On The Radar: Florence + The Machine, East India Youth, Joey Bada$$, HONNE & Courtney Barnett

Music Editor ‘s five picks of the week

otr banner 5 After a short break, our On The Radar feature returns with 5 more musical nuggets that we’ve unearthed for you this week. It sees the return of Florence Welch in all her shouty, emotive glory, the second single from William Doyle’s (alias East India Youth) hugely anticipated follow-up to last year’s Mercury-nominated debut, and a retro neo-punk gem from promising up-and-comer Courtney Barnett.

Florence + The Machine – What Kind of Man

‘What Kind Of Man’ extends Florence’s penchant for indefinite warbling and the Machine’s for making lots of loud drum noises. It’s angsty, confident and will satisfy her legion of die hard fans. Yet her only nod towards any respect of sonic or stylistic evolution is to add some horns into the mix. As a follow up to last lead single ‘What The Water Gave Me’, it’s disappointingly lacklustre. ‘What The Water Gave Me’ in turn was a lesser lead single to its predecessor ‘Kiss With A Fist’. This isn’t to say that Florence’s shelf life is depreciating at any rapid pace – at three albums in she’ll likely headline with plenty of gusto half of the UK’s medium sized festivals this summer. Yet in spite of a strong enough effort here, her brash, art-rock charms feel a touch on the wane.

East India Youth – TURN AWAY

This week’s undisputed best of the bunch, East India Youth fans were still recovering from the aftershock of momentous lead single CAROUSEL when they were last night treated to another sublime, soaring beauty from 24 year old electronic maestro Doyle. TURN AWAY takes all the best dynamics from 2014’s Total Strife Forever – the gut-wrenching melodies, densely composed synths and inspired use of space – and brings to them a new cohesion and concerted sense of direction. Sophomore record Culture of Volume is released in April 6. Set the date. It’s going to be magnificent.

Joey Bada$$ – Like Me ft. BJ the Chicago Kid

The latest single from Brooklyn-based Joey’s January debut B4.BA.$$ (dollar signs mandatory) is a loosely produced, level-headed record that won’t put a stopper in the influx of comparisons to fellow New York rap legends Notorious B.I.G and Nas. The assured lyricism and flow on ‘Like Me’ questions why it is that Joey has consistently been overshadowed by rap contemporary Kendrick Lamar; the latter surely composes the better hooks and offers the stronger sense of innovation in the hip-hop genre, but Joey’s observations and understated delivery are embedded in a much larger and more earthly rap heritage, which he himself is working to further. He currently lacks the big numbers and slick styling of Kendrick, but there’s a surplus of promise on show.

HONNE – All In The Value

Don’t throw HONNE onto the mounting pile of classic future-soul and forget about them just yet – the music of the London-based duo is well worth setting aside. Their debut is slated for November, so there’s plenty of time for the guys to generate the kind of hype that surrounded releases by sonic bedfellows Frank Ocean and Sampha. Conversely, their challenge could be keeping up interest for such a length of time, such is the subtlety and reservedness of their sound. ‘All In The Value’ sets a promising precedent though – it scores just the right balance of funk and flair to carve out a distinguishable niche.

Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian At Best

A close runner up to East India Youth for pick of the week, emerging new talent Courtney Barnett nails it perfectly with this Blur-esque spoken word sensation that has garnered her the support of Zane Lowe and a whole load of industry tastemakers. Her Australian twang introduces just the right flavour of sharpness to this artfully frayed alt-punk number; check out her track ‘Avant Gardener’ to sample more of her brilliantly weighed nonchalant rock. She’s already found her way onto a host of UK festival lineups including Green Man and Pitchfork. You won’t be escaping her for long.

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