Sophie Jamieson – ‘Release’
Moving backwards at speed in her self-filmed music video for ‘Release’, Sophie Jamieson spins round the city, where “oblivion never looked so pretty”. And London does look good. Even amid the social-distancing architecture of barriers and cones, it’s still Soho at dusk: blurred and magical. The streets swallow her up, but Jamieson’s reversed wanders also feel like an emotional untangling.
‘Release’ is the second single from the British musician’s forthcoming EP, cementing a return after five years away. Shifting from an earlier folk sound to something more electronic, this assured track orbits around the pull of Jamieson’s voice. Pared-back synths, low guitar snarls, and lyrical repetition build and build and build. You can’t tear yourself away. When the song ends suddenly, in contrast to its slow escalation, you think you accidentally hit pause – but maybe you just reached that pretty oblivion.
Shamir – ‘Other Side’
Well doesn’t this just dill your pickle. Vegas-born electro-indie whizz Shamir Bailey, whose self-titled sixth album lands next week, continues his versatile charm with a snappy banjo shuffle. The colourful single artwork leaves you totally unprepared for the track’s hard truths. “Wasn’t ready for goodbye and now it’s goodbye,” he sings from the real-life perspective of a Vietnam widow searching for her lost husband. No stranger to confessional lyricism (last year he even released a record called ‘Be the Yee, Here Comes the Haw’), of course Shamir adopts the country genre with ease and enjoyment. He knows the power lies in the storytelling: gloomy details cloaked in upbeat twangs. It’s an epic ride through emotional wilderness, and impossible to resist.
clipping. – ’96 Neve Campbell’
The ‘final girls’ of horror movies survive the killers to tell the tale. Inglewood twin rap duo Cam and China who guest on clipping.’s ‘96 Neve Campbell’, a tribute to ‘Scream’ queen and all final girls, do more than just survive: they kick ass. The tough, blood-lusting fairer sex “fairly quick get your brain split”. clipping. have dabbled with horrorcore for a while now, from last year’s album ‘There Existed an Addiction to Blood’ to recent single ‘Say The Name’ which references 1992 flick ‘Candyman’. Dark lyrics and stone-cold delivery aside, ‘96 Neve Campbell’ catapults you into the most chilling of horror scenes. You’ll hear that ominous door knock everywhere you turn.
Travis Scott – ‘FRANCHISE (feat. Young Thug & M.I.A.)’
You wouldn’t know there’s been a pandemic on, glancing at Travis Scott’s packed 2020 output: a song for Christopher Nolan film ‘Tenet’, and collaborations with Kanye, Rosalía, Kid Cudi, Big Sean, and, erm, McDonalds (don’t worry, a burger, not a song). On FRANCHISE he invites Young Thug and M.I.A. along for the ride, and while the latter’s verses might divide fans, the result is a gripping four minutes that demands all your attention. Watch Scott’s self-directed, Nolan-endorsed music video if you want to see M.I.A. dancing in a field with loads of sheep. The video played across cinemas before Tenet screenings, and now we’re waiting for what Nolan dubs the ‘Travis/Tenet/Travis sandwich’ to hit the McDonalds menu.
Kevin Morby – ‘Don’t Underestimate Midwest American Sun’
This week Kevin Morby shared two singles ahead of new album ‘Sundowner’, and while ‘Wander’ is a pulsing road-trip of a song that you can’t help but pound your chest to (Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee does exactly that in the music video), it’s the open space of ‘Don’t Underestimate Midwest American Sun’ that sticks. “There is a whole track of nothing but Texas air, birds and wind chimes living beneath the song,” Morby says of the stripped-down single, on which space is as much an instrument as acoustic guitar and keys. It’s a bold, brave piece, evoking John Cale’s ability to craft beauty out of few ingredients. In these weird times we’ve all confronted our immediate surroundings, and Morby’s isolated midwest experience shows there are always riches to be found.