Kiwanuka is a British songwriter of Ugandan descent. His music is reminiscent of Cody Chesnutt and Bill Withers; so needless to say, the man can sing.
His latest single, Home Again is taken from his upcoming debut album of the same name. The 24 year old supported Adele last year as well as winning the BBC’s Sound of 2012 music poll. If you enjoy soul/r&b music, then Kiwanuka is a name to look out for - especially when his LP comes out on March 12. Enjoy.
PS. Home Again is currently the free single of the week on iTunes, so get a free copy while you can!
Bonobo has just released a remixed version of his highly acclaimed album Black Sands from 2010. The UK DJ largely takes the backseat as guest producers reinterpret some of his unique brand of folktronica.
While I am a huge fan of Black Sands, I’m not sure I enjoy the guest remixed tracks as much as the originals. My personal favourite from the new album is Brace Brace, a rare Bonobo original that was previously only available on the Japanese version of Black Sands.
The track has been included among the remixes and it is a classic Bonobo orchestral arrangement with emotional subtlety, a donwtempo pacing and smooth instrumentation. Enjoy.
New Yorker Sleepy Doug Shaw (of White Magic) started a sideproject named after the west-African genre ‘highlife’.
F Kenya Rip was taken from Highlife's debut EP in 2010. Shaw creates a vibrant soundscape with sunny harmonies, Afrobeat percussion and of course glorious guitar riffs. Shaw remains relatively faithful to his obvious African influences and they shine best on F Kenya Rip.
Afrobeat and highlife music has definitely made a revival in modern indie music and it’s great to hear artists like Shaw paying homage to a lively style of music we otherwise might not have heard.
I was taken by Grand Salvo’s soft delivery of Needles, the story of a lifetime, during his opening act for the Fleet Foxes in early 2012. Grand Salvo (Aka Paddy Mann) uses intimate lyricism to reflect his interest in how our thoughts and perceptions can alter over a lifetime.
Below are the lyrics. Enjoy!
Flowers are toys, Bees are old boys, She wears a dress like a song wears a voice A terrible choice, A girl over boy, The boots of a man and the hooves of a horse Incarnate hour, Surgical charm, Her eyebrows are just like the ink of a brush Needles are thin and kept in a tin, Time is a wind sweeping everything clean Left in the sun without its lid on, The texture is leached by the white of the sheet The bed is unmade, It’s a wonderful day, The curtains behave like the soul of a wave A house is deserted so nobody heard, The ring of a phone, it was starting to rain Her makeup was leaking, She just didn’t need it, Her eyebrows are just link the ink of a brush The texture explodes so deliciously slow, The curtains rejoice like the sea of a coast Bow to the host, not to the toast, Glasses that sing when you rub them with skin Back is across the cheek of a rock, Things live below with stomach of stone Flowers arrive they live in the like, The base of a stone is a wonderful home Mountains are pure they’re never unsure, They’re rocks are so old that they haven’t been sold She told me a story bout how someone had hurt her, Her freckly face was full of kindness and grace I love jumping rocks, it’s one thing I got, I jump like a doe, I wish I wasn’t alone Help me to find the time to be kind, Give me a call I want to tell you it all Needles are sly they hide from your eyes, All the buckets of blood from all the fingers and thumbs Forests are free there’s nothing they need, I lie on the needles listening to its beetles The scent of the worm the coo of a bird, The creak of the wood everything as it should The clack of my bones the thought of blood as it flows, The tremulous heart as it falters and starts Pieces of glass are no longer sharp, Bottles thrown into the sea long ago Kids on the beach learning to drink, Eventually tossed into the foam in the rocks Hearing a new song for the very first time, It started me sobbing like it pulled something from me Listening to songs I used to when I was young, Remembering friends when we all hated our beds We giggle and croon, cackle and swoon, Keeping each other close like sisters and brothers I’ve been missing the past ever since I was cast, And now that I’m old Now that I’m old I miss it 10,000-fold
Gorillaz feat. Andre 3000 & James Murphy - DoYaThing
Fresh from a BBC radio rip recorded last night (22/2/12), the highly anticipated collaboration for Converse shoes has emerged and it does not disappoint.
