Singles Of The Month: April 2017
The Tung's round-up of the best singles released in April 2017
Tove Styrke - Say My Name
First up, a slice of electro pop heaven. Don't be fooled by Tove Styrke's 2009 stint on Swedish Idol - her particular brand of pop packs a punch that'll leave a mark. The first release since her excellent 2015 album Kiddo, 'Say My Name' finds that evasive sweet spot in which sugary synthetic hooks and cheer-leader chants keep their cool.
Kamasi Washington - Truth
Sometimes songs are good, less frequently they're great, and less frequently still they carry within them the power to transport and transcend. This sprawling track, coming in at over thirteen minutes, gives itself the space to breathe, and the listener breathes with it. Intimate piano and brass led grooves draw us in, before stretching out in epic choral crescendos before springing back, elastic, then stretching out again. The track swells and recedes, swells and recedes, before crashing in its final minute in an urgent cacophony. This is a track to spend some time with.
Frank Ocean, Jay Z, Tyler, The Creator - Biking
After such an extended period of radio silence between the releases of Channel Orange and Blonde, it feels spoiling to be presented with singles so soon after we were given not one but two albums. We're not ones to look a gift horse in the mouth though, and ‘Biking’ really is a gift. Frank Ocean relinquishes a certain amount of control to Jay Z, whose laconic verse sets the tone, and to Tyler, The Creator who adds his particular resonant edge, but Ocean is the centre of gravity here. A musing on life cycles and the concept of everlasting love as much a remembrance of hazy summer's evenings, this is going to be the sound of The Tung's warmer months.
Chloé - The Dawn
Parisian producer Chloé returns with her first single in four years, and even after just one listen there was no doubt in our minds that it was worth the wait. An arpeggiating melody forming the backbone, shaken by a synthesised cello rumbling menacingly underneath which crescendoes into one distorted, sustained note in the closing minute. An anxious voice speaks throughout, lending a still more sinister tone. Tension builds from the opening minute and Chloé thwarts resolution, but 'The Dawn' is all the better for it.
Luwten - Indifference
Amsterdam based Luwten's slow burner of a track, and a masterclass in hard-soft contrast. It opens with a soft, cushinony bass line, joined in time by Luwten's light as air vocals. Before you know it the cloud is sliced through by a guitar, first melodic, then a distorted fuzz. The track blends into itself, fading in and out, always understated, but satisfying nonetheless.
Jacob Banks - Part Time Love
Jacob Banks has been on the scene for a few years, but we've been a bit slow off the mark to recognise the beauty in his particular brand of soul. Now we've seen the light, and Banks' shines bright. Not a single (whatever - rules are made to be broken), but a track from his recent EP The Boy Who Cried Freedom, 'Part Time Love' is a velvety smooth, stripped back gift to the ears. Get to know.
Phoenix - J-Boy
Phoenix have had a long and varied history. As they've developed, their style has shifted from laid-back Parisian electro-pop to an ever-more frenzied, frenetic sound. On 'J-Boy' they've relaxed a bit, retaining their signature euphoric melodies while allowing the track a little more room to move. We've pretty much no idea what Thomas Mars is singing about, but then we never really have.
Laurel Halo - Jelly
This is a pop song for the digital age. Laurel Halo weaves gossamer threads on 'Jelly', light as a feather. The track never breaks into a chorus proper, but rather is a patchwork of sections of differing weights. Certain refrains are repeated, new voices are introduced, each contributing to the creation of an unearthly fabric. It's danceable, but it's hypnotic quality is also soporific. This is Laurel Halo at her best.