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Re-Introducing: Alpines

16 Apr

My blog has now reached the ripe old age where we can update previous posts! So today I’m going to talk about a band from South London called Alpines, who I was first harking on about way back when – or here, if you choose. So why are Alpines back on the radar? Well, in the time since I last blogged them, they slipped into a pool with a bunch of other bands who I’d heard and quite liked, and I wouldn’t say forgot about, but moved to the back of my brain? Well, they’ve very much re-entered my consciousness with some rather awesome remixes just uploaded to their Soundcloud.

Alpines – Drive (Skream’s I Ain’t Got a License Remix)

Seeing the name Skream on a track can mean one of two things. As he’s shown with Magnetic Man, it doesn’t really guarantee anything. However, to counter that there’s the remix he did of La Roux, confident sub bass rather than pandering to the “filth” happy masses as he did with Magnetic Man. Happily this remix of Alpines takes the latter formula, brooding sub bass eventually breaking out into a fast paced anthem that utilises the original ‘night-pop’ aspects very well indeed.

Alpines – Ice & Arrows (Dark Sky Remix)

Although Dark Sky are virtually worshiped in some circles, I’ve only managed to hear the remix they did of Crystalised, which is admittedly pretty impressive – because that’s one special track, but they managed to carve their own niche in it and come out of it sounding pretty good. They’ve gone for a similar style on this track, and sounds good. If the original had been produced by MJ Cole, this is what it might have sounded like.

Alpines – Drive (Akira Kiteshi Remix)

Confession time – before downloading this track, I had no idea who Akira Kiteshi are/is. I still don’t if I’m honest, but from what I hear here, it seems they are a dubstep act of some sorts. Now, as you’ll probably know I’m not a fan of dubstep, and this certainly has something of a wobble in it. In fact, it kind of sounds like Pendulum. I’m not entirely a fan. But that said, I think it works better here than normal – there is a nice contrast with her voice – this isn’t a bad song – if it was, I wouldn’t have posted it – but I do prefer the other two.

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Loose Ends Need Tying Up

6 Mar

So I’ve done one post since I got back with a few tracks in, but they were mainly stuff I got just before I went away and never got round to sharing. Here’s some odds and ends that I’ve ‘found’ since my return. Hope you enjoy!

Jamie Woon – Lady Luck

If you’ve been reading this for any time now you won’t need me to explain that Jamie Woon is a surefire favourite of mine. He’s up to his usual tricks in Lady Luck, his latest single, as he cleverly bounces his voice of the heavy bass below. Good as this is, I still don’t think it’s up there with Night Air.

Earl Wolf – Orange Juice
(Upload Blocked By Soundcloud)
The whole Earl/MellowHype/OFWGKTA thing is far from clear to me, but I think this is by Earl Wolf. It’s from the album Radical, anyway, and in my eyes at least, it’s the best track from there. The beat, stolen from Gucci Mane, is especially fantastic, but let’s not take anything away from the rapping, which as a friend remarked to me yesterday, surely should see these guys destined for success very soon.

Summer Camp – I Want You

I wasn’t too familiar with Summer Camp before hearing this one. It seems that witch-house is now the backing track of choice for a certain kind of love song, the kind where you love someone you need their permission to breathe. A tad melodramatic perhaps? Maybe, but this has come off sounding quite a lot like CREEP – not a bad thing at all…

Gold Panda – Marriage (Star Slinger Remix)

Two of London’s glitchiest, most-sampling artists come together in one track…I almost expected a crescendo of crashing drums, glitchy beats and all in all vaguely-organised chaos. But it seems that this hasn’t happened at all. It’s just glitchy enough, I’d go as far as calling it coherent at times! But seriously, this is a good track, mixing the glitchy style of Gold Panda with some dubstep style bass and some house style pianos variously. Very good.

The xx – Islands (Jamie xx Remix)

Another Jamie I’m very much a fan of is Jamie xx. This remix of his bandmates relies less on deep bass than normal, instead replacing the sparse backing track with a fuller, garage instrumental. It’s hard to say whether I prefer this to the original, such is the difference between the tracks, but had this been included on the album it wouldn’t have been short of the standard, even if it might have sounded somewhat out of place.

Cults – Go Outside (Brainbheats Remix)

This remix of one of last years biggest remixes has all things in the right proportions – just the right amount of distortion, of electro but coupled with the fact you can still hear that key riff that made this song so so popular. I have to say I’m surprised at the lack of remixes of this track though..

Arctic Monkeys – Brick by Brick

The world should soon be in hyperbole, for the Arctic Monkeys have released a new track. It’s actually quite good, certainly an improvement on Humbug and maybe even Favourite Worst Nightmare, even if it hasn’t reached the heady heights of the long titled debut album – no, I won’t type it all out. Anyway, this is a good deal more upbeat than what we’ve become accustomed to – and thank God for that!

