So these guys are not what I usually cover, lots like Doja Cat. They’re
funky and psychedelic and have this element of retro, disco dance pop, but they’ve
got soul. This isn’t all natural acoustic, it’s very artificial, but they’ve
got these reminiscent elements of other funky co cats like Electric Light Orchesta,
MGMT, the Bee Gees, and maybe even Prince.
It’s hard to categorize. They are hard to put into a box. What do I want to say? Indie electro R&B? Modern
soul? I don’t you know, you decide for yourself.
“Time,” a track that I particularly like on
their 12-track debut album, Jungle
(which released just this past July), is on the lighter dance pop side of their
album. I think their best part is their
chorus of “Say it again/Just hold on tight/Don’t let in,
yeah/I’ll run alright/Don’t let me/Oh just let it out,” but not for their
lyrical creativity. This song, like every other song on the radio is computer
generated, filled to the brim with pinched falsettos, slap bass, and crazy
instrumentals. It’s euphoric and filled with funk.
These guys also just make great music videos!
And for the most part, that’s how a lot of this album works. I’m not
getting the sense that these guys really dig their fake horns and electric
funk. They like getting people to want to get up and groove. And I dig that. What they do lack, however, is a
sense of creativity. Lyrically, it’s very repetitive, and even composition
wise, “Busy Earning” is so similar to “Time,” as is “The Heat” and “Platoon.”
It gets to all be the same.
Is this bad? Yes and no. Jungle is new duo, made up of childhood friends, Tom
McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson. They’ve been kicking it since they were nine
years old. I can sense the chemistry, and I’m glad the two are working
together, I like their vibe. Creatively, they have a long way to go, but they’re old enough producers to realize
that the debut album that they do have is solid and work their way up
We do get a little something different when we hit tracks like “Drops” and “Julia.”
There’s some more bass in there, and instead of just dance funk, it’s gets a
little soulful and mournful. I love when “Drops” hits, “I’ve been loving you
too long.” I’m getting some tastes of Paolo
Nutini-esque blues in there, and I like the turn from dance pop to some
“Julia,” is the best track on their debut in my opinion and I think a track
they put some serious effort it. I love the overlaying, faded vocals, that
goddamn organ playing in the background, and the rhythm they’ve got going. It’s
a little darker, it isn’t really a song to groove to, but it’s a lovesick,
lovelorn track where I can fully see where these guys are going. They’ve can do
And their video, choreographically is amazing. These guys like modern
dance. Check it.
They’re disco, and they’re not really disco. They’re funk and soul and
electric. They’re party music at times, and then at other times, they’re jams
you have existential conversations to. They start their South American tour soon and I’m bitter I won’t be in Santiago, Chile jamming out, but I hope when they release some new grooves, I’ll be with them live.
Check out their album on Spotify. It’s a solid debut, they’re solid
Londoners. And they make solid music videos, which is what’s important, right?
In 2012, Purity Ring’s debut LP, Shrines, garnered critical acclaim for its surreal take on synthpop. The record was focused and dark, with eleven fantastically produced tracks each adding to the overall occult aesthetic. Another Eternity departs from this spooky brilliance in favor of a brighter and poppier sound, while thankfully maintaining the great production values of the first album.
Unlike on Shrines, Megan James’ voice takes the front seat on Another Eternity. While the heavily processed vocals of the first album make a return on a few tracks, such as “Dust Hymns” and “Stillness in Woe”, they’re as a whole overshadowed by James’ more memorable melodies on songs such as “Heartsigh” or “Sea Castle”. MIDI vocal samples are also featured throughout the record, but are rarely the focus and serve as more of a tool in Corin Roddick’s instrumental arsenal than the lead voice.
With less of an atmospheric vibe and brighter vocals, Another Eternity takes a step towards the mainstream and, seemingly sensing this, Roddick has slotted in elements of popular house music throughout the album. At the same time, he tries to maintain some of the weirdness that made Shrines the hit that it was. The result is what occasionally feels almost anti-EDM: A lone siren and percussion roll in “Heartsigh” among the otherwise synthpop instrumentals or a build up to a drop that never comes in “Dust Hymn”. On first listen, these sounds are jarring and feel out of place, but they quickly meld into the overall tone and are barely noticed on subsequent listens.
Aside from the house influence, Another Eternity’s instrumentals are fairly similar to those of Shrines, albeit brighter, and that’s a good thing. They’re every bit as polished as those on Purity Ring’s debut LP and leave little to be desired.
