Back in May, the Swedish artist Chords released a new single that eluded me at the time. The Dude is the first single from Chords' third album that is scheduled for release later this year.
I heard of Chords from listening to fellow Swedish group Looptroop Rockers’ back catalogue. He can sing as well as he raps and he does the former to great effect on the single The Dude. I initially thought the track would be lighthearted with a name like The Dude, but it is actually a soulful, heart-on-sleeve track with a slow beat that bops along at a mellow reggae pace.
The accordians, guitar, trumpets and slick production ensures that the listener does not bore with the pace. In fact, the song has more variation than the majority of hip hop music being released lately - though I can hardly call this track ‘a hip hop song’ since it clearly draws influences from a range of different genres.
Have a listen for yourself and hear some music you might not have otherwise discovered.
What do you get when your mama is queen of the mumbo and your papa is king of the Congo? You get the king of bongo.
Manu Chao is a French born musician who sings in a combination of English, French and Spanish. This track is a remake of Mano Negra, wherein Manu Chao was a founding member. Bongo Bong is a ska-based track that features bilingual singing and rapping, particularly in the medley Je Ne T’Aime Plus, that plays at the end.
After Manu Chao's begun recording solo, he released Bongo Bong as the lead single from his first album. It was a huge success and went on to sell 5 million copies. This is a wonderful effort considering that his music is so unique. It has become part of pop culture with Robbie Williams and Lilly Allen covering the track and to date it is still Manu Chao's most recognisable song.
Alpha Channel are a Melbourne duo who draw on samples, exotic instrumentation and their vast knowledge of music production software to craft their music.
Taboo Island is a surreal musical odyssey. Listeners are greeted by laid-back tropical guitar riffs, turntable scratches, and spacey psychadelic sound effects. Both producers have been teaching music production for over a decade at Melbourne’s famed JMC Academy and their expertise is palatable.
Holy guacamole James Madole (aka Leaves of Green), your falsetto is incredible. Are you and Bon Iver related?
The up and coming 21 year-old songwriter has wasted no time recording a debut album and releasing two non-album singles in the course of a year. If Caving In is anything to go by, you can expect Leaves of Green's future material will start turning heads internationally.
Download - Caving In (name your price on Bandcamp)
Whenever I hear of a project involving TheBeatles’ songs in any way, I’m always incredibly wary that the rendition won’t be a complete screw up. That means covers, mashups, remixes, samples and live versions all come under close scrutiny and high expectations. I always hope against hope that the remake won’t be an insult to the legacy of the greatest band that has probably ever existed. So naturally, when I cam across this track by Slovene / American producer Gramatik, I was very suspicious - not least because he put his name before TheBeatles and included a ‘Vs’ to in the title of the collaboration.
Luckily, Don’t let Me Down 2012 has been given the big thumbs up. Gramatik has blurred the lines between the original and the rework. He explains the process
So, back in 2006 when I was still rapping (in Slovene), I sampled ”Don’t Let Me Down” by The Beatles and later on recorded lyrics over it. The beat was very simple, adapted for rap vocals so I decided to revisit it, remove my raps and add a bunch of other live instruments, synths and samples to it, so you guys can enjoy it in instrumental form without it being boring. It’s a downtempo hip-hop flavored banger that continues the evolution of collage sampling combined with live instrumentation and synthesis. Hope you guys like it.
Back in November, we posted about True North, Pinback's first single from their upcoming album Information Recieved. The band have now released the second single Proceed to Memory which can serve as another appetizer until the LP is released on October 19th via Temporary Residence Records.
Proceed to Memory evokes the changing of seasons and weather. The track starts off relatively slowly, but things build to a crescendo with shouting and heavier guitar riffs. I can imagine this track would be great to see live, but I still have the feeling that Pinback are capable of much more on their first album in 5 years.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Same Love (feat. Mary Lambert)
In the last few years it seems as though the topic of gay marriage has become such a popular area of debate. Leaders from both major political camps in Australia and the US have previously shied away from an issue that has divided voters for fear of alienating either camp (no pun intended). Personally speaking, I find it absurd that in an advanced civilisation such as ours, the issue of single-sex marriage is still debated. Is it anybody’s concern if a gay couple who are in love decide they want their relationship legally validated in in a ceremony? The short answer is no.
Macklemore discusses his personal encounters with the issue in Same Love. In a lighthearted intro, the Seattle rapper reiterates his distress at believing he was gay when he was in the 3rd grade because “I could draw, my uncle was and I kept my room straight.” He moves away from the stereotype of a homosexual to discuss the type of discrimination gay people can face in today’s culture. He even discusses how hip hop culture has traditionally ridiculed homosexuality and used it as a way of demasculating others.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis recruit Mary Lambert to sing the chorus. She shares the fact that she can’t change her sexual preference and does not want to. Her delivery is disarming and sweet enough that it could make even the most hardcore Catholic reconsider their stance on gay marriage. In a press release, Macklemore announced why he released Same Love earlier this month:
"In the last couple of months, amazing things have happened that show progress and accountability to ensure that the LGBTQ community has the same rights and respect as everyone else. THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES came out in support of gay marriage. Jay-Z, arguably the biggest rapper in the world, then followed. Finally, Frank Ocean felt comfortable enough with himself to share his sexuality in his music and came out last week. That is courage.”
