Friday, 30 November 2012

PLATY∏ (PLATYPI) LASSITUDE

May look like Russian, but that right there is actually Platyπ or Platypi - plural of Platypus, using the fun pi (π) symbol to stand in for that plural inflection. In any case, what we have today is some lovely, ear friendly music from this guy called Platyπ (real name Alistair Hill, a Brighton, UK native) - the kind of music that's wonderfully suited to a gentle start on a Friday morning, where anything more intense or heavier could quite easily send you crashing down into some kind of coma (a worse coma than you may already be experiencing), whereas this song 'Lassitude' performs in quite the opposite way: it snuggles down with that comatose feeling and caresses that zombified mind of yours. Without doubt, this is hypothetical; of course if you aren't already comatose, it's an entirely relaxing tune.

With its soul sturdily rooted in the flighty church of glitch, the school of bleep, it makes measured and controlled use of clipped samples, halfway houses of electronic surges that trip their way through all 2 minutes and 22 seconds of this song. A truncated vocal sample hops teasingly in and out of earshot whilst the beat etches its fluttering hip hop pattern throughout. A veritable joy - and this song, apparently, was the first to come from Platyπ's university degree and with that in mind it's a fine start to a hopefully long and illustrious future back-catalogue.

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Thursday, 29 November 2012

JULIO BASHMORE HUSK

Coming from Bristol, home to one of the UK's biggest dance music scenes, it makes sense that Julio Bashmore grew up to become a DJ and producer of music in his own right. Finding inspiration in the buzzing vibe of a night out in Bristol, and encased with a dream to deliver his love of music personally, as a DJ to ecstatic crowds, he embarked on his journey, being signed rather fortuitously by Claude VonStroke's (whom we like) label Dirtybird and from there quickly becoming one of house music's successful sons. His new song, 'Husk', kinda proves that.

He teases out a long intro filled with a globular, pulsating kick and smart, whispy hi hats. A synthy, reverberating sequence of notes dots the way towards a steadily modulating siren-type noise, and soon the snare rolls and the cleanest bassline you've ever heard drops in like a giant, groovesome boulder (in the video this part is in sync to a guy lifting some huge weight) that bounds along relentlessly.

All of it seems heavenly and ethereal: there's something otherworldly almost in the pulsing soundscape that Julio Bashmore has created here, something that builds up again and drops into that lone, get-your-teeth-around-this kind of bassline. This is the kind of song that has no regard for anything except itself: it makes no external references, all its power coming from its utter lack of pretention and instead from within where energy just pounds out. Love it love it love it.

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EONE MONOCHROMATIC WORLD [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Really loving the ultimate chill of this song. It's called 'Monochromatic World' and comes from Evil1, a recent signing to a Passive Front Records. Surprised that stuff like this isn't more well known sometimes, because not only is it good, it's also interesting - the creation of ambience with intensity is something that you don't get often, and something that Evil1 seems to be very good at.

The sound reminds me of a balloon being alternately inflated and deflated, the synths railing over the top of everything in particular grow and expand to almost infinite proportions, easing back and almost disappearing before growing once again. Overall, the sound is one of a lounge song - with teeth.

Before you know it you're blown away with this bulldozer bass that underpins the whole sound perfectly and moves in ways you don't expect it. The percussion is spot on, too, providing a lightly tribal feel in certain parts. I want the beat to be louder, for those snare claps to actually reach out of my headphones and slap me in the face - but it's still a well patterned beat. The vocal sample is nicely used as well, imbuing the song at its last parts with the spirit that truly would make up a monochromatic world.

Ambient, loud, quiet, dynamic. Looking forward to hear the progression of this artist. Oh, and if you like it you can download it for free. Isn't that lovely?

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EMPRESS OF CHAMPAGNE + DON'T TELL ME [FREE DOWNLOAD]

This is a pleasant surprise. To start today, we have the intriguingly named Empress Of with her very first release, the sufficiently bubbly 'Champagne' and its more moody B-side, 'Don't Tell Me'. What Empress Of, the project of Brooklyn-based musician and producer Lorely Rodriguez, has created here is a lovely old school sound, drums straight from an 80s drum machine - or so it seems - busy choruses that soar with intermingling synth patterns. For a debut release it's really good, and an extremely promising start to what could be a well-received career.

The release itself, 'Champagne' is a slow-bounce two-step, fun and bristling with little guitar sounds that seem like miniature fireworks. I like the swift change in dynamic between the relatively sparse verse, with its nonchalant vocals, and the jangling, near-psychedelic busy electric sounds of the chorus. The video for this number is below, featuring Empress Of herself, eating watermelons. Fun. Oddly fitting.

But then there's the B-side to this song: 'Don't Tell Me'. It's much more sombre, with slow-dance, epic drum sounds, long synths, a touchingly sweet vocal drenched in reverb and echo, imploring to remain in blissful ignorance. A heartbreaking ballad-style song that drips with nostalgia and the power of emotion that can be conveyed by talented artists through music: Empress Of is one such example of this, displaying feeling with her electric and wholly dreamy sound.

And good news: 'Champagne' can be downloaded below FOR FREE! Holy moly, Amaterasu-ōmikami on high, what a treat! (But hurry up about it.)

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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

KWES. ROLLERBLADES

There's not much of this around, touching and understated pop songs. Not as far as I have heard anyway. If you've heard 'em, send 'em, and I'll listen to 'em. But for the moment, we have Kwes. (yes, with the full-stop apparently) with a lovely new song called 'Rollerblades'.

You heard of Kwes. before? No, neither have I. Let's discover him together. He comes originally from South East London, gaining an interest in music - and sound recording particularly - at an early age. He also has colour synesthesia, which means he sees colours when listening to music, which are associated to certain notes. Sounds cool to me, but he plays it down, saying: "it doesn't annoy me, or it doesn't amuse me, or it doesn't make me feel good, it's a normal occurrence to me." There you go.

Believe it or not, he's been quite active in the field of producing, having done work with The Xx and Micachu in the past. But, above all, he's a solo artist in his own right, and an interesting one at that, as this song 'Rollerblades' quite nicely illustrates.

It comes from the EP he released earlier in spring of this year, Meantime. But what exactly is it? It's kinda an experimental indie pop sound, but with hooks and progressions in the melody that are more pop pop than anything else. It's an altogether sparse sound, which is, the more you listen to it, actually more interesting than it first seems - there are little percussive sounds that dot the beat like simple little decorations, the bassline is on the surface quite simple but is doing a few more forward rolls and arab springs than you think, the glitchy blips that do zip in and out of earshot, and the lyrics as well are beautifully mundane (about how somebody's hair looks, going out for dinner, and above all - rollerblading).

The last minute or so of this pretty ditty are turned into an atonal mash of electro sounds and pinging percussion vague beats and only a hint of stability. This is quite exciting because it means that, alongside singing in is plaintive voice about going rollerblading set to catchy beats and melodious hooks, he can also lay down some truly experimental sounds, electric in nature and style. Good job Kwes.!

