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5 Feb

I’ve never hidden the fact that I don’t like dubstep – some would say I’ve shouted it from the rooftops. So a large part of me feels highly dubious about these postings. It’s not dubstep-dubstep though, it’s more sophisticated – I feel like a musical elitist saying this – well I am really – but this is proper music, not just noise.

Ghost – Stories (Featuring Misty Miller)

This link up between two South London teenagers has real soul and atmosphere, the contrast of Misty’s delicate voice with the hard synths of Ghost is nice. It works so well.

Ghost – Fairytale (Featuring Misty Miller)

Much the same story as above, but this one is a tad closer to Misty’s style than Ghosts, until at 1 minute some seriously good synth work happens. It almost reminds me of Jamie xx’s version of Running from We’re New Here.

The Streets – San Frandemonium

To call this one dubstep is really pushing ‘dubstep’ to it’s very outmost limits – in geographical terms it’s like calling Watford part of London. That probably doesn’t help you to get a very good picture of the song I realise. Basically, it’s pure production from The Streets – and he really comes into his own here, with this synth driven hip hop instrumental – I can’t exactly genre-fy it, as you might be able to tell!

James Blake – Tep & The Logic

The newer, ‘next Bon Iver’ stuff has got everyone and his brother in a real frenzy about James Blake, but it’s stuff like Tep & The Logic, a rejected take from his up-coming album, that got James Blake his original fanbase.

Jamie xx – Far Nearer

This has been floating around the internet for quite a long time now but only a radio rip from XFM was available. After that it was rumoured to be appearing on We’re New Here which I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. Who knows what it is!? Anyway, here it is in all it’s deep bass-steel drums glory.

Blackbird Blackbird – Float On (Modest Mouse Cover)

This drifts out of the greater-dubstep movement and over into chillwave. I guess it’s most closely related to the James Blake track. It’s bliss for all seasons.


New Pretenders

4 Feb

I’d never heard of anyone who appears in this post before say Monday. You might have your finger more firmly on the pulse than me, in which case, congratulations, but as far as I’m aware this is about as cutting edge as James Bond’s next car…

Purity Ring – Ungirthed

I like the complete mash of different styles you find in this track. It has a glitchy beat which reminds me of Star Slinger, but it’s not quite as abstract, there are some dubstep elements – fortunately well restrained and then what really sets it apart from other glitchy sample-based tracks is the use of vocals – they really take it to a new level.

Mind Spiders – No Romance

From something which sounds absolutely 2011 to something that sounds almost 1971. I don’t mean that in a bad way – nothing wrong with energetic rock. There are a few bands from across the decades who sound like Mind Spiders but there have also been legions more bands trying to sound like Mind Spiders and totally failing.

Kohwi – Reeling In The Warmth

Back to the future then with Michigan’s Kohwi, who are behind this interesting take on chillwave. It manages to sound more interesting – darker, more upbeat without sounding too far from the genre’s mainstays such as Toro y Moi and Washed Out.

Porcelain Raft – Tip of Your Tongue (Keep Shelly In Athens Remix)

So I lied, I had heard of Keep Shelly In Athens very slightly before last monday. The point still stands though. As new as they are in this remix they’ve produced something sounding rather like the work of the sadly deceased John Barry. The big band feel and the violins make this sound vaguely James Bond like – a very good characteristic indeed…

Airliner – Hush Hush

Airliner’s ‘abstract hip-hop’ reminds me of luminary DJ Shadow’s masterpiece, Midnight In a Perfect World. I know part of the beauty of this is that it’s voiceless – hip hop instrumental not for a rap focus but for a focus on the music – but you can’t deny it wouldn’t sound pretty awesome with the right kind of guy all over the top of it…

What is this? Tropical pop!?

11 Jan

It’s getting to that time of the year where winters just dragging on, and all we can do is just pray for summer to come quicker. I have to say this has got worse since I came over to the UK. A New York winter ain’t got nothing on a London winter, that’s for sure. Anyway, here are some tracks that will make you long for the summer even more, so you can sit on the above beach (if you’re lucky!) and watch the world pass by to these…

Millionyoung – Weak Ends (ANR Remix)

This is just about chillwave, but ANR have taken some of the mellow out and replaced it with a bit of in-yer-face-ness. It sounds good.

Golden Ages – Africa (Toto)

This reminds me somewhat of Neon Indian who I featured before, but with a slightly more poppy aesthetic. Neon Indian for the radio?

The Miracles Club – A New Love

This is probably the most summery track of them all, five minutes of balearic bliss.

Chalices of the Past – 2 Rude

This one I think is 8-Bit, managing to sound a lot like Crystal Castles whilst also sounding simultaneously nothing like Crystal Castles..

