Electronic artist Jamie xx is best known as a member of The xx, but started gaining solo fame in 2010 with the release of his Gil Scott-Heron remix album We’re New Here. In Colour is Jamie’s solo debut and while there are moments reminiscent of The xx, especially when bandmates Romy Croft or Oliver Sim handle vocals, this is most assuredly not an xx album. Jamie brings together all the various UK electronic styles (UK garage, wonky, dubstep, house, etc.), but adds different sounds to them (most interestingly a steel drum on “Just Saying” and guests Young Thug and Popcaan on lead single “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)”) to add a rare freshness that elevates the album to a new level. Listening to In Colour is reminiscent of the first 2013 listens to Disclosure’s Settle (in excitement much more than sound), and it seems likely In Colour will have as large an impact on popular music as Settle did.
Formed in Los Angeles, but recently relocated to Philadelphia, Girlpool is a duo, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad, making DIY garage punk that feels incredibly vulnerable due largely to the absence of any sort of percussion. Before the World Was Big, the band’s first full length following last year’s excellent s/t EP, features vocal harmonies and personal lyrics that draw the listener in to the point where it feels like Tucker and Tividad are your friends and you’re just hanging out in the backyard on a sunny summer evening. At a mere 24 minutes, however, the album is a brief hang crying out for (and deserving) repeated listens.
The South Side of Chicago has been putting out plenty of excellent drill artists over the last few years (most notably Chief Keef, Lil Reese, and King Louie), but none have really been able to make the jump from mixtapes to a major label. Next to make the attempt is Lil Durk (best known for “Dis Ain’t What U Want” off 2013’s Signed to the Streets tape). Remember My Name, released by Def Jam, does a far better job transitioning the drill sound (slowed down trap beats and grim, nihilistic lyrics) to a major than Keef’s Finally Rich and its other predecessors. The lyrics remain pitch black and violent, but there are some concessions made (e.g. Jeremih crooning on “Like Me”) that could, at least in theory, make drill more widely palatable without alienating current fans.
Also new this week: Daughn Gibson – Carnation, Florence + the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, and Sun Kil Moon – Universal Themes.
An author and editor at MiG, Craig lives in Minnesota with his wife and son and is an attorney in his real life. Once upon a time Craig played the trumpet and spent four years in the Hawkeye Marching Band and pep band. These days Craig finds himself most often listening to experimental rock, hip hop, and post punk, but you can see everything he's listening to at: www.last.fm/user/cafreema Craig is not ashamed to admit the first concert he ever attended was New Kids on the Block.
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