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DON RIMINI THE FUTURE IS OURS

I'm finding it really difficult to enjoy anything at the moment because I have a headache. It feels like the moon has been teleported into my head. As you can imagine, it's kinda painful. Anyway - on with the show and all that.

So this is French producer Don Rimini (real name: Xavier Gassemann) with a right banger (sorry) called 'The Future Is Ours', coming from his recent EP, (FOMO) Fear Of Missing Out, which is out now. He's been around since 2007 and made it particularly big off the back of a song called 'Let Me Back Up', released in 2008, which is an epic glitchy electro-house number making full use of the glorious repetition of sounds and rising and falling dynamics that characterise this kind of music.

So this time around, it's kind of different. 'The Future Is Ours', as the title suggests, is decidedly relentless, grab-em-by-the-balls kind of song. It's a very funky number, embracing the true house style with an endlessly looping bassline and a hard-not-to-love vocal sample, emphatically asking the question "Can you dig it?". It's one that overpowers your body and mind - even with a headache, right now I am more than enduring this song: I'm enjoying it. Muchly. And you should too!

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

TANLINES NOT THE SAME

This is something that I seemed to have missed this summer, and wow how I wish I hadn't missed it. This was the album released by Tanlines, called Mixed Emotions. It was, from what I've read, a quite wonderful album that was (or is), to use that old adage, all killer and no filler. Will be playing catch up with that one.

However, Tanlines have released three songs from the album so far that have been turned into videos. This one, 'Not The Same', is the third. It's a collage of different sounds that really works quite fantastically and, after the fifth or sixth listen this time alone, truly shows no sign of letting up in its sheer addictiveness.

Beginning with some throwback stabs of a naked piano, aping the many a house song's rhythm, it goes on to include live 4x4 drumming that features cymbal crashes, delicious percussion, as well as the layering of synth to make that original melody one that turns pretty electronic pretty quickly. The vocal melody is something that's so madly familiar that its not hard to think, "Have I heard this before?" - that's before you realise, "No, I've actually heard nothing like this before."

It's this collage of sounds, from that familiar vocal melody (even the voice itself sounds a teensy bit like the guy's from TV On The Radio), to that can't-go-wrong house rhythm on the piano and synth, the amalgamation of live, acoustic sounds with a heart entrenched in dance sensibilities, that give it the plain status of an instant hit. It's bricolage at its very best - even the video, with the additions of various instruments and people, illustrates the hotch potch of influences present in this glorious song. Listen, listen... and listen again.

And if you like it enough, you can buy the album Mixed Emotions here.

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Monday, 26 November 2012

KAVINSKY ODD LOOK

Last time we heard anything from Kavinsky it was all in the general and understandably ecstatic furore that surrounded Drive last year, and in particular his most famous addition to the soundtrack: 'Nightcall'. Since then, there hasn't been anything much, but people have been hungry to hear more from this pretty enigmatic and exciting producer. The latest titbit we have from him, however, is from an advert made by JWT Paris for the new BMW i, and it's a track called 'Odd Look'.

Thankfully, it is typically Kavinsky and I love it. Even though the clip is only one minute long, you can get a very good idea of how the sound of this artist has progressed.

We hear the usual electro sounds, mega-modulated and distorted synths, a slow, steady beat, and an atmosphere that seems to be at once uniquely cinematic. But even though his new song, 'Odd Look', seems to retain the sound that so allured everybody the first time around, at the same time it seems as if the sound is becoming more distinguished, more layered, more ambiently mechanised with other synth tricks and added, vocal effects, that will hopefully add up to one very exciting release in 2013. Dubbed Outrun, I have no idea when it will be released, nor when exactly, but I know one thing: I'm excited.

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HOT CHIP DON'T DENY YOUR HEART [VIDEO]

What a weird video. Directed by Peter Serafinowicz - who has been in a kind of creative relationship with Hot Chip also directing some of their other videos, including 'Night And Day' - it's all about... Football. But it's not your regular football game. No. In fact, it's never your usual football game when all the players succumb to an impassioned desire for a homoerotic orgy right there on the pitch, then merging to form a giant person who then begins to slow dance with another giant person made up of footballs (which, by the way, had already rained down from the sky, just before a load of polygonal gold men started dancing in a circle on the pitch). Does that sound bizarre enough for you? 'Don't Deny Your Heart' indeed...

As for the song itself, it's not 'regular' Hot Chip either (every time I hear a new song of theirs I think back to their first album and realise how different they are now), but a more decidedly pop-infused foray into feel-good, 80s-type music that makes use of a bassline that glides from high to low, complete with a funky disco breakdown - sounding like a cross between 'diet' version of MJ's 'Thriller' and Paul Simon's 'You Can Call Me Al' at times. Exploring new sounds, however, is always more exciting than treading over the same ground - perhaps the video is an illustration of as much.

This is Hot Chip's latest single and it's out today.

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PAPA PUT ME TO WORK

Over a year ago, we wrote about the fabulous indie rock infectinator 'I Am The Lion King' by PAPA, but now they are back with another belter to keep us going until a promised full-length release comes to us early in 2013 (as yet unnamed). If first EP A Good Woman Is Hard To Find is anything to go by, we should be in for a treat. New single 'Put Me To Work' makes the new release seem pretty hopeful as well.

Whilst much less focused on a groove than some previous efforts ('I Am The Lion King' being the prime example), 'Put Me To Work' is a rollicking rock number, complete, even, with rock piano - something you don't hear very much of these days. The song itself reminds me of The Killers and even Gaslight Anthem, to an extent, but both of these bands have their own, more-Springsteen-aping sound and, naturally, PAPA have their own sound, too. It's a warmer, heavier, altogether thicker sound, but still a lot more stadium-chasing than I thought it was going to be. The haphazard style of guitar is something I can really get on board with, as is the relentless breakdown towards the end of the song.

It's a night-time drive kind of atmosphere, however, as opposed to the relatively sunny delight of their first EP, but still I get the feeling that 'going Springsteen' is neither PAPA's goal nor their intention: just another dimension to add to their already quite varied sound. I am looking forward to hearing how the rest of this next album's songs are going to sound compared to this.

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Friday, 23 November 2012

MR OIZO UNRELEASED UNFINISHED UNPLEASANT [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Today is just full of treats isn't it? First a new Cyril Hahn number, then lovely hip hop, and now: the news that Mr Oizo (aka Quentin Dupieux) has released some previously unreleased, and evidently unfinished and unpleasant tracks, on an album wistfully entitled Unreleased Unfinished Unpleasant. What's more, it's available as free download from www.oizo3000.com, "Mr Oizo's lazy website". Free download, no caps: just what the doctor ordered.

Old Quentin Dupieux has been something of mystery, everyone wondering: Just when the arse-ing hell is there going to be more Mr Oizo shiz, by Jove?! Well, he's been busy making films. That picture tells you enough. But if you would like to know more about the film, Wrong, which he showed at Sundance this year, here's an interview with the man himself.

