This Week In Records: LCD Soundsystem, Mollie King & Maroon 5 (01/09/2017)

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Thanks to the return of The KLF in a grand multi-day spectacle, this past week has just been one of those where you can strike up a train station conversation with a taxidermist carrying a gun-wielding badger that he had rushed up to join him and his wife in Liverpool on the formation of Badger Kull, a band of bassists whose “volunteer” roles avoided cone thievery. The man’s message to me was clear: “In life, make sure you do things.” The statement seems perhaps slightly less of a glorification of impulsive joy when you consider that seconds earlier he was suggesting I spend my birthday each year watching the construction of a pyramid of ash-filled bricks before eventually, like him and the 399 others who had just paid £100 for the privilege, consigning myself to join the fun.

It’s also been a week where we all talked about Taylor Swift a lot, so let’s calm everything down with a bit of middle-aged angst and rampant pop horns.

LCD Soundsystem – american dream

i’m on review duty for american dream, lcd soundsystem’s first full-length since their rather majestic reformation, so i’ll keep things short and sweet for now. well, as short as an album where the only song under five minutes limbos in by just two seconds can. here, in the kind of lower case that i’m sure james murphy would appreciate, are track-by-track thoughts from the first playthrough.

  • ‘oh baby,’ a song that had me welling up within a minute.
  • ‘other voices,’ a song that has excellent cowbell work.
  • ‘i used to,’ a song that spends two solid minutes describing my mornings.
  • ‘change yr mind,’ a song that has a persistent bell which makes me want to rewatch baby driver.
  • ‘how do you sleep?,’ a song that has a lyric about “vape clowns” to remind you that it’s 2017, not 2005-2010.
  • tonite,’ a song that repetitively muses on pop’s repetitive musings and that old internet “thing.”
  • call the police,’ a song that is probably the longest i’ve ever heard regularly on daytime radio.
  • american dream,’ a song that fills me with pre-emptive regret for the life i’m yet to live.
  • ’emotional haircut,’ a song that is far more intense than my last haircut, which involved 15 minutes of awkward silence as 4music played a lady gaga retrospective above it all.
  • ‘black screen,’ a song that serves as a beautiful bowiewallow in the ‘someone great’ mould.

also, let’s just pause for a look at the album cover in its full resplendence.

Image via Columbia

what a band.

Mollie King – ‘Hair Down’

Shortly after last week‘s Fifth Harmony-shaped disappointment, a burst of nostalgia for the days of good girl groups washed over me thanks to a glorious Twitter thread of Girls Aloud‘s finest moments. A quick taste:

Anyway, since fizzling out in 2014, musical output from the artists once known as The Saturdays has been sparse, with a country album from Una Healy and a brace of R&B shorts from Vanessa White. Mollie King, however, has gone for the flashy pop route and teamed up with the dormant and once-dominant Xenomania outfit to lead into her Strictly Come Dancing campaign. It has ridiculously bombastic horns, a chorus that’s basically just “NANANANANANANANANA / GOTTA LET MY HAIR DOWN,” and a verse that opens with “I’m pleased to meet your barbershop quartet / But that means you obviously ain’t getting any sex.” Anyone who says this isn’t absolutely incredible is absolutely wrong.

Jake Bugg – Hearts That Strain

Though Jake Bugg‘s last record is little more than a year old, things have changed significantly for the baby-faced Nottingham lad. For one, he’s now a shirt sponsor for Notts County FC, because nothing screams relatable singer-songwriter like paying to plaster your name across a football kit. Why do such a thing? Per a chat with Radio X’s Peter Crouch, “I don’t know why, I don’t know what I’m advertising.” Perhaps he’s forgotten his new musical direction, whereby his incessant slagging off of pop figures has seen him feature on Tinie Tempah’s album and welcome Miley Cyrus’ sister onto Hearts That Strain itself.

