Charles Bradley - The World

This week, Twitter announced that they would be increasing their character limit from 140 to 280 – testing it out with select accounts before rolling it out to everyone. Which means double the characters for top Twitter bants, but also double the characters for Trump to spout his usual 3AM nonsense, driving us ever closer to a full-blown nuclear apocalypse. Which is a fun thought.

But until that happens, we power through as usual. So, here are five things you should be listening to this weekend.

Chance the Rapper – First World Problems (Feat. Daniel Caesar)

Earlier this week, Chance the Rapper was a guest on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and debuted a brand-new song while he was there. The track, which was untitled at the time, had apparently been written over the course of the previous weekend, which is pretty impressive. It showcases Chance’s more laid-back, thoughtful side, and sees Daniel Caesar providing backing vocals.

Charles Bradley – The World (Is Going Up In Flames)

Last weekend, Charles Bradley passed away at the age of 68. He was an immensely talented singer, and I’ve always found the story of how he came to fame a fascinating one – proper rags to riches tale. Definitely worth reading up on, if you haven’t already. Also, go back and listen to his albums, they’re all fantastic. I struggled to decide which of his songs to include on here, but eventually settled on this classic. Enjoy.

Jordan Rakei – Nerve

Last week saw the release of Jordan Rakei‘s latest album, Wallflower. Nerve was the first single to be released from this record, and sets the tone nicely. Jordan has an absolutely fantastic voice, backed up by equally impressive arrangements throughout the album.

Moses Sumney – Lonely World

Last week, Moses Sumney released his debut album, Aromanticism – a soulful, melancholic record. The complex, multi-layered album takes you on a journey, with new elements uncovered with each listen – definitely the sort of thing you’ll want to listen back to again and again. The chilling, atmospheric Lonely World is a good example of what to expect. And depending on where you work, and your own sensibilities, the video may or may not be safe for work.

Kamasi Washington – Desire

We’re rounding things off this week with Desire from Kamasi Washington, who just released his latest EP. Harmony of Difference follows on from Kamasi’s huge 2015 triple-LP The Epic, and is just as intriguing. Desire, the opening track, is a smooth, laid-back piece, which eases you in gently to the rest of the record.

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mr jukes charles bradley

This week, the BBC released the details of their top earners, leaving people asking a number of big questions. Questions like why is there still such a big pay gap between men and women? And how can Chris Evans earn over £2.2 million a year and still dress like a dad who got lost in the Matalan summer sale?

There was also a lot of excellent new music released, which is what you’re here for. Here are 5 things you should be listening to this weekend.

Mura Masa – NOTHING ELSE! (Feat. Jamie Lidell)

Last week saw Mura Masa finally release his self-titled debut album. After making a name for himself working with everyone from Nao and Charlie XCX to A$AP Rocky and Desiigner, I had high hopes for this album, and it didn’t disappoint. This is a record you’ll find yourself listening to over and over again. NOTHING ELSE! brings in Jamie Lidell on vocals and is an instant hit for me.

Mr Jukes – Grant Green (Feat. Charles Bradley)

Former Bombay Bicycle Club frontman Jack Steadman has clearly been keeping busy since the group disbanded last year. He’s reinvented himself as Mr Jukes and just released his debut album, God First. The album, which features guest spots from BJ The Chicago Kid, Lianne La Havas, De La Soul and more, is a big leap from his old sound, but a welcome one. Grant Green is an early favourite track for me, thanks in part to a fantastic feature from Charles Bradley.

Chance the Rapper & Young Thug – Big B’s

Nothing to see here, just two of the most popular and innovative rappers of recent years on a single-handed mission to save SoundCloud. As rumours surrounding the supposedly imminent collapse of the music platform flooded the internet, Chance the Rapper and Young Thug decided to drop a new track, Big B’s, exclusively on SoundCloud. Really, they’re too good to us.

Arcade Fire – Electric Blue

More new Arcade Fire goodness next. Electric Blue is the latest release from their upcoming new album, Everything Now. The band described the song as “either a gorgeous celebration of longing or a swirling aural hangover cure. If you, the journalist, need something specific to say about it, try something like, “It’s the sound of Arcade Fire at the dawn of something new, gorgeously unsure if they’re ready for morning to come.” So, that’s that then.