So, about Unreleased Unfinished Unpleasant. It contains unreleased stuff from 2004 to 2012 (tracklisting on the second screenshot of his website below) and is, as you'd expect, typically Oizoian: electro house with ear-twisting sounds and funky melodies set over some seriously spiky, abrasive beats, best shown off on 'Tissu' whose paranoic, frantic synths could share a room with the nervous, space-invadery sounds on 'Hidolls'. Then you have the barely-a-song songs like 'Mositif' with the refrain "End of the world", you have, weird shoes-squeaking sounds of 'Gunzeon', the unexpected ghostly head-banger that is 'Coco', menacing big synth in the heart-pounding 'Flip Bat'... I could go on, but you get the idea: It's new Mr Oizo! Boogie on down to Oizo3000.com and get downloading if you know what's good for you.

To reiterate that tracklist for you it's...
1. Kylie
2. Duck Guts
3. Hidolls
4. Tissu
5. Mositif
6. Pepa & Pepa
7. Gunzeon
8. 143
9. Flip Bat
10. Coco
11. Moto44 (Crashed)
12. JC Dus

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FITZ AMBRO$E CREPWME

Here's a right treat for this Friday: an album called crepwme by Tokyo-based producer Fitz Ambro$e, who originally comes from eastern Canada. Released 25th October of this year, crepwme (who knows what that means) is a glitchy, electro-doused mega-dose of hip hop, and I love it. There's something about that hip hop rhythm, the laidback offbeat that forms the base for so, so, so many songs that you cannot help but fit into, like a slipping into the most comfortable marshmallow-consistency armchair, cannot help but bop your head to. It's the perfect kind of music to accompany any normal everyday activity - and this kind of hip hop particularly, brimming as it is with fizzy, blippy, whizzy bubblings of electronica, makes everyday life just that bit more exciting. Sometimes a good soundtrack is all it takes to brighten up someone's day.

The whole album from start to finish is delicious, like an endless platter of tasty treats that do not get any less tasty as you float your way through them. Each song winds into the next one flawlessly, creating an atmosphere of continuity that is expertly pockmarked with different vibes from track to track. Reminding me at times of the kind of glitteringly electronic and experimental hip hop that seems to be the overriding trend in Japan at the moment (must be some kind of influence), yet with enough sunny sounds as to retain a North American heart, listening to this whole album is a ride you'll not regret getting on.

From the heartwarming chill of songs like 'hun dipz (feat. eLan)' and end song 'prease', to more frantic and intense sounds - though still light and delicate in flavour - of 'lovzap', with its slightly menacing vocal sample and melting synths, and the endlessly fizzing 'sterio z', there is a great variance in what is essentially the same hip hop foundations: the sign of a good producer, surely.

Some of the songs seem a little short - for example, the simple sounds of 'fluzies' could go on for another 5 minutes at least, just because they are so lovely to hear: thin snares, a delicate synth chord hook, and gentle synth strings. It's the minimalism in songs like that and 'whaanye' - which features this weird, slurred, slow rap that totally fits the style - which, when contrasted with thicker-sounding songs like 'mr swervon', makes this album such an interesting listen. One minute, it's about the spaces in between the sounds, the next, it's about the sounds themselves. You can listen to the whole thing below, but if you fancy a taster before you delve right in, watch this video of a general mix of the album to get a feel for this intriguing artist's sound:

……

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HAIM DON'T SAVE ME CYRIL HAHN REMIX

This man just cannot stop making excellent remixes - the songs he chooses to remix are as a surprise as ever. Yes, it's Cyril Hahn again and this time he's remixed Haim track 'Don't Save Me'. Starting with a more feel-good than the awesome heartbreakingness of his previous efforts (due, in part to the massive, known-by-all pop songs he chose to remix), this wonderful remix quickly dives into the layering and warm textures that we all know and love him for. This one certainly has more of an electro indie pop edge than his others, but that is of course to do with the choice of band, the LA-based all-girl Haim, and song - we can only assume that he builds the music around the vocal track, so he would have to go for something that fits naturally.

Hence the majorly distorted sawwave synth that provides the main electronic hook beneath the beat, and hence the intro, too. He caters for the vibe, or feel, of whatever track he happens to be remixing, whilst remaining quite at liberty to put his own stamp on it too, what with that synth so high pitched and faraway-sounding that ends up soaring after each successive drop into the chorus. Ooh yes, listen below:

This is a direction I didn't exactly think that Cyril Hahn would be going in; honestly I thought he would stick to the recent-years' worth of pop songs - and pure pop songs only. However, remixing a song by Haim shows us that his talents do not lie with just one genre in particular and it also shows us his personal taste in music - you don't actually get to see this with other artists or bands unless they also remix stuff, or unless you ask them. It marks a relatively big step for Cyril Hahn, in my opinion, who has now left people guessing what he'll do next - a clever way to create a good amount of intrigue over a well-deserving artist.

One question: how far away are we from a Cyril Hahn album, or even an EP, featuring his remixes? I for one would be ecstatic to learn some wonderful fact like that.

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Cyril Hahn • Facebook / SoundCloud / Twitter / Tumblr
Haim • Facebook / Twitter / SoundCloud / YouTube / Official site

Thursday, 22 November 2012

BIG BLACK DELTA BETAMAX

After wowing the UK with first song 'IFUCKINGLOVEYOU' (which I apparently missed), and earning praise from the likes of Jay-Z and Dave Navarro as a result, Big Black Delta is back with another single from his ('him' being Jonathan Bates) forthcoming album, scheduled for release in early 2013. We don't have a name yet, as much as we'd like to tell you what it is.

For the moment though, we can just be happy that there are these two singles to enjoy until there are more songs to enjoy. This newest one, which will be released Monday 26th November, is called 'Betamax' and it's a great tune.

I like the whole vibe of this song. From the lovely chord changes in the arpeggios of synth that trickle down for the duration of the song like analogue raindrops, to the vocals that sit perfectly within the colossal blanket of electro goodness that is the grounding of the song, even to the epic crashing slap of the snare, it's a joy from start to finish. The last fifth (or so) of 'Betamax' however is a towering giant of music, dubstep rhythm drums that sound vast and all-encompassing, and a blaring horn that drills through everything else making for a sound that puts you under its spell right away. Brazen.

On second listen, better. The nuances of the song, the dynamics, the pop hook that keeps it catchy, a sense of experimentalism, all work and create a sound that you would be a fool to miss out on. Video below - enjoy!


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PEGASE DREAMING LEGEND EP

This fuzzy synth wonder that I came across the other day is something that I'm very happy to have found. It's a lovely sound that evokes continuation, galloping progress, gripping delicately onto the reigns of tomorrow.

What we have here is Pegase (pégase is french for Pegasus), so as far as flying through the air on a horse with wings goes, just the right amount of ethereal and ephemeral sounds have been wound around these two songs to paint a splendidly beautiful, electronic picture of that very mythicality.

