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!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

ESSENTIAL INDIE TRACKS FOR APRIL 2015: OOFJ, Fabryka, The Midnight Hollow, The Landing….

I we had to understand why Top Lists are helpful, this BBC article explains.
So, because you’re too busy to hear hundreds of new tracks, you don’t like to be missing out something,... here is the mental shortcut for April 2015: BEATS. It is the common thread between alternative rock, synth pop, krautrock, blues or folk tracks from albums or singles released in April 2015. In the below player or for mobile devices users directly from pleer, here
And, unlike it is stated in the BBC article: “A list feels definitive”, in music, never ending playlists exist ! 

1- “Artificial Lover” is the longest of the 14 tracks in American musician, James Pants' fourth album Savage, out this April and the only one closed to his previous releases like “We’re Through” or rockabilly track “Darlin'”.Playing with sounds, beats and samples in short takes is his main creative work on the rest of the album, making him someone definitely peculiar on the music scene.

2- No need to present again the Scottish trio “Young Fathers” on this blog and since their album White Men Are Black Men Too came out this month, I picked another track, “27” for his 2:27 length and for the lyrics “I’m 27 and not in Heaven”, may be in reference to the famous (but wrong) fable about a 27 Club.

3- Tom Wilson’s alter ego when he is solo, well... with a little help of some Canadian friends, especially from Cowboy Junkies, is Lee Harvey Osmond. Those Beautiful Scars tell the tales of his third album of warm blues and country ballads. In “Loser Without Your Love”, the steady throbbing drums are soothed by multiple instruments arrangements.
4- London duo Whilk & Misky was a discovery from last year with "Clap your Hands" featured here in 2014 Best Tracks. “Burn with Me” is another banger, bluesy this time, also rich in beats of all sorts.

5- The guitar line is the first hook, then come the steady drums on “Fool” track, taken from the sophomore album, Fast Food, of London musician from Pakistani and Norwegian origins, Nadine Shah .The delicate first single “Stealing Cars” already announced a big singing voice amplified by a very talented producer, Ben Hillier

6- Danish musician Jenno Bjørnkjær affixes synthetizer beats to the siren like voice of South African Katherine Mills-Rymer to form the LA based duo OOFJ. Their second album Acute Feast out this month is streaming on their soundcloud. “Snakehips” was already a single last year and still a favourite from the 10 tracks, for the fantastic mix of eerie vocals, scintillating and near krautrock like synths.

7- New big sound with rumbling drums on the last single “The Unheard” from Italian quartet Fabryka. After two LPs and one EP, they came to SXSW last March, and will release a new EP Sparkles with Music Raiser's help. 

8- After an EP, We are, last year labelled space pop, Brooklyn musician The Landing released a new single “Then Comes the Wonder” leaving the spatial bubbling sounds in background for an upbeat feeling good tune full of handclaps.

9- From a solo project in San Francisco to a trio in New York, singer songwriter Spencer Draeger, frontman of The Midnight Hollow, released a second 6 tracks EP For The People Inside end of March that includes the dark wave type first single from last year “Forward”. Even if the pervading drums are the first hook, “Easy Village” is also cleverly composed of several instrumental layers.

10- UK band Dutch Uncles already made an EP out this month around the single “Upsilon” from their last March fourth album O Shuder. Twinkling synths over frontman Duncan Wallis’ voice, sounding again like Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip band who will have on a sixth album What Make Sense? out next May.