50 great tracks for March by Christine and the Queens, Yves Tumor, Fizzler and more

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March month's best music

Christine and the Queens – I Disappear in Your Arms

What is better than a great song? A great song in two languages, each offering a different perspective. A toxic relationship underpins this highlight from Chris’s new surprise EP, La Vita Nuova. In the French version, Je Disparais dans tes Bras, she delves into the mindset of the cruel antagonist who (in translation) takes from her yet hates her, erasing her with their demands and dismissal. She is more powerful in the English version, holding herself out of reach as “something you can’t have”. Both versions are knockouts: a grinding bassy swarm and yelped vocal samples conveying the evasiveness and volatility of the situation, coupled with an iron-clad chorus that punches with frustration and defiance. LS

Frankness and technical brilliance … Fizzler.
Frankness and technical brilliance … Fizzler. Photograph: Sara Shots

Fizzler – Minimum Wage

The gap between lyrics and real life has collapsed for a number of UK drill’s biggest rappers recently: Headie One was jailed for carrying a knife and Loski is on trial fighting firearms charges. It’s testament to the difficulty of moving on from street life even after chart success, and how this scene essays the criminality that surrounds young, impoverished black Londoners – a world sketched out with frankness and technical brilliance by Fizzler (and aided by rising producer Bkay). The track, told in UK drill’s inimitably nimble cadence, tells of a teenager county-lines drug dealing after his mum gets “put on minimum wage”. Whether documentary or fantasy, will Fizzler’s music help lift him out of the world he’s writing about? The skill and sophistication on show here suggest it should. BBT

Perfume Genius – Describe

Mike Hadreas has often aired his displeasure with being labelled “fragile”, and how it took explosive songs such as Queen and Slip Away for him to be perceived as powerful after his quieter early records. The first single from his new album, the brilliantly titled Set My Heart on Fire, Immediately, sets another challenge to traditional conceptions of strength. The texture is harsher than anything we’ve heard from him before – a grinding, baroque sludge that occasionally rears like a wounded animal, and brings to mind bands that trade in brutal volume and sensorial annihilation. But it’s so closely recorded by producer Blake Mills that it becomes less about impact than extreme intimacy. As Hadreas murmurs pleas for someone to describe the sounds he can no longer hear and the lover he can’t see, the music feels like an exercise in devotional attention. LS

Stadium-size sound … Biffy Clyro
Stadium-size sound … Biffy Clyro Photograph: –

Biffy Clyro – Instant History

There is a cruel unspoken rule in pop, more profound than any Spotify recommendation algorithm, which is that, after a certain point – say, four albums or so – your hits have to be twice as good to make the same impact they once did. It’s a problem facing Biffy Clyro, who are gearing up to release their first album in four years: can they maintain the momentum that took the last two to No 1? Instant History needs to be extra massive to do so, and it is. Simon Neil’s voice hovers as ever between the Hebrides and North America, as spacey arena rock gradually builds to stadium size, reaching a hollered chorus underpinned with the kind of bright accompanying melody that took Linkin Park’s Numb to similarly big stages. BBT

Yves Tumor – Gospel for a New Century

Kicking off the rather mysterious US alt-pop artist’s new record, Heaven to a Tortured Mind (out in April and unmissably brilliant), is this anthemic track that ties together a number of its touchstones. The squalling brass fanfares announce the maximally sensual multitracking, while the vocals suggest the delicate lasciviousness of Prince done like a yowling cock-rock star, maybe with a touch of Andre 3000 in She Lives in My Lap mode. But Tumor is one of those artists who you, ultimately, can’t pin down – as unclassifiable as the horned beast they strut around as in the song’s video – and that remains all too rare in a music industry given to parcelling up rather than unboxing. BBT

Code Orange – Swallowing the Rabbit Whole

Anyone who once fancied themselves a dab hand at Guitar Hero will lust once more for the plastic axe on hearing this new one from the Grammy-nominated Pittsburgh punk/metalcore band. The stuttering chopped-up rhythms of Swallowing the Rabbit Whole make it music played on the hardest setting, and this is one of those occasions when technically dazzling musicianship really lifts the material rather than being just an excuse to show off. By mangling time signatures so that the very notion of time is thrown into chaos, they conjure a truly unholy kind of funk, which is then thrillingly obliterated with all the usual heavy-musical business of chugging riffs and roaring about death, anger, compromise and catharsis. A workout for your brain as well as the headbanging head around it. BBT

An unholy kind of funk … Code Orange.
An unholy kind of funk … Code Orange. Photograph: Atlantic Records

Maurice Fulton & Peggy Gou – Jigoo

A combination to instantly animate the salivary glands of any dance music fan. Peggy Gou is the glamorous, apolitical Instagram darling whose disco-house tracks Starry Night and It Makes You Forget (Itgehane) have been the definitive early-evening anthems of the last couple of years. Maurice Fulton is the journeyman genius behind projects such as Syclops, Mu and Boof, and Róisín Murphy’s recent return to the dancefloor. Together, they’ve made an uptempo house anthem with an organ melody – gorgeously muffled with analogue lo-fidelity – that is destined to be chanted by lads in bucket hats on their pals’ shoulders throughout the Dark Fruits months ahead. BBT

Minor Science – Blue Deal

One of the most good-natured, witty and immaculately designed electronic albums this year moves on to the horizon: the debut from British producer Minor Science, announced for 3 April. You may be familiar with him from a string of tracks released on the Whities label – ravey studies in bass engineering featuring the kind of high-end synth programming you hear in Kraftwerk’s live show – as well as his DJ sets. From behind nerdish glasses, you half expected him to start improbably twerking for his Boiler Room set, filled as it was with Nicki Minaj, Clipse, Ragga Twins and tons of Afro-Latin rhythms. New track Blue Deal romps in the same spacious jungle gym as Raime or Beatrice Dillon, with his signature wordless vocal samples dotted around adorably polite breakbeats. BBT

Jockstrap – Acid

Some language or other probably has the perfect word for the inability to get anything done unless you’ve got far too much on your plate. I suspect Jockstrap can relate. Since releasing their debut single in 2017, the duo have played with Dean Blunt and Ethan P Flynn; Taylor Skye has released two solo EPs, while Georgia Ellery has played violin as a member of Black Country New Road and for Goat Girl, and taken a starring role in the Bafta-winning film Bait. Now they’re back with a new EP – their first release for Warp – and a lead single that speaks to an equally voracious creative mindset. Acid warps the innocence of a music-hall waltz, breaking its dreamy flow with glitchy washes that tumble down like pixellated blossom and lingering moments of decay. Conveniently, it’s also everything you wanted from that lacklustre Avalanches comeback that landed this month. LS

Thermic energy … Frazey Ford.
Thermic energy … Frazey Ford. Photograph: Alana Paterson

Frazey Ford – Golden

The high point of Ford’s album U Kin B the Sun and the seeming source of its solar glow: thermic energy seems to swell from it. This is like a gospel hymn to get the kids eager for church on Sunday, complete with funky vicar disco licks on guitar, organ vamping and choral backing vocals, but its existential message to simply love yourself goes way beyond religion. “It’s high time you lighten up your head,” she beseeches in quivering vibrato. “Get wrung out and tell your tale.” It’s the evangelist fervour of a woman who has realised how insignificant life’s problems are, and wants those she loves to be similarly enlightened: “I be a drop in the sea and the swell,” she concludes. BBT


Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes

The GuardianTramp

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