These two songs are from Pegase's Dreaming Legend EP, which was released this Monday 19th November. Beginning with the first, which lends its name to the title of the EP itself, it begins as if in anticipation of some kind of take off. No sooner have the stuttering synth chords started than we are whisked off on the wide, soaring wings of this song. With a pulsing beat, it drives forward, leaving space for ambient, organ-type sounds and a voice that sullies forth as if from a dream, wrapped in a swaddling of reverb and echo. High, string or harmonica sounds begin to erupt, dropping the song into a break before a veritable nosedive into the layered beats and sounds that take us spiralling back to the ground. Below is the video for the said, beautiful song, 'Dreaming Legend' - a dreaming legend, indeed:

Next, we have the more grounded, more sombre, but no less beautiful near-sitar sounds of 'Ladybug'. Sounding more like a lo-fi dancefloor disco number, the vocals are more pronounced, and the beat is less electronic and closer to that of a real drumkit - albeit one with an 80s production quality. I love that the main melody of the song is provided for by tropical, beach-spun steel pans - one of my favourite sounds in the world. Both of these songs give us a clue of the different kinds of dynamic that Pegase can belt out whilst retaining the same, dream-pop kind of style that is not only easy, but also really lovely to listen to at the same time.


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PEACE WRAITH

Something nice and easy for this morning. Something by a band with a name that corresponds to many a person's wish for the world: Peace. You won't exactly get peace by listening to Peace, but you will get a taster of a happier life where people party nicely with each other and where everybody is fashionable, but not so fashionable as to cause fallings-out between the cuttingly fashionable and the pinprickingly stylish. Everyone's as they are and everything's how it should be.

Got carried away, sorry.

Here is Peace with new single 'Wraith'. Despite the name, there is actually nothing wraith-ful nor phantom-like nor ghost-esque about this song. There's a great number of merits to this song, which shows itself instantly as a pop-fuelled indie-type maraca-shaking offbeat-guitar hook kind of a song, with vocals that perform some level of acrobatics against that backdrop. The chorus is delightfully infectious and it has been cycling, wrapped in tiki lights, around my head for most of the morning. Right away, you could make a comparison between that descending guitar lick that is like the song's frontispiece and the kinds of melodies you find in songs by the likes of Foals, and other tempo-bending acts that I can't list right now.

However, the overall pop of 'Wraith' is very much different to a band such as Foals, taking Peace across a threshold that marks a transition between unknown and soon-to-be-known - thanks, in part I suppose, to a record deal with Columbia Records. Good on them!

Utterly inoffensive, though at the same time not something that I am wetting myself about, this band certainly has the potential to conquer the indie-pop palaces of the world and win over many a heart and mind. And let them - they are good enough to deserve any success that comes their way.

Their Delicious EP is out now.
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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

VILLAGERS NOTHING ARRIVED

Last time we spoke about Villagers it was for their song 'The Waves', which actually is wildly different to the song that we're talking about today: 'Nothing Arrived'. Both songs, as far as I am aware, come from their album {Awayland} scheduled for release on 14th January 2013 (UK - and 9th April for USA), but both couldn't be more different. Whilst 'The Waves' combines acoustic sounds with electro-pop beats and synthy seasonings for a zeitgeistical, collage-like sound, 'Nothing Arrived' arrives on a wagon flying the flag of folk - in a way.

That's not to say that 'Nothing Arrived' isn't without its merits, however. With a chorus that soars in harmonies and a verse that shows off the clear, sharp tones of the vocals, it's an anthemic kind of song in that the sing-along elements are all there: namely, catchy melodies. And those hooks are in everything from that vocal of well-written lyrics, to the nearly honky-tonk piano and the have-I-heard-this-before chords of the guitar.

Whilst it starts like a little ditty, it certainly delivers with a climactical last part that brings all instruments up to an intense volume, everything becoming layered, strings slicing in here and there, to create this wonderful sound that, ironically considering the title of the song, sounds as if something definitely has arrived - indeed, that last part turns it from a morsel into a condensed feast.

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TOYS NOISE [NATURAL PLASTIC EP]

It's amazing what you can miss out on when you simply just don't know what you're missing out on - if that makes any sense. Being recommended a song here and there is a good way to keep up with not just new music, but music that people themselves have taken a liking to in recent months, serving a dual purpose. In that way, I have been very quickly and effectively been won over by the sounds of Paris-based TOYS.

Their debut EP, Natural Plastic came out 10th September this year, and featured two original songs, 'Noise' and 'T-O-M', and two remixes of 'Noise'. It's a massively threadbare introduction to some new talent that sounds like it could get very big indeed. Therefore I am waiting with anticipation for something new from TOYS, whenever that may be.

For now, even just 'Noise' will suffice. It's a song with a unique sound that could be listened to any number of times without growing any less fond of it at all. The video for the song is below, and was filmed around the Barbès-Rochechouart Mètro station in Paris - an area that's notoriously rough and that clearly holds some kind of nostalgic meaning for the duo who make up TOYS: Paul Prier and Bastien Doremus. Have a listen.

With a bassline that could have been lifted right out of a dub song, and a beat that naturally locks in with that offbeat bass to create a head-nodding sensation of a track with an unreal groove, 'Noise' is an instant hit from its very beginnings. Add to this the frenetic analogue synth that dips in and out like a bizarre, scratchy, modular fanfare, and you have a very different-sounding song. The vocals, too, like an announcement hold up against these competing sounds wonderfully with a chunky degree of feeling. I can't tire of listening to it, honestly.

The second original of the EP, 'T-O-M', is a much more laid-back affair. It bursts open like an 80s slow-jam, with a get-on-down bassline that gradually gives way to effortless, near-whispering vocals, before a sensual synth solos over the top, making everything sound like the after-disco vibe outside a disco from Streets Of Rage 2 that may never have existed at all. It's all palm trees and neon signs and you can listen to it here.

As for the remixes of 'Noise', you can listen to those below. The first, by Fausto Garraud, turns the original into a galloping deep house number, adding in some extra funk with a constant, rumbling bass. The second, by Sayem, keeps closer to original but speeds it up a little, features a crunchy interlude, makes use of spaces in between sound, before launching into a full-on electro mash in the second half that puts extra meat on the original.

As I said earlier, I am eagerly anticipating more from TOYS after their teasingly short Natural Plastic EP and I hope, after listening to them, so will you be too.

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TOYS on Facebook
TOYS on Twitter
TOYS on SoundCloud
TOYS on YouTube

Friday, 16 November 2012

TEENAGE SWEATER KEWL EP

I have been listening to this new Teenage Sweater EP Kewl whilst watching the live stream of cats that is currently doing the rounds - if you haven't seen it yet, get to bloody see it. Anyway, that is beside the point. The point is that here's some nice music for a slow Friday afternoon.

Coming from California, the music of Teenage Sweater on this EP is reflective of the lazy languishing sunny days by the beach that I am sure typifies many a day in many a Californian's life, the heat bearing down, the sea, the wide roads... I can't say for sure, but for me it evokes that kind of inescapable landscape. Of course, as with every other place in the world, there are seasons by the sea - some of them are nicer than others. This has been explored in the Kewl EP, with a sound that is equal amounts idyllically carefree and almost heartrending.

