This Week In Records: ODESZA, Tove Lo & Suzi Wu (08/09/2017)

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The time has come (again) for my This Week In Records residency to come to an end – Meg Holland returns from her travels next Friday to tell you all about new albums from Foo Fighters, Galantis, Gucci Mane, Sløtface, and Rebecca Black. This week, however, isn’t too shabby, so do stick with us. Beyond a load of Sam Smith faff that sounds like pretty much everything else Sam Smith has done without the brothers Disclosure by his side, there’s plenty to get stuck into. Q4, here we come!

ODESZA – A Moment Apart

ODESZA, the cinematic electronic duo that also goes by the names of Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, seems to have quite a thing for releasing in September. 2014’s stunning breakthrough record In Return turns three today barely a week after Summer’s Gone started at primary school, and the years that followed each also brought an EP and a deluxe edition with a Little Dragon collaboration and delectable instrumentals. 2016 then passed with uncharacteristic silence, but it’s no surprise that they needed A Moment Apart before using their newfound increased stature to bring a new record with Regina Spektor, Leon Bridges, and RY X in tow.

Taylor Swift – ‘…Ready For It?’

Now the dust has firmly settled on the pearl-filled bathtub, I think we can all agree that reputation lead ‘Look What You Made Me Do‘ only truly succeeds at facilitating Taylor Swift changing out a cute cat-covered ramekin for a full-on cauldron in which to simmer the petty feuds and whines that increasingly swamp her name and deeds. There’s reason to hope, however, in how ‘…Ready For It?’ relentlessly jabs with the sort of morbid bassy rumble this “rebellious” era demands whilst oozing a subtle romantic character and packing in a proper gem of a Max Martin eruption towards the close.

Anna Of The North – Lovers

Yeah yeah, I know what you’re thinking – Xavier’s just rambling incoherently about the brilliance of Scandinavian pop offerings again – but now is a really good time to get to know Anna Of The North, an AlunaGeorge-like duo in that you could very easily mistake the vocalist (Anna Lotterud of Norway) for a solo performer, such is the visual anonymity of the chap with the production hat (Brady Daniell-Smith of New Zealand). Full-length debut Lovers features and follows three years of laidback magic that’s seen the pair transition from using Skype to record longing slow jam ‘Sway’ – which The Chainsmokers remixed incredibly well for what they cited this week as the birth of their sound – to popping up with Rex Orange County as exquisite dream merchants on Tyler, The Creator‘s Flower Boy in July.

David Zowie – ‘The Real Don’
Hailee Steinfeld & Alesso feat. Florida Georgia Line & watt – ‘Let Me Go’
Klingande – ‘Pumped Up’
Kyla feat. Popcaan – ‘You Ain’t Mine’
TIEKS feat. Chaka Khan & Popcaan – ‘Say A Prayer’
Tove Lo – ‘Disco Tits’

How does one define a one-hit wonder? Well, for the purposes of the following 619 words as it gives us a nice batch to compare, let’s say it’s an artist with one top 10 single, thereby suggesting they had one thing that blew up out of all reasonable proportion, are still on the rise and just haven’t managed to get around to putting out the next big thing yet, or made ‘House Every Weekend.’ Will anything change with today’s batch?

David “‘House Every Weekend'” Zowie spent four weeks in the top 10 in 2015, including sitting in the top spot (and therefore 61 places above Ginuwine‘s ‘Pony’) on the shortest week in chart history. ‘The Real Don’ is his first release since both that song and the time the people of Twitter killed him off, and not even using italicised Futura Bold on the cover art can save it from feeling like an antiquated concentration of what people with obnoxious muscles and an envious ability to effortlessly sustain opulent lifestyles would have thrived upon before Love Island became a thing.

Hailee Steinfeld spent six weeks in the top 10 just last year, reaching number 5 with Grey and Zedd for company on ‘Starving,’ a song that, whilst quite enjoyable from day one, marked the start of her descent from self-loving pop saviour to the kind of chronic collaborator who would go on to show up rather rapidly on throwaway tracks with Digital Farm Animals, Kato and Sigala, and Machine Gun Kelly before spending six further weeks in the lower reaches of the top 40 on her own with ‘Most Girls.’ ‘Let Me Go’ would be lucky to go that far, sprinkling Alesso‘s most anonymous top-billing production work ever over a microwaved rehash of what had come before, if what had come before had come spiked with Florida Georgia Line.

Klingande‘s 2014 saxfest ‘Jubel’ was only held back from the top on its debut week by Secondcity and Sam Smith before dropping from the top 10 three weeks later, and by the time the two became one as Edgar Catry left, they seemed perfectly poised to vanish for eternity like all good one-hit wonders. Enter ‘Pumped Up,’ a Schulzification of Foster The People‘s ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ sung with none of the disconcerting original’s compelling distance by what doesn’t sound unlike a bunged-up child.

Kyla‘s ‘Do You Mind’ became integral to Drake‘s 15 weeks at the top last summer with ‘One Dance‘ just seven years after its original release and roughly four days after she first heard about it. Naughty Boy then called on her to share ‘Should’ve Been Me’ with Popcaan when things didn’t quite work out with Ellie Goulding, and her major label debut borrows the Jamaican’s services again for something that’ll probably be up your repetitive street if you found that to your definitely longstanding funky house taste.

