A showcase of some of the best new music releases from the past week.
Beyoncé – Lemonade
Lemonade is a statement album loaded with inspiration for 10,000 think pieces, but central to the songs is a disregard for the restraints of genre. Sure, we’ve got both heart-shattering ballads (Sandcastles) and guaranteed anthems (6 Inch), but it’s songs like Hold Up and Don’t Hurt Yourself that take prominence here too - the former was co-written with the help of Ezra Koenig and Father John Misty, whilst the latter sees Jack White turn up for a furious blues-rock romp that details how much of a dumbass her husband is. There’s a full-on country jam too, while James Blake basically has a song on Lemonade all to himself.
Somehow it all works, but it’s the album latecomer Freedom that might just be the truest single on the album. It’s as politically engaged as anything else on the full-length, yet incredibly accessible at the same time. It’s a wake up call, a song that sounds more alive than pretty much all that comes before it, but it’s also one that reminds you to keep looking forward at all costs.
Bailey Wiley – S.O.M.M.
Of course, Beyoncé drowned out everything else that came out over the past week, but once that album fatigue sets in, it’ll be worth catching up on the new music you might’ve missed. This one, from Auckland-based Bailey Wiley, is an especially good start. On S.O.M.M, the singer plays with her own brand of neo-soul, trading out some of the classic trademarks of the genre for something that sounds a little more now. Don’t let it go under the radar.
Tiny Ruins – Dream Wave
The subtle and sublime Dream Wave is a collaboration between Auckland-based Tiny Ruins (Hollie Fullbrook) and filmmaker David Lynch. As the story goes, Lorde played a part in the alliance after she sent a demo of the track to Lynch who liked it so much he got in touch to let her know he wanted to record it. It was tracked at his Hollywood Hills studio in LA after Fullbrook had finished a run of shows in the US, and now it’s set for release as a limited edition 7”, which is available to pre-order via Flying Out.
October – Switchblade EP
After revealing the title track a couple of weeks back, October – the solo project of Wellington-based Emma Logan – has finally released her new EP in full. As she told Sniffers recently, “This EP tracks my transition from teenage hood to imposed adulthood as I moved out of the comfort of mum and dad’s home and into the big city. It’s celebrates freedom but mourns the loss of my youth – I guess you could say it was a somewhat cathartic exercise of a reluctant letting go.” Stream it via Spotify or just download it here.
A$AP Ferg feat. French Montana and Fabolous – Don’t Mind
Always Strive and Prosper, the up and down new album from Harlem’s A$AP Ferg, dropped last Friday. There’s some weak moments on the full-length, but this bonus track should all but make up for it. Here, Ferg enlists French Montana and Fabolous, two just-as-deft New York rappers that aren’t hesitant to get in the ring. Each trade lines back and forth and manage to have fun with it too. It’s just what the album was missing.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - Purple Rain
Rest in purple.