The past month has brought us a lot – good and bad. From England’s first World Cup win since 1966 (albeit the u20s) to Conservative forming a coalition with DUP. A very mixed up and confusing month was partnered with a fantastic month for music, take a look at the best releases below.
LORDE – MELODRAMA
One of the better releases of the year comes from Auckland’s Lorde. After a 4 year absence she returned with Green Light, the promotional single for Melodrama. The album, content wise, picks up where her first album left off but she’s matured, taking all she learned post-2013 and shared a wild, personal and raw journey. If you caught her performance at Glastonbury that showcased this release you’ll know what a powerful artist she’s become. Her voice and passion give you chills in the best way. This is an album for the ages.
VINCE STAPLES – BIG FISH THEORY
The anticipation for a Vince Staples project is always big, and this lived up to all the wait and all the hype. Staples delivered one of the most original pieces of work seen this year. Big Fish Theory is a true rap album that solidifies Vince as one of the best rappers the game has to offer right now. He holds his own against features from Kendrick and A$AP Rocky to silence any remaining doubters of his talent. A guest verse from Juicy J (Big Fish) might be the highlight though; the beat, lyricism and just the right amount of Juicy J make it a song to remember.
HEFF-T – CULTURE ‘97
One of the lesser known producers in Leeds is responsible for some of the best instrumentals you’ll have heard in a long time. Making the majority out of his bedroom, he put a collection of them out this past month under the moniker Heff-T. Mainly producing cloud rap beats, he’s mastered a craft many find so hard to do – and at a young age as well. A masterful blend of a plethora of instrument samples is hard to find nowadays, but he’s found it. Don’t hesitate to hit up his Soundcloud to check what he has to offer and get in touch for usage of beats.
PLACES + FACES – SOUND OF LONDON
Put together by Places + Faces, this 12 track long mixtape was – as the title suggests – made to reflect the current musical climate in the capital. Featuring some of the biggest names from 67 to Daniel OG to Scrufizzer, it goes from grime to drill to hip-hop but yet flows and is seamed together so effortlessly. The release was accompanied by a pop-up shop and some performances there too, and is just another fantastic celebration of urban culture in Britain. This is perfect for driving round big cities and it gets you in the mood for going out.
SZA – CTRL
TDE’s golden girl struck, well , gold with a wonderful album from the songstress from St. Louis, following up from a beautiful mixtape in the form of 2014’s Z. Carving out her own path in the music industry, her eclectic mix of indie rock, R&B and soul are what make her arguably the most exciting woman in the scene now. The song writing is both relatable and complex at the same time, making it one of the more intriguing projects 2017 has seen. The crowning jewel may just be the track with Travis Scott (Love Galore) which took the hip-hop world by storm upon its release. Definitely worth your time.
JAY PRINCE – LATE SUMMERS
One of the rising stars within the UK’s music scene, Jay Prince proved his worth once more with Late Summers. The production compliments him massively and that isn’t to take away from his skills but to big up the producers and also Jay’s ear for beats. Laid-back, smooth beats help piece together the perfect soundtrack to a British summer. Having a style nobody else can match, his tracks hold such strong quality and it’s hard picking a favourite but I may have to go with When I Die, purely for the flow and beat switch that is just breath taking. He’s quickly been building up a strong fanbase around the world and it’s surely just a matter of time before he blows.
SILICON VALLEY – SOUNDTRACK
The second compilation on this list comes courtesy of HBO’s Silicon Valley. A TV show about tech nerds living in technology hub wouldn’t have you thinking it has primarily hip-hop on its soundtrack – but not only does it, it also has the some of the best talent from past years all the way to new under-the-radar artists too. Wu-Tang Clan, NaS and DJ Shadow are some of the headline names on the OST, and at the same time artists like Remy Banks, Old Man Saxon and even the late ATL rapper Grip Plyaz. It’s definitely worth listening to and if you haven’t watched the show it should be on your watchlist as it’s been one of the best things on TV in the past five years.
NORTHAZE – SABRE SOUNDS VOL. 1
NorthaZe’s latest project Sabre Sound Vol.1 offers more of that unique, unmatchable sound they were able to produce on their prior projects Dream Emulator and Mellow Thrills. They’ve been on the come up for a while, and the variety they provide on this mixtape is outstanding. From deep grime tunes like Gipton Wood Road to mellow, chill rap tracks like Palace of Requiem, Swish and Kosi Tides have secured their spot amongst the best emerging sounds from all over the UK.
It’s NorthaZe’s own Kosi Tides that makes up half of the outfit ToshxTides along with Toshiro Steel. The duo have been making music together for a while along with other features from local artists like Jack Jeston, Pertrelli and Black Josh. Echhi Nights grants a more experimental sound than the aforementioned projects but is just as coherently put together and makes for a fantastic mixtape that only artists with a comprehensive skill for music could make.
MARLENE – SWEET
Stockholm based Marlene has been able to take inspiration from house, pop, R&B and more to put out a project that many people may have missed. Reminiscent to Jhene Aiko, the Swede has a soft, tantalising voice that is so relaxing to listen to and leaves you wanting more. The 8-track release should have taken over the summer playlist by now and if it hasn’t already just give Next To Me and listen and be sure to spread the word about Sweden’s next big thing.
Ro Ransom, Dizzee Rascal, Action Bronson and more are all slated to drop projects and next month could be the month! As summer properly begins, be sure to have these aforementioned records on repeat whilst checking back here for the latest releases!
Words by Rohan Parmar.