If I had to choose one track from The Shins’ impressive back catalogue, it would be New Slang. The melody is sweet one moment then melancholic the next and James Mercer’s lyrics may be personal and even cryptic at times, but his style of delivery is enough for even the casual listener to get a basic understanding of what he is talking about.
I’ve been enjoying this song years and years before I realized it was on the Garden State soundtrack and I think it was only a matter of time before this song shot the humble group into international stardom through some ad campaign, movie soundtrack or other means. I think that our readers are mature enough to appreciate quality music no matter the popularity or source of it’s creator.
I think that people are still listening to New Slang ten years after it was originally released because it has universal appeal, infinite playback value and it is memorable for all the right reasons.
Zero 7 feat. MF Doom - Somersault (Danger Mouse Remix)
This track was featured as an Indie Shuffle song of the day a short while back and I was an instant fan after my first listen.
This track happened to slip past me when it was released in 2004 but thanks to the internet the song doesn’t have to be relegated to obscurity and we can listen to it years later in a place far away from the original recording.
As always MF Doom's signature raspy raps are packed full of clever metaphors. The guitarwork in the song reminds me of Sunnyroad by Emiliana Torrini. I think this track has the kind of appeal that transcends genre stereotypes and has the appeal to draw in people with different musical tastes.
Damon Albarn (of The Gorillaz & Blur) wrote a soundtrack to the opera Dr Dee which was ran its course in England last year. The highlight from the album would have to be Apple Carts.
Dr Dee is based on the life of John Dee (1527-1608/9) who was a mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, imperialist and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. He believed that divinity could be ascertained through mathematics. During his nomadic travels to Bohemia (modern day Poland/Germany/Austria/Czech) and Europe he obtained many magical instruments. Using these instruments and a highly technical forms of mathematics, he supposedly communicated with angels.
Dr Dee accomplished much in his lifetime including establishing one of the largest private libraries outside of Britain’s universities, as well as obtaining an array of artifacts and being responsible for advising seafaring navigation for the British fleet. He continued to delve into magic despite being a devout Christian and an avid supporter of expansionistic imperialism. His rationale for imperialism was the ultimate unification of religion.
Taking inspiration from Platonism and Renaissance thought, John Dee really was a Renaissance man albeit the fact he never visited Italy as far as I know.
Damon Albarn captures the mysticism of Dee beautifully in Apple Carts. The track and the rest of the album is a far cry from his work in the Gorillaz. I think this release continues to show his skill as an artist and sheer musical range.
You can read more about John Deehere or watch Damon Albarn perform this live here.
Apparently the name came about because Meredith’s brother Gregory had an imaginary friend called Hawk. She is not your typical American singer/songwriter and the subjects of her songs can vary significantly with releases such as Kill The Turkey and Avalanche! Oh, Avalanche focussing on animal consumption and “the number one natural disaster in Switzerland” respectively.
On her latest album Come, Now, Meredith has produced the majority of her own material. Come, Now came out earlier this month on June 5th. It is unavailable in Australian shops but you can download a copy here.
Blind And Unwise is the album opener. It is a lazily paced slow burner with a beautiful melody and message.
Recently I haven’t heard any new bands that have grabbed my attention. That was of course, until I came across Lighthouse And The Whaler, a quartet (minus 1 in this pic) based out of Cleveland, USA.
I’m not sure I can technically classify the group as “new” considering they have played over 200 shows, having opened for the likes of Sufjan Stevens, The Temper Trap, The Dodos & Best Coast. But Lighthouse And The Whaler remain relatively unknown (although I expect that to change). Their new album This is An Adventure is due to be released on September 18th.
Syracuse based band Ra Ra Riot bring out the drums, bass and violins to give Boy it’s fast paced tempo. The track featured on the group’s 2010 sophmore LP The Orchard .
Boy was mixed by Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla, who is no stranger to production duties having hosted an array of indie talent. The breakneck bassline speed is a nice contrast to Wes Miles' falsetto singing.
The members of Rhye are keeping their identities secret. Apparently, both members live in L.A. and have European backgrounds. They both also are members of well-known bands.
Regardless of their previous musical endeavors, both members of Rhye have a musical chemistry and their debut single Open shows this. Open features strings, harps and etherial falsetto. These elements may have easily have let Open succumb to overproduction, but it maintains a simple structure and organic sound.
Share this track with a loved one or just keep it all to yourself.
