There was a lot of snorts and retorts from the old guard in dance music noticed names like Ross From Friends, DJ Seinfeld and DJ Boring appeared on the scene with a sound that was co-opted and coagulated as “lo-fi house”.
Essentially, house music roughed up and anything but pristine and clean, the sound was rejected by those with hearts of old-guard purity and who presumably don’t like anything that’s not vinyl-only, ultra-rare and analogue.
Lo-fi house is a young thing and the few artists connected to it had a sense of humour too (is that a bad thing?). Here’s the thing, the scene’s (industry-created or otherwise), just released its marquee album in the form of DJ Seinfeld’sTime Spent Away From U, released today, and it’s a triumph of musical talent.
The nine-tracks here run the gamut of tape-delayed house, techno kicks, 90s rave, rough-housed acid and in the album’s closing tracks ‘U Hold Me Without Touch’ and ‘U’ an emotional heart that titles like ‘I Saw Her Kiss Him In Front Of Me And I Was Like WTF?’. In fairness, often younger artists, hide their emotions under flags of irony and that may be the case here on the surface with the Barcelona-based Swedish producer but there’s proof of something deeper.
The album’s closer ‘U’ samples Bob Geldof talking about grief and is one of the tracks of the year – a cathartic beautiful piece of music that could induce tears on the dancefloor.
Time Spent Away From U proves that whatever the flash-in-the-pan genre origin story, DJ Seinfeld could have a long-term effect in dance music.
After some teasing of her first new music in 9 years earlier this week, Karin Dreijer formerly of The Knife has returned to her solo Fever Ray project.
Far from the somewhat disturbing visual we saw yesterday teasing the song, ‘To The Moon And Back’ is the closest thing we’ve had to The Knife since they split in 2014. The song has the familiar electro mechanised beat and Knife-esque synth. It also has the line ‘I want to run my fingers up your p**y’ which on Spotify is given an Air Horn mix. The video for the song keeps things weird as the visuals proceeding it with a cryogenically frozen Karin reanimated.
Everything Is Recorded feat. Syd & Sampha – Show Love
Two of the best contemporary voices in R&B, The Internet’s Syd and Sampha get together with XL boss Richard Russell for yet another memorable track.
Smerz – No Harm
The Norwegian duo on XL Recordings made one of my favourite songs of 2016 and here they keep things odd and inviting.
It’s hard to pick a highlight from The Ooz, Archy Marshall’s new album as King Krule. My current favourite is the album opener which has a beat that sounds like it’s falling down the stairs on repeat as the lyrics slip deeper still – “He left the crime scene without the Motorola / still had dreams of being young Franco Zola.” A fine descent into one of the album’s of the month and possibly year.
From San Fran producer’s new album Too Real, his collaboration with Michelle Zauner aka Japanese Breakfast is an immediate warm cup of sonics, like a gentle EDM track that works. The album dropped today on Ninja Tune’s sublabel Counter Records.
DJ Seinfeld – Time Spent Away From You
Previews of Mr lo-fi house himself’s forthcoming album on November 3rd have raised expectations for an already buzzed about artist. Tracks like this proves their is substance beyond the style and movement tag applied to the Swedish producer.
Badbadnotgood – I Don’t Know (feat. Sam T. Herring)
A bonus collaboration between the nu-jazz Canadians and Future Islands singer after their fruitful get-together on the IV album last year on ‘Time Moves Slow’. Future Islands may as well be Future Irelands as they arrive to play Donnybrook next year. This track has a beautiful 70s soul quality to it.
Floating Points – Ratio
Anything Sam Shepherd does is worthy of a listen and as it’s Friday, why not indulge in the 18 minute version of this live favourite as opposed to the 3 minute one.
Now we’ve kicked 2016 to the curb, it’s time to look forward.
January is all about freshness, so here are 20 acts from around the globe who I reckon you’ll be hearing much more of this year. Some will be familiar to you but I expect to make an even bigger splash and some, I bet are likely to be appreciated by a lot more people by the year’s end. That was the criteria. I avoided any of the obvious ones you’ve seen elsewhere especially the BBC Sound of 2017 poll.
There are also extended playlists featuring the pick of those acts and more (JFDR, Jorja Smith, Declan McKenna, Louis Berry, ABRA, Jamilia Woods, Maggie Rogers, Pumarosa among them) on Soundcloud and Spotify.
A regular feature on Nialler9, Hare Squead spent the year building their fanbase in the UK by supporting Dua Lipa and dropping a series of singles and an EP on Columbia Records that suggested that Tony Konstone, E-Knock and singer Jessy Rose’s blend of soul, R&B, rap and pop could cross the Atlantic this year if all goes well.
Four songs deep and Scandinavian artist Skott (who apparently “grew up in a remote small town forest commune run by ‘outcast’ folk musicians”) has already received some worthy plaudits – Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In The World, approval from Lorde, plays on Zane Lowe’s Beats show and topping the Hype Machine’s most blogged chart (and featured in their end of year list)
Her songs so far are bright pop nuggets from the sweet melody of ‘Porcelain’ to orchestral finger-clicking ballad ‘Wolf’ and the whistle-assisted electronic pop of ‘Lack Of Emotion’.
Idaho-born musician Jens Kuross studied Jazz at Berklee college in Boston but last year begun releasing music under his own name on the London-based Aesop label. Now based in LA, Kuross’ six tracks last year were songs of emotion, depth, minimalism and confident songwriting, taking on a singing style that gets more affecting as it opens up, with touches of Radiohead and minimalist songwriters.
