The Soulwax brothers return for yet another must-own in their Waffles edit series. Side A is apparently an edit of ‘Tokimeki’ Japanese artist Akiko Yano and has an immediate effect with its swirling synthline and bassline that ascends with its ‘why don’t you come and get it?” chorus.
Thinking About You (Lauer remix)
Pushing Movies is Jeffrey Sire and Dimitri SoEmotional and their collab dives into some of my favourite sounds – “Italo disco, synth pop and all things slick and 80s.”
My favourite take on this track is on the B-side by Lauer (Fort Romeau also offers up a take), which amplifies the energy and ’80s verve with an immediacy that drives the dancefloor even harder.
Another reissue, this time the 1979 Mediterranean disco band’s album Disco Fizz. ‘San Salvador’ which also features on the album is another banger. This track was recently edited by Mix & Fairbanks as the excellent ‘Notions’.
A modern dance pop deeply indebted to Italo by an Italian artist based in the UK.
‘Neutron Dance’ is obviously one of the songs of the summer but the rest of The Division EP is no slouch either.
Melancholic uplifting music from the German master. The 10-minute version where possible.
Loose Joints is a podcast where we talk to a guest and play music they like new and old. True to the name, the podcast features a loose collection of tunes, tied together by very little logic, just like our chats. Nialler9 and Sally Cinnamon are your hosts.
For our return to our regular studio after a summer of live recordings (and 1 lost one featuring Enda Walsh – if a live podcast isn’t recorded, then it’s just a conversation right?), we are joined by radio presenter (Today FM / TXFM) and DJ Claire Beck to discuss angry swans, shushing at gigs, scaldy tunes, dressing for Halloween, how everyone loves Ed Sheeran and Claire tells us about a song that follows her around the place.
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.
The music world moves fast. Thousands of songs are competing for your attention every day so it takes something special for a full-length album to not only get your attention in the first place but keep you coming back for more. I found 2016 to be one of the most testing and taxing times for me to give decent albums as many spins as I’d like. That’s the hazards of the job – you’re always off looking for the next thing while trying to find the time to find music you already love from the past as well as give due ear time to albums released this year. I know, WOE is me. But it does get at a deeper problem – that some artists aren’t getting their just recognition amidst the noise for whatever reason.
The below 10 albums are a collection of releases that I feel may be missed by listeners. A more comprehensive 2016 list will feature in the next week or so.
On their third album, The Invisible, Dave Okumu (guitar, vocals), Tom Herbert (bass & synthesizer) and Leo Taylor (drums) produce their best work yet, an avant synth-pop collection of songs with appearances from Jessie Ware, Anna Calvi, Rosie Lowe and Connan Mockasin. The album also produced an epic Floating Points remix.
Which is where Marius Lauber’s escapist debut album for Greco-Roman is an escapist tonic of electronic disco pop sound with shimmering synths, digital bass, percussive funk-infused rhythms and a glassy gaze. Star guitar bursts, funk bassline and synthesizer haze dominate and the album has many highlights: ‘Moving On’, ‘Belong’, Night Moves’, ‘Colours’ and ‘Hold On’ among them.
Cakes Da Killa
New Jersey rapper Cakes Da Killa’s debut album released in October, after a handful of mixtapes made his name is a pedal-down collection of upbeat electro-infused rap songs (hip-house?) with superfast flows and guest turns from Peaches and Rye Rye. It’s a party inspired by B-more, bass and set in the club.
Reykjavíkurdætur are dozen-plus strong female rap group (their name is Daughters of Reykjavik) from Iceland. Their debut album is all in their native tongue and is a brash collection of electro-tinged rap from a small country that has a big scene for rap. They’re like the Spice Girls but actually empowering and badass. Highlights include ‘Drusla’, ‘Ógeðsleg’ and ‘Fanbois’.
A Night Train To Budapest
Peter Fleming, the Kildare-born producer makes instrumental electronic music, that generally can be described as bright, Balearic and luminescent.
