The Fort Worth Texas soul singer Leon Bridges’ long awaited second album Good Thing has finally hit the airwaves, to massive critical and commercial acclaim. On Good Thing, Bridges takes his wholesome retro soul sound and gives it a 21st century update. Tracks like ‘Bad Bad News’and ‘Forgive You’ seem as indebted to contemporary R&B artists as the golden soul singers of yesteryear. The whole album is packed full of rich instrumentation, the perfect foundation for Bridges smooth vocal delivery. ‘Beyond’ is one of the best love songs penned this year. The only issue is whether the album’s two pop-funk tracks ‘If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be)’ and ‘You Don’t Know’ An album that empathises with loss as much as it does with love, there’s something in Good Thing that will move all who listen to it.
Jon Hopkins – Singularity
Jon Hopkins’Singularity is a polarising record. While the English producer and composer’s breakthrough fourth release Immunity was largely viewed as a new lease on life for experimental dance music, many expected it’s follow up to fall somewhere closer to the dance side of affairs. Instead, Hopkins has delved deeper into experimental synth sounds and grainy textures with Singularity. The dance floor fillers of Immunity have been largely banished, replaced by a sort of dogged introspection. Hopkins has cited the influence of meditation and his interest in transcendentalism as a driving force behind the creation of this record. This album sounds best played as a whole through good headphones. For more context on the record, his interview with RA where he talks specifics about the processes and detail of the album give it more of an understanding.
Rival Consoles – Persona
Ryan Lee West, known to most as Rival Consoles, has released his fourth full length album Persona on Erased Tapes. Rival Consoles is an electronic dance music project with a difference. While most dance compositions feel inherently non-organic, the music on Persona is strangely emotive and human. West’s dedication to sound design results in otherwise industrial sounds, take the roaring synth bass on ‘Phantom Grip’ for example, sounding alive and nuanced. This is not to say that Persona isn’t ultimately a dance record, songs like’Sun’s Abandon’ and the title track itself come packed with overwhelming bass and drum lines. Yet, Persona is a record intended for more than just the dance floor. It’s in equal parts intimate and grandiose.
Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer
Dirty Computer is the third studio album from musican and more recently actress Janelle Monáe. The follow up to 2013’s Electric Lady, this instalment from Monáe returning to more conceptual material. Themes of technology and the virtual space pop up again and again throughout the album. It’s one of those albums that has huge scope, ambition and brings a pop sound to Monae’s catalogue that was never really there before. The issue is that embracing pop artifice means a sacrifice of substance for the greater cause but with lyrical depth and a vision far beyond what most artists can access, Dirty Computer is one for repeated listens (and views thanks to her accompanying Emotion picture).
DJ Koze – Knock Knock
German born DJ and producer DJ Koze has built a reputation for being one of the most forward-thinking and expressive dance music composers on the scene. His third studio album Knock Knock is a perfect illustration of why this is the case. This art music meets minimal techno album is a strange delight. Whether it’s the aquatic synth textures of album opener ‘Club der Ewigkeiten’ or the wonderful feature from Jose Gonzalez on ‘Music On My Teeth’, Knock Knock is an album that’s full of charming idiosyncrasies. So very worth your time.
Iceage – Beyondless
Danish post-punk band Iceage formed in 2008 when the group were mostly teenagers. Their new album Beyondless is the sort of record you can only get from a fully matured band. The album bounces around its sonic influences; there’s the densely packed guitars typical of post-punk, see opening track ‘Hurrah’. However, the use of brass instrumentation and even the feature from Sky Ferreira on ‘Pain Killer’ depict a band interested in far more than one sound. The band do get the basics right too. It’s hard not to impressed with the booming guitars on a track like ‘The Day The Music Dies’, like something from an Iggy Pop & The Stooges album. Beyondless is a great example of the vitality and originality that rock music is still capable of.
Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz and Saudi – ‘X’
“Are you on ten yet?,” Kendrick asks on this Black Panther soundtrack highlight, goading and amping up his fellow MCs Schoolboy Q, 2 Chainz and Saudi until they are at full hype and Schoolboy drops the line ‘Not even Kendrick can humble me’. It’s one of many highlights from the soundtrack curated by Kendrick that is way better than it has any right to be.
Half Waif – Keep it Out
Massachusetts-born Irish/Swiss singer-songwriter Nandi Rose Plunkett or Half Waif will be releasing her new album Lavender on April 27th. ‘Keep it Out’ is about “the evolution of the self in a relationship: the maintenance of autonomy in the midst of a process of coupling, ageing, and decay.” –
The video was directed by Celina Carney and choreographed by 2nd Best Dance Company. She supports Iron & Wine in the Helix this Valentine’s Night in Dublin.
Wajeed – Earth
Detroit producer and founder of on his own label Dirt Teck Reck recordsWajeed has been releasing music since 2000. His latest Mother EP will be out on March 16th sees him make his debut on Planet E Communications. ‘Earth’ from the new EP has some upbeat Floating Points-esque jazz vibes and is certainly a floor-filling grove.
Brame and Hamo – Roy Keane
Sligo producers Brame & Hamo bounced back on the music scene with their first release in two years last December, three track Trants EP. Now the duo are back again just two months later with new EP Club Orange on their self-titled label. First track ‘Roy Keane’ is a funky, upbeat and melodically joyous track that will make you do exactly what its lyrics suggest you do and something you can’t imagine Roy Keane doing… dance. The full EP is out on February 19th.
U.S. Girls – Rosebud
American-Canadian musician Meghan Remy records and produces music under art-pop project U.S. Girls. ‘Rosebud’ is the first track from her forthcoming album In a Poem Unlimited that features soothing high tone vocals from Megan on a low key dance production track with an intertwined violin riff throughout. Reminscent of the Italians Do It Better compilations.
Iceage – ‘Catch It’
Iceage are a four-piece band from Copenhagen, Denmark signed to Matador Records that make punk-rock of a darker tone than most. ‘Catch It’ is the band’s first release in four years which features a poetic lyrical delivery from lead singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt in his typical dingy fashion, chopped up with a contrasting guitar solo for added reflection.
Last week curators got together and picked the lineups for each of their venues over the weekend (see On The Record vs. Nialler9’s London lineup – Charli XCX, Willy Moon, Cymbals & Disclosure) and this week, Camden Crawl Dublin is announcing those names that have been added to the Dublin event on May 11th and 12th for the 15 total venues its taking over that weekend. Look out for future announcements of my gig in The Grand Social on the Friday with four bands from below’s lineup.
Ghostpoet, Mystery Jets, Gaz Coombes, And So I Watch You From Afar, Jape, Rubberbandits, We Are Scientists, Alpines, Bastille, Dels, Dam Mantle, Sertone, Kwes, Iceage, My Best Fiend, Trophy Wife, Little Xs For Eyes, Sway, Dutch Uncles, Angkorwat, Wounds, Girls Names, Blacklisters, Duke Special and more.
See the full breakdown per day below. Tickets are €25 per day plus fees or €40 for a weekend ticket plus fees. Very reasonable I think. Full breakdown…→
Two years ago, I ran a series of guest posts from people involved in Irish music featuring their top 5 Irish acts at that moment. This time around, I thought I’d shift the focus to international and ask a similar question – “Who are your top 5 new artists of 2011?”. Musicians, bloggers, record shop owners, journalists, bookers and radio presenters will all be answering that question.
Gib Cassidy is the proprietor behind Elastic Witch, Dublin’s newest independent record shop and hang out space based in Twisted Pepper on Abbey Street. He’s also the drummer in Logikparty, is one of the friendliest people in Dublin and well-reknowned for his great hair. You can browse Gib’s catalogue of vinyl, CDs and cassette here if you’re not based in Dublin. Do try and pop in though. Gib will order in vinyl for you no problem. Here are his top 5 new artists of 2011: