Goldfrapp return to the fray with a synth stomper, Austra get fresh, some no-nonsense attitude from Kehlani, a solid start from Tkay Maidza, and much much more. Listen to our Conor’s March mixtape now!
Goldfrapp return to the fray in style this month with Anymore. A synth-flecked earworm, it’s a return to the electronic pop style that made them superstars. Missy Elliott has earned her icon stripes, meaning any new single release feels like an event. It’s a shame then that I’m Better is such a non-starter. Slick video aside, it never quite lives up to her past glories.
Zara Larrson has grown her audience thanks to a string of killer singles but on So Good the Swedish star comes unstuck with a generic R’n’B track that never truly kicks off. Erika Jayne serves up bubblegum treat on XXPEN$IVE, a self-aware number laden down with cheeky double-entendres.
Newcomer Noah Cyrus may be following in the footsteps of her musical family, but finds a sound all her own on Make Me (Cry). A melancholic pop duet with Labrinth, it’s one of the freshest sounding pop singles in months.
SOHN returns on second album Rennen, offering more of the woozy electronic R’n’B that has become his staple. There are some interesting moments and gorgeous production but the overall feel is too samey to maintain interest.
Austra’s third album, Future Politics will feel at once familiar to fans but at the same time fresh and exciting. The stirring vocals and delicately crafted songwriting is ever present but their synth-pop sound is given new depth with sleek production and lyrics touching on how to exist in increasingly troubling times.
The xx, indie-darlings who turned into arena-filling superstars, have plenty of fans eager for more of the same. So it’s a credit to their songwriting chops that on I See You they take their signature sound and add a more ambitious layer. The production is beefier, the choruses feel more pop, yet the melancholic indie-pop charm is still there.
With a title evoking TLC’s CrazySexyCool and a fully developed sound, 21 year-old R’n’B star Kehlani comes up with some real magic on debut album SweetSexySavage. After one of her mix-tapes received a Grammy nomination it would be easy to expect a lot from Kehlani’s first LP. Over a number of styles Kehlani more than delivers. The openly bisexual star is upfront throughout with a no-nonsense approach. From the slick club-ready tunes like ‘Distraction’ or ‘CRZY’, to the confessional balladry of ‘Advice’ this is an album laden down with big tunes and lyrical honesty. Debuts don’t come much better.
Australian rapper Tkay Maidza has been putting in her hours as a future pop superstar, something evident on her debut album TKAY. From working with fellow Australian Troye Sivan to popping up on Martin Solveig’s ‘Do It Right’, here the young talent takes time to establish her own sound. It’s a glossy, pop confection splitting time between Maidza’s own impressive flow on tracks like ‘Carry On’ or the breezy pop of ‘Simulation’. Tracks like ‘You Want’ have a mellower feel and suggest there’s more to Maidza than this enjoyable but somewhat slight collection gets at. A solid start.