45s of the week: Alanis Morissette, Slow Pulp, KAYTRANADA and more

Grace Almond reviews the tracks you need to hear this week.

ALANIS MORISSETTE – ‘RECKONING’

Alanis Morissette reminds us that she is a powerhouse on new track, ‘Reckoning’. After decades of producing feminist anthems, her new releases in the run-up to her forthcoming album, ‘Such Pretty Forks In The Road’, continue to tackle difficult subjects such as depression, addiction and, now, “predators”. Morissette slows things down on ‘Reckoning’, and delivers a gut-wrenching message on the absence of solidarity with survivors with the lyrics “you got away while they claim I’m a liar/ why aren’t the Gods and heroes all around me”. Complete with strings and haunting piano, it’s a defiant track in the face of adversity.

CONNIE CONSTANCE – ‘JAMES’

Connie Constance has written the soundtrack to your comedown with new release ‘James’. It follows her recently released indie bop ‘Monty Python’, which was our first glimpse into her new exploration of her sound. ‘James’ is an “anti-drug drug” song about using drugs as a coping mechanism, and the mental health implications of doing so, which is felt especially during the opening lyric “I’ve been on a self-destructive rampage last night”. Ending the track with an echo, as if singing into the empty void of regret after a particularly bad night, Constance reflects on a difficult topic against a juxtaposing misty, soulful melody. In a recent interview, she told us that she’s hopeful people will hear the track “and realise that kind of destruction is not the only way to deal with their mental health struggles”.

JAMES BLAKE – ‘ARE YOU EVEN REAL?’

Following on from his recent feature on Mustafa’s ‘Come Back’ tribute, here is a stand-alone single from James Blake, and it’s stunning. Dreaming of a new connection, this hazy song features a prominent string feature, complete with pizzicato, and gentle harmonies. Blake’s voice goes hand in hand with each instrument, pushing and pulling throughout the track as every element compliments each other. ‘Are You Even Real?’ comes at a busy time for Blake, who has been recording various covers during lockdown and taking a more collaborative approach to his work.

KAYTRANADA – ‘LOOK EASY (FEAT. LUCKY DAYE)’

It seems like KAYTRANADA can’t put a foot wrong, and he wasted no time in releasing new music after his critically acclaimed December 2019 album ‘Bubba’, still able to bring fresh ideas to the table. As his familiar bass line kicks in on new track ‘Look Easy’, he takes us all the way into outer space, moving in a slightly different direction with futuristic, 80s-style synths. Lucky Daye’s vocals flow with ease throughout the cut, and it’ll play well as a mid-set breather when we can (eventually) see KAYTRANADA live again.

SARAH WALK – ‘UNRAVEL’

LA-based songwriter Sarah Walk has released an empowering new track, ‘Unravel’, criticising male entitlement with opening line “Nothing’s hurt me more than men that grew up with no consequences”. In an effort to convey the complexities of the experiences of womxn outside of our romantic relationships, Walk beautifully captures her resistance to any efforts to speak over her. It’s a track that really builds, culminating in lasting conclusion to her captivating sound.

SLOW PULP – ‘IDAHO’

As the classic sounds of shoegaze start up on Slow Pulp’s ‘Idaho’, lead singer Emily Massey sings through the impact of accepting love, on your mental health. This release comes with the announcement of Slow Pulp’s debut album ‘Moveys’, written against a backdrop of a global pandemic and difficult events in their personal lives. The track is full of depth and nostalgia, influenced by guitarist Henry Stoehr’s confusion caused by tour fatigue, when he mistook their show at Colorado College for a gig in a different state.

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