The latter is perhaps best illustrated in the last song of the EP, the aptly named, depressing last-dance-sounding 'Bummer Summer'. The long and quite often boring days of summer can often feel like the sound of this song, drawn out, fuzzy, cyclical. The other side of the coin can be heard in the touching sounds of opener 'Coconut Water', sweet with that xylophone sound thrown into the mix. Overall, the lo-fi, shoegaze, old-drum-machine aesthetic in which these songs are soaked works well for all dynamics - slow, as well as fast and boppy, like the fast pogo-sticker 'SWEAT', almost the antithesis of a surf song, but with all the right elements: a mean melody, hard-working drums, no vocals (the last few seconds of this one are ace).

The composition of 'Bored Cop In A Small Town' is by far the best, in my opinion, featuring the best opening-up of sound on the EP, the perfect mix of a wall of distortion decorated with synths and that nearly-drowned vocal, that is also at its best in the dirge-like, yet bittersweet 'Oceans And Seas'.

So if you like old, old-sounding drum machines, New Order, lo-fi, shoegaze, chillwave, then Teenage Sweater is for you. Listen below. The EP is out now.

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Teenage Sweater on Facebook
Teenage Sweater on Twitter
Teenage Sweater on SoundCloud
Teenage Sweater on Bandcamp
Teenage Sweater on Myspace
Teenage Sweater on Tumblr

PARA ONE WHEN THE NIGHT FEAT JAW

Since we wrote about this song earlier this summer, someone's been hard at work making an official video for it. Now, without further ado, here it is:

As I said last time, there's a lot of funk going on here. Funk meets 21st century electro, they have an affair, they elope, they make music in urban disco landscapes. A lovely mix of big-lunged, soulful vocals, slappy bass and zingy synth, all rolled into a spring roll of lurid night time colours and the vague promises that come with them. In a word: lovely.

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Para One on SoundCloud
Para One on Facebook
Para One's Wikipedia page
Para One on Myspace
Para One on Twitter

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

FOALS MY NUMBER LIVE ON JOOLS HOLLAND

More new Foals. Last night they had a little slot on Later... with Jools Holland, long a bastion of new and exciting music (famously rocketing the likes of Seasick Steve, amongst others, to fame in the UK), and as well as playing 'Inhaler' - which we, by now, all know and love - they also played a new number from upcoming new album Holy Fire (chalked for release 11th February 2013), 'My Number'. Here they are, the Foals boys, doing what they do best.

This one has a tropical vibe to it, a very danceable groove (reminiscent of 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' by Yes, which is by no means at all a bad thing) that is, as ever, infectious to the very core. Add to that overall atmosphere a beat that, whilst steady, introduces the quirks that dominated the math-rock-style drumming on the first album Antidotes - and earlier demos - and a guitar so plinky and evocative of water that I think it's made me need the toilet, and you have 'My Number'. It has more of a hook than its much heavier partner at the moment, 'Inhaler', but if this variation is something we can look forward to on Holy Fire, then we're in for a regular buffet, smörgåsbord, sushi platter, tapas table of sounds.

And everyone knows how fun that kind of eating is: very.

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Foals on Facebook
Foals' official site
Foals on Twitter

AUTRE NE VEUT COUNTING

This is what I like to hear: a complete disregard for the perceived stigma surrounding certain genres of music - in this case, R&B. Brooklyn-based Autre Ne Veut (aka Arthur Ashin) is one of those artists creating the music that he wants to create, no matter of what genre it will be doubtless shoved into. Indeed, in an interview with Dummy Mag, he said as much, revealing that "Sexy music and soulful singing, regardless of genre, has always been a preference." With that said, it's safe to say that this first taster of upcoming album, Anxiety and gives an inkling to how formidable a follow-up this will be to his 2010 self-titled debut. It's going to big - really big - so hold on to your hats, jump into the music, and await the album, scheduled for release 11th February 2013, with eager, hungry ears.

With Ashin's professed influences ranging from Annie Lennox to Katy Perry - all purveyors of radio-friendly pop hits - it's clear to see that there is a definite passion here for weighty sing-alongs, big choruses that drain the lungs of sound and feeling and words that people on a general level can get on board with. So, of course, sensual vocals play a big part in the slow-jams, R&B aesthetic of teaser single 'Counting', it starting with a wordless, choral refrain that isn't difficult to fall in love with straight away. Listen up:

The chorus of this hi-hat-riddled, ten-storeys-tall song is an instant classic from the moment it erupts in a multi-layered "I'm counting on you..." - a few listens to this song and you'll be guaranteed to summon the karaoke-lover in you and belt it out as the song grinds forward (grind like the dance, not like a literal grind). It's honestly that catchy. And with that slow, hip-hop pop rhythm, those softened pan-pipes, that breathy synth, those kaleidoscope arpeggios, 'Counting' has all the right elements that are mixed perfectly genuinely heartfelt pop song.

Yep. It feels like pop, it sounds like pop, smells and even looks and tastes like pop, but something about its not-so-highly-polished veneer and its masterful use of the space or the silence between the sounds (in the verse at least) to create a powerful atmosphere of the feelings that go with putting oneself 100% in the care of another, i.e. counting on them, suggests that it is so much more than just another pop tune.

Again, this has been the joyous Autre Ne Veut - 'Counting'. The album Anxiety is out 11th February 2013. Tell all your friends.

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Autre Ne Veut on Facebook
Autre Ne Veut on Twitter
Autre Ne Veut on SoundCloud
Autre Ne Veut's official site

JETT DON'T YOU LEAVE [FREE DOWNLOAD]

This is Jett, not Jeff. It's specified as much in the URL for the SoundCloud page. It's easy to see how you'd make that mistake. All the same: it's Jett. And what's more, it's Jett with a new song - 'Don't You Leave'.

This man is an East London-based producer and DJ who first saw great success this year with his debut release in July 2012 (on Moda Black), 'I Know I Want You' whose pot-bubbling-over dynamic and slicing, airborne synths - not to mention the mean and plucky garage-hearted bassline - rocketed the song and its creator to the Beatport House sales chart, receiving praise from many respected DJs across the genre. Indeed, back in September Mixmag put Jett's new song, brimming with deserved hype, at the Number 1 slot in their every-couple-of-days chart. It's not without making some pretty tasty beats that you get that kind of attention.

Want to see, or rather hear, what all that was about? Listen to the song below. For now, however, let's talk current, and let's talk specifically 'Don't You Leave'.

The song has a much more relentless feel in its thumping kick than the one we were just speaking about, but it has this mellowness about it that gives it a very chilled atmosphere indeed - in the floaty, reverberating melody that goes exactly where you want it to, the barely audible, ephemeral vocal sample, the roundly popping arpeggios the song easily finds its feet and, in fact, clearly identifies them. It hooks you in. Perfect for running, working, chilling and, above all, dancing. Certainly looking forward to more from this gifted producer. Listen below and, if you like it, you can download it for free - isn't that fantastic?

