Thursday, April 29, 2010
There's something about Darwin Deez that is truly disarming. The way he appears to deconstruct the rules of good taste and common sense, while playing with the concept of corrosiveness, has a steep contrast in how vulnerable and genuine he seems to be. Basically, here's a guy from New York that stands from the crowd, someone exposing himself with all his incoherences, walking and balancing on his own thin line. Apart from that, Radar Detector is also, quite possibly, one of the most infectious songs recently made in the indie-pop world. And those dance moves in the video are the exact definition of what being awesome is!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Fancy some ultra fresh disco with a less cerebral approach? This one by up-and-coming producer Grum is pure fun with a retro flavour, taking cues on acid house, nu-disco and funk. As for the video, it involves a whole lot of food and it's basically brilliant. And with that, I'll leave you with the words from one of its directors, Ryan McNeill, part of The General Assembly:
“Making this video was probably far more fun for those of us behind the camera than for everyone on camera. We provided spit buckets for our actresses so they wouldn’t have to swallow all the food. Even with that precautionary measure, I definitely saw gag reflexes kicking in during the scenes with baked beans. The actor playing the father was a great sport about shooting scenes on some frightening streets in downtown Los Angeles. I was just relieved that actors even showed up after receiving the call that they had been cast in a music video about the lurid, pornographic underbelly of competitive eating.”
Monday, April 26, 2010
Still going on strong, The XX released their new video, this time for the wonderful Islands track, one of the highlights from their album. The video suits the song incredibly, with all the sharp choreography and stylish vibe, making a bit of a statement about the inevitable encounters and separations inbuilt in the concept of human relationships.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
It's not like the world is in lack of yet another post-punk-inspired record, so what makes this one so different to deserve a special mention? After all, it doesn't have any particular trick up its sleeve or anything, as the ingredients are pretty standard and actually quite basic, with the inevitable angular guitars and the precise rhythms of a drum-machine making the rounds. But beyond all the stylistic trademarks, you also can feel that is a very personal affair - and that's actually what takes Nerve Up apart.
LoneLady is basically the solo project of U.K. artist Julie Campbell and everything about it makes it somehow unique. There's the fact that this is a guitar-based pop album out on Warp records, a label mostly associated with electronic music and more leftfield genres; there's also the overall atmosphere of its sound, which is dry, precise and very controlled, featuring a lot of quite sharp edges and some subtle details adding new twists which are intensely overwhelming. And then, we have an extra special feature, which comes with the aforementioned "personal touch" and is felt everywhere: Julie Campbell is an artist with some big skills in songwriting, something that is immediatly recognizable upon hearing its rich and flawless melodies - which feel like instant classics -, and deeply confessional lyrics.
In the end, it's actually as a confession that Nerve Up should be heard. More than a post-punk-inspired record, which it also partially is, this is ultimately the sound of someone taking control, alone, and using that power to bare her soul on her own terms. (7/10)
LoneLady- Immaterial (mp3 via Warp)
Friday, April 16, 2010
Start your weekend the best way possible, with an hilarious clip directed by So-Me and Machine Molle, for a song by Ed Banger's new signees Jamaica. With the help of of Xavier de Rosnay - a.k.a. half of french electro-duo Justice - and Peter J. Franco on the production boards, the track is a sunny delight, while the video... well, you really have to watch it. Digging that guitar solo!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
For a bit of nordic overdose: on the left corner, the unashamed pop catchiness of danish group Alphabeat - the ones also known for their ridiculously good looks - with a song from their latest album The Spell; and on the right corner, the wonder boys everyone loves to love, a.k.a. swedish duo The Sound Of Arrows - the ones that already made everyone see something like unicorns under flashing lights - with a remix they did for that same song some months ago. And as usual, The Sound Of Arrows were able to take it into a whole new level of synth-tastic amazingness. Here's why:
Alphabeat - Hole In My Heart (The Sound Of Arrows remix) (mp3 via Discodust)
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Here is the new video from Ellie Goulding! It's called Guns and Horses and it is actually one of my favorite tracks on her album. Ellie says: "I wrote Guns And Horses about a romance that began online... I wanted the guy to feel more than he did for me but through no fault of his own he couldn't. It's a song about frustration essentially." The surreal and mysterious video is now ready for you to feast your eyes on - directed by Petro, and filmed at Los Angeles' Griffith Park, it features Ellie singing in a misty woodland landscape with some ethereal backing dancers. Guns and Horses is out on May 7th.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Read any article about MGMT's sophomore album and they will all mention how the band has turned their backs on commercial success and fans expectations, making a record on their own terms, with music that supposedly sounds very difficult to assimilate. "Career suicide", I've even read somewhere...
Truth to be told, they would never have it easy anyways, what with all the success that they achieved with Oracular Spectacular (a success based on 3 songs that actually didn't represent the whole album); in these days, when everyone is a bit of a hype-slave, all that goes up has eventually to come down, fairly or not...
