Our top picks this week - featuring punk powerhouse IDLES, a slick pop bop from YRFN, and a throwback feel good track from The Upstairs!
The fourth single preceding IDLES’ highly anticipated third album Ultra Mono, Model Village is everything you want out of an IDLES track and then more. Back-forth twitchy guitars, a single driving bass note that hammers in and out, and hard-hitting drums that beat you over the head rounded off with frontman Joe Talbot’s signature wit and growls.
The single is a warcry against closed-minded “Model Villages” in the UK, where seemingly perfect small communities breed racism and homophobia. Talbot denounces these far-right ideals with biting commentary on the verses (“Model car, model wife, model village. Model far, model right, model village”, or, “He's not a racist but in the village. Gotta drive half-cut in the village”) before the band all comes together for yet another triumphant IDLES anthem on the chorus, tackling bigoted conservatives head-on (“I beg your pardon. I don't care about your rose garden. I’ve listened to the things you said. You just sound like you’re scared to death”).
Overdriven guitars dominate the track with the presence of subtle glitchy guitar effects only popping up occasionally on the verses (especially compared to the likes of earlier single Grounds), which makes it so much more exhilarating when it does happen. The chorus soars as everything comes together with the verses’ finicky guitar riffing turning into big loose chords being paired with an extremely tight rhythm section complimentary of bassist Adam Devonshire and drummer Jon Beavis. Talbot’s voice rings with an unmatched determination and vigour, even to the point of almost losing control on the second chorus, but he never quite does, and the result is a phenomenally passionate vocal performance throughout.
Legendary director Michel Gondry and his brother Oliver Gondry have also directed a stellar music video for Model Village which you can check out here:
Listen to "Model Village" here.
- - by Isaac Yackem
YRFN (feat. Khally)
“Tek It Slo”
Tek It Slo
Tek It Slo is a groovy, sensual contemporary RnB pop bop that takes it’s cues from the likes of Khalid and Drake. Produced by Dan, its understated combination of gliding synths, thumping 808s, snappy drums and other little embellishments make for impressively slick production that allow its vocal performances to take the centre stage. Both YRFN and featured artist Khally bring striking performances to track with confidence and ease, imbuing the track with just the right balance of yearning, melancholy and sensuality.
YRFN sings a longing proposition in a tastefully autotuned drawl asking for a chance with a potential lover in the song’s infectiously impassioned hooks (“I wanna go slow, I don’t wanna go fast anymore. I wanna feel you, so come with me on the floor. Baby girl just give me a chance, let you know that I’m bad with romance. Baby girl just give me a chance, let me have this one dance”).
Khally joins in on the track with impressive backing vocals and harmonies that flesh out the track, as well as contributing a particularly captivating verse that gives a voice to YRFN’s mysterious potential lover. Her verse elevates the track with a little more danceability, having a Rihanna-esque cadence at times that greatly adds to the track’s replayability. (“One step, two step, that’s how we move. Three step, four step, ain’t got nothing to lose”)
Despite not doing much to set itself apart from its myriad of contemporaries, Tek It Slo is a well-written, well produced RnB/Neo-Soul track sprinkled with hip-hop influences that speaks to YRFN’s potential, and I’m excited to hear what else YRFN has in store for us.
Listen to "Tek It Slo" here.
- - by Isaac Yackem
Infectious and memorable, one of the few songs that’s still celebrated in the Indonesian indie rock today. Tastefully adorned with feverish synths and nostalgia-inducing guitar riffs, Matraman speaks of love that’s just not meant to be, no matter how hard you try.
Despite the depressing message, it’s a celebration of doomed love being part and parcel of living and loving in your youth. Definitely a go-to new wave track for anyone looking to dance by themselves, or even with someone special.
Listen to "Matraman" here.
- - by Iqbal Rohan