Music

Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-insides Remix Album

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Scottish-born, LA-based experimental pop producer SOPHIE turns over her groundbreaking debut album Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-insides to further transformation in this non-stop, club-ready remix album.

For the album’s release in 2018, SOPHIE shocked fans by appearing unobscured and singing to camera for the first time in the video “It’s Okay to Cry”. Previously altering or obscuring her image and singing in eerie high-pitched vocals, the video and song were a celebration of her coming out as a trans woman.

Early

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Joy Crookes is hugely talented emerging artist from Elephant & Castle in south London with Irish and Bangladeshi origins. Her husky tones make for some very easy listening. “Early” is her first collaboration with Irish hip-hop artist Jafaris. An excellent blend of hip-hop and soul, this track is about love and bad timing, a theme few people won’t have experienced.

All Mirrors

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One of Angel Olsen’s most memorable lyrics is “Guess we’re just at the mercy of the way that we feel”. To an extent, Olsen’s fourth album All Mirrors centres around that simple fact.

All Mirrors features extensive use of a 12-piece string section to add a dramatic film soundtrack quality. Olsen takes inspiration from the music of the 50s and 60s, but her use of synths and 21st century subject matter is thoroughly modern.

Eve

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MC Rapsody’s third album follows Laila’s Wisdom, which was nominated for Best Rap Album at 2017’s Grammys, helping open doors for other female rappers who at the time had not won in this category since 1997. Rapsody continues to explore and critique the reasons for this in the feminist hip-hop experience that is Eve.

Eve is largely a commentary on the portrayal of black women, particularly in the rap industry, as well as the systems which have and continue to oppress black people. Permeating the album are strong themes of slavery and freedom, sexism, unity and sisterhood.

Hoodies All Summer

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East Ham’s grime pioneer, Kano fires back against a broken system, racism and wealth inequality in his sixth album – Hoodies All Summer. After the release of Made in the Manor in 2016, Kano once again has solidified his position as one of grime’s best.

Having recently featured in Ronan Bennet’s Top Boy on Netflix, all eyes have been on Kano. His emotional, passionate performance continues into the album, expressing the desperation people can feel as a result of the system they are born into.

Bikini Kill

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Kathleen Hanna, who originally went into music with a mixture of experience in stripping and spoken word, shook up the grunge music scene of the 1990s with a unique perspective and vocal anger. Bikini Kill, the band Hanna fronts, made a name for itself with punky honesty, shame-free sexualisation and an outspoken bluntness on controversial topics that weren’t spoken about (and often still aren’t), even after the punk movement had opened up the music scene.

Not Waving, but Drowning

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Laid-back, sensitive and dreamy — nothing less could be expected from Croydon rapper Loyle Carner’s second album. Although perhaps not packing as much of a punch instrumentally as his debut released two years ago, the album has some impressive features. Jorja Smith, Sampha and Tom Misch all make appearances, as well as an excerpt from south London rap giant Giggs.

But by far the most impressive aspect of Carner’s art is his beautifully poetic lyricism, effortless flow and intimate, honest portrayals of his emotional world. In this, Carner has not yet failed to deliver.

Nothing Great About Britain

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At a time when the music industry’s fat cats are once again tightening their grip on the grime scene, Slowthai’s highly anticipated new album defies genre boundaries with a dirty, grimy album of class struggle and resistance.

Fresh off his “99p tour”, the 24 year old’s debut LP, Nothing Great About Britain, is a refreshing injection into the UK hip-hop scene, combining multiple genres that were popular during his childhood in Northampton. This has secured Slowthai (Tyron Frampton) a place at the top of the UK grime scene.

Psychodrama

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Dave first rose to fame as a teenager in 2016 through his freestyle clips on grime and UK rap platforms. Since then he has proved to all listeners that he’s a lyrical genius and a talented musician who can even play the piano.

More importantly, Dave must be respected as one of the brightest conscious and political rappers alive today. He supports Love Music Hate Racism and has dedicated his song Question Time to dissing Theresa May’s austerity. Psychodrama is the 20 year old artist’s debut album.

Drill music and social exclusion

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If you type the words “Incognito blessed” into your preferred internet search engine it will bring up a very poignant three-minute drill music video set in and around the Brandon Estate in south London. One of its six tower blocks, Molesworth House, is prominently featured in the film but the area is not just a grey and grim concrete jungle. The estate is just south of the lush green expanse of Kennington Park. I know the area well. On sunny days like those we enjoyed for much of 2018, these spaces are full of people relaxing and having fun.

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