This song is guaranteed to raise heartrates and inspire dancing. It’s high octane inspired production definitely raises the bar in the recent hip hop / electro revival. It even inspires Damon Albarn from The Gorillaz to rap the first two verses of the song before Andre 3000 of OutKast dominates the song with a fast paced, gunblazing verse. Dre’s verse continues to shatter misconceptions that he is done with rapping after some critics poo pooed his experimentation with jazz, r&b and singing efforts on the last 2 OutKast albums.
Brand new collaborations featuring names as big as these are going to be hard to avoid. And while this song definitely carries a more energetic mood to the kind we try to feature, it is almost the end of the week and sometimes the best way to relax is through busting a move to an upbeat, funky track as fresh and original as this one. Expect to hear a lot more of this song as the radio catches on. Enjoy!
Gracie aka Andrew Balasia is a Philadelphian who has just completed his second EP Treehouse.
You can tell from listening to Tryck R Treat that the song has a lush electronic arrangement. It encompasses aspects of ambient, downtempo and r&b while never fully staying complacent in any single camp. The music ebbs and flows as it builds layer upon layer, while the shifting chords and mood in smooth succession is the mark of a professional performer.
The good folks over at BIRP! have recently given a full review of Treehouse, otherwise if you’re convinced and want to grab the EP, you can do so here. Balasia has also been generous enough to offer Tryck R Treat as a free download so click below for a copy. Enjoy!
Four-piece indie rock outfit Made In Japan are channeling some good vibes on their most recent single. The Sydney band waste no time by launching into a frantic drum pace and showcasing the skilled fingerpicking guitar work within a few seconds of the track’s opening.
The song could be a good soundtrack to a surfing video and would definitely be a welcome addition to any What It Is is the band’s second single from their debut album Sights and Sounds which will become available on February 24th.
If the rest of the album is as enjoyable as this then we’ll be in for a treat.
For fans of Gung Ho, Bombay Bicycle Club, Two Door Cinema Club
I remember the first time I heard the African-Australian duo Diafrix after recieving an advance copy of their debut album Concrete Jungle in 2009. In short, I loved it. The group were able to tell their stories blending reggae, hip hop, soul on some songs and always making music that was fresh and unformulated.
Momo and Azmarino have risen against the odds after both members fled their homelands of the Comoros Islands and Eritriea respectively. They both emigrated to Melbourne with Azmarino spending the better half of the 00’s hunting for a visa to become a Australian citizen. They met and eventually landed a deal with Illusive Entertainment, the label of other successful Australian artists such as Bliss n Eso, Downsyde and True Live. They have since rocked crowds around the country and around Europe.
Running It is the second single from their highly anticipated sophmore album Pocket Full of Dreams which is due out mid year. You can purchase the single when it’s released on iTunes March 9th. Enjoy!
Damien Jurado is a Seattle songwriter who is due to release his 10th album later this month. Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of him until I came across Museum of Flight. His voice reminds me of Active Childcrossed with Scott Matthewsand Eddie Vedder.
The song really speaks for itself. I think his voice is the real standout - disarming, sincere and full of sentiment.
“I’m not making up any new lies, I’m just maintaining the old ones.”
If, like me, you aren’t the sort of listener who puts up with predictable and overly repetitive music, you will love Absofacto’s latest work, Lies.
The song flits between electonic and organic instrumentation and when you think the tune is about to go in one direction, Absofacto aka Jonathan Visger takes it somewhere you didn’t expect.
If this were a straight acoustic song, it might qualify for a few listens before receiving the ‘skip’ treatment. Instead, the sprawling six and a half minute song has distinguished itself apart in a very likable fashion to assure that it retains replay value for a long while to come.
