Jesca Hoop ft.Lucius ‘Shoulder Charge’ – a secret of sadness

There’s duets (tercets?) that are too good to be true. It doesn’t seem such a far stretch because both Jesca and Lucius are amazing at beautiful melodies and haunting harmonies. This is a match made in heaven. But it still comes as a surprise because it’s one of those things I didn’t even think I could get.

“Shoulder Charge” is a gorgeous, slow flowing sad song that sees the loneliness of someone who can’t seem to connect. It’s not even about complete isolation but about things that are sometimes to intimate, the feeling that there’s something so deep and so raw that it can’t be shared with others. Sometimes because there’s no one who would understand and sometimes because one couldn’t imagine a person who would understand. And these things are different, I think.

It has a happy ending, though, when Jesca sings:

“and what a fucking relief that nothing one can go through has not been shared by two”

It’s a beautiful song that feels very intimate but is at the same time obtuse enough for everyone to make up their own secret they’d rather not share, their own sadness and insecurities. And it’s yet again a gorgeous first glimpse into a Jesca Hoop-album.

By the way, I might be completely off but something about this song really reminds me of Sondheim’s “Company“. Maybe it’s the harmonies or the softness of the vocals but the musical is (mostly) equally soft and sad but also not hopeless.

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Favorite Song: Yes We Mystic ‘Young Evil’ – Watching you, watching me

What an amazing song found its way into my inbox. It starts like something dark on the horizon, so big that it blocks out the sun and then rushes over you like a horde, like a wave, like a poisonous cloud. “Young Evil” is the kind of song that elevates your heart rate, makes it heart to breathe, makes you panic without knowing why.

However, as dramatic the song is, the story behind is actually quite uplifting. “Young Evil” is about stunt man and historical power weirdo Evel Knievel, who apparently saw a documentary about himself which was absolutely not factual. But instead of being mad, he was delighted and based his image on this other, fictitious version of himself.

So, in a way, this song that sounds like it will haunt you like the entity in “It Follows” – forever and unrelenting – is actually a wondrous ode to making your own myths, to create yourself in a way that others see you, like a never ending mirroring of what is and what is perceived until you are who people think you are but within your own interpretation of theirs. Oh what, you didn’t expect such a meta commentary, as most of my blogs are about 80s hairspray and wistfully looking out of the window? Welp, deal with it.

(that video is disturbing though and will actually haunt me like that “It Follows”-entity, thank you very much)

I am quite excited for the sophomore album of Yes We Mystic. “Ten Seated Figures” will be released on April 19th and judging from this and their other early release (“Please bring me to safety”) the album will be an experimental thrill ride through Wild Beasts-esque Art pop. Yes, please.

Favorite Song: Black Mountain ‘Future Shade’ -Space metal

Look, I don’t plan to love whatever Black Mountain throws my way, even if it’s some weird metal space opera. I am just here, enjoying a nice evening on my couch and suddenly, I am transported on to a spaceship, wear a neon spandex spacesuit, way too much make-up and have to save the earth from disgusting space slugs. That’s just how it is, that’s what Black Mountain did to me and who am I to turn it down? Now, you might argue here that there are no space slugs in that song but we all know that’s in the subtext, obviously.

Favorite Songs: Yola Carter ‘Faraway Look’

You know that feeling when you hear the first notes of a song and your heart flutters and you feel the love washing over you and then the vocals start and its everything you wanted it to be?

Yola Carter’s new single “Faraway Look” is my love at first tender note. With a soft morning light coming straight from the 70s, with the euphoric chorus of a Mamas and the Papas song, Yola sings “That faraway look in your eyes, it’s getting harder to disguise”.

This is a love song for people who love to dream and to think of better things. And I’ll be damned if we don’t need more alternative love songs. This song is the embodiment of levitating through the day, gazing through people, through buildings and hours to some place, some time and something that fulfills you, that gives you joy and fills you with hope. It’s the 21st century’s equivalent to “your own kind of music” that we never knew we needed but that we obviously needed. I also thought of the amazing P.P. Arnold who knew how to start slow and then go all out in the chorus.

The arrangement is gorgeous, we get the whole orchestra and it’s a lovely soothing background for Yola’s incredible voice (no surprises there, her voice is amazing). I have to say, I never did and never will grow out of these over top dramatic arrangements like these because why hold back when you have so many emotions?

If this is the kind of music that is to be expected from Yola’s forthcoming album, I am so so so excited.

And because Yola sounds equally amazing live, here’s the song live on Jools Holland again. GOOSEBUMPS!

Pop goes: Miley Cyrus ft. Mark Ronson “Nothing breaks like a heart”

Sigh. Miley Cyrus is my problematic fave. I am truly aware of her appropriation (and then shitting on) black culture and especially the latter is a huge disappointment because there’s no reason for it. For once, I’d like to hear one of those pop starlets to just own up to it and say: yeah, I appropriated the hell out of a culture because I was ignorant. But I learned my lesson and I am sorry and I want to do better in the future.

But whenever Miley Cyrus does Country music with a cool pop spin, I am head over heels in love with her song (see also: “Younger Now” or her beautiful cover of “Look what they’ve done to my song“).

I still think that Miley Cyrus could be one of the greats, despite her rather so-so-album last year. She has the voice and the talent to really make songs her own and she is really good at intersecting traditional country with modern influences which suits her best whenever it’s a little melancholic or dark. “Nothing breaks like a heart” shows how mesmerizing the result can be (even though the video is just befuddling and very “We can’t stop”, I preferred the weird retro-look of “Younger now”, to be honest).

And there is a niche, because Country has been quite exciting in the last couple of years, with a lot of (especially female) singers who shake the genre up and make it theirs. Even though the drawling, finger-guns-country is still going strong, the experimental, alternative side of country has been wild (see here, here and here). Just imagine a whole album of gems like “Nothing breaks like a heart” and “Younger now”, it would be a bop for the lonely broken-hearted souls (and me, even though I am neither!). MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Favorite Song: Ivy Sole – “Dream Girl” is a soft cloud of love

I am absolutely floored, how much comfort and warmth this song has. The song is from Ivy’s Album “Eden” and heavily references an innocent, open vulnerability in a relationship, close to the purity that Adam and Eve (and for a short while, Lilith) had back in the Garden.

Her style in this song is beautiful, laid-back old school rap, add to that her lovely singing and a gorgeous stripped-down production and this is a song to start the day, to take a break from things, to soothe your soul.

Favorite Song: Anna Calvi ‘Don’t beat the girl out of my boy’ is intense!

Whether it’s that late 80s early 90s indie guitar or that banger of a chorus, Anna Calvi’s new single is absolutely mesmerizing. It’s such a statement piece, a true, pure single that takes bits and pieces of older pop but reframes them in ways that place this song steadily in the year 2018. This is alternative post punk rolled up in the pathos of Frankie goes to Hollywood. And that video – well, I am not into sexy videos but this is one heck of a sexy video.

I recommend the whole album (“Hunter”) by the way, because it’s basically this song but different. Everything on this album is super intense, retrograde 80s and brilliant. It is a bop.