Los Angeles bubbles like a musical cauldron. Sometimes it needs to boil over for a musician to really be discovered. 23-year-old singer/songwriter Nylo has been steadily rising, leaving Texas to become a session musician and industry songwriter. Now she’s decided though to focus on her own career, putting out a sparkling EP right in the vein of the electro-hip-hop-R&B that dominates the musical zeitgeist.
The Killers have a new song, and it’s really pretty good. Those are words that I never thought I’d write ever again. The song is titled “Shot at the Night” and it certainly feels like a Killers track, I mean, Brandon Flowers voice is pretty iconic. But there’s a retro-tinge to the song, like what the soundtrack to Drive felt like. Old but new, fresh but familiar. The reason for this sound though is probably because of the production work of Anthony Gonzalez, the man behind M83. Once you know that little tidbit it’s hard to not hear his influence, kind of like how that new Arcade Fire song sounds like an LCD Soundsystem track (James Murphy produced it).
Apart from Arcade Fire’s newest song, the only other song I get stuck in my head recently is this new track from Jon Hopkins. His newest album Immunity has been on repeat for me, but he recently did a new version of “Breathe This Air” featuring the entrancing vocals of Purity Ring singer Megan James, whom he’d been recently touring with. I actually prefer this version to the album version, Megan’s voice brings so much soul to the track, like a ghost in the machine. Certainly one of my favorite tracks of 2013.
Listening to the radio this morning I heard this new song from Zero 7 called “On My Way”. It’s a long, 9 minute burner which is driven by a plucky guitar beat and Danny Pratt’s haunting vocals which pop in around the 2 minute mark. I’d say this is track is better than 80% of that new Daft Punk album but I’ll leave you to judge it for yourself.
I’ve never been a big fan of Goldfrapp, it just hasn’t connected for me. That is until today with the release of the duo’s newest album, Tales Of Us. I put the record on this morning and I haven’t stopped listening to it since. When I listen to this album I hear notes of Blonde Redhead, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and even some Vashti Bunyan. To give you a taste of what you can expect take a listen to “Drew” (each song is named after a person), the third track from the album. It’s a lovely combination of acoustic guitar, string sections and what I think is a timpani drum.
You can listen to the full album on Rdio by clicking here.
Catchy, vibrant, and irrepressible, “Royals” has become one of the sneaky hits of the summer. 16-year-old New Zealander Lorde released The Love Club EP earlier in the year, and this track the centerpiece. Signed as a 12-year-old, somehow “Royals” reaches a depth of societal reflection far beyond her years. The song pokes fun at the rampant love of luxuries and status symbols in modern pop culture. Coyly teasing from the sidelines, she pokes fun at the double standards of those who “show off” the Maybachs and Cristal they could never afford. All, of course, for the sake of looking cool.
Leave it to the Weeknd to kick it up a notch. Massive reverb syncs with Tesfaye’s additional vocals, taking the loungey vibe up to a snazzier, seductive level. The track escalates from the reflective roots into a echo filled banger, constantly looking back at itself. All of a sudden the music does more than complement the song. The echoes and croons create a delightful excess of musicality, revealing the budding evolution of a young singer.
I was listening to Morning Becomes Eclectic this morning and heard this incredible track by Mr Little Jeans called “Oh Sailor”, and I had to share it. It’s a really sweet, sort of electronic ditty that’s made even better by the addition of the Silver Lake Conservatory of Music Youth Chorale. You’ll seriously hear this and want to listen to it about 17 times in a row.
Fun fact: Mr Little Jeans isn’t a mister at all, she’s Monica Birkenes, a Norwegian musician currently hanging out in my lovely home base of Los Angeles.
To some extent 2013 can be slashed in half. Before and after Yeezus, I mean. That seems a bit audacious, right? It’s ONE record, maybe not Kanye’s most loved – although the croissants line still gets me. But if anything, like 808s & Heartbreak, it has opened the door for different producers and the darker side of dubstep, grime, and hip hop to become a part of the mainstream.
So who really made Yeezus?