24 May 2019

Song Crush 18 - Tyler The Creator, Kelsey Lu, SJD, and Alphabethead

From Song Crush, 1:57 pm on 24 May 2019

Is Tyler the Creator the Brian Wilson of this generation? The Song Crush Team consider his new album Igor, and rave about new music from Kelsey Lu, SJD, and more.

Host Kirsten Johnstone is joined by Danielle Street and Yadana Saw. 

Alphabethead - 'Eyes Of Nothing'

Wellington’s DJ Alphabethead is known for his everything and the kitchen sink approach, but this track is just a joyful horn-driven hip-hop jam. Starting with a spoken sample from late 60s psych-rock band Beacon Street Union, adding breakbeats and cowbells, spacey synths and just the right amount of soul vocal, the scale of this track makes me wonder once again why he isn’t a beatmaker to the stars. Watch out for a full album called Leisure World on July 1st.

Tyler the Creator -  'I THINK'

Rap music’s former enfant terrible has continued his evolution with the release of fifth studio record, IGOR. The album shows the Californian artist flexing his production muscles by delivering a cover-to-cover listen packed with song structures that turn on a dime, wonderfully textured instrumentation, and an Easter egg hunt of collaborators. This track, ‘I THINK’, finds us at the hopeful beginning of IGOR’s arc, the part of the story where Tyler thinks he’s fallen in love. But is it for real? DS

Kelsey Lu - 'Due West'

Kelsey Lu is a classically trained cellist who has collaborated with Solange, Blood Orange, Lady Gaga, and Father John Misty - among others and in April she released her first full length album Blood. Stylistically it covers a large terrain - from modern classical, to folk, disco and R&B. There’s even a dreamy cover of 10cc’s 'I’m Not In Love', and maybe she’s tried to fit a little too much in, but it’s a fascinating listen.    

She was raised a Jehovah's Witness in North Carolina, though even as a child it never sat right with her, music was her escape, and a lot of these songs lyrically reflect on the pain of that break with the church, her community and repairing the cracks in familial relationships.

‘Due West’, produced with restraint and sensitivity by Skrillex, is by far the most straight up pop song on the record. It tracks her migration from cold and crowded New York to the sunshine, space, and freedom of California, with such a joyful feeling that also hints at the dark places she’s been. Totally addictive, and I'm a little obsessed with her Paris catwalk of a wardrobe. 

Sofia Bolt - 'Waves (Van Dyke Parks edit)'

French-born, LA-based musician Sofia Bolt (aka Amélie Rousseaux) is preparing for the release of her debut album next month, and in anticipation has served up the gorgeous title-track ‘Waves’. The song was written when Rousseaux first moved to Los Angeles, and as luck would have it, legendary composer Van Dyke Parks saw her performing it live and offered to arrange it. The addition of his string arrangements bring elements of both depth and whimsy to the track, perfectly tying together the intertwining themes of the ocean and love. I can’t wait to hear what else the album brings. DS

Church + AP UAV

- YS

SJD - 'Hide Yr Brain'

Under-appreciated Auckland producer/songwriter SJD - Sean James Donnelly - has a new 20 minute EP out called Miniatures 1, and he manages to squeeze 17 songs into that time.

There’s a big part of me that wants to start a petition that forces him to make this 58 second song into a blockbuster Zombie film, but I'm pretty sure this is a comment on our smartphone culture, and the way we all walk around like zombies staring into our screens. I have to admire the number of musical ideas he can fit in under a minute - vocal loops, a booming synth bass, glitchy beats and a beautiful melody make this an essential, though teasing, listen.

Listen to our Autumn Song Crush selections on Spotify