As the festive period is well and truly underway, what better way to celebrate some lecture-free weeks with some good ol’ fashioned musical discovery. Here’s the last Listening Post of 2015. It’s been another good year for music – can’t wait for the next!
1. Rhythm District – Temperatures (feat. Jessy Allen)
Placed somewhere between funk and R&B, Temperatures isn’t really a head-turner but it’s a super smooth listen. Faint steel drums and synths are smuggled into the inoffensive instrumental of funk guitar and gentle percussion, making the track really interesting even after a few listens. Lyrically there’s not a great deal to say. It’s a classic R&B piece in this element, the words “You’re so cold, baby” could literally be from any song from the R&B yearbooks of yesteryear, but the vocalist’s diverse voice keeps you hooked. Miss the days of real R&B topping the charts, before Bieber and mainstream house happened? Give this one a listen.
2. Litany – Work This Out
Having only been active for just over a year, Litany sound a lot like a band who’ve perfected a certain sound. The duo’s new single, Work This Out is typical of their style. Synth-heavy, the instrumental is wonderfully structured with a wide range of elements which manage not to get in each other’s way, it develops really nicely and holds your attention without being in-your-face. The vocals of the band’s front-woman are both ethereal and confident, a combination which compliments the lyrics excellently. The song itself is about getting a trust-lacking relationship back on the rails and the way it meanders between frustrated, vulnerable and melancholic vibes is just glorious.
3. Abra – Fruit
Fancy listening to something that’s not too fancy, but utterly chilled? Then I’d like to direct you towards Abra’s track Fruit. The singer/songwriter nicknames herself the “darkwave duchess” and her music does have dark, seductive element to it, making it not only relaxing but also entrancing. I’m looking forward to future material from this eclectic, edgy artist. So give her a try – I’d put her somewhere in the vast realm between Glass Animals and Lana Del Rey.
4. Stormzy – Standard
Blowing the dust off the sample from JME’s 2008 track, Stormzy’s final release for 2015 is a furious track inviting his competition and critics to submit before the south Londoner. The track itself isn’t golden. Stormzy gets a bit carried away and at points it sounds like something off the off-peak Channel U schedule. But, the rapper has the right to get carried away; the reason I left this one in is because Stormzy has to get a mention for the year he’s had. If you’ve been a fan of Stormzy in 2015, or of the grime revival in general – put Standard to your ears. The track certainly makes you realise how much the grime superstar has accomplished this year, and how confident he’s now become.
5. Flyte – Closer Together
This isn’t new, very unknown, or significant. But since it’s the last Listening Post entry for the year, I thought I’d choose a triumphant, uplifting song to go out on. For those who don’t know, Flyte are a sensational indie four-piece from the capital. Their music is up-beat and unfalteringly addictive, Closer Together, in my humblest of opinions, being their greatest achievement to date. The faded lead guitar is for some reason really comforting to listen to, the second guitar melody is delightfully pleasing, the percussion beautiful and the vocals intriguing. If the New Year is as good as this track, I’ll be happy.