Songs, songs and more songs #48: Kito, Vanjess & Channel Tres, Amy Shark, Jagwar Ma, AlunaGeorge, Wallows

I love new music.

There’s something about hearing the latest and the greatest and knowing that this song, or these songs to be more accurate most of the time, will be with you for the duration.

But then there’s also something great about discovering tracks you somehow missed from ages ago which is the case with the majority of songs in this post which are ancient in pop terms but which sound every bit as good as the day they were released.

That’s the thing with really good music – it is eternal and always worth listening to.

“Recap” by Kito, VanJess and Channel Tres

(image courtesy SoundCloud)

Ah, the creative glories of artistic collaboration!

Australia-born, now L.A.-based artist Kito has teamed up with the super in demand Californian rapper, singer and record producer Channel Tres and Nigerian-American sisters VanJess to create a blindingly infectious track, “Recap” which simmers all kinds of captivating energy, mid-fi danceability and vocals that harmonise like nobody’s business.

It’s a glorious coming together of talent that Interns describes as a “sleek dance tune that brings the warmth no matter what climate you’re in” and it makes the world feel a smoother, altogether better place just by listening to it.

This eminently catchy track thinks back to what it was like at the start of the relationship when everything was fresh and new and didn’t feel like it was old and worn and problematic which fits the music which feels buoyant but also possibly a little melancholic too, an accurate reflection of life which often feels like a messy mix of happy and sad, old and new.

“Baby Steps” by Amy Shark

Amy Shark (image courtesy official Amy Shark Facebook page)

Amy Shark is one of those artists who you hear once and want to hear again and again.

The indie-pop singer-songwriter-guitarist and producer who hails from the sunny climes of the Gold Coast has a knack for zeroing in on life’s big moments and giving them an intimate perspective that cuts right through to your soul, as all good music should.

“Baby Steps” is all about the mourning the loss of that someone special and trying to move on but being all too aware that they have moved on and seem to be happier without you.

Teamed up with an upbeat mix of pop and rock, the driving music and pain-soaked vocals capture perfectly the turmoil you feel as you try to come to terms with what’s been lost but find it all but impossible to do so.

It’s intense, it’s understandably emotional and it’s a perfect lead-in to Amy Shark’s new album Cry Forever which is available today (what are you waiting for? Get thee to a streamer/record store etc etc now, if not sooner).

“O B 1” by Jagwar Ma

Jagwar Ma (image courtesy official Jagwar ma Facebook page)

Hailing from beautiful Sydney, Australia, Gabriel Winterfield (vocals, guitar), Jono Ma (synths, guitar, drums) and Jack Freeman (bass) are psychedelic dance trio Jagwar Ma.

As is so often the way when you start down a YouTube rabbit hole, “O B 1”, a 2016 track from the group’s second album Every Now & Then, raced up from five long years ago to command my attention and demand it be played over and over until ears bleed or the neighbours knock on the door, whichever comes first.

The song, which is as brilliantly good now as I have to assume it was back then was described this way by Nothing Left Unsaid:

“With layers upon layers of Acid House beats, the track progresses over the course of it’s run time with a substantial amount of groove. Gabriel Winterfield’s vocals are less dependent on reverb compared to previous work and it results in a really immediate and catchy chorus. Jagwar Ma have always been about capturing that baggy sound that gets your head bopping without you even realising it, and they have succeeded once again.”

“O B 1” is proof that good things come to those who wait, and while to be fair I wasn’t waiting necessarily for this particular track, I’m eminently glad it found me, especially there appears to have been recent music from this highly-talented band.

“Mean What I Mean” (Feat. Leikeli47, Dreezy) by AlunaGerorge

(image courtesy Discogs)

Yes, it appears that 2016 must have grabbed the YouTube algorithm by the proverbial short and curlies because here’s another track that hails from what must have been a musically fecund year.

“Mean What I Mean” (Feat. New Yorker Leikeli47 and Chicagoan Dreezy) by AlunaGerorge, who are currently on haitus while singer-songwriter Aluna pursues what she describes as music that springs “singularly from my culture and my perspective”, is another belated YouTube discovery that surges with gorgeously prickly beats, atmospheric lyrics and brilliantly evocative musical flourishes that jack up the energy to utterly addictive degrees.

No idea how this was missed back in the day but thankfully it’s found its way into my playing list now and may well make my tracks of the year for 2021; sure it’s five years late but better late than never for track that’s endlessly compelling and infinitely, danceably listenable.

Lifted from AlunaGeorge’s 2016 album, I Remember, “Mean What I Mean” makes me hope and pray that Aluna (whose solo work is fantastically good too) and producer George Reid will get back in the studio sooner rather than later and make some more infectiously catchy pop.

“OK” by Wallows

Wallows (image courtesy official Wallows Facebook page)

Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters, and Cole Preston, who call Los Angeles home, are the three members of alternative rock band Wallows who have seen fit to bless us with the insanely wonderful track “OK”.

Released only a year or so ago – YouTube and its algorithms seemed to drop four years of delay somewhere there -“OK” is a fun, bouncy piece of catchy pop that addresses something that Wallows told Variance magazine is common for many young people.

“‘OK’ is a song about insecurities in a relationship,” says Wallows of the new track. “Having a hard time accepting something that feels ‘too good to be true’, but overall learning to embrace it and accept the love you’re receiving and focusing on returning it. Now, given the state of the world [the song was released as COVID started to bite deep in March 2020] and the health crisis we happen to be in at the time of the song’s release, we feel like the main line/hook of the song, ‘Can we get up and try to feel okay again?’, sort of takes on a new meaning/purpose. The thought that no matter where we are or how alone and lost we feel right now, we can get up again and try to feel OK. We’re in it together.”

It may a fairly widespread dynamic but as The Plaid Press notes it comes with a uniquely Wallows-like means of expression.

“This song is reflective of this band’s growth as musicians and artists. In a press release, Wallows described the inspiration behind ‘OK’ as a mix of some of their favorite genres: pop, alternative, and R&B. This points to how the band is experimenting with new styles. ‘OK’ is definitely more experimental for the group, and long-time fans will recognize how its sound differs from their older tracks. There is an unexpected hint of electro-pop to the song that feels surprisingly natural and smooth.”


Róisín Murphy is brilliant.

The Irish singer-songwriter has captivated me ever since I heard her in Moloko and then as a solo artist with “Overpowered” in 2007, and so the fact that a remix version of last year’s fantastic album Róisín Machine is available now is exciting news indeed!

According to Purple Sneakers, Murphy has teamed up again with DJ Parrot (aka Crooked Man), who worked with her on Róisín Machine for the aptly named newly-released Crooked Machine which you can stream/download/buy now and listen to until your ears happily explode.

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