Sunday, August 23, 2015

PLAYLIST : ESSENTIAL INDIE TRACKS BEYOND SUMMER 2015 with Gengahr, Frett, Tame Impala,…



I’m not a computer algorithm, I’m a human music curator!

Happy that No Music blog fits in Pitchfork’s main argument here. Since 2008, my choice was to collect only the best new tracks (not older than 3 months) in playlists, by mood, music genre or even countries (cf the right column on the web version).

Now, what happened since end of May in the world of music?
    - A cool music stream website stretching from 1960 to 2013, where you can play a whole year as a playlist.
   - Even if one of my favorite group of the 80’s, New Order, ex Joy Division, launched end of July the first  single “Restlessof their forthcoming album Music Complete due in September, there is nothing new about it !


Instead of the 10 usual, 11 tracks released this summer in the playlist below or directly from pleer here (for mobile devices), to embrace the trends in alternative electro, rock & pop music these days, with a special nod to Lebanon with Beirut (the band) new Gibraltarvideo which shows a mountain of trash like one once stood in the city of Sidon and now in Beirut (the city) streets with garbage towering all over the place.

1 – “Unknown” – Gwilym Gold
Already featured here with the extremely powerful “Triumph”, Gwilym Gold finally released his second album A Paradise in August. Piano driven track “Unknown”, with the same celestial voice, has a more classical touch provided by classical composer Nico Muhly.

2- “Drop of Starch” – Frett
After three Eps and hype blogs darling track “Tyro, Suffolk/UK duo made of Simon Lucas-Hughes & Elliott Buckle, dropped a new single last July on soundcloud, the delicate “Drop of Starch”  with the right percussions.


3- “Adapted Air” – Arbitraire
Apart from the track “A Little Melancholy”, appearing in Sam Smith’s The Lost Tapes Remixed, very little is revealed about Arbitraire.3 names : Andrea, Adrian & Genji and now 2 songs on their soundcloud. Just an impressive soul voice!

4- “Envy” – Peter Lyons
Ex one half of the Peter & Kerry London pop duo, and further to the electro R&B touch of his previous work like “Pretty Young Thing”, for his debut EP Oh, To Pull You Up, set up for an October release, Peter Lyons goes deeper into the electronic music genre with deconstructed synths, gulp percussions and layers of violins.

5- “Wide Open” – The Chemical Brothers  
This track stands apart from the more urban sound of the 16 tracks (with "Direct Buki" bonus) on the eighth album of the Mancunian duo, Born in the Echoes out in July. Fluid synths and 80’s pop, thanks to Beck, one of the 5 guest singers featured ?

6- “Bluebird” – Beach House
Baltimore/US dream pop duo website is using an algorithm behind the “single finder”, to choose which single on Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally fifth full length Depression Cherry out this month will please you. Even by trying several options, I never got “Bluebird! Needless to say that this mechanical formula doesn’t replace ears, sensible to the frenetic beat beginning smoothen by the spiralling guitar and Victoria’s soft voice.

7- “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” – Tame Impala
After all that has been written about the new musical direction of Aussie psych-rock band with the first single “Let it Happen” and as they released the singles,“’Cause I’m a Man”, “Disciples” & “Eventually”, the whole listening of the third album Currents ends with Kevin Parker confession about all this. Check this last track lyrics!

8- “Gibraltar” – Beirut
No more brass section, the trademark of New Mexico/US band Beirut, in this second single of the fourth album No No No to be released in September. Percussions and metallic bangs along with the joyful lyrics might be a special message to Lebanon: “Everything should be fine”.

9- “Oblivion” – David Bazan
Once recording under the names of Pedro The Lion, and later Headphones, Seattle/US singer-songwriter, David Bazan began to write 2 songs each month in 2014 to compile them in a first Volume called “Bazan Monthly”. The second volume came out late May. A long career as a musician that Bazan recount on this track with his remarkable mournful voice.

