Julianna Barwick’s Nebula: the best of the week’s new music

Julianna Barwick | Lindstrøm | Shock Machine | Jhyve | Wildhood

PICK OF THE WEEK

Julianna Barwick
Nebula (Dead Oceans)

Julianna Barwick creates music that makes you feel so floaty and transcendent that a government committee is trying to outlaw it as we speak. There really isn’t much to Nebula: just a woody synth motif and a gentle accumulation of half-awake vocals, like a choir of Julee Cruises trapped at the bottom of a cave. Yet for all this track’s casual otherworldliness, the moments when Barwick’s voice cracks or she sings very slightly off-key are crucial, imbuing it with a fragile humanity. Putting the real into ethereal? Oh, if you must.

Lindstrøm
Closing Shot (Smalltown Supersound/Feedelity)

Unfeasibly handsome Norwegian Hans-Peter Lindstrøm is renowned for providing cosmic dancefloor thrust to everyone from Todd Rundgren to Japanese noisemongers Boredoms. But Closing Shot might be his finest slice of ecstatic space disco since he invented the genre with I Feel Space back in 2005. It’s so redolent of carefree summer fun that before it reaches the breakdown you’ll be slicing up limes and trying to make everyone do the lambada.

Shock Machine
Shock Machine (Marathon Artists/House Anxiety)

Ye gods, a Klaxon! With the band’s third album – yes, there was a third Klaxons album – disappearing into a wormhole somewhere between Atlantis and Interzone, singer James Righton (AKA Mr Keira Knightley) has understandably chosen to distance himself from his new rave past with a yacht-rock makeover. The multi-tracked falsetto nods to Dennis Wilson and Tame Impala, but overall feels a bit calculating and hollow. By the end, you’re yearning for a few sirens and some knock-off JG Ballard slogans.

Jhyve
LucifHER (Awesome Music)

Unless you count R Kelly’s icky predilection for comparing sexual acts to various components of a buffet luncheon, the confessional R&B genre isn’t renowned for its nifty wordplay. But Jhyve’s pun game is strong, with LucifHER positioning him as the unexpected lovechild of the Weeknd and Tim Vine. “How do you impress a temptress?” wonders this Auto-Tuned John Hegley, and it’s the mark of a pretty great song that his tortured rhyming comes off as endearing rather than excruciating.

Wildhood
Baggy (Woof Music)

Rapper, actor, comedian, celebrity darts player… is there anything Jordan from Rizzle Kicks can’t do? Well, on this evidence, his reinvention as a Jamie T-style punk raconteur is proving a little hard to swallow. Staring out heavy-lidded from the cover like a minor member of A$AP Mob, Jordan would like it to be known that he’s taken a few drugs in his time. Generously, he’s keen to share his findings: chiefly that there’s not much solace in “the search for mum and daddy in the bottom of a baggy”. As a chorus, it’s not quite “mama do the hump hump”. But then what is?

Contributor

Sam Richards

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Banks’s sweary new song: the best of this week’s music
The no-nonsense Californian nabs the top spot from Justice with her ‘selfie schtick’

Sam Wolfson

22, Jul, 2016 @11:59 AM

Article image
The best of this week’s new music: Ariana Grande is the pop star we deserve
Elsewhere, Lady Gaga’s comeback gets a solid ‘meh’ and there’s a Sean Paul overload

Issy Sampson

07, Oct, 2016 @12:00 PM

Article image
The best of this week’s music: J Hus will make you dance while stealing your girlfriend
Meanwhile, Leonard Cohen is reliably magisterial and Green Day are Still Breathing...just about

Sam Wolfson

30, Sep, 2016 @11:59 AM

Article image
This week's new live music

Nas & Damian Marley | The Proms | Klaxons | Wichita 10th Anniversary Series | Pat Metheny Group | Bernstein's Mass

John Robinson, Andrew Clements & John Fordham

09, Jul, 2010 @11:06 PM

Article image
This week’s best live music
Friedrich Cerha day | Jamie xx | Spector | A$AP Rocky | Colin Towns Mask Orchestra | London Sinfionetta: Feldman – For Samuel Beckett

John Fordham, Jennifer Lucy Allan, Andrew Clements & John Robinson

09, Oct, 2015 @12:00 PM

Article image
This week’s new live music
Sun Ra Arkestra | Contra Pop | Meltdown festival | Sturgill Simpson | Green Man festival | Sibelius At The Proms

John Fordham, Jennifer Lucy Allan, John Robinson & Andrew Clements

14, Aug, 2015 @1:30 PM

Article image
This week’s new live music
The Last Shadow Puppets | The Britten Sinfonia | Christian McBride & Edgar Meyer | Bitchin Bajas & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy | Alessia Cara | Free Range City

John Robinson, John Fordham, Andrew Clements & Jennifer Lucy Allan

18, Mar, 2016 @1:00 PM

Article image
This week’s new live music
Father John Misty | The Unthanks | George The Poet | Jazz For Labour | The Indian Queen

John Robinson, John Fordham, Andrew Clements & Jennifer Lucy Allan

21, Feb, 2015 @9:00 AM

Article image
This week’s new live music
Julian Casablancas & The Voidz | Biffy Clyro | Run The Jewels | Kapnikon Nights | Spitalfields winter festival | Bobby Avey

John Robinson, John Fordham & Jennifer Lucy Allan

06, Dec, 2014 @6:00 AM

Article image
This week's new live music

Parquet Courts | Cody ChesnuTT | The Weeknd | Get The Blessing | Tommy Smith's KARMA | The Gospel According To The Other Mary

Andrew Clements, John Fordham & John Robinson

16, Mar, 2013 @6:00 AM