Monthly Archives: October 2011

Small Black – Moon Killer

Just ahead of releasing their mixtape, also called ‘Moon Killer’, here is single number two from Brooklyn’s Small Black. It comes hot on the heels of ‘Two Rivers’, the stirring piece of pensive hip hop we recently posted.

This time around, they’ve replaced the slow and steady feel with big, synth-heavy production. This is just under 5 minutes of big drums, stirring verses and anthemic choruses. It’s a magical wall of sound that will brighten up your Monday and no mistake.

This is overwhelmingly joyous music and gets us very excited – not only about their mixtape (which is released on 11/11/11), but also about their full length album due out next year.

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Sneaky Sound System – Big (Nicolas Jaar’s Always By Your Side Version)

Following our championing of Wild Beasts’ Lady Gaga remix yesterday, here’s another unlikely pairing.

Sneaky Sound System are a dance-pop Australian duo who make club house in the David Guetta mould (think catchy melodies, big drops, diva vocals and stylised videos).

Nicolas Jaar is a 21 year old American-Chilean prodigy who plays six instruments, speaks three languages and is currently studying Comparative Literature at Ivy League Brown University. He’s also one of the most talked-about DJs on the planet.

Given all that, you might be forgiven for thinking that Jaar’s decision to remix Sneaky Sound System’s jaunty dance ballad ‘Big’ was misguided. Forgiven? Maybe. Correct? No.

A master of understatement, Jaar’s productions tend to be slow-burning epics, and ‘Big’ is no exception. Like the incredible ‘Mi Mujer’, this a mesmeric piece of music – its warm, languid guitar riff a million miles from the computerized squeaks and bleeps so commonly heard in this genre.

It’s captivating stuff.

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Crystal Fighters – Champion Sound

‘Champion Sound’ is the new single from Basque devotees Crystal Fighters’ début album, ‘Star Of Love’. Still drawing on the bizarre / inspired (delete as appropriate) writings of singer Laure Stockley’s Spanish grandfather, they weave together electronic beats, lush melodies and offbeat production to make an exquisite nugget of pop music. (Fun Fact: the loop on ‘Champion Sound’ is taken from the Basque folk piece ‘Sagar Dantza‘.)

The ambitious accompanying video is an intriguing spectacle – featuring impressive production values, pretentious art direction, and a starring role for up-and-coming star of the British screen, Luke Treadaway. (Fun fact 2: Treadaway also starred in the video for mums’ favourites The Script’s weepy ode to designer stubble and All Saints boots, ‘For The First Time‘.)

Without anybody really noticing, Crystal Fighters have got really quite big – with their début album selling well, appearances at the top end of many a festival line-up this summer, and more than 500,000 views for each of their recent videos. In fact we would wager they are the most popular band in the UK right now with more than one txalaparta player. And ‘Champion Sound’ will only help, because it’s ace.

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Wild Beasts – Yoü & I (Lady Gaga cover)

It has come to our attention that on November 21st, Lady Gaga will release a remix album of her 2011 studio effort, ‘Born This Way’.

In the interests of disclosure, we should state that we are fans of some of Gaga’s work – notably the nuanced musing on modern communicative behaviour that is ‘Telephone‘. However, the remix album contains something for music fans of all shapes and sizes.

Catching the eye on an impressive tracklist are Metronomy’s spaced-out take on ‘Yoü And I‘, Goldfrapp’s glamourising of ‘Judas‘, and the upcoming Weeknd adaptation of ‘Marry The Night’. And for those of you who like your Gaga fixes multimedia, there’s an accompanying Terry Richardson coffee table monster (384 pages) on the way too.

Despite the competition, our favourite track on the album comes courtesy of introspective Cumbrian outfit Wild Beasts, who tackle the same tune as Metronomy and somehow pull off a fantastic piece of haunting pop.

It shouldn’t work, but it does.

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Major Lazer – Original Don

It’s been more than a year since Major Lazer have released any genuinely new music – with Switch and Diplo choosing to focus on taking their collaborative project on the road (including a barnstorming Red Bull party at Carnival this year).

Their new single is worth the wait. A rough version of ‘Original Don’ has been around for a few months, and now the final version is to be released on 1st November via the ML Facebook page (it’s available there now to stream).

