Having gained mainstream recognition featuring on Disclosure’s monster hit ‘Latch’, singer Sam Smith is making all the right moves to achieve independent success. He’s not only produced a sensational new pop single in ‘Safe With Me’, but he’s also attached himself to London’s leading label PMR (home to Jessie Ware, Disclosure and Julio Bashmore) who will release his forthcoming debut EP. ‘Safe With Me’ displays Smith’s controlled vocal theatrics across a cradle of progressive pop production courtesy of PMR’s resident beatsmith Two Inch Punch. TIP fills the track with droning drums, twinkling keys and an angelically looped backing vocal. In lieu of the recent success of acts like Disclosure and AlunaGeorge, ‘Safe With Me’ positions itself as an assuredly confident pop song.
Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino has been on the rap scene since 2008, with the release of his debut album Sick Boi. However, it’s his latest record, Camp, with standout tracks like ‘Bonfire‘ and ‘Heartbeat‘ that flung him into the spotlight. Anyway, having had a breather from playing at 2012′s Coachella and acting a bit, Glover’s back to cement his reputation. And so we arrive at his latest cut ‘Centipede’. It’s a deceivingly soulful, jazzy number at first, but then Gambino unleashes an unyielding beat that recalls the tone of Kanye’sThe College Dropout - perhaps not the only Yeezy comparison that could be made here. Check it out below.
British newcomer Raleigh Ritchie releases the video for his exceptional debut single ‘Stay Inside’ which appears to capture the fleeting insanity that often ensues after a prolonged bout of self-imposed quarantine. Granted not all of us may go to the extreme of building our own puppet army, but hey maybe that’s just how he deals. Jesting aside, watch Ritchie’s symbolic new video up top and download his free EP The Middle Child which also features singles ‘In Too Deep’ & ‘A Moor’ now.
Continuing a string of relatively cringe-worthy interviews for Revolt, producer Timbaland has spoken (again) on the potential release of a new posthumous Aaliyah record. Having already aired his opinions on the matter, Timbo rather unsurprisingly reiterates that new music without him at the helm “will never work”, saying “Chris Brown got a record [with Aaliyah sampled], it won’t work. Drake can go and do a record with Aaliyah, it ain’t gonna work. Aaliyah music only work with the soulmate, which is me”.
There are undoubtedly millions that will agree with Timbaland’s sentiments here, but it might be worth remembering that Aaliyah consciously worked with new producers throughout her career and specifically on her self-titled third and final album. Perhaps Aaliyah wasn’t as defining or as iconic as One In a Million, but it is an album that for many stands as her best body of work.
Still, regardless of personal opinion on how Aaliyah compares to the singers former work, the decision to step away from Timbaland and Missy Elliott at that stage in her career is something that is usually (and perhaps naively) overlooked entirely. In retrospect it appears that Aaliyah got a genuine buzz from working with new producers (a fact she reiterates in many interviews during that period) and lets not forget Tim and Missy were virtual unknowns at the time they recorded One In a Million.
With that in mind it’s difficult to completely agree with Mosley’s sentiments that new music without him would “never work” because the fact is an album without him (for the most part at least) already did work. Timbaland was credited on 3 of 15 songs on the Aaliyah album (‘We Need a Resolution’, ‘More Than a Woman’, ‘I Care 4 U’) and at the time of its release Aaliyah received widespread critical acclaim – although admittedly it did sell significantly less than it’s predecessor at first.
If a new Aaliyah record was to ever see the light of day (and at this stage it seems unlikely it ever will, which is probably for the best) it would be wholly appropriate to have Timbaland & Missy involved, however given their recent outputs (or lack thereof) and current position in music I’m still not apposed to having a new (carefully selected and relevant) producer at the reins. You probably know where my vote goes.
The Revolt interview also reveals a new track produced by Timbaland for Nas featuring Jay Z & Justin Timberlake called ‘Sinatra In the Sand’. Tim excitedly compares Timberlake’s performance to that of Frank Sinatra – take that as you will.
The sound of the 80′s pervades London producer Digital Farm Animals’ song ‘Adore You’. The song revels in the synth-driven, neon-soaked glory of Duran Duran while adding a soulful dance twist courtesy of singer OFEI. A departure from the Garage revival of previous track ‘Home’, this track has a more grandiose feel to it. Expect to hear more from much sought after singer OFEI, who also lays down the electric guitar sections here. His distinctive, raw voice defies categorisation.
DFA’s three track EP Bugged Out is due to be released on August 26.
JMSN (yes, like the whiskey) is a singer/producer with some rather sweet, heavy-hearted tracks in his discography. After releasing his dark debut album Priscilla last January, the artist is set to release a collaborative EP titled Unit 6 with Black Hippy’s Ab-Soul later on this year. But today, he unveiled a very classy music video to accompany his jazzy number ‘Love & Pain’. Opening with blasts of saxophone goodness and transitions into dreamy R&B, the record transcends into a painful (hence the title) love ballad. Comparisons to the likes of The Weeknd are imminent, but JMSN’s crisp, clean vocals penetrate the heart like a dagger, encrusted with softer edges of exotic instrumentation, to ease the pain. Watch the clip above and absorb the battle between tradition and freedom.
Hyperdub stalwart Sara Abdel-Hamid aka Ikonika gives us the video for ‘Mr Cake’ from her forthcoming album Aerotropolis. With a sound full of 80′s synth-pop and video game influences, it’s no surprise the visuals combine the two in an animated ‘Grand Theft Auto’ style clip in which we see the protagonist riding around in a convertible, dancing at a strip club and then taking off in a stolen jet.
The follow up to 2010′s Contact, Love, Want, Have was inspired by Ikonika living near Heathrow airport and builds upon the bright, upbeat electronica of her debut whilst also adding vocal elements. Exclusively stream Aerotropolis before its release on July 28th via the Guardian after the jump…
Southampton based singer/songwriter Will Ozane, otherwise known as Gang Colours, quietly released one of the best albums of last year with his debut The Keychain Collective. It was an album created in a post-James Blake world, where melancholic electronica was emotively infused with rhythm & blues melodies and UK bass shifts.
A year later and Ozane returns with an intriguing new single titled ‘Invisible In Your City’, a twinkling folk ballad dedicated to the complexities of human nature and the loneliness that is susceptible to city life. Melodically speaking the single isn’t as sweet as songs found on his debut, nor does it have the same swing, but his soft-natured vocals and ornate approach to production certainly continues to pique our interest.
Watch a trailer for his upcoming music video for ‘Invisible In Your City’ after the jump.
After an unfinished version of Kanye’s ‘Black Skinheads’ video leaked early, West took to his twitter to explain that the official video has been worked on for “5 months” with creative collaborator and renowned photographer Nick Knight. The video premiered on West’s official website today, which explained how users can interact with the visual by adjusting the motion speed, which also enables them take still ‘screen grabs’ of it (“creating their own art” in the process). Watch the after the jump and head over to kanyewest.com to interact with it…
French house artist Kavinsky has enlisted The Weeknd to inject his nonchalant vocals on the remix to his latest single ‘Odd Look’, taken from his 2013 debut album OutRun. We’re so accustomed to hearing Tesafye’s lush, debonair voice over hazy production, that this electro-house plethora of cluttered beats and fast-moving melodies results in a refreshing blend of the two styles. Along with two other remixes from A-Trak and Surkin, this vocal from The Weeknd will also be bundled into an EP, set to drop July 23rd. The Weeknd will drop Kiss Land later this summer, and earlier this week unveiled the video to new single ‘Belong to the World‘.