Now that Obama and other politicians in senior political parties have openly pledged their support for gay marriage, hopefully the current debate going on in Australia will be fast-tracked so that we don’t look back at 2012 and reflect on how backward-thinking and intolerant our country really was. As a straight male, I can’t see what people find uncomfortable about homosexuality, aside from the ‘fear of the unknown’. Hopefully, this song can help to encourage others to reconsider their values and progress so that this ostracized minority group can enjoy the same human rights and liberties that we do.
The dreamy song arrangements and finger-picking instrumentation on Owen's latest album makes for a mesmerizing listen. The 9 tracks are well thought out, with Owen covering topics ranging from questioning God’s existence, ambivalence to others, itchy feet and everything in between.
An Animal is one of the darker songs on an album with a cello serving as accompaniments to Owen's skilled guitarwork. The story has a sinister feel to it and it is told with honesty. I'd recommend this to fans of The Magic Lantern for the interesting structure. Lyrics below. Enjoy
I did my time, Endless days and nights I paid for my sins so I could come back and sin again I’ve seen the light, Burning hot and bright It scorched my skin, I said f**k that and came back to sin again I’ve been running like a convict across state lines Looking for answers, An easy way out An alibi, Free will for those who can afford it The rest of us be damned Free, I suppose, with help from your parents But I can’t change who I am I’ve got twenty eyes on you and no place to put my hands I keep my secrets buried beneath us, under deep soil and stones Maybe God will save my soul, but in this world I’m an animal with clothes on An animal with needs
It’s Friday, it’s almost Springtime and Lana Del Rey has released a new track. Excellent.
Serial Killer has been leaked fresh after her Australian tour. The song was left of Lana Del Rey's debut album Born To Die but it is being included as the uber-deluxe reissue. Apparently the 3 bonus tracks on iTunes wasn’t quite enough as the new ‘Paradise’ version of the LP will feature no less than 7 unreleased tracks including Serial Killer among others.
In typical Del Rey fashion, the lyrics are melodramatic, the hedonism is high and the production is as lavish as the lifestyle we are used to hearing about from the indie pop diva.
Lana Del Rey is sure to draw her fair share of critics with every new announcement but the divisive artist has won us over at the Ill Chill Pill with her sultry voice, catchy hooks and memorable melodies.
Any fan of the Fleet Foxes should take notice of Poor Moon. 50% of the four-piece band consist of members of the legendary folk group and their music is of a similar ilk as well.
The music is definitely rooted in American folk tradition, but there are elements of swing music also in Birds. The track is being given away for free so I recommend downloading the link below before it is indubitably removed from Soundcloud in a matter of days.
The band are due to release an their debut album on Monday August 27th through Bella Union Records (why would you release an album on a Monday??). This further throws into question the likelihood of the Fleet Foxes reuniting for a third album after their drummer J. Tillman left the group earlier this year to pursue his solo project Father John Misty while other members have also been reported to be working on other material.
At the tender age of 20, BFL wrote and recorded Atlas Hands. The British youngster is a self-confessed fan of Nick Drake, Elliott Smith and Bob Dylan and some of these influences can be heard in Leftwich.
His debut album Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm has a wintery feel to it with the gentle crooning providing the warmth to the album. On the LP, a violin also accompanies Leftwich’s acoustic guitar on several tracks and there is a genuine authenticity and honesty to the recording process with virtually no production effects. In other words, the album could be replicated live at a show.
I was originally planning to blog about the Tycho classic original version of this song, that was until I gave this version a listen and reconsidered.
Casey Chanatry has kept the original Tycho part of the recording relatively intact, save for his additional guitar playing which has been layered on top. The guitar incorporates some romantic chord harmonising that is reminiscent of Santana in his prime.
The free association guitar playing is soothing and as always Tycho delivers top notch downtempo.
Thomas Prime - Forget Everything ft. Landon Wordswell
Illinois rapper Landon Wordswell has teamed up with upcoming London producer Thomas Prime to give us Forget Everything.
The song revolves around a high pitched vocal sample, mellow keys and dusty MPC beats. If this song is anything to go by, I can imagine Thomas Prime's back catalogue will be hooking in eager hip hop purists.
You can download Thomas Prime’s EP, including this track for free on Bandcamp or below.
We are big xx fans here at the Ill Chill Pill. So when a remix came out to the group’s new single, I knew we had to feature it. I was holding out doing a clichéd post praising the group’s latest effort when I was not an immediate self-proclaimed fan of the lead single. My unreasonably high expectations got the better of me but I am glad I waited until I heard this version, which in my opinion eclipses the original.
This will be the 3rd feature of a remixed xx track on the site and it is featured with good reason.
The remix adds some ambient elements to create a dreamscape which accompanies Romy’s hushed emotive vocals beautifully. The drums are also oddly familiar from half a dozen hip hop songs I have heard. They help give shape to what might have been an otherwise totally fluid remix.
The new xx album Coexist is unleashed on Septermber 10th.