‘Original Don’ is what we have come to expect from Major Lazer, which seems like a peculiar phrase to use about a record this loopy. All slowed-down bouncy bass drums, military snares and barked vocals initially, it kicks off into the usual dancefloor pandemonium, before returning to its original hypnotic brass and drums to finish.

Despite its faintly menacing, eerie tone, it is still essentially quite a silly record. It’s also a lot of fun, and fans of the duo’s artwork will be pleased to bits with the Don Draper Photoshop creation doing the rounds.

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D/R/U/G/S – Connected

If you’ve not heard D/R/U/G/S (aka Callum Wright)’s EP from back in May entitled ‘Love/Lust’, we strongly suggest you put aside 18 minutes and 54 seconds of your day, plug in and enjoy – because it’s an astonishing piece of work.

It was a pleasant surprise, therefore, when we heard about his up and coming 3-track release entitled ‘Connected’. At just over 6 minutes, the title tune jumps in and out of a melodic dancefloor stomper that pays homage to old school rave and leaves behind the emotional intensity that was such a hallmark of ‘Love/Lust’.

He’s about to embark on a European tour supporting Digitalism, and he’s going to need all the artillery he can muster to get the party started for them. On the evidence of this tune, we can’t see it being a problem.

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Class Actress – Weekend

It’s the weekend! What better time, then, to listen to this alluring slice of synth pop from Class Actress. The Actress, as they’re not known by anyone, are a trio from Brooklyn – although you wouldn’t have thought it from the way that frontwoman Elizabeth Harper dominates interviews, videos, and such like.

‘Weekend’ is taken from their debut album, ‘Rapprocher’ – which is receiving no small amount of acclaim in some corners of the music press – and we are rather fond of its combination of breathy vocals, squelchy synths and almost comically 80s rhythm section. It has a kind of listless whimsy about it – until you watch the video, which is downright raunchy.

So we don’t really know what to say about it, but have a look and then be excited about the fact that you don’t have to go to work for the next 48 hours.

 

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Jack Dixon – Coconuts (Disclosure Remix)

Disclosure have taken the UK music scene by storm this year. The two brothers from South London released a hugely successful EP, and every mix and remix they’ve touched has turned to gold.

So after a brief hiatus, it’s no surprise that their latest offering is nothing short of exquisite. Jack Dixon’s ‘Coconuts’ is a wonderful slice of ambient UK funky in its own right, and Disclosure have managed to twist and turn it into a smooth RnB-infused gem, echoing their staple sound we’ve grown to love.

What’s more, Jack Dixon has decided to offer them both up on his SoundCloud as free downloads. Christmas may have just come early.

 

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Radiohead – Seperator (Four Tet Remix)

Thom Yorke has finally given in to his electronic instincts. While this is fine by us, it’s leaving some a little cold. Putting out a remix album of what was already the most bleepy and chopped outing from Abingdon’s finest does have a whiff of self indulgence.

Thom Yorke wanted his favourite new producers to remix his songs, so he got them to do it. He wanted people to listen to it in one go with some artwork on the sleeve, so he released it as an album.

It may not be the most coherent or progressive collection of tunes out there, but it’s a stunning show of strength by a generation of tweakers and mixers at the peak of their powers. Four Tet continues his revival with a typically ethereal reworking of Seperator, Hessle Audio’s Pearson Sound unnerves ‘Morning Mr Magpie’ and masked (yet bespectacled) magician SBTRKT shuffles ‘Lotus Flower’ onto the dancefloor.

Yes, it’s preaching to the converted – and no, it’s not taking electronic music to pastures new (in fairness, Radiohead have done their bit on this front). But give it a listen and see if any of that actually bothers you.

 

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Rustie – Hover Traps

Glaswegian producer Russell Whyte, aka Rustie, released his début long-player this month on Warp Records. ‘Glass Swords’ is a record that would have sounded extremely alien only a couple of years ago.

In 2011 it is still an idiosyncratic collection of songs – drawing on everything from 90s trance to video game soundtracks. However, like Hudson Mohawke (who hails from the same corner of these Isles), Rustie is able to take this curious melting pot of influences and create his own brand of warped euphoria.

On the addictive ‘Hover Traps’, he takes the stabbed chords so favoured by every Swede with a residency in Ibiza and a questionable taste in V-neck t-shirts – and decides to furnish them with a slap bass, a dubstep beat and all manner of squeaks, squelches and samples.

It’s bonkers.

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