Friday 1 March 2024

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE FORTNIGHT 01/03/2024: A.G. Cook, Schoolboy Q, Kings of Leon and more...

The last two weeks has been wild. Almost everything I’ve listened to has been pretty decent. Even that unexpected Weeknd/Madonna/Carti collab was surprisingly good. But not good enough to make my track roundup. Artists that did make the cut include English Teacher, A.G. Cook, Schoolboy Q, Kings of Leon, Marzia, Rollo Doherty, Set Feux and The Voidz.


‘R&B’ – English Teacher

First off, ‘R&B’ is not an r&b song. It’s a post-punk song about choosing not to sing r&b despite people’s expectations. Secondly, the song is three years old. Fans of English Teacher (the band – not English teachers in general) may have heard it already. So why am I featuring it here? Well, the band have re-recorded and re-released it for their new album. Which is fantastic because now I have a reason to share this gem with the world.

‘Britpop’ – A.G. Cook ft. Charli XCX

So it turns out ‘Britpop’ isn’t a britpop song either. It’s an EDM/hyperpop song that features vocals from Charli XCX. But don’t get too excited, Angels (I've just learnt that's what Charli XCX fans are called) – it’s literally a chopped-up sample of her saying ‘Brit, Brit, Brit, Brit, like Britpop’ over and over again. I’d usually get annoyed by such a repetitive sample if the accompanying production wasn’t so insanely fun. PC Music label owner A.G. Cook treats listeners to some of his shiniest and bubbliest electronica. Listening to it makes me feel like I'm zooming around a candy coloured video game racetrack. It comes off the producer’s upcoming album Britpop.

‘Yeern 101’ – Schoolboy Q

This is the type of hip hop that’s been missing from my life. Rapid-fire rhythmically tight rapping over energetic fun beats. It’s that much needed middle ground between Carti and Cole that’s technically proficient but still gets the party going. His new album Blue Lips is out today (I haven’t listened to it yet!).

‘Mustang’ – Kings of Leon

I can’t remember the last time I listened to a new Kings of Leon track. With a title like ‘Mustang’, I was totally expecting more ‘Sex-on-Fire’-style radio rock. But that’s thankfully not the case. The riffs are weird and wiry, and Caleb’s vocals turn vaguely Bowie-esque at the end. It’s genuinely exciting rock music.

‘She Is Her’ – Marzia

It’s not easy to make a captivating song without a chorus. But this r&b slowjam from Filipino-Canadian singer Marzia achieves it with its hypnotic vocal performance and equally hypnotic trap/soul beat. Lyrically, it’s a song about valuing one’s partner, coming out as a plea to a man (or indeed all men) to recognise their partner’s worth. At the same time, it also feels like a reminder to women to recognise their own worth in a relationship.

‘Say It Again’ – Set Feux

Contrastingly, here’s a song where the chorus is everything. The breathy delivery of ‘say it again’, the piano chords, the harmonised sax and the shuffling drums all fuse beautifully in this spellbinding song from Toronto musician Diana Planche (aka Set Feux). What’s equally great about this single is that it doesn’t quite sound like any other artist out there. She’s got a pretty distinct voice, and I the instrumentation is pretty unique too.

‘It’s All Beautiful Rain’ – Rollo Doherty (ft. DJ Yoda)

This is the first single from London artist Rollo Doherty, and what a cracking debut it is! It features pensively-delivered smooth vocals, accompanied by a gorgeous trip-hop beat that opens with beautiful strings and closes with warm piano chords. The fact that it’s raining outside my window as I listen to this makes it all the more atmospheric.    


‘All The Same’ – The Voidz

The Voidz’ last single, ‘The Flexorcist’, was a bop. This one is sadly a mess. The auto-tuned vocals are utterly meandering and are mixed way too low.