Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ESSENTIAL INDIE TRACKS FOR SEPTEMBER 2015 : SWAYING GROOVES PLAYLIST with Tender, Bob Moses, Astronauts, etc, Rationale,…

The purpose of No Music playlists is to collect only the best new tracks from unfamiliar musicians to best known ones, highlighting the musical connections.
Don’t be fooled by the Prince track into the September 2015 playlist, I’m not going main stream! It’s just for the sake of this month thread, the 10 tracks being all about swaying grooves from Electro Soul/Pop or Electro Funk to Indie pop genres, slow-burning ones first, to end with 2 more up tempo ones.
Directly from pleer, here.

1- “Melt” – Tender
In the British wave of girl/guy electro duos like recently Vlad vs Clover, featured here or Oh Wonder (below again), another one  from North London on board of this playlist with dark grooves rendered on this track by the impressive bass line, apparently fans of Oh Wonder.The word "tender" well describes their first 5 tracks EP Armour out this September: gentle and delicate.

2- “Before I Fall” – Bob Moses
Two high school friends in Vancouver bumping into each other in New York a few years later, then the trance music guy, Jimmy Valance and the singer songwriter Tom Howie, teamed up to form Bob Moses in 2011, reflecting perfectly their respective musical backgrounds: smoky vocals over sedative deep house rhythms like in their latest single Tearing me Up. After a compilation of 11 previous tracks "All in All" in April 2015, their debut album Days Gone By was out mid –September, from which this funky track is taken.

3-  “This Could be Us” – PRINCE

Actually this track was already on Prince’s 2014 album Art Official Age but it has been completely re-arranged for the (good) sake of his latest studio album out this September HitnRun: Phase One, transforming the original mellow poppy tune into a more traditional Prince’s material with his unique guitar playing (at 2:15). Art Official Age cover art has also been recycled into a cartoon character with 3 glasses (his backing band is called 3rdEyeGirl).

4- “Moving Mountains- Feat.Brendan Reilly” – Disclosure
The second album of the UK brothers, Guy & Howard Lawrence, Caracal, out this month, has received divided reviews, the bone of contention being whether or not the duo is still an EDM band with all the pop artists featured (from Lorde to The Weeknd or Sam Smith again) trying to chart the 14 songs in the top hits. Never heard of singer Brendan Reilly before but who knew Sam Smith before Latch !

5- “Sleep In” – Telekinesis 
Seattle/US singer-songwriter Michael Lerner already featured in this playlist for his third album is also here today with his fourth Ad Infinitum with always the same skill to write pop songs. Bassoon type arrangements and child babbles are funny arrangements for a chilled track.

6- “Fast Lane” – Rationale
Since April, the mysterious (with only a photo of him on his touring agent page ) East London producer going by the name of Rationale was revealing his soulful baritone voice to the music scene and tracks on his soundcloud. Now that his first 4 tracks EP Fuel to the Fire is out, “Fast Lane” remains a favorite.

7- “Spinning Out of Control” – Lovedrug
After a sky rocket debut in 2004, Ohio/US alternative rock quintet is nowadays an underrated band, getting only few reviews for one of its last singles, “Dinosaur on the Wild Blood album in 2012. Within the 12 guitar driven tracks of its fifth studio album Notions out this September, downtempo track “Spinning Out of Control” stands out with the whirling synths revealing Michael Shepard’s cute way to pronounce the “s” letter.

8- “Livewire” – Oh Wonder
Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht forming the British girl/guy duo Oh Wonder, featured in this playlist, were stucked indoor the past year to record their monthly tracks and now that they have released 15 tracks in September in an eponym album they are playing them live: here “Livewire”, the ninth track for May 2015 that, like “Lose it”, still stands out from the whole album.

9- “Good Girl” – Aquilo
After a collection of nice pop songs with 3 Eps since 2013, the British duo, (guy/guy one this time), has an instant banger with “Good Girl” revealed on soundcloud in September, may be announcing a forthcoming debut album in November. Tom Higham emotional and cracked voice is simply irresistible with the stuttering “googoogood girl”. Not sure though about the video.

