Tuesday, 30 April 2013

MOOD RINGS PATHOS Y LAGRIMAS

Beau-ti-ful. That's what I think of this song by Mood Rings, 'Pathos Y Lagrimas'. It's the new single from their upcoming album, VPI Harmony, out 24th June on Mexican Summer.

But yeah, enough of that, what I was saying was that this song is beautiful. Very very pretty. I've just been reminded of some sad news and this song kinda suited that terribly perfectly. Not perfectly terribly. That's something else entirely: something that this song definitely ain't. It's really very evocative and full of slow waves of energy that pulse out like pure feeling.

But it's not intense. It's not in your face. It has its mood (excuse the pun) and the five-member band from Atlanta build on this mood, creating sweeping swathes of sound that are as lethargic as they are poignant. It's a hot breeze that seems to stumble over blades of grass and trees to get to you rather than blast through its obstacles.

It's a careful, almost mournful, tune with an interesting groove given to it by a stop-start rhythm on the drums - they go half-speed, double-speed, and the bass plays continually to the later, almost waiting for it to catch up. Nice effect. It's like one minute you're up and positive, taking things in your stride; the next, you're down-in-the-dumps, quite ready to pack it all in and curl up in a ball somewhere. Maybe that's just me. But they've captured it well in any case.

The frequent solo surf-guitar stylings in their lo-fi light-distortion cast mellow lines of sound over the wash of echoing 80s drums and other instruments. The vocals are plaintive and earnest, suiting very well a song with a title of 'Pathos Y Lagrimas' ('lagrimas' is tears in Spanish, guys). There's a distinctly dreamy feel about the type of lo-fi, delicate 80s indie kinda music that this band plays, a wonderfully crafted sound that's as chilled as it is emotive. An eerily heartwarming-yet-lacrimose offering. And, as I said, beautiful, byu-di-full.

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DON RIMINI INTERVIEW

This is an interview with Don Rimini, aka Mr Xavier Gassemann, French electronic artist and crowd-ecstaticiser extraordinaire. I wrote about his song 'The Future Is Ours' late last year and around the same time sent him some interview questions. Being a busy man I didn't think I'd get anything BUT the man himself has been kind enough to answer my questions... I am a little late with posting this up, what with all sorts of things hindering the progression of this site, but I am happy to say that in any case: here are some questions answered by Don Rimini.

You perhaps want to cast your mind back to January when reading his questions. I'm just kidding. They're relevant now as ever (except the answers he gave that were time-specific). And I'm so glad he has faith in the UK music scene (big up!) - a man who is led by his sense of fun in all things, not just music, and whose positive attitude is quite evident in what he told me. Now, read up, my friends.


Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?
Don Rimini, Native parisian , producer, DJ, the nice boy from next door, Ron Jeremy’s son, your favorite pizza cooker, someone who could make you pretty and smart. ahaah... I  try humbly to produce great songs, make my pals dance madly till the morning light. My brand new EP Fear Of Missing Out has just been released a few weeks ago on a great German label called No Brainer. I am also real proud of the live show that I am now touring with, called 'A Live Odyssey'.

Why did you decide to start creating music?
When I was 14, I started to DJ. It quickly became a passion, then a way of life. Then, I naturally wanted to include my own tracks in the mixes. So I started to produce some. It is the obvious next step for a DJ. Creating is a positive challenge and most of all, for me, it's all about fun and good times. Fun is the main thing that orients my life choices.

How would you describe your sound? What makes you and your style stand out?
Hummm... Basically I make « club music ». My music is made to be danced on, to be listened to loudly, to give joy and happiness. Selfishly, I generally produce the music that I myself want to listen to, or which makes me dance. That could be called House, techno, electro... humm I don't really care about the name, the category. I focus on the quality, the intensity, the energy. From my first EP to the last one, through the remixes, I just want people to disinhibit themselves. I follow only my instinct and my desires. 

Is there a perfect time and place for listening to your music?
Ah great question!!! Most of my tracks sound ideal in a club at 2am. Or, at least in the car driving to a party.. ahahahah… I want my new tracks to make the club kids dance with the mighty power of their youthful legs, moving their entire bodies instead of having just their fist pumping the air... ahahah. I want them to feel the music as a pleasure, not as a war chant or ritual.

What inspires you most when writing a song?
The weed! Ahahah.

What is your most memorable musical experience?
I have got so many... humm. Probably, the live performance premiere at Transmusicales Fest (France). There were 10,000 people in front of me. I was alone on the stage, on top of a great LED structure, driving a kind of futuristic controller/synth that was still under development at that time. It was my first live show ever. I worked 8 months on that show. You can imagine how stressed out I was. All the main promoters, journalists attending the festival were in the crowd... No mistakes allowed. Everybody was expecting something great. So, the show had to run perfectly. And it was definitly magic, incredible. The crowd turned mental, clapping their hands on the beat, singing the lyrics, screaming on the drops while smiling and dancing. A fantastic moment that I'll never forget.

What are your favourite three songs at the moment?
Logo - Give Mo Luv (feat. eLBee BaD)
These 2 guys produce the best techno at this time. A kind of oldschool beat including contemporary FX and arrangements.

A$AP Rocky - Ghetto Symphony (feat. Gunplay & A$AP Ferg)
The dozy flow of A$AP is unique. The melody and the production tricks are simply stunning.

Ta-ku - Higher (Flume Remix)
Flume is kinda UFO. This young and fresh beat maker has his own touch, his own taste. I love that beat, the chopped and chipmunked vocals. He is a true genius. Difly!

Who do you most admire in the music world?
So many people man...

I'm a huge fan of Soul music. I would say Sam Cooke. He's a legend, a great songwriter. I love his voice. He got something spiritual and magical that goes straight to your heart. Lately, I noticed that tons of his songs has been used in movies soundtracks.

In your opinion, what is the future of music?
Hum, hard to say. The good one I hope... I never feel easy by naming music styles... So many things are popping up these times. Things like Trap Music to UK Funky, the return of the Deep House...

I was following some Trap music things, but millions of copycats grow everywhere... it's pretty sad because they copy instead of making something interesting, creating, bringing music elsewhere...

These times, I fell in love with projects like Disclosure, Julio Bashmore or Club Cheval; things that sound very British, very deep in the mood, deep in the basses. I’m thinking that the trend goes into that kind of sound. More sexiness, less violence.

What's the future of your music - what do you hope to do next?
To be honest, I really don't know. As I told you, my only goal is having fun. Producing the music that I want to hear at this moment. It s an absolute selfish way to do. I don't really care. I don't want to follow any trend. It depends of my feelings at that time.

It will probably be Techno, or maybe Acid House, Pop... who knows? I make music with passion, and fun. I always rely on my feelings. I’m currently working on new tracks. Several are pretty Techno orientated, others sound pretty much Pop. Meanwhile, I'm starting some collaborations with other artists. I'm very excited about those collabs. I'm ready for 2013, 2014 and 2015...

What, aside from music, is most important to you?
My bed! Aahah.


This man has some good taste, huh? Flume, Disclosure, A$AP Rocky... Anyway, there have been a few new tracks on his SoundCloud, so check those out. As for the man himself, since he has only made EPs so far, perhaps there will be a full-blown LP in the future. Perhaps not - perhaps it's those short, sharp collections of tracks that keep things fresh. I'll be looking forward to see what happens next. Thank you, Mr. Don Rimini.