Acquaint yourself with a download of Lies (right click and save).
Whenever you can’t get to sleep and you want nothing more than to rest, listen to this song.
The Icelandic songstress has a distinctive vocal prowess and has proven her worth with music ranging from folk ballads to trip hop; Birds falls somewhere in the middle of these two.
The song starts with a wandering riff but further in the music evolves progressively thanks to echoing effects, piano keys and even a reggae medley at one point. Birds is then taken to another level when the mood of the track lifts as if the listener is actually being taken on a flight with said subjects.
I cannot think of too many female vocalists who are as instantly likable or recognizable as Torrini. Like her international fanbase, I am also eagerly anticipating a follow up to 2008’s stunning Me And Armini album. Let’s hope there will be more music to come.
Lana Del Rey’s major label debut Born To Die was released yesterday (31/1/12) and it’s full of music Chillers would enjoy.
Radio is one such song. It’s uncomplicated structure and pop sensibilities give it mass appeal and chances are you’ll know most of the chorus by the end of the radio-friendly 3:35 duration.
Without too much effort, you can easily read all about the ‘controversies’ surrounding Lizzy Grant , but bottom line is she has made a solid album with music people will be discussing in years to come.
You can download the track here (right click and save file).
Last year Mac Miller’s Best Day Ever mixtape will stand out for me for a number of reasons. True, it was laced with all manner of debauchery. But interspersed between the cusses and bravado was an undeniable positive outlook on the future.
I’ve chosen to feature the instrumental remix version because you can enjoy it anytime, anywhere. If you want to hear Mac's verses you can watch the film clip here.
No I.D. is would have one of the most impressvie resumes, having worked with a smorgasbord of hip hop’s commercial elite and recently completing executive production rights on Common’s acclaimed The Dreamer, The Believer album.
Hermitude come together once more to leak the title track from their upcoming album on Sydney based label Elefant Traks.
Judging by this track and the first single, El Gusto and Luke Dubs are continuing with their sample and synth-heavy approach to production while incorporating a range of exotic instruments to create a more upbeat brand of dance-friendly music not heard on their previous 3 albums.
It’s exciting times as fans will not have to wait much longer to hear what else Hermitude have in store on HyperParadise. The album will be out on Feburary 3rd.
The other week a friend put me on to Little Joy and I have been loving their music all summer.
The group consists of Rodrigo Amarante, Binki Shapiro and The Strokes’ drummer Fabrizio Moretti. The band have an undeniable talent for making music together. A recommended listen for sunny days at the beach or by the pool.
Since their debut album in 2008 there has been not much correspondence or information regarding any new material. Let’s hope it doesn’t stay that way for long.
You youngsters might think that silky mullets and eyepatches are unfashionable. But back in the 70s, men were rocking them everywhere on the wheatfields of the U S of A. Well, for-shame I say! There was a time when they ruled supreme and time can be cruel to the fashions of the day!
Nevertheless Kansas' opus, Dust In The Wind remains timeless. Mashup master Z-Trip leaves this acoustic number mostly untouched, save for a funky hip hop beat. With this simple addition, he managed to make Kansas’ music approachable for those of you who might not have been instantly won over by the group’s fashion sense.
The track appeared on Uneasy Listening Vol. 1 in 2001 and only 1000 copies were pressed. Enjoy!
Panacea - Colourful Storms (Damu The Fudgemunk Remix)
Good hip hop is a treat to behold - but when you’re perusing through Damu The Fudgemunk's catalogue, your chances of finding it become a lot easier. Damu knows exactly how to create that golden era 90s hip hop style instrumental and the vocals also emit positivity that is hard to bypass.
If you’d like a free download, you can get one here by right clicking and saving the file. Enjoy.
