Any new music from Dan Snaith is always welcome around here and a new Daphni album largely culled from his recent Fabriclive mix also serves that notion. Why? Because you get some grade A dancefloor bangers in their unedited form. So we get songs we have heard like ‘Face To Face’, ‘Hey Drum’, ‘Tin’, ‘Medellen’ and ‘Vikram’ (first heard in 2015) among others but given their own chance to shine away from a mix format.
LA singer Kelela took her time in constructing her debut album because she didn’t want to repeat the club-mix sounds of her EPs and mixtape. So her debut full-length is not as immediate for listeners but there’s much more to explore in these deftly-constructed modern R&B tracks. Kelela’s sultry honey voice and preoccupations around relationships, both sexual and sensual, are the big draw here while producers like Jam City, Arca, Al Shux, Kingdom and Bok Bok set out a celestial electronic backdrop that points the way forward for the future of the genre.
Kieran Hebden moves away from the dancefloor and limited releases for his ninth album which pares things back to a low-tempo and a comforting series of contemplative almost new-age sounding tracks that call back to his earlier work as opposed to his club-orientated output of recent years. Four Tet’s music has tightened up its arrangements largely due to those recent explorations but on New Energy , there is lots of room for melodic mellowness. The focus is on the mind and spirit as opposed to the feet.
Walking the line between playful electronic and avant garde, Aurelia Smith’s new album is less ambient than before which may turn off those looking for a suitable background release. While it’s also built on a narrative that follows the human lifespan in four stages, there’s enough here on its own to stand apart and grab your attention on its own and fans of modular synths will love the Buchla tones combined with the almost pop melodies at play here.
There are plenty of albums to look forward to in 2017 and here are just a few of them which don’t have release dates yet. I’ve also included a few which we likely won’t see this year – just so you’re prepared. See also – My top New Artists of 2017.
It’s been three years since the Leeds band released their second album This Is All Yours, so time is ripe for another in 2017. Last August, drummer Thom Sonny Green told NME, the band had loads of ideas, which wasn’t exactly – “songs are written, we’re recording them and they’re sounding awesome,” but after a period where Green released a solo record, bassist Gus Unger-Hamilton opened a café in east London and singer Joe Newman featured on a Clams Casino track with Lil B, there are rumblings.
The band have posted pics from the studio including ones at Abbey Road where they were recording strings only last week.The band have announced festival dates this summer so a good guess would be around the time of June, when they start.
Caribou / Daphni
Possible Date: Late 2017 but more than likely 2018
Three years on from a career apex record Our Love and a song which dominated the summer and the rest of the year. Dan Snaith is DJing as Daphni a lot this year including Coachella so a new album from Caribou doesn’t feel likely at this moment (maybe a Daphni 12″ / single release though?)
Possible Date: Autumn 2017
After last year’s DJ Kicks, 2017 looks to be the year that Daniel Avery follows up his superb 2013 album Drone Logic, according to this tweet.
Three months in London. The studio door is locked from the outside
Loreley Rodriguez’ debut Empress Of album Of Me was followed up with a killer once-off single and one of the best songs of 2016 collaboration with Blood Orange – ‘Best Of You’, as well as one with Pional, so I really want a followup in 2017. This is more hopeful than concrete, though signs are good.
I swear making another album is an emotional roller coaster:not so much making the music but playing it for other people
A new album was promised in 2016 from the Brainfeeder boss but Stephen Ellison was working on his feature-length film debut Kuso (starring Hannibal Buress and Tim Heidecker), which will premiere at Sundance this year. He also scored a short too. It looks like we’re getting V, a Captain Murphy record some time this year, as ‘Crowned’ featured in the recent Adult Swim Singles club. As for Fly Lo, a Kuso some songs on the soundtrack may be all we get.
