The Weeknd turns a Kanye production into a Queen Street anthem and U.S. Girls sample an ultra rare disco single in this week's local music round-up
The Weeknd, Tell Your Friends
Producer Kanye West returns to his classic soul-sampling ways on the latest single off hometown superstar The Weeknd’s commercial breakthrough, Beauty Behind The Madness. Tell Your Friends rides a laid-back snippet from Soul Dog’s Can’t Stop Loving You as Abel Tesfaye recounts his formative years living in a Queen West loft (“Used to roam on Queen/now I sing Queen Street anthems) in what are arguably his most self-effacing lyrics to date. However, his typically masochistic video for the track lops off the most personal verse and then morphs into album opener Real Life with a grand flourish. The Weeknd plays the Air Canada Centre on November 3 and November 5.
U.S. Girls, Window Shades
While we’re on the topic of classic soul samples, collectors of rare soul and disco records might recognize something familiar in the latest single off U.S. Girls’ forthcoming album Half Free (out via 4AD on September 25). Window Shades is based around a dusty sample of Gloria Ann Taylor’s Love Is A Hurting Thing, a highly sought after 12-inch single that will become more accessible when a compilation of Taylor’s ’70s output is released in November. U.S. Girls mastermind Meg Remy co-directed a video for the single that plays up the song’s vintage atmosphere to surreal effect.
Prince Innocence, Manic
Minimal synth duo Josh McIntyre and Talvi Faustmann’s Manic feels caught in a mostly pleasant narcotic haze. The pair told The Fader that the slo-mo jam is about “the experience of hypomania and the emergence from a depressive episode” and aims to capture feelings of elation and sexually-charged energy but also the “universality and banality behind these moments.”
River Tiber, Waves
River Tiber (a.k.a. Tommy Paxton-Beesley) ended up on Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late album when producer Frank Dukes sampled his song No Talk on the over-analyzed No Tellin’. He also contributed to BadBadNotGood and Ghostface Killah’s Polaris Prize-nominated Sour Soul LP. Now, the Toronto producer is hoping the spotlight will shift to his solo material with the moody R&B single Waves and the release of his second solo EP, When The Time Is Right, on September 16. River Tiber plays an opening DJ set for Kaytranada at Danforth Music Hall on September 18.
Sludge punk outfit HSY is preparing to release their debut LP Bask via Buzz Records on September 11. Lead single Scratch is a noisy and assaultive number with big, aggressive rhythm and machine-gun drum rolls. Band co-founder Jude describes it as a “love song to myself.” “It’s basically about being an ego maniac and thinking you’re God’s gift to women when really you’re just a smelly 20-something with nothing really to offer anyone,” he explains in the press release accompanying the Scratch music video. HSY play Lee’s Palace on September 7 and the Garrison on September 17.
ATS [Above Top Secret], WTF?!
SunSun and Ayo Leilani are perhaps best known as driving forces behind 88 Days of Fortune, a collective of hip-hop artists that throw events that are queer and women-positive. After years of repping other acts, the pair are building their own momentum as ATS [Above Top Secret]. Formed after the dissolution of their Abstract Random group, the Shabazz Palaces-affiliates recently won the Soundclash Music Award and have just released the trippy banger WTF?!
ATS play a late-night set at Camp Wavelength on Friday (August 28) at Artscape Gibralter Point on the Toronto Islands and Habourfront Centre’s Hot and Spicy Food Festival on September 4.