17th March 2016
PJ Harvey – ‘The Community of Hope’
PJ Harvey is fucking wicked isn’t she. She’s so right-on she makes me wish I was a woman, just so I could say I have the same number of ovaries as her. It’s fair to say that I’m pre-disposed to like this new single from her, ‘The Community of Hope’. In fact, it’s actually not as good as other material of hers, but she’s set the bar so high that this is still great. It comes from her upcoming LP The Hope Six Demolition Project, which was inspired by her visits to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and, in the case of this track, Washington D.C.
It is inspired by a real programme that helps low-income families, and features the lines “Here’s the highway to death and destruction / South Capitol is its name / And the school just looks like a shithole / Does that look like a nice place,” before assuring the listener that “They’re gonna put a Walmart here.” Hopefully the use of Walmart rather than Asda isn’t a sign that Harvey is adopting a transatlantic conscience. It would be a shame if she started replacing pavement with sidewalk, arse with fanny, or Yorkshire puddings with the institutionalised racist killing of unarmed black men.
Ladyhawke – ‘Sweet Fascination’
Second up this week is New Zealand singer Pip Brown, AKA Ladyhawke, with ‘Sweet Fascination’. It’s off her upcoming third album Wild Things, which will be released in June, a full four years after her last output Anxiety. It’s a dreamy, synth-heavy and 80s-inspired amble. It comes with an animated video, directed by Paul Robertson, which is actually better than the track. It features a kind of animal robot thing, flying through a tunnel while tiny fluffy creatures jump to their deaths off it’s back. It’s sufficiently trippy, and apparently inspired by a similar shot in one of the opening sequences to The Simpsons.
It’s not as if it’s a bad single – in fact the songwriting is solid. It’s described by DIY mag as “absolutely massive!”, and who would argue with them? But it definitely sounds like the sort of thing that Topshop have been playing on repeat since 2011, lulling teenage shoppers into a zombied state so that they’re more likely to buy t-shirts with Mickey Mouse on them. Subversive yo!
Sigala – ‘Say You Do’ ft. Imani, DJ Fresh
Oh hey, now we’re talking. Peter Andre-inspired music video? Tick. Sampling of Mariah Carey going “Do-do-doooo”? Tick. Biggest tuuuune of the summer? Double tick!
‘Say You Do’ is the new track from Norfolk’s Sigala – and you thought the biggest Dick Jockey to come out of Nelson’s county was Alan Partidge. Sigala’s musical inspirations apparently include Armand van Helden and David Guetta, which is a bit like listing your favourite pieces of literature as Nuts magazine and the takeaway menu from Lickin’ Chicken. For this little ditty he’s teamed up with vocalist Imani as well as DJ Fresh, and it features some steel drums, presumably to add that shimmery summer feeling, as well as a Drum n Bass ramp-up so clichéd it came with its own snapback and gun fingers. He’s on the Ministry of Sound label, which I suppose must make him the Minister for Sound? Either way, let’s hope he’s for the chop come the next round of swingeing government cuts.