Weekend Listening: The Strokes, Heems, Harmony

JODY MACGREGOR picks out the best bits of music this week, from The Strokes’ surprising new direction to the harmonies of Harmony.

But the gun has no trigger

Julian Casablancas’ synth-heavy solo album Phrazes For the Young might have had an influence on the sound The Strokes have taken on their latest song. ‘One Way Trigger’ is the first we’ve heard of them since Angles and it’s similarly strong on that dominating synth line, but it’s also got Casablancas singing in an atypical falsetto. Taken together, it’s a bit reminiscent of ‘Take On Me’ by A-Ha.

He’ll huff and he’ll puff

It’s a shame that stoner rap kings Das Racist broke up, but even before that was official we had solo material like Heems’ mixtapes to keep us going. ‘Soup Boys’ comes from his last one, Wild Water Kingdom, and it mixes his usual drugged-out flow with a little bit of politics: “I’m getting stoned at my parents’ house/White boys throwing stone at my parents’ house.”

Not the Harmony of “Bone Thugs” fame

For the first few seconds you hear them Harmony might seem to be misnamed. But then the howling of Tom Lyngcoln (formerly of The Nation Blue) is joined by the counterpoint of Amanda Roff, Quinn Veldhuis and Maria Kastaniotis and suddenly all is clear. ‘Do Me a Favour’ is their new single, available as a limited-edition 7-inch.

No relation to Ellie

Folk singer Fionn Regan has a voice that sounds out of time, which is why he gets called “our generation’s Bob Dylan” so often. It makes a perfect kind of sense to hear that voice being played in the woods somewhere, dog barking in the background, acoustic guitar echoing through the trees. This one’s called ‘The Gouldings’ and it’s from his forthcoming album The Bunkhouse Vol I: Anchor Black Tattoo.

The train of shame is faster, and it rhymes

Soul nine-piece Clairy Browne & the Bangin’ Rackettes have recorded this for their half of a split 7-inch, with the other side provide by Saskwatch. ‘Walk of Shame’ shuffles along just like an early-morning stumble home, accompanied by horns and those shakalaka girl-group close harmonies, until Clairy Browne hits a full James Brown stride right at the end. It’s got stiff competition for “best song about doing a walk of shame” from The Like, though.