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Sunday, 28 April 2013

SMALL BLACK FREE AT DAWN [VIDEO]

I remember seeing Small Black on the similar artists bit on Spotify when Spotify used to be more navigable and my computer less slow. Can't remember if I listened to them at the time or not but in any case, here they are in my peripheries again. So I decided to write something.

And with this Brooklyn-based band's new song it's not very difficult to like it, that's for sure. 'Free At Dawn' is a really nice mellow song. It is extremely easy on the ears and at the moment it's very early morning as I write this so that is definitely playing to their advantage - though, of course, it can work in a multitude of scenarios no doubt. Though if the title of this song is anything to go by, it's a dawn-time song. In which case I'm late.

Softly juddering 80s style bass synth gallops through the whole song over a wash of synth that comes back in places to build itself up into a hook between choruses and towards the end, where there is a climax of sounds. This is a very pop-oriented song and it's not surprising that it's the first single from their new album Limits Of Desire (out now on Jagjaguwar) - but with its gentle, crooning vocals dripping in reverb and delay, as much of the rest of the song is, its lack of biting snare drum and the general ambience created by the mélange of soft half-polished noises, it's a pop song with a chilled edge. A pop song left in the fridge like a lettuce. Keeps it fresh, keeps it crisp.

Nice video eh? Fits this mellowed chillwave tune just fine. It perfectly depicts the sights of a city at dawn, or at very early morning in any case, when there's no one else about and when the whole 'free' thing is certainly a tangible intangibility. The city and all its trappings, even though nothing's open, is yours - so to speak - and wandering around is quite liberating in its own urban way. Mellow stuff for a mellow subject. Nice!

A good Sunday song, too. I wouldn't know, I have to work today. But on any other Sunday... yeah.

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Saturday, 27 April 2013

GIRL BAND YOU'RE A DOG // WHY THEY HIDE THEIR BODIES UNDER MY GARAGE?

Who doesn't love a bit of noise? There's nothing more satisfying sometimes than undergoing a brain operation with a sledgehammer, by which I mean listening to LOUD NOISES! Loud music, should I say. Cause yeah it's music still. Be it Bach or be it Girl Band, it's music.

Speaking of Girl Band, I first heard of them ages ago, think it was on HEALTH's Lastfm page and they came up. It made sense that they did pop up because, well, they're noisy, just like HEALTH. In any case, I was recently notified of their continuing existence and in fact increasing popularity and the fact that they had a few new songs floating around and as such became pretty set on writing about them. I mean, I like their sound a lot. It's kinda... blunt-instrument-scraping-along-a-blackboard-to-a-drumkit-made-of-French-bangers-and-broken-glass, you know, Nirvana-meets-the-21st-Century kinda sound. Grunge-noise? Genre this and genre that.

In October 2012 they released the fabulously titled France 98 EP - which you can download here, free, for reals - and only now am I hearing it... boo hoo. I was gonna write about all of it but I really would write a lot so I have decided to focus on just one track, 'You're A Dog' (although special shout out to last track 'Second One').

Reminds me a little little bit of Nine Inch Nails' 'March Of The Pigs', but aside from that it's a beast unto itself. This Dublin band really know how to make some noise eh? The riffy ultra-twisted-Kinks-style guitar is like a drill or a some kind of angle grinder recorded and put on loop, so lovely is that overdrive. The vocals screech and scratch and everything together would seem rather ungainly if it weren't supposed to sound that way - everything has its place. Damn good grungey sound.

Secondly we have a quite-recent cover of the terrifying 'Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?' by Blawan. This I really enjoy. It's taken the experimental side of the original and transposed it into sweaty punk noise language. There's still a dance edge with that thumping kick drum, that's for sure, but everything else is pure noise and I love it. The mind-numbing repetition of the eponymous refrain swells and screeches as the song punches its way ahead, all the while overdrive guitars whirlwind like cars in a cheese grater. Though in some ways I prefer their own original stuff, their take on this techno song is really something and reminds me very much of HEALTH, whom I love. Noise noise noise.

Omg not bad amirite? If you like this kind of thing. If not, you're probably thinking 'wtf cuz?!' - then what-the-EVz to you. I'll be skipping along to see Girl Band at the Old Blue Last on 2nd May, next Thursday. They are on tour at the moment so do have a look on their Facebook page below for deets on dat yeah.

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TALL BLACK GUY MON AMIE DE'TROIT FT OZAY MOORE

I dunno if I said this about a song recently, but there's a certain vibe that always reminds me of playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. What's wrong with that? I'll tell you what's wrong with that: nothing. Some of the songs on those games' soundtracks were sooo nice, fit the games perfectly and - when I hear anything remotely like them now - I can feel nothing but the same chillment that I was bathed in every time I was not in school and the sun was out not so long ago. Yeah, playing videogames and not playing outside. That's Generation Whatever for you.

In any case, here's a song that illustrates that point perfectly. It's called 'Mon Amie De'Troit' by Tall Black Guy, featuring vocals from Ozay Moore. Everything's there that should be there, the slick laid-back beats, the glisteningly cool bassline and the glossy guitar that seems to shimmer in the urban sunlight, the effortless rap courtesy of Ozay. It all culminates in a deep vibe that Tall Black Guy's experience in production and magic touch in beat-crafting has more than just a little to do with it. Hear for yourselves.

This is heartfelt hip-hop at its best, the gentle rhythms perfectly supporting Ozay Moore's gliding rhymes as he romanticises the streets of the city of Detroit. There is a perfection here in how everything is slotted together, even with the sample telling of Detroit's heyday and its decline at the end, that works only to evoke the very soul of Motown itself, albeit in precise hip-hop format. A jewel.

I'm not the only one to think so. A big fan is Gilles Peterson, who played Tall Black Guy's 'Signs and Wonders' on BBC 6 Music. Surprised this guy isn't more well known to be honest. Then: Get him well known! Pass this on to people you think would like it!

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Friday, 26 April 2013

JON HOPKINS OPEN EYE SIGNAL [VIDEO]

You can do so much with electronic music. Well, I guess you can do a lot with acoustic instruments, but when you've got to the point of playing a guitar with a flute or something you should probably stop flogging that horse. True experimentalism happens with instruments mainly through electronic means. So imagine what you can do with a purely electronic sound. With a pioneering spirit and a lot of curiosity, playing around with electronic music must be second nature.

It seems so with London-based producer Jon Hopkins - the fact that he became a long time collaborator with Brian Eno (the so-called king of experimental electronic music), after Eno heard and liked his music, should tell you something at least. What it tells you, I dunno, but it told me that he must be good. And he is. Just listen to his new track 'Open Eye Signal'.

The track is mesmerising. It sucks you right into its groove, the relentlessly pulsating bass pushing it onwards and being the engine for the whirlpool which drags you further and further in. Hypno-electro. If that's a thing. Maybe it can be a thing. Anyway, the song builds up from its basic foundations, the slightly off-kilter beat mixing regular snare sounds with snares that sound as if they have been ripped open. Soon sheets of delicate ambient noise filter through the ruptured modulating main and provide the whole thing with a shining-gold atmosphere - lovely.

