Thursday, 27 September 2012

Watch: Azealia Banks - Luxury

This sparkly ode to New York City beach partying and summer mischief is one of my favourite tracks off Banks' Fantasea mixtape, and now has its very own video. Directed by filmmaker Clarence Fuller, the clip features NYC in all its rooftop glory, more of Banks' weave-swinging and awesome 90s-style choreography.

Get into it.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

FREE SHIT Part 40: Pandr Eyez - Again and Again

Ferren Gipson and Tom Lloyd are several things: a talented duo, lovers of Prince, very fun dinner guests and responsible for this new feel-good single, "Again and Again" as Pandr Eyez. It's been almost a year since I first met them to chat over Turkish food in Dalston, and a good few months since I last saw them play, at Cargo in Hoxton.

Since then they've buckled down and essentially reinvented their sound. They've moved from the moody days of EP Eyes On You (released on Cacsine) and taken up an aesthetic that nods more definitively at their hip hop leanings and breaks out of the near-claustrophobic shell of the minimal and understated production we heard from them last year. It sounds like they're ready to throw a dance party now, and according to Ferren, we should all brush up on our TLC "Creep" dance in anticipation.

Upcoming A-side "Physical Education" is coming out on Double Denim Records in early November and is meant to be even better than this tasty jam, according to the gossip mill that is online music writing (see here and here). The band will be likely playing some of this new material at The Nest's second birthday party in London, on Friday October 5th (I hear Juan Maclean's one of the special, secret guests!). Get excited. And get this tune as a free download now.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Watch: Jessie Ware - Night Light

With another track out from what's proving to be a stand-out record of the year, Jessie Ware gets all sultry on "Night Light". 

Her 90s aesthetic continues in this video too, with elements that wouldn't have looked out of place in some Sade b-roll from the late 80s. Watch the video above, and check out the rather stellar Star Slinger remix of "Wildest Moments" that's lodged itself firmly in my head for the last month or so.

Album Stream - Dum Dum Girls: End of Daze EP

California's Dum Dum Girls are at it again, and Dee Dee croons all over this new moody and emotive EP. It's out on Sub Pop Records next Tuesday (Sept. 25), but you can obviously listen to it here in the meantime thanks to an exclusive stream organized by Stereogum and Sub Pop.

Pre-order it here, and see the girls in a town near you on their autumn tour.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

FREE SHIT Part 39: Simian Ghost - Wolf Girl (Slow Magic Remix)

I last spoke to the guys from Simian Ghost about six months ago, when I covered them for Don't Panic magazine and for an 'Emerging Artists' feature on Addict Music. Since then they've been on a monster tour of the UK and Europe, played a bunch of festivals and earned critical nods from the likes of The Guardian, the Times and Drowned in Sound, amongst others.

Plainly put, they make good pop music. They're Swedish, but haven't gone down the pop-electronica route with their last album, choosing instead to incorporate more live guitar amongst their smattering of melodic hooks. The end result makes for rather pleasant, summery listening and this remix from Slow Magic slots in well with the transition to autumn that's starting to nip at our (bare) heels. He's turned their single "Wolf Girl" into more of a brooding and bassy track than its original but maintains the Simian Ghost aesthetic throughout. 

Get it as a free download from Soundcloud now, using the widget above. And excuse my rambling, rather nonsensical English in this post: I've been wading through a ton of research for school and my brain's feeling spectacularly mushy at the moment. 

Watch: Frank Ocean - Pyramids (NSFW)

Frank Ocean has just shared the video for one of the stand-out tracks on his album, Channel Orange. 

frank ocean [pyramids] from christopher francis ocean on Vimeo.

"Pyramids" is normally an epic 9-minute journey through a love affair on the run, via imagery from ancient Egypt and many a delicious key change. 

In this video version Ocean and co. have cut the length down while slipping in a solo from John Mayer (to add to his appearance on smooth guitar number "White" on the album) and added all sorts of awesome visuals. If you haven't already given this album a go, I'd highly recommend it. Beyond all the 'is he, isn't he?' hype surrounding Ocean's sexuality after he published this blog post, he is quite simply a gifted songwriter with a great ear for melodic hooks and the power of repetition in pop formats. 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Album Stream: How To Dress Well - Total Loss

Falsetto fiend How To Dress Well (born Tom Krell) releases his second album  next Tuesday (September 18th) on Acephale/World Weird Records. For those not aware of his work, he's an r'n'b-inpsired producer and singer who first made waves on the internet in 2010 with an LP of dreamy, echoey and melancholy tracks.

Since then he's featured on Active Child's 2011 album You Are All I See (and in a parody-like slow-mo video for the song in question), played a bunch of tour dates and spent time crafting this next full-length offering. As ever, he wears his influences boldly on his sleeve: Total Loss at points sounds like B-roll tracks from a 1998 JoDeCi record but when he gets it right, he gets it really right. Krell relies heavily on his falsetto as a motif, so you've got to keep an open mind about that affectation to really dig into this album.

