• Zim Ahmadi

Weekly Assembly (25/6) - Aman Ra, Joyberry, Joji, Alexandra Savior, Taylor Swift and more!

It's time for another edition of Weekly Assembly, where we gather fresh tracks from around the world for your consideration! This week's list features Edward of DFA Records, Sampa the Great, Whitney, Erykah Badu, Gaahls WYRD, Culture Abuse, Ty Segall, (Sandy) Alex G, Boy Pablo, Bibio, Kate Tempest, Joyberry, Alexandra Savior, Madlib & Freddie Gibbs, JPEGMAFIA, Aman Ra, Joji, Taylor Swift, Summer Salt, Common, and Mac Miller.


Follow our playlist for fresh track updates:



HYPEBEAST - Joyberry

GENRE: DREAM POP / BEDROOM POP

We wanted to sympathise with the heartbreak in "HYPEBEAST", to share the frown. Yet the whole time we couldn't help but smile at how wonderfully written it is. A definite step-up from their previous two singles, "xoxo" & "symphati", "HYPEBEAST" sees the band lamenting a person we're all probably familiar with, while maintaining a personality to the songwriting. The rambly singing beautifully reflects a person who have almost given up. Like the purposefully skewed vocal mixing and phrasing adds to that. The lyricism in here is smart and cheeky too, like apologising for their French when they list down Chanel jewelry ("Excuse my poor French") as a play on the popular phrase that Americans use to apologise for swearing. Or the lazy pleas to not be made into a "filler episode" in the other person's "heart drama". They also have a very strong grip on melodies in track (can't get the "witchuuus" out of my head) or the cool solo that wraps up the track. Joyberry manages to overcome the tendency for most current artists trying to adopt the bedroom pop sound - they made it honest & real, instead of just another room to fill with cliches & platitudes.

RATING:

5/5


The Lagoon - Edward


GENRE: AMBIENT / ELECTRONICA Edward is an artist with a difficult to access discography, releasing most of his material on vinyl, and this enigma translates to the type of improvisational, subtle ambient music that he produces. In Underwater Jams, the improvisational quality is turned up slightly more while still underpinned by discreetly hypnotising, repetitive audio passages. This MO doesn’t always end up to his benefit however, with the sputtering of percussions and other sonic details to the song not really adding anything to the track’s skeleton. The ambient framework of The Lagoon can do without some of the bits that stretch out like a weird appendage from the already smooth illustration of a watery hideaway. RATING: 2 / 5




Sampa the Great - Final Form


GENRE: SOUL / HIP HOP Sampa the Great's strong love letter to her roots is jam-packed with loud, soulfurn horns. It's a powerful banger not to be overlooked, empowering, catchy and riveting as Sampa shows pride in her Zambian heritage. (I might final form in my melanin). The way this track seamlessly blends together 70s soul dramatism with that continually chilling “oooohs” makes Final Form probably one of the best songs of 2019 so far. RATING: 5 / 5

Giving Up - Whitney



GENRE: INDIE POP / 70s POP / SOUL / CHAMBER POP


Whitney's production and vocal performances heralds it like the Air Supply for the day. The forlorn falsetto lamenting a relationship slowly fraying at the seams to the point of breaking is beautiful, and the soulful trumpet at the end wraps the song together in a tear-soaked, yet still warm blanket.


RATING:

4 / 5



Tempted - Erykah Badu & James Poyser


GENRE: SOUL / JAZZ Originally performed and written by 80s New Wave/power pop band Squeeze, Erykah Badu & James Poyser of the Roots breathes a whole new life into this track that I never knew I needed. Erykah Badu’s voice is heavenly, as huge harmonious choirs and trumpets intersperse lyrics about falling desperately in love with someone you’re not supposed to. The track also features Thundercat, Ali Jackson and Derrick Hodge. The original shouts anguish, but this cover gives this star-crossed dilemma a more deep-seated, melancholic sadness. RATING: 4.5 / 5


Ek Erilar - Gaahls WYRD


GENRE: BLACK METAL / NORWEGIAN EXTREME METAL / METAL Ek Erilar is not one of Gaahls WYRD fiercest tracks, but the Norwegian black metal band boasts a heavy sense of the majestic, with sludgy blast drums and riffs that ooze all evil and macabre. Their album GastiR - Ghost Invited is out now RATING: 4 / 5


