If you're not listening to the sleek Neil Frances, you should be
Neil Frances – ‘These Days’
Neil Frances take aspects of soul, disco, electro, psych-pop and distil them into something very simple but completely astonishing. You’ll get heavy Tame Impala vibes, but shades of everything from Caribou to Al Jarreau to some of that fine French touch music of the 90s and 2000s will shine through as well.
It’s the kind of music that you could analyse forever, pinning dozens of influences on their sound, but it’s much more fun if you just turn it up loud, close your eyes and let that bassline take you away.
Each of the three tracks this Australian/US duo have delivered so far have been belters. Here’s hoping they keep them coming.
Black Milk – ‘Laugh Now Cry Later’
Detroit’s Black Milk drops album number six in a couple of weeks’ time. ‘Laugh Now Cry Later’ is dark but brings up some pretty salient points, be it about cultural appropriation, about the hypocrisy of extra-woke social media callouts, or general abuse towards the black community. It’s beautiful in a very powerful way.
The Decemberists – ‘Severed’
The normally rather pastoral The Decemberists go just a little bit electro on their new track ‘Severed’. It’s not enough to get them played in nightclubs or anything, just enough to refresh the sound a little. Colin Meloy’s distinctive voice and literate lyrics remain and there’s a stunning baritone guitar that rings out like it’s signally the end of the world.
Mia Dyson – ‘Fool’
Our love for Mia Dyson is as immense as it is well documented. So, we’re so happy that her latest single kicks as much arse as usual. It once again sees her at the crossroads of country, blues, pop, soul and indie rock, a lively cut that makes you wanna jump in the car and cruise down the highway til you run out of fuel. Her new album If I Said Only So Far I Take It Back is out in March.
Peggy Gou – ‘It Makes You Forget’
Ninja Tune artist Peggy Gou offers up some smooth, mid-tempo house that will slot into your Saturday night playlist nicely. The squelchy synths, rolling beats and exotic percussive flourishes all come together effortlessly, perfectly punctuated by Gou’s vocal, sung in her native Korean. Her album Once is out early March.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – ‘You Worry Me’
He got the world’s interest with the rambunctious ‘S.O.B.’ but then Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats won everyone over with the frontman’s smooth, soulful croon and the band’s ability to create as much atmosphere and tension when they sat back in the groove as they did when they played at full-force. ‘You Worry Me’ is the first taste from their new album Tearing at the Seams and it’s another deep, understated stunner.
PNAU – ‘Go Bang’ / ‘Young Melody’ (ft. Vera Blue)
A couple of killer tunes from PNAU’s excellent Changa album of last year. Turn the volume up, shut the blinds, lose your goddamn mind in the living room.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – ‘Mainland’
There are a lot of people with very good taste who consider Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever to be the best band in the country right now. Who are we to argue? The straightforward indie bliss of ‘Mainland’ is a good exhibition of the carefree vibe that pervades all the band’s work. It’s not going to change the world, but it’s a fresh piece of rock’n’roll goodness that deserves your attention.
Lucy Rose – ‘All That Fear’
Lucy Rose currently on tour with Ben Folds and if the sweet soul-pop of ‘All That Fear’ isn’t enough to get you out early to see her then it’s your loss. This track isn’t actually from the British singer-songwriter’s latest album, it was a cutting-room floor gem that she didn’t want to let flounder, so she has released it as a sweet standalone single.
Tropical Fuck Storm – ‘You Let My Tyres Down’
The Tropical Fuck Storm continues to build in the lead up to their debut LP A Laughing Death In Meatspace, set for release in early May. ‘You Let My Tyres Down’ sees the band skating pretty damn close to the work of The Drones (fair, given half the band are actually members of that group); literate, gripping, angular and ferocious.