Saturday, May 31, 2014

BEST INDIE TRACKS FOR MAY 2014 : Owen Pallett, Young Magic, Club Kuru,…



The music released this month of May 2014 was in a way, dramatic, epic, panoramic, melancholic and nostalgic so here below or directly from Pleer is the best of it. 
Another 10 indie tracks to say “so long” to this blog for the next 3 months. Loads of work ahead this summer. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be music around, just no time to upload songs, photos, make links….
Stay tuned!
1- Even if Owen Pallett, long -time collaborator with fellow Canadian musicians Arcade Fire or recently Caribou (as Daphni), and William Butler didn’t win the “Best original score” Oscar for “Her”, Spike Jonze’s last movie, the thirteen tracks of his fourth album” In Conflict”, out this month of May, are another proof of his skill to build a drama story with sumptuous musical arrangements.  Along with the 1st single “The Riverbed”, “The Sky Behind The Flag” shares the same emergency to express his personal experiences.
2- The six piece band from Edinburgh/ Scotland, Broken Records, released a 3rd album in May “Weights And Pulleys”, powerful, epic and consistent. Jamie Sutherland’s has the same passionate and aching voice than Jonathan Meiburg (Shearwater, and ex Okkervil River).

3- Brooklyn duo, Young Magic, dropped it's second album “Breathing Statues” this month. We know that, since “You with Air ”, they’re good at layers of percussions and “Holographic” is also made of increasing coats of instruments: first harp, rapid synth and crystalline beats. An exotic journey in hologram.

4- Ex Dreamers of the Ghetto, here in 2011, Luke Aaron Jones and Marty Sprowles recently formed Hunterchild and issued their first eponym album in May. “Time Traveling Lover” with the pulsing keys stands out of the 11 tracks.

5- Californian Jason Robert Quever has been around for a while now as Papercuts releasing a 5th album this month, “Life Among the Savages”. Always at ease with neat pop melodies with his voice soaring over strings, guitar hooks, and mellotron on “Still Knocking At The Door”.
 
6- The Black Keys eighth long player, another one co-produced with Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton, on which Dan Auerbach’s voice is going more on falsetto, is loaded with hooky songs. “Turn Blue” is still a favorite, for the blues elements and killer guitar riffs.
7- Since Sharon Van Etten beginnings in 2009, we understood that writing and singing is a catharsis for her. The American singer songwriter is becoming more confident on her fourth album “Are We There”, out in May, adding piano and organ. 
On the first single out of it, “Taking Chances”, she sings “you break for your sake” about the long- time relationship she had, that’s just ended. Languishing and intimate.
 
8- No matter if Londoner Laurie Erskine (despite the first name, definitely a man, as starred in the video, aka Club Kuru) made  to disappear “Loot” and “Long Drive” songs from last year, there is the last one “All the days”. Beginning is indolent with the singer fragile voice and the crescendo ends tragic.
9- Dexter Tortoriello, frontman of the Chicago band “Houses , has a solo project, formerly known as Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross, without the voice of Megan Messina, releasing a first EP “Blow in 2011. 3 years spent in Diplo’s Mad Decent studio in LA, and it’s now Dawn Golden debut LP “Still Life”, labelled “Sad Bangers” and boosted by the first single “All I Want”. True: the 10 tracks are melancholic, sorrowful. “I Won’t Bend” sounds like a mantra.

10- Joakim Bouaziz, aka Joakim is a multi -talented French artist, classically trained musician, record label co-founder (Tigersushi and Crowdspacer for vinyls), electronic producer, illustrator who dropped his sixth album “Tropics Of Love” this month, a 12 tracks record of down tempo fluid melodies with thumping beats. “Man Like Moon” is a favorite for the whiff of jazz featuring Joakim’s voice with a reverb and not the dated vocoder he is using.

Friday, May 23, 2014

BEST INDIE SOUL/R&B TRACKS 2014 SO FAR : Flamingo, Knox Brown, Jack Garratt,...



