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Sad Cowboy – Goat Girl (2020)
A real statement of intent from the South London quartet. Clottie Cream’s vocals descend in graceful haziness over a rough rock sound effortlessly integrated with an undercurrent of dreamy synth reminiscent of post-Currents Tame Impala. Leading the charge towards the release of their second studio album On All Fours in January, ‘Sad Cowboy’ showcases a huge progression in maturity and musicality in Goat Girl’s repertoire that strides beyond the three-minute-hit spirit of their eponymous debut without compromising their punk credentials.
Jumbo – Underworld (1999)
Combining dancefloor urgency and psychedelic romanticism, ‘Jumbo’ is an emotional yet understated number that seamlessly drifts between otherworldly abstraction and earthly existentialism. The listener is taken on a surreal journey starting with a conversation between two southern Americans about ‘“A little sale on a vest at Walmart”‘, before eventually finding a conclusion with a final reappearance of the anchoring beat drowned in swirling, elusively beautiful harmonies. While ‘Jumbo’ may not share the powerfully direct aura of some of its club-night contemporaries, it stands alone in its atmospheric offering.
Repetition – David Bowie (1978)
Bleak realism haunts every corner of ‘Repetition’, which details the oppressive domesticity of a psychologically abusive relationship with vacant sentimentalism. Underpinning the desolate being of the track is Bowie’s deadpan vocal delivery simutaenously supported by a persistently wobbly two-note bassline, providing a stark representation of the often unspoken and ignored consequences of reluctant romantic entanglements.
Sex Drive – Tricky (1996)
A track of glorious destruction and distortion, ‘Sex Drive’ is a reckless culmination of punk, industrial dance and dark electronica executed for maximum disorder. Harnessing the track with determined dedication lies a rampantly urgent bassline in wonderful disharmony with a combative snare-led groove. Tricky’s nearly whispered delivery also opens up another layer of textural intrigue and interest, culminating in a shamelessly ramshackle composition.
Whole New Mess – Angel Olsen (2020)
Hushed melancholia takes centre-stage in the gentleness of ‘Whole New Mess’. Though not a track of any particular power or imposition, its drifting and directionless nature is what personifies and promotes the track. Without enforcing itself onto the listener it is able to uphold its vitality and attraction through its irresistible calm and grace, never fading into the backdrop. Though a straightforward creation in arrangement and formula, Olsen has cultivated an independence in sound through a unique softness and tranquility rarely showcased elsewhere.