As a Brooklynite making this kind of album, cries of 'hipster fraud' will probably bounce around rooms where this type of music is discussed. Like The Weeknd, Krell makes this album a hard sell for the kind of people who believe r'n'b can't be made as well by white guys from the suburbs and somehow loses its authenticity when it is. I'll leave that choice up to you. If you're already a How To Dress Well convert, check out his upcoming autumn tour dates below.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

FREE SHIT Part 38: Lapalux - The Hours

Photo by She is Frank
A day with a new release from Lapalux is a good day in my books, no questions asked. The Essex producer is due to share details about a new upcoming EP on Brainfeeder Records next week, so keep an ear to the ground via his publicist team at Pictures Music. From what I've heard so far it's pegged to be named Some Other Time and will drop on October 16th (though "The Hours" isn't going to feature).

The Pictures roster is solid and inspiring, so I'd suggest checking some of them out if you're a fan of Lapalux's richly textured and wonderfully fidgety beats. This new track is available as a free download in exchange for an email address, which I reckon is totally worth it. Up there with Frank Ocean, Lapalux's is one of the few records I've handed over money for recently, even when given the option to have a free press copy. He's just that good.

Song of the Day: "Telephone Cables and Trees" - Glare

Glare is the DIY project of a devoutly lo-fi producer from England's South-east who so far only goes by 'Michael' elsewhere on the web. One way or another we ended up following each other on Twitter last year, and he shared some tracks with me that made my day at the time.

Glare released a self-produced album last May, made using found sounds, his 808 and some old cassette recordings which you can listen to here. In any case, if's great to hear a new tune from this anonymous beatmaker. For that reason, he gets song of the day with "Telephone Cable and Trees", all whining old samples, subtle tape hiss and that slightly off-kilter effect from an overplayed tape when the notes are no longer perfectly pitched. Yum.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Album Stream: The xx - Coexist

Since their breakthrough about three years ago, The xx have lost a band member (Baria Qureshi), won a Mercury Music Prize and garnered a reputation as that moody band restaurants play when they want to show they've got a finger on the edgy pulse.

I've never been a huge fan of Romy Madley-Croft, Jamie Smith and Oliver Sim's work -- not because it isn't well put together, but because I just find myself underwhelmed by their approach to minimalism. And when Romy's vocal slides off-pitch I tend to find it more irritating than endearing, but that's probably just a residue of my training as a singer when I was younger. My opinion aside, their new album Coexist is now streaming everywhere online before it comes out next Monday on XL Recordings/Young Turks.

When they shared the single "Angels" a couple of months ago the internet basically went ape-shit, so I'd be pretty surprised if you haven't already given the album a go. Whatever stage of listening involvement you're in, let me know your thoughts, and feel free to share the stream: the band are tracing how far it travels via email, Twitter, Facebook and embeds so don't hold back if you're dying to tell a friend about it!

Q & A with Bear In Heaven

L-R: Jon Philpot (vox, keys), Joe Stickney (drums), Adam Wills (gui)

Bear In Heaven are a NYC-based guitar/synth trio whom I hung out with in London before one of their summer shows earlier this year. I pulled guitarist Adam Wills aside for a chat outside Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen and we covered everything from on-tour homesickness and artistic control to why streaming their record at 40,000% of its original speed made for both a hilarious and telling stunt.

Overall these guys are awesome. And perhaps more importantly, their recent album I Love You, It's Cool is a beautiful piece of work, all pulsating rhythms and swelling repetitive surges of layered synths. Headphones or quality speakers for this one, please: it's the best way to enjoy it.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Album Stream: Toy - Toy

Toy, the long-haired five-piece thrust into the new music spotlight earlier this summer, are now streaming their debut album. The eponymous record drops on Heavenly Recordings next Monday (Septemner 10th), but thanks to some generosity on Soundcloud the part-psychedelic, wholly indie act are letting fans and soon-to-be-converts listen to the album in its entirety now.

They sound a little bit like The Horrors on more drugs, and employ that whole woozy, lazy-voiced aesthetic to its full effect. If you were one of those kids who grew up skulking around campus with their hair in their eyes and Primal Scream or New Order on their headphones, chances are you'll enjoy this. If you weren't one of those kids, give it a try anyway if you enjoyed recent work from Cat's Eyes, My Bloody Valentine and other such moody but richly produced ilk. 

Click here to see the list of their extensive October UK tour, and on one of these links (Amazon, Rough Trade, iTunes, to pre-order the record if you like what you hear.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Watch: Azealia Banks - 1991

Miss Banks has been hype-tweeting this video for a good couple of days now, so I'm happy it's been unleashed unto our screens at last. She's channeling some sort of 90s Aaliyah crossed with Madonna vibe in the video, and sporting the plum MAC lipstick created in her honour (and released later this month).

With her album release date being pushed ever further into the future, she's done well to keep people interested by releasing the odd video here and there, and dropping a guest verse on Shystie's latest single (as a nice reciprocal gesture in return for Shystie's verse on "Neptune", off the Fantasea Mixtape). Check out this month's Spin magazine cover feature on her for more of an insider's look. I'm hoping there'll be more great things to come from this girl.
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