Not sure where this came from but I’m loving this Erlend Oye cover of Wham’s X-mas classic “Last Christmas”. It’s already my favorite X-mas time song, but hearing Erlend do his Kings of Convenience-esque version is kind of a dream. Definitely brings the song a much more somber tone, perfect for the winter.
Found this great live mix of Four Tet playing at the Hostess Club Weekender at the Yebisu Garden Hall in Tokyo, Japan. It’s a really phenomenal mix, going to be playing this all weekend.
With the holiday season in full swing my music taste tends to change, leaning toward holiday favorites like Vince Guraldi Trio’s Charlie Brown Christmas or J. Tillman’s albums. I’d me remiss not to mention Joni Mitchell’s Blue, a love letter to California with tinges of sentimental, seasonal sounding songs. But is it possible to improve one of Mitchell’s classics?
James Blake may have accomplished this. His version of A Case of You is a touching, slightly haunting adaptation that fully competes with the original. There’s this live sort of ambiance to his performance which brings a certain atmosphere to the song. It’s also interesting to hear a piano instead of a guitar and drun like the original, changing the tone entirely. I hope you dig it as much as I do.
I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve heard a song so good that it had me rock my head back and forth, smiling from ear-to-ear. That’s the exact feeling I get when I listen to “Mean Streets”, the new track from Tennis, made up of husband and wife duo Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore.
The song starts out pretty soulfully with Alaina’s vocals mingling with a subtle snare and piano, which continues for a couple of minutes. But then, at 2:12, everything but Alaina’s vocals drop out and she’s singing an angelic tune, and suddenly, she’s accompanied by a gut busting harpsichord/drum b combo that gets me me moving every time I hear it. Seriously, if you can’t get into this track we could never be friends.
Out of Bristol, KOAN Sound seemed like they were going to be another member of the dub-step scene that took over the past five years. The duo of Will Weeks and Jim Bastow were signed to Skrillex’s label OWSLA in 2011, releasing two EPs at that time, and toured with both Skrillex in and Diplo in 2012. This year they teamed up with fellow Bristol producer Asa and hit the studio. Hard.
This years Sanctuary EP seems to culminate their numerous sounds and influences. A ‘Koan,’ of course, being a Zen Buddhist phrase to denote a lesson or concept for meditation. The title track seems to exemplify their name the best, a ‘new age’ spiritual meditation that pulls pulling influences from Air, Sigur Ros and Brian Eno all at once. As the EP evolves it’s clear that they are not just focused on midtempo breaks for your zen moment at work. ‘This Time Around’ is delicate pop, Koo lending her voice to placate the space between wobbly synths and fragile strings. But the final tracks ‘Fuego’ and ‘Tetsuo’s Redemption’ reveal their other half – the heavy, devastating UK garage sound that has emerged from England in the past fifteen years. Definitely a record worth listening to from beginning to end, over and over again.
There something wonderfully amorphous about Blue Sky Black Death. The homies never stop working, and it is never the same old shit. One moment they’re dropping some hard-hitting beats with one of rap’s up and coming stars, the next they feel like sweeping you away into post-rock ambient haze. Few musicians stray outside of their own boundaries; Blue Sky Black Death asks which one are left to break. Maybe that’s why they’re one of the most exciting acts on the West Coast.
Their fourth LP, Glaciers, came out a month ago and already (pardon the pun) has made waves for shoegazers everywhere. An ambitious record, both the format and style are decidedly noncommercial. Five tracks, spread out over sixty minutes, might be the finest articulation of electronic shoegaze music in the past few years. At times the listener drifts into the empty cold of trip hop, in others, a symphonic euphoric elation. Listen to ‘II,’ a track which oscillates between a meditative trance and a joyous exaltation over eleven minutes. Whether you want to listen actively or put the record on in the background, Glaciers is great in both respects. Check out the soundcloud stream above and go their bandcamp, where, if you’re lucky, you might snag one of the first vinyl pressings of this excellent record.
Let’s face it – electronic R&B is here to stay. Be it the sad-eyed, inventive crooning of James Blake or the drug-addled sexuality of The Weeknd, producers everywhere are slowing down the beats per minute and tugging harder on your heart strings with every line. In between glitches and pops, ass-shaking low end, and cooing vocals lies the enchanting romantic music of 2013.
The young production trio of Aaron Miller, Aaron C. Harmon, and Jordan Reyes formed BASECAMP earlier this year. The Nashville production group bring something different from their hometown, but there is a sense of real musicality. “Emmanuel” was their first single, coming out a few months ago, and has been met with almost universal acclaim. It’s easy to see why. The bass line rumbles along, a falsetto melody line that twinges between timbres leads you through the disparate aural forces. A complete pop song, affected and affectionate all at once.
Ted Feighan, who makes music under the name Monster Rally, is one of my favorite musicians these days. He’s been steadily releasing albums for the last few years and they keep getting better and better. His latest is titled Return to Paradise, which to me literally sounds like what paradise might sound like (you should imagine having a blue drink in your hand, which has a little paper umbrella inside of it). If that doesn’t sound like an amazing description to you then I’m not sure we can be friends.