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The Agony & The Ecstasy: music news

James Ferraro to Janet Jackson – the necessary tracks, tweets, treats and jams of the week

Track of the Week – James Ferraro '- 'Blood Flow'

The first track we've heard from James Ferraro's new mixtape Cold does that screwed-up-R&B thing just right. More melodically generous than the contortions of last year's Sushi, 'Blood Flow' plucks from soulful love songs and places lyrics like "I-I-I can't breaaattheee" among a pattering, crunchy beat with a creeping X-Files synth line and sound FX like a CGI shield pulled from its sheath. With Ferraro though, the blade is not directed a foe, but a tool for testing different terrains.   

Video of the Week – The Knife - 'A Tooth For An Eye'

Like the woman who screams out her loneliness at the end of the 'Full of Fire' video, 'A Tooth For An Eye' is about queer bodies - think of the sinewy older gentleman observing male locker room rituals. "A child enters and allows the men to let go of their hierarchies, machismo and fear of intimacy, as they follow her into a dance," explains director Roxy Farhat in a statement on The Knife's website. And while the video is a tender exploration of community - an emerging theme in Shaking The Habitual - the sparkler-weilding female instructor is really our star. "There is no shame in her girliness," Farhat continues, "rather she possesses knowledge that the men lost a long time ago."

Fashion Film Thing of the Week – Zebra Katz ' Y I Do'

With squeamish eye rolls, a leopard-print muzzle and gothic bridal veil, Zebra Katz steps it up with his new visual for 'Y I Do' in association with V Magazine. Katz spits the repetitive flow to a beat that's a little reminiscent of Sinden & Matrixxman's production for Mykki Blanco's 'Haze.Boogie.Life', Rudolph Valentino-esque with a rose in his mouth and grooving in chaps. It's his best song since 'Ima Read', but he hasn't stopped there - this week he also releases a split 12" with French Fries (on Signal Life) of the minimal, spoken-word track 'Sex Sellz' which he's been doing in his live shows for the past few months. 

Slow Jam of the Week Ciara - 'Body Party'

When Ciara was in London a few weeks ago, I met up with her management to hear a few new tracks from her forthcoming album One Woman Army - three rhythmic, pop-leaning bangers that could redraw the lanes in her career. This week's new buzz track 'Body Party' was not among them, and feels more like a reminder the album's on the way than the track Ciara needs to reassert herself. It's great in its own way though, a simmering midtempo slightly reminiscent of Janet Jackson's slow burn 90s ballads, but with a trap-leaning focus from producers Mike WiLL Made It and Future. 

"Spring Breakers Soundtrack That Should Have Been" of the Week Vanessa Hudgens - 'Say OK'

In a rabid frenzy of anticipation for Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, I set about researching the musical oeuvres of its fallen Disney Princesses Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez. 'Say Ok' stands out, with a shuffling beat that puts the handclaps of Lumidee's 'Never Leave You (Uh Oh)' through a High School Musical filter and sticks a winsome harp in the mix. In the video she shoots lanes with Zac Efron in a backlit alley, awash with blue light and dreaming of the day she'd be booty grinding with James Franco in a bikini and balaclava. 

Tweet of the Week

Angel Haze's series of tweets documenting Anne Frank 'throwing shade' was pretty spectacular.