Though Another Eternity is a departure from Shrines, it is every bit as memorable. A change in tone this drastic is sure to divide the fanbase, but Corin Roddick’s fantastic production values ensure that this record sounds great and maintains a sense of cohesion between Another Eternity and Shrines. All in all, Another Eternity does well to avoid the “Sophomore slump” that is all too apparent in indie bands today.
Earlier today, Toro Y Moi surprised us all with a track we never expected! “Buffalo” (available on SoundCloud below) premiered on The Fader this morning along with a few insights into TYM’s creative process:
When I started writing this song I was experiencing a bit of writer’s block and this song was what pulled me out. As soon as I wrote it, I knew it would set the tone for the entire album.
And so it did. Comparing this track with TYM’s last release from this album, we can hear similar vibes of snares and solidarity. Both “Buffalo” and “Empty Nesters” rely on a driving rhythm beneath insightful lyrics. ‘Cause you love it all / ‘Cause you’ll find a way / To keep on… Check out the video from the January release below:
Stay tuned (on Facebook, Twitter, etc.) for more coverage of Toro Y Moi’s latest endeavor! I am excited to see what other singles are planned for release before the album (tracklist below) drops in April!
What For? (Expected Release Date: April 7, 2015) 01 What You Want 02 Buffalo 03 The Flight 04 Empty Nesters 05 Ratcliff 06 Lilly 07 Spell It Out 08 Half Dome 09 Run Baby Run 10 Yeah Right
It’s been rough lately, and honestly I should be writing a paper, but I’d rather write about music, so let’s just procrastinate together.
I’ve fallen in love, recently. It’s that time of year, you know? And I realize that I fall in love quite often, I’m a romantic, but this guy is worth it, I’m telling you.
Let’s meet Taylor Berrett.
As I write this, I literally can feel myself become giddy,it’s almost unreal. It’s crazy. Is this how love feels?
Okay, so this is actually really strange because I first
discovered Berrett a couple of months ago when I went to an Alex Clare show at Neptune Theatre (remember that show
preview?). He was the opener, and I remember, at the time thinking, “He’s good,
young, but this kid’s got it.” I took a couple photos, swore he was going to go
far, and then just vaguely forgot about him. Here’s a photo of him performing,
he’s a pretty rad guy.
But anyway, then I followed him on Facebook, just for news
updates and slowly Berrett began to come out with more of his own music. When he
performed a couple of months ago, he had a couple of his songs, so I knew he
could write, but I was basing his vocal ability off his Beatles covers.
So I knew this kid has talent.
It’s a little crazy I’m reviewing
this guy so soon because his debut album doesn’t even come out for another two
weeks, but the tracks and the EP that he has out now are just too good to not
talk about, and I expertly assume they will be on his debut album.
But let’s talk about my favorite
tracks first, which aren’t on his 2012 EP Anchor
Chasing. “Those Days,” a track that he just released this year, starts off
just the way I like it: with some finger snaps, simple acoustic harmonies, and a raw,
The rhythm on this track is so brilliant and the lyricism that
this man has is so natural, I am reminded of singer-songwriter (and one of my
favorite musicians) Kris Allen. We
start off easy with “Slow down, turn around/Tell me what’s tearing your heart
out baby,” building up the main chorus “Everybody has, everybody has those
days/ Feeling like an ocean, having trouble making waves.” As we build up to
the chorus, we get a little trumpet and sax into the mix, and my heart drops into
my stomach. Then bam, xylophone, and the world just stops.
It’s this perfect mix of acoustic
folk with jazz and it just feels easy
you know? You get the feel of just chilling on the beach with this guy,
drinking some margaritas, with a guitar and a guy playing saxophone in the
background. When we get to the sax solo, you know Taylor Berrett is a classy
musician and not one to be reckoned with. He knows instrumental composition,
and he knows it well.
Okay, so now for my absolute favorite
track that he has out so far. “The Heat,” a track that he released,also, just a
couple months ago is just a game changer.