The music trend of Soul/R&B/Electro fusion is not over yet. It was quite clear in these posts, if you put them all together: the 1st part of Best Indie Songs 2013, and Blurred Lines. Smooth, easy listening, the down tempo side might be the new genre of lounge music. The upper tempo rhythm is definitely the new pop music these days. 
Every week, some new artists are trying to fit in this still “emerging” music genre. Avoiding the mellow, syrupy, sticky, here below or directly from Pleer is another playlist of 10 soulful voices worth listening, with experimental touches. Worth mentioning: the 3 first bands are all coming from Australia.
1- With his first “Heavy Steps” EP out in April, the Adelaide/Australian trio, Flamingo, perfectly match the “Soul Lounge Music” concept with Casey Heidt impressive vocals. Between the 4 tracks, the choice is difficult. “Heart,My” was the first single of the EP already out last year.
 
2- Melbourne musician, Nicholas James Murphy aka Chet Faker has been around since 2012 but actually, his long awaited debut album,“Built On Glass”, was released in April. Second single “1998, doesn’t represent the whole mood of this low key album, so here is “ Gold”, a song subtly crafted between handclaps, falsetto and deeper voice.
3- The Sydney trio Movement, already featured in the 1st part of the 2013 Best Indie Songs, has now a 4 tracks EP out in May. Lewis Wade has this intense, profound, incredibly sexy voice that makes the whole difference. On “Ivory”, an unexpected guitar solo breaks the spell of it. Never mind, rewind.
 
4- On the same vocal register, Kidepo,  a 23-year-old London-born singer/songwriter/producer with Ugandan roots, is a new comer.From Brooklyn now.With only 2 songs on his soundcloud.Well only 1 left now: “Reds”.Simple and effective.
5- “1992”, the first EP from Londoner with Indo-Pakistani roots, Ben Khan, gained an incredible amount of listeners on his soundcloud only in a few days. Rising fast but at 22 years old, he’s been already making music for a couple of years now. Some earlier songs, “ These Walls”, “Writer”, “Fear, disappeared from his soundcloud. Too bad, the soulful voice was already there. Production is funkier, provocative now, especially on “Youth” with gun trigger sounds and explicit shouts. The video clip shows his passion for weapons.
 
6- With only 2 distinctive tracks on his soundcloud, “Water” getting 100 k play in just a few days, the London-based singer-songwriter/producer, Jack Garratt is the guy to watch in the near future for his passionate singing and sophisticated music arrangements.
7- With also 2 songs sounding quite different on his soundcloud, drummer and founding member of Los Angeles band The Neighbourhood, Bryan “Olivver” Sammis, gone solo since last January, give us a sample of what he is good at: melody and surprising good vocals for a drummer. “ Attica 71” is the most recent track, smooth & funky.
8- Dutch creative talent Nick Van Hofwegen, aka Young & Sick is first an illustrator with albums artwork for Foster The People, Mikky Ekko, Maroon 5 ,Robin Thicke,…and a musician based in US now. His eponym debut album, dropped in April, is a soul synth pop one."Twentysomething” is not a Jamie Cullum cover but it represents this new generation of nu-soul singers like Allen Stone or Bernhoft.
9- On the blues side of soul, Irish singer-songwriter, Andrew Hozier-Byrne, or simply Hozier, made an astounding debut last year with his first EP “Take me To Church”. He continues his religious procession with “Work Song” taken from his second EP "From Eden”. Dark and divine.

10- Born in Jamaïca, British soul man Knox Brown doesn’t have
a lot of time for his solo project, producing for Jay Z, Mary J Blige, and Aloe Blacc. Even if “Redemption Song” disappeared from his soundcloud, by adding this month “Harry’s Code”, everybody is wondering if it’s a reference to Dexter.Deeper into blues.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

BEST INDIE TRACKS FOR APRIL 2014: Vedas, Faces On Film, STATS, ...



