This week: haunting operatics, cyperpunk ambience, metaphysics and euphoria

By in Features





Essential weekend listening.

This week’s rundown is by VF’s Kelly Doherty and Becky Rogers, alongside contributors Annabelle Van Dort, Emily Hill and James Hammond.

Jessie Ware

That! Feels! Good!



There’s no easing in with Jessie Ware’s latest release, That! Feels! Good!. Immediate disco shuffles are a unifying cry to join Ware’s ever-welcoming dancefloor, before whisking the hoards away into a glitzy ‘70s daydream. “Pleasure is a right,” she proclaims on title track “That! Feels! Good!”, dropping all inhibitions while crafting these ten tracks of sultry, groove-heavy club hits. Though at times verging on a night fever throwback, That! Feels! Good! unleashes a new era for Jessie Ware–one full of energy, empowerment and euphoria.–BR

Various Artists




Tresor celebrates its 350th release with a 13-track compilation bringing together both mainstays and newcomers. Yet resists easy classification, as each track handles its core genres with a sense of experimentation and ambition. Whether it’s the cyberpunk ambience of Nit.’s “Cirrus Virga” or Willis Anne’s cascading, minimalist take on footwork structures, Yet showcases artists pushing the limits of their sound in thrilling new ways. Late-night listening for both inside and outside the club.–KD

The National

First Two Pages of Frankenstein



On their affecting ninth album, First Two Pages of Frankenstein, The National retrace familiar emotional ground. Retaining their mastery of slow-burning balladry, The National craft songs that wrestle with the dour and find fleeting moments of light. Powered by the propulsive undercurrent of Bryce Dessener’s drums and Matt Berringer’s rumbling baritone, the band fuse the anthemic with the melancholic in classic National style. Drawing on their use of guest vocalists on 2019’s I Am Easy To Find, First Two Pages of Frankenstein features an all-star cast of musical features: from Taylor Swift to indie-darlings Phoebe Bridgers and Sufjan Stevens.–AVD

Gabriel Moses


(The Vinyl Factory)


Gabriel Moses presents the soundtrack for his film Ijó, commissioned by 180 Studios as part of his debut exhibition Regina, for this limited edition vinyl release. James William Blades’ dynamic score follows a group of young ballet dancers in Lagos, Nigeria, tying together haunting operatics and eerie string quivers with a discernable tension. An impressive score to match equally impressive visuals.–BR

Bill Orcutt

Jump On It



Staking out new territories for the acoustic guitar with 2009’s incendiary A New Way to Pay Old Debts, Bill Orcutt’s latest LP finds him returning to the instrument after a period of focus (and indeed some choice works) on the electric guitar. With Orcutt dialling back the guitar violence and dissonant leanings of earlier acoustic works, this one finds distinct melodies and harmonies in his inimitable vocabulary of instrumental impulses.–JH

Susanne Sundfør


(Bella Union)


Blómi opens with an evocative spoken word piece, “orð vǫlu”, a sprawling lamentation on metaphysics and spirituality, urging interconnectedness between body and spirit. Like the guidance of a New-Age meditation tape, Sundfør’s voice is a grounding presence amongst the dissonant synths, sputterings of flute and distorted vocal samples. A bold start to an ambitious album, Sundfør displays her endless capacity for rediscovery and inventiveness.  In the six years since the release of 2017’s majestic Music for People in Trouble, Sundfør has become a mother and become heavily involved in the climate movement—two themes central to Blómi’s preoccupation with regeneration and growth. Blómi, meaning ‘to bloom’ in Norse, combines folk influences and ambient, spacious arrangements to spectacular effect. Anchored by Sundfør’s soaring soprano, Blómi seeks to find meaning and hope in a world on the brink of destruction.–AVD


DJ Kicks: Ellka



Cardiff-born DJ and producer, Elkka, is the latest name to curate one of the esteemed !K7 mix and compilation series, DJ Kicks, originally conceived back in 1995. Elkka has been making some serious waves for the last couple of years with standout releases on Ninja Tune and femme culture as well as being crowned the winner of Essential Mix of the Year in 2021. It comes as no surprise that she has been asked to contribute towards this legendary series. Exploring all corners of pure rave euphoria, the release collectivises sounds of Chicago house, disco and leftfield techno, making listeners get their bodies moving.–EH

Indigo De Souza

All Of This Will End

(Saddle Creek)


Indigo De Souza’s third album sees the Saddle Creek artist lean into alt-country and folk-punk sensibilities for a release drenched in loneliness. All Of This Will End is De Souza at her most focused. From the blunt observations of “You Can Be Mean” (“I’d like to think you got a good heart / And your dad was just an asshole growing up”) to the stomach-punching “Father/I thought you’d be here/I thought you’d try” from “Always”, hope and disappointment do battle throughout the release, leaving De Souza in a transient space. Closing country ballad “Younger and Dumber” is a career highlight.–KD

Scratcha DVA & Menzi

Beyond Gqom & Grime

(Hakuna Kulala/Nyege Nyege Tapes)


London legend and NTS mainstay Scratcha DVA joins forces with the musical pioneer Menzi aka Menzi Shabane, formerly part of the duo Infamous Boiz for Beyond Gqom & Grime. If their recent outing at Boiler Room’s first Amsterdam festival is anything to go by, you knew it was going to be a tasty treat. Together they intertwine two different musical narratives, abandoning any sense of genre logic and lodging their musical destiny in an otherworldly realm.–EH

Giuseppe Ielasi

Down on Darkened Meetings

(Black Truffle)


Placing distinct values on both the electric guitar and the extrapolations of a well-configured array of effect pedals, Down on Darkened Meetings takes the wow and flutter of tape warble as elemental parts of Giuseppe Ielasi’s compositions. Fraying and disorienting the guitar sounds in moves that venture from the familiar to the abstract, this one finds all manner of gorgeous tones in its looped logic.–JH

Country Westerns

Forgive The City

(Fat Possum)


Country Westerns’ country-tinged garage-rock returns with their sophomore album Forgive The City. Once again, perfect for ricocheting around sweat-dripping basement club walls, the Nashville rockers’ neat guitar riffs and vocal husks back propel introspective tales of how platonic relationships are as impactful as the romantic kind. Only loosely holding to their name, foot-stomper “Cussin Christians” abandons any country twangs, taking more inspiration from the late-80s garage-punk heavyweights, while “Hell”’s short-take on spaghetti-western distortions soon returns to Forgive The City’s heady punk-rock outlook.–BR