1. You all know Alex Clare. Even if you don’t, you do. His track “Too Close” featured on Microsoft’s adverts for Internet Explorer 9 which were absolutely everywhere in 2012. Its blend of dubstep and blue-eyed soul were admittedly infectious, even to a noted dubstep denier like myself. 

    Alas even with the electronics and wub-wub-wubs pared back on his second album Three Hearts, it sounds no less like music for adverts. Outside of the brass-assisted pop stomp of opening track “Never Let You Go”, there’s nothing to convince me otherwise that this album isn’t a 40-something minute long soundtrack for a car commercial. Even when switching up styles, as on the bluesy ballad of a title track feels too cold and slick to really elicit any real emotion, and the less said about the woeful cover of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted To Love” tacked on as a last track, the better.

    Essentially the electronic elements grafted onto Clare’s sound, whether they’re pronounced or not, mask the fact that at it’s core, Three Hearts is a contemporary Simply Red album. He may have a fantastic voice, but it rings hollow when it’s connected to such glossy, anodyne music.

  2. Listen: Childish Gambino - Candler Road: The first track from CG’s upcoming mixtape STNMTN/KAUAI (although it actually popped up a few days before the announcement), “Candler Road” reflects what you imagine will be the two-sided nature tape; the production in first half sounds a lot like Drake - Bino’s flow even sounds pretty similar - before transferring into a more traditional Gambino sound, with a hazy Beach House-esque beat from longtime collaborator Ludwig Goransson. It’s clear Glover is still searching for his true musical voice, but he’s definitely on the right track.

  3. Listen: Foreign/National - Life Tourist: A gloriously sunny slice of indie balladry. It’s like vintage MGMT, back when they knew how to write pop songs. The Australian quintet’s debut EP, Downtime, is out next month, and if the rest of it is anything like “Life Tourist”, it’ll be a melodic treat.

  4. Listen: Gorgeous Children - Howedoit: A chilled but slick, meticulously-built beat drives this latest offering from the Denver-Seattle duo, who feature on Rustie’s upcoming second album Green Language. Those insistent bells, horns and glass dings behind Face Vega’s bars are highly reminiscent of Gold Panda and a world away from the groups 2013 EP, ICE.

  5. Listen: Max Taylor - Summer Job: The summer of 2014 may be slowly coming to an end, so what better way to wrap it up than with this bittersweet piano ballad, anode to a time of earning your first wages in those warmest of months. The androgyny of Taylor’s voice makes this truly special.

  6. Album: The Holy Bible
    Artist: Manic Street Preachers
    Song: IfWhiteAmericaToldTheTruthForOneDayIt'sWorldWouldFallApart
    Plays: 214

    Song Of The Day
    Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the release of Manic Street Preachers’ classic The Holy Bible. A brutal, complex, dark, fiercely intelligent gut-punch of a record, The Holy Bible was the band’s last release before the disappearance of lyricist Richey Edwards in 1995, and serves as a monument to Edwards’ writing. It is widely considered to be the Manics’ masterpiece.