New Music Weekly #7 | Kendrick Lamar, Drake & Gorillaz

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; Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Gorillaz, and more…

Mura Masa  ‘1 Night’ (Ft Charlie XCX)

For the second week in a row Charlie XCX makes the cut, but this time she’s the bit player in the kind of low-key pop treat that should dominate the summer charts but never does— I cant wait to see what this year’s ‘Happy’ is. Guernsey’s Mura Masa has churned out enough minor hits from his trademark tropical tinged productions to pretty much convince anyone listening that the 20– year old(!) is soon to be one of the biggest collaborators in the genre. ‘1 Night’ is a fiendishly sweet bop, featuring jaunty vibraphones and a more wholesome, wistful Charlie XCX vocal performance.   

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Drake ‘Passionfruit’

After having given us just a paltry 3 major release in as many years —Including  a solo album, a collaborative LP with Future and a 17 song ‘mixtape’—Drake finally emerged from this lengthy drought to give us a 22 track playlist entitled More Life. That’s 270 minutes of Drake since 2014, enough of his post-Nothing was the Same material to soundtrack any four and half hour journey. He may not understand quantity control—or more likely he understands all too well the logistics of streaming profiteering—but the Canadian’s releases will always have their highlights. Case in point: ‘Passionfruit’, an endearingly earnest slow burner about the difficulty of maintaining a long term relationship that makes economic use of singular beat that runs through much of its five minutes.   

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Kendrick Lamar ‘The Heart Part 4’

We haven’t heard any solo material from Kendrick Lamar since the election of Donald Trump but the ‘The Heart Part 4’  is  the succinct and devastating picture of the new world order we very much needed from him. His incomparable talent captures the paranoid sentiment of America like no one else : Electoral votes look like memorial votes, he sneers. Typically his ire takes equal aim at the culture which rapidly devolves around him The whole world gone mad…Blacks that act white, white that’s do the dab. The King of rap is back, and no one even dared touch the crown while he was away.  

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Kelly Lee Owens ‘8’

Kelly Lee Owens’ superb self-titled debut dropped this week and please do check it out. It’s a darkly ominous and beautifully ethereal soundscape that’s perfect for dancing to in a dark room where the music can supply the imagery. Closer ‘8’ is the best of the new material. The 10-minute stunner is Owens’ own industrial playground, a waking nightmare that, due to those other Elysian vocals of hers, never completely overshadows her lighter touch.

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Gorillaz ‘Andromeda’

Of the four new tracks the iconic, eclectic group dropped this week, this is by far the strongest. ‘Andromeda’ earns its name. Featuring the eccentric vocal work of D.R.A.M,  it’s a steady as she goes cosmic ballet, that tranquillises as much as it enthralls. After the concern caused by the startling mediocrity of ‘Hallelujah money’, Gorillaz have proved that they’re truly back. Now they’re aiming for the stars while hitting their targets.  

[arve [arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W44NWYwa1g&feature=youtu.be”]h3>Perfume Genius ‘Slip Away’

With each album he releases, the sound of Perfume Genius gets that much bigger. Since 2010’s DIY debut Learning, Mike Hadreas has gone from making intimate, bedroom pop to explosive, anxiety ridden anthems ready set for the festival field. This doesn’t mean his songs have gotten any less personal, rather they are just more extroverted. His newest euphoric single ‘Slip away’ rattles with a volatile sense of unease, its eruptive chorus crashing in as if the track itself is bursting at the seams. The parent album No shape will be out May 5 via Matador.

[arve [arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPiiY4a1vf4&feature=youtu.be”]h3>Daithí ‘Holiday Home’

Daithí’s moody ‘Holiday Home’ captures that solitary sense of introspection that only music can achieve. No surprise, the acclaimed Irish producer was inspired by the late night trips home he took after gigs—solo. “There’s something interesting about playing to a room full of people, and then suddenly being completely alone in the middle of nowhere, with only your thoughts and some tunes to keep you company.” What starts off minimally atmospheric, gathers some momentum to end up gently expansive.

[arve [arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdfHHUBZtmM&feature=youtu.be”]h3>White Reaper ‘The Stack’

White Reaper have called their next album The World’s Best American Band, which ironically, is also the world’s worst album name. Still the claim is made about 25% less audacious after hearing it’s second single ‘The Stack’. The garage punk, flag flyers are still able to make fun tunes out of visceral hooks and the best of Americana revisionism.

[arve [arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Es4tpU5R_2U&feature=youtu.be”]h3>Wavves ‘Animal’

At their best, Wavves can marry the dirtiest of no-fi sensibilities with the sunniest of pop-rock hooks. Newest single ‘Animal’ is a good example of the band at their peak. With a title like that, its not surprising the distorted chorus ploughs through the song like a bull in a china shop. The lyrics have the quintessential feigned apathy of 90’s grunge, while the bass line is a worthy, bellowing foundation. Wavves’ sixth album You’re Welcome is out 19th of May.

[arve [arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alfFTVId3V4"]h3>The Courtneys ‘Country song’

The Canadian trio dropped The Courtneys II this week. It’s their second album of the fitfully fuzzy, expansive, dreamy rock they champion. Of the not yet heard material, ‘Country song’ stands out—although you should give the 80s films referencing ‘Lost Boys’ a spin too. The track doesn’t capture the genre so much as it does the landscape of the ‘country’. All their songs sound as if they were inspired by and written while window watching from a tour bus, and this is no exception. Even if they are not an American band, you can just picture the endless topography of the US frontier whizzing by you as you listen.

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