Are you ready for this week’s Timely Tunes selections? Buckle your seat belt, roll down the window and let’s blast some tunes together.
Mark Barrott “The Pathways Of Our Lives”
The latest track from the veteran English DJ, who is closing in on his 50th birthday, shows that he is just as capable of delighting and surprising 36 years into his career. Across seven blissed-out, laid back minutes, Barrott rides a groove that combines tribal chants, 70’s Quiet Storm easy listening, and classic House into one of the most terminally chill dance tracks of 2017. Perfect for a sunrise Ibiza set-closer or imagining yourself on a yacht, the latter of which is a daydream I engage in embarrassingly often.
Mura Masa “Firefly” (From “Mura Masa”)
Alex Crossan, better known as the producer Mura Masa, is only 21 years old and was raised on the isolated British island of Guernsey. That he has been able to sublimate so many disparate strains of worldly sounds (a tidbit of House here, some UK Garage there, lots of modern R&B, tiny glimpses of Jungle, a hint of Calypso) into a unique and sure-footed production style is proof positive of the shrinking globe we share. On this LP he also proves himself a fantastic curator, working with everyone from Blur’s Damon Albarn to Jamie Lidell to A$AP Rocky to Charli XCX, but never allowing his own personality to fall into the background. His collaboration with East London R&B chanteuse NAO, “Firefly”, is a glimmering house anthem that sounds as well-suited for late night festival fields as introspective headphone listening. Its his expertise at balancing these seemingly disparate goals that makes him such a capable young producer.
Quay Dash “Bossed Up” (From “Transphobic”)
This fierce EP by Bronx-based emcee Quay Dash originally dropped in 2016 but has just now gotten a full, label-backed release. All six tracks are great, but the swaggering (“what’s a goon to a queen?”), futuristic “Bossed Up”, produced by alien beat maverick SOPHIE, is a clear standout. In recent years, there has been a heartening rise in empowered LGBTQ hip-hop artists, and Quay uses her platform to document life as a transsexual black woman in a world where those identifiers are still attended by widespread ignorance and violence. Quay refuses to be pushed aside.
Deerhoof “I Will Spite Survive” (From “Mountain Moves”)
Deerhoof built a long career on inscrutable surrealism, maximalist experimentation, and funhouse playfulness, but on this new single, a collaboration with Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, the band gives us a rallying anthem to battle a terrifying political climate. In a statement to Democracy Now, the band said, “In this world of tyrants and CEOs seemingly hellbent on achieving the termination of our species, perhaps the most rebellious thing we could do is not die.” It’s a concise, hook-packed, power pop wonder.
Integrity “String Up My Teeth” (From “Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume”)
Integrity have been sparking terror in extreme music audiences since 1988, leaving behind a trail of debris that has inspired a couple generations of metal-embracing punks from Converge to Full of Hell. Lead vocalist and band constant Dwid Hellion is a scary, imposing, and fully committed figure who spits nihilistic bile all over a chaotic and crushing blueprint of Midwestern hardcore and classic thrash metal. “String Up My Teeth” is one of the catchiest metallic blasts on the new album; grizzled punk veteran barking over dual-lead guitars that scream through the sky like vintage Iron Maiden.
TIMELY TUNES, VOL. 53
1. Smokey Robinson “Quiet Storm”
2. Larry Heard “Summertime Breeze”
3. Mark Barrott “The Pathways Of Our Lives”
4. Pet Shop Boys “Domino Dancing (Alternative Version)”
5. Don Raye “Standing in the Rain”
6. Mura Masa “Firefly”
7. Sango “Agorinha”
8. Quay Dash “Bossed Up”
9. Abra “Vegas”
10. Big Star “You Get What You Deserve”
11. Deerhoof “I Will Spite Survive”
12. The Wrens “Everyone Choose Sides”
13. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists “Bottled In Cork”
14. Misfits “Bullet”
15. Integrity “String Up My Teeth”
16. Iron Maiden “The Trooper”
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