The Agony & The Ecstasy this week, including Twigs, Grimes, Nguzunguzu and Lauryn Hill
SONG OF THE WEEK: Twigs - 'How's That' (produced by Arca)
Maybe no one else is making music like this, or maybe it's just that no one is doing it this well, but Twigs continues to ride stratospheres above in this new track, a weird club-ready ballad with assured vocals and a beat as unpredictable as the turmoil of love. No middle-8 key changes here. Like Fade To Mind's Kelela, Twigs is one of the emerging vocalists working with experimental club beats – owning them and yet embracing them. Here, UNO NYC alumnus Arca adds the raging, ticking patterns that rise into a collision course.
COMEBACK OF THE WEEK: Mariah Carey – ‘#Beautiful’ (feat Miguel)
The jam of the summer just arrived. With its top-down groove, the impeccable retro-soul ‘#Beautiful’ is the song that Mimi needs to get back on track after a series of 'fan-favourite' misfires. “He's the truth," Carey told Ryan Seacrest of Miguel. "We just wanted to do something different that has a texture that feels fresh.” For sure, it indicates a 14th studio album from Mariah that doesn't just appeal to Terius fanboys (The-Dream produced the majority of 2009's excellent – btu commercially disastrous – Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel) The video, directed by Joseph Kahn ('Toxic', 'Say My Name'), will premiere on American Idol this Wednesday.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Grimes – ‘Venus in Fleurs’
Grimes revealed the Video Marsh-directed clip for 'Venus In Fleurs' this week via her Tumblr, a track from her debut album Geidi Primes, originally released in 2010. In washed out tones, footage from the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in British Columbia accompanies the track’s precise string plucking and the crispy, industrial-leaning beat. In Boucher's words: "We were supposed to release it ages ago and somehow it didn’t happen probably because it didn’t comply with the press cycle at the time and since I’ve stopped caring about complying with press cycles im sharing this now."
YAY OF THE WEEK: Lauryn Hill – ‘Neurotic Society’ (Compulsory Mix)
She's just been jailed for tax evasion on $1m of earnings, but for all her public outbursts and idiosyncrasies, it's hard to think of more than a handful of rap records that have matched Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of… in the years since its 1998 release. Now with a new Sony record deal, Hill returns with a vituperative strike against the corporate greed and amorality of "this neurotic toxic society" amidst choral patters and the clatter of machine gun drums. A kind of quickfire detournement that recalls Nina Simone's firebrand optimism in '22nd Century', where she declared "your heart is a plastic thing/And can be bought", while looking towards a brighter day. Read Hill's lyrics here - 'compulsory' indeed.
MIX OF THE WEEK: Nguzunguzu – ‘Guest Mix for B.Traits’
LA duo Nguzunguzu might have just matched their exceptional 2011 DIS mix with this crunchy, cavernous new production for B.Traits's Radio One show. A morphing dance vortex, it includes their Fade To Mind/Night Slugs cohorts Kingdom and Lvis 1990, as well as Cassie and a reworking of 'Fingers Up' by Tink, the Chi-town tearaway that we featured in the April issue of Dazed.
…AND ANOTHER THING: Dawn Richard – ‘Army’
Dawn Richard continues to make some of the weirdest, most exciting R&B out there, and just shared this new track from her second album BlackHeart, due later this year. A stuttering beat is the perfect foil to her cascading vocals, while the chorus drops into a synth line that dabs like paint flecks from a water-colour brush.