Chris Gerard: British synth-pop duo is best known for their 2010 single “Wonderful Life”, which became a substantial hit in Europe. Their third album, Surrender, is due in October, and they may have stumbled upon a breakthrough. “Lights” goes from sophisticated mid-tempo pop during the verses to a more upbeat dance vibe for the chorus. The dramatic and visually arresting video directed by Dawn Shadforth serves the song well. If given a chance, “Lights” could be the song to break Hurts to a wider audience. [8/10]
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Evan Sawdey: I had their EP Free Advice Column from 2013, and it was an otherworldly bedroom-dance experience, a mixing of genres and eras to create something familiar and new and the same time. This vein carries through with “Window Shades”, which, although a shade repetitious, remains curiously hypnotic, a slice of cut-and-pasted psychedelic flappercore, not beholden to any specific decade. Meg Remy is a star on the rise, so the fact she’s connected with 4AD Records doesn’t surprise me. Not going down as anyone’s jam of the year, but it leaves me intrigued enough to pursue more. [7/10]
Kevn Kinney of Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ has been a thread throughout my life in music, from teenage punk wannabe sneaking into clubs for shows (thanks, Randy!), to not getting hired at the first radio station I interviewed for because the program director told me he hated Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ and I defended them anyway (look who turned out to be right, Chris), to one of the very first radio shows on Country Fried Rock, before we had a podcast and were still streaming on Live 365, to now—me filling my dream of talking to the best songwriters about music I love and so many of y’all loving what we share. Kevn Kinney changed my life and now his band will be inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
“FF Bada” is an exciting, funky instrumental that draws inspiration from the worlds of electronic, jazz and new classical. The song has a great sense of movement, feeling simultaneously like a master jam session and a carefully constructed composition. “FF Bada” is equally for the brain and the feet, like all of Battles’ best tunes. The group continues to smash genre barriers in a successful effort to create truly original music.
New York R&B singer Jasmine Jordan returns this week with her new single and video “Smile”, her first new music since her debut EP Time Travel. Continuing in the same direction as the EP—putting a contemporary spin on classic, vibrant 1970s urban soul—the track and video focuses more on the ebullience of the music, making for an upbeat, effervescent track.