The track morphs in the last quarter of its duration into something dirtier, something with more teeth and less pretty ambience. The synth is messed around with, tussled, distorted, pulled this way and that, the percussion as good as disappears leaving a maraca sound to keep time. It's a very long outro, if you could call it that, but it is just as fabulous as the rest of the song.

If you liked this, I'm sure there will be more brilliance on Jon Hopkins upcoming album Immunity, out 3rd June on Domino.

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YOUNG FATHERS I HEARD

It's amazing what you find sometimes. Here's a song called 'I Heard' by a Scottish trio called Young Fathers, made up of Kayus Bankole, Graham Hastings, Alloysious Massaquoi. They call themselves a "psychedelic hip hop boy band" apparently and it's not actually far off the resulting sound that these three think up together. So, it was a pleasant surprise to stumble upon these guys.

Combining exotic-sounding beats with a wash of deep, gurgling bass, the song is exemplified by its soulful vocals, whose echoing tones and faraway layering effects tower in the choruses with the somewhat touching (no pun intended) refrain of "Inside I'm feeling dirty", and croons near mournfully in the verses. Slow and sure of itself, 'I Heard' is a great, calm-yet-stormy track for sure.

Listen for yourself:

The whole thing is atmospheric, ambient synth organ sounds introducing the song alongside the clip-clop of plodding percussion as the voice comes in. Everything mixes together towards the end in a chilled yet intense climax that left me feeling glad to have heard the song and also curious as to what would come next. Luckily, there is more new stuff after this to come. Yes. This song apparently comes from a new release titled simply Tape Two, out 11th June on Anticon.

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Thursday, 25 April 2013

DISCLOSURE FT. ELIZA DOOLITTLE YOU & ME [VIDEO]

I quite like Disclosure. I've heard a few of their songs, not from online or anything, but on the radio as I've been just living my normal life. A deeper look tells me that it's a band made up of two brothers, Guy and Howard Lawrence, who come from Surrey in the UK - that's the area I come from. Huzzah! Anyway I really enjoy their music so I was pleased to find that a new song, or rather a new video for that song: 'You & Me'. It features vocals from English singer-songwriter, Eliza Doolittle.

And my my is her voice suited to the luscious garage sound lovingly provided by the fraternal team of Disclosure. Yes, in amongst the tangle and complexities of the garage rhythm, delicate hi-hats offset against punchy kick supporting that gorgeous snap of a snare, there is Doolittle's voice, clear and dynamic, jumping all the time from high to low. Lovely, really. Who would've known she would do something like this? It's pretty much a perfect fit.

Watch and listen just below.

Video reflects the song. I'm not sure why. Obviously that's why it's the video for the song and not something else, duh. However, as with many garage songs - even those of the future garage variety - it is the beat that is supposed to shine through more than anything else. Or is it? I dunno. Maybe it just seems that way, like it's the norm for the vocals in this style to be of a certain type. In any case, they are effective, and whilst not extremely ear-catching or definitively characteristic of Doolittle, they do WORK. And that's the point. The song is a whole thing. Start breaking it down into who's done what bit the best and which brother made the hi-hat sound the way it did blah blah blah... know what I mean?

It's a catchy tune, one that certainly injects more than a little rhythm into the veins. The minimalistic complexity of Disclosure is something that really excites me, and the wom-wom deep synth of the chorus (as with their other recent songs I know of, 'Latch' - whose vocals, I think, are much more stand-out - and more similarly, 'White Noise' - same story with the vocals, actually) is just perfect. This song is more of a 'typical' garage vibe than their other two, but one that demonstrates their skill with beats and sounds nonetheless - I still really enjoy it.

Their debut album, called Settle, is out June 3rd on PMR Records.

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COSMIN TRG NEW STRUCTURES FOR LOVING

How did I find this? I can't even remember. I was going to relate to you a tale of how I did so, but I don't know. I found it, didn't I? It's nice nice nice. Nice! This is German techno maestro Cosmin TRG (aka Cosmin Nicolae, aka TRG)'s new track 'New Structures For Loving'.

The song actually does sound like new structures for loving, ya there's definitely a certain romantic vibe floating around it, something touching and warm. But what is certainly true about the title and the song is that there is STRUCTURE. V important in any song really, but here it's as formulated as a logic puzzle. The different parts to the song pop in and out to heighten or decrease dynamic; a veritable lesson in the structure of a song for us layfolk but for Cosmin it's just another way of expressing something. Or it's just fun. It must be fun to make music.

In any case, the build up of different tracks is pretty glorious yeah it is, from the beat to the melody, everything fits all at the same time, yet it can be broken down into its more basic parts and still sound just as good, even with other sounds missing. NICE. Listen.

Alien radio static marks the first part of this song, blips and bleeps signalling above a crackling loop that - at its very essence - could be a very diluted beat. It's an heartaching start to the song - you're certainly in suspense, that's for sure. Buuuuut, then the BEAT does actually arrive... and then the next thing and the next thing. More bass to the kick. Thin razor sharp open hi-hats like crickets chirping. Trickling rain stick type noises. Staccato muffled synth. Sub-bass. Always with the static. The minutiae of a tiny xylophone clipping.

This is the very first track, as in Track 01 and the first to be released, from his upcoming album Gordian (Greek mythology innit, the impossible-to-undo Gordian Knot was cut apart by someone - it's a little fable about lateral thinking), out 26th April on 50 Weapons.
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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

CINEMA UV

Heard this song on Kitsuné Maison 3, which was released earlier this year and featured, amongst others, TOYS (whom I wrote about a while back) and also FAUVE (whom I covered as well). It's by a French electronic duo called CINEMA, comprised of Calypso Valois and Alexandre Chatelard - not that I know exactly who these guys are, but they're influenced by a lot of people (as are, let's be honest, all musicians of all kinds) not least David Bowie.

But I would say more on the Kraftwerk side of things. That's definitely the telltale sound you get with 'UV' anyway.

Yep. With the plinky button-pressing synth sounds and steady robotic beat, you could actually be forgiven for thinking this was a different song from an earlier time. But of course it's not, it's brand new. There's a swarthy bass synth and coming-right-for-ya chord waves that fade in and out giving a dark mood to the song - altered vox synth, or what seem to be, add to this effect. And then there are the vocals, plaintive and hushed, that feature only for a small portion of the song, just before the moody waves come back for a little climax. Écoutez:

Head-boppingly fun. Love that melody. The whole thing gives the impression of a noiseless rave full of colourful clothes and seething with eye-contact. Paint your own picture by using your imagination! Make music fun! Anyway, CINEMA have an EP out and it's called UV. You can buy that if you like.

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MUSIC WEEK #2

Here's yet another week in music that you may have missed because this site is seen, let alone read, by just a small group of people. If you like what you read here, why not say to your friends, "Heyy, yu guys herd ov Y /N Musik lol?" or "Check out Yes/No Music because it has a lot of nice music on it" or "Wow Yes/No Music has good taste!". You don't have to do any of those, however.


