New Music Weekly #51 | Anna Calvi, Robyn and Spiritualized

New Music Weekly is your one-stop shop for new releases in the world of music each and every week. From the best of the best to some of the rest, Mark Conroy is here to give you the low down on what you might have missed. This week: Anna Calvi, Robyn, Spiritualized & More..

Advance Base ‘Dolores & Kimberly’

Under the Moniker Advance Base, Owen Ashworth records sparse, melancholic indie rock that’s charged with the longing for emotional catharsis. As a songwriter, he has a knack for charming, tragicomic storytelling populated with outsiders in seek of a respite from their lonely existence. ‘Dolores & Kimberly’, which seems to be about someone who abandons their family to live with a stranger they meet on the internet, ticks a lot of those boxes. The steady, twinkling twang of the guitar juxtaposes with Ashworth’s resigned baritone to create a mood that suits a track centring around the uneasy feeling that comes with selfishly hurting others in order to save ourselves.

Anna Calvi ‘Hunter’

Earlier this Summer Anna Calvi announced that she would be dropping her first new album since 2013’s One Breath. ‘Hunter’ is the second single and it’s a stronger effort than lead “Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy”. The simmering, sometimes explosive track upends the traditional gender dynamics that Calvi thinks oppress women into a perpetual state of fear: Women are now the ‘hunter’ not the hunted. The reclamation is done to do away with the victimhood that men place on women, and allow females to explore sexuality and themselves without the threat of shame.

Spiritualized ‘Here it comes (The Road)Let’s Go’

John Pierce’s third taster from his first Spiritualized album in 6 years is ,like his last excellent single ‘I’m your Man’, good news for those looking forward to his upcoming And Nothing Hurt. The title is almost a parody of lazy choruses for folksy pop songs as Pierce embraces schmaltz without resulting to mawkishness. There’s a swirling uplift to the jaunt of the guitars and to the stirring, hand to heart, charm of the horns. The Greek chorus of voices that populate his songs add sentimental heart- swelling vibes to near comic lines like “Take a line, it'll be alright/And we’ll get stoned all through the night”.

Robyn ‘Missing U’

The alternative queen of the dancefloor returns with a trademark, sentimental foot stomper. ‘Missing U’ is yet another shining example of Robyn’s uncanny ability to combine escapist, neon-tinged pop with heart wrenching, outpouring of bare-naked longing. The synth’s stab their way through the song and almost pierce the soul of a singer desperate to hold on to the ‘empty space left behind’ by a past lover or former friend. “This part of you, this clock that stopped /This residue, it’s all I’ve got” Robyn admits in stupor of emotional, arrested development. She may not be over them, but she can still make us gyrate to their memory. White guys with guitars, stay far away.


Ella Mai ‘Trip’

A relative unknow before she dropped the sleeper hit ‘Boo’d up’, the 23-year old purveyor of sleek, sensual R’n’B Ella Mai had a virtually overnight rise to prominence thanks to the surprise success of the track. ‘Trip’ is her first release since and while it’s not quite got the immediately satisfying punch of what came before it, it at the very least proves that ‘Boo’d up’ was no fluke. Mai, a Londoner who excels in American groove staples, sings velvety with frustrated chagrin at the thought of crushing so hard on yet another man. She’s trippin on someone, and has no choice but to go with it. The playful pianos chords plant the emotion to the fore and the trap drums stutter as the heart flutters.

YG ‘Bomptown Finest’

Compton rapper YG dropped his third album Stay Dangerous this past week. It’s full of trend chasing but undeniable hook-laden trap bangers that utilise the talents of Quavo, ASAP Rocky, Nikki Minaj and others. ‘Bomptown Finest’ is the final track, a stripped back outlier that might be the most interesting thing the record has to offer. DJ Mustard’s production is placid, like freeform jazz with a metronomic, bellowing beat at its centre which offers YG’s fluid-like flow something to follow. Odes to the hometown are common themes for rappers who ‘made it’ but the suggestion—thanks to some references—that each of these 3 lengthy verses was written at different time in G’s life sets this apart. Keenon Ray Jackson gives us a glimpse to his complicated, sometimes tragic rise by very literally going back in time and the words written years ago are given new life in the context of 2018.

Jape ‘Yeh’

Irish multi-Instrumentalist Richie Egan releases his first new music under the Jape moniker since 2015’s excellent This Chemical Sea. Latest track ‘Yeh’ suggests a he’s moved further leftfield then he’s used to. The pop side in his electro pop is lest present here as he demonstrates his talent for marrying scintillating, syncopated rhythms with the ambiance of a lone streetlight on the empty road in the middle of the night. There’s hints of DJ Koze and Panda Bear here, but in the end it’s all Jape.