Well, last week is finally over. What an emotionally exhausting seven days. So, on that note let's start a new one with a positive approach, some heavy cloud cover, and a new banging Tune-Up. Here we go!
The xx just made my month, and maybe my year with the exciting announcement of I See You, their third studio album. I See You is due out January 13, but they gave us a sample of what I hope is to come in the way of their amazing new single "On Hold." I've played it repeatedly since Friday, and don't see that trend changing. "On Hold" is easily one of my favorite songs of 2016, and that's coming from a year filled with some great music. It's just one of those songs that has this infectious groove and takes you elsewhere; you music heads will know exactly what I mean. Oh, did I mention they sampled "I Can't Go For That" from the legendary Hall & Oates? It's subtle, and perfectly placed. The xx are beloved across the world, but most agree that their sophomore LP Coexist was a bit of a letdown and pretty boring. "On Hold" appears to prove the London trio is back and ready to blow our minds once again.
It's been way too long since A Tribe Called Quest blessed us with some new material, and after they disbanded in 1998 I thought we had lost them forever. Fast forward 18 years and we now have We got it from Here....Thank You 4 Your Service, their sixth and final studio album. Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Jarobi White, and Phife Dawg all contributed here, along with a slew of guest artists such as Kanye West, Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Busta Rhymes and Jack White. Not that it's surprising, but We Got it from Here.... is one of the finest album releases this year, and not just in the genre of hip-hop, but all around.
This year took talented emcee Phife Dawg much too soon, but all his work on this record is current and was recorded before he passed away. Phife was the driving force of the reunion, and we will reap the rewards from his determination for years to come. Q-Tip and Jarobi's lyrical content balances between election-year thoughts, the mourning of their late friend, social issues and forward thinking. So, on their grand finale, the jazz-inspired hip-hop legends go out with a classy bang. They will forever remain one of my favorite bands of all time. Some things never change, ATCQ certainly hasn't. Thank you for making a difference, fellas.
Lykke Li has returned, but this time she has started a band called Liv with her boyfriend, members of Miike Snow and Peter Bjorn and John and Kanye West crony Jeff Bhasker. It's basically a supergroup with a ton of talent, but also egos to keep balanced. This past Friday they shared their new song, "Dream Awake," a soaring track that is quite enthralling. It's a beautiful tune that features wavering guitars, echoing percussions and heartfelt lyrics. You could describe this song as devastating or uplifting, depending on your current state. Either way we have a very promising start to a hopefully upcoming LP release, but no details have been given as of yet.
Weekly Tune-Up XXXIX (stream/download)
01. The xx, "On Hold"
02. My Morning Jacket, "Magic Bullet"
03. A Tribe Called Quest, "The Space Program"
04. The Flaming Lips, "How??"
05. Nick Murphy, "Stop Me"
06. Amber Arcades, "Which Will"
07. Yeasayer, "Loan Shark Blues"
08. liv, "Dream Awake"
09. Wildhart, "Shake Off"
10. Tender, "Smoke"
11. DIANA, "What You Get"
12. Klangstof, "We Are Your Receiver"
13. Luxury Death, "Painkiller"
14. Blonde Maze, "Antarctica"
15. Shlohmo, "Forgot I Was Here"