J Cole drops a surprise new single, plus there are some cracking rock tracks from Ovlov and Little Thief. Les Ailes’ intimate folk song is gorgeous and Void Comp delivers some beguiling electropop.
‘Heavens EP’ – J Cole
I was not expecting a new J Cole single this soon after his last album. ‘Heavens EP’ sees the rapper jumping on the instrumental to Drake’s ‘Pipe Down’. The subject matter is largely Cole trying to assess his place in the hip hop rankings, conceding that he’s not willing to go the extra mile for world-class fame. He admits that he sees rappers like Drake and Kendrick as ‘superstars’. However, it’s not all admiration – the bar ‘pimpin they kids out for views’ seems to be a definite dig at artists like Drake and DJ Khaled. It’s got some great bars and, as always, Cole makes it all sound so effortless.
‘Land of Steve-O’ – Ovlov
Connecticut indie band Ovlov dedicate this track to a friend of theirs named Steve-O, who is seemingly always there to offer support (I’m guessing it’s a different Steve-O to the one from Jackass). It’s oddly melancholy for a song about a bromance. I absolutely love the squealing guitars during the chorus and the general lethargic feel. It makes me nostalgic for all the Exploding-In-Sound-signed bands I used to listen to back in the early 2010s.
‘The Intervals’ – Les Ailes
Les Ailes is the project of Seattle singer-songwriter Rylie DeGarmo. Her new spine-tinglingly emotive single ‘The Intervals’ features tortured lyrics ‘will I be able to sleep tonight? Will I be able to breath tonight?’ sung in a sighing tone over some intimate strings and guitars. The gliding vocal harmonies during the chorus elevate it to the next level. It really is quite beautiful.
‘Under The Patio’ – Little Thief
This alt rock banger is the title track to Little Thief’s new debut album Under The Patio. Its grisly lyrics are inspired by a real life murder case of someone who cut their step-dad into pieces and hid them in boxes under his TV. Eerie softly-sung verses give way to an explosive belter of a chorus (those stabbing guitars are so satisfying). I can hear influences of Radiohead and Queens of the Stone Age in their sound and yet the Bristol band still have something unique about them.
‘Come My Way’ – Void Comp
‘Come My Way’ is an atmospheric electropop track featuring spacey synthesizers and slow murmured vocals. It erupts into a wailing synth solo at the end. The whole mood to the song is slightly unsettling. The track comes off of the Canadian artist’s latest EP Last Days.
‘Sticker’ – NCT 127
This is one of the more experimental K-pop songs I’ve heard. The beat is actually quite cool but the vocals over the top are a mess. The problem with having so many members is that it always feels like each singer is fighting to be heard.