For such a short month, February has managed to produce some very impressive new music. There are offerings from established greats like Foo Fighters and Femi Kuti as well as introductions to newer artists.
I guess lockdown has meant that although it’s been harder for musicians to perform live, they’ve perhaps had more opportunity to explore various creative avenues. I know that the music industry is going through it at the moment. I mean, we all are, but now that there’s very little money to be made selling music, much of the revenue performers gather is from actually performing, recording artists are suffering. (And, in the UK at least this won’t be totally alleviated when lockdown is over thanks to Boris’s rejection of working visas for musicians in the EU but anyway…). As I say, February has gifted us with some excellent new music, here’s a sample:
Foo Fighters – Medicine at Midnight
The band have squeezed a new set of funk-inspired rock beats on to this mini-album- just 37 minutes long, but every minute is excellent. Refreshing to hear a record that doesn’t have a second of filler on it. Also, Foo Fighters are predictably great: we all knew this album was going to be a good one.
Femi Kuti and Made Kuti – Legacy
This appropriately named record allows Femi and Made Kuti to collaborate with their legendary father and grandfather’s original work. The album is split across two halves, each of which adds to the family legacy that has been sampled in various other genres and which is a byword for Afrobeat.
Slowthai – Tyron
This album, from Northampton rapper slowthai, really cements his status as an impressive socially conscious musician. A couple of the tracks from this album have already been released, Feel Away feat. James Blake and Mount Kimble for example, but the other collaborations on this record promise to be equally as impressive: A$AP Rocky, Deb Never and Skepta to name just a few. Slowthai is one to keep your eye on for sure; a very exciting artist producing sensational new music.
Smokepurrpp – Psycho
This new EP from Floridian rapper/Rockstar Smokepurrpp demonstrates his disparate and diverse range of artistic influences: Ozzy Osbourne, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wu Tang Clan… This musician is totally fluent in musical history and yet sounds totally fresh and original too. There are only 6 tracks to this EP but I fully recommend checking out some of his earlier releases too if you want to track his journey.
The Weeknd – The Highlights
The most recent Superbowl Halftimer released this 18 (!) track greatest hits album ahead of his performance. Now, I love The Weeknd more than most people so, and most people at least like him, but this is his second Greatest Hits album already which seems insane. Never the less, this is a clever album in that it collates all of his career ‘highlights’ into an easily accessible package for all the fans he’ll have gained since the Superbowl. Obviously, the record is great because The Weeknd is great and his career has been fire so far, if he’s new to you then this is a comprehensive intro to his work. If you’re already a fan then this is a ready-made playlist for you.
J Dilla – Welcome to Detroit 20th Anniversary Edition
This isn’t new music, but it is a rerelease of a classic album. If you are into vinyl or owning physical copies of CDs then get this. Listen to it on repeat. It’s a classic hip hop album and I’m so pleased it’s been rereleased to hopefully reach a slightly larger audience.
Phora – Heartbreak Hotel
This project, with its Acid Rap-esque cover art and seven emotional, soul-ly tracks came just in time for valentines day, but it bears up the rest of the year too. This tattooist turned recording artist has absolutely no qualms about being vulnerable, truthful and passionate and his eagerness to publicise how in tune he is with his emotions is exciting and refreshing. The lead single for this track is the acoustic-sounding Loaded Gun, but the best track is Colorblind which is catchy and memorable. All in all an excellent EP.