10- “Eye to Eye” – Astronauts, etc
After a Sadie EP last year, Oakland/California-based musician, Anthony Ferraro and band, Astronauts, etc released a first full album Mind Out Wandering in September. To the slow tempo tracks, the funky ones “Eye to Eye” or "See You" swing over. Anthony will also be touring again as Toro Y Moi keyboardist this fall.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


I’m not a computer algorithm, I’m a human music curator!

Happy that No Music blog fits in Pitchfork’s main argument here. Since 2008, my choice was to collect only the best new tracks (not older than 3 months) in playlists, by mood, music genre or even countries (cf the right column on the web version).

Now, what happened since end of May in the world of music?
    - A cool music stream website stretching from 1960 to 2013, where you can play a whole year as a playlist.
   - Even if one of my favorite group of the 80’s, New Order, ex Joy Division, launched end of July the first  single “Restlessof their forthcoming album Music Complete due in September, there is nothing new about it !

Instead of the 10 usual, 11 tracks released this summer in the playlist below or directly from pleer here (for mobile devices), to embrace the trends in alternative electro, rock & pop music these days, with a special nod to Lebanon with Beirut (the band) new Gibraltarvideo which shows a mountain of trash like one once stood in the city of Sidon and now in Beirut (the city) streets with garbage towering all over the place.

1 – “Unknown” – Gwilym Gold
Already featured here with the extremely powerful “Triumph”, Gwilym Gold finally released his second album A Paradise in August. Piano driven track “Unknown”, with the same celestial voice, has a more classical touch provided by classical composer Nico Muhly.

2- “Drop of Starch” – Frett
After three Eps and hype blogs darling track “Tyro, Suffolk/UK duo made of Simon Lucas-Hughes & Elliott Buckle, dropped a new single last July on soundcloud, the delicate “Drop of Starch”  with the right percussions.

3- “Adapted Air” – Arbitraire
Apart from the track “A Little Melancholy”, appearing in Sam Smith’s The Lost Tapes Remixed, very little is revealed about Arbitraire.3 names : Andrea, Adrian & Genji and now 2 songs on their soundcloud. Just an impressive soul voice!

4- “Envy” – Peter Lyons
Ex one half of the Peter & Kerry London pop duo, and further to the electro R&B touch of his previous work like “Pretty Young Thing”, for his debut EP Oh, To Pull You Up, set up for an October release, Peter Lyons goes deeper into the electronic music genre with deconstructed synths, gulp percussions and layers of violins.

5- “Wide Open” – The Chemical Brothers  
This track stands apart from the more urban sound of the 16 tracks (with "Direct Buki" bonus) on the eighth album of the Mancunian duo, Born in the Echoes out in July. Fluid synths and 80’s pop, thanks to Beck, one of the 5 guest singers featured ?

6- “Bluebird” – Beach House
Baltimore/US dream pop duo website is using an algorithm behind the “single finder”, to choose which single on Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally fifth full length Depression Cherry out this month will please you. Even by trying several options, I never got “Bluebird! Needless to say that this mechanical formula doesn’t replace ears, sensible to the frenetic beat beginning smoothen by the spiralling guitar and Victoria’s soft voice.

7- “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” – Tame Impala
After all that has been written about the new musical direction of Aussie psych-rock band with the first single “Let it Happen” and as they released the singles,“’Cause I’m a Man”, “Disciples” & “Eventually”, the whole listening of the third album Currents ends with Kevin Parker confession about all this. Check this last track lyrics!

8- “Gibraltar” – Beirut
No more brass section, the trademark of New Mexico/US band Beirut, in this second single of the fourth album No No No to be released in September. Percussions and metallic bangs along with the joyful lyrics might be a special message to Lebanon: “Everything should be fine”.

9- “Oblivion” – David Bazan
Once recording under the names of Pedro The Lion, and later Headphones, Seattle/US singer-songwriter, David Bazan began to write 2 songs each month in 2014 to compile them in a first Volume called “Bazan Monthly”. The second volume came out late May. A long career as a musician that Bazan recount on this track with his remarkable mournful voice.

