It’s a bit of an empty week for new music, but those who released albums seemed to do a heck of a job doing so. FKA Twigs in particular bring the heat this week, but don’t miss out on new releases from The Underachievers and (surprisingly) Sinead O’Connor.
It Looks Sad. – “It Looks Sad.”
Grasping onto the upswing of emo, while staying mellow with a reverbed-out basement pop feel, Charlotte’s It Looks Sad presents a pleasant collection of shimmery head-nodders on its self-titled debut. For a rookie release, the southern quartet seems to have a pretty solid footing in its approach, writing with earnest sentimentality, while taking a wavy, sunburst instrumental feel that could stack up with Beach Fossils or Wild Nothing. While it gives the album a catchy formula from which to jump, they have a tough time shaking things up from there. Still, for fans who yearn for the spacey sounds of Brooklyn circa three years ago, this is the perfect album to transition from summer to fall.
Sounds like: Another Girls album had Christopher Owens just continued to get sad rather than break up the band, The Cure had Robert Smith spent some time in the sun.
Well, it looks like I have another early contender for favorite album of the year. The debut LP by British musician and performer FKA twigs is a bold statement of purpose, a unique vision of spare, futuristic R&B from music’s current “it girl.” Working with an array of producers from Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) to Arca (who produced Kanye West’s “Yeezus”), FKA twigs deconstructs conventional pop structures and ideas as a means of exploring sex, desire, longing, and desperation. The music (which is a swirling cocktail of electronica, trip-hop, and, again, R&B) somehow manages to be both boldly experimental and easily digestible. It helps that she walked out of the gate with a distinct style and voice all her own that you can’t help but feel captivated by. In album highlight “Pendulum” she sings, “So lonely trying to be yours.” Now, with all eyes on her, you’ve got to wonder how lonely she’ll be for long.
Sounds like: Aaliyah, a fulfillment of the early promise of The Weeknd, if Romy Madley Croft of The xx grew some fangs
The Underachievers – “Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium”
After exhibiting their individual skills on a pair of mixtapes two weeks ago
, Issa Gold and AK – cumulatively known as Brooklyn’s the Underachievers – dropped their third LP, “Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium,” by far their most complete and powerful release. Whereas their respective EPs were tame and laced with psilocybin, “Cellar Door” bursts through the gate with a sequence of gone-for-the-throat street raps. With seam-ripping flows, Issa and AK put the beast in Beast Coast, owning up to their arrogance on songs like “Chrysalis” and “Incandescent,” the latter of which is draped in a John Carpenter-esque beat that forebodes. By the time the album settles in “Amorphous” (which, insanely, features Portugal the Man), we see those reflective, verbiage-rich verses from past releases, but Issa and AK were out to make a lasting impression with “Cellar Door,” and by removing the governor, they stomped their way to exactly that.
,” Dead Prez for Millennials, Brooklyn’s best year in rap since 2004
Sinead O’Connor – “I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss”
Sinead O’Connor hasn’t made headlines for the right reasons in over a couple of decades. A provocateur of a different kind, one that receives applause from some, instead of disapproval by all, O’Connor’s tortured vocal style often gets lost in the conversation. Almost a quarter century after freezing audiences with the passionate delivery of “Nothing Compares 2U,” O’Connor still finds a niche style to identify her stirring howl, somewhere between the raw power and range of KD Lang and the evocative mystery of Lorde. She may not be a pop star anymore, but hasn’t lost her constant skepticism, and has transitioned gracefully into a fearless songwriter.
Sounds like: That band CocoRosie with more experience and talent, what Americans believe people listen to in other countries, Annie Lenox after a traumatizing experience.