Needle on the Record: Royksopp, The Weeknd, DJ Shadow and more

The return of Royksopp

Norwegian electronic duo Royksopp are back with fresh music. It’s a few years since Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland shared any new music. Back in 2014 the band said their record The Inevitable End would be their final album. While the band said they won’t be making albums anymore they didn’t rule out singles and EPs.

In 2016 the put out a single Never Ever, and last year they shared The Lost Tapes a collection of songs they’d recorded over they years that they’d slowly been sharing online. Now they’ve dropped their first fresh music in 6 years.

(Nothing But) Ashes… is a dark, mellow tune filled with foreboding piano and restrained strings, and the band have teased fans that a new project is on the way.

Take a listen. 

The Weeknd delivers catchy fifth album 

The Weeknd | Dawn FM | ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

For his fifth album The Weeknd has imagined the listener as post-life, waiting in purgatory for whatever comes next. He envisages as it being stuck in traffic and listening to the radio, and for this concept album Jim Carey is your DJ introducing you to your waiting room.

Featuring production from Max Martin and Oneohtrix Point Never, it’s a synth heavy dance-a-thon that sleekly slides from one party track to the next. Featuring 16 tracks and clocking in at just under an hour, it’s a slick jam of pop funk gems that’s you’ll instantly be signing along to.

Gasoline kicks off with an intro that sounds like it’s from an overture from a 70’s sci-fi movie, but it’s only heralding the beginning of a trip through some of the coolest beats and swirling keyboard lines as The Weeknd declares it’s 5am and he’s high again and contemplating life while listening to REM. A perfectly timed slice of pop wastes no more than 3 and half minutes before we quickly move onto another groove and theme.

How do I Make You Love Me keeps the beats rolling and features a melody of growing intenseness, before Weeknd’s delightful falsetto bursts into the chorus. The dance floor is still beckoning as Take My Breath brings a sound reminiscent of the best of Duran Duran or Depeche Mode, it’s multi-layered with a long lead in that builds tension until those sweet vocal return once again. Sacrifice ends the first section of the album rounding off four killer dance tunes.

After a short spoken word interlude, Out of Time slows things down, it’s a classic love ballad. Tyler the Creator is a guest for Here We Go… Again, his deep rap providing a intriguing counterpoint to The Weeknd’s soulful vocals. Best Friends, Is There Someone Else and Starry Eyes continue the mellower pace.

The album’s final section features the Don’t Break My Heart and I Heard You’re Married Girl – a collaboration with Lil Wayne – both songs channel the sound of classic 80’s RnB . Less Than Zero is the final track, a sunny enthusiastic slice of pop that indicates our time stuck in traffic os over and we’re moving on to whatever comes next. Before we leave we get a final moment of rhyming sage advice from Jim Carey.                  

Fresh Tracks

Download these new tunes

Rain – MEYY & Jelani Blackman a smooth slice of RnB that’s slick like honey Pom Pom Squad featuring Nada Surf and Matthew Caws – Popular a cover of Nada Surf’s 90’s anthem that’s got it’s own laidback style Benny Andersson – Kyssen back in 2015 Benny Andersson created the score to the Swedish film Cirkeln, this track has the same melody as ABBA’s recent comeback single Kylie Minogue and Years & Years – A Second Midnight (Jodie Harsh Remix) one of our favourite drag DJ’s injects her magic into the camp collaboration Crane Like the Bird & Rufus Wainwright – Just a Bend This is something a little different from Rufus Wainwright teaming up with acclaimed drummer Kyle Crane Gabriels – Bloodline bluesy, moody and orchestral, and what a voice Twin Atlantic – Bang on a Gong Scottish duo deliver a bombastic and big tune The Smile – You’ll Never Work in Television Again Raidiohead’s Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood deliver indie-punk side project.            

Miranda Lambert teams up with the Queer Eye crew

The new sixth season of Queer Eye sees the Fab 5 heading to Texas to help people makeover their lives. They’ve teamed up with country star Miranda Lambert for the perfect bootscootable pride anthem.

“Because out in the country y’all means all.”

DJ Shadow remixes King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard 

It’s hard to keep up with Melbourne psych-rock band King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard, they have after all released a whopping eighteen albums of material since 2012, and have a new record on the way later this year.

In the meantime they’re putting out a remix album that provides new versions of songs contained on last year’s Butterfly 3000 record. Titled Butterfly 3001 and it will featured remixes from Peaches, Yu Su, Peaking Lights, Dam Funk, The Flaming Lips and many others.

One of the first slices available from the new collection is DJ Shadow’s rework of Black Hot Soup which is equal parts psychedelia, funk and hip hop. It’s just been released with a video featuring author, filmmaker and comedian John Safran.    

Take a listen to Black Hot Soup (DJ Shadow ‘My Own Reality’ Re-Write).

Read previous editions of music column ‘Needle on the Record‘. 

Graeme Watson

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