UK siblings reaching out with new pop tones.
Cotswold brother and sister Rob and Katy Pearson AKA Ardyn appeared with the smart indie pop song ‘Over The River’, a song close to London Grammar in mood. An EP followed, The Valley, which featured production by James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco, Arctic Monkeys). More of the EP’s arched celestial pop overtones would be welcome in 2017. If you’re in London next week, they play The Line Of Best Fit’s Five Day Forecast.
Dublin singer-songwriter has reached far in a short time.
For a new artist, having your second EP racking up over 1 million streams in your first year is quite an achievement. But Ailbhe Reddy has found fans wherever she has gone – whether its at festivals like Electric Picnic, Other Voices and Body & Soul among them. As she has grown in consciousness, so too has her craft and her live set finds her flanked by a full-band adding depth to already substantial songs. You may have heard her song ‘Seasonal’ in the RTÉ show Striking Out – courtesy of myself and Avant Music Port too.
2017 sees Ailbhe step it up into the wider world, starting with a new single ‘Relent’ and two gigs – The Servant Jazz Quarters in London on 15th February and The Sugar Club in Dublin on 22nd February.
Hear her new song below which Ailbhe says:
‘Relent’ is about looking back on a soured relationship & realising how it could have been, seeing the lessons and my own shortcomings as part of the story. It’s about the guilt that forms part of the natural retrospection on a once loving relationship. Too often these songs can be purely accusatory, whereas I’ve tried to explore the reality that there are two sides to every story and each party has their own narrative as they see it. The inspiration was these feelings and the song was written as an attempt to express this and move forward from it. To sweeten what has soured and move on without guilt”
Two French men make up the duo Her, making sensually suggestive R&B pop songs with electronic undertones – reminscent of Rhye with more body (ahem). They’ve had a few memorable songs already in the form of ‘Quite Like’, ‘Five Minutes’ and their most recent single ‘Queens’ featuring Zefire. They’re now signed to Island Records and kick off their year at Eurosonic next week. A debut album is forthcoming.
Lo-fi house it may have been dubbed due to its pisstakey name and peers (Ross From Friends, DJ Boring) but backlash aside, DJ Seinfeld’s music is proven to have a big heart as well as a sense of humour. ‘U’ is warm and emotive and even manages to turn a Bob Geldof sample into something sweet.
Rhye, the music of Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal has an elegant quality to it. When paired with Simon Green’s lush soundscapes as Bonobo, it’s a fruitful match. The song is from the forthcoming album Migration which will also feature Nick Murphy (FKA Chet Faker), Nicole Miglis of Hundred Waters and Moroccan band Innov Gnawa. You may have heard previous song ‘Kerala’ and it’s Gemma-Arterton-starring video.
All The People – ‘Beach Club’
Smooth soulful indie atmosphere from All The People, who are three brothers Ashley, Simon and Curtis from the UK.
‘It’s reminiscent of memories of our childhood summers spent in caravan parks on the south coast where the actual beach club we refer to still stands. It actually started life as pure house track and then we played around with harmonies & took inspiration lyrically from ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gabrain shaping it into a slightly melancholy, nostalgic song’
A debut album called R Together is to be released in March.
St. Francis Hotel — ‘You’d Gotta Be Alive’
St. Francis Hotel are a new Irish act/producers based in London who have released three songs thus far but have done enough to be noticed by the wider world via KCRW, The Line of Best Fit, Clash, BBC Six Music and Spotify.
They previously featured here as producers of the song ‘Writer’s Block’ with Lixo and Trim but their own music is much more band-based, psychedelic rock, synth atmosphere with pop tones, as heard on debut ‘Mondello’ and its reprise of sorts ‘Beyond Mondello’ below.
The duo (names unknown) met in London after emigrating to Dublin during the recession.
Newest song ‘You’d Gotta Be Alive’ is the best of the three: a soulful psychedelic groove with falsetto and laid-back atmospheric vibes.
Over two years since the rapper Ta’East first featured on Nialler9, the San Diego rapper finally dropped his music acknowledging the wait with the title “>OK, I’m Ready, which features his first handful of tracks including this individual track.
Kemt – ‘100 Reasons’
A smooth lo-fi-leaning house jam from a Parisian producer that autoplayed on Soundcloud for me earlier this week. Sound! Buy the track.
The Redneck Manifesto are to play two 2017 shows with support from Paddy Hanna on February 16th in Whelan’s and Feruary 18th in Dolans Limerick on 18th. Feb – Paddy Hanna plays in Dublin. Tickets on sale this morning at €18 + fees from TM, Wavtickets or Dolan’s.
Car Seat Headrest, the creators of one of the critically-acclaimed rock albums of the year are to play live at Whelan’s, Monday March 27th 2017 Tickets €18.50 including booking fee go on sale Friday December 9th at 10am from Ticketmaster.
Dream pop experimentalist Wild Nothing plays Whelan’s, Dublin on February 28th. Tickets on sale now priced €18.50 (incl booking) from Whelan’s TM & outlets nationwide
Tonstartssbandht (tahn-starts-bandit) are Andy and Edwin White, two “boogie, ’60s psychedelic-rock, and choral pop” loving dudes from New York who are playing The Workman’s Club on February 23rd 2017. Tickets priced €15 on sale now from TM