Monday, November 23, 2015

ESSENTIAL INDIE TRACKS FOR NOVEMBER 2015 : POP/ ROCK PLAYLIST with Kassassin Street, The fin., Childcare…

Empire is on us!
Noticed that also or am I too much into the Empire TV series ? With a current, huge flow of Hip-Hop R&B/Rap songs with Pusha T, Drake, Missy Elliott or Erykah Badu for the most recent releases and famous artists, difficult to focus and find significant Indie Pop/Rock songs !
Even if I will be making a “Best of 2015” with Indie Hip-Hop tracks in December, for now here below or directly from pleer here is the catchiest alternative Pop/Rock tunes playlist (not list of a songs) heard in November: uplifting, flamboyant and even epic with the 2 last tracks. 
American, Australian (tree times), Japanese, Swedish, and British are all united here (#NousSommesUnis).

1- “In a Restless House” – City Calm Down 
With this synths and higher pitched vocals track taken from its debut eponym album In a Restless House out in November, Melbourne/Australia quartet will get rid of the Joy Division label that was sticking to its music, although the first single “Rabbit Run was explicitly featuring Ian Curtis like baritone vocal with upfront bass. Powerful!

2- “Yeah It’s On” – Kassassin Street
Radio Silence  is the second EP out in October from up and comer Portsmouth/UK five piece pop psychedelia band. 

3- “Night Time” - The fin.
Two years after a first EP Glowing Red On The Shore it took a little while for the first album Days With Uncertainty of Japanese quartet from Kobe to reach our shores. “Night Time” track will be re-issued in December as part of an EP. Ethereal vocals on swirling synths makes a very danceable pop song!

4- “Free Animal” – Foreign Air
American vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jesse Clasen seems to already have a lot of ongoing on projects with Bear Romantic or HRVRD bands and now he teams up with Jacob Michael ? to drop a first single on soundcloud, part of a forthcoming EP, instantly driving comparison with Glass Animals.

5- “Das Pop” – Johnny Sands
“Musician, Artist, Promoter, Event organiser, Model” (as described on his Twitter account) Liverpool-based act Johnny Sands, from first band “Vandal in Berlin”, issued solo a mini album Postcards back in 2011.This year and after “Arno Arno, his touching vocals return now on this second single. Fresh sound and nice beats!

6- “Omega Grey” – Childcare
         What does it means when a band erase its previous works from bandcamp or soundcloud? Starting a new beginning? That’s what Ed Cares, front man of London based band Childcare, did with the Flush EP out last year and “Diesel Therapy” released in April. Anyway, this new track is smoother, less punk influenced, and it works! The chorus beginning sounds like Alt-J but the entire song is definitely not related to.

7- “ Give Everything” – Romeo Moon
After a first EP last year, Wander, Melbourne/Australia quartet is growing increasingly confident with this intense guitar driven track with hints of krautrock and Thom Yorke like vocals, half of a Single with “Walking” out in October.

8- “ Creatures of Habit” – The Kooks
Since its Down EP featured here last year and fourth album Listen, Brighton/UK quartet is in constant mutation with this psych single out in October that already had a remix treatment from Jack Beats for a remix album Hello, What’s Your Name out in December. Too bad, the house remix destroys the nice bridge between the poppy chorus and verse!

9- “Curtains” – Vita Bergen
This “grandiose” track was part of Swedish duo eponym EP last year and now on its debut album Disconnection out in October. Vita Bergen sounds shouldn’t be reduced to this Arcade Fire structure like track though: it is also comprised of massive synths.

