31/01 0 comments
Elite Gymnastics – Is this on me?
Sounds speak louder than words. As in music. And if you are this way bent, then the glo-fi / chillwave movement provides a welcome respite from the jibber jabber which pretends to be deep, meaningful and ‘moving’. Eurgh. Sure, this track has words, and they’re pretty bleak (girl gets in car, looks at man, ends up home and unconscious…), but the music, oh the music, is decibels louder than the words. This is the audio manifestation of the taboo…it feels good, but it sends a shiver down your spine. The combination of the high spangly opening, the synthy 80s-soap-opera-esque strings motif leading into a pounding rhythm, with stark male vocals and high child-like vocal sampling on the top….IT’S JUST OVERWHELMING. But good overwhelming.
Son Lux – Betray
Do excuse me whilst I shed a tear, these lyrics are moving me TOO much (ahem).
There seems to be a bout of clasically trained musos coming from across the pond, such as the likes of Owen Pallett, who are fusing their orchestration knowledge with the latest music trends to create something, well, good. And this is what 32- year old Ryan Lott has done, finding that middle, fuzzy ground between hip-hop beats and lush harmonies performed on alto flutes. And it’s smashing.
Ratatat - Bare Feast
That’s enough of words, I’ll take some of your puritan sounds, please Ratatat. Again, from across the pond, these guys have jumped on the balkan folk bandwagon already heading for the hills, with Beirut in the perch. With some kind of dulcimer riff going throughout, it’s bastardised with guitars and samples. There aren’t simply enough balkan folk clubs in London. Anyone?
9/11 0 comments
Ach – crazy weekend/Monday. Here, belatedly, is Monday Music. So belated, in fact, that it’s actually Tuesday. Nevermind..
Ratatat – Loud Pipes
There are two brilliant things about Moritz Oberholzer’s video, below. One is the dream-like, cheering and often beautiful snapshot of a London glimpsed through bus windows; snatched moments of children playing and couples in love; of overturned motorbikes and traipsing tramps; of pedestrians, joggers, cyclists and skippers; of birds at Bank; all of it peculiarly London in nature, as good a summary of this crazy city as you’ll see. And then there’s the titanic soundtrack, a Ratatat anthem which explodes and subdues with frightening power. (via Londonist)
Blondfire – Where The Kids Are
A sweet-sounding brother/sister NYC duo, Blondfire channel the glossy cheer of MGMT and fuse it in with a slightly blissed-out, lights-low feel. It’s like the morning-after version of synth-pop. It’s lovely. (via Trendland)
Lise – Textura Reversa
Lise is Daniel Nunes, a Brazillian post-rock/experimental multi-instrumentalist. And Textura Reversa seems to me to be a song about a day: a slow, groggy beginning, the gradual expansion to fully-fledged capability, a soft pause, the triumphant, wilful march of evening activities, and then the slow, irresistible fade to tiredness, and eventual quiet. It comes from his new album, ‘Qualquer Frágil Fio de Fantasia’, which will be released on DryCry Records on 29 November.
17/05 1 comment
Here’s my weekly collection of five songs that I’m currently loving - a one-off postponement of SOIWT’s avid London focus:
Nas & Damien Marley – Patience
The new album by Nas and Damien “Jr. Gong” Marley (don’t ask) has been, to use the popular parlance, proper bigged up. Here’s the first drop from it: a solemn track that combines Amadou & Mariam’s Sabali (not that Theophilus London hasn’t done that already), Nas doing his useful bullish, cut-through-the-crap pronunciations and Damien offering a rather tender version of his usual ebullient reggae. Will the pair, known collectively as Distant Relatives, change the musical landscape forever, inspiring countless imitations and Facebook groups and human sacrifice? No. Could they make your evening swim by more pleasantly? By God, yes.
Class Actress – Journal of Ardency
I liked Class Actress‘ other recent single, Careful What You Say, but this, their new EP’s title track, is better: instead of the former’s obviously glitzy big electro beats, it has subtler bleeps, little snatches of current flashing invisbly across a forest of pylons. Elizabeth Harper purrs out her vocals with groin-groping sensuality; the keys chime with subdued broodiness and there’s a palpable, brilliant anticlimax via the sudden, cruel severance of an ending. It’s like an amazing house party you’re not quite sure ever happened, a perfect new girlfriend who almost certainly gave you the wrong phone number.
