The best of current music according to me, featuring a mixture of popular releases, lesser-known recent tracks, and just what is stuck in my head at the moment.
George Michael – Faith
Yet another star lost too soon, I am struck that George Michael is someone whose music, much in the vein of Michael Jackson, I did not know much of before his passing. But this song is testament to him – enthusiasm and an endlessly optimistic-sounding, guitar-driven tune in which he dances around non-stop, and which got itself stuck in my head for days on end a few weeks ago. It transpires that he will be missed as much for his hitherto-unheralded acts of kindness as for songs like this.
The xx – Say Something Loving
This emotionally frank song has a lush sound to it from the outset, combining ambience with depth. With their new album the London electronica trio appear to be trialling a new sound, with Jamie xx putting samples into their own music. Whilst retaining the soothing vocals of previous albums, they appear to have developed as a band to create something slightly different. If their new album ‘I See You’ has more like this, then fans will be in for a treat.
Kings of Leon – Find Me
Beginning with a heavy, radio-friendly riff as is the American rockers’ wont, this persistently foot-tapping tune cements the Kings as the current deities of the rock scene. They have now been around and making music for the whole of the 2000s, and have managed throughout (and especially in their later stages, from ‘Only By The Night’ onwards) to couple brilliant melodies with frontman Caleb Followill’s raw, often haunting voice. Find Me is no exception, and personally speaking this is their best single for some years.
Sundara Karma – Loveblood
This Reading outfit combine guitar rock and synths with gusto. This song boasts a thunderous, driving melody of the kind that Snow Patrol did so well in their ‘Final Straw’ and ‘Eyes Open’ days, whilst the band appear to have the shambling enthusiasm of Razorlight (frontman Oscar Pollock even sounds like that band’s singer Johnny Borrell). Essentially, they’re an indie band just starting out which give you hope for the future. This tune seems a little rambling but still holds great promise, and is so infectious that it barely matters. Their album ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’ is out now.
Cage The Elephant – Cold Cold Cold
This song comes from a woozy, spaced-out school of rock, but with an undeniable sense of energy and momentum to it, and it’s one which I immediately loved upon first listen. The video may be sheer madness, but the song is so enjoyable in its lick and its groove that it shouldn’t matter. This Kentucky band were previously relatively unknown to me, and now I have resolved that I must hear more of them – and soon.
Maggie Rogers – Dog Years
Staying on the theme of emotional honesty, this new American singer has the personal approval of Pharrell Williams, after he was moved to tears by her debut song Alaska. She’s like a less ethereal version of Birdy, but still able to hit the floaty high notes when required. Certainly if she keeps crafting songs as affecting as Dog Years, then she will do very well.
Status Quo – Rockin’ All Over The World
A tribute to the late Rick Parfitt, purely and simply. His loss was in part overtaken by the death of George Michael a day later, but he was an integral aspect of one of the most successful rock bands in the world for fifty years, and I think there’s no better way to say goodbye than with this. The music world will certainly miss his consistent head-banging and energetic performances. Keep rocking, Rick, and rest in peace.