This Week In Records: The xx, SOHN & Bonobo (13/01/2017)

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Here is the This Week In Records you’ve been waiting for since September 2012. I’d try to be witty about everything, but really I must go and listen to all of these new albums. (Now, there’s a sentence I haven’t had a chance to earnestly write for a while.)

If you know of new music that would excite us similarly in future weeks, our inbox is open at records@theedgesusu.co.uk.

The xx – I See You

When ‘On Hold‘ appeared in November and someone remarked that it sounded like The xx had just let Jamie out of his cage to do his remix and skip over the whole bit where they release the moody original, they couldn’t have been more accurate. I See You is fantastic, and now I must go and expand upon that for our review.

Sampha – ‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano’

Around coming fourth in the BBC’s Sound of 2014 poll, Sampha’s collaborations over the years have been plentiful – he had vocal, writing, and/or production credits on seven tracks from SBTRKT’s self-titled 2011 record before finding himself cavorting with Drake, Solange, Katy B, and more – yet a full-length debut album has proved one of the most elusive concepts in music. Process is now just weeks away, and comes within a year of his mother’s passing. ‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano,’ its third release following the serene ‘Timmy’s Prayer’ and ominous ‘Blood On Me,’ is a simple but stunning song that touches gorgeously upon that very matter.

SOHN – Rennen

There was a place before The Edge where, for some reason, I was trusted to spew thoughts on music through a keyboard, and that responsibility included giving out the end-of-year gongs without anybody questioning my judgment. For albums, the award went to Caribou’s Our Love largely because I was in the middle of listening to it as I wrote and it happened to be actually very good. As for the song, things were trickier. In the end, my pick was ‘The Wheel,’ the second track from the debut of Vienna-based SOHN, a member of The List’s inaugural incarnation. Tremors, that record, was a genuine breakout fusion of impossibly clear vocals and what we at the time described as a “blast of electro genius.”

For its successor, named after the German verb for running and recorded in Los Angeles, it is said in press blurbs that he borrowed my work patterns. “Working primarily at night, he recorded until 6am most days as he chased down his visions and captured them fresh and unfiltered.” Judging by the strength of singles ‘Conrad’ and album opener ‘Hard Liquor,’ a gritty marriage of a bluesy take on his sound and the tale of the woman who became his wife, Rennen takes things firmly in the right direction – and, over on The 405, Edge graduate (and former Records Editor) Hannah Mylrea has already given it the review treatment, telling us, “the jittering rhythms and soulful melodies remain, but his second release seems more confident, more self-assured and more musically honest.”

Loyle Carner feat. Tom Misch – ‘Damselfly’

Named last week as one of our cohort for The List of 2017, which concludes today with a rapper whose debut EP has also emerged today, Loyle Carner will exhibit all of his usual friends on Yesterday’s Gone next Friday. Chatting to Matt Wilkinson on Beats 1 this week, the sixth (and, it’s probably safe to say, dreamiest funk-infused) release came along for the ride.

And no, that isn’t your phone going off.

And yes, that has already caught me out six times.

And no, I don’t have an iPhone that would have even made that noise.

Update (11:01am): Make that seven.

Bonobo – Migration

As methods of music consumption go, I’m not too keen on visual takes – my attention is sporadic enough at the best of times without having to simultaneously train my ears and eyes on some flashy gyrations and garish abstractions. For Bonobo’s ‘Kerala,’ however, I am willing to make a significant exception, as the Gemma Arterton-starring clip shivers disconcertingly (and immaculately) in time to Simon Green’s mysteriously compelling Brandy-sampling beat. With Migration, his sixth record, comes a live tour that has already sold out Brixton’s O2 Academy twice and will pay a visit to Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater for a co-headline show with Nick Murphy, who features on Migration‘s throbbing seven-minute wandering house wonder ‘No Reason.’

The Chainsmokers – ‘Paris’

Because Twitter is so clearly where The Chainsmokers’ linguistic prowess was born to dwell for a matter of seconds, let’s begin our analysis of ‘Paris,’ their first inevitable triple-platinum hit of 2017, with their recently-posted definition of its title.

