Star Tracks compiles the most exciting new music from a wide range of established and emerging artists. This week’s playlist includes tracks from Fred Again, Kelela, Carly Rae Jepsen, Coco & Clair Clair, Rina Sawayama, Badge Époque Ensemble, Dom Vallie and Louis Cole.
Fred again…: “Danielle (smile on my face)”
On Tuesday, Jamie xx released “KILL DEM“, a massive Caribbean-influenced warm-up that many are calling the last big song of the summer. But I might have to reserve that track for another London-based artist who looks set to become house music’s new top boy. pop oriented.
Fred John Philip Gibson, who DJs and produces as Fred Again, has been gaining momentum for a few years now but exploded in popularity in July after his Boiler Room located in London — an instant classic that already has nearly 6 million views on YouTube. For the uninitiated, Fred’s latest single, “Danielle (smile on my face)”, is a perfect entry point – built around a propelling bassline and modulated vocal sample of 070 Shake”good to have“, the expansive track digs a happy medium between painful desire and elation, as if you have just returned from a trip only to realize that you are still surrounded on the dance floor by all your best friends.
Fred Again’s third studio album, “Actual Life 3”, is released on October 28. Richie Assaly
Who doesn’t love a new era? Following the success of her 2017 album, ‘Take Me Apart’, 39-year-old musical artist Kelela is back with a new single (plus an interlude) titled ‘Washed Away’. She’s upbeat as she walks you through the song, with an intricate lyricism she knows her fans and community will understand. For many, this year has been a year of rebirth in some areas and revelations in others; “Washed Away” brings you to a place of relief and optimism. The music video, directed by Yasser Abubeker, was shot in the Danakil Depression of Ethiopia, and paired with the record feels like a love letter to everyone, but especially to his black fans around the world who understand the symbolism of the soil and the power of water. to cleanse the past and bring in a new present/future. — Annette Ejiofor
Carly Rae Jepsen: “Talking to Yourself”
Get ready to hear this one on the radio for the next 365 days. Carly Rae Jepsen has made a living from ’80s-influenced pop tracks, and “Talking To Yourself” is another in a long line of pop-centrism. The gated drums, watery guitar riff, overpowered synths and sugary vocals would have made this track the ultimate summer if it was released in June instead of September, but at least I’ll be able to put it in the vault for the next year . The lyrics are also your typical jepsen-isms of wondering about an ex’s thoughts after the breakup. For most others, ruminations of an ex’s intentions and thoughts would be a little tragedy backed by melancholy production and yet Jepsen’s ever-brilliant artistry makes even ruminations energetic. — Demar Grant
Coco & Clair Clair: “Cherub”
Coco & Clair Clair, the internet’s favorite “real pop girls,” are back with another two minutes of mayhem on their single “Cherub.” The duo, known for their crazy lyrics, hilarious ad-libs and Garage Bang-style production, spent the summer performing live shows, including one at Montreal’s Osheaga festival. Their single “Pop Star” was big on TikTok for a while, although I’m sure you haven’t heard them on the radio.
“She’s a little b—h, she’s my budding mini-me / Come to the party, I bet your baby wants to go with me / I got a lot of friends, and they all want die for me,” they rap over a barely-produced backing track, or “Runescape-like beat” as they call it. “Imma Jordin the spark, that’s right, no air.”
I still can’t decide if they do a little, but I’m still obsessed. And I keep “Cherub” on repeat. — Alessia Passafume
Rina Sawayama: “Hurricanes”
“Hurricanes” is a 2000s blast – in the best way. The single’s nostalgic pop-rock melodies, paired with Rina Sawayama’s powerful vocals, will make you feel like running outside in the rain – Drew Barrymore style.
It’s one of the most upbeat tracks from the British-Japanese artist’s second album, ‘Hold The Girl’, released on September 16. Sawayama sings from the bottom of my heart about keeping the pain and the emotions inside, belting out, “Always wanted to be the best at everything / Even when it brings out the worst in me / So create a storm and bury it deep / Hide the key in plain sight / Just in case I need help.
Even the clip is set in a barn on a stormy day, with the wind blowing straight over Sawayama, while his band makes you feel like you’re watching a 2000s clip from Much Music’s countdown in the morning – all that missing is a random rainstorm to perform a wet soak. — Madi Wang
Era Ensemble Badge: “Clouds of Joy”
Released in August by Toronto-based supergroup Badge Époque Ensemble, “Clouds of Joy” is a brilliant, eccentric blend of jazzy neo-psychedelia and 70s AM radio pop – a record that sounds a bit like the offspring of “Hot Rats.” – Zappa era and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. Led by songwriter and producer Max Turnbull, aka Slim Twig, the album unfolds in a sparkling and joyful sound universe, where electric guitars and saxophones live in perfect harmony with conga drums, flutes and clarinets.
At six and a half minutes, the album’s instrumental title track is the aural equivalent of a whimsical frolic through an enchanted forest, populated by funky wah-wah guitars, dueling woodwinds and haunting percussion. Deliciously weird. — AR
Dom Vallie: I like anywhere!
Prancing keys, muddy 808s and sober drums, “luvemeanywhere!” is the perfect introduction to Dom Vallie’s fledgling journey from Toronto and latest album “Are We There Yet?”. “I love anywhere! is a table setter with an appetizer plate. It starts with Vallie singing the production slanted towards LA clichés and applause, then dropping the meat of the song with Vallie rapping about his work ethic before a distorted electronic breakdown and ending. We always knew that Dom Vallie could rap, but it’s different from making songs. Vallie has had these tools and styles demonstrated in individual songs, showing flashes of her artistry, but “luvemeanywhere!” is a great exposition of what they all sound like together. The result is a progressive rap track that sparks the appetite to dance but then culminates in a feeling of euphoric ascension. — CEO
Louis Cole: I’m tight
Louis Cole is “one of the greatest musicians in Los Angeles”, according to Thundercat. That’s high praise from one of the best and most requested living bass players, even though they’re best friends. But there’s plenty of evidence for Thundercat’s assertion on Cole’s recent single “I’m Tight,” a seven-minute space-funk odyssey anchored by a tight drum groove and heavy dose of choppy bass theatrics that makes Flea sound like Adam Clayton.
“It comes from the fact that I recorded about 100 different cells of funk, choosing my favorites and putting them together in a song,” explained Cole, who performed all the instruments and produced the track himself, in a communicated. “You think I’m weird / But I still fuck here / That’s why I’m tight,” he proclaims at one point in the track. And yes, he is right.
Cole’s next album, “Quality Over Opinion,” will be released on October 14. AR
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