New Music Monday Issue #22

From being rock-centric last week to featuring Jazz, Kanye, and Danish synth pop – don’t ever think New Music Monday is anything but eclectic.

GoGo Penguin – All Res

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I know nothing about jazz, really.

As much as I’d like to think that ten years playing the clarinet as a child would have given me a deep understanding of all things non-popular and woodwind, in reality my only jazz credentials are that I can name more than one Dave Brubeck song and that somewhere in my house there is an Artie Shaw CD (which strictly speaking is big band not jazz – unless big band is a form of jazz?)

So as you can imagine, I’m not at all prepared to write any words about the jazz/trip-hop/classical/electronica three-piece GoGo Penguin. Ah well, here goes.

GoGo Penguin, as I just mentioned, are a three-piece group from Manchester, specialising in the fusion of various styles to create predominantly clean-sounding instrumental tracks to sooth your head with. Since recently discovering them on Jamie Cullum’s Radio 2 show, I’ve become a little obsessed.

As someone who, like most people, is fed a fairly steady diet of pop music, the overriding statement I can make about their music is just how refreshing it is. For one, having no singer or defined figurehead means the music doesn’t fall into the same repetitive patterns – instead rolling naturally wherever which way it wants as one big mass of piano, drums, and double bass. Secondly, the band are free to stray from the typically basic chords and tones used in pop music – which, as I believe my GCSE in music taught me, might be the whole point of jazz? (It really might not be).

Overall, Man Made Object, the most recent album from GoGo Penguin, has been a frankly eye-opening listen. Opening track ‘All Res’ is one of a number of highlights and one I’d thoroughly recommend listening to.

Kanye West – 30 Hours

Ah, Kanye.

Despite giving us what feels like over a year of anticipation for a new album, I for one just can’t seem to get that excited about The Life of Pablo – which, rather than Swish or Wave, is apparently the name of Kanye’s latest album.

That’s not to say any of the songs he dropped in the build up were in any way bad (who can forget when Yeezy Yeezy Yeezy jumped over jumpman?), indeed this latest track to be highlighted, ’30 Hours’, has an old school hip-hop vibe that we haven’t seen from Kanye for a while and yet he can still rock perfectly well.

The problem seems to be that on his last album he said that he hung out with Jesus and was a god – how do you follow that?!

Honestly, this could be a perfectly great album and yet merely because it’s following Yeezus it just can’t have that same shock factor or sense of grandeur.

Has Kanye peaked?

Lust For Youth – Sudden Ambitions

Finally, some eighties synth fun from Copenhagen.

On first impressions, ‘Sudden Ambitions’ appears as another nostalgic synth-pop track akin to those from La Roux or Robyn. In that regard, it’s still rather good – the beats are hypnotic and the synths and vocals shimmer with the brightness you’d expect from such a track.

‘Sudden Ambitions’ adds another level to that however; throughout the four and a bit minutes, the track builds and falls and lyrically pulls you in ways that can only be done by a ballad – and yet you can dance the whole way through.

Really, this is an absolute monster of a track disguised as something twee.

What do you think of our picks this week? Let us know in the comments below!