Monday 11 December 2023

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE FORTNIGHT 11/12/2023: Kaytranada, English Teacher, Dutch Uncles and more...

It's time to round up the best and worst tracks from the last fortnight (and a bit). This is probably going to be my last fornightly track roundup of the year, and then it's end-of-year list time. Keep sending me your music - but just be wary that I may not get around to featuring it until January! Artists featured this week include Kaytranada, English Teacher, Dutch Uncles, Mutes, Action Forever and Anna Indiana. 


‘Lover/Friend’ – Kaytranada ft. Rochelle Jordan

‘Lover/friend’ is a steamy track about wanting to become more than friends. Canadian-based singer Rochelle Jordan’s breathy inflections (especially the way she sings ‘lover’) are pretty addictive. Producer and fellow Canadian, Kaytranada, meanwhile lays down a smooth beat featuring some signature glossy synths. It totally sounds like something that could have appeared on 99.9% (my favourite Kaytranada album).

‘Mastermind Specialism’ - English Teacher

‘Mastermind Specialism’ is a song about not being able to choose a specialism, which I assume is why the track suddenly ventures wildly off-topic in the middle with its random references to Nosferatu and Doctor Who. Despite its wacky lyrics, it turns out to be quite a soothing track - and quite unlike anything else in the UK's busy post-punk scene.

‘At The Wheel’ – Dutch Uncles

The band name seemed familiar and it seems like I did indeed feature this band back in 2017. They’re still making pretty wacky indie pop. It’s got a funky new wave sound to it, but with a eerie droning synth in the background to give it a slightly unsettling edge. And I love how fragile the falsettos feel. Dutch Uncles will be releasing a new tape soon, which is something to look forward to if you’re a hipster that still listens to tapes.  

‘Mere Slaughter’ – Mutes

There’s nothing muted about this track. ‘Mere Slaughter’ is the abrasive work of post-punk/noise rock band Mutes. It features intense vocals that build up into psychotic screeching, mean guitars that briefly transform into ray guns half-way though, and some tumultuous drums that seem to malfunction at the end via a series of jarring drum fills.

‘Loveless Love’ – Action Forever

This ‘love’ song about virtual sexual relationships is the work of Ontario indie/funk band Action Forever. It’s got an intoxicatingly groovy bass riff and some smooth vocals that really give off a sense of pained longing. I’m also loving the dark descending synths at the end, which capture the songs’ theme of falling into a dark loveless void.


‘Betrayed By This Town’ – Anna Indiana

Anna Indiana is the first AI-generated pop star. This is her debut single and apparently ‘everything from the key, tempo change, chord progression, melody notes, rhythm, lyrics, to (her) image and singing’ was created with AI. The internet’s reaction hasn’t been very positive. In fact, the song has received so much criticism that Anna seems to have removed the original video from her channel. Personally, I can see why people hate it – as impressive as the technology is, this song itself is a clunky mess. I’m kinda happy that people are rejecting it, because it means we’re not ready to replace human pop stars with AI. At the same time, with a few tweaks, I could see a song like this easily winning over a few people. The subject matter, which seems to be about betrayal and wanting to ‘tear it all down’, also has concerning Skynet vibes. After all the Pentagon has recently been pushing for the manufacture of AI lethal weapons. Is Anna Indiana already rallying the troops?