And finally, I leave you with Jett's 'I Know I Want You':

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Jett on Facebook
Jett on Twitter
Jett on SoundCloud

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

KIDKANEVIL AND DAISUKE TANABE KIDSUKE

It's a beautiful thing when one or more already established artists come together to create something new that embodies and amalgamates each artist's style and dynamic. This much is true of the fantastic new partnership sparked and kindled between British Kidkanevil and Japanese Daisuke Tanabe (sketch of each just on the right here).

West meets East in an array of complex electronica that stuns, enlivens, chills and otherwise masterfully captures the imagination of the open-minded listener.

The album, Kidsuke, released 2nd November this year, marries the structural hip hop stylings of Kidkanevil and the likewisely leaning offbeat flavours of Daisuke Tanabe (whose delicious music we've written about before) perfectly - being similar artists, in that their sound utilises that unique glitchness that you find in the songs of each individual, certainly helps when trying to make an album that works harmoniously. The starting track, 'IntroOoOoO', announces the partnership with brash confidence ("Kid-o-suke!"), there being no coincidence that it is a child's voice proclaiming as much: the album certainly seems to be an evocative playground of the kinds of blips and bleeps that typified the video-game-centric collective childhoods of many people in their 20s now, as well as music box melodies - as in the lullaby-nightlight tones of second track 'Nanotrees (Out In The Woods)' - and merry-go-round aesthetics that otherwise conjure a childlike wonder, or love, for the sounds that make us smile.

That child-proclaimer is a recurring theme in the album, popping up here and there to remind us, perhaps, that both artists doing this for fun more than anything else. A questioning "Kid-o-suke...?", for example, marks the start of 'SGstep', which is a fun, pots-and-pan percussive dubstep-styled track, featuring much modulated synth bleeptude that drip-drops over the sound as a grinding sound comes in and out in waves.

Hip hop, however, is never far away, with the distinctive offbeat of 'MoOoOoOn' housing a foundations for flights of electronic fancy that whizz over and above. Those sounds, at once recognisable as part of both artists' separate repertoire, are heard best in the popping bubble atmosphere of 'Frogs In A Well', the fizzing cauldron of 'Sine Flowers' and the frantic, unworldly sounds in 'Harmonics Pt2'. How emotion can summoned with such obscure, unnatural noises is difficult to say, but it is done so successfully. The feeling, for instance, in the touching melodies of 'The Other Day We Thought Of Our Friends' is quite evident, in the bathtime evocation of 'Super Deformed', and even more so in final track, which even smells and feels like a drawn-out, modern-world goodbye, 'The Last Train'.

That the album should carry a name that is a portmanteau of Kidkanevil and Daisuke Tanabe says as much about the sound therein; it the work of neither artist, it's the work of both, together: it's Kidsuke and it's lovely. Stream it all below.

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Kidsuke // Twitter / SoundCloud / Bandcamp
Daisuke Tanabe // Facebook / Twitter / SoundCloud
Kidkanevil // Facebook / Twitter / SoundCloud / YouTube / Bandcamp / Official site

ICHIRO_ ONE FOR KAMAISHI + SUN DONG YEOL

Japanese talent Ichiro_ makes lovely music that combines the intricacy of ambient, glitch-ridden electronica with the laid back attitude of hip hop. I've been enjoying his sounds for a while now, his album unconsidered_ having a semi-regular slot on the listening circuit (new term) on Spotify.

Recently discovered, however, that Ichiro_ had created and recorded - alongside many other artists and musicians - a song specially for "the victims and survivors of the March 11th Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and to those affected by the ongoing nuclear crisis." His makes up one of the 76 songs on the album, called simply Benefit Compilation for Japan, all proceeds from the sale of which go towards funds to help get the country - and more importantly: the affected population - back on its feet.

His song, 'One For Kamaishi' is pure ambient, with its repeating, glitching samples and breathy, synth sounds exuding this very chilled vibe. Add that to a beat so fluid that it could be a stream running down a mountain, and you have yourself a signature Ichiro_ track. Listen below to see what I mean.

To give a wider view of what this guy can do, here's the first song from the unconsidered_ album, 'Sun Dong Yeong:

This is perhaps even more glitch-laden than 'One For Kamaishi', and also leaning more towards hip hop with the beat, which has much more of an offbeat rhythm typical to hip hop. The drums, however, sound just like a lot of fuzz made solid into these fizzing blocks of pure beat that compliment the frantic busy-ness of the synth and occasional, frenetic, echoing vocal sample. Ichiro_ doesn't fail to capture the imagination with his electronic compositions and I'm eagerly awaiting something new from him that can fill the need for quirky electronica.

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Ichiro_ on Facebook Ichiro_ on Twitter Ichiro_ on SoundCloud Ichiro_ on Bandcamp Ichiro_ on YouTube Ichiro_ on Mixcloud Ichiro_ on Tumblr Ichiro_'s official site

Monday, 12 November 2012

JOHN TALABOT ƒIN SPECIAL EDITION

Last time we wrote about Barcelona's darling of dark house music at the moment John Talabot it was all about his new album released earlier this year (spring time), ƒIN. This time around, it's about that same album, except this time it's getting a bit of a rejig and a quasi-re-release as ƒIN - Special Edition. Sounds need enough, but what's so special about it?

It's not just a straight-up re-release with a fancier-looking album sleeve, it's a whole new album, with new tracks that are only played on tour and other remixes and versions of original tracks done by new artists. As the sound of ƒIN was so wide and encompassing, toying with the kind of sound found in the fissures between light, ear-friendly dance, and the somewhat jagged waves that offer up a darker, newer, more introspective dance sound. That was the overall sound. The special edition of that album carries on in the same vein, illustrated quite perfectly by two unreleased outtakes, 'Mai Mes' and 'Tragedial'.

As with all John Talabot songs, there is a great utilisation of the many different layers of 'Mai Mes'; what starts off as a very simple track ends up a veritable club sandwich of sawtoothed bass synth, various Oriental-sounding, reverbed strings and bells, a repeating melody that is so pleasing to the ears that it's hard not to think you're already familiarised with this track on first listen, and a high-pitched vocal sample wailing over the top of everything towards the end.

The same can be said of 'Tragedial', however this is a much more understated track, perhaps lacking the familiar hook of 'Mai Mes', that revels in ambience rather than trying to persuade people to dance. It still showcases the wonderful building blocks of sound that John Talabot puts together for our listening pleasure, highlighting his ability to multiply many different sounds without everything getting jumbled or clustered - everything has its place.

If you'd like to hear more of this, plus other remixes of this kind of stuff, then you should be on the lookout for John Talabot's special edition of ƒIN, released 30th November on Permanent Vacation.

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John Talabot on Facebook
John Talabot on Twitter John Talabot on SoundCloud
Permanent Vacation's official site
Permanent Vacation on Facebook

PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING EVEREST

More music should be like this, well maybe not should be like it, rather there should just be more existing music out there that is similar to this. Failing that, the two Londoners behind Public Service Broadcasting could just continue making the lovely music they already make. Then we'll be fine.

What these guys do, and have done since before the release of their first EP, EP One, in 2010, is take old recordings of many kinds - public information films, old propaganda and other archive footage/recordings - and set them to music. On paper, or in theory, it doesn't sound great, but in practice and in your ears it sounds rather lovely indeed. Indeed, their aim is to "teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future" which is a lot less educational and a lot more fun and beautiful sounding than you'd imagine.