10- “The Traveller” – Lord Fascinator
Welcome to the psychedelic, not to say eccentric world of Melbourne/Australia native artist based in New York, Johnny Mackay, front man of indie rock band Children Collide. Take a look at his cranky videos and listen to the incredible pop hooks and you will understand his background. Surprisingly beginning with a triumphal baroque piece, “The Traveller” is the second single for his forthcoming 2016 album MAN on Spinning Top Music.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Saturday October 31, 2015 :
It was Halloween day ! Only two artists played the game: soul american musician Curtis Harding with a white cat like painting on his face and in a rock configuration with 3 guitars and drums and New Zealand- born singer songwriter leader of Unknown Mortal Orchestra with a mask full of strass which was easier to remove in the middle of the concert. Watch their performance below ! 
Oh, and if you're wondering how La Grande Halle de la Villette looks like in a concert configuration, here it is when american hip hop /rap duo Run The Jewels was performing.

I didn't intend to see Spanish girl band Hinds, the first group to perform that day at 5:30pm and I understand why: the only sound coming from outside the building was their terrible vocals!
To whom who compared R&B musician Nao to Neneh Cherry: she has a higher pitched voice and her music is more like the female side of fellow Londoner Ben Khan
Still hesitating between laugh and pity about Josh Tillman aka Father John Misty performance. Too much ego to stay Fleet Foxes' drummer, the theatrical american folk dandy rotated between his guitar for the ballads and gym like dance to show his back flexibility for the more electro songs, like on "True Affection". Trying to think that he was in a temporary awkward physical state that I couldn't catch on video, here below is "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings".
After the unfailing English rock band Spiritualized (below performing "Soul on Fire"), I left Ratatat to their guitar based electro.


Saturday, October 31, 2015


Friday October 30, 2015:
What a difference of moods between the first 3 bands, Dornik, Rome Fortune, Health and soft Electro Pop duo Rhye! Just after the heavy drums of Los Angeles noise rock band, heads indeed needed to make a 360° twist! 
The Canadian/Danish duo, always backed live by 4 other musicians, was in bright light this time and delivered a more jazzy sound with additional instrumental territories than 2 years ago when I saw them in the intimate set up of Le Poisson Rouge, New York. Check this below!
Back again to more energetic vibrations with Kurt Vile & The Violators americana, often sounding like Bruce Springsteen and american frenetic and impressive instrumental rock trio Battles.
But tonight the slap in the face comes from Thom Yorke, at the same time behind his computer with the other two Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, coiling his hair up and down, taking his guitar, dancing and finally shaking up the festival usual set times structure by playing an (expected) encore by popular demand! Also below.

Unfortunately or not, I never caught any of Four Tet sets at Pitchfork Paris, last year and this year twice in a row.
Stay tuned for the third and last day!

Friday, October 30, 2015


Thursday October 29,2015: 
First group to perform, HÆLOS, the London trio with 2 drummers on stage was one of the 3 most melodic bands of the day, with Canadian band Destroyer and with the last one, Beach House the American duo barely visible on stage, dim as the lights.
Watch their performance below!
The quality of the sound made the other performances either inaudible (Ariel Pink's voice), awkward (Kirin J.Callinan), or dull (Godspeed You! Black Emperor certainly because of the long format of more than an hour) Bradford Cox, leader of Atlanta band Deerhunter even asking if he was performing in a former train station (actually a 19th century building part of the La Villette's slaughterhouse)!
Stay tuned !

Monday, October 26, 2015


When Sia is making a cover of «California Dreamin’», the 60s anthem made famous by The Mamas & The Papas, when Hot Chip is covering Bruce Springsteen’s  Dancing in The Dark”, and when a bunch of artists are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Southern California folk-rock scene(1965) in a Los Angeles concert called "Echo in The Canyon", it means something: artists have always a foot in the future and one in the past. The nostalgia, already pointed out a few years ago in this post about vintage pop, that old songs brings, has an undeniable appeal.
The retro feel is there, in this Vintage Sounds playlist of 10 new tracks full of 60s pop, surf pop, rockabilly or Motown sound and 80s rock. In the below player or directly from pleer, here.
1- “Guilty of Love” – Unloved
Irish producer/film scorer and film maker (I am Here), David Holmes knows his classics. With collaborator on a few film scores, American composer/musician Keefus Ciancia, who also brought in singer Jade Vincent, they formed the “Unloved” project with a 4 tracks EP out in October and a forthcoming album in 2016. We don’t know which samples they used, but the rendering is between The Velvet Underground (Jade Vincent singing better than Nico) and Lee Hazlewood.