GoldLink – Roses (Feat. Hare Squead & Masego)

Earlier this week, GoldLink stopped by Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 show to take part in “Piano Sessions”. While he was there he performed a cover of OutKast classic, Roses, with a little help from Masego and Hare Squead. Showcasing his talent and versatility, GoldLink jumps from rapping to singing with complete ease, giving us his best André 3000 impression.

 

Finally, for some reason Sisqo has decided to remake Thong Song after 18 years. It’s completely unnecessary and sounds exactly how you’d imagine a 2017 version of Thong Song would count, but for some reason I can’t stop listening to it. Enjoy.

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Last week I was lucky enough to return to Glastonbury festival for the fourth time. Every year, when those of us lucky enough to be able to attend are preparing ourselves, the internet is awash with all manner of articles discussing the pros and cons of the festival. While many of these are well researched articles, many are, unfortunately, written by people who have either never attended, or have attended but had their memories tainted by a bad experience.

Now I’m no expert on Glastonbury, not by a long shot, but I thought I would write a post talking about my experiences there – partly to give you an idea of why I truly believe Glastonbury is the greatest festival around, but also because maybe if I keep thinking, talking, and writing about it, the cruel reality that there is a year to wait before the next one won’t properly sink in.

That makes sense, right?!

 

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So first things first, the rain.

Yes, sometimes it rains at Glastonbury, it’s a festival based in the UK after all. The first Glastonbury I attended, back in 2010, was unseasonably hot and dry, but each year since then has seen at least a little bit of rain. I get the impression however that this year; the extent of the bad weather has been massively overhyped by the media.

Out of the 5 full days we spent in Glastonbury, only once did we get caught out in the rain, on the West Holts Stage during the Daptone Super Soul Revue. We got a bit damp but did we whinge and moan about it? No, we put our hoods up, got a bit wet and enjoyed ourselves anyway.

The other times it rained we either went into a tent to see one of the acts on under shelter, or we got under our gazebo. Some of my fondest memories of this year’s festival took place under that simple gazebo – we would lower the roof, huddle together and let the fun times roll.

When it wasn’t raining, it was hot and sunny, so the sporadic rain didn’t dampen our spirits at all.

As for music, you truly are spoilt for choice at Glastonbury – there really is something for everyone. My personal approach is not to try and structure my time there by telling myself I have to see certain bands. Instead, I just tend to wander around between main acts, watching whoever it is that I happen to stumble across.

My only musical disappointment from the festival was the fact that Chromeo had to cancel due to illness, and were replaced by Twin Atlantic, who I have zero time for.

My list of musical highlights, on the other hand, is so long I could be here all day: De La Soul, Arcade Fire, Disclosure, Black Keys, Charles Bradley, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Paolo Nutini, Little Dragon – the list goes on and on.

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Glastonbury goes so much further than just music though, and for me, that’s the main appeal. From the moment you arrive until the moment you leave, you are subject to a full frontal assault on each of your senses.

To truly enjoy the festival for what it is and have the best possible time, you need to completely immerse yourself in the entire experience, soaking up everything it has to offer. Go and watch an unknown band or DJ in a random tent, wander around the Healing Fields and chat to some friendly hippies, watch the sun rise from the Stone Circle, buy something unusual and delicious from one of the endless food stalls, dance till you can’t stand – do whatever you want, just do it with positive vibes and you’re guaranteed to have a great time!

Leave your inhibitions at home, they have no place here.

I wish I could write a play by play account of my time in Glastonbury, but my memories are understandably hazy. So I’ll just list a few that stand out in my mind instead:

  • Taking a moment to remember the poor, unfortunate chairs that failed the Captain’s test, you will be missed
  • Getting up to all sorts of shenanigans underneath the gazebo
  • Wandering around in “the hate suit”, and chatting to complete strangers
  • Dancing the night away in The Lounge
  • Sunday night’s “Liquidation Sale” – EVERYTHING MUST GO!
  • Crowning the 2014 “King of the Hill”, after an impressive 2pm return from the Stone Circle
  • Witnessing Cooper’s personal hell in Shangri-La

After 5 solid days and nights off the grid, I made my solemn return to reality, a broken, empty shell of a man. I was tired, unwashed, my blisters had blisters, and I’m still pretty sure I caught trench foot. But you know what; I wouldn’t change a single thing.

There is honestly something magical about Glastonbury, and I couldn’t have picked a better bunch of people to enjoy it with! (You all know who you are, you bunch of reprobates)

I think the best way to sum up Glastonbury is to pinch a quote from the late, great Hunter S Thompson…

“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.”

Roll on Glastonbury 2015!

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