Dance of Defiance
Working Class Woman
After regrouping from a year of touring, ironically prompted by 2016’s Adieux Au Dancefloor, Montreal synth/spoken word artist Marie Davidson has emerged with an album that defies the entire lifestyle that breakthrough dropped on her. While Adieux Au Dancefloor
took inspiration from duelling fascination and disgust with nightlife, Working Class Woman connects the dots between when the party ends and when the next one begins, with a series of vignettes that problematize the grind, shedding light on the tedium of it all. Kicking off with blankly read interpretations of all the punishing post-set interactions you can imagine on “Your Biggest Fan,” with a clever gesture of juxtaposition, Davidson moves from the chore of interfacing with poseurs to “Work It,” a track immediately reminiscent of Adieux Au Dancefloor opener “Dedicate My Life.” While Adieux Au Dancefloor used dance music as a vehicle for criticism, Working Class Woman often takes more abstract turns to emphasize how greatly the glamour has been exaggerated. That Davidson pivots to these more abstract forms of composition to convey the material may, on first listen, seem like a forfeit to content, but that she is willing to challenge her audiences (especially the new ones) in spite of the club’s stamp of approval might be even more transgressive than smuggling her critiques into tracks sculpted for the dance floor. (Ninja Tune)
This record explores workaholism from several angles. Is that something you identify with?
Yes, for sure. I’ve been a workaholic for the last five years of my life. It’s almost pathological. Back when I started touring, I was really excited to travel and hear these amazing live sets in other parts of the world.
to veteran producer John Goodmanson for making one of the best-sounding rock records in recent memory. Master Volume wields high-octane riffs that are dialled in perfectly, and dynamo Luke Bentham steals the show with his dazzling vocal chops. People don’t need another thinkpiece asking, “Is rock dead?” We just need to sit back and enjoy it when a band puts out a record as big and fun as Master Volume. (Dine Alone, dinealonerecords.com) REGGAE
ELECTRONIC When I went to Europe the first time and discovered how rich the club culture is there, I kind of went crazy. I wanted to see it all, try it all. But I don’t feel like that anymore. I’ve lived it. There are so many other things that I want to explore.
Was making this record harder than previous records?
No. It’s weird, but it was easier. I did this record for myself, and maybe for a couple of other people, but definitely not for the media or critics. Not even for my fans. I hope my fans like it, but if they don’t, that’s okay. I’ll make new fans. And I’m totally aware of that with this record; it’s a little bit different. It’s the same themes and the same style of music, but production is different, and I’m exploring other horizons. I’m sure I will lose some fans, but that’s totally fine.
Like Ours”) and Chronixx (on album standout “Queen”). Lovers Rock is the story of both Estelle’s respect for reggae, soca and Afrobeat sounds and an enduring love story of her parents, who split when she was young only to reconnect and remarry years later. With only a few weak spots, the solid Lovers Rock is a testament to Estelle’s talent and career durability while paying homage to a genre that has withstood the test of time. ( VP Records) MODERN COMPOSITION spaciousness presents itself. Strings are the immediate focal point here, as ornamental plucked tones and searing bowed scrapes are sent cascading across smeared synth melodies and roaring waves of granular noise. A frayed, almost industrial atmosphere hovers around “Keyed Out” until a series of barely touched gagaku emanations storm into focus, captivating the listener. The lengthy and devastatingly loud “Across to Anoyo” closes out the proceedings with a thunderous mania that stands apart from the almost ceremonial nature of the preceding material. A dreamlike song cycle, the album is more than an extension of the grandeur of Love Streams. It’s a refined, focused exploration of traditions both adhered to and transcended. (Kranky www.kranky.net) PUNK