2- “Safe Sex” – Psychomagic
Lots of unreleased singles from Lolipop Records bands in the World Peas cassette mixtape out this month of October. This track was not on the two previous albums of the Portland/Oregon garage band Psychomagic, but could certainly be part of Alejandro Jodorowski healing paths for listening to a Lou Reed outtake can work as a therapy.

3- “As You Go Down” – Holly Golightly
In British singer songwriter long career and prolific releases, she made a record with Billy Childish in 1999, In Blood, where the two sounded like a British version of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood. Again, with this track taken from Slowtown Now!, her fourteenth album out last August, she also sounds like Nancy Sinatra. Imagine this catchy track with handclaps danced by Franck and Nancy (mute at 0:37)!

4- “Georgia” – Tiggs Da Author
Based on a sample of Bobby “Blue” Bland “Shoes”, tanzanian born and London raised Tiggs Da Author’s single out in July would just be a replica of the Motown sound, but his voice gives a new modern angle.

5- “Oh My God” – Roger Lion
Seattle musician and producer Josh Karp aka Budo grew up listening to Joe Pernice’s Scud Mountain Boys' Massachusetts  and now the two teamed up to form Roger Lion with a first eponym album out in September, between folk and blues. This track has definitely a 70s flavor.

6- “Pressure” – Youth Club
After 2 Eps, the Southend-on-Sea/UK indie pop band released this single may be for a forthcoming debut album in 2016. Percussions at 0:44 and singing are a throwback to the ones on “Rock The Boat” from Hues Corporation.

7- “Children Of A Higher Light” – Joel Sarakula
Born in Sydney/Australia and now based in London, singer-songwriter Joel Sarakula has already delivered his 60s and early 70s references in his first album Golden Age. This single to his sophomore album, The Imposter out in November is in the same vein, consciously linking to The Supremes sound.

8- “You Are Who You Are” – Day Wave
California is home for singer-songwriter Jackson Phillips, solo behind Day Wave and of course home for the 60s surf pop/rock music which already had a revival 6 years ago with the debut of East Coast band The Drums’ “Let’s go Surfingand from which Day Wave borrowed the codes for his Headcase EP, and now with the B Side of Come Home Now already released now on his soundcloud.

9- “Friends” – Pomegranates
It’s not clear whether the Cincinnati/Ohio band is still on after a change of members, name (Healing Power) and solo projects but they’re still playing shows together and finally released a fifth album Healing Power, originally recorded in 2012 on tapes and now in October on bandcamp. Still,  “Friends” seems to wave goodbye. With the metronomic heavy drums close to some of David Bowie or Bruce Springsteen tracks, they’ve made a tribute to the 80s.

10- “You Belong To Me” – Bryan Adams
Hum! On my professional side, I have to listen to mainstream music and was quite surprised by 2 songs of Canadian singer songwriter Bryan Adams’ thirteenth album, Get Up! out this October. "Don't Even Try" and "You Belong To Me": both were intended for a TV pilot that was never made and for which the director wanted a 60s feel. This track sounds unusually rockabilly, for a Bryan Adams song .

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ESSENTIAL INDIE TRACKS FOR SEPTEMBER 2015 : SWAYING GROOVES PLAYLIST with Tender, Bob Moses, Astronauts, etc, Rationale,…

The purpose of No Music playlists is to collect only the best new tracks from unfamiliar musicians to best known ones, highlighting the musical connections.
Don’t be fooled by the Prince track into the September 2015 playlist, I’m not going main stream! It’s just for the sake of this month thread, the 10 tracks being all about swaying grooves from Electro Soul/Pop or Electro Funk to Indie pop genres, slow-burning ones first, to end with 2 more up tempo ones.
Directly from pleer, here.

