Long time ISO50 blog reader, ex. Judah Johnson frontman, and adding some soul and romance to electronic music is Daniel Johnson with his debut LP Lazrus. When i’ve played the record to friends some people said the album sounded like TV on the Radio, Jamie Lidell, Thom Yorke, Deastro and even Hot Chip at times but to be honest I think of it as its own animal. The record came to me during a time that I wasn’t listening to anything like it, I don’t have much soul/R+B in my collection of music and probably never will but this LP has hints of those elements and then some that help me effortlessly engage by Daniel’s additions of detail to an almost actual true pop electronic album.
If there was a most improved band award it would go to The Horrors, I remember being drawn into their myspace by seeing that Chris Cunningham did a video for them but the music didn’t grab me like it does now. Sean Lynch (from 800beloved) and I drove around a few weeks ago when I was in Michigan and it was around 4 am and this song came on I was really enjoying it and then Sean whispered something about how insane it is to put out a 8 minute single for an album today and I remember just chuckling and asking myself if this song is really going to go on for 8 mins but soon enough I didn’t want it to end. Also, do yourself a favor if its your first listen and just watch the video.
Went to the Warp offices the other day and met with Zach who helps hold it down here in the States, he recommended this Tyondai Braxton LP who impresses me on another level when I see him live playing guitar for Battles. I can this song hitting Top 40 local rock radio at times with a radio edit, reminds me if you stripped down a good Deftones song.
I keep hearing about XL’s new signing Discovery since its 2 guys from Ra Ra Riot and Vampire Weekend, after the first listen I would of never guessed that or even came close to that it was members from either. I listened to 2 free songs which you can find if you search for them in the blog world but after going on iTunes I found that I think this Osaka Loop Line song might be a favorite.
Experimental rocker Jesu remixes School of Seven Bells, the remix is very similar to something that maybe Apparat or The Reflecting Skin would of done I think which includes heavy dry kicks and swells, definitely one of my favorite remixes in 2009.
Recently listened to a mix by Philip Sherburne and it started off with this His Name Is Alive track which I thought was a group that has some ok records but this instrumental should be followed up by a whole series of songs like this, i’m sure i’d not be the only one buying that record up.
More electronic music producers need to be making music videos that they’ve done if they have some decent taste like this Rebolledo one that just features Matias Aguayo walking around on the beach eating ice cream and singing the song. The drummer is the the best part, I have no idea what he’s playing with but he’s looking great doing it hah. I hope to see younger musicians like Seth Troxler take on a project like this because he’s almost at this level and has the imagination for it. The video is also refreshing for Techno/House and it also made me revisit Matias Aguayo’s first record “Are You Really Lost” which blew me away again. On a side note: That Theremin sound will kinda get to you, might actually turn you away but I guess its more about the bassline at times for me and vox.
School Of Seven Bells – Face To Face On High Places (Jesu Remix)
His Name Is Alive – Sitting Still Moving Still Staring Out
Stereogum premiered info on the 21 artists compilation: Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs of Mark Mulcahy to help the former Miracle Legion front man continue making music while he raises his three-year old twin daughters. These kind of projects I love to see always and its nice to see someone like Thom Yorke down for the cause.
Sigur Rós frontman Jón (Jónsi) Þór Birgisson and partner Alex Somers, from Reykjavík band Parachutes collaborate on a LP which features this song Boy 1904, this might be the gentlest song ever posted on the blog which includes a boys choir i’m guessing and some beautiful drone. The art above isn’t the actual cover, I think its the photo that the cover was made from.
Tom Croose and Slow Hands turned me onto this Al Usher track, they literally did flips in the air while talking about it. I think it came out this week on INTERNASJONAL which is Prins Thomas’ label out of Norway. I think I hear harps, slow disco / balaeric being pushed to its edges when it comes to mellow cuts, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Remember Mazzy Star? well sometimes when I hear this song I wonder how it would be to be a musician that writes lyrics because I personally hardly listen to anything but instrumentals but if I wrote down “…fade into you, I think its strange you never knew…” i’d give myself goosebumps.