GOLD PANDA - BRAZIL
Brazil Brazil Brazil Brazil ad inf. - looping glitchy joy

SAUVAGE - CAMEL
Feel good Parisian band with tribal beats

MITSUME - CIDER CIDER
Japanese indie band gets busy on echoey slap bass

LANA DEL REY - SUMMER WINE
Moody Nancy Sinatra cover by LDR and boyfriend what's-his-name

HOLA A TODO EL MUNDO - THEY WON'T LET ME GROW
Spanish band gives a lesson in layered vocals and dancey vibes

ABOUT GROUP - WALK ON BY
Mental jazz prog rock cover of 'Walk On By' - bloke from Hot Chip sings

IS TROPICAL - DANCING ANYMORE
Mellow indie-dance with explicit & weird video

EMIL & FRIENDS - RAIN CHECK
Prince-esque happy-go-lucky pop

ALMIGHTY PLANETS - WILDFIRE
Dubby SBTRKT cover by Brighton-based band - awesome use of a horn section

BIBIO - YOU
Floating brain chill-hop with jagged samples

KILO KISH - NAVY
Galactic romance poetry hip-hop with skiffly beats

THE STRYPES - BLUE COLLAR JANE
Adolescents play blues very, very well


And that's about your fill for this week. As for my favourite... I'm not sure. I did find myself humming 'Rain Check' a load; in complete ecstasy whilst listening to Bibio and thought Almighty Planets' cover was very clever. Tough choice really. How about a big fat whatever and I don't have a favourite. Just some favourites. Bye.

MOSCOW CLUB BRADBURY EP

Wow. This couldn't get more 80s if it tried. But it's such a nice sound, such a summery one too - for me anyway - that I'm not surprised that moscow club (or möscow çlub) has chosen to adopt this style (they call it "nerdwave") for themselves. Indeed, this Japanese band have totally taken the spirit and vibe of pop music from that era and plonked it right here - obviously, in the 2010s we have much better recording facilities than they did 30 years ago. So you can make 80s music these days, but you can make it a hell of a lot better.

And I thought that this sound was shown best in moscow club's Bradbury EP released four months ago, which features two songs 'Farenheit 451' and 'and the Moon be still as bright'. These are both references to the work of Ray Bradbury, of whom the band must evidently be fans - the first song takes its title from Bradbury's novel of the same name and the second is the title of one of the later chapters of The Martian Chronicles, which in turn takes its name from a Byron poem:

So we'll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

Lovely innit. Don't you love context? Although music from the heart is nice, music inspired by emotions towards everyday situations or perhaps not so everyday ones, it is still a nice little surprise when a band is inspired by literature or some other kind of non-music stimulus to create their stuff. It gives extra dimensions and links different pieces of art - through their musical reactions - in interesting ways. But enough theory.

'Farenheit 451' begins with an excerpt I can only guess is from a reading of the book itself. Then it kicks straight into life, a foot tapping bassline funking its way through and a wailing synth weaving on top of it. The vocals are really catchy - even though I don't know the lyrics, I have already found myself humming them. Why would anyone hum a bad song? Get me?

The second song, 'and the Moon be still as bright', is a more nocturnal affair, with ambient synths creeping along like liquid nitrogen across an old movie set. The bassline, as with the first song, is complex and funky, delivering the heart of the song in pure groove format. The band seem to be unable not to create a catchy tune, as everything about this one is just as catchy as the first. Vocals, synth melodies, ambient breakdowns - they're all perfect. And this one has handclaps, too. You have to be a mental human not to like this.

This indie band (indie in the full sense of the word and utterly DIY) actually have an album out at the moment called Station, for which they are also pressing their first vinyl LP, that you can listen to on their SoundCloud. Where to start? Just listen to all of it of you liked this. And all of their past stuff.

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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

THE STRYPES BLUE COLLAR JANE

I was very surprised when I heard this last week. Yeah, I was watching Later... with Jools Holland last week and The Strypes came on. Now, I'd heard of them previously as a new band, mainly for the fact that they were very young and very good. For some reason or another though I never checked them out. It took their performance on Jools Holland's show to shake me out of my intertia and get writing about them; so here I am.

First of all, I can see why people were talking about them to begin with, why they were getting sessions on BBC Radio 6 Music and all that - they're well good. That's as simple as that. Talented fo sho. And that's no mean feat especially when you're aged between 15 and 17 years old (as all members of this Irish fourpiece are). Yes indeed, as Elton John - under whose wing, in the form of Rocket Music Management, the band is tucked under - said: "They have a knowledge of R&B and blues at 16 years of age that I have only amassed in my 65 years. They're just like a breath of fresh air."

Bit of a cliché, Elton, but yeah: a breath of fresh air is what they are. It's not often you get this kind of music done this well by a band so young. And shit me, they even LOOK like they're from the era of the music they so obviously love.

And so here is 'Blue Collar Jane'.

This is a rollocking track, a clashingly distorted guitar, a blues bassline and wild-yet-tamed drums thrash around a voice at once slightly slurring in its sound and filled with rockstar potential. Every ounce of this song gallops along at near breakneck speed, gets your heart dancing like it's been transplanted back to some sweaty basement club in the late '60s and surprises in how of-the-time it can sound in a so long-way-from-that-time era. A total revival, just like what The Jam did for that kinda stuff.

Could they be as big? Well they're helped a little by Elton, but the main thing is their music and that has to come only from their brains. Sure they can do covers just like The Rolling Stones did but the fact is that they aren't doing covers at the moment - it's original stuff. The only thing I would say is that old spiel of "it's been done before" yadda yadda what-the-eff-ever, who cares. It sounds good and it's a NEW band with NEW songs playing in an OLD style that people love anyway. What's not to like?

Clearly a lot say YouTube haters. "so boring and uninventive. the mod haircuts, the indoors sunglasses, the forced singing voice, the whole image... it's horrible, so horrible. and because they're kids, they're allowed to get away with it..." said one person. "slightly depressing seeing a covers mod band, making it big." said another. Yes they're young, and perhaps that is a part of it (maybe if the word 'impressionable' or 'malleable' comes into it; who's to judge), but for the moment: it sounds good. I like it.

How can people say that when tripe like One Direction captivates the world? Even themselves think old 1D is "manufactured candy floss pop." So there.

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KILO KISH NAVY

I first heard this song a few weeks ago on Zane Lowe's show on BBC Radio 1 (if you're not from the UK, you should check this out). There have been a number of breakthrough female I suppose rappers recently, from the quickly-diminishing Nicki Minaj ('Roman's Revenge' only good song soz NM fans) to the brash Angel Haze. Kilo Kish (real name Lakisha Kimberly Robinson), judging from this song, will be soon to join the others in the hearts and minds of millions of people. The Orlando-born Kish has already set the internet on fire with her awesomeness, so that's a good start. She's pretty damn good, pretty pretty pretty damn good, as is shown from the strangely titled 'Navy'.

The atonal guitars and bass in this song are what give it an unsettling quality, a slight jazz ring to it but overall it's something that doesn't quite gel with your ears - but it works y'know it works, and it keeps it's cool throughout the song like some old jazz cat asleep on a mat, or bouncing down the street; maybe that's more like an actual cat, like a cat kind of cat. All the same, it's an alluring sound.

That jazzy quality is supported by the skiffle flam paradiddle of the drums (drummers make these words up as they go along don't they?) emphasising the cool of the song as it goes along it's way. The beat turns hip hop with machine gun hi-hats in the chorus - where a star-glinting synth rains down too - which is where the vocal hook also shines with all its confidence and attitude. Speaking of those vocals, you could call it rap but I'd say it was more of a spoken word vibe going on hear y'know wha'mean? Have yo self a listen an' a watch (it's a selfie; she directed it).