1- “Melt” – Tender
In the British wave of girl/guy electro duos like recently Vlad vs Clover, featured here or Oh Wonder (below again), another one  from North London on board of this playlist with dark grooves rendered on this track by the impressive bass line, apparently fans of Oh Wonder.The word "tender" well describes their first 5 tracks EP Armour out this September: gentle and delicate.

2- “Before I Fall” – Bob Moses
Two high school friends in Vancouver bumping into each other in New York a few years later, then the trance music guy, Jimmy Valance and the singer songwriter Tom Howie, teamed up to form Bob Moses in 2011, reflecting perfectly their respective musical backgrounds: smoky vocals over sedative deep house rhythms like in their latest single Tearing me Up. After a compilation of 11 previous tracks "All in All" in April 2015, their debut album Days Gone By was out mid –September, from which this funky track is taken.

3-  “This Could be Us” – PRINCE

Actually this track was already on Prince’s 2014 album Art Official Age but it has been completely re-arranged for the (good) sake of his latest studio album out this September HitnRun: Phase One, transforming the original mellow poppy tune into a more traditional Prince’s material with his unique guitar playing (at 2:15). Art Official Age cover art has also been recycled into a cartoon character with 3 glasses (his backing band is called 3rdEyeGirl).

4- “Moving Mountains- Feat.Brendan Reilly” – Disclosure
The second album of the UK brothers, Guy & Howard Lawrence, Caracal, out this month, has received divided reviews, the bone of contention being whether or not the duo is still an EDM band with all the pop artists featured (from Lorde to The Weeknd or Sam Smith again) trying to chart the 14 songs in the top hits. Never heard of singer Brendan Reilly before but who knew Sam Smith before Latch !

5- “Sleep In” – Telekinesis 
Seattle/US singer-songwriter Michael Lerner already featured in this playlist for his third album is also here today with his fourth Ad Infinitum with always the same skill to write pop songs. Bassoon type arrangements and child babbles are funny arrangements for a chilled track.

6- “Fast Lane” – Rationale
Since April, the mysterious (with only a photo of him on his touring agent page ) East London producer going by the name of Rationale was revealing his soulful baritone voice to the music scene and tracks on his soundcloud. Now that his first 4 tracks EP Fuel to the Fire is out, “Fast Lane” remains a favorite.

7- “Spinning Out of Control” – Lovedrug
After a sky rocket debut in 2004, Ohio/US alternative rock quintet is nowadays an underrated band, getting only few reviews for one of its last singles, “Dinosaur on the Wild Blood album in 2012. Within the 12 guitar driven tracks of its fifth studio album Notions out this September, downtempo track “Spinning Out of Control” stands out with the whirling synths revealing Michael Shepard’s cute way to pronounce the “s” letter.

8- “Livewire” – Oh Wonder
Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht forming the British girl/guy duo Oh Wonder, featured in this playlist, were stucked indoor the past year to record their monthly tracks and now that they have released 15 tracks in September in an eponym album they are playing them live: here “Livewire”, the ninth track for May 2015 that, like “Lose it”, still stands out from the whole album.

9- “Good Girl” – Aquilo
After a collection of nice pop songs with 3 Eps since 2013, the British duo, (guy/guy one this time), has an instant banger with “Good Girl” revealed on soundcloud in September, may be announcing a forthcoming debut album in November. Tom Higham emotional and cracked voice is simply irresistible with the stuttering “googoogood girl”. Not sure though about the video.

10- “Eye to Eye” – Astronauts, etc
After a Sadie EP last year, Oakland/California-based musician, Anthony Ferraro and band, Astronauts, etc released a first full album Mind Out Wandering in September. To the slow tempo tracks, the funky ones “Eye to Eye” or "See You" swing over. Anthony will also be touring again as Toro Y Moi keyboardist this fall.