This Week In Records: Circa Waves, alt-J & Charli XCX (10/03/2017)

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Welcome to the first in a new mini-series of This Week In Records, which this week comes to you entirely from the 032 National Express service from London Victoria to Southampton. After all, there’s no better way of unwinding after a thrilling concert trip than spending an entire hour leaving the city via Heathrow only for nobody to get either on or off the coach. Anyway, you’ll be reading far more about that day this evening over in the bit of the website where we talk about concerts, and next week you’ll be getting a roundup of all the biggest new music Zara Larsson’s latest releases whilst I fly over the skies. If your new music should make it into my carry-on luggage, drop it across to the usual address.

Circa Waves – Different Creatures

A spritely indie pop ensemble tours with heavier bands and comes back all fires blazing with a new, mature record with driving riffs aplenty. Sound familiar? Well, although our first two bites at the Different Creatures cherry in ‘Wake Up‘ and ‘Fire That Burns‘ didn’t convince our reviewers at first, Toby Leveson ended up giving Circa Waves’ latest attempt the same four stars he awarded Young Chasers two years ago. Read his full thoughts over here.

alt-J – ‘3WW’

When the time came for The Edge‘s voting for album of the year last year, it fell upon my shoulders to try and define the concept of “album” in a fashion that allowed me (and, it seemed, many other wise people) to get Carly Rae Jepsen’s E•MO•TION Side B to count whilst keeping every other EP-like thing out. That debate has, thanks to everyone’s favourite Southampton-linked band named after a keyboard shortcut only used by physicists and pretentious people like me, reignited this week, with news that alt-J’s upcoming RELAXER will only have eight tracks on its June 9th release. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem as if duration will be a problem: ‘3WW,’ which will open the album and comes now to accompany the launch of their first show at London’s O2 Arena since the January 2015 show that introduced me to Wolf Alice, reaches the five minute mark by bringing Gus Unger-Hamilton and Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell on for additional divine vocal duties. Check out Meg Holland’s full review here.

Charli XCX – Number 1 Angel

Praise the (Creative Director A. G.) Cook, for Charli XCX is back to putting out very good pop music with a little undercurrent of the weird. Number 1 Angel, a free mixtape that’ll set you back £4.99 on iTunes, broke boundaries on Tuesday by being a Hottest Record for Mistajam with three collaborative prongs: ‘3AM (Pull Up)’ with MØ, ‘Dreamer’ with Starrah and RAYE, and ‘Lipgloss’ with cupcakKe. The final thing, which definitely isn’t related to the delayed album that spawned ‘After The Afterparty,’ clocks in at 37 minutes and also welcomes the highly-tipped ABRA and incredibly elusive Uffie for a little bit of a soirée, produced by the likes of SOPHIE because the Vroom Vroom spirit is alive and well in the records that the label might not be most accustomed to putting out so unusually.

Jon Bellion feat. Stormzy – ‘All Time Low’

As a Zedd collaborator looking to bring his platinum-certified masturbation-centric breakthrough single across the Atlantic Ocean just in time for a European headline run, you can’t really knock Jon Bellion’s strategy.

It’d make things a bit simpler if you ‘Woke The Fuck Up’ and didn’t swear through the whole thing, though.

Tom Grennan – Release The Brakes EP

“He’s nice. I liked his voice. It’s very…groovy.”

Such are the words of Carly-May Kavanagh upon hearing Tom Grennan’s voice for the first time. My angle would have focused a little more on his emergence from Bedfordshire with a Chase & Status collaboration last year, his spot on the BBC’s Sound of 2017 longlist, and how he’s just coming off a nationwide tour that sold out completely (including a show at The Joiners in Southampton that I had a ticket for but missed tragically due to server-based crisis eruption), but her 3am words get the job done quite nicely as we pull up, pull up, pull up back in Southampton to the sound of Release The Brakes.

Stargate feat. P!nk & Sia – ‘Waterfall’

Last night, a little glance from the bar queue at The xx’s Brixton residency towards the listings poster reminded me that Galantis and DJ Snake are, among others, the pop stars of today – despite being largely faceless production entities who really shouldn’t bother trying to string tracks together into albums. Yet, their successes are paving the way for others to emerge from the shadows in plausible attempts to corral the famous friends they’ve been nurturing for years to launch their own consumer-facing brands. Take Stargate for example: Norwegian chaps Mikkel Eriksen and Tor Erik Hermansen have been perennial chart dwellers since 1999’s ‘S Club Party’ thanks to 49 UK top 10 records and chart-toppers with folks like Rihanna, Ne-Yo, and Beyoncé. ‘Waterfalls,’ their inaugural slab of self-titled music on an RCA deal, calls in P!nk and Sia because two bland vocals are always better than one. (Just ask ‘After The Afterparty,’ the Charli XCX/Lil Yachty track they worked on late last year.)

Selected Other Releases

Albums

CHINAH – Hints
Gok’s Divas
Idles – Brutalism
Laura Marling – Semper Femina
Little Comets – Worhead
Mallory Knox – Wired
Ministry Of Sound: Sleepin Is Cheatin
Tennis – Yours Conditionally
The Shins – Heartworms

Singles

2 Chainz feat. Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz & Jhené Aiko – ‘It’s A Vibe’
Alex Ross feat. Dakota & T-Pain – ‘Dreams’
Aminé – ‘Red Mercedes’
Ängie – ‘Spun’
Astrid S – ‘Breathe’
Basic Tape vs. Frances – ‘No Matter’
D Double E feat. JME, Wiley, Chip, Lethal Bizzle & Baseman – ‘How I Like It’ (Remix)
Father John Misty – ‘Total Entertainment Forever’
Fickle Friends – ‘Hello Hello’
First Aid Kit – ‘You Are The Problem Here’
Fleet Foxes – ‘Third Of May / Ödaighara’
Fred V & Grafix – ‘Hurricanes (Wild Love)’
Goldfrapp – ‘Ocean’
gnash – ‘i could change ur life’
Harper – ‘Free World’
Her – ‘Swim’
Ho99o9 – ‘United States Of Horror’
Jaded – ‘In The Morning’
James Blunt – ‘Bartender’
Jarreau Vandal feat. Olivia Nelson – ‘Someone That You Love’
Jordan Max – ‘Out Of Luck’
Jorja Smith – ‘Beautiful Little Fools’
K.Flay – ‘High Enough’
Leon Else feat. Oliver – ‘The City Don’t Care’
Le Youth – ‘Walk Away’
Little Dragon – ‘Sweet’
Lorde – ‘Liability’
Louisa Johnson – ‘Best Behaviour’
Mabel feat. Kojo Funds – ‘Finders Keepers’
Mastodon – ‘Andromeda’
Matoma & MAGIC! feat. D.R.A.M. – ‘Girl At Coachella’
MiC LOWRY – ‘Whiskey Kisses’
Milky Chance – ‘Blossom’
Nelly Furtado – ‘Phoenix’
Pentatonix – ‘Imagine’
Pitbull & J Balvin feat. Camila Cabello – ‘Hey Ma’
Sage The Gemini feat. DJ Lucci – ‘Butter’
Steps – ‘Scared Of The Dark’
Sylvan Esso – ‘Die Young’
Tusks – ‘Toronto’
Will Joseph Cook – ‘Biggest Fan’
XYLØ – ‘I Still Wait For You’
Yungen & Sneakbo feat. Haile – ‘Do It Right’
Zac Samuel – ‘Losing You’

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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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