January's finest, including slick soul from Tink, esoteric dance from L.I.E.S. and the latest offering from Warpaint
Lee Bannon – Alternate / Endings
Lee Bannon, the restless Californian producer of Joey Bada$$’s second record, was inspired by Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood” for Alternate/Endings, which sees him utilise iPhone field recordings as well as synth and sampling over a bed of live bass. It's aroused many a satisfied purr for its agile reimagination of old school jungle and drum and bass influences into a hip hop framework. Check out his thoughts on this "whole single of an album" here.
Tink – Winter’s Diary 2
A sequel to her very first mixtape, Winter’s Diary 2 stylish R&B jams offer fresh evidence as to why the Chi-town queen is being so widely tipped to breakthrough in 2014. Already five tapes in at 18, this slick, soulful offering follows autumn’s exhilarating Boss Up. The deeper cuts here further show off Tink’s lustrous singing voice and lyrical craft, with just enough of sharp rapping to remind us she’s overladen with promise. Read about Tink’s own mission this year to destroy the female rapper stereotype here.
Patterns – Waking Lines
There couldn’t be a more fittingly-named label than Melodic to release this Manchester quartet’s shimmering debut. Mellifluous sounds rush at your ears one after the other, anchored by an urgency of feeling as the record shifts from noise and shoegaze to indie-pop and electronica, but never seems confused or cluttered. The sort of record that sparks a fresh longing for those bucolic, English festivals we're supposedly oh so over by now.
East India Youth – Total Strife Forever
William Doyle’s music arouses feelings a little like those inspired by a gawp at brutalist architecture on his strident, feverish first LP. It's deft amalgamation of electronica, noise and soul with a tangible unhinged beauty. It’s a work that somehow encapsulates myriad complicated juxtapositions of emotion, like that half-smile that escapes when you momentarily, weirdly, find your own despair hilarious.
Warpaint – Warpaint
The greatest thing about Warpaint has always been their astounding live prowess, and this album foreshadows their mass tingling of spines over their coming tour. This second full length offering from the Californians is the first to have been created by all four band members, leading to a new balance and a subtler allure. It's a hypnotic endeavour that retains the charming sprawled feel of their debut, but whose tracks are a touch more astringently composed, and harmonies more intricately layered. They discussed the making of Warpaint with Dazed here.
Cooly G – Hold Me
The Hyperdub producer’s latest EP seizes control of your cortex from its primary, house pulsation. Intricate, bouncing layers of trim samples merge to hold up the chill vocal line of opener "Hold Me" before DVA steps in to further murk up the gorgeous filth of middle cut “Oi Dirty”. Closer “Molly” is an effusive, tech house tease. The result adds up to one stupidly entertaining ride from the Brixton dame.
Bryce Hackford – Fair
Previously our stream of the week here, the New York producer’s record is ablaze with a munificence of eclectic influences. The ebbing and flowing tidal wash of improvised, physically tracked samples is pitched down to nudge the listener towards a more comfortable space than the slick concrete of the club. Hackford’s innate talents make him the perfect conduit for thought-provoking, transportative arrangements, from the slow-burn blast buried within tech house opener “Another Fantasy” through the meditative haze of electronica, krautrock and noise that follows into the expansive, surreal plains of the 27 minute epic end track “Modern Propeller Music.” Fair is a suitably grand introduction to a producer that is as comfortable yanking the spinal column as lulling the mind.
Angel Haze – Dirty Gold
Dirty Gold, the self-leaked first major label release for Angel Haze, holds back on the fire we’ve come to expect from the transplanted New Yorker. More rounded than her Reservation mixtape, it veers from the soaring Sia collab "Battle Cry" to harder cuts such as “A Tribe Called Red”, which remind us enough how great it feels to be pounded with Haze’s ridiculous flow.
Burial – Rival Dealer
Proving his eminence yet again, Burial’s Rival Dealer is a sublime trip through techno, pop, RnB, ambient and of course so much more; but this journey is explicitly planned to explore issues of identity as well as defy detractors and soothe troubled souls. It's also self-proclaimed anti-bullying statement that samples transgender director Lana Wachowski’s impassioned speech from the Human Rights Campaign Gala. Rival Dealer even cuddles up to tear-jerker, Christmas ballad territory, but this is still Burial so it’s still a teasing riot, and defiantly explication-repellant. It's way simpler to stop thinking and just get lost in it.
L.I.E.S. – Music for Shut Ins
A two and a half hour collection from Paris resident, New York born label Long Island Electrical Systems proffers its esoteric take on dance music: the first half lies out why L.I.E.S.’ crowd remained one to intrigue and confound in 2013, while the second is a tasting platter of what we can expect founder Ron Morelli to serve up for us over the coming months. It's a slate that whets the appetite for more freakishly-good electronic music. Check out Ron Morelli’s Ten Things That Exist list for Dazed last year here.