Jai Paul – BTSTU (Nu-Direction Remix)

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when this was branded as ‘liquid drum and bass’ so I have to say I was pleasantly surprised upon hearing this. It should be enough to say that it does the original justice.

The xx – Basic Space (Pariah Remix)

Quite how, in 2009, this didn’t make it onto the single release of Basic Space is a mystery to me. It’s leagues ahead of anything on that release – including the original, which for what it’s worth, is a pretty good track. But this remix from Pariah, which mixes dub and house, blows it out of the water. I may be late hearing this one, but I’d go so far as to describe it as my favourite remix of The xx, one of my favourite bands…

Dark Is The Night

17 Feb

I don’t know quite what I want to say in introduction to this post, but it just doesn’t look right without at least a couple of lines before the music starts. Today’s post is left-field, in the post-dubstep, post-garage type of spectrum, dark and brooding, just how I like it on a long dark night like today.

Nerves – Seams (Rabby Shankir Remix)

I got sent this one on Facebook by Nerves who said they thought I’d like it. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from this, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. It sounds to me almost like Burial remxing the xx. I don’t think that’s happened yet? It’s dark and brooding, and menacing, and there’s a great bit of bass in the middle. Make sure you drop by Nerves Myspace if you get a chance.

Jamie xx – Newsnight Theme Reshuffle

Everything Jamie xx touches turns to gold. Yep. Even the Newsnight theme. It wasn’t bad to start with but this is an interesting twist on it… I’ve got no idea how or why this happened but it would be great to hear an extended version at some point…

Destiny’s Child – Bills Bills Bills (James Blake Refix)

From one favourite of ours to another. This time it’s James Blake with this remix of Destiny’s Child. It’s pretty much unrecognisable from the original but the typical Blakean synths and wobbly bass are there so I for one am happy.

Jacques Greene – The Look (Koreless Remix)

I’m pleased to take you from one current favourite to someone who I think will become a future favourite. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Koreless, a Glaswegian in a similar vain to Jamie xx. From this remix of Jacques Greene, I’m left expecting big things from this newcomer.

Microtrauma – Contrast (Max Cooper)

Max Cooper has for a while been a remixer who doesn’t have one established sound.. Which I think can be a strength or a weakness. However, with this remix of Microtrauma it appears he’s focusing his energies on the dub sound found on his remix of Au Revoir Simone, and a jolly good thing that is indeed!

BBC Sound of 2011 – An Update

14 Feb

Now seems like a good time to update you with the progress of some of the BBC Sound of 2011 artists. First up, I’d like to say a big thanks to all who downloaded the mixtape and shared with their friends etc, it’s been a great success… More like that is planned in the future. But now I want to talk about some of my favourite artists from the aforementioned list, as new music of theirs has come to light recently, and it’s lived up to the high standards I’d expect! Sure, Jessie J has been propelled to number one spot, possibly entirely due to her winning of the competition, but I want to focus on James Blake, Jamie Woon and of course, Jai Paul. Regular readers will know these three, the bassy J’s if you will, are among my favourite artists at the moment, and new material of theirs inevitably excites me. Well, here it is!

James Blake – Sparing The Horses

I guess it’s best to get the disappointment out of the way first, for this is not a new song at all… It dates from his debut EP, Air & Lack Thereof. However, it’s new to me (primarily through laziness) and I’m sure it will be new to many of Blake’s listeners too… If you like him for his newer, vocal stuff prepare to be disappointed, but if you like the older, more sample oriented stuff then this ought to be right up your street. With a drum beat as frenetic as the hooves of the horses it mentions, and wallops of big fatty bass, it’s also finally gone some way to showing why he might be described as dubstep.

Jamie Woon – Missing Person

Having just shared Spiral a week ago, it’s Missing Person’s turn this week. I have to confess to preferring Spiral, but this is a good track, it lacks in sound quality and the bassy undertones which have scored previous work of Jamie Woon, but the key feature, his voice is still there. I almost walked away from this one, but as this one gets going, it gets more and more irresistible, as Woon swoons into the chorus.

Jai Paul – Baby Beat

Okay, it’s only 40 seconds long but Jai Paul is Jai Paul as far as I’m concerned. I also realised that my Jai Paul thing started before this blog, so I’ve got two more tracks to post below! This is much what we’ve come to expect, as wonky bass crashes into the Prince-esque falsetto. This is probably the album I’m anticipating most for this year, and as each day goes by I’m getting more concerned it’s not going to happen – he’s virtually a hermit now! The reason I’m looking forward to it so is it’s difference from anything else out there – the closest things are M.I.A. which doesn’t really come very close at all and Hudson Mohawke, whose only produced a couple up to the Jai Paul standard.

