Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Midweek Mixtape #5

In the latest installment of the Midweek Mixtape we've got some real big-hitters making their mark in 2014. The Horrors are back, finally, after the critical and commercial success of their stunning 2011 album Skying. New album Luminous is a careful step forward, but one that is undoubtedly just that: forward. 'Change Your Mind' is the standout track of the album from a band with an increasingly impressive discography, and one whom you suspect are slowly moving towards producing something quite extraordinary.

Damon Albarn's long-awaited debut solo album is, in some way, exactly what you might expect from him. Generally consisting of his trademark soulful, honest yet hard-hitting ballads, Everyday Robots also exhibits his more experimental side that he is so heavily associated with. But on this occasion, it's the Bobby Womack-esque 'The Selfish Giant' which stands out, boasting a beautiful melody coupled with backing vocals from none other than Bat for Lashes.

Wolf Alice. WOLF ALICE. One of those bands that I've been fully aware of for offensively long, without ever actually dipping into their releases and seeing what all the fuss was about. Well, now I have, and you should too. Immediately. 'Blush', from the eponymously-titled 2013 EP, is absolute magic, with Ellie Rowsell's vocals sparkling and shining before soaring into a stunning finale.

This is the track that Jack White recorded, pressed and released in just FOUR HOURS for this year's Record Store Day - making it a world record. The song itself is fittingly fast and furious, as White's typically bluesy guitar licks are poked and prodded by his yelping vocals, with the song barely catching its breath before a mega guitar solo is already hitting you hard and then retreating into a fuzzed-out, violin-indebted outro that instantly takes on a mind of its own. Yep, it's a bit of a mad one, this.

Finally, a cut from EMA's critically-lauded LP The Future's Void, which was released earlier this year. 'So Blonde''s stomping drum beat is quickly accompanied by vocals that shift from airy and whispy to snarling and menacing in one fell swoop. Let me tell you about this boy I know, EMA sings, barely able to conceal her disdain in the paired backing vocals. A proto-grunge rocker that's a real highlight on a superb album.

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