Image via The Chainsmokers (Twitter)

Um.

Here’s what the track feeds me instead:

  • There’s a great episode of Switched On Pop about ‘Closer‘ that is well worth a listen. Fundamentally, as childish and geographically precise and logistically impractical and Fray-ish and Wap-ish as it is in parts, it’s not like every single other chart track out there. You may even remember the This Week In Records hot take. (Spoiler: I quite liked it at first. Then I heard it TOO MANY DAMN TIMES, including four more times on the Collage EP.)
  • Changing up the default song structure from that EP to something that pushes Drew Taggart’s vocals even further into the spotlight is not a good idea whatsoever.
  • Just as the live preview of ‘Paris’ from New Year’s Eve festivities had warned us, it doesn’t do anything exciting, even with a little guitar riff that jumps in six lines into the chorus that sounds like a precursor to…something. First time around, it’s another verse. Structurally, that’s not entirely a bad thing. (Lyrically, it is: “Let’s show them we are better” is not a line that can yet be interpreted as a reference to Taggart’s songwriting.) Then, when it finally does reach the obligatory drop stage, it’s just a few punchier drums and swirlier swooshes.

The whole thing feels unnecessarily lethargic and complacent. At least there’s that Dua Lipa collaboration to look forward to, right?

Selected Other Releases

Albums

Austra – Future Politics
David Bowie – No Plan EP
Draper – Luminous EP
Mr. Tophat feat. Robyn – Trust Me EP
Nadia Rose – Highly Flammable EP
Of Montreal – Rune Husk EP
Rick Wakeman – Piano Portraits
The Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody
Wiley – Godfather

Singles

Alice Jemima – ‘No Diggity’
Anna Of The North – ‘Oslo’
Aquilo – ‘Blindside’
Aston Merrygold – ‘One Night In Paris’
Belly Squad – ‘Moves’
Big Wild – ‘I Just Wanna’
Blaenavon – ‘Orthodox Man’
Cosmo’s Midnight – ‘History’
Dan Croll – ‘Away From Today’
Deaf Havana – ‘Fever’
Declan McKenna – ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’
Devlin feat. Maverick Sabre – ‘Blow Your Mind’
Diplo & AutoErotique – ‘Waist Time’
Electric Guest – ‘Back For Me’
Fenech-Soler – ‘Conversation’
FKJ – ‘Go Back Home’
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – ‘Modern Ruin’
Grace Mitchell – ‘Kids (Ain’t All Right)’
Grey feat. Bahari – ‘I Miss You’
Halsey – ‘Not Afraid Anymore’
Julia Michaels – ‘Issues’
Kehlani – ‘Do U Dirty’
Khalid – ‘Saved’
Laura Marling – ‘Wild Fire’
Lethal Bizzle feat. Giggs & Flowdan – ‘Round Here’
Lupe Fiasco feat. Gizzle – ‘Jump’
Milky Chance – ‘Doing Good’
Phantogram feat. Joey Purp – ‘You Don’t Get Me High Anymore’ (A-Trak Remix)
POWERS – ‘Dance’
Russ Chimes feat. Iris Gold – ‘Drift’
Seramic – ‘I Got You’
Seven Lions & Jason Ross feat. Paul Meany – ‘Higher Love’
Sleaford Mods – ‘BHS’
Syd – ‘All About Me’
Temples – ‘Strange Or Be Forgotten’
The Knocks feat. Absofacto – ‘Trouble’
THEY. – ‘U-RITE’
Thomas Gold – ‘Better Versions Of Myself’
Tiësto feat. Bright Sparks – ‘On My Way’
Una Healy feat. Sam Palladio – ‘Stay My Love’
VÉRITÉ – ‘Phase Me Out’

One More Thing…

Indeed, we haven’t forgotten. Give our shiny new Spotify playlist a follow and all this musical newness will be right there in time for breakfast every Friday morning.

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Official email person, rambly music writer, and former Records Editor at The Edge. Often found playing pop music too loud on Surge Radio.

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