Friday, July 20, 2012

Baba O'Riley

Me again, had a couple of things I thought I'd highlight.  Couple of Guardian links to begin with:

First, a link to a neat page they've got where music bloggers from around the world put up a compilation of their favourite new tracks once a month; each compilation is downloadable, or you can just hear individual tracks if you'd like.  A cool way to hear some different, and worldly, sounds I think -- though of course it's only one track by one band picked by one blog per country, so hardly representative of what's happening in China or Denmark or wherever.  Still, worth checking out here.

Next is a good article on the recent NPR-intern-thinks-Public-Enemy-are-crap "controversy".  Agree with this writer's view, though I'd probably say the same about someone arguing the other side if it were convincing enough.  You can read that here.  The gist of it is, why should a 19 year old give a crap about an album that came out before his time if he doesn't like it when listening to it?  I'm sure many of us had the same experience with supposedly classic albums -- we want to like them, we spend money on them, but they're a bit ... crap.  I've had this argument in the past with my Rush and Pink Floyd loving friends -- is music appreciation an objective exercise?  I would say NO!  Especially when it comes to those last two bands -- I don't think I'll ever make time for them.

Now for some actual music.  I first heard of Bicep thanks to Resident Advisor, perhaps a year ago.  RA highlighted the fact that they make some funky house tunes, the best type of dance music basically.  They had a review of their latest single recently, and that's when I noticed that they're from Northern Ireland.  That got the old nostalgic-romantic-sentimental imagination working and I pictured really white young Irish people, in some sweaty little club, dancing to this funky stuff -- and you know they'll actually be dancing, as people on the other side of the Atlantic really like to get down to their dance music -- it's not just background for drinking and gawping (though I'm sure plenty of that happens as well).  Well I checked out their Soundcloud, which is full of tracks, and I recommend you do the same.  Gonna stick some below to whet your appetite:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Good stuff I've heard recently -- NZCA/Lines, Mystery Jets, PJ Harvey, Woods

My work has had a nice technology update recently; new computers, new drills, things like that.  One of the side benefits has been that I can now listen to internet radio while I clean people's teeth -- definitely a bonus! I used to hate cleanings, now I find myself looking forward to them just so I can hear some BBC radio.  The Beeb, and basically Radio 6, is as far as I've got in my net radio exploration I'm afraid.  I find that the DJ's and the mix of music on there seem to suit the kind of work I do; it's great having eclectic UK radio to hear again, instead of the advert-supported format crap that DC is dominated by.  There's a definitely more of an indie and old music focus, as opposed to the latest dubstep, but that's OK.  Having the radio on has definitely introduced me to some new bands and tunes that I probably would've missed otherwise, and I thought, why not share my discoveries?  No doubt I'm late to the party on some (many?) of these but I'm ok with that -- I'm a 33 year old dentist, I don't mind not being up on the latest stuff (one reason why there's no Frank Ocean on this blog yet).  And with that, here are some tunes, with very little background info -- you can do some of the work yerselves.

First up, NCZA/Lines.  No idea how that band name is pronounced, but I do like the electro sound of this track, 'Compass Points':

The singers's got that perfect indie-singer look too -- check out those cheekbones!  You can hear more from them at their site.

Next, Mystery Jets, with 'Greatest Hits':

I was quite charmed by this song and had a few guesses as to who it was by.  I haven't heard anything by Mystery Jets before, but they've been around a while.  You can hear their latest album in it's entirety here.  Recorded in Austin, don't ya know.

So one thing that's cool to do while hearing these good songs is trying to figure out who I'm listening to.  I'm pretty embarrassed about the next one -- not only was I unable to guess who it was, I've never even heard the song before.  The references to Brooklyn and Manhattan definitely put me off, and had me thinking... Patti Smith? The voice had me thinking... Chrissie Hynde?  Wrong both times -- it's PJ Harvey with 'You Said Something':

Ok, last one, and I can imagine at least one of my siblings getting annoyed at this post being too long now.  This last band is called Woods.  I've never heard of them, but it seems like they've been around for a bit.  Here are the gentle indie sounds of 'Cali in a Cup':

Had me remembering Teenage Fanclub, they did.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Iron Galaxy, Tomas Barfod

A few weeks ago I found a great site via some link on SoundCloud. Beats Bass is a website out of London that posts a new track everyday. I've only listened to a few and really liked what I found so far. Definitely click around their site and listen to tunes, and there are some downloads as well.

One of the tunes I found from that site is "Attention Seeker" by Iron Galaxy, a new producer from Montreal. The track is long at 8 minutes but intensely varied, and it has that techno-house-dubby sound that a lot of producers have these days, a sound that's been around since 2009 or so I'd say in my ill-informed opinion. Some call this stuff post-dubstep, or future garage - I don't care what it's called. Labels don't matter and they never did.

Have a listen!

I also wanna highlight another tune I've really been digging recently. I found it from this mix by Tomas Barfod on XLR8R that Fahad passed on to me a while ago. It's become one of my favourite mixes (my list of fave mixes just keeps growing). A couple weeks ago I was sitting in Prospect Park and enjoying this mix then let my friend listen to my headphones, and my friend who doesn't follow music at all, loved the mix! Yay. So definitely have a listen to the mix.

What I really enjoy about this tune below is the broken beat that appears here and there on the track. I think that's what is so unique about this track and why I'm stuck on it, and overall the track is quite pretty.

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Blur

Last Monday, July 2nd, Blur debuted two new tracks on Twitter and then made them immediately available for purchase on iTunes.  These were the first new Blur tracks since the lone Fool's Day in 2010 and the album Think Tank which came out way back in 2003, almost a decade ago.

Well, I was excited.  I love Blur.  I loved them ever since I heard Girls and Boys in '94 and Sunday Sunday in '93.  They're one of the few bands that I never stopped listening to.  I like all their albums.  I like how they're different, and quirky, and how I'm able to find something new in them almost two decades after first listening to them.

Well the new songs didn't disappoint me.  They were debuted live, with Blur playing on a rooftop in West London near the Westway motorway.  There was something epic about how the songs made their debut, especially Under the Westway which has such an understated sound.  Check out the videos below.  The Puritan sounds a lot different, harkening back to Blur's more unpolished material.

I found it amazing that I was able to buy the songs immediately from iTunes.  This was a vast difference from the days of going to record shops and buying import singles for $10 months after their UK release.  A lot cheaper as well.  Both songs set me back a measly $2.50.

I've been checking the charts this week for the first time in years eager to see how the single fared.  Under the Westway was the highest new entry at number 34.  Now to me, that seems crap.  I'm still used to the days of songs landing at the top of the charts and then falling steadily downwards.  It looks like now, it works the other way around.  With more airplay Blur should climb the charts and eventually arrive in a position that they're more familiar with.  I'm sure that will happen once the single's released physically and definitely after Blur's massive performance on August 12th to close out the Olympics in London.

Lets hope these are just the first couple of tracks of a lot more material from Blur over the next year.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

More George Fitzgerald

Another fantastic mix from Georgie Porgie whom I blogged about before. I am really liking his sound; I think he is the new Martyn for me, ie my new favourite producer.

You can listen to his XLR8R mix right here. I recommend downloading it. I enjoy this mix so much because it has that kind of dance music that's got the spiritual element, for me at least. Lovely stuff.

Like lots of musicheads I frequently get new tunes from mixes I enjoy, and this one has got many tunes I wanna get my hands on. The one I've downloaded so far (legally, let's support these artists now) is the Policy track, that appears around 42 minutes in on the mix. Apparently, Policy is a NYC producer who used to be a cinematographer, which I find mighty interesting as a filmmaker myself.