The lyrics are clever and seem to be extracted directly from the heart of Kilo Kish herself, reflecting her feelings towards I guess a partner, for instance: "I respect / your intense / introspective defects" and "In deep space / I erase / all the memories of her face / our travels will replace / everything you once chased". Nice rhymes. And there's a lot of imagery here: solar systems, space travel, planets and all sorts of things - playing on the fact that we are all ourselves descended from the stars. How deep are her figurative bars on a deep subject matter - love (or at least some kind of affection get me).

Big things to come I'm sure, biiig things.

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Monday, 22 April 2013

BIBIO YOU

What a sound. It feels like I'm floating. This song is really nice. Slow down there, it's Bibio - real name with 'You'.

It's only the intro to this fab song that makes me feel like that. Everything sounds as if it's underwater as this high pitch string emulating sound plinks over the top, gradually this vocal sample fades in and then everything explodes into life. A hip-hop beat and cut up string samples are jagged above the smooth bassline. The vocal sample is the star here, a high pitched affair that smacks of gritty pop. It's genius stuff here, the way everything is interlocked.

But then as you can here, something happens for the last minute where everything chills out so much you're not sure whether to sigh with awe or cry at how beautiful it sounds. The kind of music that makes you even consider such a decision is the kind that you should hold onto and take out a box every now and again. Then again you can just rinse it and play it to your heart's content until you're sick of it.

Though I doubt you could get sick of the sweep-washing sounds of this song, with its distinct Intro-Middle-Outro setting it's a mini-opera in instrumentals only, changing mood - one moment you're joyously bopping your head and the next you're taken on a slow river-of-life comedown - and atmosphere with expert twists and turns in layers, sampling and slowdowns that are brought together with an expert ear.

Listen for yourself yes do.

Yep. Good innit? The song comes from his upcoming album Silver Wilkinson, out 13th May. Can we be expecting an experiment between the chill sound he's married here with a classic kind of hip-hop, almost rap-backing-track (a little Clams Casino if you ask me) type sound? I hope so. Cause it's worked damn darn well.

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ALMIGHTY PLANETS WILDFIRE [SBTRKT COVER + FREE DOWNLOAD]

I talked about covers recently and said something to the extent of they can be good or bad. The good ones tend to be clever in their approach, the band ones - not so. This cover of SBTRKT's 'Wildfire' from Brighton-based band Almighty Planets is quite easily in the former category. It doesn't just fall into this category, it has firmly placed itself there with confident steps, that's for sure.

The main change is that there is a dub rhythm, even style, in place now and it suits the song wonderfully. The drums are explosive and echoing, adding darting dub fills in between its stamping beat. The horn section really does it for me, and adds even more of that laid back jazzy dub midnight on a bustling veranda feel to the song - as does the bass, subby and grooving with attitude, arranged perfectly for the cover, giving it such a different vibe it's unreal.

Saxophone solo? Yeah, it's there and it's like a luxurious drive down a street lit with neon signs to a beach hotel. Something like that. In other words, it makes ye feel good dunnit - sounds damn good too. The vocals are rich and layered, a veritable cake of voice that provides a more chilled vibe to this part than was in the original with vocals from Little Dragon, which almost overpowered it - these vocals mesh with everything else and cooperate to bring you the best in songs-that-work-really-well. Whet your appetite enough? Then listen up.

Tasty tasty stuff. And what's more you can down-bloody-load it, what a lovely bonus! This'll be on the summer playlist fo sho. As for the band, by the sounds of things they should be on the up-and-up-and-up in no time.

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Sunday, 21 April 2013

EMIL & FRIENDS RAIN CHECK

This song is instant joy. 6 months old or 6 years old, there's no rhyme or reason to how much time it took for me to discover this song nor for this song to find itself to mine and perhaps now your ears, if you haven't heard it before that is. INSTANT JOY I tell thee.

This is Emil & Friends with 'Rain Check'. It sounds a little like Prince, is that ok to say? It's my effin post so yeah, it is ok to say. First time I heard it I thought, "Prince" and "This is good!" - both good things.

Not only is there this wholly danceable, groovable, boogieable er, groove to the song, one that is catchy in a good way. Are there bad types of catchy? Yeah. Definitely (Ruby Ruby Ruby Rubyy). Well, everything about this song is catchy, from the lush blare of the brass section (yeah there's one of those) to the crunchy bass and the ever-so-slightly-funk-tinged guitar. It gives me the impression of someone jauntily walking down the street y'know, boppin' along like butter sliding across a frying pan, and there is within it all these happy smells and sights and other sounds of a sunny morning in a city. It simply oozes pop.

Clearly, however, this feeling I get comes from not just the music but the lyrics too. They're clever and sung with just as much of a hook in their melody, smoothed over with a feel-good tone that brings it all together, helped by thickly layered vocal tracks that bring plenty of warmth to the table. The different parts of this song keep it fresh and popping out at you from all angles. The chilled breakdown with the lone guitar strumming that pretty riff is particularly effective in its dynamism in relation to the parts that come either side of it. Just listen for yourself, I'm rambling.

Pretty isn't it? A bubblingly charming song that's perfect for a sunny morning with bacon and eggs and no work to go to, just the promise of a nice day. I really really like it.

6 months eh? We should be due something more from him... one day? Soon? Please? All the stuff for you below as usual to explore this artist further should you wish to.

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Saturday, 20 April 2013

IS TROPICAL DANCING ANYMORE

The first thing that I like about this is the fact that you can make an interrogative statement out of it: "Is Tropical dancing anymore?" I'm not sure. Just who is this 'Tropical'? Not to worry though, cause it ain't a person or a thing it's just silliness, just wordplay. Sorry.

The other thing that I like about this is that it's a nice song - yes, 'Dancing Anymore' by IS TROPICAL (formed 2009 & hailing - god I hate that word - from London) is a very nice song. It's an indie-dance song, essentially, with a hint of something troubled in the melancholic style of the singing. I suppose this reflects the lyrics of the song, "You don't take me dancing anymore, oh it's been a long time since I been on the floor" - touching really. Especially to someone who likes to dance a lot. A consideration of the fact that things change in life, everything is temporary, especially the fun relationship you think you used to have but no longer do have cause there's no more dancing and way more, I dunno, shouting or just being boring and staying inside all the time or something? Things crumble, and this song is an upbeat illustration of that unfortunate (for many) fact.

You can have a listen to the song yourself below of course my friends.

It's got a good sound huh? It's almost a hark back to those halcyon days of indie dance in 2007-8 the way it goes. It's good a good galloping bassline, a 4/4 beat that whilst not breaking into new ground serves its purpose and makes you move all the same and a nice bit of saw-wave synth in there to keep things interesting. The hooks are everywhere, in the verse, the chorus, the melody - quite addictive but feels almost like it's over too quickly. Time flies when you're having fun I guess.

The video, however, is a different story. How strange. YouTube removed it, I think, but Vimeo kept it on. It's... well, I suppose in a bizarre way it shows the sometimes unfulfilling nature of growing up. Dreams fizzle-fade and whatnot. I like the video and it certainly, um, keeps to the rhythm of the song. Watch if you ent already.

