Music

Cue up your summer sounds: 4 new albums to download now

Bite-sized reviews of the latest offerings from Kano, FKA Twigs, Westside Gunn and M83

05 January 2020 - 00:02 By
Former pole dancer FKA Twigs performs in Paris.
Former pole dancer FKA Twigs performs in Paris.
Image: David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns

1. MAGDALENE BY FKA TWIGS

A special word of thanks needs to go out to whoever broke this ethereally voiced pole dancer's (not stripper's) heart.

Her third album is a concise, tear-inducing and deliciously weird treatise on what the other side of love looks like. Her voice dances between creepy and a piercingly morose Russian ballet dancer.

At 39 minutes it's short enough to get your eyes leaking in less time than it would take to get to the bottom of a bottle of red wine, which means you can get your cry done and get to bed at a decent hour.

Songs to look out for: Mirrored Heart, Thousand Eyes, Cellophane.

WATCH | The music video for 'Cellophane' from FKA Twig's album 'Magdalene'

2. HOODIES ALL SUMMER BY KANO

We're officially in the era of grownup rap and it's a beautiful thing to hear.

For most of its life hip-hop has been viewed as a young man's game and rightly so — it's arguably the youngest mainstream music genre in the world. The result is that a lot of us have gotten the opportunity to grow up with our favourite artists and Kano is one of them.

Hoodies All Summer is a sonically neat depiction of the world through the eyes of a man who's lived longer than he ever expected to and wants to pass on the gems he's picked up along the way. It's conscious without being preachy and uplifting without being cheesy. Think of it like a meaningful chat with an older sibling set to beats that aren't ostentatious.

Songs to look out for: Free Years Later, Teardrops, Good Youtes Walk Amongst Evil

LISTEN | 'Good Youtes Walk Amongst Evil' from Kano's album 'Hoodies All Summer'

3. DSVII BY M83

After his last album was aptly called Junk, M83 has once again given us something to write home about.

DSVII is unquestionably weird. It sounds and feels a bit like someone redid the score of the Lord of the Rings, substituting all of the unnecessary gravitas and pomposity and replacing it with a kind of animated sincerity. To put it more plainly, this album sounds like the soundtrack to a retro animated TV game with an epic fantasy scope.

What makes it endearing is that it's not camp, nor does it sound childish. The sprinklings of harps, and choirs over the colourful synths give it an oddly earnest feel. It's really rather pretty and unlike many things you're likely to hear this year.

Songs to look out for: Hell Riders, Temple of Sorrow, Taifun Glory

LISTEN | 'Taifun Glory' from M83's album 'DSVII'

HITLER WEARS HERMES VOLUME 7 BY WESTSIDE GUNN

There's nothing like a pure dose of grimy rap about a street life you've never lived and bricks of cocaine you've never sold to get you ready to face the day.

The seventh instalment of the prolific rapper from Buffalo, New York, Westside Gunn's Hitler Wears Hermes mixtape series is exactly that. Expect nothing about geopolitics, Jesus or some fellow with a stupid moustache. This is unadulterated New York rap in the vein of a modern Mobb Deep or Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and if you're in the right mood for it, you'll walk out of your house feeling like Heisenberg (Walter White's alter ego from Breaking Bad).