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What we’re listening to: Nell’ Ora Blu, Grasa, Brat and more

What Were Listening To Nell Ora Blu Grasa Brat And More

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In this installment of What We’re Listening To, Engadget editors dive into some of the recent music releases we’ve been playing on repeat. Yes, Brat has us in a chokehold, too.

When I first heard Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats was putting out an album inspired by 1960s-70s giallo films, I felt like my interests, personally, were being targeted. It’s the kind of crossover that now seems like it had to happen at some point, but I never realized my need for it until this moment. (One person on Reddit, though, was really onto something with the idea last year). Lo and behold, Nell’ Ora Blu dropped last month and it scratches a very specific itch in my brain.

It is not at all the usual fare you’d expect from Uncle Acid, very much taking on the structure of a soundtrack with a lot of ambient instrumentals and short dialogue tracks voiced by genre regulars Edwige Fenech, Franco Nero and Luc Merenda (it pulls influence from the poliziotteschi crime/action films as well). The scores in these movies often feel like psychedelic horror experiences in themselves — with heavy moments that really drag you in, only to be offset by something so delicate it’s almost disorienting — and unsurprisingly, Uncle Acid absolutely nails this. This is the perfect album to pop on in the background while you’re trying to get some art or writing done, ideally as a thunderstorm rolls in. It’s pretty long, coming in at around an hour and 17 minutes, but I almost always replay it at least once per sitting. 

Nell’ Ora Blu isn’t necessarily going to be an automatic hit with Uncle Acid fans. It’s more for the person who watched Deep Red or The Bird with the Crystal Plumage or anything of that ilk and immediately sought out the soundtrack afterward. Still, I expect there’s a fair amount of overlap between those groups, considering the band does generally have the whole sleaze horror vibe going anyway. Honestly, I want more. We don’t need to stop at giallo — give me Uncle Acid’s take on Jean Rollin and the fantastique next (please).

Cheyenne MacDonald, Weekend Editor

Admittedly, I’m late to the Nathy Peluso bandwagon. I was first introduced to her after falling down a rabbit hole of BZRP Music Sessions (collab tracks made by Argentine producer Bizarrap and various Latin music heavyweights) and listened to hers (#36). Her second album, Grasa, just dropped and represents her latest full body of work released since the Grammy-nominated Calambre came out in 2020. Grasa is likely my album of the summer — and certainly a top pick for the whole year — thanks to its engaging experimentation and its marriage of a bunch of different styles including hip hop, latin trap, bolero, salsa and straight-up pop. There are no skips on this album, at least half a dozen bangers and I personally love the transitions from the snarling, fast-paced tracks to the few ballads and slower songs peppered throughout.

Peluso already proved she was a great singer on Calambre, but I think her vocal performances on this album, particularly in ballads like “Envidia” and “El Día Que Perdí Mi Juvendtud,” standout as high points. And then there are the bangers, as it were: “Aprender a Amar” gets in your face with fierce rapping and blaring horns; “Legendario” might be the most obvious potential single off the whole album thanks to its signature pop tempo and sound; and “La Presa” is basically a salsa IV straight to your veins. There are plenty of others I’m not naming here, but anyone who has even a passing appreciation for Latin pop (regardless of if you speak Spanish or not — I don’t) shouldn’t sleep on Grasa.

Puerto Rican artist Young Miko’s first full-length album, att., is the definition of “a vibe.” After collaborating with Karol G, Bad Bunny and other Latin superstars, Miko has solidified her space in the Latin pop scene with this project. While I don’t think it’s a career-defining album, it’s a great showcase of her laid-back, Spanglish-style rapping that marries genres like reggaeton and Latin trap, and her ability to create a clear mood with such fusion, plus a healthy dose of great beats. Ultimately, it’s simply easy listening from front to back. Personal highlights include “arcoíris,” “tamagotchi” and Feid collab “offline.”

Brat is 100 percent worth the hype. Eloquent music critics and writers have bestowed a lot of praise onto this album already, so suffice to say that I agree with most of them (and you should go read their analyses). Standouts include “Club classics,” “Sympathy is a knife,” “So I,” and “B2b,” but arguably my favorite is the closer “365.” A riff off of the opener “360,” this track ups the ante in every way, and the transition to it from the penultimate “I think about it all the time” is so satisfying and euphoric.

— Valentina Palladino, Deputy Editor, Buying Advice

It’s been 10 years since Norwegian producer and DJ Todd Terje declared that it was, finally, album time. He had made a name for himself as a DJ and remixer in the 2000s, but It’s Album Time marked his first (and sadly, only) full-length collection on which he is the singular driving force. It’s a gloriously oddball collection that flips between dramatic, movie score-style symphonic pieces and true dance-disco bangers. (After a recent listen, I convinced myself that Terje could help Dua Lipa make the best album of her career.)

For my money, the 10-minutes combo of “Straandbar” and “Delorean Dynamite” encapsulate the best things about the album. It’s a gloriously funky build-up with intricate percussion, fat synths, bouncing bass lines and a ridiculously simple but incredibly infectious guitar lick that comes in halfway through “Delorean Dynamite” that makes me want to run through a brick wall. You’ll know it when you hear it.

And, of course, there’s “Inspector Norse,” a song that caught fire in 2012 and paved the way for the rest of It’s Album Time. If Terje never makes another album (he’s only 43, so there’s plenty of time!), “Inspector Norse” serves as seven perfect minutes of his career. Maybe he’ll swing by and take us to his planet again, but it’s hard to be sad about his lack of output when It’s Album Time is so damn perfect.

Nathan Ingraham, Deputy Editor, News

Cocona shaves her head in this video. Just because she wanted to. This song is great. XG is life.

— Aaron Souppouris, Executive Editor

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/what-were-listening-to-nell-ora-blu-grasa-brat-and-more-130028558.html?src=rss
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