The Song Crush team this week play some tracks you should listen to instead of the new Ed Sheeran record. Host Kirsten Johnstone is joined by Danielle Street and Elliott Childs.
Sampa the great - OMG
Sampa The Great is a Sydney-based artist, who was born in Zambia and grew up in Botswana. ‘OMG’ is the second single to be shared from her upcoming debut album The Return, which saw her visit her homeland and gain a greater sense of self-identity. The song has threads of her childhood stringing it together sonically, while lyrically it’s a celebration of her culture and the joy of re-connecting with it. DS
Wilco - Love Is Everywhere (Beware)
New Wilco music is always a gift if you ask me. The US band have morphed from alt-country rockers into something far more expansive and genre bending. That said, ‘Love Is Everywhere (Beware)’ finds the band’s sound much more stripped back and simplistic than their more recent output. But after a break of three years, during which time Jeff Tweedy has written a book and released two solo records, perhaps they’re changing course yet again?
If the plaintive lap-steel in the background and Nels Cline’s jangly guitar riff on this track is anything to go by, it’s a direction I’m very happy to follow them on. EC
Mal Blum - I Don’t Want To
Mal Blum is a New York songwriter five albums down the track, but with Pity Boy they’re starting to gain wider recognition. There’s obvious comparisons to be made with anti-folk artists Kimya Dawson and Mouldy Peaches, but also energetic pop-punk and slacker rock of the 90s - particularly the guitar tones of Dinosaur Jr
They’re non-binary/transgender and the album is very personal, the songs deal with things like lack of visibility of the LQBTQI community, feelings of low self-worth, anxiety, breaking patterns of behaviour and allowing yourself to be selfish. This song, ‘I Don’t Want To’ is about setting personal boundaries, something a lot of us could do better with. Pity Boy is less like a self-help book and more like that good friend who always pep talks you up into your best self. It has such an addictive energy, I challenge you not to like it. KJ
Denzel Curry - Ricky
Miami rapper Denzel Curry recently released his fourth studio album ZUU (the title is a nickname for his home city Carol City) and this song pays homage to his father Ricky - the track’s namesake. It is essentially a playbook for life growing up in South Florida, jammed with life lessons from his parents and pinned down by old school 808 beats. DS
Steve Gunn - Be Still Moon
The guitar is the star here as it is with most of Steve Gunn’s music. Heavily influenced by “American Primitive” guitarists John Fahey and Robbie Basho, Gunn’s style is bright, melodic, complex and always enjoyable listening.
‘Be Still Moon’ has been released as an outtake from the sessions for Gunn’s most recent album The Unseen In Between, though to my ear it rivals any cut from that record. Lyrically it seems to be about the exhaustion caused by touring and a longing for a night of undisturbed sleep in whatever hotel it is he’s staying in. Something most touring musicians can relate to. EC
Dolly Valentine - Michigan, 1997 feat. Field Medic
I love a good old man whistle, but it’s the pure mellifluous soprano whistle of Australian Molly Lewis, that caught my attention here.
The song itself though is by a duo who call themselves Dolly Valentine, and it’s wistful and hopeful and warm, and finds them staring at the clouds, making dandelion wishes with a nostalgic filter all over them.