- With meandering, boundary-pushing R&B songs that drift in a beautiful haze, there’s a real soulful sweetness to Solána Rowe’s debut album. On Ctrl, the singer - known as SZA- offers strikingly candid yet poised insights into both her personal insecurities (“I really wish I was a normal girl,” she laments on ‘Normal’) and her intimate relationships (“I'm really tryna crack off that headboard and bust it wide open for the right one,” on dreamy ‘Doves In The Wind’). Woven together with spoken word excerpts of her mother and grandmother offering advice, and with features and guest-writers including label-mate Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, and even Justin Timberlake, Ctrl is a gorgeously accomplished, informative record that is soft yet quietly searing with femininity.
- As trailblazers of the early 90s shoegaze scene – alongside Chapterhouse, Ride and Swervedriver – Slowdive remain as revered by their legions of loyal fans today as they were reviled at the time by certain corners of the British music press. And with those same print magazines now either dead or dying an undignified death, the Reading-formed five-piece return with their first studio album in 22 years. Against all the odds, the results actually prove more than worth the wait. Combining the ambient textures of last LP Pygmalion and the dreamy pop hooks of their 1993 classic Souvlaki with a newfound energy, this self-titled effort is another career high, and one of the finest rock records of 2017 so far.