News Tracks: Lykke Li, How To Dress Well & More

It almost feels like Spring now the daffodils are starting to pop up and the pancake bellies are starting to fade from Tuesday. The sky has been blue at least twice this week, and all the promise of sunshine and breezy picnics in the park has made the DIY writers turn a bit funny. Bouncing around the rolling hills of the internet like the bunnies in Teletubby land, they have hunted down the best tracks to grace this week’s interweb space. With heartbreak anthems, infectious experimental pop, Haim remixes and more, this week is tracks galore.

Lykke Li - Love Me Like I’m Not Made Of Stone

On her new album, Lykke Li is promising nine solid power ballads. There are no stomping drums and shady mullets to be found on ‘Love Me Like I’m Not Made Of Stone’, but you can see what she’s on about. This couldn’t be more heart on sleeve if the actual organ leapt out and nestled up against her jumper. That might sound intense, but even through applying sleepy guitars and vocals only, Lykke’s rarely sounded this expressive, singing like her life depends on it. ‘Love me deep, until you can’t’ runs one of many piercing lyrics. So constantly on the brink of being overblown, by applying very little against vocals that soar above the surface, power ballads have found their power again. One thing’s also certain: New album ‘I Never Learn’ is set to be one concerned almost entirely with heartbreak. Expect this to be just one of several dagger-like blows. (Jamie Milton)

How To Dress Well - Words I Don’t Remember

Lets face it, Tom Krell has always been the kind of guy you’d go to for a D.M.C (deep and meaningful conversation, fyi). He makes Rn’B armed with ebbing beats and swelling synths, but on ‘Words I Don’t Remember’ he seems to find new clarity. Lyrically it’s a stratosphere away from the looping ‘& It Was U’, and sonically Krell’s voice is wonderfully grounded, and when it is cloaked in wizardry and echo, it becomes an altogether different instrument of vocal manipulation. How To Dress Well is using an age old medium - a singer pouring his or her heart out over a relatively modest backdrop. Then he launches back into a crescendo. ‘You know that I love you baby,’ begins Tom Krell, and it’s believable and wonderfully simple. Despite the forays into sequencing and vocal manipulation later in the track (which work equally well) Krell has never sounded more authentic. This is how to address well, when it comes to songs of heartache, anyway.(El Hunt)

Janelle Monáe - Simply Irresistible (Robert Palmer Cover)

In case there was any uncertainty in the air, the suave and socially-conscious Janelle Monáe proves she is quite simply the modern day Q.U.E.E.N. of futuristic funk with a dazzling rendition of the Robert Palmer rock classic ‘Simply Irresistible’. Sprucing up the antiquated oldie with chic synth bursts and a glossy string section, the track maintains its distinctive eighties feel whilst coming across as more vivacious and vibrant than the original. There’s no indolent mimicry to be found within the singing department either, as Monáe’s powerhouse vocal comes enriched with a hearty dose of sublime soulfulness that truly patents the track under the moniker of the Electric Lady. (Joshua Pauley)

Sharon Van Etten - Taking Chances

Ah, Shazza. It’s been far too long since you graced us with a new track, but on this evidence, the three years you’ve been away have been spent well, and seemingly spent soaking up influences ranging from mid ‘90’s R’n’B to the hazy, delicateness of Beach House. ‘Taking Chances’ is a swoon of a song, lifting and dropping at the chorus; Van Etten’s vocals swirling over layers of guitar. The heart of the record is still a lament to a lost lover, with the focus on taking chances on someone who is liable to let you down. This is a natural human emotion - after all, we can’t help we love. Van Etten embodies this feeling, and makes it feel real. It may be a step away from what Sharon Van Etten has done before, but it seems a logical evolution for an artist who has the ability to pen a love song but sing it like a murder ballad. (Joe Sweeting)

Babe - Dot and Carry One

Babe is the solo project - turned full blown five piece band – of Gerard Black (Francois and The Atlas Mountains) – in fact they’re kind of one of those ‘supergroups’ featuring Michael Marshall of now-deceased electro-pop duo Findo Gask and none other than Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry. If that doesn’t make you excited enough, they’ve just signed with Moshi Moshi (seemingly the perfect pairing; there’s a sprinkle of Teleman- esque harmony and sparse percussion a la Totem around every corner) for the release of their debut full length Volery Flighty out on March 10th. ‘Dot and Carry One’ is the latest taster: a five minute venture through celestial synths overridden by a delicate vocal somewhere between Money’s Jamie Lee and Wild Beasts’ Hayden Thorpe. Creators of dreamy, other-worldly lullabies, swathed by off-kilter falsetto and glitchy percussion, Babe are certainly proving to be a force to be reckoned with in 2014. (Laura Eley)

