Laura Veirs - July Flame
I have been searching for a song like this for a long time.
By that statement, I mean I have been looking for some slower tempo, introspective singer/songwriter material and Laura Veirs’ July Flame has certainly satisfied the above criteria.
The only problem is that the fact it’s taken me so long to find her 2010 single is a worry. Download from the link below before it’s taken down and enjoy.
Download - July Flame (control-click & save file)
Olu - Beautiful Darkness
Heart-on-sleeve hip hop is generally something not often found in most mainstream music. Kanye West bucked this trend when he released Runaway from his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album. Also on the album was the fantastic track Blame Game which contained an unbridled venting of the rapper’s problematic relationships accompanied with John Legend singing the chorus.
So why am I discussing Kanye West so much in this post? Beacuase Cincinnati emcee Olu has clearly been inspired by his music. Firstly, Beautiful Darkness features the same backing piano track from Aphex Twin’s Avril 14th as a sample and also because the subject matter of Olu’s track and its title resemble the lamentations of Blame Game and MBDTF album respectively.
I don’t think the resemblance detracts from either artist and sample sharing has become increasingly common in hip hop as the mixtape culture continues to thrive (this issue was brought to light by the Pete Rock and Lupe Fiasco fiasco).
Download - Beautiful Darkness
Little Red - Rock It
I was sad to hear that Melbourne rock outfit Little Red have decided to call it quits after six years, two albums and a nationwide fanbase.
I managed to see the band twice, after shortly after they released both of their albums and the group had a fantastic energy onstage.
Little Red’s most popular track was Rock It, an uncomplicated track that combined piano, steady drumming and a funky bassline which made for a catchy anthem. Rock It finished second in Triple J’s inaugural Hottest 100 competition, beaten narrowly by Angus & Julia Stone’s Big Jet Plane.
According to the band’s Facebook, Quang from the group has left to pursue his project Naked Bodies(a name which poses a definite Google minefield), whilst Tom left the band earlier in May to work on his project Major Tom and The Atoms. Quang’s announcement coincides with the announcement of Little Red’s demise.
Dom and Adrian from the band are speculated to continue writing songs together, although this has not been confirmed, and it is unlikely that there will be a continuation under the name Little Red.
Good luck to all ex-members and thanks for the music.
Download - Rock It (right-click & save)
Jeff Pianki - Paper Window Dreams
Jeff Pianki is a songwriter from Michigan who is also a great storyteller. His voice reminds me of Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Youth Lagoon (on Ghost to Me) .
Pianki took a break from music after 2010’s Paper Window’s release. According to My Folking Heart, he has started making music again. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more music from Jeff Pianki in the future.
Download - Paper Window Dreams (name your price on Bandcamp)
The xx - VCR (Four Tet Remix)
Four Tet has won my admiration and I am always keeping an eye out in case he releases a new song or a remix that might fly under the radar.
He released one of my all time favourite remixes in 2010 when he adopted minimal vocal samples from The xx and made the song completely his own. The track extends almost 9 minutes and always manages to make me relax. Only 3 artists come to mind when I think of DJs who can control progressive downtempo on the same level as Four Tet - Emancipator, Tycho and Bonobo.
These artists are truly in a class of their own and easily stand apart from your house or nightclub DJ.
I’m sure after listening to the song you will echo the sentiments of Romi, hoping the music “don’t stop, don’t stop…”
Ra Ra Riot - Boy
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.
Download - Boy (control-click & save)
Urthboy & Jane Tyrrell - Still Keep Diggin’
Urthboy and Jane Tyrrell from The Herd came together in 2010 to generously release this song as a free download for fans.
Jane’s singing is always a pleasure to hear. Her soulful voice is the perfect accompaniment to Urthboy’s unique raspy rapping.
You can still download the song for free from Elefant Traks’ Soundcloud page. I’ve copied the link below.
Download - Still Keep Diggin’
Give You More (Produced By Olu)
Olu feat. The xx - Give You More
Olu is an up-and-coming unsigned rapper from Cleveland, Ohio. The dude is about to turn 20 and has already released several mixtapes, which includes a lot of songs produced by the man himself.
He has a loyal following which is destined to grow, but his music is good enough to listen to now. Take Give You More for example. The track heavily samples The xx’s Heart Skipped a Beat, (one of my favourite tracks from their album) speeds it up and transforms it in to his own personal tale of love and the breakdown of a relationship.
Even at the sped up pace, the music still retains it’s bittersweet feel. Olu’s unrestrained storytelling gives the song an element of harsh reality (the bitter) while the sample keeps the music sweet enough to make you want to keep listening.
Download - Give You More