It’s a little more upbeat, but it’s probably, and this may be a stretch, a
track that I would say is one of the best new singles I’ve heard this year. He starts drumming out some awesome beats,
leading in with some great vocals that just has excellent rhythm and a sense
of, once again, jazz and blues. Listen to the part when he sings his chorus, “Got
no place that I can go/ Got no money to my name/ Got no scars that I show/ Got no
bad luck I can blame.” The way he weights his vocals rhythmically is not just
catchy. It’s brilliant. The electric guitar mixed with his drummer is all so
cohesively in sync with his vocals, that you would almost expect Berrett to be
someone who’s been in the business for years. Taylor Berrett labels himself as acoustic pop,
and definitely, I can see why he would want to brand himself that way; he wants
to be commercial. But don’t let that fool you, this guy knows solid blues. He
knows solid jazz. He is catchy, but he is skilled and talented. You see it in
the last track I discussed, you see it in the bridge of this track when he
sings “They say man take it easy, enjoy it while you’re free/ I said the heat I
can stand is, is standing still against me.”
And the acoustic version is even
better. Here’s a look.
This voice. Please. There is
control, there is great tone, there is great pitch, and there is just a
When I listen to this guy, a smile
forms on my face. Is this what love feels like?
Maybe it’s the combination of the fact
that I’ve seen this guy start it out live, and then have listened to his more
matured singles, and maybe it’s the fact that I know he is the real deal
because I have seen him sing. I’m not
sure. But this is probably my favorite artist
to review thus far, and I love a lot of musicians.
But anyone, one more, let’s talk.
Let’s take it back two years, to another
track, also not on his EP. I like his EP, and we’ll get there, don’t worry. But,
honestly? I really just dig these tracks that he chooses not to publicize as
much. They’re rad. “Fair Warning,” takes it back a little bit more to his folk
roots, but he still rocks it, like usual.
You get this banjo, tambourine, campy
feel, but once again, his lyricism of, “Call me the wanderer/ Write me away/ I’ll
be the mountain you cannot escape,” never fails. This a track I’m pointing out
just to emphasize Berrett’s versatility as an artist. I’m sorry, but I don’t
care how campfire folk he gets, the man has vocals and the man can write. And
why is it surprising? This 22-year old singer from Virginia started writing songs at age 13,
so he’s had plenty of practice.
Quick note on his EP, Anchor Chasing, because I feel like I
should comment. It’s alright; I’m not trying to disregard his first published
accomplishment. Style wise, it’s more lowkey than the other tracks I’ve talked
about, simple. When you listen to it, you can hear in his voice that he still
very much new, and hey this is an EP from two years ago, so it’s
understandable. We all mature as artists.
Of the five tracks on the EP,
there are only two that I truly love and know will make it to his full length
album. “Whole Heart” is definitely a track I love best and a song I think
Berrett is exceptionally proud of especially since he keeps promoting it. It’s
full of those beautiful piano melodies that you all know I love, so points
right there. It’s two years old, but I think this is a solid original
composition of his, and personally, I’m proud. “Pomegranate Sky,” another great
one on his EP is dreamy and acoustic, but solid with some violin and piano in
the background. You feel relaxed listening to this. You have to let his voice just
take you away, and he does, successfully.
By the way, please, please, check out all his music on his soundcloud here!
All in all, this man is going to
top charts. I’m not predicting that, I’m guaranteeing it. He knows what he’s doing,
and seeing as he is already signed to Warner Brothers, and seeing as his album is
about to be released mighty soon, it’s only a matter of time.
This last week I hopped on a bus and headed to Capitol Hill to see Giraffage play at Neumos. I had seen Giraffage once before when he played a free show at UC Berkeley, and even with a pathetic sound system he still rocked it.
I had never been to Neumos before, but I was happy with the layout. It was a small enough venue to provide an intimate concert experience while still being large enough for everyone to have room to dance.There was a fairly large balcony area for those who were 21 or older in addition to the large area of floorspace for all ages to dance.
We arrived hella early, I’m not sure why, but when we got there the very first opener was still on. He was a short kid who refused to put his hat fully on his head named DJ HoJo. He was not bad I suppose; we only saw about ten minutes of his set so its hard to assess his talent. He played mainly electronic, bass heavy PLUR music. For those who are unaware what PLUR is, it’s basically just a thing that raver kids say, although in reality it stands for Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. PLUR music can be defined by artists such as Porter Robinson and Zeds Dead.
