Singles: Oscar Key Sung, Alex Lahey, Angel Olsen & More
As the prophecy has foretold, Bob is back. Dogs flag 2017.
OSCAR KEY SUNG: Hands
Venturing into more adventurous, darker territory, Oscar Key Sung revels with an experimental aplomb, fearless of space. He can bust out bangers as proven on All I Can Do, but here he manages to pique interest without any notion of four-to-the-floor pandering. He’s positioned himself well on Hands, seemingly marking a clean snap from the R&B inclinations that invited unfavourable comparisons prior. It sets the scene for a debut solo full-length, due later in 2016.
ALEX LAHEY: Let’s Go Out
This is a bit of a snooze. I get the whole thing about ironic choruses about heading out and partying YOLO style, but this is a far cry from Chandelier. It could work if it didn’t use the lackadaisical surf rock chorus as a crutch, but there’s little else to hold onto here. Needs a spark to light up the drabness, even though drabness is the point.
JENNY HVAL: Female Vampire
Swiftly following up last year’s stellar Apocalypse, girl, Jenny Hval returns with the creeping Female Vampire, powering through the fog like a steady night-time train. Hval’s vocal floats like a spectral presence, still anchored into the calm and relentless production. The first taste of new album Blood Bitch, out at the end of September.
KANYE WEST FEAT. DESIIGNER, TRAVIS SCOTT, BIG SEAN, GUCCI MANE, YO GOTTI, 2 CHAINZ, QUAVO & BIG SEAN: Champions
It’s been a sick year for hip hop albums, but it’s been a while since we’ve had a banner all-in posse cut like Champions. The first taste of the long-rumoured, just-announced (and still probably year-away) Cruel Winter doesn’t really live up to the prestige of its ensemble cast, but it’s still solid enough to cover its weakest links. Doesn’t really elevate to the braggadocio of its title, the hook and production feel a touch thin.
REBEL YELL: Never Perfection
Some darkly non-purist tekkers out of Brissie, Never Perfection is a crypt of hammering loops and polyrhythms, garnished by distorted orders. Solid enough for a strobe-lit bandroom sway, maybe a restrained fist pump toward the ground or two.
SINGLE OF THE WEEK
ANGEL OLSEN: Intern
Every word here is loaded with purpose, presented with its respective due worth. They shift as clouds, immense in scale, undeniable. It’s a mission statement, as pure as an artist’s can be. “I just wanna be alive / Make something real.” Intern is cultivated by a rich foundation of Wendy Carlos-esque synth, an aesthetic far removed from Olsen’s previous guitar-led material. What’s really great here is the potential. It’s the opening track for just-announced LP My Woman. A thesis statement for what could be an album of the year contender.