The Agony & The Ecstasy

This week in music feat: Rainer Veil, Chvrces, TOPS and er, Toni Braxton

rainer veil

SINGLE OF THE WEEK: Chvrches - 'Recover'

Last year, Glasgow synth outfit Chvrches debuted their first track 'Lies' on Neon Gold accompanied with a defaced 1956 picture of cloaked Sisters of Providence. Since then've dropped the anonymity, and their layered, luminous new single 'Recover' is their strongest to date. Singer Lauren Mayberry's vocals are pointed and poised as she launches into the chorus with the wavering assertion "Open the envelope/ I'll give you one last chance", before the song drops into an atmospheric rumble with looped vocal coos at 2:23 . If this is pop's payoff for hip hop's swerve into cut-up beats, it couldn't sound better.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: Rainer Veil - 'Wade In'

Dreamy UK production duo Rainer Veil return with the gorgeous kaleidoscopic video for 'Wade In', where performance artist Kieran Izquierdo lithely moves in silhouette to the looped vocals and atmospheric, shuffling rhythms. Taken from their new EP Struck, it marks their their debut on the always-sterling Manchester label Modern Love, also home to Andy Stott and Demdike Stare. "Great vibes, great scape", one Soundcloud commenter writes on new track 'Slow Beaming', which pretty much hits the nail on the head.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 2: TOPS - 'Evening'

The grainy new video from Montreal four-piece TOPS shows vocalist Jane Penny appearing in porthole-like windows against a hyper-saturated blue backdrop colours, with other band members twirling around with their guitars in open urban spaces. Directed by local artist Jasper Baydala - who also directed TOPS' 'Rings of Saturn' video, and collaborated with Grimes on the layout to Visions - it's another fantastic instalment in the four-piece's recognisable and DIY-leaning visual style.

MIXTAPE OF THE WEEK: Sasha Go Hard - Round 3

Last year, Sasha Go Hard teamed up with fellow Chi-town rap princesses Katie Got Bandz and Chella H on the glorious 'I'm Hotta', and her third mixtape continues to showcase her witty, effortless flow. She hooks up with artists including Diplo and Kreayshawn on the tape, but my favourite track is the Le1f collaboration 'To The Girls', where Sasha pays winking tribute to stink-faced haters over a sub-heavy beat. For his verse, Le1f shouts out to the ladies that do it right: "they swag it out with no pearls on, no rhinestones, just Rick Owens". In admiration of their confident femininity, he wants in on the action too: "it's pussy power, so I should take it over". Amazing. Download the tape for free on DatPiff here.

SURPRISING REINVENTION OF THE WEEK: Yelle - 'L'Amour Parfait'

French synthpop three-piece Yelle have apparently been quaffing the sizzurp in their new trap-leaning single 'L'Amour Parfait'. Best known for the stylish invention of records like 2011's Safari Disco Club, singer Julie Budet and her band experiment with heavier beats in this new Francophone track, punctuated with a looped gravel-voiced sample on loop that woozily intones "I don't know what you mean but it means a lot to me". A bold move, but does it work? I'm still undecided.

SAD NEWS OF THE WEEK: Toni Braxton is quitting music

"I have fallen out of love with it", said the caramel-voiced chanteuse of music on the Wendy Williams Show this week. Granted, she hasn't made anything particularly listenable in the last decade, but I would at least like to have had the possibility of another 'He Wasn't Man Enough'.

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