Shakey Graves - Unlucky Skin
The popularity of the banjo has been steadily on the rise since Mumford and Sons launched to international stardom in 2011. Not to say that banjo music ever really died, but it has certainly seen a revival in the popular collective conscience.
Banjos aside, I just came across a video by Shakey Graves, who is decribed as a “gentleman from Texas.” There has been a horror-esque video collaboration made with Fool’s Road for the song which recently featured on Pigeons and Planes.
Download - Unlucky Skin
Four Tet - Unspoken (original version)
Unspoken originally contained a sample of Tori Amos. But because Four Tet could not get the sample cleared, he had to change the original version so it could be released on his sophmore LP Rounds.
Today (ten years after Rounds was released) he tweeted a link to the original 9 minute version along with a download link. What a champ!
Download - Unspoken (original version)
Kydd - Missing Elements
Rapper Kydd really taps into the subconscious regions of the brain with this tune. The hypnotic beat is best enjoyed with headphones on or submerged in a bath (but not both for obvious reasons!). The unorthodox offbeat bassline and percussion add to the mysterious feel of the track.
The video is also incredible. The concept clip depicts life and death while flirting with mystic symbolism.
Download - Missing Elements
Sun Kil Moon - Dramamine (Modest Mouse Cover)
Modest Mouse are one of those huge bands that most people seem to enjoy. I can’t claim to be a humongus fan but I do love the opening track Dramamine from their 1996 debut album This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About. Apparently dramamine is a motion sickness drug, which ties in to the concept of the album title rather nicely.
Sun Kil Moon covers this song changing the melody and progression of the original, playing up the tension with rhythm guitars and cymbal clashes. Mark Kozelek aka Sun Kil Moon makes Dramamine his own with this rendition and the result is vastly different, but grand in its own right.
Bonobo - Sapphire
Finding a song to feature from Bonobo’s new album proved to be difficult. The entire LP is a cohesive unit with different textures and cultures like an organic plant growing more luscious with every listen.
I have however, settled on Sapphire for no other reason, other than it was playing when I began writing this. The song features just before the halfway mark and it is nothing less than you would expect from Britain’s elite DJ/producer. It is the kind of song you could play to your mother in law, your teenage hipster nephew, or your neighbour’s ant colony. In other words, I think few people would find Bonobo’s new album difficult to refuse or dispute.
I highly recommend The North Borders to lovers of all music. Released last month, Bonobo’s fifth album is all killer no filler and a definite venture into downtempo bliss.
Vampire Weekend - Step
Vampire Weekend amp up the hype for their highly anticipated third album with a new Youtube lyrics video for the track ‘Step.’ I remember hearing the sampled lyrics ‘everytime I see you in the world you always step to my girl’ from the early 90s Souls of Mischief track Step To My Girl. I’m not sure where the origin of those original lyrics are from but regardless, Vampire Weekend harmonise the lines beautifuly and come in great form with Step.
Modern Vampires of the City is due to be released May 13th, and no doubt fans will be relishing the new record while many critics will be keen to criticise the band, whether it be due to experimentation or lifting influences from other artists.
Always Like This
Bombay Bicycle Club
Bombay Bicycle Club - Always Like This
BBC are no strangers to the ill chill pill. We have been following the group’s movements since, well, since we discovered this song really.
The 2009 single launched the British band into worldwide stardom and won them a huge fanbase which has been propped up by three consistent album releases. Always Like This is still regarded a favourite and with very good reason.
If you haven’t already fallen in love with this tune, now is your chance.
Binary Star - Thumper aka The Caped Crusader aka The King James Diversion
Anyone familiar with Binary Star will know of One Be Lo and Senim Silla, the two emcees who bonded over music after serving time in prison for armed robbery.
After their release from prison, the group quickly recorded Waterworld and rereleased many of the tracks, plus some new ones, for wider distribution on the Masters of The Universe LP which is widely regarded as an underground hip hop classic. Twelve years after MOTU, the two artists finally decided to collaborate as Binary Star once again to release a self-titled EP. While it was a breath of fresh air to hear the two friends at it again, the standout track for me was the epically titled Thumper aka The Caped Crusader aka The King James Diversion, which contains raps from only One Be Lo.
Listening to just the first verse will set your mind boggling. The wealth of knowledge One Be Lo displays regarding Christianity, Hebrew and Islam is truly amazing. His wordplay and intricate double entendres reflect why One Be Lo is known as the emcee’s emcee. I guarantee after listening to this song a few dozen times, you will continue to find meaning that you missed previously.