Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easy now!

Right, I've got my cappuccino, got my chocolate croissant, got 15 minutes -- time to blog!  More songs I heard on the radio today, and they're nice and relaxed, so you can chillll Winston.  I'm feeling good cos I cooked last night, I worked out this morning, there's only three more hours of work to go, and then I can do something fun this evening!  Like perhaps buy some music?!  Stranger things have happened... If that does happen I'll be sure to blog my purchases.

First up, 'Dress Up' by School of Language -- a chap who is one half of UK act Field Music.  When this first came on the Radcliffe and Maconie show today I thought it was a very very early hip-hop track; then I thought it was a current track trying to sound really old, which is very annoying; later on I realised that Radcliffe was playing samples over the beginning of the track, which is in fact new and not hip-hop.  Here you go:

Next, 'A Simple Truth' by Wild Beasts, a track off their latest album 'Present Tense'.  I was a bit worried about Wild Beasts, as I really liked their last two albums but I'd heard they'd gone electronic on their latest -- all I could think was "what a cliched thing to do, an indie band going electronic".  Honestly, I thought I was done with them, especially when I heard some news about them criticising musicians who don't sing in their own accents (C'mon!  Who gives a monkeys??  In this day and age!)!  But this track has made me think again:

I don't know anything about this next artist, and I don't have time right now to look him up -- sorry.  Hopefully you don't mind doing your own research. He's a new one though, and his debut album is about to come out -- that much I know, and it'll be pretty obvious how soon.  Oh yeah, he goes by the name of Nick Mulvey:

One thing I do know now, he used to be in Portico Quartet, a Gilles Peterson fave who I also like, so that's good.

That's it for now.  I heard today that Laetitia Sadier is coming out with a new album later this year -- hopefully I'll have more about that as soon as there are some useful links up.  Ciao for now!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I heard it on the radio

Just a great block of radio programming today by Steve Lamacq, who played three songs that are new to me and one that I'd not really concentrated on.  All are worth talking about so read on, reader, read on.

First up, a new track from Damon Albarn.  I've always been a fan of his voice and have been quite amazed by the sheer scale of his musical output.  He's been in the business for well over twenty years, has worked with loads of different musicians on many different projects, to the point that now Blur just seem like one project out of many.  Despite that, the album that comes out at the end of this month, Everyday Robots, is his first solo one, and I have to say I've liked what I've heard so far.  This song is a good example of how Albarn is able to be musically quite diverse -- the only giveaway that it's a track by him is his voice, otherwise musically it's not obviously a Damon Albarn song, cos he doesn't necessarily have a signature sound (..., well that is admittedly debatable, but I'm not going to go into it now).  Check it!  And if you follow the link above to his website you can see the quite trippy video to the song Everyday Robots.

Brian Eno and Karl Hyde (of Underworld) are going to release a collaborative album next month called Someday World.  Kind of an exciting partnership, maybe, or it could be complete rubbish, but I do like the song I heard today.  I don't really hear the Eno part of it, but I like that it's quite poppy and happy, and not the kind of thing I'd expect from Karl Hyde, who usually seems to be a bit darker and weirder in his work.  I like his singing, reminds me a bit of the guy from Doves (who's also just released a solo album):

Next tune is by a band I don't know too much about, the Hosts.  Sadly they only have a facebook page and there's not much info on there that I can see.  I do like this song though; I usually don't like music that is too much of a throwback or pastiche, but I enjoyed this, I think because of it's enthusiasm.  Seems like Richard Hawley has been involved in producing them (not surprising if you listen and compare to this track of his), and their debut album came out in February of this year.

Lastly, an enjoyable Pavement track.  Gotta say, there's something about hearing these songs on the radio, while doing whatever else, that cannot be recreated by searching for and listening to them individually on the web.  I really like radio, including the DJ banter -- sometimes the DJ banter is better than the music!  I'm so glad that the internet means I can stay connected to good radio.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Yasmine Hamdan 'Ya Nass'

Back in the early days of The Ashraf Obsession I wrote about Soap Kills, an underground electronic Lebanese band from the 90s'. The singer, Yasmine Hamdan, has released her first solo album, Ya Nass. Fahad sent along the link from NPR a few weeks ago, and I kept streaming the album non-stop.

It's entirely in Arabic, and Hamdan likes to play with different Arabic dialects. I barely understand any Arabic but I can at least tell when she's singing in different dialects, and its pretty neat. The songs themselves flow very well together and the instrumentation is very unique and engaging.

I can't really describe the album much more than that due to my limited skills, so just have a listen to a couple of songs off the album. And also here's another NPR link, this one of a live performance.

Once my CD arrives I can't wait to play this album again and again! I'd like to get some Soap Kills stuff too, but Fahad says "there is no soap kills to be bought on the internet!".

The mark of a good pop song.

This song makes me happy and sad at the same time, and has me longing for simpler times.  I like the jangly sound of it, the 90's indie-rock echoes.  Honeyblood are a newish duo from Glasgow; I heard them on Radio 6 yesterday.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lucky Jim

Well, anyone who's pretty nerdy about their electronic music will have already heard this, but I'm going to put it up for all the normal people.  A new Jamie XX track and it's not half bad.  At first I felt like a lot of the layers sat a bit uneasily with each other but now that I've heard it a few times I think it all seems to fit together quite nicely.  A nice, woozy tune this one.  It's easy to hate on someone as successful as Jamie XX, and I do think his moniker is a bit crap, but the tunes are all OK really.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Floating on NPR


Happy that spring is finally here in DC but I've been laid-low by a combination of hay fever and some sort of illness.  Hard to tell one from the other, but I do know that my head feels verrrryyy heavy, and everything aches.  Not nice, but NPR's got a couple of first listens up that I'm enjoying in my sickly state.  First up, an album by West Coast producer Teebs.  Found this to be really mellow music while I sat in my office and tried to will the pain away (and also read the paper).  Click here to see if it's still on NPR.

Next, a new East Coast rap group that I'm listening to right now.  It'll take a more in-depth listen for me to really decide how I feel about this but the fact that King Krule is on the album is a plus point.  Check out Ratking here.  They're on XL Recordings.  That makes sense.

While I'm at it, I may as well drop in something about a new mix up at Fact by Damon Albarn.  First mix I've ever heard by him and I must say I found it rather pleasant.  Not sure about the Tupac track but other than that, nice.  Can't embed so go here.