With more and more of the 1980’s PBS/older cartoon watching generation maturing and fine tuning their craft as musicians the more i’m excited about where hip hop is going. I’m sure if we asked a ton of these guys like Paul White, Bullion, Lone, Prefuse 73, Powell etc what they grew up on it would probably be a heavy dose Disney, Looney Tunes, and Hanna Barbara. I hear a great LP in Sounds From The Skylight, one that shows a crate digging addict, an open playful mind, and someone that truly cares and believes in taking this sound further and having fun doing it.
Recently one of the most relaxing songs i’ve been listening to is by Greg Davis, its 22 minutes of soft drone, it doesn’t give you much but also never asks for your attention, its very calming and glides out perfectly at the end.
I’ve been waiting for a new Legowelt EP since his release of Nacho Patrol, this track Day Sailor grabbed me right away, we don’t get this kind of atmospheric synth pop anymore I really missed it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
People shouldn’t confuse Minimal and Minimalist in this day in age, Minimal is a dying form of techno made by guys that isn’t meant for dancing but more about how much you can cut up a techno song and then use glimpses of sounds you find around the house while Minimalist is more of a classic sound that is timeless, raw and always a treat to listen to if you get talents like Terrence Dixon, Derrick May or in this case up and comer Actress to unveil something new that sounds old which in this case is a great thing.
Animal Collective has a new EP coming out next month and one of the big buzz songs is a rerelease of What Would I Want Sky which was just a BBC Session track in the past. The song consists of swirling noise and organized chaos which I think is Animal Collective’s strong suit and followed with looped vox to make it indie rock approved.
Greg Davis – Hall of Pure Bliss
Legowelt – Day Sailor
Actress – Ghost Have A Heaven
Animal Collective – What Would I Want Sky (BBC Session)
Here are 4 bands that I think really bring something special to the indie rock table, bands that are pushing the envelope on sound and their passions reaching for something different.
Juana Molina makes me want to dig thru the world music crates and pick her brain, the drive in her voice in this song could make 101 yr old man stand up and dance, I need to see this song being played live, my jaw would probably hit the floor.
What can you say its a new Beach House single that just leaked and the indie world is fumbling over itself to get a listen and I have to say its pretty impressive, catchy and i’d like to throw out this genre idea – woodgaze [woodsy shoegaze], yes or no?
After Pitchfork’s Festival all I heard about was how outstanding Frightened Rabbit sounded live, this is my first taste of something that I like by them on CD, wow a collection of songs[this plus the other 3 songs and some shoegaze and maybe Red House Painters and thats really it, and The Police too] that actually make me want to listen to lyrics, its such a nice feeling.
I have to give it to Tom Croose, he called Real Estate being great in the spring and now look at us all, I have to go back to how I visually described it back in August: “to me its laid back feel makes me want to bust out the Yo La Tengo’s Summer Sun LP but i’m too busy chillin’ in my kids pool filled with hose water that is being warmed by the sun and I have grass blades stuck all over me that i’m trying to pick off, so lets just keep the Real Estate CD in.”
My friend Eli (who needs to do an Italo Disco installment of Synth Pioneers) put me onto this documentary, which is likely the best exploration of the English synth-pop moment. With great interviews from heroes like Daniel Miller, Vince Clark and Martin Gore, it really got my blood pumping so I wanted to write about a few other acts who were originators of the international electronic pop sound.
Kraftwerk – Computer Love
Talking about the greatness of Kraftwerk is like talking about the necessity of air, so I’ll keep it short. They just released all of their most well-known albums, remastered and with original artwork. “Computer Love” is one of my al time favorite songs. The way the lead seems to phase shift at the end always takes my breath away. Let’s get this straight: A song about loneliness and computers, made before the internet was invented which glides like classical music? Sounds like a plan.
