It’s been a week of ups and downs for us. Following on from the dizzy heights of Houghton festival (be sure to catch up on our photo recap and festival review) we were greeted with the devastating news regarding the passing of Aretha Franklin. Sam Lawrence leads a tribute to the late, great singer.
Aretha Franklin – Ain’t No Way
This week, the world lost one of the few true musical icons of the 20th Century. From her gospel roots in Detroit, Aretha Franklin became the one and only queen of soul. Whether singing the great American songbook, modern classics or the tracks that made her a legend including ‘Respect’, ‘Natural Woman’ or ‘Think’, Ms Franklin was graceful, powerful and a force to be reckoned with.
Choosing one track to add to this week’s SWL in remembrance of this music legend has been a mammoth task. In the end, I had to choose ‘Ain’t No Way’ from her top selling 1968 album. Not only is the track one of Ms Franklin’s best vocal performances but was written by her sister Carolyn Franklin with high vocal obbligato provided by Cissy Houston, the mother of Whitney Houston; making ‘Ain’t No Way’ a family affair and showcase of the female talent that Aretha had around her. -Sam
Aphex Twin – T69 Collapse
New Aphex Twin always demands your full and undivided attention and the latest from the musical mastermind is no different. A jittering mess of electronic components succumb and collapse under the weight of thumping kicks, analogue fever dreams and rampant time signatures before settling back into a steady rhythm of electro goodness that only Richard D. James can conjure with such intensity. Combine all that with the mesmerising (and strobe-heavy) visuals by Weirdcore and you’ve got yourself an Aphex Twin track that bathes in the warped and innovative mind of a true visionary. -Tom
Cloud Nothings – The Echo Of The World
Hot on the heels of Life Without Sound, Cloud Nothings are back ramping up the output with a brand-new track and an impending new album. ‘The Echo Of The World’ is a marvel of post-hardcore, crashing onto the scene with ever-intricate drumming and a wall of noise before dissipating into an emotional instrumental breakdown. The confounding structure combined with pacey rhythm sections and guitar crescendos lean towards an almost post-rock drone, making for a deliciously concentrated track that hits all the right notes. -Tom
Lil Silva – Making Sense
It feels like an age. Production mastermind Lil Silva dominated the UKF/Garage scene with several impeccable releases (I still play his Night Slug material almost daily), and now he’s back with ‘Making Sense’, a softer future R&B jam. Falsetto vocals, whispy leads and glowing pianos stack in glorious tandem, but once again the real treat lies in a song structure that revels in cathartic release. -Tom
Mitski – Two Slow Dancers
‘Does it smell like a school gymnasium in here?’ asks Mitski at the start of Two Slow Dancers, a heartbreaking tale of wistful love tormented and broken by time. Orchestral and devastating, Mitski’s frames the song as two dancers trying to recapture a fragmented love through one last slow dance, despite understanding the irreversible damage of time. Touching on themes of love, human nature and the irreparable passage of growth, Mitski’s ability to phrase earthshattering sentiments through complex imagery is simply staggering. ‘It would be a hundred times easier if we were young again’, Mitski muses. I wish we were, too. -Tom
Ouri – Escape
Fully capturing my attention earlier this year with a phenomenally impressive live Boiler Room set, Ouri’s first release of 2018 is an intoxicating exploration of deep electronic components with a distinct human aspect. Pitched-down vocal samples, deep bass swells and enduring percussion create an intricate blend of club sounds with a tender, feminine touch. ‘Escape’ is the first single from upcoming EP We Share Our Blood, released September 28th on Ghostly International, which promises to be as raw and captivating as this first offering. -Tom