Their newest song, released today 12th November 2012, is called 'Everest' and as you might guess it includes samples from archive recordings of a little film about Mount Everest. Before it was called Mount Everest it known simply as 'Peak 15' (see, I've learned something from it). Have a listen to the lovely sounds below:

Set to banjos and all sorts of other stringed instruments, to the backing beat of a relentless and inoffensively tinny drum kit, the song gallops along in an indie-instrumental kind of way without a hitch and summons a wonderfully cartoony soundscape of the first men to climb Everest in whatever year it was (didn't remember that bit, sorry), with blizzards made of scrunched up paper whirling around and little men cut from construction paper gradually etching their path up the side of the jagged mountain. So, if this song isn't anything else, it's evocative and imagination-inducing.

A bit of synth doesn't go amiss and actually provides the song's main hook in a cyclical melody that acts like an aural drug made expressly for dancing, head-bopping and otherwise toe-tapping, muscle-clenching, tooth-clicking, rhythm-aping fun. A sunny brass section seals the deal, aking the affair a whole lot more majestic and sonorous than with the standalone plinks of strings and the like. Really, really nice song.

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Public Service Broadcasting on Facebook
Public Service Broadcasting on Twitter
Public Service Broadcasting on YouTube
Public Service Broadcasting's official site
Public Service Broadcasting's Wikipedia page

Sunday, 11 November 2012

FI/SHE/S KAVINSKY NIGHTCALL COVER

We discovered this song a few days ago but we've been unfortunately diverted by other, more immediately affecting circumstances. C'est la vie! Anyway, we're proud to have come across this, seeing as the original was such a great song, and seeing as this cover by FI/SHE/S (winners of the Le Prix SFR Jeunes Talents Musique 2012) of Kavinsky's 'Nightcall' is not so bad either. Not bad at all.

Of course, it's always a little bit risky covering a song that made such a splash when it first appeared (and which is inextricably connected to Drive, one of the more memorable cinematic experiences of last year). The paradox is, however, that songs are often only covered because they are such loved songs in either huge pop circles, or by an equally massive cult following. A good cover is more often than not the product of covering a very, very well-known song, but the risk of it not being so good increases directly with how well-loved the original is.

In the case of FI/SHE/S cover of 'Nightcall', it's a bit of both - it has neither drastically affected my view of the original (à la Jimi Hendrix's 'All Along The Watchtower'), nor has it offensively and ineffectually flopped like a fish out of water (conscious pun). Listen/watch and see what I mean:

Essentially, this an indie-pop reworking of the original with a much more ambient, chilled-out feel. As such, it exudes a vibe that the original could not, i.e. that of a live band who play instruments and not a man who sits at a computer making music. That's the main difference. That, and the newly done dubstep beat - always more favourable on live drums. As such it sounds like basically a different song, the only thing that's the same is the lyrics, which are to be fair treated very well with some luscious vocal harmonies that seem to be second-nature to the band, having listened to a few of their other songs on their SoundCloud page (try 'Bien' and 'Quiet Is The Monster' to get a good idea of the spectrum of their sound).

You can actually get this song for free if you follow this link.

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FI/SHE/S on Facebook
FI/SHE/S on Twitter
FI/SHE/S on SoundCloud
FI/SHE/S' official site
FI/SHE/S on YouTube

Thursday, 8 November 2012

KING KRULE ROCK BOTTOM

Something that sticks out most of all from this wonderful song from new talent King Krule (formerly Zoo Kid, and actually aka Archy Marshall; that's him there, that's his face in that picture on the right), aside from his rather striking voice, is the homage paid to a band that probably provided a lot of inspiration - The Streets. 'How can we tell that?' I hear you thinking.

Well, it's simply because of the final lines of this song, 'Rock Bottom':

This is the end of the something I did not want to end,
Beginning of hard times to come.
But something that was not meant to be is done,
And this is the start of what was.

Those are some lines from a song about taking a fork in the road, taking either a good or a bad path (to put it simply), called 'Empty Cans' from A Grand Don't Come For Free by The Streets. This band had a big effect on me and many others my age and around my age like King Krule, not because they were amazing to rock out to or anything like that, but simple because their frontman - Mike Skinner - rapped, if you could call it that, about everyday life. And not just any everyday life, but the average everyday life. Not the crumbling ghettos, and not gated communities where millionaires swoon, but somewhere in between. It resonated with a lot of people and as a result they got quite popular. So popular and so well-liked that they are referenced in songs like this one.

But on to the song itself. It's just great. I love it. The vocals are utterly unpolished, reflecting a want to tell things in a way that doesn't detract from the feeling involved in the lyrics. To have a good voice is one thing, but to have a voice that, however coarsely, paints a perfect picture of whatever it is you're trying - now that is another thing entirely.

Everything about this song, in fact, is unpolished to complete punk aesthetic. The drums are purposely abandoned as empty shells of snares and kick, the guitar is somewhat haphazard, but it works. And that is the key thing. With a song as raw as this one, about hitting rock bottom (as the title aptly suggests), keeping the sound from compromising that feeling is an important thing indeed. Can't get over that voice.

Looking forward to hearing more from King Krule - wondering, in a worried kind of way, if things will become more polished next time around. This was the new video (released today) for 'Rock Bottom', which is out now.

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King Krule on Facebook
King Krule on SoundCloud
King Krule's official site
King Krule's Wikipedia page

THE DRIFTER DAY AND NIGHT

This fantastic track 'Day And Night' comes from Berlin-based artist, The Drifter. It comes ahead of his new EP Lovers, scheduled for release 16th November this year, and promises - with its lush, dancefloor-scented soundscape - to be quite the EP indeed. It's the 16th on Permanent Vacation's SoundCloud, but the 20th on The Drifter's... so, not sure what to believe. Who is wrong? Who is right?

Date confusion aside, Permanent Vacation have a pretty illustrious history, a long and varied list of trysts and rendez-vous all remembered as innumerable EPs and LPs from just as innumerable a list of talented artists, producers and DJs. The lean, if you don't know, is towards dance music, sophisticated dance that glitters on the border between light and dark, euphoria and dysphoria, day and night (excuse the pun). This track by The Drifter is no different, playing with the emotions of love and stretching them across a canvas of beats and subtle electronic sounds that flutter in and out like far-off crazy heartbeats.

There's a pulsing bit of bass synth that varies booms just alongside the kick, driving the track forward. From start to finish the percussion in the beat becomes more and more complex, adding to various flavours and layers of this veritable dish of track. The dark overtones make this track what it is: a joy to listen to.

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The Drifter on Facebook
The Drifter on SoundCloud

KIDDY SMILE WORTHY OF YOUR LOVE

Came across this song yesterday and kind of kicking ourselves that we didn't post about it there and then. But hey - mañana. And mañana it is.

