We warm up for the release of Cuz I Love You, the third album from booty-shaking self-loving flute-tooting star Lizzo, get tantric with Rosie Lowe, swept away by the charms of Argentinian trio Fémina, and bewitched by folk-rockers Big Thief.
Fémina - Resist feat. Iggy pop
Emerging out of a lake of flawless siren-like harmonies, resonating thumb piano, and crisp Latino beats emerges the low bare-chested growl of Iggy, singing ‘A long, long way…’ It’s unexpected, and striking.
This Argentinian trio, two of whom are sisters who grew up in the shadows of the Patagonian mountains, started off making hip-hop. There’s remnants of rap in their third album Perlas & Conchas (a thinly veiled reference to the female anatomy) but there’s also those omnipresent, familial, heavenly harmonies, various South American and African folk instruments, and beats by cumbia enthusiast Quantic. It’s an immersive listen.
Rosie Lowe - Birdsong
Simmering and restrained, the funk-tinged ‘Birdsong’ is the first single from British singer Lowe’s second album Yu. Backed by a super-group of vocalists (Jamie Woon, Kwabs, Jordan Rakei & Jamie Lidell, credited here as P Funk Choir), the track keeps threatening to erupt but never quite does, Rosie’s voice staying measured as she lays out some steamy sexual imagery. Oh and there are coal miners in the video for some reason.
Lizzo - Juice
Singer and rapper Lizzo is blowing up right now, but she's been around for a while. 'Good as Hell', which came out in 2016 will get you dancing in your kitchen, thinking 'yes Lizzo, I am feeling good, thank you.' We should all have a friend like Lizzo, encouraging us to take a moment for self care, and to remember how great we are. I find myself muttering "I do my hair tall; check my nails" under my breath on those days when I need a little more energy to get through.
'Juice' has a little more groove, right down to the 80s workout gear (legwarmers! And those dancers!) in the video. It dropped earlier this year, but it's still my song of 2019 (narrowly beating 'Thank U, next'), and got me supremely excited about the album that's due out next week, Cuz I Love You.
Lizzo's songs are frequently about empowerment, body-positivity and just really liking yourself, and 'Juice' doesn't deviate. "The juice ain't worth the squeeze if the juice don't look like this," she sings. It's about not accepting less than you deserve and it's an anthem most of us need. Plus, it's fun as hell, and great for dancing in your chair to.
Chris Forsyth - Tomorrow Might As Well Be Today
American guitarist and composer Chris Forsyth released All Time Present this week. The lead track is an upbeat burst of instrumental indie rock. The mix of guitar, detuned synth and weaving, melodic bass works perfectly and it all comes together to sound, in some odd way like William Tyler and Yo La Tengo playing Grateful Dead covers.
Yves Jarvis - Into The Forefront
Montreal-based bedroom tinkerer Jean-Sebastian Audet has been releasing music since 2014 as Un Blonde. The Same but by Different Means is his first album under the moniker Yves Jarvis; a raggedy, free-flowing collection of ideas that occasionally coalesce into songs. Standout cut ‘Into the Forefront’ radiates loungey vibes; festooned with acoustic guitars, record scratches and Audet’s buttery vocal.
Big Thief - Cattails
Big Thief are a band who make quietly simmering folk-rock that gets under your skin in burrows into your heart.
This one coming from their forthcoming album U.F.O.F. is a grower like a lot of their songs. Like an old-timey banjo and fiddle tune it’s very repetitive, circular and meditative melodically, the pace like a rocking chair going back and forth on the porch. Adrienne Lenker’s voice is pretty naive in its delivery of this song, which I read as being about a journey, to visit an older woman who is dying.
The real revelation here is where the song opens out, the piano tumbling in and stumbling about, some astral synths sparking in and a mandocello hurtling it to the finish line, though I never want it to end.
Listen to all our Song Crushes for this season here