Janelle Monaé: Dirty Computer (Album)
I almost wrote an article on this fantastic woman last year when her latest album Dirty Computer was on its way to us. I’m sure you saw Janelle was making waves on twitter, calling out the ever-divisive President Trump. Regardless of your political affiliations, this is one incredible artist who gave us one of 2018’s strongest albums and just so happens to be a bisexual icon. I implore you to check it out for whatever vibes you’re after. This whole album is heartfelt, empowering, liberating, honest and so damn catchy.
Malibu Ken: Malibu Ken (Album)
A rogue but welcome discovery of this hip-hop duo – Malibu Ken consists of Aesop Rock and Tobacco (of Black Moth Super Rainbow) and with their debut album offer some clear cut and hard-hitting rap, upheld by unconventional electronic/synthesiser music. Melding wordplay and synth-funk, these are two creative minds who have delivered a refreshingly distinctive sound. Though perhaps I’m not well versed enough on alternative hip-hop, their style reminds me of rapid but clear Busdriver whose album Fear of a Black Tangent I could not get enough of last year. Maybe this year is the year of Malibu Ken.
Cherry Glazerr: Wasted Nun (Single)
Yes please. I can't wait for the album to arrive. I freaking love Cherry Glazerr for the vocals, jumping from soft and delicate to aggressive passion and desperation. I spent a lot of time listening to their 2017 album ‘Apocalipstick’ while running around Paris trying to confront my mental health problems. The production of their music layers screaming vocals and guitar riffs torn to distortion into a beautiful chaos that yanks at the heart. Ahead of the release of ‘Stuffed & Ready’, lead singer and songwriter Clementine Creevy gave some context for the new album:
“I am telling my story of how I feel and where I am in life, I’m exploring my own self-doubt. With Apocalipstick, I was an over-confident teenager trying to solve the world’s problems. With Stuffed & Ready, I’m a much more weary and perhaps cynical woman who believes you need to figure your own self out first.”
In the band’s self-penned ‘About’ entry on Spotify, Creevy claims to have been ruthless with the selection process for the track list of the forthcoming album. Putting each song to the test with one simple question: “Is this really me?” Creevy admits to now be writing with intent, a method which in theory will result in one intimate, raw and meaningful album.
[Stuffed & Ready was released 1stFebruary 2019 and yes it’s wonderful – go and check it out]
I only recently began to listen to Boogie’s music after I saw Eminem promoting him on his Instagram. It turns out that this is yet another artist scooped up by Marshal Mathers’ reputable/infamous/esteemed record label Shady Records.
Boogie has some powerful singles to get you in the mood for his upcoming album, such as ‘Silent Ride’ and ‘Self Destruction’. Take a moment to peruse his back catalogue and he shows himself to be a great story teller throughout. The Compton born rapper did have one apparently “viral” hit with ‘Oh My’ and, while I’d not heard of it, it does make for good listening.
The new album, titled ‘Everything’s For Sale’, is his first with Shady Records and arrived on Friday 25thJanuary.
Amongst all the excitement surrounding the announcement of his album release, Boogie took to Instagram where he put all emotions on show: “Bro this shit is really happening ..y’all know how many nights i cried over this? To many man all them nights in the studio where it felt like I was getting nowhere..I hate venting like this but bro I’m so proud of myself and the people around me so fuck it .if u got a dream KEEP GOING N***AZ.”
Loyle Carner: You Don't Know (Single)
Another soulful and delicately crafted masterpiece from Loyle Carner. Opening with a very home-grown piano melody, almost sounding like it’s being played from a dusty family living room piano, joined soon after by a thumping brass section.
The hook is casual and choral: "you don't know what I'm looking for". Words of unrequited love and confusion in sexual relationships seems to be the tone of this one, it is relatable. With words about old loves from before other experiences which left him with a “fear of love”. Elements of anger and betrayal seem to add a feeling of powerful independence to this track.
The music itself has a confident air to it, and to me evokes thoughts of freedom. This could well be a mellow but uplifting summertime poolside tune, despite the undertones of disappointment.
Maggie Rogers: Heard It In A Past Life (Album)
Way back in May 2018, Maggie Rogers released the pre-emptive 'Fallingwater' and our ears perked up with anticipation. 8 months later, the album is finally here for your consumption and sheer enjoyment.
I’ve run out of steam to be able to dissect this album but will say that it feels like Maggie Rogers has left her memorable mark on 2019.