An good intro can really make the song. It can set the mood, erasing whatever else is around you and make you feel safe from the world. These songs work because they are incredibly funky and use the impossible elasticity of the synth to great measure.
Another reason these songs still feel fresh is because they represent an era where music and technology had reached a new apex. Stevie Wonder’s synth work in the 70’s is considered by many to be the most influential of it’s era, thanks in part to his work with Tonto’s Expanding Headband and their TONTO synth (watch this little documentary), which allowed the funk to show through the machines.
These songs honor that legacy in different ways.
Produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of the all-time best disco band Chic, this was a UK chart hit but never on a US album save for a low-key soundtrack. Not as synthy as the rest, but about as good a pop-disco track as you’re likely to hear, skanking along at an easy clip.
The Brothers Johnson – Strawberry Letter 23
A funky version of Shuggie Otis’ deathless original, this cut is synth and bass heaven and helped them reach platinum status. Produced by Quincy Jones no less.
Dexter Wansel – Life On Mars
Dexter Wansel was on Gamble And Huff’s famous Philly International label. Ann Arbor/Detroit legend DJ Carlos Souffront sold me this re-issue at Osborne’s record store in Ann Arbor years ago and it never sees the shelf. The cut breaks into some super funky disco heat, but that cosmic intro makes this one truly staggering.
Yarbrough and Peoples – Don’t Stop The Music
Greatest bassline awards #1 and sits between genres pretty niftily. 1980 was a MONSTER YEAR for synthy funk, the R+B charts were producing some great tracks, fast and slow. Boogie music is getting some love thanks to revivalists like Dam Funk, and with good reason. Feel this video.
Australian’s like The Canyons have been putting out some great disco as of late, really good rhythm and guitar additions, really gives the songs this authentic non digital feel.
One of my favorite Lusine songs has to be Rushhour, its one of those songs that pays off if you listen to it from start to finish, no patience with the beginning will get you nowhere. Once you get to the 4 min mark you’ll know i’m talking about but the only way to truly enjoy it is listening to the detail in the build up to it, it literally sounds like the a thousand knifes being sharped by your ears while you try to run away from the highest quality low end that monsoons over your precious town.
Eliot Lipp and Leo123 collab again since their original material debut on Ghostly Swim and leak a cutup west coast indie club bomb for their North American tour, real solid work by the two.
Mountains sway the Thrill Jockey catalog up another step on the quality end by unleashing an absolutely phenomenal droned out LP, the real pleasure hear is having the whole LP and playing it start to finish, highly recommend atleast having the song Telescope.
Dubstep has been manhandling the electronic scene lately in the States and i’m sure in the UK its even more intense than that and has been for quite sometime now. I think its finally spreading into the “normal” listeners ears, I say it that way so I don’t get too much crap from the true dubstep heads that have been following dubstep since the 90’s or whatnot. Guardian also known as A Setting Sun did a nice job of with this mix by showing the range of how dark to poppy the sound gets plus really capturing a few of my personal favorites.
TRACKLIST Ramadanman – Bidding War Skream – Babylon TRG – Move Dis Hijak – Nightmares RSD – Forward Youth Untold – Dante 2562 – Kontrol Benga – Crunked Up Dizzee Rascal – Round We Go Kode9 – Ping Loefah – Bombay Squad The Bug ft Killa P & Flowdan – Skeng Benga – E Trips Magnetic Man – The Cyberman La Roux – In for the Kill (Skream Remix) Pinch – Punisher (Loefah’s SE25 Remix) Skream – Trapped in a Dark Bubble Bar 9 – Midnight Benga – Evolution Plastician ft Skepta – Intensive Snare Boxcutter – A Familiar Sound D1 – Cocaine Kode9 – Magnetic City Flying Lotus – RobertaFlack (Martyn Remix) Martyn – Right? Star! LD – Woodblock Zomby – Test Me for a Reason