Weird eh? But anyway, all that aside, this song is the first single from IS TROPICAL's upcoming album I'm Leaving, set for release May 20th on Kitsuné. And there you have it.

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ABOUT GROUP WALK ON BY [FREE DOWNLOAD]

I'll tell you what's hard to google and get what you're looking for: About Group.

Why did nobody tell me that Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip had lent his vocals to a crazy jam-jazz-prog-rock-jam-jam-improv band? I'm just listening to 'Walk On By' by About Group for, oh I don't know, the fifth time consecutive time in a row and wondering the former whilst pondering also what to say about it. Other than, "It comes from their third (yes THIRD) album Between The Walls set for release July 1st on Domino," and, "You can download this for free yo," I'm not sure.

Well... I love the mood of the intro, well and the whole song actually, but the intro is where all the attitude is initially compacted and thrown at you and sounds like a drunken smelly old bar somewhere that has grown legs, donned a pair of sunglasses and begun strutting around. Well, perhaps it's less of a strutting sound here and more of a swagger. That's it compleeetely, a swaggering sashaying slow-motion boogie. Whatever that zany backwards sounding sound is (I have no clue) ... harmonica? Wow. That's all about that part. Then there's the warbling organ keeping it real in every break in the more overpowering sounds, the epitome of old school cool.

There's one thing it does remind me of, and that's good old fashioned PROG RRRRROCK! Nothing wrong with that because I am actually quite a fan. It's the middle of the song where it seems to fly somewhere else where it particularly reminds me of Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Pictures at an Exhibition. The real jam out happens towards the end where the cacophony of sounds is enough for someone who likes this high falootin' kind of musical madness to make them completely zone out with pleasure.

AND let us not forget: this is a cover of 'Walk On By'. My my does Alexis's voice do it justice, so fragile sounding against the magical melodies and other ditties of the music.

I have no words left I'm really sorry this is the worst post I've ever written. I got distracted by the song (good thing).

In all seriousness, this just goes to show that concepts such as 'the band' or 'jamming' are not totally dead nor forgotten. Far from it. Where you have good musicians who also love music, such as all four of About Group, you are bound to get some experimentation in sound and also bound to enjoy what you are playing. And what this song does: blurs the line between produced song and live jam (shown in the difference between the beginning and the rest of the song, for example), planned ideas and spontaneous fun, something solid and something you'll only hear once.

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Check About Group's not-very-updated blog

Friday, 19 April 2013

HOLA A TODO EL MUNDO THEY WON'T LET ME GROW

Ah, there's just something glorious sounding about twinkling glittery guitar sounds that I can't help but love. It makes me picture someone playing a guitar that's as small as a pager. Yeah, a pager yo. Not an iPhone, but a pager. That's how cute, how かわいい, this sound just is to me. Simply that.

So these guys are called Hola a Todo el Mundo or as they are otherwise known aka-ly, HATEM (prefer the full-spelled way cause I just picture it as hate 'em and I don't hate 'em). As you might be able to glean from the Spanish name, this band is Spanish - from Madrid in fact, and they have been famous previously for their folksy-indie sound.

But I just don't see it as that. There are many more folky things than this particular song, for example, 'They Won't Let Me Grow'. Since there's an official video, let's watch that instead of some SoundCloud waves go by, eh? Eh?

It's a wholesome number that combines those tinkling guitars with meaty bass to produce an anthemic sound capable of powering a small town, I'm sure. There's something oh-so-sure about the steady slightly offbeat synth bassline that seems to give this song teeth which fuel the loud dynamic as the quiet, guitary part flits its way between these mouthfuls of electronic goodness.

It almost seems to be over too quickly, but for the whole three minutes and twenty-something seconds you're getting a wildly feel-good atmosphere from the music - just makes you wanna listen again and again. Good stuff fer sher.

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LANA DEL REY SUMMER WINE

Covers can go one of two ways. They can be very good or very bad. Sometimes they are just ok. Three ways then. But any which way, it can be a risky business to cover songs, especially if the song is one of those ones deemed 'untouchable', you know, one of the classics that your parents or uncles say was like the best song ever (as if 50 years more experience in music production and 50 years of pop music history for artists emerging now wasn't enough to make them, in some cases, a lot better than anything that could've come before).

The most exciting kinds of covers stay true to the original, whilst adding their own touch of magic that makes their original work shine. I ain't talking about like, a punk cover of a folk song or vice versa, but more a rerendering of the song. Not sure if rerender will catch on but... whatever, I'm lost now.

In any case the allure of covering - or rerendering - did not escape Lana Del Rey (real name Elizabeth Grant - well I never). She has covered a beautiful song called 'Summer Wine'. Dunno how old or new this is but it's newww to moi. Originally it was done by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood in 1967 - it's a moody, thunderous song that has a certain quality that would be difficult to emulate. Listen to the original here.

In Lana's case, she's not emulated the track but made it her own. Now all that stuff I said about rerendering sounds silly. Gah - whatevvz. Have a listen below to her glittering version.

Who's that man? It's Lana's boyfriend (maybe fiancé?), Barrie James-O'Neill, of course. And a voice that comes straight out of 'the old days', very similar in style - in that way - to Lana's actually. But speaking of whom, doesn't she just kill this track? In a good way yo. Kills it. It's a bad epithet, I'm sorry - let's go with... revitalises. Yeah, that's what she does, she revitalises this song completely. Her voice works wonders, always with a touch of something stormy fluttering within it, and the music is perfect - a jazzed up version of the 1967 'Summer Wine', basically, but one that oozes with all the feel of the original without damaging it in the slightest.

Lovely. Oh and the video is a nice touch too; fits. (Soz this is a MUSIC blog after all.)

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Thursday, 18 April 2013

MITSUME [ミツメ] CIDER CIDER

There's a lot to be said for not sticking rather ethnocentrically to your own country or country's language when it comes to music and lyrics. Ok, whatever, you might not be able to understand the language that the singer or band or whoever is singing in, but aside from that - what does it really matter? It doesn't, really, does it?

Anybody from any country ever can make an undeniable CHOON if you like that kind of terminology, and it's no different with what I am currently writing about.

And what's that? It's a song called 'cider cider' by a Japanese band called mitsume (which I think means something like 'three eyes' or 'three-eyed' or maybe I'm just completely dumb) and it is a great example of how good bands can be no matter where they are from. God this is polemic. No worries though. You take just one listen to the song and I'm sure you will understand where I'm coming fromz.

This track comes from mitsume's second album, simply called eye, released in - as far as I can gather - September 2012. But, hey, late doesn't matter when nobody from this country (UK) has heard the song, does it? Jus spreddin the werd.

At once you can recognise a funky indie groove not a million miles away (cause it ain't) from some things you may have set your ears upon before. However, there's something different about it. The slap bass, for instance, is mixed with regular bass playing and all of it, the scratchy guitars and the simple, minimalistic beat are offset against a cutesy pop synth that squees in the background - at least for a part.

My favourite part is the echo and reverb put onto the drums and the bass just before the halfway point of the song - whoa it nearly sends shivers y'know? Yeah that kind of sound just gets me, it's part dub part indie part something else you know? Really really like it. And also, you can't beat a good crescendo at the end of a song - just as 'cider cider' throws at you in all its upbeat, cocksure character.

