Monday, 28 September 2015

Track of the Day: 'The Lavishments of Light Looking' by Woke (Flying Lotus, Shabazz Palaces & Thundercat) feat. George Clinton

Available as part of this year's Adult Swim Singles releases, this trippy psych-funk smorgasbord of delights is very much equal to the sum of its parts. It kinda feels like FlyLo, having been mostly kept out of the loop on the Kendrick Lamar album project, has decided to form his own to rival it. Whatever the driver behind it, it's new, it's fresh and you can download it for free from the Adult Swim site here - let's hope there's an album of this stuff coming...

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Recommended music: 'Personal Computer' by Silicon

Personal Computer

The debut album from Kody Nielson aka Silicon is a furiously enjoyable record, full of infectious grooves and some sexy slow jamz. Having co-witten and played on a lot of the tracks on Unkonown Mortal Orchestra's 'Multi-Love' earlier this year, and previously been in other bands with his brother Ruban, this is Kody's chance to take the spotlight and he grabs it with both hands and a massive smile on his face.

In some ways it's like Multi-Love's younger, cheekier brother - while Ruban is dealing with weighty matters of the heart, Kody's here for the party, to dance and maybe to get laid at the end of the night. It's kind of hard to recall anyone making electronica this sexy before, there are some real dirty grooves on here, particularly 'I Can See Paradise' which is grinding, rutting rhythm of a track with some really hard to distinguish electro-vocals.

There are definite similarities between tracks on both records, in fact when I saw Silicon live earlier this year supporting UMO Kody played 'Can't Keep Checking My Phone' and made it his own (Ruban was watching and laughing as he did so). It's worth mentioning that Silicon are a pretty fun proposition live, the time I saw them Kody was in the audience for about 90% of the gig.

Overall this is a really fun record, one that belies its technological title and manages to infuse some heart and soul into the modern electronic world.

Recommended music: 'Meow The Jewels' by Run The Jewels

Meow The Jewels - Download
OK, so it started as a joke, a random suggestion that a cat-themed remix album could be crowd-funded to make it happen. Things snowballed (as they do on the internet) and pretty much a year after 'Run The Jewels 2' came out here we are. Along the way the project has picked up some major names from both sides of the pond - the remixes feature the likes of Boots, Dan The Automator, Zola Jesus, Geoff Barrow (from Portishead) and 3D (from Massive Attack).

The weirdest thing about this is that the inclusion of the cats doesn't make this a sweet sounding album. If anything they bring a really sinister, eerie feel to the tracks, may of which feel more menacing than in their original versions. This must definitely be the darkest cat-themed project ever born. Also, never has the line "lick my pussy real good" seemed more appropriate!

Better than it deserves to be? Miles better, and another step on the road to Jaime and Mike's well deserved world domination.

You can get the whole album for free here.

Remix of the Day: 'Never Die (Paul White Remix)' by Golden Rules feat. Freddie Gibbs & Yasiin Bey

This new version of the 'Golden Ticket' album track sees Golden Rules' rapper Eric Biddines trading rhymes with both Freddie Gibbs and Yasiin Bey (Mos Def). With a harder, piano-led backing and some tribal drums it takes up a darker vibe to the album version, making the struggle sound greater. Have a listen below and get hold of it from their Bandcamp site here.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Track of the Day: 'Inner Systems' by Prequel Tapes

I'm a big fan of what Ninja Tune do (does?), but I'm sure that even they'd admit that the write-up to this track on Soundcloud is a huge steaming pile of pretentious nonsense. No matter though, because if you disregard that and just listen to the music you'll be amply rewarded. 8 minutes worth of electronic goodness await you as this Berlin-based artist conjures up dark digital sculptures which are tempered with bright piano acoustic interjections. It's a free download too, so grab it for yourself below and stick it on your headphones late at night.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Recommended music: '1989' by Ryan Adams


Could this be the record Ryan Adams has secretly longed to make all of these years? Quite possibly - listen to not only how relaxed he sounds, and how much fun he's having on some of the tracks, but also how heartfelt they are too. Hear him strip himself bare on 'Blank Space', and then immediately follow that up with the widescreen road-trip rock of 'Style', and you'll realise that although he's pretty much doing this for his own enjoyment, that's a lot here for the rest of us to enjoy too.
If you're not familiar with Swift's original material (and there are many who aren't, or at least won't admit to being) then you might be hard pressed to say whether some songs were hers or his. Even when you get to one of the biggest and most recognisable hits of the past decade 'Shake It Off' there are fair few bars at the beginning where you might not recognise it, and in fact it sounds more than a bit like 'I'm On Fire' by Bruce Springsteen.

If the lush, string laden version of 'Out Of The Woods' doesn't touch you then you really don't deserve to be alive. 'Wildest Dreams' is one that now sounds like a proper Americana track, ending with some gorgeous Byrds-esque guitar. But that's topped by the guitar on the outro to 'Clean' though, which sounds like a Smiths-era Johnny Marr has wandered into the studio to make his presence felt.