Yellow Magic Orchestra – Technopolis
Yellow Magic Orchestra have been called the Japanese Kraftwerk, in that they were both pop innovators and an awesomely stoic synth band. Ryuichi Sakamoto has since gone on to collaborate with Fennesz and Christopher Willits amongst others. Their work may pre-date synth-pop but it’s surely in the canon of influential works. I often play their hit “Computer Games” if transitioning between sounds in a DJ set. When the beat drops at 1:50, it always lights up the room.
Japan – Gentlemen Take Polaroids
A band that is sorely overlooked is David Sylvian’s Japan project, which married glam and (some would say, invented) new romantic aesthetics to synth austerity and elegant arrangements. Their full sound was more complex than their peers and more sinister by a long shot. Recently, Sylvian has also collaborated with aritsts like Fennesz and covered acts like Blonde Redhead with stunning vocal clarity.
Simple Minds – Glittering Prize
Scotland’s Simple Minds were another band not included in this documentary, probably because they are more associated with the New Wave movement, but like labelmates the Human League, they’re example of a band moving from experimental work to pop success. Their work became increasing U2-like and less electronic, but this track captures them at the peak of a rewardingly sweeping sound, with pitch-perfect production to boot.
Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the Synth Pioneers series can be found here.
I’ve been sick in bed but that hasn’t stopped me from digging deep for music in between long naps, I found soo many nice tracks I even want to post the 4 songs for tomorrow now.
Helios is one of those bands i’ll always check out because I know they’ll have a stand out track on there album every time and this album is no exception. The song Cross The Ocean is the closest i’ve heard to something like Boards of Canada in a while but without the PBS feel, tell me if i’m wrong.
I’m loving this intro of this Cale Parks song, the whole song is really unique and forward thinking, definitely the definition of Avant Pop.
I just found Desolation Wilderness, a really low key post rock/surf-ish group and an enjoyable listen.
Yeasayer have the sound to take experimental indie pop to TOP 40, if you listen close to their instrumental its mind scrambling, how do you sit down and put that together with other band members?! they care and are super talented.
I’ve really been digging back into Midlake’s work since Sam posted the Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve remix of Roscoe in Playlist 6 (Jakub actually posted it quite a while back but I somehow missed it). This is one of the few rock remixes I actually like more than the original. In this case much more.
And here’s one of my favorite Midlake songs, Young Bride from their last album, The Trials of Vanoccupanther. The bass is incredible on this one; I love that driving style. I keep wanting it to go to this place but it never does and I think that’s what makes it perfect.
One label that did it perfect this year was Werkdiscs, just solid A+R with a vision and exposed new sounds to the whole industry by unveiling high caliber talent like Lukid, Actress, and their new addition Lone. It really made a hobbyist/music lover like myself get excited about the hunt of music again. What Actress brought to the table this year was eye opening and Lukid’s twist on Dub gave me another record that I could put on and not worry about skipping around.
Lone’s new LP has the charm and playful nostalgia feel like his last LP Lemurian but hits a bit harder on the kicks and just comes off brighter like the sun beams glaring off snow. If you’re a Tycho, Boards of Canada, Flying Lotus, Christ., Washed Out, Neon Indian, etc. fan there is something in this album for you.
On a side note: I kind of want to rock doubles of Karen Loves Kate, just a second there I had this player and itunes playing the song at the same time and it just sounded soo warm and thick, pure goodness.
This is pretty rewarding 19 minute piece by Piano Magic if you have the time to slow down and enjoy the ocean wave sounds and a bell, I promise its well worth it especially right around the 7 minute mark and on.
I don’t listen to Cat Power, just never felt like she was worth looking into since I felt like the whole indie world had it covered but my best friend The Tower Of Light definitely proved me wrong by playing me this gorgeous and passion filled track that she did with Dirty Three.
Ex Boards of Canada member Christ is always releasing it feels like, this seems like a pretty raw LP, not as dreamy but heavy on highs in the Mono/Poly(?) and 90’s style breaks, I like how that he is holding down this sound and doesn’t evolve into what’s popular just for the sake of doing it.
Everyone has been leaking this new Four Tet song everywhere in the blog world, let me know if you like it, it has really grown on me, but i’m still not into the vocal samples though.