Saturday, January 30, 2010
"Nothing is ever gone'"
The wonderful Swedish duo The Sound Of Arrows know a thing or two about how to write the perfect pop song or make some jaw-dropping technicolor videos, and lately they seem to be adding yet another entry into their curriculum of amazingness, bringing the remix game into a whole new level. A very good example of this can be heard in the track below, and if the original by next-big-thing Penguin Prison sounded as fresh as a pop song can get, this remix adds an unsuspected deepness into the song, with those hugely evocative synths and drum-machine creating a brand new world of big nostalgic emotions.
Penguin Prison - Animal Animal (The Sound Of Arrows remix) (mp3 via Neon Gold)
Monday, January 25, 2010
We all have the tendency to over-analyze the music around us, maybe as a protection to the huge amount of new sounds available everyday and the need to select what we like and don't. But then, there are the exceptional cases, where all of that goes down the sink, because some music simply demands that we feel it intensely and just forget any side theories that we could create around it. Such is the case with the debut album from Fear of Tigers (a.k.a. Benjamin Berry), a London-based project which has already done some amazing remixes for the likes of Does It Offend You Yeah, Pnau or The Sound Of Arrows. Basically, Cossus Snufsigalonica feels as if all those usually-quite-bad club edits from the eighties finally went right, just because the hands behind it have the secret ingredient to induce us with an overdose of uplifting and ecstatic fun. To achieve that, a no-barriers approach is used, where everything counts to create a permanent hands-in-the-air extravaganza, be it by using an absurd amount of feel-good synths or inserting infectious vocal samples. In a nutshell, it all goes down to this attitude: nothing is really too much when injecting us with a good dose of high-energy. And come to think about it, "high" is actually the key word in here, with 45 minutes that really aim to take us higher and higher until finally reaching the stars. Needless to say, this an extreme travel to be done with a big smile on our face. (9/10)
To top it all, Cossus Snufsigalonica can be downloaded for free thanks to the generosity of Mr. Fear Of Tigers himself, via his own facebook. Frankly, what else could you ask for? Or, in other words, "how do you say delicious?".
Fear Of Tigers - I Can Make The Pain Disappear (video)
Fear of Tigers - I Can Make The Pain Disappear (video by Dream Boat)
Fear Of Tigers - The Adventures of Pippi Longstrump (mp3 via Indie Today)
Sunday, January 24, 2010
"Movin’ my hips like 'Yeah!'"
Always ones not to give a damm about conventional rules like commonly accepted good taste, there's only one thing that Yes Giantess seem to search for, which is to have fun and play with pop music boundaries, from its very own inside and with no limits whatsoever. And that is precisely what they have just done in here, crossing the line and making a "very unofficial remix" of Miley Cyrus' Party In The USA just because, in their own wise words, "it is the most important song ever written". They describe their approach as "euro-clubbing on Saturn" and, hearing what they've done - those epic hands-in-the-air synths! those larger-than-life beats! -, I couldn't agree more.
Miley Cyrus - Party In The USA (Yes Giantess Remix) (mp3 via yesgiantess.tumblr.com)
Thursday, January 21, 2010
"Burst into colors, colors and carousels"
Fresh from topping the BBC Sound Of 2010 list, the wonderful Ellie Goulding has just put out a brand new video for her Starsmith-produced Starry Eyed, a song which has been around for a few months, but only now is getting a (much deserved) proper release. Frankly, I can't see anything in it that is not amazing in at least one sort or the other, so do yourself a favor and go watch it on repeat. And is it just me or isn't she getting cuter every day?
