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TRIPLE – music column // Week 1

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TRIPLE: week beginning 13/5/19

 

three songs, old or new, worth listening to this week. picked by lúcás. r.

this week: slowthai, Skepta, and Tame Impala

 

  1. GORGEOUS – slowthai

 

‘Gorgeous’, from UK rapper Tyron Frampton, is the second single off of his upcoming debut album, ‘Nothing Great About Britain’.  Frampton assumed the ‘slowthai’ moniker in 2016, and began releasing a steady stream of punk-y, politically charged singles, with stand-out tracks like ‘Doorman’. The latest offering from the Northampton rapper has a sweeter feeling to it, though. The instrumental combines a piano loop with a sample of what sounds like scat singing, and is driven by slightly off-beat drums reminiscent of J Dilla.

 

“Never had a mortgage, buy my house outright

Been the same since GameBoys and stick fights”

 

On ‘Gorgeous’, Frampton is nostalgic, recounting teenage exploits and referencing staples of his Northampton upbringing; church, weed, police, snooker, and football. In fact, the track finishes with a minute-long recording of a conversation, where Frampton recounts himself and his dad trying and failing to get into a Liverpool football match. For an artist whose calling card thus far has been anger and eccentricity, this ephemeral snapshot of an English upbringing is a welcome surprise.

 

  1. YES I’M CHANGING – tame impala

 

Popular music has seen a pronounced shift in the last two decades, away from rock music and towards hip-hop and r&b. There are less and less new rock bands headlining festivals and these spots continue to be happily filled by the worlds biggest rappers (as evidenced by Kanye West at Glastonbury ‘15). Tame Impala, however, continue to prove that rock isn’t dead. The Australian psychedelic rock outfit, led by Kevin Parker, experienced huge commercial and critical success with their 2015 album ‘Currents’, and have played just about every major venue and festival worldwide since.

 

“I saw it different, I must admit

I caught a glimpse, I’m going after it”

 

In ‘Yes I’m Changing’, like many other tracks from Currents, Kevin Parker deals with lost love, and laments to his partner that times have changed and so has he. But it’s the sound that’s the real stand-out on this song. A simple bass and drum pattern provides the framework for a beautiful weaving of 80’s style synthesisers. Parker’s voice is its own instrument as well, his high-pitched falsetto floating over the song’s soundscape. ‘Yes I’m Changing’ is bittersweet but angelic, a perfect blend of Parker’s tales of heartbreak and Tame Impala’s signature heavenly sound.

 

  1. BULLET FROM A GUN – skepta

 

Bullet From A Gun is the surprise single from Skepta’s upcoming album,

Ignorance is Bliss, due to release on the 31st of May.

 

The UK Grime scene has experienced much change since its conception almost 20 years ago, and very few of its originators are still making considerable impact with new music. Skepta is an exception to the rule. Skepta, real name Joseph Adenuga, began MCing in 2005, but moved away from grime in the early 2010’s. His triumphant return in 2016 with third album Konnichiwa spawned multiple anthems, like Shutdown and That’s Not Me, and he’s since gone on to produce and feature on A$AP Rocky’s Praise Da Lord, one of the best-selling singles of 2018.

 

“I was a young boy, mum told me what my name

really means and the power just kicked in”

 

On Bullet From A Gun, Skepta retains his signature production style and flow, but the content in noticeably different. References to his Nigerian heritage, his relationship with supermodel Naomi Campbell, and his newborn daughter mark a signature departure from bars like Crack residue in the buttons on my phone – ring ring ***** it’s your mummy on the phone”. The beat itself is astounding. Warped synthesisers that seem to play almost in reverse float over heavy grime bass and drums, and Skepta’s North London flow skips and jumps over the kicks and snares. With a first single like this, the upcoming album has the potential to be a game changer.

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