The Fugees made amazing music during the 90s. Fu-Gee-La was the first single from their highly successful sophomore album The Score which has gone on to be multi-platinum worldwide and is generally regarded as a classic in hip hop and a classic album in its on right.
The group disbanded after The Score and all three members launched successful solo careers, perhaps none so notable as Lauryn Hill. She remains to this day my favourite female emceee and vocalist. Her distinctive voice and vocal range give her an unmistakable presence that manages to draw in even casual listeners. You can’t help being blown away by the power behind her singing and the soulfulness found in her expression. It’s no wonder she married Rohan, one of Bob Marley’s sons. We can only hope their children release music when the time is right.
Back to the song now.
The group never sounded more at ease with one another than on Fu-Gee-La, of which there were several alternative versions and remixes made. My favourite mixtape DJ and producer J. Period handles the mashups and blends for this track. It was released a few years ago as The Best of Lauryn Hill Fire & Water, a double disc mixtape. The mixtape boasts 82 songs and covers the career of Lauryn Hill’s music including the singles, unreleased songs, exclusive remixes and interviews with the musician. I recommend you hunt down a copy if this is your kind of music. Enjoy!
Melbournian beatsmith and musician Chet Faker released some free instrumental tracks this New Years Day.
North would have to be my favourite. It begins slowly and builds. A nonchalant riff grows in intensity as a steady drumbeat comes to the forefront of the lucid song. This is accompanied soon afterwards by distant melodic guitars that echo around the soundscape of the riff.
Just after the 2 minute mark ghostly sounding keys and a thick bassline work together to give the riff a haunting element. The result is that the melody works its way slowly into your subconscious and chances are if you listen all the way through, you will probably want to also put the song on repeat and allow it to wash over your thoughts.
Here's the download link to to North and you can stay updated on Chet's activity by following his Facebook page.
Before Jurassic 5 split up, DJ Nu Mark was a full time member, DJing and producing for the group. During this time he also released a collaboration album with Pomo, called Blend Crafters. This track was taken from the album.
Imagine is basically a hip hop/jazz cover of John Lennon’s original. The song is short and clocks in at just over 3 minutes. It’s definitely a laid back reimagining.
The Icelandic frontman of Sigur Ros released his debut solo album back in 2010. While I’m not the biggest fan of Sigur Ros' back catalogue, I've always appreciated their entirely unique musical approach.
Instead of attempting to explain Jónsi’s music, I’ll let the music speak for itself. Jonsi holds nothing back on this highlight.
Enjoy with an mp3 download (right click and save file)
Sister Crayon are a group based out of Sacramento led by vocalist Terra Lopez. The group have boldly covered a stripped back version of Sufjan Stevens' (pictured) Futile Devices.
The original song was taken from Steven’s The Age of Adz album - An apocalyptic, transformative recording experience.
While it would be impossible to outdo Steven’s on his own song, Sister Crayon do an exceptional job covering the album opener. They also don’t stray too far from the original and keep with the songwriter’s subdues, introverted style.
BLAM! I heard this song today and knew I had to stalk it, hunt it and GET IT by any means necessary. No, I’m not a serial killer.
The group are from Brisbane Australia and they encapsulate the beachy vibe felt through coastal Queensland. Some of the best beaches and certainly the best coral in the world can be found in Queensland.
Twin Rays is definitely an impressive debut single. The track is currently on high rotation on Triple J.
Cherish the grooves by right clicking here and saving to download the mp3
The Very Best feat Ezra Koenig - Warm Heart of Africa
Artists from 3 continents come together on this song. How excellent is that.
The Very Best is Esau Mwamwaya, Etienne Tron and Johan Karlberg. Esau from Malawi in East Africa and the others are UK residents.
The Very Best formed after Esau came to the UK in 1999. He was working at a second hand furniture shop in east London and sold a bicycle to Etienne. Etienne introduced him to Johan and the group was formed.
