6/09 1 comment
Five for this week:
The Pierces – Secret (mp3)
Stand by for a classic blogger gripe… With an imminent Polydor album produced by Guy “Coldplay bassist” Berryman, these NYC sisters are suddenly hotly tipped - having been great for bloody ages. First appearing in 2008, this track – part seadog ditty OD’ing on accordions and part chilled-out woodsmokey jazz, speeding up to a furious fairground finale – proves as much.
Passi – Famille Et Amis (mp3)
Inevitably from Awesome Tapes from Africa, this slick Congoese (by way of France) number features tight rapping and sweet female chants over a nicely subdued, sundowner tone.
Auteur – Ultra Violet (mp3)
Maybe it was the sadness in me at the moment, or perhaps it was just the chemicals in me that evening, but at some point on Saturday night my warehouse party just quietened: it was ear-pumpingly loud there, but in my head all was diffuse, distant and oh so lonely, like this saintly electronic blur. I danced simply because I knew to, because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. (thanks DDW)
Solid Gold – Just Like Everyone Else (mp3)
I bought two new cardigans this weekend, but neither makes me feel as cosy as this newly discovered song by my beloved Solid Gold. It has all the Minneapolis band’s staples: heart-pained vocals, delectable keyboard beats, intensity and an echoey feel, plus some bonus swearing and a cynicism that really tempts me right now.
Dengue Fever – Tiger Phone Card (mp3)
But I refuse to be depressed, and instead surf my head along happily to this warm-hearted duet by another of my faves, ironically about a long-distance romance (the thing I just lost). With a singalongability rating of 11 and more crests than your average surf beach, it’s the perfect pick-me-up amid this Armageddonish London of tube strikes and thrashing rain.
29/03 1 comment
Hope everyone had a lovely weekend – I was in Utrecht, and thoroughly recommend it. Here’s a great blog to get you started. Anyway, I digress - here’s my weekly collection of five, not London-related songs that have caught my ear in the past seven days:
Solid Gold – Danger Zone
Minneapolis’ Solid Gold are one of my favourite bands: their melancholic, rocked-up euphoria provides atmosphere and delectable beats in one fine sandwich. And now they’ve gone and given Kenny Loggins’ Top Gun tearjerker a most unlikely electro-pop makeover. Where the original was homoerotic and high-pitched, the cover is surprisingly elegant and priddy, while fondly retaining the desperate-sounding melodrama - think fists clenched in slow-mo, glazed eyes and dodgy denim jackets.
Rusko – Da Cali Anthem
Two fantastic things are combined here thanks to producer Rusko: the ever more popular genre of dubstep, and 2pac’s high-pitched dancefloor classic, California Love. I feel like this could have had better teasing of those oh-so-familiar lyrics. Nevertheless, as famous lines like “Innn the Ciddddyyyy” get the twostep treatment, so we see a potentially seminal moment, with dubstep threatening to make itself prominently known in the USA at long last. Are those hoochies I can hear screaming?
Wye Oak – I Hope You Die
Wye Oak are a great depresso band – that is, bands you listen to when upset in order to get more upset because actually you want to be upset. As the title hints, this latest (from new album My Neighbor / My Creator) ain’t a cheery pop number neither: like the band’s best, it meanders along through soundscapes as moodily pretty as Scottish mountains, with the smoky aura enhanced by a distant saxophone refrain as the song gives way to reverb. Jenn Wasner’s voice remains as impassive and soothing as ever.
The Radio Dept. – David
Like a swirling London mist, this one comes drenched in atmosphere: trance beats like a Streets remix, vocals reminiscent of Ian Brown but with a Swedish accent, and a resigned, regal tone. The Radio Dept.‘s imagination shines through via the quirky keys and digital add-ons, but it’s the echoey, jaundiced sound that stays with you once the song fades out. Confident and catchy, the trio are set to make a big splash in 2010.
Small Black – Despicable Dogs
The fairground’s closing: the sun’s setting behind the main tent, it’s pink pools of light catching glinting litter in the trampled grass, an abandoned shoe, still carousels, feathers from a toy bird won hours earlier rippling in the sudden wind, a closed coffee stand where a pretty girl glanced your way, the odd shuffling figure, now-cold hands thrust deep in pockets. This is the kind of bleak, maudlin scene that new Jagjaguwar signing Small Black conjure up: their songs are brief windows to other, allurring worlds.
MP3 links via the song titles.
2/11 1 comment
I’m trying to keep this blog focused on London acts, or acts playing in London. But that ploy crumbles in the face of new tunes from Yeasayer and Solid Gold – two of my absolute favourite current acts. Both have released songs that suggest their respective sounds are travelling in harder, fuller directions, while retaining the elements that make them great…
The first track from the Brooklyn band’s imminent second album,Ambling Alp is more obvious than some of Yeasayer‘s previous efforts thanks to a near-constant chorus and very dancey keyboards. But it still got a great rhythm, wacky and innovative sounds, prominent vocals from Chris Keating and that Yeasayer USP: a myriad, muddied structure, via various phases and moods. There’s also a bit of the high-pitched “everyone sings” sections beloved of Yeasayer songs.
Minneapolis’ Solid Gold haven’t quite caught on with the masses yet, despite much hype in 2008, and their being purveyors of the most elegant chill-out pop imaginable. While Matter Of Time, the first single of their own second album, comes with a little less whimsy, and a little more grunt. Where songs like Get Over It were very keyboard-led, this gives more prominence to Matt Locher’s bass, with additional interventions by a guitar so smooth it sounds like a trumpet, and some still-lingering drizzles of electronica. The vocals remain just as wispy, thankfully.
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