Monthly Archives: December 2011
”Or do you not think so far ahead? Cause I’ve been thinking about forever.”
Frank Ocean’s anesthetized braggadocio on “Novacaine” finds its musical counterpart in the stark sonic wasteland of “Thinking About You”. The track features naked synthetic warble, a regular ol’ boom-click drum track, and the spontaneous appearance of a guitar loop in the bridge that lands silently below the waves without a splash… Yet for all this numbness, Ocean’s plaintive croon is vibrant and innocent, full of evasive longing that will not be called desire. My favorite song of 2011 by a country mile.
“Thinking About You”- Frank Ocean
Here’s one for all you Pavement fans out there. I first heard “Thick As Thieves” earlier this week when it was featured in this stop-motion video and it’s been stuck in my head ever since then. This sunny song grabs you from the start with it’s catchy guitar riff and clever world play. Perfect for driving to the beach on a summer’s day (I know it’s a long way away, but stow it away until then, trust me). This song, along with the rest of the album Anchors is available for free on their bandcamp. I recommend you download it while you can.
Kalle Mattson – Thick As Thieves
Ever since I stumbled upon a Big Star CD at a now defunct record store, I fell in love with their jangly guitars, catchy lyrics and Alex Chilton. The singer first gained fame a member of The Box Tops, but in the 1970s he formed one of the greatest powerpop bands of all time: Big Star. Unfortunately, Big Star never got the fame they deserved in their original lineup and they broke up after just a few years. But Alex Chilton went on to make some great solo records, produce a few records and then reunite with the Box Tops and a new lineup of Big Star. Sadly, Chilton died of a heart attack last year, but today I want to celebrate what would have been the 61st birthday of a man whose influenced countless bands and created some of my favorite songs. Below are a few of my favorite Big Star songs (one of which you might recognize). Happy Birthday Alex.
Big Star – In The Street:
Big Star – Thirteen:
After such an amazing debut, I was worried they couldn’t do it again. There was no way they could recreate something so succinct, simple and beautiful. But it looks like I was wrong. Very wrong. Or at least that’s what the new xx demo leads me to believe. ”Open Eyes,” the dark and mellow single released today, features nothing more than an echoey guitar and washed out vocals. It’s as if The xx was calling to us from a distance, reminding us that they’re still here and still as good as ever, marching towards the new year with a great new album. Maybe I’m reading into this demo too much, but either way I’m very excited about this Christmas present. Check out the video above and download the song is avaiable for free on their website.
The Weeknd is back with another mixtape, this time called Echoes of Silence. If you are still unfamiliar with Abel Tesfaye’s work, you should download and listen to his debut work House of Balloons immediately. Possibly one of the best new artists of the year, the Weeknd blends electronic-infused R&B with the gaudy side of late nights, heavy drug use and beautiful women. Echoes is no exception. This time around, the Weeknd works a heavy Michael Jackson cover of “Dirty Diana” along with ballads like “XO / The Host” and a simple stripped down closer bearing the mixtape’s title “Echoes of Silence.” Although I need to give the mixtape a few more listens, I can tell this one is good. If you are interested, STREAM the album here or DOWNLOAD it here or Listen to a track below. – D. Gold
The Weeknd - XO / The Host
I don’t pay attention to pop as much as I ought to, but sometimes it’s the artists I hear that bring other genres to me. This time, it’s Sondre Lerche’s annual holiday cover song that showed me the pop gem, “Countdown” by Beyonce. He takes the original, full of brass instruments and danceable beats and strips them down into a melancholic acoustic jam. It lacks some of the excitement of the original, but it adds a new dynamic by placing emphasis on the lyrics over the beat. While he may not ever match up to the music video for “Countdown” (have you seen this video?) as far as the actual song goes, Sondre Lerche managed to make a unique and enjoyable cover out of what he calls his, “favorite [song] of the year.” Check out his version below.
Sondre Lerche – Countdown (by Beyonce):
You may remember a previous post about field recording of traditional African music from a few months back. Now, M. Maller is back with his second installment. This time, we changed it up a bit with a 45 minute mix M. Maller created under the name DJ Bull’s Eye. This mix displays a wide range of African field recordings from 1958-1972, mostly based off of the OCORA record label. Check it out below for a taste of some traditional African music and look for more mixes in the future.
DJ Bull’s Eye – The Africa Mix:
The album is called Glass Swords and the artist goes by the name, Rustie. Initially, I found out about this guy on HypeMachine with his song “City Star” and its pretty popular mashup with Wiz Khalifa’s song “Taylor Gang” by Skratch Bastid. The song bumps. Starting off with a light Avicii-like poppy electronic synth, the song quickly builds up to work out some up-tempo bass and drums. Then, I saw Rustie’s album on HypeMachine’s list of possible album’s of the year and so I checked it out, without any real expectations. After plenty of listens, I would recommend this album to any fans of new-age electronic, with the likes of Avicii, Com Truise, or Glitch Mob. While some songs are slower than others, the pop-synths on this album shrill and the bass grooves on most. Take a listen for yourself with “City Star” and “After Light”. If you like, check out the album, Glass Swords.
Rustie – City Star
Tennis, the mellow music making duo from Denver, is gearing up for a new album, Young and Old, due to be released this February. In their meantime, they decided to release this gem of a cover song, “Tears in the Typing Pool” by Broadcast. Tennis stay true to the form of the original with the addition of a sturdy piano, some drums and a few other personal touches. Listen to the cover below as you patiently await the arrival of their second album.
Tennis – Tears in the Typing Pool (by Broadcast):
“Maybe they’re telling us
That the end never was, never will”
“Lover’s Carings,” a track of Bibio’s 2009 album The Apple and The Tooth, comes in with a lo-fi folk guitar riff that could be a song on its own, in fact, I thought the track was purely instrumental when I first heard it. Just as the riff fades out and the song fades out, a cow-bell begins to bring it back to life. It transforms into a beautiful, upbeat, catchy track that has been stuck in my head ever since L.Jones gave it to me in the latest volume. If you like it, definitely check out his newest album, Mind Bokeh as well.