In 2008 The Very Best released a mixtape and their full length album a year later, sharing the same title as this single, Warm Heart of Africa. Just from listening to this song, you can hear the African musical influences coming through.
The drum and synth driven track features Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend who joins in to share vocals with Esau. An appropriate guest spot considering that Vampire Weekend draw influence from afrobeat and other African elements in their music.
The collaboration is colourful and joyful. The different languages and range in musical genres covered in this song enhance what otherwise might be a repetitive track.
The group are due to release more music in 2012.
Relive the vibrance with an mp3 of the song (right click-save as). Enjoy!
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ upcoming album would have to be my most anticipated release for 2012. They have made nothing but memorable, passionate music since they began working together.
I won’t go on too long about this song, but I thought it was an appropriate track to finish the year off with. In the midst of your partying, chilling, or whatever you end up doing, spare a thought for this song and the gorgeous piano (which is a sample of ‘Another World’ by Antony and the Johnsons.
2012 will not be the end, but when you listen to this song, it almost seems like it. Enjoy and I’ll see you in 2012.
Came in together, but you held me.. The process walking right through that door, at the entry. I can’t seem to remember, the lights were so bright, And the disco ball blurred in the turn of that night. But it was perfect, I was told the tux was starched and all. Grabbed the glass of punch, nervousness, structured by that wall. Arms folded, myself, I didn’t know yet. Until you came over, stood by me, you posted. You put your hand out like I was stranded. Tried to pull me on that dance floor, I stepped backwards. See I wasn’t ready yet, but you were my medicine.. Showed me that trust through that love that you held me with. our backs against the wall as the DJ would spin The soundtrack had changed as he played that mix… Our lives flashed in front of us, just a glimpse, We were together and experience this..
You finally pulled me up, I didn’t want to.. But you filled me up, from the bottom of my heart. And as we walked through that gymnasium that I’d been watching, Feeling like my chest would explode from my heartbeat. To the middle of the floor I almost panicked, You put your hand out and I fearfully grabbed it. The most beautiful thing that I’d seen on this planet, She laughed ‘cause you could tell that I didn’t know how to dance yet.. We started moving and I, didn’t know what I was doing. You whispered, “don’t you love music it’s such a gift and I’ll give it to ya, but you gotta use it” I strayed, you brought me back in.. Trying to sneak a flask outside of that gym. She said “You don’t need that, look within.” She hugged me, looked into my eyes, she gave me a kiss And she said, “I can’t help you, if you don’t let me. You’re here to live just be, don’t forget me. The end of this dance you don’t want to regret me, live.. ‘Cause tonight you’ll all be set free”
“Last dance!” the Dj yelled. Looked into her eyes and I could see myself.. Slow motion, frozen, toast to this moment. Like there is no morning, like there is no morning. No emotions, you on my shoulder, me lead and you follow, As we circle the floor like the globe through this infinite mass.. Makes us seem so small, With you in my hand like the skyline holds the stars. Not letting go, but I can’t hold on Fading through my fingertips, watching us fall.. I try to catch you with my arms I would never take you for granted when I had you in my palms. To all I ever wanted, please play my song. And put the record to the needle, don’t ever touch that off switch. You are perfect, forget that prom dress. My God, seconds away from God, yes. Somebody turned the heat on in this party, Or we’re becoming one because I’m melting into your body.. one being, heart beating, universe falling. The ground split right between us and that concrete.. Separated my love, I could hear her calling. Separated, but I could hear her calling. Goodbye forever, never see you again Winterball 2012, The End
k-os’ new album is going to be a definite highlight for the Canadian music scene in 2012. In the meantime here’s a song from k-os’ amazing catalogue to listen to in anticipation.
FlypapeR is taken from k-os’ 2006 album Atlantis: Hymns for Disco. I was surprised hearing the sheer diversity in musical styles that Kheaven (yes that is his real name) manages to merge and master on the LP. Compared with his other releases (which have all been fresh and innovative in their own right) Atlantis is probably the standout for me in terms of musical range. Right-click here and select save to download this track.
