Week Month at Musikigai
Welcome back to Friday Five. It’s been a minute! Apologies to regular readers who value the weekly dose of top tier tunes. This post has been drafted at least three times now (including losing a competed draft entirely!). Unfortunately March was repeatedly unkind towards the blog as my day job would kick up on Thursdays and Fridays – which of course are the writing days for these posts. With work only likely to intensify, I am no longer promising a post every week. A monthly post is more likely now with around twenty tracks at least a couple of albums of the month to check out. The frequency may be a little lower but I aim to keep the quantity up and quality the best possible.
It’s been a month where the living room fades completely into the office it has become over the last 12 months as both occupants burn the midnight oil in their respective jobs. Stress, productivity, faults and victories from moment to moment fill the day before a hurried microwaved bowl of a previously cooked meal. Endless calls and meetings and emails and updates requiring utmost attention before the nightly ritual of doom-scrolling and passing out to do it all again the next day.
In musical news, with UK vaccinations making good progress and a clear one-way roadmap out of it we have been buying festival and gig tickets! Yes, that’s right, we are planning to get back out there and into the pit! When I started this blog, it was intended to be a mix of album reviews and live reviews. Well, live shows haven’t been a thing for over a year now so that’s had to fall away. Musikigai will be heading to All Points East and Field Day in London’s Victoria Park on the August Bank Holiday (three out of four day run) and I am so excited to be able to chill with friends with some tunes in a field for the first time in a couple of years (by that point). Full coverage through the haze of summer cider hangovers will be heading this way in September
As for music this week, we have a few albums of the month for you and twenty top tier tracks in an order that is designed in two sets of ten tracks as the first ten have been around for a little while and it felt better to make a second part rather than engineer it into one. There is no hierarchy, just what sounds good. (What I’m saying here is that track 11 is a real banger and essential summer track for this year!).
Links to the playlists below, followed by the albums of the month and then our five tracks for this week. Let’s take some time out with some decent tunes. You deserve it!
ALBUMS OF THE MONTH
Black Honey – Written & Directed
What a delightful surprise this was after seeing the artwork around and then an emphatically loved and unanimously acclaimed post on the Idles FB fan group (what’s up AFGANG!). A blistering record that wears its influences on its sleeves and takes you on a 30 minute journey that is hugely enjoyable.
This is their second album but first to my attention. I will certainly be checking out more. Be ready to move and rock along to this one!
Tune-Yards – sketchy
Eclectic, jaunty and rhythmic don’t quite do justice the kaleidoscope of sounds and styles melded together on a Tune-Yards album but it’s about all the words I can summon that come close. Always interesting, one never knows what is coming next and the seemingly juxtaposing elements blend well together for the most part. I’ll be giving this album many more spins over the coming weeks. You should too. Playing APE this year, Can’t wait to see them!
Madlib – Sound Ancestors
The first of two collaborative albums for this week. This one between producers Madlib and Four Tet that produces something that has the potential to be seen in the same light as records such as DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing or J Dilla’s Donuts. This claim will age well or poorly. Hello future musikigai, yes you really did say this. Hope it worked out!
Floating Points – Promises
A reflective and beautiful album from a seemingly unlikely but perfectly complementary set of collaborators. It brings some tranquility and wonder to this week. A very different vibe from anything else and anything I might ordinarily listen to but it is a very pleasant listen and worth your time at least once. One for headphones and a quiet moment.
Kings of Leon – When You See Yourself
The quality of Kings of Leon’s albums are far gone now. One doesn’t listen for anything even as great as a 6 out of 10 experience. Largely creatively spent since album four, here we hear some glimmers of what made us fall in love with them alongside some semi-decent filler. It’s fine, and sometimes that is all you need. I’ll take the sonic comfort blanket drenched in nostalgia on this one as I need it but it isn’t the best record overall.
Five-syllable album title habit in tact and some classic sounding singles make this at least worth mentioning.
SUPERNORMAL – Everything Everything
Everything Everything return with their particular frantic panic brand of eclectic electro pop doing what they do best bringing dystopian disdain to catchy pop riffs. Whether this is indicative of a lockdown induced extra album or EP to go with 2020’s RE-ANIMATOR waits to be seen but it is a welcome addition all the same.
How Does It Feel – London Grammar
London Grammar continue to show they can infuse some joy and light into their music which was heading to a chilled but ultimately dull place on the last album showing beauty is not enough. The more upbeat dance-y nature of the singles from the forthcoming Californian Soil has me very excited. Playing All Points East this year too but money constraints meant was all out by the time it was announced so not going. Hoping to catch them another time soon though!
Pay Your Way In Pain – St. Vincent
This is a captivating Bowie cover produced by Prince with… *checks notes*…….. This is a funky Bowie and Prince inspired track from the inimitable St. Vincent (aside from when she imitates.. oh you know what I’m getting at!). Everyone is saying it, it’s Bowie’s Fame as written by Prince and performed by St. Vincent. Not a bad thing.
Let it Be – Matt Berninger
Available previously only on the deluxe releases of Berninger’s solo album Serpentine Prison released late last year, Let It Be is a tender ballad and may be indicating the release of the bonus disc tracks on streaming services soon. Just got hold of the deluxe vinyl myself after waiting for a version that would never come from my record store of choice so cancelled and treated myself. It’s a beautiful thing just like all National releases.
