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The Agony & The Ecstasy: music news

ADR, Cuushe, Kirk Spencer, Majical Cloudz and a rare TLC video gem

TRACK OF THE WEEK: ADR – ‘Stray Dog Strut

Artists sometimes describe their assumed identity as a pseudonym, moniker, or even URL (cheers, but Aaron David Ross of Gatekeeper announced his new album as ADR as an 'avatar'. It’s fitting enough, perhaps, for a member of a band who released their last album as an immersive world. 'Stray Dog Strut' works with New Agey signatures (noodly brass, panpipes) with vocal hums and an exotic popping beat, - less about creating a new world as recontextualising the (occasionally maligned) musical tools that we know. 'Stray Dog Strut' is taken from ADR's second solo album Chunky Monkey, released April 16 on Hippos in Tanks. 

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Majical Cloudz – ‘Childhood's End’

When Majical Cloudz released the 'Turns Turns Turns' EP last year, Devon Welsh of the Montreal duo told Dazed "I gained an interest in expressing myself as directly as possible through music." That EP marked a step away from electronic-focussed releases towards a more melodic, songwriter-leaning sensibility, and with 'Childhood's End', the first single from forthcoming LP Impersonator, this impulse reaches its fulfillment. The cinematographic video riffs on identity play, showing a lonely older gentleman in lush monochrome walking snow-covered streets. There is a sinister undertone: in the convenience store, a mother pulls her child away from him; in his small apartment, he cuts out a picture of a Shirley Temple-like child. Elsewhere, a fantasy of a gregarious self is intercut with a gut-wrenching reality of him lying on train tracks, prostrate and shunned by the world. Directed by Emily Kai Bock.

FROM THE VAULTS: TLC – ‘Creep’ (VidKid version)

Apparently there were three videos for 'Creep' made in the summer of '94. The third one, with the silken pyjamas, became instantly iconic, but I just discovered this previously-unrealeased version via my buddy @platinumjones. Directed by Lionel C Martin, blue-tinged clip shows the trio creeping away from their unsuspecting boyfriends - Chilli's paramour dozes off in a cafe as she slopes off to an industrial space – to meet T-Boz and Chilli for pow-wows and slow grinds. 


When I spoke to Cuushe last year, the Japanese experimental pop singer told of how her moniker was "a misreading of the French word for 'nap'". The idea of somnolence suited her earlier material well – all gauzy textures with peekaboo vocals – but 'I Love You' forges ahead into a Baleric pop lilt, with a clean melodic line as the words “I love you” are looped into a hypnotic mantra. Cuushe's new album will be released on July 8 on Flau. 

NEW RELEASE OF THE WEEK: Kirk Spencer - 'Kukcu' (feat. Safia May) 

This emerging Nottingham dance producer teams up with vocalist Safia May on this slow-burn dance track. With influence from Asian instrumentation, teams up with local vocalist, strings trickle through, with a delicate low-register bass that enters midway. You can download the whole EP over at his website.