The festive period has been and gone. The summer seems so far away. Not to worry though, as here at the Panoptic, we are striding forth into 2018 with a blind optimism. We'd like to invite you to join up with us on our own individual musical journeys. This week, we're treating you to a touch of Jorja Smith; a smattering of Mansionair and a large dollop of Jeff Rosenstock. Enjoy!
Follow our Singles of the Week here.
Shingi Mararike, ‘Let Me Down’ by Jorja Smith feat. Stormzy
Jorja Smith is fast becoming one of Britain’s premier R&B vocalists, with her sultry style already endorsed by Canadian rap superstar Drake, who featured her on his More Life playlist.
This year, Smith will hope to ride the pop culture wave sweeping Britain’s urban music scene to truly break into the mainstream. For her latest single: ‘Let Me Down,’ she’s teamed up with a collaborator who managed to do just that last year in Stormzy.
Very different in tempo to her hit Preditah collaboration from last year: ‘On My Mind’ the track is a soul-baring missive to a lover in which she lays haunting vocals over some keys, before the the drums kick in and the Stormzy begins his verse.
The song’s simple texture makes it an engrossing listen, and sets the tone nicely for what should be a huge 2018 for the singer from Walsall.
EJ Oakley, ‘9/10’ by Jeff Rosenstock
Canada’s beloved one-man-band never stops cranking out the hits, and 2018 received its first notable release with a surprise drop of Jeff Rosenstock’s new album, POST-. An ode to almost every type of anxiety in the modern age, much like most of Rosenstock’s other painfully hard-hitting output, ‘9/10’ sees him tackle that much-reviled feeling of being stuck in a rut so deep that the sky is just a thin blue line above you. “Every little victory doesn’t matter if nobody seems to care,” he sings, against a much lower-tempo beat than the rest of the album, which doesn’t beat your weary brain into submission so much as it frog-marches you to resignation. Even the tinny, 80s-era synths that hold up the song seem tired; something that you’d hear played at a school Battle of the Bands, rather than the fourth studio album of a genre-defying musician. But the song is hardly worse off for it – its shambling despondency and eventual build-up to an almost triumphant chorus is all the more illustrative of our great modern condition.
Brooklyn Jones, ‘Astronaut – Something About Your Love’ by Mansionair
I recently discovered Mansionair thanks to the omnipotent leaders of Spotify, and boy am I glad I did. The Australian synth-pop trio’s style perfectly compliments the vocals of lead singer Jack Froggatt. It’s rare that I find a track within this genre that I listen to this much, outside of the work of Clean Bandit, but it really is excellent. The production, developed by Lachlan Bostock (guitarist) and Alex Nicholls (drummer) is complete artistry, and the lyricism are an equal match. I mean, when was the last time you heard a lyric like “Right now, I’m feeling like an astronaut/I’m fading to the thought of coming back to you”??
If you’re a fan of CHVRCHES or London Grammar, this track is for you.
Freddie Metherell, ‘Party Here’ by Octavian
Octavian is a new face to add to the already bustling UK grime scene. Originally from France and then raised in South London, crossing cultures and ideas comes naturally to him. In his latest release ‘Party Here’, the lyrics are intense and egotistical but laboredly melodic in their delivery, making the vocals almost a halfway house between the predominant styles of the US and UK. The instrumental that backs up the vocals is stripped back and minimalistic. There is however a strong bass line running throughout that brings a dancehall and garage touch. This song feels beguilingly fresh and is perhaps a nod to the future of grime, as we enter this new year.
Image: FAMM records