TIEKS found sausage dogs and Fiat 500s key to getting ‘Sunshine’ into the Scottish top 10 last summer, yet quite how that leads to releasing a follow-up single with ACTUAL CHAKA KHAN I’m not entirely certain. Also, like Kyla’s, dispensing some Popcaan to nibble on, ‘Say A Prayer’ makes up for its millennial-with-five-minutes-on-Paint emoji-bearing cover with organs, gospel backing in the chorus, and ACTUAL CHAKA KHAN.

If you think Tove Lo peaked at 6 in 2014 during four weeks in the top 10 courtesy of Hippie Sabotage‘s ‘Habits’ remix, you’d be correct in a commercial sense but criminally ignoring her new single: ‘Disco Tits.’ “I’m sweatin’ from head to toe / I’m wet through all my clothes / I’m fully charged / Nipples are hard / Ready to go,” she sings on the chorus. Many times.

I can’t wait to find out how this goes down in her support slot on the Coldplay tour later this month.

Suzi Wu – Teenage Witch EP

It’s been a while since any new artist has sounded quite as captivating as 19-year-old Londoner Suzi Wu does before you’ve even made it half way through a song. Sure, it probably helped that I came across ‘Taken Care Of’ sandwiched between rather unremarkable fare from Avicii and Bebe Rexha through shuffling a This Week In Records playlist last month, but the three other tracks that make up Teenage Witch – where topics covered in her jaded rasp range from drugged-up sunflowers (‘Speed’) to a Tom Waits cover (‘Jockey Full Of Bourbon’) and an examination of the merits of listening to Yoko Ono and using turpentine as shampoo (‘Teenage Witch’) – provide plenty in 13 minutes to strengthen the mystique.

Selected Other Releases

Albums

Alex Cameron – Forced Witness
Alvvays – Antisocialites
Dev – I Only See You When I’m Dreamin’
FREAK – No Money No Honey Shit Job Not Funny EP
Jack Johnson – All The Light Above It Too
Leikeli47 – Wash & Set
Lunice – CCCLX
Metro Station – Bury Me My Love EP
Mount Kimbie – Love What Survives
Nick Mulvey – Wake Up Now
Nothing But Thieves – Broken Machine
Princess Nokia – 1992 Deluxe
Sparks – Hippopotamus
Superfood – Bambino
Syd – Always Never Home EP
The National – Sleep Well Beast
Thomas Rhett – Life Changes
Tori Amos – Native Invader

Singles

Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston – ‘My Own Hymn’
Abra Cadabra feat. Burna Boy, Jelani & Fred – ‘Lemme At Em’
Afrojack feat. Belly, O.T. Genasis & Ricky Breaker – ‘No Tomorrow’
Aquilo – ‘I Could Fight On A Wall’
Arty – ‘Supposed To Be’
Bad Sounds – ‘Hot Head Chippenham’
Beck – ‘Up All Night’
Bob Sinclar feat. Akon – ‘Til The Sun Rise Up’
Brasstracks – ‘Those Who Know’
CXLOE – ‘Tough Love’
Dagny – ‘More More More’
Daniele Luppi & Parquet Courts feat. Karen O – ‘Talisa’
Demi Lovato – ‘You Don’t Do It For Me Anymore’
Elbow feat. John Grant – ‘Kindling (Fickle Flame)’
Everything Is Recorded feat. Sampha, Ibeyi, Wiki & Kamasi Washington – ‘Mountains Of Gold’
Foo Fighters – ‘The Line’
G-Eazy feat. A$AP Rocky & Cardi B – ‘No Limit’
George Michael feat. Nile Rodgers – ‘Fantasy’
Gigamesh feat. Kaleena Zanders – ‘Work!’
Hitimpulse feat. Bibi Bourelly – ‘Cover Girls’
ILOVEMAKONNEN feat. Rae Sremmurd – ‘Love’
Imagine Dragons & K.Flay – ‘Thunder’
Joe Hertz feat. Pip Millett – ‘Goodbye Kisses’
Kelela – ‘Frontline’
Kelly Clarkson – ‘Love So Soft’ / ‘Move You’
Kölsch feat. Aurora – ‘In Bottles’
Lao Ra feat. Afro B – ‘Me Gusta’
Loote – ‘Outta My Head’
Maty Noyes – ‘Say It To My Face’
Miguel – ‘Shockandawe’
Miriam Bryant feat. NEIKED – ‘Rocket’
Moses Sumney – ‘Indulge Me’
Nadine – ‘Go To Work’
Nina Nesbitt – ‘The Best You Had’
Rae Morris – ‘Do It’
R3hab & Quintino – ‘I Just Can’t’
Robin Schulz & HUGEL – ‘I Believe I’m Fine’
salute – ‘Lullaby, For J’
Sam Smith – ‘Too Good At Goodbyes’
Sleeping With Sirens – ‘Trouble’
Starrah & Diplo – ‘Swerve’
Stereophonics – ‘Caught By The Wind’
St. Vincent – ‘Los Ageless’
Terror Jr – ‘Holding Your Tongue’
The Americanos feat. D.R.A.M. & Kyle – ‘Everyday’
Tiësto & John Christian – ‘Scream’
U2 – ‘You’re The Best Thing About Me’
What So Not & LPX – ‘Better’
ZAYN feat. Sia – ‘Dusk Till Dawn’

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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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