Neneh Cherry’s new single proves she’s still one of the best
The best new tracks of the week are available on our Spotify playlist: 24/7, 365 days per year. The future is here and it is terrifying/good.
Neneh Cherry – ‘Kong’
So many good things to say about this. Let’s not bury the lede; Neneh Cherry is back and that is reason enough to rejoice. Her track record is impeccable and her most recent record showed us she was ready to make her most inventive and exhilarating music yet.
Another reason for celebration: she’s back working with Four Tet and Massive Attack’s 3D on her new music and this track is clear proof that the collaboration has already paid dividends. It’s spacious, spacey, wistful, bassy, powerful and, most importantly, ensures Cherry’s perfect voice is front and centre.
Finally, the song comes with a striking clip from director Jenn Nkiru that just fits so beautifully.
No word on if/when there’ll be a new album, but this will do just nicely for now.
Ainslie Wills – ‘Society’
Ainslie Wills is easily one of Australia’s best songwriters. That’s not empty hyperbole, it’s the damn truth. Honestly, if you’re reading this and you aren’t already familiar with her work, then please don’t read any further, go and seek out some of her music, because you need it in your life.
‘Society’ is not necessarily what you might expect from Ainslie Wills following last year’s glossy singles, ‘Drive’ and ‘Running Second’. It’s so delicate, so raw, so personal and so brilliant. It strips everything back to Wills’ perfect voice and guitar and a set of lyrics that cuts so close to the bone in the best of ways. Such a forthright piece of poetry is treated just the way it should be; pretty much completely unadorned so it can
Her second album All You Have Is All You Need will be out some time early next year.
Iron & Wine – ‘What Hurts Worse’
At the end of this month, Iron & Wine will release Seed Garden, a collection of songs Sam Beam started writing for his excellent (like, really excellent) Beast Epic album of last year and didn’t get finished. If the rest of the EP is half as good as ‘What Hurts Worse’, its first single, then it’s going to be among Beam’s most compelling, beautiful and sad work yet. Songs like this suggest he’s more than just a songwriter, he’s a master craftsman. His genius is just so affecting, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Idles – ‘Samaritans’
British band Idles have very quickly endeared themselves with their spirited take on rock’n’roll and intelligent take on the tropes that have run rampant throughout not just rock’n’roll but male culture at large. ‘Samaritans’ is a scathing examination of toxic masculinity; there are too many great lines to repeat here, but the main refrain of ‘This is why you never see your father cry’ is a particularly striking one. Can’t wait to hear their full record Joy as an Act of Resistance when it’s out at month’s end.
Wallace – ‘Frame By Frame’
We hear something of a new side to Sydney singer Wallace on this new track ‘Frame By Frame’, thanks to the spacey, ultra-modern production that couches her always peerless vocal. Given the impeccable standard of previous singles, it feels almost churlish to say that ‘Frame By Frame’ shows that voice at its best, but it really does sound even stronger and more affecting than ever before. There’s plenty more to learn about the song – from chickens clucking into samplers, to the immense Harry Potter influence – which you can read over here.
Santigold – ‘Run The Road’
The surprise Santigold mixtape I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions has been a real treat since it came out towards the end of last month. ‘Run The Road’ is a pretty good indication of what she serves up on the full product; glossy pop with shades of dancehall, all driven by her strong, clear, brilliant pop voice. It’s not Santigold at her most inventive and challenging, but it feels kinda close to Santigold at her most easily-approachable, and there’s something sweet about that.
Jungle – ‘Heavy, California’
If you’ve been across Jungle since they burst out from nowhere in 2014, it won’t take you long to realise ‘Heavy California’ is their work. They’re nothing if not distinct – breezy, feelgood modern disco vibes abound – and this will be a certain winner in the Aussie summer. Their second album For Ever is out next month.
John Butler Trio – ‘Home’
So, this track kinda doesn’t really sound like John Butler Trio. For a band who’s kept a relatively solid sound over the past couple of decades, that’s a pretty big call. The trap rolls, the hip hop inspired production; it’s not anything we’ve heard from them before. It might annoy a few fans, but I reckon most will be on board. More than anything, it’s really great to hear Butler trying new things. Their new album is out next month and you can read a whole lot more about it over here.
The Blaze – ‘She’
French indie-electro-pop newcomers The Blaze have struck a winner with ‘She’. It’s emotive, playful and has that French touch that always goes down so nicely. The duo have had a huge year or so and it will only get bigger when their debut album Dancehall drops next month.
No Mono – ‘Fever Highs’
We’re used to darkness from No Mono, but we’ve not yet heard anything quite as aggressive as this. ‘Fever Highs’ is a gnarled piece of music built on lashings of trip hop and soul and something that just sounds kinda alien. You’d imagine Björk and Anohni have been pretty significant influences here. Tom Snowden’s voice works just as well over this harsh, jagged backing as it does the mellower sounds that pulsed through their Islands Part 1 piece from earlier this year. All of this bodes well for this already beloved outfit’s immediate future.