When DJ HoJo got off the stage, Spazzkid came on, looking very hipster with his thick-rimmed glasses and perfectly sculpted manbun (please make this trend stop people). Spazzkid’s set consisted mainly of somewhat slow, dancey electro stuff. I wasn’t a huge fan of this set mainly because most of the songs he played were hard to dance to. There was usually no steady rhythm with which you could move to. Additionally, about halfway through his set he turned into some sort of radio host. He said distracting stuff into the microphone between each song. “New shit,” “Shout out to Porter Robinson,” “Shout out to Ta-Ku,” “New stuff right here.” I swear he must have sent a shout out to each least seven different artists. He did do some random singing that I found went well with the tracks he was playing and was fairly entertaining. However, all in all, I was not heartbroken to see him leave the stage.
Then Giraffage took the stage. He was humble as hell, speaking really quietly into the microphone: “hi guys….” pause for applause, “my name is Giraffage” another pause for applause, “I’m gonna play some music for you” and then he got into it. I, as well as many others in the crowd, was very happy to hear him play a lot of his older tracks, most of which were off of the “Comfort” album. Thankfully he did not follow in Spazzkid’s footsteps and blurt random crap into the microphone; he let the music do the talking. His set had enough groovy songs to get people dancing, only ever interrupted by build ups and drops. He played a couple of really old EDM tracks that were popular like seven years ago. I wasn’t super into this but I guess other people were. I have to admit that the bass was definitely not loud enough on the speakers, or perhaps the treble was too loud, but either way there were some sounds that were just too abrasive and some drops that just didn’t slap hard enough.
His set ended after about an hour, and then after leaving the stage momentarily, he was summoned by the crowd for an encore, which he utilized to play his Janet Jackson remix of “Someone to Call My Lover”. This is my favorite Giraffage track so naturally I was pretty stoked when he played it. After the song ended he received another well-deserved round of applause and the show was over. I enjoyed myself, and it seemed that other people did as well. I would see him again if given the chance.
Aww look at these cuties! All I wanna do is give ‘em my hard-earned wages
It’s been three years since COHO entered Seattle’s music scene. Since then, they’ve been performing at venues around the city to make ends meet, try out new music, and show off their chops. Of course, this can only last so long before an audience member asks, “where can I buy your music?”
The hard and fast truth of the music industry is that, without money to record, there is no music to buy! This is where fans (both new and old) can help! Yesterday, the band (formerly known as the Coho Mountain String Ticklers) kicked off an IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for their debut EP.
Check out the promo video below (caution – peak cuteness levels await):
Besides the simple satisfaction that comes from helping six Seattle-ites make their dreams come true, your contributions will also earn you a collection of the following gifts:
A signed CD
Free tickets, t-shirts, and physical copy of the EP
In addition to these perks, there are some cooler (and cuter) perks like…
A (homemade) wood-burned coaster
A date with a band member
An invitation to the listening party
A song about YOU
A private show!
I have been following this band since one of their first shows and I am so happy to see them ready to record something that we can enjoy. As both a faithful listener to folk music and member of the Seattle music community, I believe in the power of music from the heart.
COHO’s music is a part of our community and they deserve all the support they can get. “Success for us is not in dollar signs or in playing prestigious venues; rather, it is defined by whether people can listen to our music and feel it,” the band states on their IndieGoGo page. “That is what we hope for, and that is the purpose of this campaign.”
Check out the band’s website, facebook, youtube, etc. and spread the love! You never know when you’ll be in the same position, needing help to make the art that this world needs to hear/see/etc.
Lunar New Year’s celebrations don’t typically include a ‘90s Britpop band announcing a new album at a Chinese restaurant in London. But that’s exactly what happened on the first day of the holiday this year, with Blur revealing the title of their eighth studio album, The Magic Whip, and sharing the first song from it, “Go Out.” So gong hei fat choy to all the Britpop fans out there, I guess.
Hopes for new Blur album have been floating around since their reunion in 2009 and were further fueled by the release of a few new singles in the years since. Such hopes appeared to be confirmed with the news that the band recorded fifteen new songs during their 2013 Hong Kong tour, but singer Damon Albarn was quick to quash any overly optimistic thoughts by suggesting the sessions would end up as “one of those records that never comes out.” The members of the group seemed busy enough with other projects anyway, such as recording solo material, making cheese, and writing a musical based on Alice in Wonderland.
Few were expecting the surprise announcement of The Magic Whip, including possibly Blur themselves. But after polishing up the Hong Kong tracks, the first Blur album in twelve years was ready to go, with the recording location inspiring its cover and announcement location.