Meanwhile, in Ryan's hands, 'How You Get The Girl' sounds like the reminiscences of someone who tried many times to get the girl but failed miserably.

Am I praising him too much? Fair enough, he didn't write the melodies but there's such a skill in doing what he's done, taking them and shaping them to fit a different genre. In doing so he's undoubtedly opened them up to a whole new audience, while at the same time proving just what great songs they are.

This could've been the grandest of follies, self-indulgent and pretentious. Instead it's a huge success, and a credit to both Adams and Taylor Swift herself. Now, when can we expect her to return the favour?

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Track of the Day: 'a short 1 about floating down the river face down, obviously dead, but sooooo chill' by Slugabed

Winner of the song title of the week award, this new track from Slugabed is a deep and mellow slice of music. It's kind of freeform and kind of trippy and kind of dark and kind of slippy. Get a free download on the down low below.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Track of the Day: 'Hell Is My Head' by Blaenavon

It's hard to believe that it's coming up for 3 years since I first wrote about Blaenavon and tipped them for success. They've obviously been tucked away in the Transgressive bunker being fed red meat, as they've emerged with a beefier sound on this lead track from their new 'Miss World' EP.

Powerful guitars and crisp, clear vocals take their place over a powerhouse of drumming to create a melodic barrage of sound. This really is the sound of them emerging from their adolescent cocoons and turning into young men with a purposeful stride.

You can pre-order the EP from Transgressive here.

Miss World EP - 12"

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Recommended music: 'La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful' by Petite Noir

If you're one of those (annoying) people who like to pigeonhole everything then I wish you good luck with finding a genre for this. It's so tricky that Mr Noir himself, Yannick Ilunga, has invented his own genre name - noirwave. It seems a suitable description of an album that can be dark, that flows beautifully from track to track, and that has such a broad palette of sounds and influences  it makes most of this year's releases sound two-dimensional in comparison.

You might have heard the single 'Down'  on the radio and been entranced by its rhythms and instantly singable chorus. It's a fantastic way in to the Petite Noir sound - at various times it sounds like Caribou, an Afrobeat band or any number of other (great) things, all of which are woven into a brilliant groove.

'Best' is another outstanding track - it also has a great rhythm, but also some great 80s sounding horns, and is topped of with Ilunga's brilliantly expressive voice and some politically charged lyrics.

You could spend hours and hours going over this record and listing down the influences you can hear seeping from it;s core - from Talking Heads to TV On The Radio, from Tony Allen to Fela Kuti, this album is like an educational masterclass. And despite it's ocassionally dark tones the underlying theme of life being beautiful shines through. I've listened to this a lot this week, in different moods and different places, but it's always left me feeling positive and in a good state. It's definitely one of the best records of the year.

Track of the Day: 'Mannus & Venus' by Chrome Sparks

It's great to have something new from the always excellent Chrome Sparks. This comes from a sampler by the Australian label Future Classic, who are home to Chet Faker and Flume amongst others.

The track is a bit of a belter, with a killer riff and some proper 80s sounding keyboards, and an altogether uplifting feel. You can stream the track below and download the whole album via bittorrent here or on the link in the Soundcloud player.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Recommended music: 'Søren Juul' EP by Søren Juul

Out Now: Søren Juul - Søren Juul EP

You might be familiar with Søren from the 2013 album 'Somewhere Else' - that was released under the Indians moniker but he has since reverted to his own name. The 3 track EP, released on the 4AD label showcases his songwriting talents and fragile, gentle vocals to good effect. Opener 'Ambitions' has hints of Sigur Ros in its melodies and a definite Scandinavian feel - it's warm but detached at the same time, and I love the part towards the end when then keyboard refrain kicks in.

'Manly Beach' (a place I've actually been to) is a simpler, piano-led affair that then sweeps in with some gentle keyboards. The final track 'Soulseeker' actually reminds me a bit of Grandaddy when it starts, and then it becomes a swooping ballad full of heartbreak, with some lovely instrumental passages that have a touch of Pink Floyd about them.

Overall it's a great step on the way to his next album, which will be released early next year. You can listen to all three of the tracks below.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Video of the Day: 'Trance Frendz - An evening with Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm'

There seems to be new material appearing from Messrs Arnalds and Frahm. First there was the single 'Life Story / Love and Glory', then the announcement of their new EP 'Loon', and now this. What started out as a planned recording of one improvised piece turned into an 8-hour session, all of which was filmed by Alexander Schneider. At the end of the night they had a number of new pieces that had been composed on the spot which they've shared with us here (along with some more homely shots of Nils cooking the dinner). Edited down to 46 minutes, it really does show two masters at work, not to mention showcasing Nils' lovely studio in Berlin.

'Loon' is released on October 2nd and you can pre-order it from Erased Tapes here.