10- “Time Travel” - Inspired & the Sleep
The San Diego trio now, released 2 singles last June from a second EP Eyelid Kid out in October: a poppy one like their previous psych/pop tracks “Sleeps Well On Knivesand this one darker, going with a pole dance fitness video, reflects an interesting change in tone.

11- “Embers” – Gengahr
London quartet is the new UK alternative pop/rock sensation. Each track of the 11 ones of its first album A Dream Outside out last June begins with a soft approach to later bursts into guitars. It’s not the guitars that stand out on “Embers”, it’s the drums, steady, metronomic, reminding me of "Oh Yeah"  from CAN.

Monday, June 1, 2015

ESSENTIAL INDIE TRACKS FOR MAY 2015 : Metoux, Howling, Gwilym Gold, Christopher Owens,…



Before the usual 2/3 months summer break, the 10 essential tracks that caught up my ears this month of May 2015 are in the player below or directly from pleer here : 
1- French music & fashion label Kitsuné has always a knack to discover real pearls. In the fourth episode of the compilation America, released this month, Kitsuné premieres exclusive tracks from Basecamp, Dutch Party or new comer DJ Metoux from Toronto/Canada. Her childish and at the same time lascivious voice on “Neighbour” has this “The Curetouch that makes it so attractive.
 
2- If British guy-girl duo Vlad vs Clover uploaded only one single “Lies” this month on its soundcloud, musicians Vladimir Woodham-Smith and Jessica Belgrave have separate careers. A dramatic track to begin their collaboration!

3- Musician and composer Paul Marshall from Leeds/ UK has been hiding under the pseudonym of Lone Wolf for 3 albums. Lodge the latest out this month and may be the last album as Lone Wolf  is rather melancholic and organic piano driven. “Crimes” mirroring “Pripyat” track with its heavier piano notes and drum beat reflects the desolation after Tchernobyl nuclear catastrophe.

 
4- Ahead of their first 4 tracks EP “Earth Not Above” out on June 1st, London trio HÆLOS gave a swaying, slower and even better re-work of The Beloved house hit of 1989 “The Sun Rising. Hearing the sirens, urgent to hear!
5- Portland/Oregon based electro pop duo, Ian Mackintosh and Ben Braun aka Mackintosh Braun is releasing a third album Arcadia in June. The darker synths based "We Ran Faster Then" is one of the 4 singles out of the 11 tracks that came out in advance.


6- Faster indeed! Former member of British indie band Golden Silvers, Gwilym Gold delivered his debut album Tender Metal in the form of an app (still existing in the App Store) in a Bronze format that plays a different version of the 7 tracks with each press of the play button. His sophomore album A Paradise will be released in June in a more traditional way. The video for the first single “Muscle” featured a naked dancer. In the speedy tribal beat track “Triumph” the dancer is less naked!

7- In this interview, American singer songwriter Christopher Owens is very aware that people prefers to idolize the old image of him, broken or troubled person, and he chose to represent himself in a straitjacket on the cover of his third solo album Chrissybaby Forever out in May. Broken no more: his prolific songwriting (16 tracks) testifies to that and especially the very optimistic “Out of Bed” with birds singing.
 
8- After an eponym EP in 2012, Howling, the collaboration between Australian born Ry Cuming aka RY X when he is solo and Berlin producer Frank Wiedemann finally dropped their debut album Sacred Ground this month. Their teamwork is perfectly tangible on “Signs” which turns halfway from an intimate song with RY X heartbreaking voice over a raw piano to an underground dancefloor track.

9- Portland/Oregon based band Other Livesfirst single “Reconfiguration” (in the Essential Tracks for February 2015) was annunciating a third great album and now that Rituals is out, I couldn’t help to put this cinematic track, “For The Last” for the Ennio Morricone touch.
 
10- Also from Oregon, the Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel tandem, known as The Helio Sequence has been recording albums for the past 26 years. The story behind their sixth eponym one that came out this month is here. You can recognize a great song, “Stoic Resemblance”, when the acoustic version is even more elegant.

