Romantic tension has always played a part in the xx’s music. A little over four years since their last album, the group’s latest work, I See You, addresses this subject more directly than ever, with a soul-bearing collection of songs about reconciliation and the start of something new.
My week just gone has been filled with the funk and disco of Shalamar and McFadden & Whitehead, and the classical romance of celebrated French chanteuse, Edith Piaf.
It’s time for something new. Or, rather, old. In starting this new, ad hoc series, titled Heavy Rotation, I plan to throw a little light on the artists, albums and songs that I have been listening to frequently, ones I missed, and generally music which I feel deserves attention.
Consider this my Time Out-style hot picks: no more than five minutes to read, and guaranteed to lead you to people or things that will give you hours of pleasure.
If I find myself having time to do these posts more frequently, I may try to put together a Spotify playlist to accompany it.
We start off this new series with an enchanting jazz singer, who is new to me, Angeline Morrison, the rising gospel goddess Eryn Allen Kane, and film composer Michael Giacchino.
Missouri singer SZA has been a firm favourite of mine since discovering her in the early half of 2014. She makes wavy, psychedelic R&B and neo-soul, similar to Kelela and Jhené Aiko, and she has a voice that will say with you for days.
California singer Gavin Turek may as well have stepped out of 1970s. She’s making new dance music with an obvious admiration for old-school disco and the electro of 70s and 80s.
As well as singing and songwriting, Turek has contributed to music by TokiMonsta and soul man Mayer Hawthorne’s group, Tuxedo. She’s also release tributes to Donna Summer and electronic music pioneer Giorgio Moroder.
Kicking off 2017 in operatic style is the return of London Grammar.
Guitarist Dan Rothman, multi-instrumentalist Dominic ‘Dot’ Major and vocalist Hannah Reid rocked the hearts of all who heard their melancholy music when they debuted four years ago. The trio’s album, If You Wait, contained deep pools of emotion capable of bringing tears to the eyes.
For a girl who hasn’t yet entered her twenties, Jamaican-Irish singer Mahalia Burkmar has achieved an awful lot already. She’s performed with Emeli Sandé, opened shows for Ed Sheeran and Tom Odeel, and appeared on the big screen in Noel Clarke’s Brotherhood.
Raised in Leicester, and now living in Birmingham, the 18-year-old’s first full-length mixtape, Diary of Me, is a mellow amalgamation of acoustic guitar melodies and chilled pop, which form the beds for her autobiography songs.
Closing out the bitter slog that was 2016 are a band who are bringing the sunshine grooves of the Caribbean to the urban metropolis. The Hempolics are a little-known ska band from London, who have steadily been crafting their sound for over a decade now. They have received attention from radio, not to mention the fellow musicians, such as La Roux, Eliza Doolittle and Paolo Nutini.