FKA twigs featuring Headie One, Fred Again.. – ‘Don’t Judge Me’.
In the (almost) seven years since her debut album, Tahliah Barnett aka FKA Twigs, has navigated an art-pop career path like no other. Though it’s fair to say that the comparisons made of her to Kate Bush and Bjork in artistic terms are understandable. In recent years Barnett has endured considerable public attention, first with her public break up with actor Robert Patterson and more recently following a very public lawsuit against troubled actor Shia LaBeouf. Yet, despite a seemingly insatiable tabloid fixation on her personal life, Barnett lets her music speak for itself. For instance, I’m reminded of her 2019 album Magdalene, which was in part inspired by the patron saint of women, Mary Magdalene. I guess in looking for a role model Barnett delved into themes of the power of female sexuality on a breakup album that received considerable praise for its message and artistic inventiveness. More recently last month Barnett teased the release of new music. Her new single, titled Don’t Judge Me, featuring North London rapper Headie One, deals with the immediate relevance of being Black (and British) in a world that systematic oppressors people of colour. Interestingly, this inspired hip-hop crossover is something sonically that I’m hoping to embrace a little more this year.
The Weather Station – ‘Atlantic’.
Canadian Tamara Lindeman, who fronts her band The Weather Station, first started recording her own music in her early twenties. Since then her musically journey has yielded several acclaimed releases, including her latest and bold new album, Ignorance. In short, The Weather Station’s fifth studio album is a revelation of new sonic arrangements – synths, strings and percussions – something that is a far cry of the acoustic arrangements of previous albums. In truth Lindeman gentle foray or progression into pop or even soft rock territory doesn’t surprise me. The themes of heartache strewed across the album but also her loud new voice in support of protecting our planet against climate change does not surprise me. I say that respectfully because since interviewing Lindeman back in 2018, I feel like I am one of her biggest fan in Australia. And as one of her biggest fans I’ve come to understand that this Toronto-based isn’t afraid of wearing her heart on her sleeve. Her songs in essence are all the result of her questioning everything inside of herself and the world around her. Keeping that in mind, latest single from her new album called Atlantic touches on the human frailties of our existence.
Foo Fighters- ‘Medicine At Midnight’.
I recently said to a friend that “Shit, I can’t pinpoint why the resurgence in interest in (Foo Fighters) is so fever pitch at the moment. “Probably”, I added, “ because Dave (Grohl) is an upstanding guy with a heart of gold.” That said, Foo Fighters have repeatedly shown a genuine desire to press forward, to keep creating the type of rock music that made them famous the mid ‘90s and early 2000’s. While it might appear to be utterly at odds with huge swathes of what is going on in mainstream music nowadays, they are not oblivious to the change that is occasional needed to stay relevant. When Foo Fighters decided to give us their new album Medicine At Midnight earlier this month, seemingly carefully constructed to appeal to the faithful and new fans, I was thrilled by the result. If you ever wanted to dance to a Foo Fighters record now was your chance! Its highlights like Shame Shame, Cloudspotter and Medicine At Midnight achieve some wonderful results with elements of rock, funk and dance that match their ambition. But to those who feel like their best moments fall short like The Guardian, it’s not for want of trying. At a time when a lot of Foo Fighters peers aren’t trying to do much more than tick boxes, I take my hat off to them for being ballsy enough to shake it up a little. Come on, these are great songs and the album itself is infectious.