Lamine Sonko and Nui Moon.
‘Fire For’ is a vibrant new track from this African-Australian quartet, bringing in elements of hip hop, world music and afro-soul.
Braille Face – 'Leave Your Heart'
Melbourne’s Braille Face has been making clever, catchy electronica for a while, and 'Leave Your Heart' is just the latest example.
“I’m only human,” Jordan White sings on this track, which feels fitting, because as Braille Face he often mixes the digital and analogue to make something that is ultimately neither, or both.