The Radio Dept., “We Got Game” (Labrador Records, 10/7/2016)
Sweden’s The Radio Dept. have made a habit, over the years, of moving between jangly dream-pop and more clubby, synthesized vibes. Where “This Repeated Sodomy”, a track released earlier this year, fell into the former category their latest, “We Got Game”, finds both feet firmly jacking in the latter.
“We Got Game”, with its lustrous synths and four-on-the-floor beat, is the sound of Kevin Saunderson (his Inner City project’s classic 1988 album, “Big Fun”, seems much in evidence from the opening bars) producing Technique or Fox Base Alpha. Vocalist Johan Duncanson’s quiet, world-weary voice belies the impatient tone of the lyrics – a rallying cry from the politically and socioeconomically disaffected, taking back from “the overfed” and dissatisfied with talk of a “middle ground” that is too often merely a code word for “maybe next year”.
“We Got Game” is released October 7, and will also feature on The Radio Dept.’s forthcoming long-player, “Running Out of Love”, due October 21 from Labrador (preorder here). Follow along with the band’s doings on fbook and the twitt, and catch them in early 2017 on a (rare) tour that will hit the EU/UK in January and the North America beginning in February.
Pheeyownah, zero9zero9 EP (Labrador, 6/10/16)
Great new soul/r&b/pop from Pheeyownah, a Stockholm, Sweden-based singer and multi-instrumentalist.
She’s also an artist and dancer, and movement, atmosphere and expression is everywhere in evidence on her new ep, zero9zero9. Synthesized melodies swirl and sway betwixt and between multi-tracked vocals and churning rhythms in a manner similar, in style and tone, to Fade to Mind crew standout Kelela and other modern soul artists like Sza. Where those artists have a foot in both psychotropic “modern r&b” stylings and 80s/90s throwback rhythms (Janet Jackson, vocally, often seems a particular influence), Pheeyownah also folds in trip hop’s hypnotic, liquid soul and rhythmic ominousness – early Bjork (highlight “Mountain Peak, Sea Deep”, in particular, seems unearthed from a Nellie Hooper vault), bands like Massive Attack, GusGus and Lamb cast long shadows.
Be not afeared – this is a good thing. Senses are worked overtime across the ep’s four tracks, while there’s even a hint of a dancefloor banger unfurling in the insistent closer, “Cold Black Deserts”. Three of these tracks look to have been self-released previously on the Under the Dock ep, but have now been repackaged by fantastic Swedish label Labrador; hopefully, they’ll reach a wider audience.
zero9zero9 is out now. Check out more about Pheeyownah on fbook and her site. You can also find her prior, self-relead eps, on iTunes (“Pretty Lights”, from 2012’s City ep, is well worth a listen for a glimpse of a lighter side to her musical persona).