Emiliana Torrini – Jungle Drum (Jai Paul Remix)

In the meantime we’ve got this, a rather good remix of Emiliana Torrini. For all it lacks in craft and guile, it makes up in pure fun. I’m all for atmospheres, hand crafted beautifully put together music, but sometimes a brutish bassline works just as well as all the effort, as this shows. Another thing I like about this track is that it included me to Emiliana Torrini – and now it’s starting to look like a match of two of the best artists around right now.

Jai Paul – BTSTU

If you haven’t heard this, then where the hell have you actually been!? It’s one of the most innovative, interesting tracks of 2010, and really heralded Jai Paul’s arrival as a newcomer to look out for. The only thing that remains to be said is sorry, for never having posted this before!

Odds & Ends

12 Feb

Here are a few songs I’ve got lately that wouldn’t really fit in anywhere else… So enjoy!

Eek-a-Mouse – Sensee Party

A craze for the skateboarding Jamaican mouse Rastamouse has been sweeping the UK like a tidal wave, leading to numerous ‘remixes’ of the title theme on Youtube. Among others, including the likes of Pass Out from Tinie Tempah, is my favourite, a combination of Rastamouse and Sensee Party by Eek-a-Mouse. Sadly the video has been taken down, but you can still enjoy this reggae classic.

Nostalgia 77 – Simerdown

I don’t normally go in for lounge jazz, but my dad brought back a Nostalgia 77 CD from a party a couple of years back and I got quite into it. They’ve continued their distinctive cool style into this, their next single.

The Streets – Soldiers

You’ll remember just a few days ago I posted a link to an instrumental track from The Streets called San Frandemonium. I’ve now found out the beat was used on Computers & Blues for this track, Soldiers. I think it’s the best track on the album – although I’m not so sure about the chorus. For someone whose not normally a particularly big Streets fan, I quite like this though.

Foals – Spanish Sahara (Deadboy Remix)

Deadboy is another artist who I’ve recently featured. This remix of Foals is different to his other works though, because as well as the usual dub elements there are bits which sound like garage, and other bits which sound like house. It works really well, I wouldn’t have expected these styles to meld so nicely but it’s an enjoyable nine minutes!

Forgotten Songs

9 Feb

Yep, that’s right I actually do have a playlist on my iPod full of songs that I feel I should listen to more. Basically, it’s full of tracks I like but neglected to listen to.. They’ve all only got a play or two. So I listened to it today! Here are some of my favourites from it.

Dominant Legs – Young At Love and Life

It feels like the wrong time of year to be posting this, it’s a September song to me. It has that kind of worn-out-summer vibe, a hazy melancholy is present throughout.

French Films – Take You With Me

Talking about the influences of a band feels awfully clichéd, but French Films are literally oozing them. In this, and also in Golden Sea, which I posted previously, I can hear everything from The Killers to New Order, The Drums to Lipps Inc. Anyway, this track is further evidence why I picked them as one of my acts to watch in 2011.

James Blake – CMYK

Many people would tell you this is one of the best tracks of 2010, and I’d agree that this is what sets James Blake apart from all the pretenders to the post-dubstep throne. I wouldn’t have particularly labelled him as a favourite of mine, but looking back over the recent posts,

Diamond Rings – Wait & See

Diamond Rings is a Canadian, and fortunately, his music doesn’t sound like what promo shots like this would suggest! Far from glam rock, this is pop with all sorts of influences, sounding almost like a toned down Nirvana…

We’re on a Journey

8 Feb

It feels like you are with me in developing taste into tracks which are on the very periphery of dubstep. I like this a lot. I think it’s good that the horizons are expanding – more awesome is always good even if it’s about the bass instead of the guitars that we’re all more comfortable with.

Jamie Woon – Spirals

Jamie Woon is the absolute master of this kind of thing. Once again, after Blue Truth and Night Air he’s at it again! The marriage of the gentle acoustic guitars with the bassy undertones is a match made in heaven. The album, Mirrorwriting is due out in April, and I for one can’t wait!

Jack Peñate – Pull My Heart Away (Jamie xx Remix, Featuring Theophilus London)

It’s rare for even two artists this good to combine, so three in one is a real treat. The vocals are really tight to the warped bassy take on Jack Peñate, which true to style, Jamie xx has provided. Although it’s almost unrecognisable from the original, some of the best elements, such as the swooning chorus are kept… everything in this song is in the right proportions – and that’s what helps to make it good.

Scuba – Before (Deadboy Remix)

Deadboy is one of the more successful purveyors of ‘post-dubstep’ – in other words people outside of South London have heard of him. I first came across him with his fantastic reworking of Drake/Alicia Keys but this Scuba remix is pretty good too.

Damian Marley, Eve & Stephen Marley – You Don’t Love Me (No No No)

Aha, I’m not particularly proud of posting this one! But we’re all allowed one or two guilty pleasures, are we not? This reggae track is one of mine – it’s catchy as hell too…