Nicholas Burman is on holiday this week, so Kier Wiater Carnihan takes on this week’s singles solo…
Adele – Hello
So Adele’s back, and she’s casually obliterated the rest of the music industry within a matter of seconds. This is shifting as many downloads per day as most number ones manage in a week, and the video is the second fastest ever to reach 100m views.
The song? If you like Adele, you already love this. If you find her dull, like me, you’ll find it dull (also: six minutes?! Come on). Still, you have to credit her for managing to evoke some genuine-sounding emotion during the quieter passages, something most of her imitators seem to find impossible…
Ballerino – Coward
I wasn’t overly keen on Ballerino’s latest a-side, but this b-side hits the same spot his summer single ‘Love’ targeted so accurately. In other words, you’ll be almost overdosing on bliss by the end.
Eliza Shaddad – Wars
A restrained but effective indie gallop, ‘Wars’ could and should be prime 6Music playlist fodder. While not as inventive as the recent Farao album it reminds me of, it hits its stride early on and never lets up from there. A debut EP is due next year, making Eliza Shaddad the sort of name likely to crop up on ‘new blood for 2016’ lists any day now.
Equals feat. Essa – Old Habits
Equals ‘Pyre’ was one of my favourite neo-soul tracks of last year, and the synths on ‘Old Habits’ are no less lush. They’re outrageous in fact, to the point that as soon as this track starts I basically can’t do anything else until it’s over. Essa’s guest rap feels a bit tacked on at the end though; might’ve been better spread throughout the track?
Grimes – Flesh without Blood/Life in the Vivid Dream
A great pop song, but haven’t we already got Taylor Swift for tracks like this? If music is an Overton window then this sees Grimes take a Blairite move towards populism, when it would be far more interesting seeing her adopt a Jeremy Corbyn approach by dragging mainstream focus towards the leftfield. I reckon she could carry off the vest ‘n’ beard look too.
Jack Beats – Zone ft. Riko Dan
Is Jack Beats related to Joe Beats? Probably not, as the elastic, bassy house of ‘Zone’ bears little relation to the latter Beats’ indie hip-hop productions. Featuring a smashing guest vocal from Keysound’s Riko Dan, this actually makes me want to go clubbing, and I fucking hate clubbing.
Jonas Rathsman – Conium
A fluttering, flute-ridden bit of electronica that’s as potent as the poisonous plant it’s named after. The rapid key hits in the background start making you feel a bit tense after a while though, but perhaps I’ve just drunk too much coffee.
Phixx Cravin – Werewolf
It wouldn’t be Hallowe’en without a rap about a werewolf, and thankfully Phixx Cravin has delivered the goods just in time. Having realised the blood in the sink after brushing his teeth has nothing to do with gingivitis, our protagonist is forced to face the fact that he’s a murderous beast of the night, and the reason that girl hasn’t called back is because he’s probably eaten her. There’s not enough narrative rap these days, so hopefully Phixx has more where this came from.
The Suicide Of Western Culture – Amor De Madre
The Suicide of Western Culture always seemed like a name that’s a little bit too ‘on-the-nose’ for a post-rock band, which is probably why I’ve been largely ignorant of them up till now. ‘Amor De Madre’ apparently takes its name from a tattoo sported by survivors of heroin abuse in the band’s native Barcelona, and boasts all the electronic epicness of early M83. Not entirely my cup of tea, but it’d make a good foil for that Blanck Mass album from earlier this year.
Thus Owls – Black Matter
This couldn’t be more ‘Machine Gun’ by Portishead if it tried. Luckily I love ‘Machine Gun’ by Portishead, so that suits me just fine. Play on, Thus Owls!