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 soundcloud player! First time soundcloud got all the tracks and hopefully all tracks will remain on the artists soundcloud pages!

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 more 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.

Friday, March 27, 2015

ESSENTIAL INDIE TRACKS FOR MARCH 2015: HÆLOS, Halflife, Son And Thief, Jimmy Whispers,….

Choosing the best new tracks heard in a month, I am taking this to heart. And this month of March was all about that: heart. And heart is essential like the 10 downtempo tracks, in the player below or directly from pleer, here. I will put aside “Let It Happen, Tame Impala’s first new single in years for another playlist!
1- A bit of Jungle (same funky choruses and high pitch vocals than in Jungle slow- burner “Son of a Gun” ) a bit of Massive Attack, Bomb The Bass, Alpha trip-hop/swaying electronica of the mid 90’s, make HÆLOS trio sonic identity, appearing last October with the single “Dust.London trio dropped another one this month “Earth Not Above”, slowly building something for an EP. Referring to the art cover, it’s a “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”!

2- British rapper and actor Riz Ahmed, already made one album in 2011 and for a second forthcoming one, he is pairing with the dubstep producer Distance on a duo called Halflife.“Rip Me feat.Aruba Red ” is the second single: heart sick Gonjasufi voice like.

3- “Suddenly” is an exception among the rather dance driven tracks of 20 year old London singer- songwriter- producer, Uzoechi Osisioma Emenike aka MNEK on his first EP “Small Talk” out this March, and it’s his personal favourite song. Love hurts!

4- Another rapper getting sentimental on his debut solo album “Eat, Pray, Thug” out this month: Heems (real name: Himanshu Suri) once representing one third of the now defunct American hip hop group Das Racist. “Home” with Devonté Hynes a.k.a. Blood Orange adding his smooth chorus. Even the snakelike guitars are there to recall Heems’ Indian origin. Home is where the heart is!

 5- London electronic duo, zERo7’s EP1 was issued in 1999. An EP2, 12s” and 4 full lengths in between, 2015 is time for the EP3 to be released in April, on which they enrolled long-time collaborator José Gonzalez since "The Garden" album in 2006 on the track and first single “Last Light”. “Sound of love leaving”leeds to lonely hearts!

6- Anyone who wants to think out loud “I Gotta Get Out” should listen to “Drifting” (2:50 timecode), the new single from Minneapolis trio, On An On, already featured here. Last January, they announced the title of their second release “And The Wave Has Two Sides”, performed brand new material at SXSW, but the only new song on line for the moment is this heartrending track.

7- Rory Graham aka Rag'n'Bone Man, also singer in the hip-hop UK collective Rum Committee, has the word “soul” tattooed on his right fist, and a soulful voice, he definitely has. On “Perfume” (inspired by the movie), the different variations of his sublime voice are just phenomenal. Since he is planning to get as many tattoos he can on his next tour passing by Glastonbury, he might end up like the title of his last EP out in March : “Disfigured” worth listening as a whole on his soundcloud.Heart and soul!

8- “A Forest Of Arms”, sixth album from Toronto/Canada folk-rock band, Great Lake Swimmers out in April, has the peculiarity of having the 12th and last ballad track “Expecting You” echoing the Mexican tempo of the first one “Something Like a Storm” with the same lyrics, warming the cockles of our heart.

9- Athens/Georgia indie rock quartet, Son & Thief, can be proud of being in the March "Top EPs & Singles" section for the Alternative genre on iTunes with their debut EP,“Cardinal”. “High & Low” was the first single out of the 6 tracks, also available on soundcloud, and still a favourite for the fluidity and nonchalant voice.

10- Chicago street artist and musician, James Cicero, aka Jimmy Whispers, finally released this month 10 tracks under the title “Summer in Pain. On “Heart Don't Know”, his fragile, Daniel Johnston-esque voice over speedy organ notes recorded with an iPhone, makes one feels he is  singing his heart out. Check this Chicago Reader article.