Monday, June 29, 2009
Picture Emiliana Torrini getting together with Modest Mouse and then throw in a lot of fuzzy bass and the occasional abrasive guitar and you start to get what St. Vincent`s new album `Actor` sounds like. Annie Clark`s (formerly of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens) follow-up to 2007`s `Marry Me` was co-produced by Clark and John Congleton (Modest Mouse, The Thermals, Polyphonic Spree). Annie Clark wrote and arranged Actor`s 11 songs and sings, plays guitar, bass, and keys. She also has help form the likes of Hideaki Aomori (Sufjan Stevens), Alex Sopp (Björk, Philip Glass), and an improved rhythm section that includes Midlake`s McKenzie Smith and Paul Alexander. Did I mention she also has a full orchestra too?
The album opener `The Strangers` sums up a lot of the album with its mix of old timey feel, classical arrangements and random distortion, a nice mix of old and new styles. "Actor Out Of Work` has a Lo-fi vibe going on while `Morrow` has an almost Bowie-esque feel to it (very much like a female ` The Hearts Filthy Lesson`). `Laughing With A Mouthful Of Blood` has a much happier to feel to it than the title implies while `The Party` and `The Bed` sound warm, fuzzy and almost cinematic and would be great to play on rainy days while you think fondly about days gone by.
Annie Clark has some serious talent (and has been garnering a lot of buzz lately) and if you didn`t notice it with her last album, you sure as hell will stand up and notice now. If Clark has grown this much since her last album, I can`t wait to hear what she does next. With her impressive ability and refusal to stick to any one genre, St. Vincent is truly a band to watch.
8 out of 10
Here is a video of St. Vincent on Letterman performing 'Marrow' .
St. Vincent Myspace!
St. Vincent Website!
Monday, June 22, 2009
From GYBO to the Dancefloor, this electro-punk duo have come a long way.
Donnison Laing and Josh Grigg are the names behind the eye patches of the bass plundering production team Pirate Soundsystem. Inspired by the history of London's dance scene PS's constantly evolving sound draws on rave, grime, dubstep and garage and turning these influences into their own brand of house, with heavy basslines aimed squarely at the dancefloor.
A string of remixes for some of the best underground acts has ensured them a solid place pioneering the new sound coming out of London. Artists that have been through the Pirate rinse machine for official remixes are Hadouken, Wiley, Si Begg, DZ, Drop The Lime, Bonde Do Role, Murderbot, D-Code and Zomby. Pirate Soundsystem remixes have had heavy support from everyone from Sinden to Annie Mac to Rob Da Bank to Foamo to Mista Jam. Recently picked up by WIDE Records, Pirate Soundsystem will be releasing a series of original bass music EPs for you test your subwoofers with.
The Pirate's have smashed up clubs all across Europe, including some of the best nights right in London (Bangface, Always Fridays, Walk The Night, Superfilth!!!, Vagabondz, NuSkoolBreaks, Deadly Rythem Club to name a few). As residents at the monthly Z-Shed club night in Aldgate, home to all types of massive raves noise, Pirate Soundsystem flex sets with anything featuring a dance power; garage hi-hats, tearing dubstep bass, ravey pianos and heavy house kicks.
Check out their excellent June mix HERE!
Pirate Soundsystem Myspace!
Pirate Soundsystem Website!
Expect big things from these guys!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Richard Dorfmeister (of Kruder & Dorfmeister) and Austrian musician Rupert Huber know a thing or two about making a chill out album. `No Hassle`, their fifth full length album using the Tosca moniker, shows a couple of masters at the top of their game.
The mostly instrumental album is full of sensual and intoxicating rhythms that get you swaying back and forth before you even know it. Once you press play you get the necessary hit of dubby bass, reverb filled piano as well as wonderfully utilised, but muted, percussion (of all kinds). This is a great album to set the "mood" with your lady or fella or for a wind down after a long night out at the club.
Opener `My First` enchants with mellow keyboards and soft vocals while `Oysters In May` offers a more up tempo house feel and funky guitar, `Elektra Bregenz` has a distinct Middle-Eastern feel and album closer `No Hassle` combines "rain-sounding" percussion and pulsating bass. `No Hassle` is highly enjoyable and will relax anyone - pop this album on and literally feel hassle free.
8 out of 10
Here is the video for 'Birthday'.
Sit back, relax and enjoy.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Picture Benny Benassi and Missy Elliot doing an album together and you may understand what is in store for you when you pick up the debut, self-titled, Thunderheist album. Some may compare Thunderheist to M.I.A. or Santogold and, to a degree they are correct, but Thunderheist is more dirty, sweaty and (I can`t believe I am saying this!) crunk then the other two ladies like to get. That is a good thing (if you like electro and loads of bass, which I do) and a bad thing (if you don`t like electro and loads of bass, which a lot of people don`t) since the album is a lot of the same.
The Canadian duo of producer Grahmzilla (from Montreal) and MC Isis (from Toronto) broke out with their single `Jerk It` and the rest of the album doesn`t stray to far from that single`s vibe. Dirty bass and beats? Check. Sexy yet sometimes silly vocals? Check. Badass female MC? Check. Rinse, repeat. The album is peppered with a few songs that lift lyrics directly from artists like with `Bubblegum Music` (Nelly), `Little Booty Girl` (Bob Marley) and `Cruise Low` (Waitresses, Yes I said the Waitresses!). On `The After Party`, it really sounds like MC Isis is actually channeling Missy Elliot herself as the track is very reminiscent of Missy`s `Work It`. Other tracks like (my personal favorite) `Nothing 2 Step 2` and `Space Cowboy` really let the electro synths and ghetto bass do the work.
I could easily see this as an album you pop in while getting ready to go to `the club`. Thunderheist has managed to have fun throughout the album while still taking what they do seriously (gotta have the street cred!). It is a slick debut that hints at what the duo can do. Hopefully, if they get a bit more diversity and experience under their belt, the second album will be a stormer.
7 out of 10
Here is a video for the first single 'Jerk It'.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour are a Danish band with a heavy 60`s soul kinda sound (think Smash Mouth`s `Walking On The Sun, but good). Most folks probably know them from their song `Around the Bend`, the groovy song in an iPod Touch ad. This band really stuck out when I first heard them and now that I`ve heard the album, I need to tell you why you should too.
The album kicks off with the quirky keyboards and sweet horns of `Lady Jesus` before moving right into the arm-swingin`, head-bobbin` `The Sun Ain`t Shining No More`. `Push The Envelope` uses the keyboard and percussion to pulse along as Mette Lindberg`s addictive vocals try to get the wild child in us all to `come out..come out...come out...come on`.
`Crazy` slows things down a little as Mette`s voice is accented by a simple strum of a guitar, a chill bass, some spacey keyboards and sweet rasta-ish horns before the funk returns with `Around The Bend`, proving it was a wise choice to use in a commercial as it gives a perfect glimpse into the band`s sound and vibe. `Bad Fever` which takes us out on a nice funky vibe and makes you fall in love with the band all over again as Mette sings `Don`t remember how it feels?`.
Some may say it kitsch and been done before, but I really think this is a fresh take on an old style and should get people very excited - this band is fun, fun, fun. You can tell they love what they do and they do it very well. Between the classy music and Mette`s sexy (and often bubbly) vocals, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour are a band to look out for and this could be the soundtrack to the summer of 09.
I LOVE this album!
9 out of 10
Here is the video for 'The Sun ain't shining no more'.