Possible Date: Summer / Autumn 2017
Three years on from their breakthrough album Singles, things are heating up with some dates at festivals like Bonaroo, Panorama and Coachella. Last year, Sam T. Herring collaborated with Badbadnotgood. Their last music was single ‘The Chase’ in 2015. An album is definitely on the way very very soon.
Possible Date: Summer / Autumn 2017
Grimes’ followup to Art Angels was halfway there last April ( “more chill vibes, downtempos, synth-y shit. That makes it sound boring. It’s not boring.”) and in a November interview, she said it would be “slow and reflective”.
“I’m really vibing on making something really slow and gorgeous that just breathes, and has room to breathe,” she explained. “I feel like my work has always been fast paced, kinetic, and almost just manic and I feel like for me the hardest thing I can do is make something that’s slow and heavy.”
Possible Date: Spring 2017
Come on already. The Grizzlies’ last album was 2012’s Shields and a few years before, Jay Z and Beyoncé were showing up to their shows and a lot has changed in music since American indie folk was the dominant genre of choice, However in October, a tweet saying “Album 90 percent done. Last update until you hear it,” was posted. Any day now?
DFA Records’ disco dons Holy Ghost! will surely followup last year’s Crime Cutz EP with a third album, a followup to Dynamics. Alex Frankel released a solo EP last year too. I’ve a soft spot for these two.
The followup to 2013’s Immunity is due this year according to Jon’s reply to a fan on Twitter. Yes. In the meantime, Hopkins plays piano on a track on the new Bonobo record.
Possible Date: Spring 2017
A followup to 2013’s Cut For Me mixtape after 2015’s Hallucination EP is on the cards (check out this Song Exploder about ‘Rewind’). In an interview with Dazed, Arca, Jam City, and Bok Bok are to be reprising their role as co-producers and Kelsey Lu, one of my picks for new artists of 2017 guests.
Possible Date: Summer or Autumn 2017
After last year’s triumphant live return, that promised LCD Soundsystem album is indeed on the way as James Murphy told someone on Facebook this weekin response – “Sure. still working on it, but it’ll be done soon. winter tends to mess with my voice, so finishing the thing drags out.”
Possible Date: Autumn 2017
The Dublin electro band’s third album is done and it likely to get a worldwide releasearound September time. Former Fight Like Apes’ singer MAy Kay is set to feature on six tracks too.
Possible Date: Summer / Autumn 2017
The followup to Nabuma Rubberband from 2014 looks to be coming this year from the Swedish band. They are playing Coachella so that’s a good sign.
Possible Date: Spring / Summer 2017
Mount Kimbie played some new songs at Metropolis Festival in November so it’s a safe bet a new one is coming to followup the brilliant 2013 album Cold Spring Fault Less Youth.
Possible Date: Summer / Autumn 2017
Annie Clark promises “the deepest, boldest work I’ve ever done” on her new record which is inspired by the topsy-turvy world events of the last year. “I feel the playing field is really open for creative people to do whatever you want, and that risk will be rewarded – especially now that we have such high stakes from a political and geopolitical standpoint,” he told Guitar World (while managing to get a dig in on the cover). The last St. Vincent album came out in 2014.
Longitude Festival is this weekend in Marlay Park and as is customary here are the acts to highlight on your lists and timetables. 12 acts playing, 4 per day – you simply must see, according to Nialler9.
Friday, Heineken Stage, 17.30
Kelela is the owner of one of my favourite voices in music. The Los Angeles singer released a great mixtape Cut 4 Me and last year’s Hallucinogen EP cemented her status with one of the best songs of the year – ‘Rewind’ (there’s a fascinating Song Exploder about it). Recent appearances on tracks from Obey City and Clams Casino add to attraction.
Friday, Heineken Stage, 14.45
From Tallaght promise to major label deal in less than two years, and they’re just getting started. As the band’s first proper single ‘If I Ask You’ shows, Tony Konstone, Jessy Rose and E-Knock are three lads as comfortable with R&B, pop and electronica as rapping. Live, they always bring a full live-band and a party atmosphere that veers from ramshackle to varying degrees of professionalism with energy and big smiles.
