Bipolar Sunshine - Rivers
Rivers is a song that craves attention and pushes your expectations.
No doubt, there is something enchanting about Bipolar Sunshine's music. And it is apparent on the first listen that his EP Aesthetics is rad and the production is also bonkers.
The tempo of Bipolar Sunshine aka Adio Marchant's vocals changes several times throughout Rivers and the raw upbeat drums contrast the rollercoaster melody of the chorus. Fittingly, the vocals bellow “been low but I’ve been higher" in an inverse fashion to what you’d expect and the listener is taken on the emotional ride without any dragging moments or seconds to spare.
Expect to hear more brilliant work from the British vocalist in the future.
Paul Simon - Rewrite
It’s not hard to love this song. Big name musician aside, Rewrite is a songwriting masterpiece regardless of the performer.
An acoustic guitar, a 12-stringed kora and a bass djembe embellish the track. Simon’s love affair with west African music has permeated in much of his music since the seminal 1987 record, Graceland.
Simon’s expansive and equally impressive back catalogue means that it’s easy for a song such as Rewrite to be lost to obscurity. Then again, his noteworthiness means that this song will probably have more exposure than if it were penned by a lesser-known artist.
Rewrite appeared to Simon’s latest studio effort, the 2011 album So Beautiful, So What.
Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
Paul Simon - Diamonds on The Souls of Her Shoes (Live in New York, 2011)
You can’t help but let the uplifting vocal and instrumental expressions of this song pick you up and carry you away on a foot tapping frenzy. Written twenty-five years ago, this song still gets people of all ages dancing as was proven at the Paul Simon concert held last week in Melbourne.
Paul Simon has been a powerful force in influencing modern music today. Bands such as Vampire Weekend have drawn inspiration from the groundbreaking 1988 album Graceland, from which Diamonds on The Souls of Her Shoes appears. The album is noted for its African musical influences and genre-defying upbeat vibe.
Vampire Weekend received a lot of backlash by fans of Paul Simon's solo work for 'lifting' similar influences, such as afrobeat and eastern African folk music in the wake of their 2008 breakthrough album. However Paul Simon defended the group.
'I felt bad. I wanted to go and tell them that I didn’t think they were taking anything. So that’s what I told them. They said, “Do you think we are?” and I said, “No, I think you’re going to the same sources that I went to. You’re drawing from the same well. You’re trying to write interesting songs.” In a way, we were on the same pursuit, but I don’t think you’re lifting from me, and anyway, you’re welcome to it, because everybody’s lifting all the time. That’s the way music grows and is shaped.'
The 71 year old is still an excellent performer and musicians continue benefiting from his illustrious 50+ year musical career.
Vampire Weekend are due to release their third album in May this year.
K’naan, J. Period & Bob Dylan - Don’t Think Twice (Messengers Remix)
Not often does heartfelt folk and hip hop cross paths like this, which is why this version of Bob Dylan's Don’t Think Twice is so special. When Somali/Canadian artist K’naan teamed up with mixtape extraordinaire J. Period in 2009 to create a mixtape, it soon became evident that the emcee/singer would draw on influences ranging generations, genres and continents to promote his message of peace.
Bob Marley and Fela Kuti join Bob Dylan as artists that have influenced K’naan’s musical pursuits. In turn, he pays homage to all three musicians on The Messengers mixtape project, where this song appears.
The Messengers version of Don’t Think Twice transcends age groups and musical preferences to appeal to people from all walks of life, and in doing so, enables the timeless music of Bob Dylan to be rediscovered by a new group of fans, while giving K’naan some well-deserved recognition.
St Lucia - Closer Than This (Xaphoon Jones Remix)
Xaphoon Jones is much more than your dime a dozen DJ. The producer extrordinaire keeps himself busy being one half of rap group Chiddy Bang, but that is not the extent of his musical projects. He also remixes artists from a range of genres. He openly embraces and experiments with soundscapes to create original, yet distinctive remixes of an awesome calibre. If you still unconvinced after listening to this enchanting take on St Lucia's forlorn ballad Closer Than This, peep this mashup of Passion Pit & The Jackson 5.
If you are convinced and want more Xaphoon you can download his latest mixtape for free from here, alternatively download this cut below.
Download - Closer Than This (Xaphoon Jones Remix)
Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again
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!
Highlife - F Kenya Rip
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.
Download - F Kenya Rip
Diafrix - Running It
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!
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