Posts by Ann
Body Language dropped their latest EP, Grammar, today. It’s less dance-y than I was expecting but still super silky, as per usual for this Brooklyn electro group. More like nod-your-head-with-a-weird-smile-and-flailing-your-arms-in-a-bizarre-dance-move-thing kind of sound. Or at least that’s what I’m doing right now.
“Lose My Head” is as seductive as it sounded a few days ago when I posted about the track. “The First” has a slightly different feel than the group’s standard stuff. I feel like it’s the kind of song I’m going to be belting in my car while I drive around the burbs (the only difference being that I cannot actually hit the high notes like singer Matt Young does when he belts the chorus). On “I’m A Mess,” lead singers Young and Angelica Bess’s voices blend together real smoothly for another great listen.
Their FB page says they’ll be releasing a full-length album in 2013, which is yet ANOTHER reason for the world not to end in December. Jeez, the list just doesn’t end…
“Lose My Head” is a single off the upcoming Grammar EP, which drops on September 18, so you can bet that I will be reviewing dat ish. This track is sick-groovy (I promise, that’s a thing). It encapsulates all you need to know about this electro/nu-disco group: thumping beats and harmonic choruses. One of the band members said it best in their Facebook info blurb: “We get the same joy and satisfaction out of losing our shit behind a pair of turntables as we do singing four-part harmonies.”
Check it out below and hold your breath for Tuesday.
These days, I feel like you’d be hard-pressed to find a self-proclaimed “collective” that isn’t awesome. There’s something about the label that’s a pretty much a self-fulfilling prophecy of 8-minute jam tracks and a beautiful cascade of random instruments and a blend of multi-timbre voices.
Sola Rosa fits this paradigm, and please, please do not ask me why I am always attracted to music from “Down Under.” Either I’m obsessed with the country in a weird way, or I’m predicting some sort of trend…it’s probably the former. Regardless of home country, this collective that combines “hip hop, reggae, jazz, latin, soul and funk” really does dabble in all of those genres. Their most recent album, Low and Behold, High and Beyond, is a perfect example of their sheer awesomeness.
This album is very reminiscent of classic 90s R&B, but the mix of genres and flavors adds an experimental aspect. Good music to work to or jam to. Highlights for me were the tracks with L.A. Mitchell, whose velvety pipes remind me of Janelle Monae. Check ’em out below.
Correction: I originally printed that these folks were from Australia, when they’re actually from New Zealand. Total brainfart. Thanks to the reader who caught that error!
It kind of seems like Joseph Gordon-Levitt can do no wrong. Exhibit a: this. Exhibit b: this. And now he is fostering the collaborative efforts of artists worldwide? Nawwww, son. He’s a little too cool, even.
If you don’t understand what hitRECord is at first, you’re in good company, but G-L’s video explains it pretty well. Basically, it’s what they’re calling an “open-collaborative production company,” and members can join together in all sorts of artistic endeavors: music, books, graphic design, film, photography, writing, and so on. The idea itself isn’t exactly revolutionary (I mean, what’s a mashup, sample, or remix, anyway? Collabs are nothing too new.) but this website seems like a really efficient and friendly way for people to create together. If I was good at any of the aforementioned forms of art, I’d join. But I think I’ll just “lurk” instead.
Anyway, with that introduction out of the way, the company just came out with a new album, Move on the Sun, and 78 artists contributed to the 15 tracks. Not exactly sure what the criteria were for making it onto the album, or whether they were trying to necessarily put together a cohesive album, but however the production happened, the album coheres anyway. There’s some indie, some electro, some rap/hip-hop, some blues, some jazz–essentially a little taste of everything, just like the project itself. I thought all the tracks were really impressive, and not just because of the project. As isolated tracks, they all sound awesome. I enjoyed this a lot; take a listen this Labor Day weekend!
Best tracks: “Malibu,” “Diamond in the Rough,” “The Grind” (that one’s just like a big fat jam session; it’s shweet)
Re:Enactment’s dance-y electro single “Scraps” and accompanying album Sport came out in March of this year, but who am I to turn down a sick track, an interestingly-punctuated band name, or a FREE DOWNLOAD? Check this ish out. They sound like a love-child of Bloc Party and MGMT, if you’re into that.
Thought I’d pass on French prodigy Madeon‘s latest single “Finale,” as the Dillon Francis Remix just dropped today. It’s party-bangin’, just liked the original. I have mad respect for Madeon, since around the same age as him, I’m pretty far from playing Coachella and Electric Daisy and helping Swedish House Mafia headline.
Here’s the Beatport link for the Dillon Francis Remix, and if you missed the original, check it out below.
A friend showed me Delicate Steve’s latest album Positive Force, and I’m hooked. The electric-guitar-and-synth-heavy style of the album reminds me a lot of Ratatat (who are, apparently, working on new album). Somehow no words is sometimes better than words at conveying emotion; exhibit A, Positive Force. Best track on the album is in my opinion “Afria Talks To You,” but if you’re looking for some totally vibe-y instrumental funk, then stream the album below.
If you’re anything like me, you have a hard time working on the computer for at least two reasons: 1) the Internet is too damn distracting and 2) finding the perfect music to work to is extremely yet unnecessarily difficult because you can’t do anything without appropriate melodic accompaniment.
