1) WESTSIDEDOOM – 2STINGS (Prod. The Alchemist)
It’s mainly downhill after this one, unfortunately – this ties King Krule for track of the fortnight. Hungry newcomer Westside Gunn meets larger-than-life legend DOOM in a lethal combination, produced by one of the finest to ever do it: 2STINGS is the deadliest soundtrack for the worst of villains, and it delivers on every level. The Alchemist-produced beat taps into old-school comic book villainy, creating a lethal and ominous landscape for DOOM and Westside to rap over. Westside is thoroughly fantastic throughout, and DOOM brings his A game, using fantastic wordplay to portray the struggle of the artist (“Just ate, causing indigestion / Will soon regurgitate into profits, no question”) and spitting lines that only DOOM could (“Clear advantage like playing paddle ball on aderall”). This track is unmissable.
2) King Krule – Cadet Limbo
King Krule’s unique blend has always been one to savour. Apologies for breaking the formula, but this section is more praise for The OOZ, Krule’s latest LP, than a particular song. The soulful, genre-defining project is universally great – Krule’s music sounds wondrously genuine, a rough diamond with more character than a polished one could ever have. It’s hard to recommend just one song for this section, but I’ll go for the record’s ninth track, Cadet Limbo. Cadet Limbo builds from nothing, introducing cosmic synths and jazzy saxophones into the mix as the track builds to a kind of musical ecstasy, instruments weaving in and out of sync. Krule himself utilises his fantastic lyricism to write a space ballad of love, with him drifting through the memories of a relationship – he is “Lost to where I belong”.
3) MGMT – Little Dark Age
MGMT are back, and have once more turned to a new formula. Despite their musical shift with the release of each new album, MGMT have changed direction to something people found entirely unexpected – a strange blend of electro-goth. It’s an odd direction indeed, but a good one. The song immediately reminded me of M83’s divisive LP Junk, featuring the same kind of slow, spacey synths with somewhat of a throwback feel. This is not necessarily a bad thing – Little Dark Age blends these synths with haunting, detached vocals to create a track that is once eerie and catchy. This single is well worth a listen, and bodes well for the band’s upcoming fourth LP.
4) Young Thug, Future, Offset – Patek Water
After a fantastic collaboration with Guatemalan DJ Carnage, Young Thug has returned with SUPER SLIMEY, a surprise mixtape with trap mainstay Future. Patek Water (featuring Migos’ Offset) is one of this tape’s highlights, featuring a lean-dripped beat that truly stands out (Southside can do no wrong). Future and Thug act as a fantastic tag team, backing each other up with various ad-libs and shouts as the other rides the beat to perfection. Despite this, Offset perhaps steals the show (as has been the case for much of 2017 so far), breezing through a series of punchy and powerful flows.
5) Sufjan Stevens – Wallowa Lake Monster
When describing the life of your mother, the first analogy that comes to your mind would probably be slightly different than Sufjan Stevens’. Wallowa Lake Monster is a testament to Stevens’ song writing aptitude, using a completely unique metaphor to frame his ballad’s narrative. The track is part of Sufjan’s The Greatest Gift, a mixtape of demos, B-sides and remixes from his ever-popular Carrie and Lowell. Whilst this means the song is nothing boundary-pushing or revolutionary, it also means it follows the same fantastic footsteps of Stevens’ original release. It is quite simply, more of a good thing. And for that we can’t complain.