This Week In Records: alt-J, Arcade Fire & Dua Lipa (02/06/2017)

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Finally, the magical dawn has risen and the formalities of my degree’s second year have come to an end. The reward? No, not a series of numbers that officially validate my sporadic attempts at academia over the past nine months. Instead, it’s a bounty of new music: a Radiohead track that’s been sitting in a cupboard for 20 years, the first solo venture in eight years from Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, a reminder that Reverend And The Makers exists, album two from the man from fun. who actually makes really special pop music when Nate Ruess isn’t around, single one from the man from Oasis who sounds like every bit of Oasis I’ve ever heard when his brother’s not around, and so forth. There’s also a few things especially worthy of words, so please read those words and keep the new music coming into records@theedgesusu.co.uk.

alt-J – RELAXER

If you were expecting alt-J to return after three years with something straightforward and immediately coherent then you probably haven’t ever listened to that much alt-J. Fortunately, RELAXER is worth the effort: even though it’s been sitting on my desktop for the last few weeks, its official release still brought a little thrill and a sudden urge to dig back into the pacing orchestral intricacy of ‘Pleader,’ the sneering bass undulations of ‘Deadcrush,’ the utterly divine second half of ‘Last Year,’ and whatever the fuck ‘Hit Me Like That Snare’ is. For more structured words on the album, do check out our review and stay tuned for the result of my little conversation with keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton about double reeds and on-tour vegetables both online and in our upcoming print magazine very, very soon.

Arcade Fire – ‘Everything Now’

“Stay tuned for Infinite Content,” read an Arcade Fire tweet on Wednesday afternoon, sounding suspiciously like a memo that would circulate self-aware commercial radio if such a thing should ever exist. With an Isle of Wight Festival headline slot now just a week away and some rather tiny shows in Lyon, Scunthorpe, and Edinburgh lined up in the meantime, it was obvious they’d have something special up their sleeve. That thing is the title track from their new LP, out July 28th, complete with a synth line and production wizardry from Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter.

“The new album is Arcade Fire’s first release under its new partnership with the global media and e-commerce platform Everything Now in synergy with the Sony corporation,” reads the press blurb. Whilst that settles in, I’ll get back to re-perfecting my Win Butler hair.

Dua Lipa – Dua Lipa

Considering how many different release dates for it have been and gone over the last year, it’s a wonder that I haven’t had a chance to construct some pre-prepared blurb to roll out for Dua Lipa’s self-titled debut album release. If you’ve been trying to keep track of developments, you may well recognise at least eight of its cuts, however the latest revision ended up collecting Miguel and Chris Martin along the way – on the day that Coldplay was meant to be releasing the EP that spawned ‘Something Just Like This,’ ‘Homesick’ should more than satisfy any cravings you have for longing piano pieces with pleasant enough harmonies, yet if the simultaneous new year pushing of ‘No Lie’ and ‘Scared To Be Lonely’ and ‘Be The One’ wasn’t perceived to be enough to flog the record, it’s quite tricky to tell how her smitten number 86 duet with Miguel is going to make things any different.

Anyway, enough with my cynicism. Dua Lipa is here. Its songs are indeed real and, on first listen, do sound like songs. ‘Be The One’ is still absolutely brilliant. Please buy this thing so we can finally move on with a proper new popstar who actually does things well.

Duke Dumont & Gorgon City feat. NAATIONS – ‘Real Life’

If it’s the end of Dua Lipa’s album that’s going to be handling your emotional piano quota this week, it’s the 2014 dream team of Duke Dumont and Gorgon City that’s going to get you shuffling holes through your socks. Both parties have been rather muted since the breakthrough heyday of all things house-y and deep – though, in Gorgon City’s case with the Kingdom project, it’s not entirely through a lack of effort – and ‘Real Life’ only really makes sense if you’re still under the illusion that it’s worth releasing tracks without a marimba and a Quavo feature. Still, if the Duke is still good enough to offload utter rubbish to Katy Perry in her quest to be oh-so-conscious by slagging off Taylor Swift with a graceful swoop not at all unlike Homer Simpson jumping Springfield Gorge, may more of this sort of thing follow before I’m half way through a PhD.