10- “Time Travel” - Inspired & the Sleep
The San Diego trio now, released 2 singles last June from a second EP Eyelid Kid out in October: a poppy one like their previous psych/pop tracks “Sleeps Well On Knivesand this one darker, going with a pole dance fitness video, reflects an interesting change in tone.

11- “Embers” – Gengahr
London quartet is the new UK alternative pop/rock sensation. Each track of the 11 ones of its first album A Dream Outside out last June begins with a soft approach to later bursts into guitars. It’s not the guitars that stand out on “Embers”, it’s the drums, steady, metronomic, reminding me of "Oh Yeah"  from CAN.

Monday, June 1, 2015

ESSENTIAL INDIE TRACKS FOR MAY 2015 : Metoux, Howling, Gwilym Gold, Christopher Owens,…

Before the usual 2/3 months summer break, the 10 essential tracks that caught up my ears this month of May 2015 are in the player below or directly from pleer here : 
1- French music & fashion label Kitsuné has always a knack to discover real pearls. In the fourth episode of the compilation America, released this month, Kitsuné premieres exclusive tracks from Basecamp, Dutch Party or new comer DJ Metoux from Toronto/Canada. Her childish and at the same time lascivious voice on “Neighbour” has this “The Curetouch that makes it so attractive.
2- If British guy-girl duo Vlad vs Clover uploaded only one single “Lies” this month on its soundcloud, musicians Vladimir Woodham-Smith and Jessica Belgrave have separate careers. A dramatic track to begin their collaboration!

3- Musician and composer Paul Marshall from Leeds/ UK has been hiding under the pseudonym of Lone Wolf for 3 albums. Lodge the latest out this month and may be the last album as Lone Wolf  is rather melancholic and organic piano driven. “Crimes” mirroring “Pripyat” track with its heavier piano notes and drum beat reflects the desolation after Tchernobyl nuclear catastrophe.

4- Ahead of their first 4 tracks EP “Earth Not Above” out on June 1st, London trio HÆLOS gave a swaying, slower and even better re-work of The Beloved house hit of 1989 “The Sun Rising. Hearing the sirens, urgent to hear!
5- Portland/Oregon based electro pop duo, Ian Mackintosh and Ben Braun aka Mackintosh Braun is releasing a third album Arcadia in June. The darker synths based "We Ran Faster Then" is one of the 4 singles out of the 11 tracks that came out in advance.

6- Faster indeed! Former member of British indie band Golden Silvers, Gwilym Gold delivered his debut album Tender Metal in the form of an app (still existing in the App Store) in a Bronze format that plays a different version of the 7 tracks with each press of the play button. His sophomore album A Paradise will be released in June in a more traditional way. The video for the first single “Muscle” featured a naked dancer. In the speedy tribal beat track “Triumph” the dancer is less naked!

7- In this interview, American singer songwriter Christopher Owens is very aware that people prefers to idolize the old image of him, broken or troubled person, and he chose to represent himself in a straitjacket on the cover of his third solo album Chrissybaby Forever out in May. Broken no more: his prolific songwriting (16 tracks) testifies to that and especially the very optimistic “Out of Bed” with birds singing.
8- After an eponym EP in 2012, Howling, the collaboration between Australian born Ry Cuming aka RY X when he is solo and Berlin producer Frank Wiedemann finally dropped their debut album Sacred Ground this month. Their teamwork is perfectly tangible on “Signs” which turns halfway from an intimate song with RY X heartbreaking voice over a raw piano to an underground dancefloor track.

9- Portland/Oregon based band Other Livesfirst single “Reconfiguration” (in the Essential Tracks for February 2015) was annunciating a third great album and now that Rituals is out, I couldn’t help to put this cinematic track, “For The Last” for the Ennio Morricone touch.
10- Also from Oregon, the Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel tandem, known as The Helio Sequence has been recording albums for the past 26 years. The story behind their sixth eponym one that came out this month is here. You can recognize a great song, “Stoic Resemblance”, when the acoustic version is even more elegant.