Let’s get on with it: here’s the five you should’ve been listening to this week.
Janelle Monáe / 'Screwed'
New album Dirty Computer may have seen Janelle Monáe ditching her twisted take on classic funk and soul in favour of a more chart-friendly sound, but it certainly hasn’t scarred her ear for a hook. ‘Screwed’ is a fun trip through her influences - be that via a distinctively Prince-like guitar or a Cyndi Lauper sing-along chorus with Zoe Kravitz, Monáe concentrates her heroes into a modern anthem for the inevitable apocalyptic after-party.
Boy Azooga / 'Jerry'
With a video filmed in an animal shelter, the new single from Heavenly Recordings’ new darling Boy Azooga, ‘Jerry’, is luckily less of a dogs’ dinner and more like a walk in the park. Matching the handsome harmonies of Flyte with the lackadaisical, childlike wonder of Mac DeMarco or Jonathan Richman, the new track finds Davey Newington’s project letting up on the accelerator after the ramshackle afropunk party-prog of earlier singles ‘Face Behind Her Cigarette’ and ‘Loner Boogie’. Perfick.
Speedy Ortiz / 'Backslidin''
After ditching an album of love songs for something more political, Speedy Ortiz released third album Twerp Verse on Friday which brilliantly captures their new motto ‘necessarily bratty’. Packed with power-pop hooks hidden with a scuzzy, unidentifiable rash, ‘Backslidin'’ takes the American Dream, sets it on fire on the front lawn and line-dances in the ashes.
Pill / 'Piña Queen'
Sporadic and full of ideas, Pill knock genre on its head in a loose, no-wave assembly of jazzy horns, baggy percussion and seductive vocals. A leisurely and laid-back jaunt through a fourth dimension sees descending synths and basslines mimic lead singer Veronica Torres’ topple down the rabbit hole. It’s relaxing and unnerving - just like the peace found in taking a pill.
Black Midi / untitled
Finally! Solid evidence that hyped London noise-math 4-piece Black Midi aren’t all talk, no trousers! From their social media presence and this video, there’s been gossip of no talk and mainly trousers, but you’d be wrong. Meticulous control over their instruments sees ominous threat locked away into basslines and needle-sharp, interlocking guitars and demanding freedom in brutal rhythms. Puncturing composure with a distinctive voice (not unlike Max Levy of King of Cats fame), Black Midi are the next group to break free from the M25 - your new favourite band.