Archive for November, 2011

November 30, 2011

SBTRKT, Sampha & Jessie Ware

Pardon my French, but: Oh my f***ing god, this is beautiful!

Jessie Ware and Sampha collaborate in the 2 minute short, but intense love tune Valentine. Both are best known for having provided their voices to one of this year’s best new artists, SBTRKT (see below).

Somewhat unsurprisingly, this track is much softer than the usual, bass and synth-focused stuff from SBTRKT. Sampha, with a voice smooth like silk, is one of the most important factors of SBTRKT’s latest success. Mandatory for a song with a name like this, it’s available on heart-shaped vinyl, on the label Young Turks.

SBTRKT (read Subtract) is symbolizing a musical identity independent from a single person. Hence, his alter ego, London-based producer Aaron Jerome, is always performing behind a charismatic mask. For anyone who doesn’t know his  self-titled album yet, check out a fan-made video for Hold On featuring Sampha and the track Right Thing To Do featuring Jessie Ware.

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SBTRKT’s style is combining electronic and distinctive R&B elements in a unique, innovative manner:

“The main thing are the synths, arrangement and syncopation. I tend to play around with chords or pads first, and then start applying some drums to it. Even though I guess I write ‘bass music’ I tend to add bass in last; rhythm and arrangement are most important for me. A lot of people seem to mention ‘2 step’ alongside my name guess it’s just because of the syncopation that genre entailed.”

In that sense it is much like The XX or even Little Dragon. After all, Little Dragon’s singer Yukimi Nagano has given her voice to SBTRKT’s best known track Wildfire:

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November 26, 2011

Apparat feat. Soap&Skin – Goodbye

Collaborations between artists of different styles are in good fashion these days: The one between Berlin-based electronic artist Apparat (aka Sascha Ring) and Austrian singer-songwriter Soap&Skin (aka Anja Plaschg) can definitely be appreciated.

The result is a well-woven synthesis of experimental styles – his electronic ambient soundscapes and her uniquely dark, heavy and almost disturbing vocals.

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An instrumental version, included in Apparat’s latest LP The Devil’s Walk, was also used for the soundtrack to AMC’s hit series Breaking Bad. The following video was edited by Plaschg herself, using scenes from the movie Spione by Fritz Lang, the maker of Metropolis.


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For anyone interested in either of these artists, check out two more examples of their work:

Soap&Skin – Thanatos (from Lovetunes for Vacuum)

Apparat – Song of Los (from The Devil’s Walk)

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November 23, 2011

2:54 – Scarlet EP

Introducing another promising young band from London: 2:54.

Creating something in between psychedelic noise rock and lo-fi indie pop, with its smooth and creeping female vocals, 2:54 might just well be able to fill a musical niche.

The four band members around sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow have only played live for their first time last year, but have already been touring with stars like Blood Red Shoes, Melissa auf der Maur or Warpaint (and soon on stage with The Maccabees and The Big Pink).

Check out the clip for Scarlet, in its visuals perfectly matching the dark, foggy and haunting aura of the song (which itself seems to be missing a climax to release the built up energy, though).

2:54’s debut album is due to hit the stores next spring while the new Scarlet EP is hitting the blogosphere these days. For a lighter, but more straight-forward track, take their previously released Cold Front:

November 20, 2011

Friends – I’m His Girl

Ringing bells, repetitive drums, clapping hands. And what an irrestibly catchy, eargasmic bass line! It’s the other kind of relationship advice, wrapped with a cool indie pop number.

„When you see me walking around with him,
I’m not just another chick, I’m his girl.
So, If you love someone, let them be free.
I know I don’t want no one suffocating me.
Don’t settle for ownership, make it deep.
If you love some one, it should feel good to let them breathe.“
 

Brooklyn-based Friends will release their first, impatiently anticipated LP in 2012. Currently touring North America, they will be in Berlin, Hamburg, London and Amsterdam in February next year.


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Well yes… that was just another yellowed 90’s-style video. Check out the clip for first  single Friend Crush, too:

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November 16, 2011

Kimbra

Kimbra, 21 year old indie pop singer from Hamilton, New Zealand, released her debut album Vows in June this year. Her strong, quirky voice and its use for percussive sounds create a very unique style.

Reminiscent of artists like Florence and The Machine or Björk, Kimbra is able to release the same kind of energetic atmosphere on stage performances. The five videos recorded at Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne may be the best example for her skills and aura:

Collaborating with Australian artist Gotye for his highly successful song Somebody That I Used To Know gave Kimbra’s album a kick-start.

 

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November 13, 2011

New Look – Nap On The Bow

Part-time model Sarah Ruba and producer Adam Pavao have both united musically and romanticly. Together the Canada-based duo form New Look, creating crisp-clear electronic synthie pop. Their self-titled debut album has been released recently on K7, label of Chromeo and the DJ Kicks series.

The opening track Nap On the Bow clearly stands out – and has all it takes for repeated plays. Bouncing bass beats and bubbly synthie sounds combine with Sarah’s breathy, but secure voice. Its video was created with the touch-free Microsoft Kinect camera, perfectly visualizing that spherical underwater feeling.

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November 9, 2011

Bon Iver – Blood Bank EP

“That secret that you know, but don’t know how to tell.
It fucks with your honor and it teases your head.”

One of Justin Vernon‘s most beautiful songs, again creating that distinct Winter atmosphere. His songs seem to be even more enchanting with chilly Winter air and snow surrounding you…

Blood Bank has only been released on an EP, but it might just triumph over Bon Iver’s long players, especially since it includes two more brilliant tunes:

Babys is dominated by a high-pitched piano, only giving rest for the words “Summer comes, to multiply!” The (almost) acoustic song Woods starts slow and with repetitive lyrics, then growing to immense heights.

Enjoy Blood Bank it with a well done fan video:

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November 7, 2011

Oh Land

In case you still don’t know this one: Danish electro-pop singer Oh Land (a pseudonym for her name Nanna Øland Fabricius) has been around for more than 3 years already, but her success has only picked up speed throughout the last months. She certainly deserves it and should effortlessly get into 2011’s  top new artists.

Often compared to Lykke Li La Roux or Florence Welsh, Oh Land can certainly compete in points of innovation, quality – and looks. However, she is also just as unique. Her self-titled, second album was released earlier this year after she moved from Denmark to Brooklyn about a year ago. It’s filled with tunes to sing along, most of them quite danceable. Playfully using her voice and instrumenting it with a drum pad and soft percussions, her songs create energetic, colorful images of electronic fairytales, like in White Nights:

 

Besides these poppish and cheerful tunes (the most successful example might be Son of a Gun) there are slightly darker ones like Wolf & I as well as slower, seductive ones like Rainbow. Her songs  are generally, both in lyrics and instrumentation, contradictory. They are pending between two poles, between light spirituality and fairytales on the one side and obscure power and vulnerability on the other side. In that aspect her latest LP is very similar to her less known debut Fauna.

Not all of the album’s songs are that good, but these pearls are enough to compensate and create a great overall set. Oh Land promises good entertainment in concert, as she is currently touring Europe and beyond.

By the way, there are still spare tickets for her gigs in Berlin on November 20th and in London on February 23rd!

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(And no, didn’t chose that artist for her looks. Though might as well could have.)

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