A new weekly feature in which our writers share their favourite tracks of the week.
The Weeknd – ‘House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls’ (Chosen by Adam Lacey)
R’n’B hasn’t been this disturbing since R. Kelly turned up at my 14-year-old cousin’s birthday party uninvited, having consumed two litres of Capri Sun and seeking some ‘private time’ with the birthday girl. The sex-heavy genre is currently being given a new lease of life by How to Dress Well et al but The Weeknd’s falsetto-voiced creep, Abel Tesfaye, takes it to new levels with this double-headed (ahem) groover whose pulsating beat probably reflects the depravity of Tesfaye’s sexual/narcotic exploits.
With a sound that could be oOoOO feeding Cash Money and D’Angelo records through Times New Viking’s equipment, this is music to grind to but then deny said grinding if grilled in public. Check out that pitch-shifted ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ line. Shudder.
John Grant – ‘Queen of Denmark (Chosen by Niall Crumlish)
For me, as has been the case at any point in the last four months, my track of the week could have been any from John Grant’s Queen of Denmark. A couple of weeks ago I sat with my wife on the floor by the stage in a club in Paris, five feet from Grant, as the liquid, bitter, mellifluous tones of ‘Queen of Denmark’ tripped off his tongue. I wanted nothing more than for the song to go on, and on, and on, and, as is the case every time this song comes on, everything was in its right place.
Hipster Youth – ‘Where (n) Meets Infinity’ (chosen by Daniel Harrison)
Throwing something of a curveball after last year’s chiptune-tinged album Teenage Elders, this new track is still electronically-based but has a completely different vibe. The first minute or so sounds like it’s being transmitted from some unholy vortex or echo chamber, infused with squall and fuzz – this gives way to a trippy, lo-fi electronic groove with muffled, displaced-sounding vocals. Delirious, inventive and infectious.
The Heathens – ‘Changing Ways’ (Chosen by John Balfe)
Blow the dust off this one and file it under ‘what might have been’. The Heathens formed in Dublin in 2006, played a handful of gigs, recorded an EP and then promptly split up. Their music, should you have ever seen them play live, was a volatile mix of blues and rock ‘n’ roll, all swimming around a thumping rhythm section. Fronted by the Beefheart-voiced sneer of Conor McKenna (a barrister now, apparently), The Heathens instantly stood out from their unsigned peers but flew too far under the radar to make any sort of significant impact in their all-too-brief lifespan. Enjoy this; unfortunately you’ll be one of the few to have heard it.
Margo Guryan – ‘Sunday Morning’ (Chosen by Ciaran Gaynor McCoy)
When the sun breaks out from behind the clouds I find myself returning to the soothing voice of Margo Guryan, a native New Yorker whose late 60s output was equally influenced by Californian soft-pop and jazz. Guryan has since turned her attention to music teaching and students of composition could do worse than listen to Sunday Morning – the opening track on her 1968 album Take A Picture – which is a masterclass in itself.