Nothing worth having in life comes easily. That’s probably the reason that Latest // Greatest No.16 was so difficult to pull together and yet so rewarding now that it’s finished.
After a long search with plenty of mis-direction, I’m finally in a great place with this edition…
I always think my latest Latest // Greatest is the greatest (and your most recent work should always be your favourite, or what’s the point) but this one surprised me by eschewing a sun-soaked summer vibe for this mid-summer edition.
It’s all the stronger for it. I’d expected July to send bright, bubbly pop and indie my way but I’m presenting a much deeper collection of tracks than your typical summer playlist.
Moses Sumney (my designated headliner) and Rhye, both just dropped new tracks in their distinctly un-seasonal but irresistibly beautiful styles. Angelic melancholy is the name of the game but by some coincidence (aka algorithm) they’re in marvellous company thanks to Active Child’s gloriously symphonic Cruel World.
In a similar column but with a little more tempo there’s Dutch duo, Klyne, closing the show with Water Flow; Swedish crooner, Sanne, contributing some lounge with I Went To The Jungle and Nick Hakim, adding his deep, earthy soul with three songs from his ‘Green Twins’ album. Pitchfork recently put the album in the spotlight with it’s Overlooked Albums 2017 feature last week.
Dua Lipa, Ronika and Phoenix were all represented here until a few days ago when I wasn’t feeling their sentiment so much anymore. I’d either overplayed their tracks or they just never really stuck with me, so I threw ’em out to see what else it’d make way for; then some timely new releases and suggestions eventually came my way.
The mysterious H.E.R. (finally) kept my attention with tracks from her second LP. And Tawiah, a vocalist and songwriter I first heard on tour with The Cinematic Orchestra a couple of years ago (with Moses Sumney as it happens), also just dropped a lush LP full of sparse, edgy alt-R&B that carves deserving space in this setlist.
A nice surprise was newcomer Charlotte Dos Santos who sounds eerily akin to soul legend Minnie Riperton. If I heard some of these tracks in a cafe I’d assume it was a recently unearthed studio album from the early seventies. Beautiful, and about as sun-kissed as this edition gets.
That said, Ric Wilson brings a beach bar party atmosphere courtesy of Hang Loose. And new finds Clea Vincent and Pierre Kwenders both contribute some cool breeze with their chic French lounge grooves.
Guess who else has a new album? TLC! That’s right, after teasing a number of tracks, T-Boz and Chilli released their eponymous, Kickstarter-funded farewell album… to some acclaim as it happens. There are plenty of big tracks on that LP but I chose Start a Fire for its easy fit with the overall vibe of the selection in Latest // Greatest No.16.
It’s a similar story for Young Thug who released new album, ‘Beautiful Thugger Girls’ recently. There’s plenty of boisterous beats to pick from (though fewer than on his previous) but I picked old skool joint Get High for its easy assimilation into the deeper textures of this month’s mix.
One of the few survivors the draft I discussed here, is Sylvan Esso. They were the only act representing a more clubby ethos (albeit with a heavy dose of folk in some cases!) until I came across two more new – and to me quite exciting – acts…
Yaeji offers up sparse, deep house that makes me wanna bounce and melt at the same time. Whilst Denitia and Sene offer a similar electronic minimalism but combine their dance floor appeal with moody take on the R&B… kinda like Syd. Kinda like ABRA. Yaeji and Denitia and Sene both have two or three moments on this playlist and it’s all the better for each of them.
I considered holding off the ‘make public’ button to wait for Haim’s new LP, ‘Something To Tell You’, but by the time the Friday release came around there wasn’t room in my 30 track bundle, so tight was the selection. So Haim can wait for No.17, along with Toro Y Moi and whomever else might begin to whet my musical appetite in July and August.
Until then, enjoy the hot mess!