Grand Pocket Orchestra – Nigeria
In honour to the swift approaching World Cup, Indiecater Records have come up with a natty concept album: they asked their favourite bands to write a song about their favourite team from those qualified for the shebang. The resultant 32 track compilation is called Fast Forward, and includes this cheery tribute to the Super Eagles by Ireland’s Grand Pocket Orchestra, an effervescent number doused in community spirit and underscored by feverish flutes, playing at a zillion miles an hour, and sun-drenched chorus chants. If you’re wondering, Detox Cute got to England, the lucky blighters. (Or you could ignore this, and listen to Shakira’s official World Cup tune)
Ratatat – Party With Children
The return of Ratatat comes in June with LP4, which includes this typically inventive slice of string fantasia, an encyclopaedia of riffs mixed with clangs, bangs and breaks, eccentric and electric, and so damn good. Listening to it, I don’t know where to shake my toot beneath an imaginary mirrorball, or shake in tearful agony at the injustices of the world. It works either way. The guitar feedback ratchets up to unsqueakable levels and still it’s okay, still it’s beautiful. (As an aside, check out Ratatat’s remix of Dizzee’s Fix Up, Look Sharp, courtesy of Real Horrorshow Tunes)
Marble Sounds – My Friend
Credit where credit’s due, Belgium. Not only is an amazing Belgian professor kindly helping out with my girlfriend’s thesis, but another amazing Belgian musician has sent me this great piece of music. When not half of the electro band Plastic Operator, Belgium’s Pieter Van Dessel is the founder of Marble Sounds, a new band who’ve just released their first full-lengther, Nice Is Good. That includes this beaut, with vocals by Guided by Voices singer Robert Pollard. A poisoned-candy opus of thoughtful salutations interspersed with sudden, shattering revelations, it’s a tune that produces glandular fever-sized gulps in between cardigan-like cosiness.
MP3s available via the song titles
27/09 0 comments
Several very exciting songs have surfaced in the last few days – here’s a rave run-through from a frothing London blogger:
Kid Cudi – Pursuit of Happiness (Feat. Ratatat & MGMT)
My chum Adrian and I were discussing in a rare quiet moment at Bestival a few weeks back that it’s hard to see where hip hop can go; it seemed to us a genre that had strict limitations. Perhaps this is the answer though. Never afraid to surf styles and sounds – see his Little Boots collaboration at SXSW – upcoming star Kid Cudi has recorded a song with the daddies of our electro pop revolution, MGMT, and also the Ratatat duo (pictured below with Cudi), who remix this.
The result is an engaging and ultimately uplifting five-minute flux through various moods. I like this particularly as it seems to my uneducated ears that (unlike so many an unexpected link-up) no-one has compromised their style. Cudi gets to MC smooth rap lines with characteristic swagger and lyrical straightforwardness; MGMT drop a cheery, singalong chorus laced, and a synth-tastic guitar section midway through; and Ratatat begins with big, undulating digital hoops and brings proceedings to a close via a distorted fade-out.
MP3: Kid Cudi – Pursuit of Happiness (Feat. MGMT & Ratatat) (zSHARE)
Devendra Banhart – Baby
Known for his quirky folk, often beautiful and always alluring, Devendra’s latest marks a step in a different, chirpier destination. He even mentions “choo choo trains”! Baby is far from rock’n'roll, but it’s faster and less frank than songs like Heard Somebody Say, if less satisfying in the long run. The first track from new EP, What Will We Be, it has backing singers “ooh-ooh-oohing”, a kicking bass imprint and a glossily romantic sentimentality. Banhart has always looked like a happy hippie, and now he’s finally sounding like one! I suspect some devoted fans will be a bit put out, but I rather like this, if only because it’s nice to hear the bearded one lighten up a bit.
For a more , much more expert consideration of whether Baby “represents the watering down of a musician ditching his independent (or if it’s) illustrative of an artist continuing to broaden his horizons”, check the One Track Mind blog here.
MP3: Devendra Banhart – Baby (zSHARE)
Julian Casablancas – 11th Dimension
I mentioned a while ago that Strokes lead singer Julian was recording solo material, and here’s the first dribble from that. If you’re expecting a Strokes-lite sound, think again if this is anything to go by. Anchored around humorously-used 80s bounce-pop (think Phil Collins at his cheesiest) beats, this is fast, frantic and rather fabulous in a camp way. There are high-pitch squeals, whirring motor-like vrooms, organ samples and a sudden cut-off ending, and that’s just the electro effects. Casablancas’ vocals are slightly softer than in his Strokes mode but just as passionate; the mentality is, if anything, perkier still. Passing by in a furious, blurry flash, this is an expected pop pleasure.
The album, Phrazes For The Young, comes out on 19 October. You’ll be able to order it on Julian’s website here. That’s the confirmed cover above.
MP3: Julian Casablancas – 11th Dimension (zSHARE)
The XX vs. Don’t Wait Animate – Fantasy
I blabbered excitedly about this one a while ago too, so no need for details. Suffice to say it’s now available… and here it is:
MP3: The XX vs. Don’t Wait Animate – Fantasy (zSHARE)
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