Friday, Main Stage, 21.15
Since the release of last year’s To Pimp A Butterfly, King Kendrick has been on a mission to show he means business live, enlisting the likes of Anna Wise and Thundercat for his band and delivering next level performances on late-night TV and the Grammys among others.
The last time he was in Ireland, at Vicar Street, he gave us a rap show of a high calibre, this time at Longitude, I feel he’s going to show just how far he has left his former self in the dust.
Friday, Red Bull Stage, 17.30
If you like your dance music robotic but with a touch of the real, get your ears around these dancefloor cuts from Adultrock. The Push And Pull EP is the latest release: electronic music with arpeggios, tough basslines and percussive sparkle, anchored by Gavin Elsted’s vocals. Live, it’s an all-analogue affair duo performing face to face. Gerrin.
Dev Hynes’ ambitious guest-filled Freetown Sound album dropped last week.
The former Lightspeed Champion and recent songwriter/producer of great records from Sky Ferreira and Solange has released some great music under his Blood Orange name but with new album Freetown Sound, Hynes’ moves from liminal to minimal soulful sleek pop that addresses race, class and feminism.
Nelly Furtado, Carly Rae Jepsen, BEA1991, Debbie Harry, Kindness, Ian Isiah, Kelsey Lu, Jason Arce, Ava Raiin, P, Porches, Starchild and Patrick Wimberly of Chairlift all feature but easy standout right now is the Empress Of-sung ‘Best To You’ an alluring melancholic pop record to dance around to against the push and pull of desire in a fading relationship.
Clams Casino & Kelela – ‘A Breath Away’
Clams has largely ditched the cloud for precision production.
Having already given us a grade-A banger with Vince Staples, Clams Casino has turned to his softer side on this collaboration with LA R&B singer Kelela from new album 32 Levels. Kelela is the owner of one of my favourite voices in music and while there are cloudy elements to Clams’ production on ‘A Breath Away’, Kelela punctures it with an emotive soulful beauty that few can match. It’s almost pop.
32 Levels is out on July 18th and also features Alt-J’s Joe Newman, A$AP Rocky, Lil B and Sam T Herring of Future Islands.
Angel Olsen – ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’
A great single from the Chicago songwriter’s new album.
For her forthcoming album, My Woman (September 2nd on Jagjaguar), Olsen is playing a part, in song and video, versions of herself and others. ‘Intern’ dramatically suggested a transition but ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ draws you in to that world with a song that asks yet is in control of the situation. Olsen’s voice is at her most authoritative, expressive and artistic.
James Vincent McMorrow – ‘Rising Water’
New R&B stripes with production from Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ producer.
The song is R&B soul-inspired with new textures in the form of throwback synths, a motorik bassline. McMorrow’s falsetto remains but there’s a refreshing vitality to it.
The song was produced by Nineteen85, who produced Drake records like ‘One Dance’ and ‘Hotline Bling’ along with OVO acts dvsn and Majid Jordan.
I Am The Cosmos – ‘Letting It Go’
Dublin synth-lovers come back tougher. Three years on from the release of Monochrome, the debut album from Ross Turner and Cian Murphy as I Am The Cosmos and the presence of its analogue synthesizer dance music in my regular listening has never diminished.
Where Monochrome was inspired by a single song from the Japanese band Mariah, a band who have inspired and moved crate diggers and music outliers alike, the band’s new material, live in recent shows, had much more muscle.
‘Letting Go’ echoes that difference in their approach. Following the band’s remix of Girls Names last year, ‘Letting It Go’ is all pulsing synthesizer electronics and swallowing Joy Division vocals that itself, start to lose control, echoing the title.
Orlando Volcano Ft. Gemma Dunleavy – “Mixed Messages”
Dublin boy finds his feet in the Big Apple.
