Here we are again, a new month means a reflection on last months latest music releases. Here's what we've been loving through the month of April.
Fizzy Blood - "Pink Magic"
The latest single from the Leeds Lads sees a slight departure from their riff-heavy past, as "Pink Magic" trades it in out for a more punk flavoured sound lightly dusted with an almost dancey/disco layer. It takes full advantage of the synth/Korg sound that’s been occasionally used previously, however, it takes centre stage here and confidently at that. If the title track of the EP is anything to go by, we’re pretty excited to hear the full release!
Friendly Fires – "Love Like Waves"
It’s been seven years since the last full-length from Friendly Fires, and their newest track couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Here in London, we’re starting to (finally) see some sunshine, and the carefree tropical funk of the steel drums and airy synths compliment the weather perfectly. They’re nicely laced around the band's infamous indie hooks that we’ve missed so much. This could be the indie pop song of the summer and take a rightful place on your playlist until the Autumn time.
Offset & Metro Boomin- "Rick Flair Drip" (Live on Jimmy Fallon)
An easy critique of any live rap performance is its basic straightforwardness. When an MC simply recites verses over their beats on the live stage, they don't offer a new listening experience to their fans. Offset and Metro Boomin barely avoid that monotony but produce a refreshingly addicting version of "Rick Flair Drip" in their recent performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Offset raps through a vocoder that harmonizes with his original flow of the track, which accents his creative and rhythmic flow and brings more energy to the surface, especially when he belts "woo" to echo the great WWE star, Rick Flair. Flair serves as Offset's hype man inside the wrestling ring assembled onstage during the performance and struts as if he were being introduced to a sold-out crowd at a WWE pay-per-view event.
The Wonder Years – Sister Cities
We covered the title track a few months ago, and the album lived up to the hype to take a slot in April's blog. Album number six helps reinforce what we previously mentioned about The Wonder Years evolving from pop-punk rebels to a credible alt-rock outfit. "Raining in Kyoto" takes Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell's gritty vocals and combines it with atmospheric and soaring rock guitars, whilst tracks like "It Must Get Lonely" and "Flowers Where Your Face Should Be" further push the extremities of the band's musical spectrum. A lot of pop-punk bands and their back catalogues are often a nostalgia trip for occasional listening, but the way The Wonder Years are headed certainly show they have depth that you’ll not be embarrassed to revisit in years to come.
Blithe Field - Days Drift By
Days Drift By is a musical painting curated by a bedroom artist ruminating of nature and the outside world. Up to this point, Spencer Radcliffe, the mind behind Blithe Field, has constructed instrumental electronic albums largely from tape loops that make you dream of hazy and glitchy pictures. On Days Drift By, he combines this ambient signature with tracks featuring live instrumentation, including piano, violin, drums, and guitar. Days Drift By is perfect for taking a walk to watch the seasons change. As you explore, be sure to take a moment to pause and discover how Blithe Field's compositions soundtrack the way the clouds move or nature sways.
Hop Along - Bark Your Head Off, Dog
Hop Along's latest, and perhaps their strongest, studio effort, Bark Your Head Off, Dog, is inspired by and built with unpredictability. In "What the Writer Meant", songwriter Frances Quinlan sings, "so strange to be shaped by such strange moments." The memories that often make the most impact on us come out of nowhere, stir a potent emotional response, and make an unconscious imprint on how we move forward in life. Quinlan finds these pressures points in past relationships, odd encounters at bars, tripping on acid, and being scared of an old neighbor's dog while still acknowledging that "[her] last terror of ignorance is still to come." These stories are embraced with one-of-a-kind energy when the band performs them, featuring Quinlan's creative vocal style that endlessly twists and turns, string arrangements, and kaleidoscopic guitar work. The last two tracks on the album, "Look of Love" and "Prior Things", make for one of the strongest conclusions to an album we've heard this year.
Isaac Gracie - Isaac Gracie
Our Director of the Americas, Gregg Chopper, recently introduced the Cambridge Audio USA team to one of the UK's newest sensations, Isaac Gracie. Gracie has been featured frequently on BBC Radio for his singles "Terrified" and "Last Words", and his self-titled debut album continues to unravel his broken heart over gorgeously slow and lush instrumentation. Every track is inspired by a passionate mistake, whether he betrayed a lover or was misled in a relationship filled with fake fulfillment. His greatest performances are found in the latter half of the album, including "Silhouettes of You", "That Was Then", and "All In My Mind"- the latter two tracks show off his falsetto with potent feeling.
Ulrika Spacek - Suggestive Listening EP
If you enjoy getting lost in guitar euphoria, Ulrika Spacek is a band to make your next obsession. Their newest EP is their most uplifting effort instrumentally, but its lyrics are filled with reflections of self-doubt and depression. It's easy to miss their dark potency as vocalist Rhys Edwards sings with a shoegaze-like drawl, which makes its songs deceivingly sophisticated. Considering that, it's possible to absorb this EP in two ways: reflect on your own conflicted thoughts and feel comforted that Ulrika Spacek finds optimistic instrumental space to explore them or simply be swept away by the band's tight and dreamy jams.
So there are our picks for April… But what made your list? Make sure you tell us in the comments below!