2010 Lingers…

2 Jan

Happy New Year readers! At some point, somewhere I will be publishing my favourite tracks of 2010, but in the meantime this post features some of the best tracks from 2010 by bands you quite possibly haven’t heard of. I guess it sort of doubles up as people worth keeping an eye on in the coming year as well – so this post is two for the price of one!

Kisses – The Heart of the Nightlife

I think this LA duo are going to become one of my favourites of the next few years, judging by this, the title track from their debut album. It’s an instrumental which sounds like the backing for something from 70s West Coast California, but with some electronic influences in there. I might get slated for this.. but it reminds me of a mixture of the Drums and Two Door Cinema Club if you get where I’m coming from?

Trophy Wife – Microlite

Part of the Oxford collective Blessing Force, which coincidentally features other includee Chad Valley, Trophy Wife make post-pop. It’s guitars with more house-style drums I guess. It sounds nice and tuneful.

Chad Valley – Ensoniq Funk

Carrying on the Oxford theme is ‘Tropicalia’ producer Chad Valley. Although he’s been lumped in with the chillwave scene, there’s less of a misty haze over his work – it’s more jazzy and danceable and less distorted. I guess this is what makes him the most likely chillwave artist to cross over into the mainstream.

oOoOO – Hearts

San Franciscan Christopher Dexter Greenspan has chosen possibly the stupidest name for his music venture ever. However, the material he’s putting out there is pretty good, first his soundscapeish Marina remix and now this, the first vocal track I’ve heard from him.

Millionyoung – Pilfer

Even though the basic tune sounds like something that your kid brother could have made in his room on Fruity Loops, there’s something enthralling about this track from Millionyoung which I can’t quite put my finger on.

Teengirl Fantasy – Cheaters

This duo are the internet’s foremost purveyors of ‘dream-disco’, which is like soul music sampled into dance tracks, then everything is slowed down, and dragged out. That doesn’t sound particularly complimentary, but it does sound pretty good, like a more synthy, less brooding version of Jamie Woon.

How to Dress Well – Lover’s Start

This is like a conventional track but distorted a bit – the basic premise of chillwave right? Well, not quite, as rather than the dance/electronic/pop samples which we’re accustomed to hearing, this one features guitars. It’s an interesting idea, and it works fairly well, but does leave you questioning whether it might have sounded better without all the effects…


Welcome to Oak Island

27 Nov

So lately I’ve been getting quite a few more emails than I had before sending music, and they’ve all had pretty good stuff on, some of which I’ll be sharing here over the coming weeks. The first artist I want to share with you is Oak Island, who makes something that comes somewhere between chillwave and indie. He’s calling it pop on his Soundcloud, but this certainly isn’t your average chart material. It’s far cleverer and more mature than what you might expect to hear on daytime radio, to me I feel this is something I might happen across on a hazy day in California. Maybe a bit idealistic? You get the general picture though.

You can stream or download the tracks below, and catch up with Oak Island on his Bandcamp.

Oak Island – High Tide

Oak Island – Weaving

Oak Island – Ground You

Neon Indian

5 Oct

This originally appeared on the scene in 2009, but I’ve just caught up with it now.. It’s Neon Indian! How to categorize Neon Indian? I’d call it trippy chill wave. It’s totally different to anything else I know, that’s one way of categorizing it, as an outlier. But as all statisticians know, outliers are often the most interesting, and that certainly fits for the music of these four Texans. I’m going to share a couple of tracks with you today. It’s weird, it’s strange but it’s also brilliant!

Neon Indian – Laughing Gas

Anyone whose taken Laughing Gas will attest to the following – it’s going to be pretty hard to recreate musically. Well this comes close I suppose.. It’s up and down, it’s every where, and okay, it’s not as fun as laughing gas, but it’s still good. And those who haven’t tried laughing gas.. you’re missing out.

Neon Indian – Should Have Taken Acid With You

I’m not really the kind of person who’d normally want to take acid, get naked and go swimming. Well. I wouldn’t want to do them all at once anyway… Well the point is this song makes me want to.

Girlfriend (Alex Hill Remix)

28 Sep

Recently, Phoenix released all the stems to their album, so we can expect remixes galore from that. Well anyway, here’s an early contender, it’s Alex Hill‘s version of Girlfriend, and it takes the song from indie into some place I couldn’t name properly. It’s closest to chillwave I supposed, but just not quite as distorted as that. I guess I’d call it the indie side of chillwave – like if Washed Out teamed up with Vampire Weekend or something. I’m struggling here, you can probably tell. Well check it out below.

Phoenix – Girlfriend (Alex Hill Remix)

While I’m on the topic, don’t you think that all bands should release the stems like this? I mean basically what this is going to do for Phoenix is get them a bucketload of awesome remixes, totally free. Who could argue with that? In addition, it encourages new people to get into music, stems are so difficult to find, specially decent ones, so making it easier will only fuel creative energies. Hats off to Phoenix for doing this, and here’s hoping some more follow suit soon!