After being accepted to the Red Bull Music Academy in New York, the producer Orlando Volcano moved to the city for good three years ago and has spent his musical time exploring global underground dance sounds. His latest EP on London’s Liminal Sounds features the tropical dancehall of Mixed Messages with vocals by the effervescent Gemma Dunleavy (Murlo, White Collar Boy, Clu).
We are moving downstairs to the bar for the forseeable future. It gives us a larger capacity for walkups on the night and we’ll also have a Funktion One soundsystem in place for our resident DJs Nialler9, Simon Roche and Gavin Elsted (Adultrock).
If you’ve not been before, check out the Lumo Club Chart below for a flavour of sounds. It’s a house party in a club vibe with no restrictions on genre. Lumo is a club for dancing featuring a good soundsystem, a decent bar and DJs in the corner playing classics and curveballs. Lumo is not a house and techno night. It’s a club night where you will dance with friends, old and new.
Online tickets are sold out now but we’ll have 100 tickets on the door on Friday from 10pm in out Bar Tengu @ Yamamori Sushi, 38/39 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1. It’ll be €10 in and we go til 3am. It usually is full by 1am ish. Looking forward to partying with you again.
As part of Darkside, the young Chilean American experimental musician Nico Jar ramped up the spectacle but kept the music on the experimental side. His solo works shares that project’s ambient electronic style and Jaar gives the sense he’s always searching for more in himself. His latest release is Nymphs II, which shows where he’s at now – it’s heady experimental electronic compositions for feet and heads.
2. Tei Shi
Somewhere Else Stage: 8pm – 8:45pm
Probably the one true American buzz band of the festival, Tei Shi is the name chosen by Argentinian-born NYC-based Glass Animals collaborator Valerie Teicher whose music moves between siren synth pop and gentle harmonic pop.
Kelela is releasing a deluxe vinyl version of her Cut 4 Me mixtape on Fade To Mind next month but the LA singer also has a new EP called Hallucinogen on the way too.
The EP was entirely produced by Arca who Kelela met “on a boat” in 2012. “We sought one another out across a dance floor and within five minutes agreed to meet each other as soon as possible to collaborate,” she says. “I had one song released to my name and had just heard one of his mixes, but we knew we’d found something in one another. We spent the next three days, 14 hours a day talking about our artistic visions and how it intersected with our personal lives, making songs that reflected that while dancing around the room to let it all out. ”
‘A Message’ is the slow-moving aquatic R&B opener, a song about “the despair that I was experiencing at the time,” says Kelela. To that end, the raw emotion is felt in the video, directed by Daniel Sannwald, in which Kelela cuts off her dreads. A debut album is also due this year.
Kindness teased a new album with an MJ-referencing clip on Friday and today, Adam Bainbridge has announced details of his second Kindness album entitled Otherness, trailed itself by a new song called ‘World Restart’. The song is a laid-back sparse ’80s Afrofunk groove with vocals by Ade and the brilliant Kelela. The brass is played by saxophonist Finn Peters.
The album is coming on October 10/13/14 on Female Energy and will feature contributions from Robyn, Devonté Hynes, rapper M.anifest, pianist Sam Beste and Kelela on two tracks. Kindness’ debut World, You Need A Change Of Mind was a 2012 favourite album.
Otherness – Track Listing
01. World Restart feat. Kelela & Ade 02. This Is Not About Us 03. I’ll Be Back 04. Who Do You Love? feat. Robyn 05. 8th Wonder feat. M.anifest 06. With You feat. Kelela 07. Geneva 08. For The Young 09. Why Don’t You Love Me feat. Devonté Hynes & Tawiah 10. It’ll Be OK
Pre-order with instant download of ‘World Restart’: iTunes | Amazon: http://found.ee/otherness-amazon
The Songs From Scratch series has given us collaborations between Jacques Greene and Tinashe, Lunice and Angel Haze, Jeremih and Shlohmo and Chance the Rapper and Nosaj Thing. For the latest installment, Kelela, Tink, and DJ Dahi (producer responsible for Drake – ‘Worst Behavior’, Kendrick Lamar – ‘Money Trees’, Schoolboy Q – ‘Hell Of A Night’ and SZA ‘Babylon’) team up on the smooth R&B track ‘Want It’.
