It’s been a minute. Tracks of the Week has arisen again! This past week saw an interesting and diverse mix of music that caught my ears, as it was before, here are five of my favourites which I recommend checking out. Shoutout to Sum 41 and Green Day who both dropped albums on Saturday, much to my amusement – it felt like a trip back to the late ‘90s/early 2000s when Pop Punk reigned. However, neither group made it onto the list this week, sorry to say. (Though if you’re a Green Day fan – it’s decent I guess? If you’re a Sum 41 fan – avoid)
NxWorries – “Get Bigger / Do U Luv”
October 21 is going to be a day to relish – both NxWorries’ Yes Lawd and D.R.A.M’s Big Baby D.R.A.M. are due to drop together. If you’re not aware, NxWorries is a duo on the Stone’s Throw label comprising of Anderson .Paak and Knxweldge, two rising stars in the world of alternative R&B and Hip Hop. “Get Bigger” is the second single released to promote the album, and reflects the perfect balance of murky beats and smooth vocals that these two are starting to perfect so well. I particularly like what sounds like Knxweldge’s vocals complementing Anderson’s on the hook “You and me have to get biggerrrrrr”, it’s such a sweet harmony.
Bruno Mars – “24K Magic”
When the P-Funk hits, it hits with a wallop. Bruno Mars’ follow-up to his 2014 smash “Uptown Funk” ditches the horn section in favour of vocoders and booming, electrified synths. Hot damn! The synchronised dancing is still there, though. And Bruno manages a decent couple of verses, but I can’t help but wonder how much greater this might have been with a guest verse – get Snoop on the phone! Oh, and give George Clinton a writing credit – he’s earned it.
Badcrop – “Dig That”
The Grow Room is a collective worth paying attention to for those interested in the rising stocks of creative Hip Hop artists situated in Auckland’s K Rd scene. Among them is the duo Badcrop, whose latest track “Dig That” hits hard despite its quick 2-minute length and old school-sounding piano-laden beat. Playing with images of horticulture, the track flips the term ‘dig’ to resonate with a theme of urban struggle: “Word to those who grew up strong through the turmoil / Before you sow seeds, man you got to turn soil” I dig it.
Goat – “Trouble in the Streets”
Requiem was my first experience listening to Swedish psychedelic/folk outfit Goat, and after absorbing their hour-long Woodstock tour de force through East Asian and African music, I’ve become a fan of this group for sure. (My inner Ethnomusicologist is particularly curious as to just how they managed to blend such exotic flavours of music together so well) “Trouble in the Streets” is among the most accessible tunes in Requiem, at just over the 4-minute mark. Check out that Afrobeat-inspired rhythm section mixed with bright, jangly guitars and wild, emphatic chanting. If you enjoy this, you’ll love the album.
Phantogram – “Answer”
I was sceptical heading into Phantogram’s new album, after last year’s offering ‘Big Grams’ with Big Boi was a massive disappointment – I even singled it out as my most underwhelming 2015 release in our first Nowhere Bros podcast. Three is a vast improvement, it plays like an album that had a lot of care and thought put into its production, perhaps best exemplified in “Answer” in the form of a dreamy, slightly off-kilter piano-driven beat and some sweet Beach House-esque vocals as well as a rockin’ punch of distortion around the 2 minute mark.