Haim - If I Could Change Your Mind (MK remix)

Unfortunately, I’m about as coordinated as a morbidly obese giant panda that’s had one too many (and I’m not talking about bamboo sticks) when it comes to ‘throwing shapes’. All inhibitions, however, soar out of the window like a boulder through French doors when it comes to Haim. Their funky guitar, girl-group harmonies and syncopated grooves always spark what I figure most people would understand as ‘rhythm’ in me, as well as being so infectious that I can use the word infectious without feeling like a total pillock. American DJ Marc Kinchen has rather ingeniously twisted one of the highlights of Haim’s debut – ‘If I Could Change Your Mind’ – into a stomping and stonking slice of house that’s made their music even more fantastically boppy and poppy. It’s given me the confidence to bust out some more moves, but I think my mind might have been changed too much - I am now prone to doing Big Fish Little Fish ‘til I sweat and am suffering from an incessant urge to to shake-up the Morris Dancing world with a new injection of funk-rock sass. I’m ignoring the haters though; I’ll be dragged to the brain surgeon kicking, screaming and doing the Robot like a shrunken Peter Crouch. (Kyle MacNeill)

TOBACCO - ‘Eruption (Gonna Get My Hair Cut at the End of the Summer’

TOBACCO’s singular digital scuzz might be approaching threatening levels of distortion as he gears up for his third album release; but he’s still keeping his pop sensibilities in check. ‘Eruption (Gonna Get My Hair Cut at the End of the Summer’ trades in manic demon-possessed ghetto-blasters for catchy, infectious, and entirely twisted pop. With his simple explicit-smothered refrains gleefully skittering over a bubbling scuzz concoction of funk, it’s nice to have Tom Fec back at his most tortured sounding. (Joe Price)

The Bedroom - Disconnect

Ever seen those videos on Youtube where a guy stands in his kitchen holding a wooden spoon and looks at the pots for a bit? You’re not sure what the hell is going on. It all looks a bit weird. Then, guy in kitchen proceeds to patter out the most delicate, interwoven percussive melody imaginable with the deftness of a chef plating up Parmesan twills.. South London based Olan Stephens sounds like he’s got the same intricacy down to a T, but he’s also carried his entire cookware collection upstairs and dumped them in The Bedroom. The beats are mattress muffled, and his voice skips feather-count duvets - there are even strange, otherworldly gurgling sink-monsters yelling from the en suite. Part of The Bedroom’s newly released EP ‘The Graveyard Of Ambition’, here is a musician who fuses experimental sound with a pure and immediate love of pop melody. (El Hunt)

Great Good Fine OK - Not Going Home

Following up October’s underground synth-pop- smash- hit-that-never-was: ‘You’re The One for Me, Brooklynites Great Good Fine Ok are back with another belter. ‘Not Going Home’ blends all the tight hooks and on-cue percussion of The 1975 with a smooth R n B tinged vocal and gushing, tropical infused synth-lines a la Panama and Dive In. It’s a track which goes from strength to strength; the perfectly held falsetto towards the end lifting the whole song to another level. Frankly; ‘Ok’, ‘fine’, ‘good’ or even ‘great’ don’t really do the job of encapsulating this sweltering monster of a track, but ‘overwhelmingly brilliant, effortlessly catchy, blindingly vibrant super-tune’ should just about do the trick. (Laura Eley)

James - Bad Sign (3am)

Slyly uploading without any warning beforehand, James Miller Kristofik’s (aka Body Cheetah) forlorn ‘Bad Sign (3am)’ will probably just make you really, really sad. It’s not because of the way it sounds (although that doesn’t help), or that it’s bad (it’s definitely not), but it’ll make you sad because he deserves more than this. I seem to have been playing his unofficial PR for around six months now singing his praises. It’s hard to say whether this is just a fanboy moment or not, but James is certainly destined for bigger things. They’re coming, and when they do, it’ll be undeniably glorious. Proving his worth beyond his sleeky sleaze under his Body Cheetah guise, the Woozy Tribe head-honcho has got his sound and quality on lock. How about a world tour in say, 2015? (Joe Price)

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