The remarkable renaissance of shoegaze pioneers Slowdive is improbable and reasonable, all at the same time. Improbable because it’s not common that a relatively obscure band from the 90’s returns to the stage bigger than ever, captivating a completely new generation of listeners. Reasonable because there is an eternal, youthful quality in the dreamy, reverb-drenched noise that provides the settings for the enigmatic interplay between the quiet voices of Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell.
Distorted guitars and perfect melodies have always constituted the recipe for power pop, but it’s been decades since anyone reimagined the genre with the same grace and genius as Alvvays. The dynamic give-and-take between the controlled noise of guitarist Alec O’Hanley and the precision of singer-songwriter Molly Rankin’s storytelling spawns a world that is equally harmonious and troubling.
There is something undeniably French about L’imperatrice and their sleek reinterpretation of space disco and funk. With one foot firmly rooted in the present and the other in the 70s, the Parisian six-piece creates a retrofuturstic fusion that is cool, psychedelic and perhaps most of all, compellingly groovy. L’impératrice started as an instrumental-only outfit, but after adding passionately alienated vocalist Flore Benguigui, their horizon expanded even wider.
After spending the last few years experimenting with everything from R&B, dance, industrial, reggae and trap on her EP trilogy ‘Last Year Was Weird’, the time had come for Tkay Maidza to channel all this eclecticism into a single album. That album is called ‘Sweet Justice’ (2023) and it’s just as diverse, accomplished and ambitious as one could hope for. The music is bold, determined and multilayered and the wordplay of the Australian-Zimbabwean artist is deadly as she effortlessly hops between genres.
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