Monday, May 11, 2015

BEST 2015 SOUL POP/ RNB/FUNK INDIE TRACKS SO FAR : Oh Wonder, Garden City Movement, Honne,...



No sooner heard than forgotten. That’s what is happening to the multitude of songs released each day. Rather than using tracks like Kleenex, posting them as soon as they appear, I prefer to keep them to articulate them around a meaningful playlist. Since January 2015, it was evident to put the retro-soul, the soul pop or rock, the alt-R&B and even the funky tracks together. Groovy bass lines, finger snaps, handclaps are all about this soul vibes playlist in the below player or directly from pleer here ! FYI, soundcloud player has been removed for, as predicted, Sam Dew track is no longer available.
 
1- Since September 2014, London duo Oh Wonder is accomplishing quite a challenge by releasing one song per month on soundcloud. 9 to date, hitting more than 1 million plays each time. The least to say is that they are already big! It’s not a duo like, she sings and then he sings. Anthony & Josephine voices are knotted and that’s what so nice to hear. “Lose it” was the February song and fits perfectly the mood of this playlist: finger snaps, jazzy trumpet, “Let your body be”!

2- You have to listen to his whole debut EP Damn Sue (sic), produced by TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek, to realize what Chicago native, Sam Dew, can do with his voice: high pitched almost woman like, powerful, warm,…Heartrending track “Victor” is quite a good sample. Good to hear that he is making a solo career now that he has written songs for a variety of artists including Rihanna, Estelle, Mary J. Blige, Jessie Ware,…

3- No Music blog was on hiatus when “Hold Onfrom Athens/Alabama soul- rock quartet Alabama Shakes dropped in September 2011, that’s why they are only appearing here and now with their second album Sound and Color out in April. Their first single “Don’t Wanna Fight” still stands out among the 12 tracks with the incredibly expressive voice of singer-guitarist Brittany Howard.
 
4- Tel Aviv synth pop trio, Garden City Movement, already featured here with its first EP, has released a third one, Modern West in April. Surprisingly, knowing the previous dream pop atmosphere, they made 2 funky tracks “Modern West” and “My Only Love”.


5- Londoners Andy Clutterbuck and James Hatcher behind HONNE dropped a third soulful EP Coastal Love this May. Title track highlights Andy’s twisted soulful voice as he was singing with an irresistible pout.


6- Google name MΛJIK definitely gives more results than MAJIK! UK artist/producer duo first dropped the really heartwarming track “It’s Alright” last February with ambient sounds, synth handclaps. In March, there was an upper tempo track “Undercover Lover” that strangely disappeared from soundcloud  but still here. Waiting for more!


7- When drums come in “Got it Bad”, first track out in April from New Zealand band Leisure, it makes instantly think about Serge Gainsbourg “Requiem pour un con, and it gives this nostalgic touch to the laid back reverb vocals. Like the artwork suggest, sip it!


8- The 20 year old French musician & remixer Arthur Dubreucq operates as Kazy Lambist. “Doing Yoga” track is on a second EP,
re-arranging the famous line “what you gonna do,…” from Kool & The Gang "Get Down On It", into a nu-disco banger with gossamer vocals and you start feeling the summer vibes!

9- From 1992 in 2014 to 1000 in May 2015, it’s just a matter of numbers between the two names of the EPs that Londoner Ben Khan released up to now with the same impressive soulful and funky synths already featured here on “Youth”. “Zenith” pulsing track is not the peak of his career, “2022 Zodiac” takes an even more interesting experimental way.

10- Despite their name, Miami Horror are coming from Melbourne/Australia and were already big after their first album Illumination released in 2010. 15 tracks to fill the gap in between the release in April of their sophomore LP All Possible Futures. “Love Like Mine, feat. Cleopold” has this Michael Jackson heritage with cowbells disco, always good to get dancing!
 
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