Leave the Door Open – Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak
This is daft but so well executed it’s excellent. Tapping into a sound I tend to find quite dull – R&B lounge type love songs – the knowing wink from both artists and the fantastic level of production makes it not only bearable but positively enjoyable. Also, who saw this collaboration coming? Two of the most exciting songwriters of our time joining forces. I can’t wait to see what the rest of Silk Sonic delivers.
Grapes of Wrath – Weezer
It’s easy to dismiss Weezer given their carefree approach to releases and a sound steeped in late 90’s early 00’s culture. Forget that, this track is a belter.
Stay High again… – Brittany Howard
An older track remixed into a true party banger by Fred Again. What’s not to love? Given Fred Again is at Field day this year I’m hoping this is a true track of the summer.
7 Seconds – Porridge Radio
Synth Rock standalone single from Porridge Radio. It’s another great tune from the outfit. I’m pitching them as a perfect support act for Wolf Alice next year. A ‘gai’ can hope.
Run Run Run – Mexican Dogs
A random find care of an Instagram account I follow (but I can’t remember who just now – oops, sorry… name check later if I remember). Big Black Keys meets T-Rex vibes off of it leaving you rocking hard.
Haïnamady Town – Toumani Diabaté
Not sure how I came across this one. It might have been when I was digging through LSO releases looking for some ‘kultcher’ or maybe it was the other way round. In any case this is something a little different to round out this week’s list. I’m a fan of non-western standard music styles but don’t get much exposure. Maybe I need to listen to Gilles Peterson a bit more.
Happy Easter to all those who celebrate it. Happy extra long weekend and start of Bank Holiday season to my UK readers. Welcome to not knowing which way is Saturday.
This is the point at which this lovely site decided to delete everything so I’ve had to do it again. I’m sure I had utter brilliance and insight written here but now… nothing. Maybe next time! Onwards!
Keep Moving – Jungle
I was playing their debut album one Saturday afternoon, wondering where they have got to and 2 days later they announce and release this brilliant disco banger just when we all need it. Excellent to see them on the way back with a new record and out on the burgeoning festival circuit.
Young Lies – Poté feat. Damon Albarn
The second release and first LP on Bonobo’s new label Outlier (c/o Ninja tune) comes from Poté. A fitting vibe for both labels and a promising act in general with beats like this. I’m excited to hear the full length when it releases.
I Like The Way You Die – Black Honey
Influences for this track include Quentin Tarantino (as does the cover art if we are honest) and the first flickers of Black Keys before it becomes more overt on a later track Believer. This is the blistering opening track that sets the pace for the album which I highly recommend (see above!).
Control – Mannequin Pussy
A lengthy track by MP standards but a good one proving yet again that when they dial it back just a little they a very good band. That said, without the more abrasive tracks they would be no where near as exciting as they are. Can’t wait to see what the next record holds – their last was excellent.
hypnotized – Tune-Yards
I love the eclectic nature of this artist. I’ve loosely followed them for a while but never seem to get a grip on them. Nonetheless their latest album is a fun listen and I’m looking forward to their show at APE.
Opus – Black Country New Road
Bipolar closer on the debut record from this intriguing and exciting band that mixes a morose base with the urgent and propulsive hora / chair dance infused up beat melody line. The album (former album of the week here) as a whole as proven continuously compelling and persistently just out of reach of full comprehension. That’s a good thing as it keeps me coming back for more.
If Not Now Then When – King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
KGATLW continue to churn out records though their latest one I am grateful for as it will be a reference to know if it is Lizard Wizard or Wizard Lizard. LW is part two of KG LW and part three of the microtonal series that started with Flying Microtonal Banana. The shapeshifting prolific group have produced another great track here.
Road of the Lonely Ones – Madlib
This is an early record highlight from this record from Madlib and Four Tet. See more about this project above and expect more tracks in the next few posts.
Bittersweet Symphony – The Knock feat. Foster the People
One morning while working I randomly picked The Verve’s Urban Hymns for a bit of nostalgia and later that same day this fun take turned up in my feed. I’m not sure if it’s necessary but this track is so universally brilliant it is enjoyable in any form.
Movement 6 – Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra
A beautiful and reflective note to round out this playlist from electronic producer Floating Points, saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and the world -famous London Symphony Orchestra.
That’s your lot! A bonus bumper packed edition for you. As I mentioned up top, life is getting hectic and while my intent is to keep doing this I may adjust things to slightly different content schedules and types to keep it interesting but also keep the tunes coming. Watch this space and follow @musikigai on socials to get the latest (IG stories is usually where you will find the most up to date info.)
The end of this pandemic is in sight for the UK so long as we carry on social distancing and get our vaccinations. Your curator is one jab down and waiting for the second so I’m firmly on the ‘get the damn vaccine’ side of the non-debate. Go get it done when you are given the opportunity.
Take care of yourselves, enjoy the non-restricted life as and when you get it. Keep listening and let me know what has got your attention in music – you might land a track in the next playlist and a mention!
Peace out, team.