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SAUVAGE CAMEL

Oooh this is a nice surprise. Never did I know that there was this Parisian band called SAUVAGE, and even more so did I not know they had produced this wonderful song called 'Camel'. Well, the fact is that there is a band called such a name who made such a song and it is wonderful.

The moody tribal-type drums are what characterise this track both as something late night utterly underground and gloriously urbanely anthemic at the same time. For me the anthem comes from this thing that is currently making me have a small fit in my chair, and that's the refrain of "Giving it up for the Friday night..." - anyone who's ever had a 9-to-5 Monday-Friday job can relate to this, and that is pretty much... well, not everyone, but a large chunk of people worldwide.

There is undeniable atmosphere in this song. It plays with the dynamic of rough and smooth, in the near-whispering vocals and the blashy bongo hits, in the delicate string-like sounds and the deep bass that underpins everything. Why it's called 'Camel' - who knows. All I know is that it sounds damn darn good yo. Listen up:

Yeah the song is 9 months old, according to SoundCloud, but what do I care? Not much of a jot. Maybe I care like 5%. What I care more about is how good the song sounds. At the start of the last third of this song, for instance, it's all a huge build-up of jostling synth and organ sounds crashing around together, fading into that same sultry smooth vocal refrain that could easily cause an addiction to this song, no matter where you're from.

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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

CYRIL HAHN SUMMER TOUR DATES 2013

That's right. Cyril Hahn's on tour, wooooeee am I happy about this.

I've been badgering on about this guy for a while now, and what more can I say? His remixes are sublime tokens of awesome inescapable ambient chill pop atmosphere, dripping honey and ice cubes into overflowing cocktails of energetic bliss... bit OTT? Nah never. He really is really good. Really.

You could probably buy tickets from here (and by that I mean clicking anywhere in this sentence because sometimes one can miss a word oh yes).

Psssst. Psssst. PSSSSST! There are more dates to be announced (sorry acronym fans).

GOLD PANDA BRAZIL + VIDEO

Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil... Brazil...

What a song. Gold Panda, a British man born in 1980, seems to have moved from songs that, whilst being very listenable, are filled with squiffy beats that defy the natural logic of how a beat should go - its pattern, if you will. With 'Brazil' there is an extremely noticeable groove, one that captivates and mesmerises to a degree that I can't even name, count or begin to recognise. Ok, I can recognise it, but it's really and uniquely nice.

Why don't you have a listen for yourself, even if you've heard it before - and especially if you've heard it before, you'll want to hear it again, no doubt no doubt.

There's something very 'Brazil' indeed about the beat - at once disjointed and glitchy, almost like a fly trying to burst through a window - in that it seems to be a Samba-esque rhythm (tell me I'm wrong) though watered down and rolled around and put with a videogame through a euphoric blender. If there is such a sound, this song is it.

EDIT: Aaannd to illustrate to that dizzying, strange water-droplet undercover-euphoria, there's now a video for 'Brazil'...

A warm quality wraps the whole thing up in ambient, all-encompassing synths that chug along in the background behind everything, blanketing the entire sound from the bottom up with hot vibes that are hard not to digest.

As for that sample, that lyric as it were, of 'Brazil' being repeated... well, there is joy in repetition. Hot Chip coined it very well in 'Over And Over' - "The joy of repetition...". Although I don't think they were referencing music, but perhaps they were, in fact - let's say they were. Yes, they were. And 'Brazil' is a perfect example of that joy.

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MUSIC WEEK #1

Well it's been a week, hasn't it? Stuff's happened, other stuff also occurred and some things even eventualised themselves into our various realities. In any case, Yes/No Music is back on track and after a week's worth of posting I feel like reposting all of it in one post so that, if you've missed any of it, here it is again.

To those who think this is a dumb idea: fare enuf lol. Here it is anyway:


HOT NATURED & ALI LOVE - BENEDICTION
Super vibey soft and smooth dance tune

JOEY BADA$$ FT. CHANCE THE RAPPER - WENDY N BECKY
Skate-rap-esque hip-hop with some hilolious lyrics

SEAMS - NACHTMUSIK
Hypnotic glitchy electronica

REAL - YOU + ME
Garage injected hot-town-summer-in-the-city funk

STRFKR - BEACH MONSTER
Indie-electro-psychedelicos get all Buddy Holly

DAFT PUNK FT. PHARRELL WILLIAMS - GET LUCKY
Teaser of Daft Punk ultra collaborations - internet freaks out

FIDLAR - MAX CAN'T SURF // NO WAVES
Lo-fi skate/surf-punk from California

JAI PAUL - JAI PAUL
Album from Jai Paul. Supposedly leaked. But on his Bandcamp? Hmm...

OLDTIMER [オールドタイマー] - MY GIRL EP
EP from fresh promising Japanese shoegazers

XXXY - TAKING ME HIGHER [FREE DOWNLOAD]
Quick before it runs out! (Will it?) Dance heaven, basically

SUPERFOOD - SUPERFOOD
Eponymous Weezer-meets-britpop-meets-?

FLUME - WARM THOUGHTS
Full-bodied Australian chillwave


C'est ça. Until next week. Well or until the next post which will be today haha. HA. The lines across the page look very professional don't you think? It's like discovering Word 97 (not a band you young'uns) for the first time.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

FLUME WARM THOUGHTS

How did I miss this? Well, suffice to say, I missed it. And how do I not know this guy? Well, I don't. Now I do. It's Flume. Ha ha... of course. Of course it is.

He's Australian and he's 21 (real name Harley Streten - strong name) and was signed to Future Classic records in 2011. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, he first started making music aged 13 with some kind of disc he got free in a cereal packet. Two things: 1. What is this disc? and 2. There's not much free stuff in cereals anymore.

Well whatever whatever, omg-you-didn't-know-this-guy?s aside (and there will be people who read this, if there is anybody out there reading, who don't know Mr. Flume), this is the first song I played on his SoundCloud page and it's called 'Warm Thoughts'. Five months old or not, it's gooood stuff.

So yeah, it's chillwave alright. But it does make you feel warm and cozy inside, like wearing a onesie (I've never worn a onesie) on a snowy day. It's a delicious song, in all seriousness, the crispness of the beat so crisp and crunchy that you could almost reach out and take a mighty bite out of it - it's the kind of thing that would taste very good, I can imagine. The honky-tonk piano-ish loop is gorgeous too, just the right sound to loll around on top of that slow beat. The vocal samples, no actual words that I can discern, are echoed, spun, taken for a ride, dotted everywhere like a painter would use paint.

Unexpectedly, the chill is sliced through by the ice cold last 40 seconds of the song - everything turns glitchy and relentless and spins towards some post-song ecstasy, courtesy of Flume. It's addictive and plays like a beam of sunshine actually trying to get inside your ear. My ears tickle now.

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SUPERFOOD SUPERFOOD

On SoundCloud you can customise the colour of the widget that you embed. I've used yellow this time around because I'm super happy about finding this brilliant song. So super happy. It's such a great song.

