Joe's lockdown picks

Music editor Joe Smith lays down what he's been listening to in lockdown

Joe Smith
28th May 2020
Insta: @joycrookes

Lockdown's getting pretty boring now, and there's not much else to do but to listen to music. So here are some of my favourites that I've been listening to throughout this lockdown period.

The Defeat - Ben Howard

From his magnificent third album Noonday Dream, 'The Defeat' is one of Ben Howard's finest songs. It embodies a dusty yellow hue, trapping you in a sonic sandstorm, subject to the whim of the music.

The muffled vocals, combined with evocative synths and the incredible nature of Howard's twisted reverb create a warm mellow riot. The passion of the layered sounds as they flow effortlessly together is a thing of awe and i'm a firm believer that this song deserves much more recognition than it got when released.

how will i rest in peace if i'm buried by a highway - KennyHoopla

KennyHoopla is perhaps one of the most exciting newer artists around at the minute. His 2020 single 'how will i rest in peace if i'm buried by a highway' is one of the finest songs released this year.

Combining 2000's/10's style alt-indie riffs with new wave, Kenny captures the uncertainty of a generation. Sounding like a Bloc Party or Morning Runner b side, it's dance-punk in it's finest form. There's a familiar fear harboured in his voice both comforting and confining making his music so so accessible. KennyHoopla is the future.

Early - Joy Crookes ft Jafaris

Joy Crookes is the perfect remedy for everything at the moment. Her refreshing neo-soul lightens my mood instantaneously and 'Early' is, in my opinion, the best song she has released so far.

The easiest way to describe this song would be to say it's sitting in the park with your mates set to music, with red stripes and dark fruits a plenty. It emits the intimate and reassuring warmth of love, whether this be romantic, or platonic. Either way it's bloody beautiful

The pairing of Joy and Irish rapper Jafaris creates such a wonderful piece of music. Their voices blend together so perfectly, it's hard to believe this is their first song together. The tracks catchy hook is completed by a vast soundscape of keys, drums and heavenly backing vocals, also supplied by both Joy and Jafaris. All in all a must listen and a brilliant sign of things to come from the fantastic Joy Crookes.

Dream Factory - Frankie Stew and Harvey Gunn ft Loyle Carner

From the incredible album Breathing Exercises, I could say so much about this song. The rapper producer duo of Frankie Stew and Harvey Gunn never fail to deliver. With emotive instrumentals and hard hitting verses, their style of laid back lo-fi rap is always spot on.

On this track, they collab with one of my favourite rappers of all time, Loyle Carner, adding more and more reason as to why this track is already my song of the year. There is so many levels to this tune, the melancholic chord progression which flows quietly for the songs entirety, the verses full of self doubt and the beat drop that occupies the beginning of Loyle's verse amalgamate together flawlessly forming one of the finest tunes of the year.

Although the verses are spectacular, it's Harvey Gunn's production that really makes this song so special. The angelic chorus that echoes peacefully throughout the song adds the tranquillity of the track. This paired with a wistful piano loop fabricates the perfect melancholic hip hop track, and i implore you to listen to it.

Dead of Night - Orville Peck

Orville Peck is making country cool again. The masked cowboy is creating the gateway drug into the often hated (with good reason) genre of music. I don't like country, but I love Orville Peck. He feels fresh and new, which is incredibly important for a genre as stagnant as country.

'Dead of Night' in particular is an example of how Peck moulds country into something natural and modern. Everything he does in this song, from the guitars to the vocals feel like an reinvention of the wild west in the modern age, and i'm living for it. It's the perfect way to escape lockdown and transport yourself to a new place entirely. Thank God for Orville Peck.

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