War Time Dub, Culture City - Culture Abuse ft. Lil Ugly Mane



GENRE: DUB / GARAGE PUNK / EXPERIMENTAL DUB Culture Abuse’s garage-punk label is a metonym at best, only functioning as a one-off descriptor to a whole slew of sounds that they’ve explored. In War Time Dub they move away from the power pop sounds of their previous single, Goo, with a spacey dub production that sounds like a tense anthem of destruction and chaos. The bassline tightens up the mood as the drum breaks, police sirens and flanged guitars reflects a swelling of conflict. Lil Ugly Mane’s verse is great, painting that street warfare the music seems to convey. You don’t even need to be a fan of dub to appreciate this track, you just have to picture a whole city burning into flames. RATING: 4.5 / 5




Taste - Ty Segall


GENRE: INDIE ROCK / GARAGE ROCK / POST-PUNK

Ty Segall’s tough garage rock and post-punk buzzsaw propels this bashing spree about the humdrum of life exacerbated by our desire for more. (Our salivating makes it all taste worse). The single is in anticipation of a new LP coming out on 2 August, "First Taste". The music video, directed by Joshua Erkman, shows Segall as a serial killer who target people for their stylish clothes and later wears them for himself. Overall, a wonderfully filthy song with kickass drumlines, distortions and a malicious vocal performance by Ty Segall himself. RATING: 4.5 / 5


Gretel - (Sandy) Alex G


GENRE: INDIE FOLK / INDIE ROCK Steely reverb pianos and warm guitars, Alex G's storytelling shines in this paranoid, yet self-affirming ramble of a track, Gretel is the first single off of his upcoming album, House of Sugar, coming out on September 13 2019. The music video sets up a charming background to Alex G’s songwriting, reminiscent of composers such as Elliot Smith, where the heart of a million lives in a few refrains. A beautiful song, hands down. RATING: 5 / 5


50 Souls and a Discobowl - Boy Pablo (cover of The Lionheart Brothers)


GENRE: INDIE POP / DREAM POP / INDIE ROCK Paying homage to their fellow Norwegian musiciains, The Lionheart Brothers, boy pablo’s cover is a more lush and reverb-drenched version of the indie rock track. There’s nothing particularly special, but it contains all the elements of a good boy pablo song - an inescapable groove, and a sense of sunny joviality RATING: 3 / 5



old graffiti - Bibio


GENRE: PSYCHEDELIC / BRAZILIAN POP Old graffiti is a testament to Bibio’s versatility. If curls showcases BIbio’s strength in creating wispy, ethereal soundtracks that are close to nature, old graffiti is Bibio’s grasp over tight song structures that are poppy while still retaining a good dose of psychedelic milieu. Unfortunately, I don’t think old graffiti carries much weight at all. It gets nondescript pretty face, despite containing within it an alright tune. Bibio’s album Ribbons is out now. RATING: 3 / 5


People's Faces - Kate Tempest

GENRE: SPOKEN WORD

Drive yourself to tears by another spoken word declamation off of Kate Tempest's heart. Hear her pleas for humanity and finding peace in the creased hope on people's faces. Any light is bittersweet . Her album “The Book of Traps and Lessons” is out now. RATING: 5 / 5

Crying All the Time - Alexandra Savior

GENRE: INDIE ROCK / BLUES / DESERT ROCK Her first single off of her upcoming album, The Archer, (release date unconfirmed), sees Alexandra Savior sticking to her 60s femme fatale sound. With Sam Cohen of Apollo Sunshine on production instead of Alex Turner, there's a slightly more psychedelic emptiness to the audio textures. In fact, Alexandra Savior sounds way more at home in Crying All the Time than any of the tracks she made for her debut Belladonna of Sadness. It’s exciting to see Savior haunting as always while crafting a sound that is more true to herself. The song sounds like a lonely weeping of a person who’s made the mistake of investing too much of themselves in another. RATING: 4 / 5


Giannis - Madlib & Freddie Gibbs ft. Anderson .Paak

GENRE: HIP HOP / EXPERIMENTAL HIP HOP Everyday we get closer to the day of reckoning, namely Madlib and Freddie Gibb's collab album, "Bandana" on June 28. All of the singles have been fire, including this one featuring some of Madlib's best beats, featuring Anderson Paak on the hooks and a Bollywood sample to wrap up the show, namely Aasman Ke Neeche by Kishore Kumar. RATING: 4.5 / 5


The Who - JPEGMAFIA ft. Eyas

GENRE: EXPERIMENTAL HIP HOP / ART RAP An outtake from his 2018 album, Veteran, the track is one of JPEGMAFIA”s more approachable songs - centering around a very dreamy melody instead of abrasive catatonia. Eyas’s vocals on this track is definitely the highlight, on top of the chiptune detail and ad libs that gives The Who that JPEGMAFIA trademark. The reference to the Who’s Sellout Album is also a really interesting basis to write a braggadocious track off, but JPEGMAFIA definitely pulls it off. RATING: 4 / 5