'Superfood' by Birmingham's Superfood is an instant and addictive hit. I once saw a comment on a song saying something like, "Wow I love this song straight away - not a good sign..." What the scheiße? How does that make any sense? Unless you're literally going to play it until your ears can't take it anymore, then it's not a problem at all. A gut reaction to music is what makes music so good. Not what the Snooty von Snootertons of this world would tell you, but let them continue snooting along the snoot - one day they'll look back on their snoots and snootlise that they've snooted too snootily but now snoot is here snoot's too snoot.

On the other hand, I like this song. That's a good sign. Because, like a normal person, when I feel that I like something, I usually remember that I like it. So when someone asks me, "What things do you like?" I can remember liking stuff and say the most memorable things out loud with my mouth. I can even write that kind of stuff down, too.

Get a load of this:

Wowee, what a fun song. The lyrics are brill, talking about how all the colours in the fridge are too bland, "You're always hungry"... something about raisins as well, and the vocals that sing and back up those lyrics are gloriously off and studded with DIY-ethic. The music itself is also tasty, distortion drenched guitarness. There's enough variation in here to have you hooked to this song like a drip. And something that caught my eye, well not my eye but there's no saying for 'caught my ears'... pricked my ears? A little canine, but ok. Something that pricked my ears was when the chorus kicked in first time around, there was a fuzzy heaviness in the guitars that reminded me completely of Weezer. There, I said it. And then a few listens later, I could hear Weezer everywhere. And I love that. They're a fun band, and this is a fun song.

So I'm looking forward to hearing more Superfood, for reals, also quick thing: there's a breakdown in the like the last third of the song that sounds as though it's about to break into the underground theme from Mario Bros. ooooeeeee it's hot hot hot.

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Monday, 15 April 2013

XXXY TAKING ME HIGHER [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Although the radio can very much be the radio sometimes (you know what I mean), there are thankfully DJs around who seek out and play new music - they make it their mission to always be finding the best music in their field, whether it be dance or rock. Annie Mac is one such DJ for BBC Radio 1 and she pioneers the best and boldest new dance music. She does this thing called Free Music Monday too which gives everyone a chance to download something different for free every Monday - pretty self explanatory.

BTW if you know about Annie Mac and what she does don't feel as though I don't - not everybody who reads, however, will know. Hard to fathom, I know, but remain patient.

This Monday, as in today, she's shared a song by someone who I was just listening to this morning, it's the London purveyor of frosty dance sounds, xxxy (pronounced 'triple-ecksy'), with 'Taking Me Higher'. You can stream AND download this below:

This tune, a never-heard-before track that xxxy has shared, imparts a style that it's difficult to ignore. It's a kind of all-encompassing house that has more than a little garage bite hiding within it, certainly in the beat that skips along and the expertly epic vocal samples. What is great about this track is how he plays around with the unrelenting and trancelike synth stabs throughout its duration, but I think towards the end the true atmosphere of the song shines through, with the rumbling wash of sound trembling below the vocals. It's full of energy and smacks of late nights and street lights.

Oh and don't forget to check in on Annie Mac's SoundCloud for more Free Music Monday tracks and other mixes.

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OLDTIMER [オールドタイマー] MY GIRL EP

Better late than never. It's a nice saying, especially for those who tend to do things later rather than sooner. Ahem.

A long time ago I came across a band from Japan called OLDTIMER - at that point all they had up on their SoundCloud page were a few live songs. But what was there sounded really good, brimmed with energy and all the like - just how GOOD live music should be. I liked it a lot, but there weren't any studio recordings. Then an EP appeared and they sent it over (air mail), for which I was really grateful. But then Yes/No Music tumbled and fell and lay there twitching...

... Fast forward a few months and here is OLDTIMER's My Girl EP in all its glory. It's full of promise and potential.


Starting at the start we have 'Caravan', an atmospheric and echoing track whose juddering guitars and clean drums wouldn't sound out of place at the end of the '80s, just outside Manchester. Spacey distorted guitars swoop in the background as the plucky bassline carries the song onwards and onwards. The break brings jangling distorted guitars back, sounding expertly 'Madchester'. Vocals are clean and unassuming, lending themselves to the aesthetic of the song.

The same vocals provide the hook in title track 'My Girl', with a lot of ooo-ooo-ooo'ing going on. This is a much poppier number - up-tempo, though still with the smack-you-in-the-face distorted guitars washing over everything. Just as with 'Caravan' the verses build to a peak where the chorus sits, providing the song with a rising/falling dynamic that feels nice on the old ears. There's a guitar solo in here that screams toward the end. It's a driving song, definitely. All you need is a road and some sunglasses.

Then, what a surprise this is. 'Slowly Decaying' is a veritable assault on the eardrums. Towering, endlessly clashing distorted guitar storms all around, almost like white noise. The vocals, soft and achingly plaintive, provide a huge contrast to the gigantic guitar. In the verse, though, guitars moan like low flying and jangle quietly off-balance. It's melancholy, slow, as shoegaze as you like. The drums crescendo towards the end, just what you want to hear: it's not a mad one till the drums are going mad too.

It's tantalising glimpse into what this band can do. Production-wise, they could go lo-fi - that's why I liked the live recordings so much, the raw nature of them suited the style perfectly. Other than that, it's a fine first EP - I look forward to the next.

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Sunday, 14 April 2013

JAI PAUL JAI PAUL

It was more than two years ago when I first heard Jai Paul. I heard his song 'BTSTU' at this point - it was in fact released in 2007 - and it was a breath of fresh air.

Then there was nothing. A long void of nothing. And then like the old adage where you wait for one bus and then loads of buses arrive, he drops an album. Today, Sunday 14th April. How exciting! Maybe he saw the sunny (and warm!) weather outside and thought that it was just time to release it already.

Called nothing more than Jai Paul and with no songs with actual titles, aside from 'BTSTU' (Track 16), 'Jasmine' (Track 9) and a surprise cover of 'Crush' by Jennifer Paige (Track 7), it's a delightful foray into a mad and disjointed world of kooky electro pop.

At times it is muscle-bound and distorted, best heard in the clashing clatter of the synth in 'Track 10' and the heavier, more beefy parts of the magical 'Track 16' ('BTSTU' - such a tune; it even has its own Wikipedia page), as well as in the drippy waterfall blips of 'Track 2'; at other times, it is quite the opposite as in 'Track 9' ('Jasmine'), where the synth and beat create a conjugally gentle funk, in the smooth and rhythmic sounds of 'Track 3' with a great low, twisted horn-synth sound in there somewhere, and also in 'Track 7', which is a genius minimalist-funk cover of 'Crush'.

There's a guitar solo in that 'Crush' cover that reminds me so much of Prince that I can't help but think that Jai Paul might be a little bit influenced by him. There are yelps dotted around some of the songs that make me think much the same. But perhaps it's just wishful thinking. I got Prince on the brain.

The vocals, in fact, suit the at-times strange and off sounds of the album (like in 'Track 4', also in the weird samples - sounds like Ron Weasley - of the first song, and the monster attack of 'Track 8'), with a tone that's purposely unpolished, loaded with echo but filled with soul, too. Dreamy.

What else to say? It's a joy to listen to. It's all raw and exciting stuff. The man from Rayners Park, London has made a pulchritudinously squiffy and offbeat addition to the music world with his soft electro funk pop. So damn happy there's more than just a couple of songs floating around now - being signed to XL Recordings should mean only good things for Jai Paul.

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