Singles Of The Month: May 2017
Calvin Harris ‘Rollin’
This is not the Calvin Harris we’ve come to know. Gone are the days of underwhelming tropical house-inflected club tracks (see: ‘This Is What You Came For’ and ‘My Way’), giving way to groove-led R&B pop. We at The Tung are praising the gods of music for the respite. Following on from the success of ‘Heatstroke’, which features Young Thug, Pharrell and Ariana Grande (no big deal), and ‘Slide’, for which Harris brings in Frank Ocean on vocals, ‘Rollin’ follows the same groove-led pattern, calling this time on Future and Khalid. It’s lolloping bass line and jittering analog synth, combined with Khalid’s laconic vocals makes this one for blasting out of car windows on a summer’s day.
Francis and the Lights ‘May I Have This Dance (Remix)’
After the success of last year’s ‘Friends’, our eyes and ears have been firmly trained on Francis Farewell Starlite’s next move. Here we have it. A re-release and re-up of Farewell Starlite! album track ‘May I Have This Dance’, with added electronic punch and a Chance The Rapper verse about his love for his daughter.. The video, the ‘official sequel’ to the ‘Friends’ promo, sees Chance practising a dance alone on a dance floor, only to be joined by Francis for a joyful choreographed piece. We can’t help but want to dance along with them.
Rostam Batmanglij left Vampire Weekend in early 2016, and since then he’s been flexing his musical muscles, finding his own place apart from the band. From a collaboration with Hamilton Leithauser, to credits on the most recent Frank Ocean and Solange albums, and a turn composing the score for Netflix Original drama The OA, Batmanglij has notched up a good deal of solo experience. We’re hoping that on ‘Gwan’ we’re hearing the beginning of a discernible new path, the swirling cellos and introspective lyrics seeming to search for a new direction. We think, here, he’s found one.
Kwaye ‘Little Ones’
Kwaye’s a man with a story. Following a heated discussion during an Uber journey on the subject of music, he hijacked the aux cord and played a few demos of his own. The Uber driver turned out to be an ex-A&R, and passed the demos on to Mind Of A Genius, the label who subsequently signed him. He had immediate success with ‘Cool Kids’ (check the video - it’s great), and the month followed it up with ‘Cool Kids’, a soulful, groove-laden track harking back to the 80s via its guitar groove and synth stabs. Kwaye’s voice lilts between Prince-esque snarl and George Michael infused falsetto, yet his lyrics, which reference prejudice and perseverance, suggest he has something to say in the present.
Guerilla Toss ‘The String Game’
Guerilla Toss are a post-hardcore band from Brooklyn, known for the spectacle of their erratic and messy live shows. ‘The String Game’, taken from recently released album GT ULTRA, is a slice of jerking, twisting dance-punk that contains all the hints of their rawness while keeping their cool, never fully exploding, but always seeming like it might be about to. Kassie Carlson’s twisting cadences throwing the listener of balance, while she stays in control.
Danny Brown ‘Kool Aid’
With ‘Kool Aid’, Detroit rapper Danny Brown has become the latest in a string of rap and hip-hop artists to lend a track to HBO’s Silicon Valley soundtrack. The track follows in the same vein we heard on last year’s Atrocity Exhibition, Brown’s first release since signing to legendary independent label Warp Records. It’s bass-heavy, and his rapid-fire rap pulls no punches. We would never have expected any different.
Future ft Kendrick Lamar 'Mask Off remix'
When Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn aka Future dropped two full length studio albums with in a week of each other many, us included, were very surprised. What no one has been surprised about is the critical reception the Kung Fu Kenny remix of Mask Off has received. It seems that whatever Kendrick touches turns to absolute gold. This track is nothing short of brilliant. Don’t get me wrong, I was already sold with the original, from the infectious Tommy Butler sample to that booming kick and bassline. But once again Kendrick spits truths like none of his contemporaries, bow down to one of the 21st centuries greatest story tellers.
Everything Is Recorded ‘Close But Not Quite’
Not quite a single, but rather the title-track from producer/XL founder Richard Russell’s new EP, ‘Close But Not Quite’ calls upon the vocal talents of Sampha and Curtis Mayfield. Sampha, whose debut album Process carries with it a similar vibe of introspectiveness, duets with a sample of Mayfield’s ‘The Makings Of You’ chorus, their vocal tones perfectly aligning. There’s a lightness of touch here that feels angelic, as if Mayfield is reaching through to help Sampha to find his voice when he feels like he doesn’t have the words.