I didn't realise Neneh Cherry was still making music but indeed she is, with a fine new track appearing on the radar.
Cherry has teamed up with the Scandinavian experimental jazz trio The Thing to record an album, imaginatively titled The Cherry Thing, arriving in June. It features original compositions as well as covers of the likes of the Stooges, Ornette Coleman, Martina Topley-Bird and MF Doom. The track released last week is a cover of Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream" – streaming at snd.sc/HAsMkz. It's difficult to surpass Suicide's majestic original but Cherry and co make a good stab at it, with the original's metallic burr replaced by rhythmic jazz tones and skronking sax, and Alan Vega's nervy vocals swapped for Cherry's lowdown vocal croak.
In the Meantime, some Warped pop
London producer/singer Kwes has dropped another song from his soon-to-be-released debut for Warp, the Meantime EP. The song "Igoyh" is impressive; hard to categorise, multifaceted pop. It kicks off with spare, downbeat vocals, not dissimilar to James Blake, then slowly expands in multiple directions with a piano and a beautiful glockenspiel melody. Sonic effects kick in, followed by a pounding guitar-like noise, with more divergent sounds piling in after that. Find it at youtu.be/KM4Ms0A6BGo.
A big hand for the Miami nice effect
Last week's edition of NPR's excellent music podcast All Songs Considered alerted me to a song by an act called Bayatas. The group is the project of a Miami-based Floridian Gabriel Berrios. In the guise of Bayatas he's knocked out a lovely art-pop song called "The Hand Effect"; download at bayatas.tumblr.com. The track, complete with chiming guitar lines, wild rhythms and shouty vocals, calls to mind Animal Collective, the Very Best and other post-punk-inclined bands that got obsessed with Afrobeat a few years back.
Hip-hop biographies in the Frames
For seemingly no reason beyond "well, why not?", Pitchfork has started a series called Frames, in which musicians relay a tale from memory accompanied by an animated recreation of the story. In the latest, GZA returns to youthful days of travelling as an 11-year-old with fellow future Wu-Tang Clan member RZA (then eight years old) from Staten Island to the Bronx to attend block parties in the borough's nascent hip-hop scene. It culminates in the younger of the pair getting in trouble with his mother for returning home so late – from such events, great hip-hop was born. These trips, GZA explains, provided the inspiration for a rap he wrote called "Auto Bio". Other cartoons in the series so far feature Big Boi and Fucked Up's Damien Abraham (pitchfork.com/tv).