But to all true MGMT fans out there: fear not, because Congratulations is actually what you could expect from this band: a deep dive into an unknown world, and even if it's less immediate than what they did in the past, everything is still done with a genuine ambition to produce life-changing statements.
So there may not be any generational anthems like Time To Pretend or Kids, but the celebratory mood is still here, only the drugs have changed. This time it's all about hallucinating with sounds that recall many different references, which are assumed and proudly displayed: Kinks, Syd Barrett, Electric Prunes, Television Personalities, The Monochrome Set, Beach Boys... All assimilated and regurgitated in frenetic doses, sometimes not in the most subtle way, but always with loads of unexpected twists around the corner. The ambition was clearly to build an epic of cosmic digressions, using everything and more to reach the desired effect, be it flutes, organs, choirs full of reverb, hawaiian guitars or indian sitars.
With all the complex arrangements and apparently chaotic song structures, does Congratulations sometimes sound like a mess? Maybe so, at least on first listen. But, when immersing yourself more and more into this world, it never ceases from being an increasingly overwhelming place to discover new things. So this may have become one of the most divisive records of recent times, but for me there's no question: with an album that only makes sense as a whole, and with no stand-out songs to promote as singles, MGMT have created a psychedelic monument for our age. (8,5/10)
MGMT - Congratulations (mp3 via MFR)
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Blissful melodies, tender voices, nostalgic atmospheres, analog synths... yep, this is another record to be included under the term chillwave, the genre du jour that is hip to like and blog about. Nothing wrong with it anyway, as this is a "movement" that has already seen some great music under its waves, from the likes of Memory Tapes (Seek Magic) or Neon Indian (Psychic Chasms). And if chillwave has a very identifiable sound on its foundations, it still leaves some room for imagination, with each one of these projects having a very singular approach. Ultimately, this is something that Chazwick Bundick not only does very well, he actually takes it some steps further, grabbing its trademark elements, and chewing and spitting them out in a very unique form.
With techniques better-associated with hip-hop, Causers of This also works as a thesis on the possibilities of the cut+paste function, with songs that seem like incomplete sketches, to be filled out by our imagination. In the meantime, the intricate sounds are mostly abstract, fusing themselves around the songs and burying them in complex layers that seem to marry perfectly with the beautiful multi-tracked vocal harmonies, giving the whole-project an unsuspected psychedelic flavour.
But there's something else that takes Causers of This high above and stops it from being just a clever gimmick: this is music that is able to actually touch us, communicating strong emotions... in this case, the emotions of dealing with distant memories as if processed by a vintage ZX Spectrum computer, caught on super8 film, or found in an old polaroid. (8/10)
Toro Y Moi - Low Shoulder (mp3 via Oh! Inverted World)
Friday, April 09, 2010
Remember Mr. Oizo and the famous puppet Flat Eric from the 90's? Well, Mr. Oizo has just directed a short-film called Where's The Money George and it's with (the always amazing) Pharrell Williams! How the two of them got together is not quite clear but some are speculating this could be some sort of teaser for new music they are doing. Discover below:
Sunday, April 04, 2010
It was only a matter of time before the king of modern disco would come to reclaim his crown back. With the italo-disco revival at the peak of its hype and projects like Glass Candy or Chromatics - among many others orbiting around the Italians Do It Better label - being lauded by the specialized media, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm has simply done again what he's been doing for the last decade. And that is, to release some more cosmic-disco jams, which more than nodding to the past, actually seem to take us directly into a future of alternative dimensions. The results are magnificent.
After the leftfield rupture that was Where You Go I Go Too (3 tracks, 55 minutes, no limits), Real Life Is No Cool seems at first a more conventional record, with proper songs and a vocalist - soul-diva Christabelle. But then again, this is a record that took 8 (!) years in the making, being the final result of a collaboration between 2 different personalities that seem to have gotten along really well: the intellectual and reclusive approach of Norway native Lindstrøm on one side, the extroverted, wild and more spontaneous persona of Christabelle on the other, creating a tension between both that is a big part of this album's strength.
The 8 years of recording sessions can also be felt in the many intricacies heard and the flawless execution, with each song built around a dense dose of layers in an almost vertiginous way. This creates a very unique and detailed view of psychedelic disco, full of dizzying depths, pulsing synths and 80's soul, one that even manages to incorporate elements from more extreme genres like kraut or prog, but which, at its heart, still sounds like pop music. Or, in other words: pop music created by two obsessive minds very passionate about what they are doing. (8/10)
Lindstrøm & Christabelle - Let's Practise (mp3 via The Beat!)
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Connecting different worlds to create something truly unique seems to be the word of the day for These New Puritans, and so far the results have been nothing short of absolute amazingness. In their new video, the mechanised-grime rhythms of the song are synchronized to slow-motion images of bodies moving in a highly choreographed way, all shot with a seemingly obsessive detail. The effect sits somewhere between concepts like trippy, frightening and disturbing, but most of all, it all just looks absolutely stunning.