We'd never heard of Kiddy Smile, hailing from France and discovered apparently by Beth Ditto, but it seems as if he is going for a 1990s revival sound. It's a popular vibe at the moment, with much electronic music finding inspiration in that era of raves and baggy trousers, most notably - for us, anyway - Azari & III illustrates that sound quality today. It's a mix of not-too-sophisticated synth sounds, big snares, repetitive beats, and a catchy vocal hook that has you humming it for days on end.

When we first heard this song, 'Worthy Of Your Love', by Kiddy Smile we were so impressed with the out of place, yet oddly comfortable/comforting sound of the track, that we had to listen to it for a second time straight away. Which is perfect because the EP, Worthy Of Your Love will be available very, very soon. This was able to confirm one thing to us: that this is a song we like a lot. And we hope you do, too.

It's catchy, it's fun, it reminds you nostalgically of a time that you thought was not so far gone in the past but is actually and rather depressingly more than 20 years in the past, and it makes you want to dance like a madman/madwoman. It reeks, like a heady perfume, of acid house. The video is like being rolled down a hill in a giant, musical kaleidoscope, full of all the colourful sights and sounds that go with the Era On Acid. Smiley faces ahoy.

It could be the case that in these troubling times of apocalyptic elections in that big country across the Atlantic, perceived immigration problems, economic turmoil, stagnating unemployment, a new paedophile every week (or one very famous one for a whole month), the large feet of government stepping on the many and tiny toes of the people, decreasing literacy, the possible collapse of social welfare, and a thousand-and-one other quite understandably depressing things, the cure is to look back to a time when a portion of the music heralded and indeed celebrated only one thing: good times. Songs like these are more than just a song to jig to; they're more like a comfort blanket.

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Kiddy Smile on Facebook
Kiddy Smile on SoundCloud
Kiddy Smile on Twitter
Kiddy Smile on Tumblr
Kiddy Smile on Myspace
Kiddy Smile's official site

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

WITH JOYFUL LIPS SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF

You probably, or might not, know by now that Tropics EP Popup Cinema has been released and is currently gaining popularity with pretty much everyone who hears it, casting a spell over them. Tropics, which is just Chris Ward, will be playing at The Nest along with Micachu this Friday 9th November. But when it comes to live stuff, Chris Ward doesn't stand alone onstage - he has a band with him.

One part of this band is Keith Vaz. Whilst he'll be playing in the band with Chris Ward this Friday, this isn't his full-time project. Not at all. Little did you know that he also makes music under the name With Joyful Lips. He released his EP Oneironautics late this summer. Unfortunately we were unable to cover that, but here is the video for one of the lead songs on the EP, 'Suspension Of Disbelief'.

The song makes genius use of touching sample (here are some transcripts) from the 1945 film Brief Encounter directed by David Lean. The tender yet melancholy emotions expressed in the lines from this film, used in the song, act as a kind of springboard for the feeling and vibe of the song itself. It's filled with this bittersweet string melody on a loop, with sparse bass and kick driving the song forward almost like footsteps or a heartbeat. There's a sense of vague frustration about the song, illustrated perhaps by the looping vocal sample of 'Don't'.

The last third of the song are occupied by vocals perhaps from Keith Vaz himself, and gives the song an extra layer of sound and feeling. There's this great slowdown bit in the song where everything gets quiet and muddled up, like some musical version of a blip in lovelife, before the cyclical, nearly Eastern-influenced rhythms of the song comes back. It's gentle enough for a chill, but rhythmic enough for a dance, yet still taut enough with emotion that its worth not only a second listen, but a third, a fourth - to be honest with you, I've lost count.

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With Joyful Lips on Facebook
With Joyful Lips on Twitter
With Joyful Lips on SoundCloud
With Joyful Lips' official site

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

ALICE RUSSELL HEARTBREAKER

It seems that the British soul train keeps on going like the little engine that could. With Adele exploding on an international level, going on to record the track for Skyfall earlier this year, and with the previous and various successes of the late, great and interminably troubled Amy Winehouse, it's a kind of music that's obviously captured the hearts and minds of everybody all over the world, and - too lazy to list all the recent soul singers we can think of - we'll leave you to ruminate over the sometimes bombastic, sometimes unimaginably gentle, world of soul.

In the meantime, that tradition continues with the powerful voice of the beautiful Alice Russell. Finding inspiration in Gospel music and soul legends like Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder, she's been simultaneously making music and touring since the release of her debut album Under The Munka Moon in 2004. We've not heard of her, or even heard her music, before now but this first taster of what she has to offer sure is impressive and leaving us wanting to hear more.

Here's her latest single, chalked for release 19th November, 'Heartbreaker'. Enjoy.

The music of this track has some great quirks to it, with light keys and a twiddly guitar that is like a little cherry on top of the dark funk that is the base of the song. There's a sense loss in the music, by turns lazily sensual and decidedly frank, that provides the perfect cushion, or pedestal, for Alice Russell's stunning vocals. Able to switch between high notes with next to no volume, and loud, lung-bursting lamentations of her fate (the very essence of soul), her voice catapults feeling and emotion right into the air, it falling as downpours of sentiment that perfectly illustrate the song's title - modern soul with a strong heart.

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Alice Russell on Facebook
Alice Russell on Twitter
Alice Russell on Last.fm
Alice Russell on Myspace
Alice Russell's official site
Alice Russell's Wikipedia page

Monday, 5 November 2012

FOALS INHALER VIDEO

Well, they've gone and done it themselves. Forget Konbini, watch the new video for Foals' latest single from their eagerly, highly, excitedly anticipated new album Holy Fire right above. We're just about dying from the full frontal force of this new song to even contemplate the contents of the video, remembering only graffiti, skateboarders, a tape player, a girl with lungs tattooed on her chest, and a wonderfully colourful bit of attire sported by Foals frontman, Yannis Philippakis.

As you'd expect, the song is good. It's so good that my words are running away from my brain before I've even had a chance to think about what I've just typed. Sorry about that. But the song is amazing.

It's an unexpected turn that Yannis himself has described as the "heaviest" song on the new album, but my goodness, do they do it well. Despite having that hard rock force, a killer riff that could rival any riff-maker of the last decade, and a wide, all-encompassing stadium sound that could uproot a whole forest, Foals penchant for all things dance is evident in the songs inescapable, nearly effervescent groove. Yeah, that's right. Even in the midst of heavy, distorted riffs, a danceable groove comes into place with a genius sense of dynamic, moving from that shredding, 900-storey-high guitar riff into a gentle, quieter part that plinks and plonks with palm-muted, heavily reverbed guitar arpeggios. You headbang, you tango. That's just how Foals works.

If this is anything to go by, which specifically (being an anomaly because of its latent heaviness) it isn't but generally it is, then we have a lovely surprise for us in store in the form of Holy Fire, due for release in the UK 11th February, 2013. For a band that has gone from sweaty but brilliant twiddly math rock indie floorfillers to the grace and beauty of anthemic ambience, the next venture holds in store for us something that we won't expect, but something that promises to tread new paths. Excited is an understatement.

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Konbini.fr
Foals on Facebook
Foals' official site
Foals on Twitter