Five on it: Yaeji is bringing us joy in hard times
In the midst of anxious times, our music editor rounds up the week's best releases – with tracks from Yaeji, Denai Moore, Orion Sun, LVRA and Mustafa.
13 Mar 2020
Five on it Yaeji photograph by Dasom Hahn
Friday 13th! And what a Friday 13th it is. Coronavirus is not peaking in the UK until summer with a contingency plan that essentially seems to be “if you are old don’t go on a cruise”, all of which means I’m experiencing a sense of prolonged anxiety for the already-vulnerable in society, on top of already being a deeply anxious person! Cool, cool, cool. Our opinions editor Micha is compiling a thread of ways to help those who might be in need over on Twitter – and sometimes doing stuff like that can relieve the pressure inside our own heads a little (as well as obviously just being a good, kind, necessary thing to do).
Something I’ve been thinking about a lot is how this will affect the music industry as we know it (and society in general, of course, but obviously I have vested interest in the area I’m very passionate about). In the streaming era, the model for artists (particularly independent artists) to earn money is essentially just by touring – endless, unsustainable touring. And while it’s all well and good asking people to throw some coin at their Bandcamps while shows and festivals are cancelled, artists can’t live off that (and not all DJs are producing music in the first place).
I woke up this morning to a message from an artist friend – “I got an email from my agent, the first sentence was ‘uhhhh so the industry is collapsing’”. These are more precarious times than ever, and regardless of how coronavirus pans out, these are conversations we need to be having regarding the climate crisis anyway. Artists and DJs touring in order to live is in no way sustainable, for them or the environment. This is a time for new conversations, ideas about rebuilding from the ground-up, and maybe even time we consider how dead-eyed capitalism sucks the viability out of artistic pursuits and joy.
Anyway! I’m sure the coming weeks will have equally happy intros from me, so in the meantime here’s five on it.
Yaeji – ‘WAKING UP DOWN’
A sparkly lil dance pop number that makes us want to roadtrip with the sunroof down, Yaeji’s debut album is coming soon and this early track has from it has us so ready for much more new music from the NYC/Seoul artist coming soon.
Denai Moore – ‘Cascades’
There’s something that just feels specifically formidable and epic about Denai Moore’s oeuvre – this is soft yet domineering, and the harmonies at the end are really powerful.
Orion Sun – ‘Lightning’
Laidback and soothing, this from the rising Philadelphia artist is a lush slice of honey-smooth R&B. Her debut album drops later this month, pay attention.
LVRA – ‘Girl Like Me’
LVRA (pronounced “loo-rah”) makes glow-y, soft-focus pop – this track is warm, rich and romantic.
Mustafa – ‘Stay Alive’
Probably a bit on the nose, but this is really beautiful. A poet from Toronto, Mustafa felt moved to make music after losing several close friends to gun crime. This is his first release (produced by James Blake and Frank Dukes), and it addresses those friends over gentle melodies.
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