LNWY Recommends: February’s Best New Tracks

Dom O’Connor picks out the best tracks of the month – from a mysterious outfit already being branded “London’s best band” to a mouth-watering Gibbs and Madlib collab.

'Bandana'

Freddie Gibbs/Madlib

It’s been five years since Pinata, one of the most eminently re-listenable rap albums of the last decade, and hearing Freddie Gibbs rap over Madlib’s twisting, unearthly beats remains one of life’s most simple pleasures. Like most of his verses, Gibbs brings the hard-headed, ice-cold fury here, matched by Jamaican dancehall DJ Assassin’s mush-mouthed closer of a hook/verse. Gibbs and Madlib intrinsically understand the space within each other’s output, and ‘Bandana’ is a fine addition to their growing pantheon of future old-head classics.

'Enemies'

Egoism

‘Enemies’ glistens with an invigorating confidence, both in the harmony-laden hooks and the twinkly guitar lines that pepper the song’s always-ascending choruses. It’s a sweetly written dream-pop song that sparkles through its all-too-brief runtime, a sign of this Sydney duo’s continued growth and successful matching of pop melodies with shoegaze-y instrumentation. As the guitars swirl like an endless abyss in the song’s coda, ‘Enemies’ goes for the jugular with a hook that actualises anxiety in a lived-in, authentic way.

'Speedway'

Black Midi

If ‘Speedway’ is the sound of guitar music continuing to evolve as a form and move forward, then this mysterious London outfit’s polyrhythmic, dissonant bursts of guitar and competing layers of programmed and live drums exist as the band’s mission statement. With nothing but a live show to pin their hat on for the last year, Black Midi have quietly become one of the buzziest acts in guitar music – and ‘Speedway’ is a show of substance to go along with their formidable style.

'Collider'

Borderland State

An ethereal, slow-burn of a first single, ‘Collider’ is Queensland producer’s Borderland State thesis statement. There’s an innate sense of ebb and flow in the song’s many layers, from the shimmer of the piano notes to the crunch of the song’s beat once it all kicks in. ‘Collider’ also refuses to rest on its laurels, a sign of its composer’s skill at crafting gorgeous mood music. As beats drop out and new melodies are introduced, there’s a sense of satisfaction, of everything in its right place, that permeates every note.

'Houseplants'

Squid

‘Houseplants’ begins as a sprint, an energy-spiked romp through which singer/drummer Ollie Judge uses the titular household item as a way to explore millennial ennui. It’s got shades of early LCD Soundsystem in the manic, anxiety-driven delivery, and the discordant sax shrieks back up Judge’s mania wonderfully. ‘Houseplants’ exists on the margins of post-punk, but don’t let that fool you – it’s as far away from angular and po-faced as it gets. More of a frolic through restlessness than anything else.

'Gloria'

Tierra Whack

Once the cognitive dissonance of hearing a Tierra Whack song longer than a minute wears off, ‘Gloria’ burrows itself in your head with a gloriously sing-songy melody and trappy 808s. It’s an insanely fun song – from the way Whack’s voice bounces to the ‘Broccoli’-lite beat; all joyous flute trills and buoyant hits. With three singles out in three weeks, ‘Gloria’ is proof that last year’s much-loved Whack World project wasn’t a fluke but an introduction to an endearingly strange and idiosyncratic new voice in hip-hop.

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