Major Lazer – Know No Better EP

Whilst Diplo may now be finding decent work as a Julian Assange these days, his Major Lazer outfit has been quietly cooking up a little carnival without excessive fanfare at all. No fewer than 14 names pop up on Know No Better, a six-track effort launched yesterday under the decidedly off-kilter tropics of its title track, which features Travis Scott minus his typical lacquer of obnoxious Auto-Tune, Camila Cabello continuing to illustrate why she is the only Fifth Harmony member past or present worthy of having her own Wikipedia page, and Quavo being Quavo because Quavo – the man who rhymes “up” with “up,” “up,” and “up” before ending his verse with “I’mma do better / It’s not my race / Get out my face / Drop my case / Which way? / Dat way” having chucked an an arbitrary reference to his dabbing-themed crisp brand into the top – actually holds more dirt on each and every one of you than Facebook does. As such, I’ve got a confession to make: Migos makes no sense to me. Fortunately, when doing stuff like the rest of this project, Major Lazer does.

Selected Other Releases

Albums

All Time Low – Last Young Renegade
Amber Coffman – City Of No Reply
Bleachers – Gone Now
Charlie Fink – Cover My Tracks
Dan Auerbach – Waiting On A Song
Goldroom – West Of The West Remixes
Halsey – hopeless fountain kingdom
Jay Prince – Late Summers
Lemaitre – Chapter One
Marika Hackman – I’m Not Your Man
MoStack – High Street Kid
RIVRS – The Berlin Mixtape
Roger Waters – Is This The Life We Really Want?
Saint Etienne – Home Counties
Sinead Harnett – Chapter One

Singles

A.CHAL – ‘Love N Hennessy’
Anna Of The North – ‘Lovers’
Ashe – ‘Used To It’
Bakermat feat. Kiesza – ‘Don’t Want You Back’
Barns Courtney – ‘Broken Dandelions’
Beth Ditto – ‘We Could Run’
Betsy – ‘Little White Lies’
Bruno Major – ‘Places We Won’t Walk’
Charlie Sloth feat. Bugzy Malone – ‘#FameGame’
Dan Croll – ‘Bad Boy’
Fifth Harmony feat. Gucci Mane – ‘Down’
5 After Midnight – ‘Up In Here’
Foo Fighters – ‘Run’
FTSE feat. Shola Ama & Donae’o – ‘Work U Out’
H.E.R. – ‘Lights On’
JP Cooper – ‘The Only Reason’
Julia Michaels – ‘Uh Huh’
Just Kiddin – ‘More To Life’
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – ‘The Lord Of Lightning’
LANY – ’13’
Liam Gallagher – ‘Wall Of Glass’
Lo Moon – ‘This Is It’
Lorde – ‘Perfect Places’
Meek Mill feat. Chris Brown & Ty Dolla $ign – ‘Whatever You Need’
Meg Mac – ‘Maybe It’s My First Time’
Missy Elliott feat. Eve, Lil Kim & Trina – ‘I’m Better’
Mr Jukes feat. Charles Bradley – ‘Grant Green’
Ne-Yo – ‘Another Love Song’
Olly Murs & Louisa Johnson – ‘Unpredictable’
Peking Duk & AlunaGeorge – ‘Fake Magic’
Phoenix – ‘Goodbye Soleil’
Radiohead – ‘I Decided’
Rae Morris – ‘Reborn’
Reverend And The Makers – ‘Too Tough To Die’
RL Grime feat. Miguel – ‘Stay For It’
Seeb & Greg Holden – ‘Boys In The Street’
Sløtface – ‘Nancy Drew’
Snakehips feat. ELHAE, D.R.A.M. & H.E.R. – ‘Right Now’
Swimming Girls – ‘Tastes Like Money’
SZA – ‘Broken Clocks’
Terror Jr – ‘Appreciation’
The Cribs – ‘In Your Palace’
The Japanese House – ‘Somebody You Found’
The Veronicas – ‘The Only High’
The War On Drugs – ‘Holding On’
Todd Terje feat. Det Glyne Triangel – ‘Maskindans’
Touch Sensitive – ‘Lay Down’
2 Chainz feat. Travis Scott – ‘4 AM’
Vanic feat. Clara Mae – ‘Staring At The Sun’
VÉRITÉ – ‘Saint’
Washed Out – ‘Get Lost’

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The Edge's resident grumpy old man, a final year Web Scientist with a name even his parents couldn’t spell properly. Ask him any question and you’ll probably get the answer of “Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2015 album E•MO•TION,” which might explain why we still can't get rid of him.

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