3 new(ish) albums to listen to right now
By Sophie Mitchell
1. Empire of the Sun - Two Vines
WALKING ON A DREAM. That’s how I feel listening to this album (ba dum tiss). Coming four years after their last record and a full seven years after giving us the previously referenced electro-pop tune of the century, Empire of the Sun’s Two Vines is spectacular in all sorts of ways. It’s magnificent in its consistency; the record is totally cohesive and it really sounds like an Empire of the Sun album. I mean, it is their album, but it also just sounds exactly like everything we’ve known and loved them to be before. Fun, flirty, ridiculously danceable, and a little bit nostalgic. Friends is my favourite track. It’s everything you could ask for in a soft-core electronic meets middle ground pop jam. Most of Empire of the Sun’s songs manage to make me feel both high on life and wistful at the same time, and this one does to the highest degree. It is a glorious song. Runner- ups are Way To Go and Digital Life, equally excellent and glitteringly good.
2. Machinedrum - Human Energy
A bass / pop / electronic monster, this is the kind of record that you’ll get annoyed with because it is so fucking catchy. Machinedrum’s Human Energy is, in one word, addictive. It’s extra brilliant as it’s cool enough to appeal to your edgy mates but accessible to the less underground ear because, at the end of the day, it is just a great set of tunes. The beats are delectable and so mesmerising you will unwittingly listen to the album six times on repeat because it’s what your body wants. It’s so heavy on bass it veers into trap territory, but the twinkling synth and chimes take it into this ethereal dance / pop dimension. The track titles are atmospheric as well, just a dazzling maraschino cherry on top. My favourite tracks are Tell U and Celestial Levels, but Do It 4 U and Angel Speak are a close second. Go listen. And dance.
3. Swet Shop Boys - Cashmere
Arguably the best debut of the decade, Swet Shop Boys first record Cashmere is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Even the sliced Mediterranean loaf from the Tesco bakery. Comprised of Riz MC and Das Racist’s Heems, the British-Pakistani and Indian-American duo have channelled their talents into a whip smart, unapologetic record targeting a variety of oppressors. They riff on constant profiling, spit about appropriation, gloriously celebrate their South Asian descent in a political riot disguised as a rap record. It’s brilliantly defiant and genuinely fun, hardly a single line lacking purpose or wit. ‘Oh no, we’re in trouble, TSA always wanna burst my bubble / Always get a random check when I rock the stubble,’ the boys jest on the album opener, T5. ‘Used to call me curry now they cook it in their kitchen,’ Heems muses on the final track, Din-E-iLahi. Not to mention, there are some high-grade absolute bangers in there, thanks to producer Redinho. Opening number T5 will have you shaking your hips till the cows come home and No Fly List is an equally dirty bass doozy you can feel good about getting drunk to. Fuck racial profiling. Fuck with this record.