We’re back for another week! Five new albums from five very different artists – check out why our crew think the likes of NAO, Fenech-Soler and NGAIIRE should be on your list of must-listens this week!
FENECH-SOLER – Zilla (2017)
By Michael Prebeg
After disappearing for a while, Fenech-Soler are back with one of their most exciting records yet. They teased us with their surprise Kaleidoscope EP in 2016, featuring a handful of tracks from the new album that hinted their comeback with a variety of brighter and bolder sounds. This full length album is an extension of their confident new material that flows beautifully with momentous energy and punctuated with euphoric interludes to enhance the build up in between.
It seems the duo have really harnessed the perfect formula to create so many of those powerful ‘wow-factor’ moments with their unique futuristic and melodic style. Zilla truly is a kaleidoscope of energetic sound patterns which expresses powerful forms of emotions. You’ll want to play this record and put it on repeat!
ELBOW – Little Fictions (2017)
By Alex Watts
Elbow have always felt like something of a guilty pleasure to me – perhaps because their music is so unabashedly romantic and sincere. Too often artists that can be labeled as ‘earnest’ walk a dangerous line of self importance, however Elbow – and specifically Guy Garvey’s lyrics and delivery – manage to discuss matters of the heart with a wry smile that makes the songs entirely relatable.
Little Fictions is suitably downbeat without being somber, but also without attempting to force the big unifying choruses that, for many people, their name is synonymous. The album is not one of their most cohesive, but since it was released last month I have found many of the melodies ingrained in my brain, with highlights being “K2”, “Firebrand & Angel” and “Trust the Sun”.
ANDERSON .PAAK – Malibu (2016)
By Rochelle Flack
There’s no doubt about it, Anderson Paak was one of the hottest vocalists of 2016. He featured on countless track with the likes of Mac Miller, Kaytranada, GoldLink and literally everyone else. But personally, it’s his solo work which really struck a chord with me. Released in January 2016, Malibu is the second solo LP from Paak, in between collaborative records with Knxwledge (credited as duo NxWorries). You’ve got classic singles like “Put Me Thru” or “Am I Wrong”, which immediately took to high rotation.
This is the kind of record where you’re rewarded in you look further. Lesser known track “Parking Lot” is a highlight, as is “Without You” – which features a cheeky vocal sample from Nai Palm from acclaimed Australian group Hiatus Kaiyote. The striking thing about Malibu is that it’s a complete listen. There’s ‘hit the floor moments’ in between lighter takes and intriguing lyrical content. Well worth a visit – or a revisit.
NGAIIRE – Blastoma (2016)
By Nkechi Anele
Last year the power and strength of #blackgirlmagic was heralded by the amazing black female artists dropping the finest albums to come out in a long while. For me, the one album that really captured what I was feeling as a 20 something year old black woman in Australia was Ngaiire’s BLASTOMA. I had been following Ngaiire for some time in the lead up to this album (mostly watching her social media posts) but this album caught me off guard and hit me in the dead centre of my being.
For me Blastoma was like nothing else I had heard or felt coming out of Australia, it was something completely different and new, vulnerable and powerful. The ability to capture true realness is often elusive and hard if not confronting to do, but Blastoma seems to do this with no fear, realness is what this album holds on to with both hands. With soulful back beats Ngaiire spells out stories of intimate heartbreak, self-analysis and late night swagger.
Each track on this album seems to outline the inner thoughts of a young woman learning how to define herself as a singular and powerful entity by breaking down and breaking through the many boundaries we feel confronted by in what seems like an always hectic and vexing world.
NAO – For All We Know (2016)
By Sosefina Fuamoli
NAO has been an artist who has intrigued me for ages now and I was filled with that certain surge of pride that only comes from seeing an artist you’ve championed drop an album that more than meets the hype surrounding him/her. For All We Know did just that – the soul and pop fused with that very now production made NAO more than just a flash in the pan to the eyes of many tastemakers and it’s no wonder why. She’s an amazing performer and the music translates brilliantly from the record to the live stage.