Jon Bellion | Tsar B | Yann Tiersen | Yussef Dayes and Alfa Mist | Adrienne Lenker
The blog is back, my friends. After an extended Summer break (yeah, let’s call it that) in which I went away and started a company, bought a house and learned that two-year-old girls know their own mind far better than I ever will (in short, I’ve been a bit busy) 45rpm has returned more focussed, more fervent and far more convinced that the general concept of sleep is grossly over-hyped than ever before.
I feel like this week’s selection is reasonably palatable all-round, which means I’m probably not doing it right, but I think everything below is an absolute stonker so without further ado
1. The ‘Charm Offensive’ | Jon Bellion: JT
For decades, people far smarter than I have been searching for the formula to the perfect pop song. In my humble opinion, three of the primary ingredients in said recipe would be a drum beat that sounds like it was recorded using kitchen utensils, a lead melody composed on a Nintendo Gameboy and lyrical references to John Travolta. Well, I did say they were far smarter than me. Long Island’s Jon Bellion is no stranger to writing a banger – he’s done so for Rihanna, Jason Derulo and Zedd – but here, under his own steam, he’s written a hook that’s got more charisma than a flared white suit on a Saturday night at the disco.
2. The ‘Military Coup’ | Tsar B: Brazil
Tsar B is known to her mum as Justine Bourgeus and to some astute journo on website ‘Knack’ as the Belgian FKA Twigs. Very much like Ms Twigs’ output, Tsar B’s music specialises in the sinister, using Middle Eastern influences to up its mystery and allure. On releasing the album from which Brazil comes, Bourgeus proclaimed herself “guilty of multiple cardinal sins like pride, gluttony and lust.” She continued, “I tried to put all my sins, fantasies, and games together in one work.” You have been warned!
3. The ‘Peaceful Protest’ | Yann Tiersen: Tempelhof
I imagine inhabiting Yann Tiersen’s head to be like living in an extended cut of the film, Amelie. I say that partly because he actually scored the 2001 Francophone smash hit but also because everything I’ve heard from him since is just so beautifully naive, so lost in a reverie, so full of je ne sais quoi (which is French for absolute bloody loveliness.) Featuring actual field recordings from the Berlin airport from which it takes its name, Tempelhof is music designed to transport you to far off places.
4. ‘Guerilla Warfare’ | Yussef Dayes and Alfa Mist: Blacked Out
The UK Jazz scene is as alive and vibrant as it’s ever been right now. The clutch of virtuosic musicians that it comprises have managed to develop, between them, a sound that is unique and original, yet instantly recognisable. Two of its most prominent lights, drummer Yussef Dayes (of the band Yussef Kamaal) and cooler-than-a-cucumber-in-a-luxury-spa keyboardist Alfa Mist team up on ‘Blacked Out’ to create one of the genre’s more focused and melodic works while still making you bloody sick with their sheer brilliance.
5. The ‘Quiet Riot’ | Adrianne Lenker: terminal paradise
Throughout her career as the lead singer of Big Thief, Adrianne Lenker has made something of a speciality for herself of translating complex and often strained interpersonal relationships into lyrical poetry; witness ‘Mythological Beauty’ about her troubled relationship with her Mother or ‘Mary’ about the homely familiarity of her grandmother’s house. On her recently-released solo record ‘abysskiss’, she’s back at it again, setting sultry introspective lyrics against a soundtrack tailor made for long drives on a snowy winter days. ‘terminal paradise’ is the opening track off the record and undoubtedly the most haunting.
And so we reach a cease-fire for this week. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. I can’t listen to every new track released each week so all recommendations from like-minded readers are most welcome too.
The silence is broken again next week when I’ll return with five more selections for your consideration. Until then, thank you for reading and go in peace.
– SV –