I can solve that problem for you. Chilly Gonzales‘s newest album Solo Piano II is out August 28th. After playing piano for what felt like a grueling nine years and then quitting, I have mad respect for anyone who can play and give the music real feeling; it’s harder than just throwing your shoulders around and swaying with your eyes closed while you pound out chords and melodies. This album is really calming but also provocative for when you’re in a more contemplative mood. Call me nerdy, but I don’t care: I’m a pretty big classical music fan. But this is not even strictly classical. Don’t let the fact that it’s just piano scare you off; this music is just moody/jazzy/movie soundtrack-y enough that it sums up to “easy listening,” whatever that obscure music genre actually means.
Stream this baby below, and you’ll be all set to get that big paper/project done:
A microcosm of the what seems like the whole cultural universe these days, the music blogosphere is pretty bent on getting the latest in everything–the music itself, the artist buzz, the trendiest collaborations and projects. But I think music that blogs try to bring to readers should be better categorized as “timely.” It can be timely because it’s new, but a song or album can be timely because it just feels right for a certain time of day, year, or life.
August is about the time of year for most (unless you live in, like, Cabo…) when things slow down right before they speed up. For me, the anticipation of a new school year is kind of sad, but also inevitably exciting. I’m not ready yet to switch gears, but I’m preparing to. The next few weeks will be filled with that waiting, whether you spend that time worried or eager, of a time where you can feel something’s just ending but you may not be sure what exactly the something is. It could be August for you, or it could be the end of autumn, or New Year’s Eve, or another transitional time, but the best remedy I can think of for the sort of ennui-inducing “inbetween” is fitting soundtrack.
“Seventeen,” a track by Adam & Dusty that I found a while back on my favorite radio station EVER (Triple J Unearthed…now you understand why I’m always posting Australian music!), is nice n’ simple, but the soaring chorus evokes a little nostalgia as well a little hope for the future. This song makes me want to enjoy the inbetween–not merely live through it.
Why is Ellie Goulding so effing cool? Come on now; only some people can be dubstep queens, artists worthy of covering Elton John, and melodic songbirds all at once. “Anything Could Happen” is the first single off of her next album, which will probably be judged hard because her debut Bright Lights was beyond brilliant.
This track is pretty sweet, and the remixes will probably be even better, but I thought the music “fan lyric” video using Instagram pix was the best part of this song. I rarely rave too hard about music videos because a) artists so often complain about the fact that videos detract from the music itself or erroneously reinterpret the song’s meaning and b) they’re almost always all the same. But this video is original (I won’t call it the first of its kind because knowing myself, I probably am missing some huge viral movement of fan-lyric-Instagram videos), and it’s always cool when artists feel humble and grateful enough to their fans to make a video into a collaborative project. Plus Instagram is already taking over people’s lives, so why not double the “artsy?”
Check the video out below. Halcyon is out October 9!
Oh, and here’s the album trailer:
I really don’t know how to dance. But I really do like songs that make me feel like I’m in Hairspray. “Your Love,” Aussie group Saskwatch’s first single off their upcoming debut album, is one of those songs.
The nu-funk/soul movement, inspired by big-band sound with all the horn instruments and swinging tempos that that entails, is an exciting one to watch, with artists like Raphael Saadiq, Fitz and the Tantrums (who have a new album coming out!), and French belter Ben L’Oncle Soul at the vanguard. As sensationalist as it might sound, I think it’s truly a testament to how regenerative music can be, that genres can keep reinventing themselves when artists can transform an older sound into a new one while maintaining its timeless element. “Your Love” sounds like a mix Etta James’ “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” and The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” with a fantastic sprinkle of new pop.
Doing the Twist will never, ever go out of style.
The second day of the inaugural Catalpa festival was more enjoyable than the first, probably because the threat of rain was nothing we hadn’t experienced the day before. We arrived a bit later, just in time to catch the end of the Cold War Kids’ set and next up was Matt & Kim.
I’m not a huge Matt & Kim fan, but damn, did they put on a good show. It was their first live performance of 2012, after a 6-month hiatus, and they were clearly storing up a lot of energy to do it. There were balloons, glitter, Kim booty-dropping while standing on the hands on the crowd…I know, I’m starting to sound like Stefon. Their set of original songs was peppered with old and new billboard hits from other artists, including some “Jump on It” and some dougie-ing. Their music is driven so strongly by percussion that the show was really fun to watch and dance around to, even for a less-than-massive fan. Matt and Kim were each ecstatic and played off each other like goofy kids.
Girl Talk was flipping spectacular–an hour and a half long RAGER. I had been a little dubious about how a mashup artist would play live, but any doubts were shattered with his performance. There was something about the build-up, the anticipation during his set that was really special; with every sample he used, there would be a wave of recognition, and he knew when to let a popular song play out and when to deftly mix two or more tracks that on the surface seem to be polar opposites. Seeing how he puts his show together also impressed me, especially since I am surprisingly bad with computers. Some lucky mofos got pulled up on stage with him, and needless to say, I was insanely jealous.
The last act of the weekend was Snoop Dogg. He and his crew were kind of hilarious, totally irreverent, and slightly out of their minds–in the best way possible. He played Doggystyle, which most of the twenty-something crowd enormously appreciated, and closed with “Young, Wild, & Free,” although I got the feeling that people (myself included) enjoyed the performance of his famed debut album way more.
All in all, the inaugural year for Catalpa was pretty sweet. There are still some kinks to be worked out, but as I heard someone say as we were herded to the ferries after Snoop, after the first few years, it will probably run really smoothly.