By trying to find a least one good track a day, hours and hours of streaming songs can be pretty wearying. Among the avalanche of releases, some of the latest albums of familiar bands would be disappointing. Some fresh bands, hailed as the next big thing, wouldn’t catch you. Some tracks being passed on blogs after blogs wouldn’t be an unfailing evidence of worthiness…
By making a monthly “Best Indie Tracks”, this wandering journey could be rewarding.  
Here below or directly from Pleer player here is the April 2014 playlist of 10 distinctive, significant, meaningful tracks in their genre.
1- The 5th album of the Canadian quintet, Timber Timbre, “Hot Dreams” was out this month and almost played in full at CBC Studio 211. The second single, “Curtains?!”, could be a Kraut Rock track if there wasn’t the distinguishable, dusky, sultry voice of Taylor Kirk. There is an alternate version with Toronto singer-songwriter who wrote the lyrics, Simone Schmidt, aka Fiver.

2- No use to feel ashamed when you discover a musician only at his 3rd album. “Elite Lines” from Mike Fiore, aka Boston/Massachusetts Faces On Film is full of percussions of all kinds. A very catchy track is “Percy”, for its tribal beat, rattle, and metronome maracas, stopping at a time to give space to a swirling melody.

3- Not to be mixed up with ex US math rock band STATS, the London 6 piece band STATS is making electro funk and ever since they were on the line up of the “Artrocker New Blood Festival in 2014”, they are branded as “art rock band”. Out of their just released 1st 3 tracks EP, “Where is the Money” is the track where you can hear a kind of David Byrne speech. And indeed lead singer Ed Seed is looking like a young David Byrne. Talking about money, Penguin Prison was more aggressive with “Don’t Fuck with My Money”! 
4- It’s an interesting revamping that the quartet from Brighton/ UK, The Kooks, is preparing for their fourth album “Listen” out next September. A first taste of this, is the 4 tracks EP with the bouncing track “Down”, nearly like The Rolling Stones “Hooray for Henry” and folky ”Melody Maker”. May be because they’ve heard a lot “Across 110th Street” by Bobby Womack  “Hold On”, is a kind of blaxploitation track.

5-  Damon Albarn  revealed 4 tracks out of the 12 of his 1st solo album “Everyday robots” before the official release on April 28. The 1st single of the same name was already featured in No Music “ Best Indie Tracks for January 2014”. Within almost melancholic tracks, “Heavy Seas Of Love”, with Brian Eno on vocals, is the most radiant one.
6- 3 years ago, Californian singer-songwriter, Ryan Karazija, moved to Iceland to build a dark folktronica outfit, Low Roar. He unveiled the first single to his second album “ O” out next July, a song of hope despite the somber synths melody, perfectly shaped with experimental percussions and banjo tune (at 3:10), “I'll Keep Coming”. Emotional and delicate songcraft.

7- Escaping from their first “dream pop” trio outfit with Davis Connors, Western Affairs, and after one EP, Alex Lee and Andrew Monborne from Washington/DC are now Vedas with a second EP “Exhumeout in April. On this EP, there is a drastic change in tone with Alex Lee now high pitched voice.

8- School Of Language, already featured here, is the “so- called” solo outfit for David Brewis, aside Field Music with his brother Peter. Actually, the brothers are doing everything together. A nonstop collaboration that “Suits Us Better” out of the second album "Old Fears". David Brewis voice is as delicate as his fellow English man, Joseph Mount from Metronomy.

9- The lead singer of Florida band The Careful Ones, Joshua Michael Robinson, is sometimes playing solo as J M R. “Pioneer of Your Heart” is the latest of his singles. His falsetto is confident enough to go a capella at 3:07 and sing “ We’re alone now” on a slow R&B tempo.

10- Belgian quintet from Antwerp, School Is Cool released a baroque pop/rock sophomore album in April, “Nature Fear”, full of heavy beats, choruses, lots of instruments from banjo to violin and cello and melodic constructions. Out of the 11 tracks, the first single, “Black Dog Panting” remains a favorite for the flamboyant arrangements.
 
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