Weekend Listening: Lorde, Bloc Party, Stolen Violin

JODY MACGREGOR picks out the best bits of music this week, from Lorde’s teenage insouciance to Bloc Party’s rowdy collapse.

Advantage, Lorde

Lorde may sound a bit like Lana Del Rey (when she’s singing “I’ll be the beauty queen in tears/it’s a new artform, showing people how little we care” it sounds like she’s anticipating that comparison), but ‘Tennis Court’ is coming from a different place. Her world-weariness is only just starting to replace naivete. Lorde’s young enough to sing about getting on a plane for the first time. “But my head’s filling up fast with wicked games, up in flames,” is how she follows it and although but the music’s dark and threatening I hope she holds onto that callowness long enough to fill a debut album with songs like this.

…And Clank

There is a new Bloc Party song and if you can get over your complicated feelings about the slow-motion collapse of the band for three minutes it is worth doing that. Then you’ll be able to focus on the woozily echoing guitar and Kele’s rowdy yelp as he tries to reclaim the word ‘ratchet’ from Azealia Banks.

Madness and violins

One of the fellows from The Middle East (late and lamented) is doing his own thing as Stolen Violin and it sounds like this. ‘New Amnesia Skies’ is constructed from very distinct guitars, one doing the insistent strumming thing while the other occasionally breaks off to squeal in the distance, as well as two vocal lines, one of them constantly threatening to get emotional and the other barely there. It’s a bipolar thing that walks a careful balance between lo-fi rock and singer-songwriter territory, and does it well.

Kerou wack

So that’s what him from The Middle East is doing now. Here’s what Ellery James Roberts from Wu Lyf (also late, also lamented) is doing now. ‘Kerou’s Lament’ has one of those incredible build-ups, slowly becoming a shakey, powerful anthem worthy of Springsteen. Then it pulls back and repeats the same trick. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me two or three times and we’re all good though.

This monkey’s gone to gabba

There’s a new Pixies song out today and yet I keep listening to ‘Low’ by TRAAMS instead. It hits that same sweet spot of lackadaisical anger, alternate shouting and drawling, while also combining it with a healthy dose of swagger jacked from the Ramones.