Haim’s debut album exceeded expectations for a new act. The Haim Sisters’ mix Fleetwood Mac-style soft rock, ’60s girl-group sways, early 90s pop/rock and pristine pop. Their second album isn’t a radical departure but nor should it be. Haim are so good at recalling vintage pop music while creating music of the now in a glossy but human fashion. As singles ‘Little Of Your Love’, “Want You Back’ and ‘Right Now’ have already revealed, Something to Tell You revels in heartbreak. But those aren’t the only highlights – ‘Ready For You’ plucks up an ’90s rhythm in the style of George Michael, the title song’s bass and drum combo keep things rolling in the Peach Pit, ‘You Never Knew’ might well be a Fleetwood Mac song (produced by Dev Hynes) and ‘Walking away’ has ’90s R&B tones. Haim should be too sickly sweet but their pop conjuring act is too good to dismiss.
Broken Social Scene still make albums. Nevermind making albums but a group of 17 members actually talking and organising regularly enough to do more than jam is the most impressive feat. Their fifth album may have taken seven years to arrive but the best thing about it is while it holds on to the Broken Social Scene pattern of bombastic indie-rock (which will likely be anywhere Kevin Drew and 16 other people may be) but Hug Of Thunder has a slightly different slant. Production by Joe Chiccarelli makes it sound enough apart from their previous discography to feel new. Leslie Feist (Feist) and Emily Haines (Metric) are back. It all adds to up a sense of invigoration and the bluster and bombast feels justified when it’s not papering over the songwriting cracks as it has in the past.
Chaz Bundick’s fifth album retains that soft retro electronic pop glow that has characterised most of his releases. Boo Boo feels like the one most indebted to the ’80s in tone and sonics. It’s languid and warm and perfect, as the video album stream suggests, for a summery drive.
Todd Terje – ‘Maskindans’ (Feat. Det Gylne Triangel)
As the Norwegian electronic buzzer prepares album number two, he decided to cover a icy electro-punk song from Det Gylne Triangel who released his ‘Maskindans’ in 1982. Nearly 35 years later, Terje got Triangel, the original vocalist to appear on his version and in the process, he put some oily disco funk bass into the original while keeping its metallic sheen intact. Terje plays Dublin on Friday night in District 8.
GL – Destiny
The under-rated Melbourne electro-pop duo of Ella Thompson and Graeme Pogson return with a new single. The duo’s abilities to weave classic disco, funk and boogie textures into a modern track is evident.
Toro y Moi – ‘Girl Like You’
Chaz Bundick is now calling himself Chaz Bear and he’s returned to his Toro Y Moi project with a fifth album Boo Boo inspired by from Travis Scott and Frank Ocean to Oneohtrix Point Never (see below) and Daft Punk. ‘Girl Like You’ is an understated R&B inspired by those aforementioned artists use of space.
Oneohtrix Point Never – ‘The Pure And The Damned’ feat. Iggy Pop
Iggy Pop and Oneohtrix Point Never team up for this beautiful and brittle track from the film Good Time, which was received well at Cannes and stars Robert Pattinson and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Pop really channels his softer side here and it lifts the song like few others could.
Dioscó na mbó – ‘Are You Busy Enough?’
The Sligo band pop up to deliver a slanted and enchanted song built of analogue synth-funk grooves and vocal callback of the title.
Gordi – ‘Heaven I Know’
A young Australian artist with an album Reservoir on the way on Jagjaguwar (August 25th). Sophie Payten’s music for short-hand has some of the atmospheric epicness of the recent Bon Iver album who she supported in Dublin last Monday.
EMBRZ – ‘Higher’
A new single from the young Irish producer EMBRZ further demonstrates his EDM-leaning starry-eyed electronic sound.
If ‘Empty Nesters’ was a alt-rock curveball, ‘Buffalo’ resets the mood from a Pavement-style track to a psychedelic song, the kind of thing that Chaz Bundick’s Toro Y Moi project is known for.
It’s a smooth groove, that takes from a 70s rhythm and builds on it with a synth-indie pop sensibility of our time.
“When I started writing this song I was experiencing a bit of writer’s block and this song was what pulled me out. As soon as I wrote it, I knew it would set the tone for the entire album.”
The new fourth Toro Y Moi album What For? is out on April 3rd on Car Park Records. Bundick says it’s inspired by Big Star, Talking Heads and Todd Rundgren, as well as Brazil’s Tim Maia and France’s Cortex”.
Chaz Bundick spent last year working his dance muscles on the excellent Les Sins project which culminated in the album Michael (‘Bother’ was a tune of the year).
For 2015, Bundick’s attention returns to his roots, his Toro Y Moi project for which he will release his fourth album What For? on Car Park on April 6th. Having run through chillwave, electro, psychedelia and hazy R&B beats, ‘Empty Nesters’ is much more guitar-driven than we’re used to with a chorus that speaks of being “smothered and covered by my high school dreams”. It’s not a million miles away from a Beck track.
Chaz Bundick has turned his attention to his dance music project Les Sins rather than his chill indie main gig.
As Les Sins, Bundick has a full-length debut coming on Company Records / Car Park Records in November called Michael which he says in inspired by “cartoon and movie soundtracks, classic dance and pop music traditions, house, techno, French music, and ’90s hip-hop production.”
The first single ‘Bother’, is a jacking dance track with a psychedelic French electro-inspired outro. It’s tasty.
Chromeo’sWhite Women is certainly one of my most anticipated albums of 2014. We’ve already heard two killer tracks from it – ‘Sexy Socialite’ and ‘Over My Shoulder’ and the Canadian electro funkateers have also promised collabs with Ezra Koening, Solange, Pat Mahoney and Mtume’s Tawatha Agee.
You can hear Chaz Bundick aka Toro Y Moi on the vocals for ‘Come Alive’, an ’80s electro jam true to the duo’s style.
On his previous two albums Chaz Bundick’s music was at its best when his melodic sensibilities collided on the same page with his dance music-making abilities. His discography highlights proceeding – ‘Still Sound’, ‘New Beat’, ‘Lissoms’ ,‘Thanks Vision’ and ‘Low Shoulder’ were prime examples. Bundick was able to combine that chillwave soft haze with a percussive purpose.
Anything In Return is the best Toro Y Moi album so far as it sticks closer to that ethos. It’s less reliant on hazy atmospherics and is more immersed in dancefloor etiquette, less reliant on moods, more immersed in song. At the same time, enough of the chilled haze sticks around to coat the tracks in a soft hypnagogic glow. Review & album stream →
Passion Pit are playing the Olympia on Sunday November 11th. While that was announced a couple of weeks ago, the support bill is what seals the deal for me – Chad Valley and new Glasgow band CHVRCHES. So that’s Hugo Manuel playing songs from his super sleek ’80s guest laden synth LP Young Hunger and CHVRCHES’ Purity Ring-esque melodic synth-pop. The gig is a Heineken Live project so tickets are free and got here from October 29th.
Austin’s annual musical challenge to the brave and eager has rolled around. While film, interactive and games are becoming more important to the South By South West (SXSW) brand, music is at the heart of this Texas festival and once the interactive spring break is over, the skinny jeans and Ray Bans come a knocking looking to further themselves in some capacity. With over 2000 bands playing over five days, there’s plenty to delve into. Here’s a dispatch from the first 48 hours:
If you like lo-fi garage music delivered by a three-piece with a smattering of mid-’90s rock and a titch of a female lead singer who screams, shreds and gives it socks, then New Jersey’s Screaming Females are right up your pizza and beer-lined Austin street. Also, bonus points for doing what they say on the tin. Key Track: ‘ I Dont Mind It’
This English soul boy has played a deft hand in his career so far. Production from Burial has given the former Brit School student some major cool points. In a live setting, that gloss is quickly taken away. Woon is a traditional shy soul singer who doesn’t try or attempt to mask his performance with the electronic sounds that are dominant on his records. No sirree, this is straight up soul with a bit of funk and jazz. Occasionally, it tips into lounge terrority. Woon’s an understated performer too so if you’re not swayed by his voice, then you might not be engaged by his live show. Key track: ‘Night Air’ Night Air by woon
After Mount Kimbie’s wandering ambient and beats set, Gold Panda showed them how to light up a room. With his hoodie up, his hands twisted furiously, while his body heaved around the equipment creating energy for the room. His set was a majestical showcase of skittery beats, sped-up and slowed-down tempos, hypnagogic melodies and succeeded in recalling Derwin’s Japanese obsession through synths, simple melodies and skewed rhythms. Key track: ‘Marriage’ Marriage by Gold Panda (more…)