More on the collaboration of the track here while below, watch a Yours Truly shot video of the studio process.
If you weren’t already aware of the significance of South By SouthWest (SXSW), the shorthand goes like this: thousands of bands and artists at all levels in their careers come to Austin, Texas for a week in March after the tech industry has done its business the week before. They come to SXSW to be seen, to make deals, to spread the word about their music and to further their career.
In some cases, larger acts like Jay-Z, Kanye and Lady Gaga pick up the big cheques (sorry, checks, we are in America after all) and while there were a lot of mid-to-top level artists like St. Vincent, Damon Albarn, Cee Lo Green, Kendrick Lamar and err, Spandau Ballet in Austin last week, my focus, as it has been for the last six South Bys is on new music. Seeing an upcoming artist playing live for the first time is one of the main reasons I come here.
A bit of housekeeping: You can find out how the Irish got in with two pieces in print just published: Heathers and The Strypes at SXSW in Irish Independent’s Day and Night Mag last Friday. My interview with Hozier was in the Sunday Times Culture. He was blowing up at SXSW last week. Finally, there is a ton of daily updates from me to be found at Red Bull Ireland too.
Here are the 15 best sets I enjoyed in a sensory-overloading fatiguing but ultimately supremely rewarding SXSW.
American indie music’s best kept secret for the last ten odd years will be familiar to Irish audiences due to Foggy Notions bringing them to Dublin for a few times over that period. A timely reminder of the band’s live prowess was provided by the Baltimore band’s appearance on Late Night With Letterman a few weeks ago where singer Samuel T. Herring put in a towering magnetising PERFORMANCE of realness that included teary-eyed facial contortions, air-punching stage delivery, a voice that went from yearning wedding singer to a growling gutteral metal band craw, crab-like meme-friendly dancing and in ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’, one of their most anthemic songs yet.
Their synth-pop music, especially new album Singles is pleasing, a career-best release from a live band at their best. In Cheer Up Charlie’s (formerly Club Deville) for the 4AD Showcase, the band codify all of these things into a lightning set.
Herring encourages crowd surfing and gives as much as he gets in terms of compliments. The set was such a feelgood masterclass, I hope performers were taking notes. A masterclass in music and showmanship.
2. Glass Animals
Some bands leave such a good impression you have to see them again. Of all the artists at SXSW, Oxford’s Glass Animals sound like the band most in waiting to hit a bigger level of popularity. They might be English but their alternative R&B music has a definite American swagger to it. Alt-J R&B, the journo part of my brain kept thinking.
Crucially, they already have songs that sound like people just need to hear to get on board with – ‘Gooey’, ‘Black Mambo’ and ‘Psylla” in particular. The two shows I caught, the band were meticulously prepared and their music intricately played. Their Harvest Records showcase set suffered from poor sound (as did everyone that night with the PA cutting out for every artist) but their last set of SXSW in Holy Mountain was a precursor of larger things to come.
Firstly, Sophie is a guy from the UK, not a girl at all. But there were other diverting things happening on stage during the Sophie set at The Hype Machine’s Hype Hotel that set my brain off the wall and my feet off the floor. Sophie’s electronic music is as modern as you can get: a unique tapestry that takes in threads of Rustie-style hyperactivity, zippy electro synthesizer lines, high-pitched female vocals and rap samples. Where Saint Pepsi and Cashmere Cat throw all of their influences in the mix, Sophie’s creates a symphonic digital experience that bounces off the walls in its own language. It’s a divisive sound that’s like listening to a kids TV theme song derailed by amphetamines.