The first track to be revealed, “Go Out,” sounds in line with Blur’s later material. The noise of those post-Britpop albums is present here, though that’s not to say that there aren’t any hooks: the chorus, with its vocal hook, has already wriggled its way into my head. Meanwhile, Albarn’s contemptuous lyrics about “the greed go-getter con” show that he hasn’t grown too much more complacent with modern life since the ‘90s, when he sang about it was “rubbish.” On the whole, “Go Out” isn’t too wild of a departure for Blur, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be able to say that about the entire album. After all, Albarn has branched out quite a bit in his work with Gorillaz (and countless other projects), as has guitarist Graham Coxon with his own solo music. It’ll be interesting to see what other directions the band will take on The Magic Whip.
In keeping with the Hong Kong theme, the lyric video for “Go Out” features gratuitous Chinese and, for some reason, an ice cream recipe. You could maybe try making it yourself while you wait for The Magic Whip to come out on April 29th, and you can pre-order it in your format of choice here.
Vocalist Zoe Silverman commands respect on the track, delivering her lines in slow, powerful bursts. Though she sounds tame in the verses, she completely floods the gates in the chorus. “I ain’t got no type, bad bitches is the only thing that I like.”
Producer Adam Pallin doesn’t disappoint either. He gives the track new meaning with his signature beat and snares, having Zoe lay a sea of vocals at the chorus that takes the listener to another realm. This song reminds me of their song “Blue Hawaii,” one of the mid-tempo tracks from the “Varsity” EP. I may be biased (being a die-hard ASTR fan) but let me tell you, this track is not to be taken lightly. The combination of heart-pounding beats, siren-like vocals, and drowning bass give this cover all of the necessary elements to compete with the original song. Check it out on YouTube below:
In my opinion, ASTR actually made a better “No Type” then Rae Sremmurd themselves. But I’ll let you be the judge of that, go ahead and check out the cover here and ASTR’s Varsity EP here.
My hometown hero Tech N9ne, the rap god from Kansas City,unleashed his new single, “Aw Yeah? (interVENTion),” which serves as the intro to his upcoming album, Special Effects, due out on May 5. The new album follows up 2014’s Strangeulation, which debuted atop the indie and rap charts, and in the Top 5 on the Billboard 200.
Until now, Tech N9ne has never released an intro to his album as a single because he prefers to leave the audience guessing about the overall direction of the project. He made his first-ever exception to that rule with “Aw Yeah? (interVENTion)“ because, according to Tech, “the world needs to hear this.”
It’s easy to understand that sense of urgency when you hear his bars, which touch upon pressing issues like inequality as well as Tech’s irritation with his musical peers.
The song is opened with low, rumbling whispers that will eventually propel you into an opera/beat ensemble as Tech starts to rap. Check it out.
I’m a long-time Tech fan, but I really love this single because not only does it sound great, but its lyrics also differ from a lot of the other rap and hip hop in the music industry today. I like that Tech chose to write about different social problems that aren’t traditionally addressed in the entertainment industry, such as the events in Ferguson, Staten Island, Libya, Benghazi, Syria, Nigeria and Australia. Tech’s not holding back.
Also, in the middle of the single Tech mentions Jamaican rapper Zuse. Reportedly, Zuse is accompanying Tech on his Special Effects tour, along with artists Chris Webby, King 810 and label mates Krizz Kaliko and MURS.
"All my Technicians who have been patiently waiting for this, get ready for your minds to be blown! We made some dreams come true on this album. You WILL NOT be disappointed. It’s a beautiful thing.” -Tech N9ne
Watch for Tech’s Special Effects to drop in early May, and keep your eyes peeled for his upcoming tour dates.
Almost a month ago, Jarryd James (broody-looking guy in above photo) released his debut single, “Do You Remember”, confirming his status as an artist to keep an eye out for in the near future.
The track is a lovely mixture of genres–a little bit indie, a little bit electronic, a dash of folk. James, who is from Brisbane and is currently opening for Angus & Julia Stone on their Australian tour, reminds me a lot of James Blake and James Vincent McMorrow. Vocally and lyrically, he is definitely on par with both.
The gentle riff that begins this song is catchy and calming, and James’ breathy, soulful voice on top of the deep, rhythmic percussion that kicks in is enough to make anyone feel at peace. I dare you not to sing along when the chorus rolls around for the second time.
It seems unfair to be left hanging after such a great debut, but I strongly suggest following Jarryd James on Soundcloud and/or Twitter to stay posted on what’s to come–if this single is any indication, it’s going to be unreal.