The Strokes remain 'endlessly appealing' in 2020Roger Woolman

My favourite release this week is the single 'Acid' by London-based duo Jockstrap. It begins with a lurching, dissonant violin and moves into a beautifully arranged fusion of pop, classical music and jazz. Some influences are apparent – 60s French pop à la Françoise Hardy, for instance – while others are less conventional (some of the electronic details wouldn’t be out of place in a sci-fi film). There are jerky synths, too, with Georgia singing in a tumbling, lilting phrases over the top. Others might make this sound gaudy, but the pair executes the track impeccably, making music which is somehow simple and wholly cohesive. Jockstrap is made up of two students at Guildhall School, London – Georgia Ellery, who studies Jazz, and Taylor Skye, who studies Electronic Music. ‘Smash a pretty vase of acid, sings Georgia, the violence of the lyrics providing a perfect counterpoint to the bright melodies of the song.

Another song I’ve had on repeat is The Strokes’ 'Bad Decisions'. 19 years on from their highly influential debut album This Is It, while the acclaimed band is still using the same formula its music, strangely, remains endlessly appealing.  'Bad Decisions' would be equally at home amongst their early noughties' releases, but feels neither tired nor like a worn-out trope - not yet, at least. Julian Casablancas’ vocals pack a little more of a punch than on previous records, but other than that, this is a classic Strokes single – nothing remarkable or boundary-pushing, but worth a listen nonetheless.

Less well known is Meghan Remy, the experimental pop musician behind the U.S. Girls project, who released the single '4 American Dollars' this week. Remy is skilled both as a producer and a singer, with a knack for layering sounds into lush arrangements and a captivating, gorgeously theatrical voice. The shuffling beat, gospel-style vocals, and hypnotic repetition in this track make for a compelling listen.


Mountain View

Does streaming spoil us for choice?

 Getting a closing shout-out is Calvin Harris’ latest track 'The Power of Love II', released under the Love Regenerator moniker. It slaps. Paying homage to 90s rave, this is a high energy club tune that hits around the 140-bpm mark. There are minimal vocals; the focus is on the beat. This is a far cry from the collaborations with Migos, Pharrell Williams, and Katy Perry on 2017’s Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 – totally unlike the Calvin Harris as we've heard him before.

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