Princess Nokia screenshot | YouTube
Over the weekend I went to a festival in the Netherlands, and I went purely for fun. This sounds like a wild thing to make any big deal out of, but when you work freelance in music, it feels like you have to be present at certain shows – to meet certain publicists, to write reviews for coin, even just to feel like you understand what’s happening in a particular cultural moment.
So the festival – Le Guess Who? – was a really replenishing thing (in some ways – I’ll concede that technically late nights and weird warehouse clubs aren’t necessarily restorative). It was nice catching new music with some mates, being wowed and terrified by artists pushing the boundaries of what we expect. It reminded me again that I love this particular form of artistic expression,and the way that pictures and feelings can be painted through words and soundscapes, and – for all that monetising a passion is very much a double-edged sword – it’s cool that I get to be a fan as my job.
And so, following this unusually non-chaotic introduction, here’s a round-up of some great music that’s dropped this week, that will maybe paint some pictures for you too.
Princess Nokia – ‘Balenciaga’
Here I am, minding my own business, about to leave the office on a Friday evening, when I realise Princess Nokia has dropped a new track. With cold heat and lyrics taking down hypebeasts, this goes hard and I’m here for it enough to include it in spite of it eating into my weekend.
D Double E – ‘Fresh N Clean (Silence the Critics)’
On the one hand, should we be gassed about a beloved grime legend becoming part of a Christmas advert? It’s a weird late capitalism benchmark for sure, but then again this is really fun, plus if it means Double’s getting a number one I am here for it – especially if it means he beats that tired Bastille / John Lewis cover. Budabuh buh!
Tei Shi – La Linda
The new album from the NYC-based Colombian-Canadian artist has dropped today, and finds her making silky, floaty R&B-pop that’s soft like a sweet dream. With a feature from past collaborator Blood Orange plus smoky, bilingual slow-burners, this is a delicate and delicious release.
BenjiFlow – ‘Somebody’
Intricate Spanish guitar vibes and a lush warmth, how multi-instrumentalist BenjiFlow is conjuring up summer sunshine in this biting cold weather is a testament to the transportative, beautiful power of his music. As ever, we’re hyped for more of these sweet and smooth jams.
NYM – ‘Biology’
A squelchy, urgent banger from this emerging London-based artist who has been part of Paloma Faith’s band for the last eight years, this is full of mesmerising vocals and propulsive, vital beats with an interlude of sugary, steelpan sounds that nod to her Caribbean heritage.
You can follow the Five on it playlist on Spotify: