Another glimpse at this year best indie tracks through a soul/ funk and hip hop lens. The 10 songs playlist is below or directly from pleer here. And You Can Dance (starting N° 4!).
1- Never twice without thrice (for not having remixes on this blog): the jazz hip hop trio from Toronto/Ontario BADBADNOTGOOD delivered its first album of original compositions “III” in May 2014 and still re-tuning some tracks, last one being “Seasons (Waiting on You)” from Future Islands that should have been in one of the “Best Of” lists but it is already N°1 at Pitchfork. They succeed in making the perfect balance between a square laid back tempo and a retro pop tune.
2- Sudanese born in London and living in Brooklyn, Ahmed Gallab aka Sinkane has not only an incredible falsetto voice, he was a session musician for Caribou, of Montreal or Yeasayer and a very creative one on his own. “Mean Love”, out last September, his third album under this name, is a mosaic of bossa nova, afro beat, rock and country tunes. “Hold Tight” was the first single.
3- Ephemerals are a London based soul collective of 7 musicians coming from diverse bands, founded and lead by producer Hillman Mondegreen (formerly of Hannah Wailliams & the Tastemakers). They are fronted by Franco-American singer, Wolfgang Valbrun, and the result of their collaboration is a first album “Nothin is Easy” released at the end of last year on bandcamp (not available any more) and last September on Jalapeno Records. Out of the 10 classic blues and soul tracks, the second single “You Made Us Change” has already several remixes.
4- Mark Ronson bringing in Bruno Mars for the “Uptown Funk” single or Mystikal for “Feel Right” on his fourth album, “Uptown Special” out in January 2015, is no surprise but Kevin Parker, lead singer of Tame Impala, is quite unanticipated, even appearing on 3 of the 11 tracks of the album along with Stevie Wonder, Andrew Wyatt from Miike Snow.The psychedelic dash in “Daffodils” justifies this unusual collaboration.
5- Looking at the creative process of English producer/remixer/multi-instrumentalist, Adam Gibbons, aka Lack Of Afro, you couldn’t imagine that he already released his fourth album “Music for Adverts” last March. And adverts he sure already was in, here.Deep groove funk with “Missing Me” featuring Jack Tyson-Charles, son of Craig Charles, English actor, comedian, musician, TV and radio presenter hosting “The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show” on BBC radio. Of course Lack Of Afro made it to his "Biggest Tracks of 2014"!
6- The groove can also come from Norway! Well, via New York! Jarle Bernhoft has his third album “Islander” out last April, now nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award in the “Best R&B Album” section. “Come Around with Me” is the catchiest track of the album.
7- Another project for American artist, Chad Bundick (Toro y Moi), on the dance/house music side: he released a first album, “Michael”, last November, under the name of Les Sins.Thanks to him for making us discover Californian singer, Nate Salman, who has a single on his soundcloud.
8- Ali Love is English musician Alexander Williams who is also in the band Hot Natured and part of the duo Infinity Ink and was featured in a track from Chemical Brothers and from Justice. “Surrender” is the disco funk track of his second house/ dance album, P.U.M.P, out last July.
9- Three tracks of his second album “Vibes” out in October and himself were featured in the iPhone 6 commercial.That would sound like a great push forward for Theophilus London, apart from being produced by Kanye West and having Karl Lagerfeld as the creative director. “Do Girls”, already on the EP “Lovers Holiday II” out last February, also made it in the “Vibes” tracklist.
10- 20 year-old Las Vegas native Shamir Bailey, Shamir was the surprise of this year with his fresh countertenor voice. Out of the 5 tracks EP “Northtown” out in June, “If It Was Not True” is one of the year's best dance singles despite being a breakup song. Now he is nominated for BBC music’s sound of 2015. He is definitely ready for 2015 with 2 new singles for a debut record announced for Spring.