Berada - Aman Ra ft. Altimet & Noh Salleh


GENRE: HIP HOP / POP RAP Although not one of the best tracks off of his 2018 album, Rebel, Aman Ra exhibits some strong flow and storytelling in Berada. The message of gratitude, respecting your origins, and humility is only mildly watered down by the pretty bland EDM pop production you see in big top 40 rappers like G-Eazy. But Noh Salleh’s hook and Altimet’s recounting of his past is a sweet feature of this track that makes up for it’s other flaws. The music video for Berada is really wholesome too, featuring younger versions of all three artists. RATING: 3.5 / 5

Sanctuary - Joji



GENRE: R&B / LO-FI "Sanctuary" is another beautiful lo-fi ballad from Joji. The falsetto harmonies when Joji sings "something so real" is so captivating especially when surrounded by spacey synths. He also ups the ante in songwriting, going for more cryptic or layered takes on his love confessions. My favourite Joji track so far. RATING: 5 / 5



You Need to Calm Down - Taylor Swift

GENRE: POP Taylor Swift welcomes the summer and Pride Month with an irresistibly catchy track, hitting all of the necessary targets including homophobes, trolls and people who like to pit women against each other. The production and performance on this track is significantly better than her feature with Brendon Urie and makes me excited for her upcoming album "Lover" again, coming out 23 August. There’s a kind of ‘80s pop undertone in You Need to Calm Down, that is unabashedly chirpy - a breath of fresh air from Taylor Swift’s awkward attempt at being edgy in Reputation. The music video features LGBT royalty, from Ellen DeGeneres getting a tattoo, RuPaul, the Fab Five of Queer Eye and much more! There's even an appearance by Ryan Reynolds, who plays a pansexual near-Immortal assassin comic book character, Deadpool, so I guess that counts. RATING: 4 / 5


Candy Wrappers - Summer Salt


GENRE: TWEE POP / INDIE ROCK Summer Salt has always been reliably sweet, and Candy Wrappers is no different. Straight from their 2018 album, Happy Camper, Candy Wrappers illustrates that feeling of lethargy and laziness when the sun is out and when you’re wishing your loved one was there with you. Nothing too unique about the song, but it comfortably and competently follows the dreamy bedroom pop sound of so many indie singer-songwriters today. RATING: 4 / 5


HER Love - COMMON ft. Daniel Caesar



GENRE: HIP HOP / SOUL RAP

This track is a sequel to Common's series of songs where he pays tribute to his love for hip hop, the first track being '‘I Used to Love Her’ in 1994, then ‘Act Too’, followed by ‘Love Of My Life (An Ode To Hip-Hop)’, his duet with Erykah Badu off the Brown Sugar soundtrack in 2002 and most recently, ‘The Next Chapter (Still Love HER)’ in 2013. Every time he drops a track in these series, he simply kills it. HER Love is a masterful work of prose, as Common's spoken word flow add colour to the already sleek unreleased J Dilla beat. The verse where he namechecks rappers from Nipsey Hussle, Lil Uzi Vert, Kendrick Lamar, Noname, Cardi B, Jaden Smith Meek Mill, to Tyler, the Creator (Now you a part of me, creating Tyler style/A Future ain't odd to see) is just an amazing love letter for Common to compose. Even if he is part of the old guard, and that he himself never really changes it up in terms of his style, his love for the genre is filled with generosity for every new thing. (They trip when you mumble, they trip when you sing/But you gave us, a chance to dream). Daniel Caesar's voice serves just enough to keep the song elevated. HER Love is straight from Common's upcoming album, 'Let Love Have the Last Word'.


RATING:

5 / 5




Time - Free Nationals, Mac Miller, Kali Uchis



GENRE: HIP HOP / R&B

Although Mac Miller passed away last year, his legacy lives on through the artists who respect him, and his posthumous releases. Time is another addition to that list, as Anderson. Paak's band, Free Nationals features Mac Miller and Kali Uchis's vocals which blend in perfectly together. Kali Uchis's performance decorates the first leg of the track and Mac Miller comes in with verses on love. The production on this is jazzy smooth, with drum breaks and horns that give a full warm body to an otherwise already endearing track.

RATING:

4 / 5

Follow our playlist for fresh track updates:


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