Jack Steadman aka the frontman from Bombay Bicycle Club has remixed Lucy Rose's Cheating (both artists pictured). Jack has turned the tune it into an (almost) unrecognisable idm/downtempo track, brimming with chopped up vocal samples and flourishes of synth.
Cheating is a far cry from the indie rock music of Bombay Bicycle Club, but it shows that Jack also has a knack for DJing (which I never knew until now).
Unfortunately Cheating has surpassed its download limit, so you may have to find alternative means to tracking down an mp3.
I’ve sourced a download for your listening pleasure
If you haven’t checked out Patrick Watson before, you are missing out on a good thing.
His latest offering Adventures in Your Backyard showcases Patrick’s lush voice over piano and sparse production to great effect. Domino Records released Words In The Fire as a free download, but there is no telling how long that link will remain open. I recommend getting in quick and listening to this track at your leisure.
Menomena’s permenant lineup consists of Danny Seim on percussion; and Justin Harris on bass, guitar, and saxophone. According to their Last.fm page, they often swap instruments and singing duties. This willingness to experiment is respected by fans and their music proves to be continually interesting as a result of this.
This song is one of my favourite from the group. At different points in the song, it is brooding, sunny or gritty with lyrics that hint at stalking, OCD and lost love. Needless to say, the group have a great knack for songwriting.
ScHoolBoy Q's track There He Go heavily samples the haunting piano loop and atmospheric elements in the track. A couple of months later, I discovered the original and the rest is history.
The lyrics (below and above in the picture), are clever and open to interpretation. Download link after the jump.
I made you a present, you’ll never expect it And when you unravel the secret will travel It’s hard to take risks with a pessimist I hope that this shaking will help us awaken Separated by skin ‘til we let ourselves in It’s hard to take risks with a pessimist It’s hard to take risks I hope one will burn me, I know you’ll desert me (This is the closest I’ll come to touching you the way I want) The hope can be painful, I’ll try to be faithful (It’s hard to take risks)
I don’t know of any blogs dedicated to classical music and we don’t specialise in it but today I’m going to blog about Opus 23.
The instrumental piano piece is elegant and sweet. O’Halloran composed it for the film score to Marie Antoinette in 2006.I was underwhelmed by the movie when I saw it a few years ago but the music score for the album is beautiful.
It’s not often that a new band comes along with a sound that blows me away.
I first heard about the group last year when they released their debut single, He’s Still Here. The quartet followed up a few months later with Frames, which continued to build on the minimalist, atmospheric mood of their first official release. The London-based group are recording new material and I had a quick chat with Andrew from Pushing Hands about their music.
Q1. Pushing Hands is a training technique in martial arts. Does the band have any connections to this?
A: Freddies mum does Tai Chi
Q2. Is the band working on any new songs at the moment?
A: Yeah, everybody has been really busy outside of the band, but you’ve actually caught us in the middle of recording a new demo, so hopefully there will be something for everyone to listen to in the near future.
Q3. Your sound has been compared to fellow Brits Bombay Bicycle Club. Are they an influence on your sound or are there other groups who have been more influential?
A: We’re fans of Bombay and appreciate the comparisons but we enjoy bands like Yo La Tengo and Pavement and I think we get more out of listening to bands of that era and a lot of electronic music too.
Q4: If you could work with any artist dead or alive, who would that be?
A: We would definitely like to play with Talking Heads. None of us ever had the chance to actually see them live, but watching what we can of their old performances on youtube and on videos like Stop Making Sense is inspirational stuff. The production values and the energy they put into their music is really reflected in the performance and they really expanded on the idea of the typical band setup, they weren’t afraid to experiment and it really paid off for them. Also Bob Marley.
Q5. What 5 artists are you listening to at the moment?
A: At the moment we are mostly listening tooooo…. Bob Marley, Pantera, Ride, Stars of the Lid and new Pushing Hands songs.
Thanks to Pushing Hands for the interview. To purchase He’s Still Here, visit the group’s Bandcamp or follow on Facebook.
YoungEmpires have given Britain’s Sunday Girl the remix treatment. Young Empires and Sunday Girl have been recording for 3 and 2 years respectively and despite their recent career moves, both have been gaining popularity steadily.
Young Empires start off the remix with their signature bongos before introducing the melody. At the one minute mark, a heavy synth line hits. Sunday Girl's sweet vocals fit the mood perfectly.
It’s not the most ‘chilled’ song we’ve featured on the site, but well worthy of a listen.