The only long queue outside a venue during SXSW for me, occurred outside the Empire Automotive Garage, an actual car garage that had a reduced capacity that leant itself to such occurences. In the case of Kelela though, the line was warranted, the LA singer has teamed up with some of the most sonically inventive future music producers including Nguzunguzu, Jam City, Kingdom and Bok Bok.
Kelela’s voice on her own is honey-dripped, akin to Janet Jackson in tone. Those outsourced productions create stuttering bass-rattling synth jams for her voice to ride and it results in an atmospheric club music that transcends the plain surrounds. The music was suspended above our heads and encased us in laser-guided sonic comforts.
Jillian Banks’ performance at Haven for the Harvest Records showcase was one of the first of the week at South By. A series of excellent alternative R&B pop singles had already established Banks as one of the most exciting new artists around.
Like Kelela, she has outsourced beats from TEED, Sohn and Shlohmo. All the songs so far share a monochromatic sombre feel. Banks uses that vibe as a starting point to emote in full colour with her bellowing and sometimes wailing voice.
Most obvious from her set, was that Banks’ performance style has endearing. The nerves were clear but she was steely-eyed and gutsy in her delivery. There are relieving smiles after the first few songs as if a large hurdle has been crossed.
In songs like ‘Warm Water’, ‘Brain, ‘Waiting Game” and ‘Fall Over’, she has an embarrassment of great songs that people were already singing back at her and a new song from the forthcoming debut album was of the same calibre.
Photo: James Goulden. So, as an Irish music person who goes to gigs regularly, I’ve seen Hozier four times since his ascension into a global concern (read my interview with him in the Sunday Times from March 23rd). It’s been a startlingly rapid rise and one that has knocked lesser musicians into career oblivion.
The answer to whether Hozier’s move into mainstream acceptance was too soon was plain to see in at the Communion Records showcase in St David’s Historic Sanctuary. Mr Hozier-Byrne has stepped up his live game significantly. Before he was shy and gangly looking, in Austin he was commanding and charming. He lead his seven-piece band where he had fronted them before, and when the song required a solo performance he was able to keep focus.
The new songs reveal a deeper connection to Delta and Chicago blues with bottleneck swamp guitar and a “howling at your door” outlook. Hozier played six or so shows in Austin and was on the tip of many tongues. Local radio was playing Take Me To Church and there was a deserved buzz around him.
There’s a glimpse of what may come in St. David’s Historic Sanctuary as the seated crowd hung on every sweetly sung Bill Withers-esque syllable.
The funky rhythms of Prince’s music can be felt on this three-way with Lidell doing his soul vibe frontman thing and Tensnake and Lu Cont bringing it all together into one complete package.
2. Seven Davis Jr. – ‘P.A.R.T.Y.’
Samuel Davis is an LA-based singer/producer and as it happens he’s in town supporting Andrew Ashong tonight. And speaking of Prince, ‘P.A.R.T.Y.’ sounds like an edit of one of his deep cuts. From the EP out on March 11th on Funkineven’s Apron Records.
A new M83 track as featured on the film Divergent and not only does the song have big cavernous drum beats and a synthesized reaching production, that ‘Midnight City’ sax makes a delightful reappearance.
Kelela’s Cut 4 Me mixtape was one of my favourites of 2013. It paired the LA-singer with production from the likes of Jam City, Girl Unit, Nguzunguzu, Bok Bok, Kingdom to great effect.
On her first original track since that EP, she teams up with another producer Gifted & Blessed on the rumbling low end track ‘The High’ which is mostly a suitable backdrop for Kelela’s lush vocals. More please.
I came down with a bad bout of the flu last week that has lasted into this week so I didn’t get around to posting this on Friday. But as a Monday, weekend starting playlist there’s plenty on it to get you pumped up for the weekend ahead, new tracks from Danny Brown, Wiley, Pusha T, Kelela, Contour, David Bowie remixed by James Murphy, Gentry, Ben Khan, Lauryn Hill and Oliver Tank. This is the best tracks of the last week: