17 (Youth Lagoon Cover)
Astronauts, etc. - 17 (Youth Lagoon Cover)
Astronauts, etc. has really made a lovely cover of Youth Lagoon’s 17. This track is the kind of song you can listen to over and over again when you are tired out of your mind and it will soothe you like a full brain massage through your earlobes. The raw vocals and live sound make the impact of this song far more immediately emotional than more polished recordings.
Just like Tim Fitz, this DIY musician has shown a proficiency dubbing over the top of the tracks he has laid down to essentially play the entire song solo.
You can check out more of Astronauts, etc.’s work on his Soundcloud page which includes plenty more free downloads. Enjoy.
Download - 17
Wrapped in Piano Strings
Radical Face - Wrapped In Piano Strings
One song I know I will never tire of hearing is this one. Ben Cooper uses accordion, strings, guitar and yes, piano strings to pull at your heartstrings. Gothic subject matter is in its abundance on Radical Face’s debut concept album where narratives are told from the perspective of a ghost.
The 2006 album Ghost is not short of its fair share of classic songs. Welcome Home and Glory are just two other highlights worthy of a listen if this type of chill is up your alley.
Twice (Black Room Session)
Little Dragon - Twice (Black Room Session)
Little Dragon have gradually been emerging into the social conscious through their genre-defying music. They have continued to break new ground with each subsequent release and with luck, they will continue to win over fans worldwide.
The Swedes released their self-titled debut album in 2007. Twice is the opener.
Beginning your album with a song like Twice is setting the bar high. Its deadpan melody and sparse production brings out the rawness of Yukimi Nagano’s vocals. That piano riff is contemplative and has been sampled to great effect by hip hop artists A.Dd+ on Under and Zion I & J. Period’s Likwid (Dubplate).
Perhaps one of the most impressive things about this song is that it is a live rendition of Twice. You can watch Little Dragon’s performance of this on Youtube.
Ain't The Blues
Intuition & Equilibrum
Intiuition & Equilibrum - Ain’t The Blues
Californican emcee Intuition is no stranger to the ill chill pill, having come to our attention back in 2011 when he released his free mixtape, I Ruined These Songs For You Too.
He recently released this new track with Equilibrium presumably on production duties and the subject matter is melancholic, introverted and thought-provoking. Check it out and enjoy.
Frank Ocean - Pink Matter Remix (Featuring OutKast)
Okay, okay, okay. This feature spot on Frank Ocean’s Pink Matter probably isn’t the type of collaboration most OutKast fans are looking for. It’s not upbeat, it’s not radio friendly or crunk and it is emotionally heavy. But that won’t stop me getting excited.
Frank Ocean’s signature melancholic crooning is dark. At times it is detached, at times it is despairing and vacant and all of these textures are observations made without really trying to decipher the ambiguous intelligent lyrics. Big Boi’s verse is straightforward, vividly depicting voyeuristic perversion and André 3000’s is somewhere in between the other two artists.
For the moment, this track is still available for free download by following the link below and navigating the (downward arrow) link.
Download - Pink Matter Remix
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)
Sodom, South Georgia
Iron & Wine
Iron & Wine - Sodom, South Georgia
Sam Beam aka the frontman of Iron & Wine is one of the singer/songwriters of our generation for the following reasons:.
- His introspective lyrics are witty and poignant.
- His hushed singing voice is evocative, distinctive and totally unique
- His music is not only thought-provoking, profound and affective but also beautiful to listen to.
Sodom South Georgia is a story about Beam’s father passing away. Whether it is fictional or not, I’m not sure. Although the topic is dark, Beam manages to tell it in a way that is not depressing, but rather enlightening. His matter-of-fact depictions of scenery and a township at the time of his passing is vivid. By the end of the song, we are shown that life moves on - which reflects the theme of life on the album Our Endless Numbered Days, from which this song appears.
Ben Kweller - In Other Words
The baby-faced Ben Kweller is one talented musician. His music is largely indie acoustic/rock based and Ben released his fifth solo studio album earlier this year.
I don’t have a large amount of Ben’s music, although I’ve always admired his work. The track In Other Words appeared on his debut album Sha Sha in 2002 although I was originally introduced to it through another artist. Brooklyn emcee Talib Kweli brought my attention to In Other Words in 2005 when he sampled it on his track Ms Hill. Ms Hill is an ode to the talented Lauryn Hill who had ceased recording and music and fell out of the spotlight due to personal issues.
Like Ms Hill, In Other Words’ strength lies in the melody. In particular the chorus carries the understated message of the song:
Another night slips away, in other words I should say,
there are no words, he should say there are no words.
These lyrics are delivered powerfully by Ben Kweller’s simple singing. There is a kind of resigned understanding shown towards a mutually lost communication with a loved one. While Ben’s lyrics are cryptic, Talib Kweli builds on this theme to discuss his fallout with Lauryn Hill and laments over how he wishes he could reestablish their relationship and metaphorically “pick up the load” for her. Both versions are definitely worth a listen.
Click here to hear Ms Hill otherwise, enjoy the original.
Download - In Other Words (control-click & save)