Maroon 5 feat. SZA – ‘What Lovers Do’

For at least a year after its release, I was convinced that Jason Derulo‘s ‘Want To Want Me’ was actually a Maroon 5 song. One might see this as a sign that I am not the committed Derulo fan that my proud membership of the Jason Derulo Fan Club (Serious Fans Only) implies, but I choose to perceive it as more a reflection of the direction that Adam Levine and presumably four other blokes have taken with their releases over the past few years, especially since Levine joined The Voice and they released ‘Moves Like Jagger’ and such. Things have, however, been slow for the three years and a day since V – 2015’s non-album single ‘This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like A Motherfucker’ has since been followed by ‘Don’t Wanna Know’ and ‘Cold,’ two carefully-paced tropical borefests with big name rappers who should know better but have a history of this sort of demeaning crossover nonsense.

‘What Lovers Do’ continues this plumbing of America’s urban stocks with a little twist. Their first single to feature female vocals since ‘Moves Like Jagger’ courtesy of emerging R&B superstar SZA also leans quite heavily on NEIKED‘s ‘Sexual‘ not unlike Vice‘s shameless Jon Bellion collaboration ‘Obsession.’ This one at least has the gumption to interpolate properly, à la Taylor Swift‘s take on Right Said Fred last week, but the topline melody feels far too clumsy an attempt to mask the still warm undertones. Going all Matoma-y is one thing, but a shoddy regurgitation of a song this new and this popular (think 200 million streams) seems far below an outfit of this stature.

Selected Other Releases

Albums

Andreas Moe – Maybe It’s All We Dreamed Of EP
Bicep – Bicep
Bruno Major – A Song For Every Moon
Daughter – Music From Before The Storm
Elderbrook – Talking
Fizzy Blood – Summer Of Luv EP
Hercules & Love Affair – Omnion
INHEAVEN – INHEAVEN
Joel Baker – Bag Of Dreams
Kaskade – Redux 002 EP
Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun
Newton Faulkner – Hit The Ground Running
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – The Punishment Of Luxury
Tayá – Tayá EP
The Script – Freedom Child

Singles

Alex Cameron – ‘Runnin’ Outta Luck’
Alex Lahey – ‘Lotto In Reverse’
ARY – ‘Already There’
Benjamin Francis Leftwich – ‘Rebellion (Lies)’
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – ‘Over Everything’
Curtis Harding – ‘Wednesday Morning Atonement’
DJDS feat. Khalid & Empress Of – ‘Why Don’t You Come On’
Don Diablo feat. Holly Winter – ‘Don’t Let Go’
Elli Ingram – ‘Stone Cold’
Felix Snow feat. Carti Bankx – ‘Can’t Nobody’
Fink – ‘Not Everything Was Better In The Past’
Frank Ocean – ‘Provider’
Frida Sundemo – ‘Gold’
Galantis & ROZES – ‘Girls On Boys’
George Maple – ‘Hero’
Gregory Porter – ‘Smile’
Guy Sebastian – ‘High On Me’
HMLTD – ‘Satan, Luella & I’ / ‘Kinkaku-Ji’
Hurts – ‘Ready To Go’
Jason Derulo – ‘If I’m Lucky’
Jessie Ware – ‘Selfish Love’
KLP – ‘Melt’
Lil Pump – ‘Gucci Gang’
MAALA – ‘Crazy’
Matthew Dear feat. Tegan & Sara – ‘Bad Ones’
Matoma & The Vamps – ‘Staying Up’
MK – ’17’
Mr. Probz feat. Anderson .Paak – ‘Gone’
N.O.R.E. feat. Pharrell Williams – ‘Uno Más’
Nothing But Thieves – ‘Broken Machine’
Paloma Faith – ‘Crybaby’
Poppy feat. Charlotte – ‘My Style’
Powers – ‘Just Kids’
SAINT WKND & MAX – ‘Survive’
Sam Dew – ‘Remember’
Sharna Bass – ‘Pass The Dutchie’
Shy FX feat. Breakage, Roses Gabor & Ghetts – ‘Chocolate’
Skott – ‘Remain’
Sløtface – ‘Backyard’
Ten Tonnes – ‘Cracks Between’
The National – ‘Day I Die’
Tommy Trash feat. Daisy Guttridge – ‘Sinners’
VanJess feat. GoldLink – ‘Through Enough’
Wafia – ‘Bodies’
Why Don’t We – ‘These Girls’
Yumi Zouma – ‘Persephone’
Yung Lean – ‘Red Bottom Sky’
Zeds Dead, Diskord & Reija Lee – ‘Blood Brother’

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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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