I came across this song after hearing a mix from Jon Hopkins and I was instantly amazed. The Irish musician’s ukelele has an etherial quality to it. This is the kind of song that is timeless and elegant.
As of yet, I don’t think her CDs are available in Australia, but thankfully we can still listen to Carol Anne McGowan's music thanks to the interwebz. Enjoy.
2 months after dropping an LP with 43 previously unreleased tracks, the uber-prolific Flashbulbhas done it again releasing Terra Firma on December 14. Terra Firma seems to be the lead single from the artists’ upcoming new album, epically titled Opus at The End of Everything.
'At the end of everything' might worry some fans who interpret that to mean the end of music for Benn Jordan, but I’m not all that worried considering the man’s inability to stop making incredible music at a breakneck rate.
Benn Jordan has a reputation for producing music with notoriously fast beats, but the other instruments in this song seem to keep pace with the snares, hi-hats and kicks. There is a nasty vocoder comes in around the halfway mark, giving the track an otherworldly chilled experience.
We can rest assured that if The Flashbulb stops making music, Acidwolf, CHR15TPUNCH3R, DJ ASCII, Dr. Lefty, Dysrythmia, FlexE, Human Action Network or several other monikers of Benn Jordan will continue to.
The loose structure behind Handwriting has got to be part of its strength.
The song, which appeared on the group’s latest EP Takes Place in Your Work Space, rambles and turns as James Petralli’s falsetto lamentations match the string arrangement and folk sensibilities of the band.
For a group that have only been making music together for 5 years, White Denim are on to a distinctive style all their own. Keep an ear out for them in future as they are bound to grow in recognition.
"It’s like that y’all! (that y’all) it’s like that y’all! (that y’all) it’s like that Insight and I’m havin’ a ball."
US emcee Insight along with Japanese producers Shin-Ski and DJ RYOW form the Shinsight Trio. This group is known internationally for creating good hip hop.
While most mainstream hip hop artists today are incorporating dance, pop and r&b to appeal to wider audiences, the Trio continue to stick to their roots in using sampling and traditional methods to make their music.
This is my favourite song from their 2006 albumShallow Moon, Blurry Nights. Insight reminisces on his childhood and forms a tight narrative around some stories he remembers growing up as a youth. I love the positive frame of mind he uses in depicting some of these scenes from his youth. I can easily imagine other rappers rhyming bitterly about their experiences, but not Insight.
The last train is nearly due, The underground is closing soon, And in the dark deserted station, Restless in anticipation, A man waits in the shadows.
His restless eyes leap and scratch, At all that they can touch or catch, And hidden deep within his pocket, Safe within it’s silent socket, He holds a colored crayon.
Now from the tunnel’s stony womb, The carriage rides to meet the groom, And opens wide and welcome doors, But he hesitates, then withdraws Deeper in the shadows. And the train is gone suddenly On wheels clicking silently Like a gently tapping litany, And he holds his crayon rosary Tighter in his hand.
Now from his pocket quick he flashes, The crayon on the wall he slashes, Deep upon the advertising, A single worded poem comprised Of four letters.
And his heart is laughing, screaming, pounding The poem across the tracks rebounding Shadowed by the exit light His legs take their ascending flight To seek the breast of darkness and be suckled by the night.
American trip-hop producer Emancipator released a remix album earlier in the year and this song won me over as a fan. The Black Lake remix reminds me so much of Bonobo's music that it is uncanny. I guess it can't be too much of a coincidence since his first live performance was in support of the British DJ back in 2009.
At 2:39 the bass comes in and it changes the dimension of the track. The exotic instruments take a back seat and the organic feel of the remix evolves into more traditional trip-hop.
Click here to download an mp3 of the song and head over to Emancipator's Bandcamp page to purchase more of his music.