FKA Twigs, MØ & Azealia Banks

Wednesday 31 December 2014

Recently I've been trying to get out of a music rut which I've been in for... about four years. Maybe longer. Since getting into metal a bit before I turned fourteen, I've barely pulled myself out of my Meshuggah-Isis-Mastodon-Tool-Lamb of God-Bloodbath spiral, asides from the very contrasting classical choral music I used to sing! When I got ill a few years ago, I retreated even further into the comforting, familiar low-toned growls and heavy guitar of my teenage years, and then eventually all but stopped listening to music altogether apart from on the odd long car journey. 

As much as I truly love my old favourites - and they're all amazing bands! - I have missed the excitement of discovering a new musician, perhaps even in genres I might never have considered before (Dear Taylor Swift: I apologise for all the mocking of your earlier albums, the latest is a cracker). Whereas I used to listen to almost exclusively male musicians, I'm finding more and more female artists that I love. Now, with pop music I'm nearly always late to the party, so I'll never pretend I'm on the 'brand new' side of things, but these are a few artists I've been loving recently.

FKA twigs - 'Video Girl': I first came across her when I was sent her video for 'Water Me' by a friend under a premise of 'look how weird this video is', but I immediately loved the combination of her voice with a stripped back, unimposing backing. I found the video mesmerising, which is something I've come to expect from her - she's a fantastic, bizarre, heartfelt dancer who's hypnotising to watch. 'Video Girl' is a great example of how she uses her voice as an instrument in itself, and is unafraid to combine ethereal vocals with unexpected beats and electronic noise.

- 'Waste of Time': I knew I'd heard that piano somewhere, and I think it's a car commercial. As irritating as that connotation is to have in a song (and it usually ruins otherwise great tracks for me), I'm still enjoying this one. I also loved the catchy 'Walk This Way', and its accompanying video set in a high school, where she's surrounded by a gang of girls and dances in exactly the odd, sort of awkward way that I find appealing.

Azealia Banks - 'Liquorice': I've been listening to the 1991 EP on repeat since I put it on my iPod. Banks' music is catchy, her lyrics are clever and she's always entertaining - she's also recently made some important points about the cultural origins of music and the effect what she calls 'cultural smudging' (or the common erasure of black people from a music that originated with them) on her personally. It's led to discussion of race and appropriation in hip hop, such as Q-Tip's tweets (further down in the linked article) to Iggy Azalea (which sadly she didn't acknowledge much).

Other tracks I've had on:
Daughter - 'Love' | A beautiful, classically sad song from the band
Taylor Swift - 'Blank Space' | Because I've grown a soft spot for Taylor the man-eater
Lykke Li - 'I Follow Rivers' | Something I like to have a good sing to
Sia - 'Chandelier' | The ever-popular song with a fantastic young dancer in the video
Beyonce - '7/11' | Whatever Beyonce releases is gold to me
Grimes - 'Oblivion' | Grimes is forever odd, forever entertaining
Purity Ring - 'Lofticries' | A favourite ever since I saw it live when I'd just started university