Monday, January 18, 2010
Even after many listens, there's a question that still springs to my mind regarding Hidden: basically, where the hell does all of this come from? Excuse my surprise, but I'm still in shock over what this young U.K. band has managed to achieve in what is only their second full-length album. Don't get me wrong, I'm one of the few that really liked the electro-punk hooks of their debut Beat Pyramid, but Hidden is something else, and for lack of better expressions, a true beast of its own. Inventing a dense and grandiose sound that seems genuinely new and like nothing ever heard before, These New Puritans take elements from surprising and until now quite unrelated sources (like reverberating drums, choral harmonies, grime rhythms, dissonant keyboards, children choirs, and more classical instruments like horns, oboes or pianos) and end up creating an unique conceptual universe, one which may be challenging to enter but ends up being totally worth the effort. And actually, the word "beast" is a very appropriate one to describe this dark universe, what with all the ceremonious vibes that come from it, like some sort of black magic voodoo, or pagan tribal rituals, to be equally fascinated by and scared of. With their model looks and Hedi Slimane endorsements, these four guys had all the hype and whatever else was necessary to become a reference for a whole generation, if they ever had that ambition. But in Hidden, they do the unexpected: basically, sending out a big fuck off to all of that, and making a fierce creative statement on their own terms, one that blends antagonic worlds like classical and rock music, minimalism and baroque, the ancient and the futuristic. And after being taken aback by the power of such extreme and epic sounds, this writer has just three words to say: amen to that. (9/10)
These New Puritans - Three Thousand (mp3 via Punkreas.org)
Sunday, January 17, 2010
One of the most divisive bands in the current indie scene, Vampire Weekend don't seem much shaken about the (unfair) hatred they have always received from some sectors. So what if Ezra Koenig sounds sometimes a bit like Sting, their music reminds in parts of Paul Simon and, most of all, so what if they're rich kids coming from posh Upper West Side New York? Judging from their second album, the answer is obvious: nothing at all! Because Contra is filled with so much radiance and joy that I really think it should be impossible to resist its addictive appeal. Not an obvious sequel to their debut album, but also not a radical departure from their unique trademark blend of indie-afro-punk-baroque-dancehall-electro-ska-pop, Contra is more like a natural evolution, including a couple of welcome changes like some extra electronic elements (there's even a song with a subtle use of vocoder), an even richer and more detailed sonic architecture, and an overall more mellow atmosphere, visible for example in the less-punchy vocals, which makes them sound, well, surprisingly sweet. But make no mistake: what made them so special in the first place (their freshness and ability to create instantly classic catchy anthems) is totally intact, and even then some. (8/10)
Vampire Weekend - Cousins (video)
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
"You don't know what you got till you're missing it a lot"
Erik Hassle is finally releasing Hurtful (my favourite song of 2009, no less) in the U.K. in a few weeks, and there's also a new video for it - the third official version and still counting - this one with a bit less steamy action involved. Now, for me this song is so perfect that I even wouldn't mind if someone had just filmed him in front of a set of TV's with a very-emo face expression for the whole 3 minutes (oh wait, that has actually been done already). But it seems that someone has got it absolutely right this time, with this stunning (and quite simple) piece of dreamy graphic fantasy. And my god, how I love this song.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Lauded as the next big thing by pretty much everyone, The Drums hype has grown into such proportions that, in some places, the backlash has already begun. But don't believe the bad words just yet: judging from the summertime vibes of Let's Go Surfing or the retro-feel-good atmosphere of the song and video above, I actually can't see how someone can not love these guys and their irresistible catchiness. So next big thing indeed.
Monday, January 11, 2010
They may be from New York, but that's probably the only thing in Freelance Whales that comes remotely close to anything trendy, as there's not really much in their music linking them to any current popular/hipster scene. What we have in Weathervanes, their debut album, is quite simple and all the better for it: just beautifully produced songs full of delicate melodies, warm voices and lush layers of extremely gorgeous sounds, with the occasional glockenspiel appearance, along with many other acoustic instruments (and yes, also some subliminal synths appointments). Fragile pop music with comforting properties, that's really all we could ask for... and if, like in here, there's also the extra ability to touch a few souls (like mine) then you know you're in for a treat. (7/10)
Freelance Whales - Starring (mp3 via Oh! Inverted World)