A Night Train to Budapest, his debut album features just five tracks but at 40 minutes, it allows the songs much room for exploration of slow-tempo disco, guitar ambiance, cosmic disco, house and electronica.
The Toronto band Doomsquad’s second album is a new-age leaning psychedelic album full of rhythmic focus and electronic textures. The band’s closest comparison is the music of Gang Gang Dance; a tribal dance take on atmospheric electronic haziness inspired by artists Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle, Georges Bataille, the French thinker, Richard Tuttle a post-minimal artist and Tanya Tagaq, Canadian throat singer.
Total Time’s major appeal is its electronic mysticism and its throbbing psychedelic heart.
The Aura, Pavel’s third full-length album was inspired by trips around Asia, along with “hip-hop, jazz music of the 70’s, indie pop, ethnic African sounds and artists that include Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes, Miles Davis, Alice Coltrane, Bjork and Curtis Mayfield.
It’s a collection of textured electronic beats informed by R&B, trip-hop, jazz and rap. Featuring guest turns from L.A. rapper BLU, Azari & III”s Starving Yet Full and Pavel’s friends Mujuice and Graciela Maria, The Aura is recommended for fans of the beat-driven electronic music of Brainfeeder, Bonobo, Gold Panda, live instrument samples, glitchy beats, and headnodding rhythms.
Tiger & Woods
On The Green Again
The New York dance duo Tiger & Woods are known for their floorfilling disco-tinged club tracks like ‘Gin Nation’ and ‘Bash at Jacks’, return with a second full-length on Running Back delivers a solid 13-track collection of house and disco electronic jams with boogie and Italo textures.
Italian London-based lo-fi dance musician Andrea Tirone’s debut came three years on from his first appearance as lo-fi chillwave-leaning musician. Idealist has more loose-fitting indie disco territory which took inspirations from Afro-funk music.
February & Mars
February & Mars
The Galway duo, Carl Ramberg and Jack Considine, released an open-minded debut album earlier this year that wasn’t massively promoted at the time. Featuring analogue drum-machine synthesizer songs that use guitars, a deep knowledge and a love of music’s genre fringes to produce a record that could be described as danceable, dreamy, detailed and discerning.
Co-production comes from Galway DJ John Daly (who also released a fine album on All Cityeary this ) who gives the album a cohesive sheen. If you count Brian Eno, Guns ‘n’ Roses, cosmic disco, house and techno as interests, as Considine and Ramberg do, February & Mars is for you.
As someone who spends an inordinate amount of my life seeking out new music and writing about it, it can feel a bit redundant to listicle your daily enterprise. However, I understand that you, dear dear reader, do not have that luxury, so here for you, are 20 new and recently arrived bands (and a few who have been around a while but who I predict are worth more of your time) who are already making great music and who I expect to hear more of that calibre in the coming year.
Conor Adams and Lar Kaye met before their old bands, The Cast Of Cheers and Adebisi Shank were in full flight. Once things had run their course, the pair joined up and made a new band which mixed Kaye’s frenetic fretwork in Adebisi Shank (the best guitarist auteur in Ireland by a long shot) with Adams’ sharp indie-pop vocals. With a major record deal with Warner UK, came a more expansive and expensive sound, spacious arrangements held up by pristine production and melodies that squirrelled their way deep into rotating playlists of 2015 with killer singles ‘Thank You’, ‘Darkest Ocean’ (a FIFA placement gave it a boost to 1 million song streams on Spotify) and my personal favourite ‘Too Young To Live’. A packed Dublin show in November suggested the duo (and live drummer Lewis Hedigan) have different routes to explore in their sound on their forthcoming debut album to be released this year.
Electronic R&B at its finest.
New York trio Wet, Kelly Zutrau, Joe Valle and Marty Sulkow, have given us some great songs already since appearing a couple of years back. Their strength comes from creating the kind of songs that can uplift you and allow you to sink into their running time. Zutrau’s emotive melodies don’t allow for much wallowing and keeps the songs above water to a place of soothing sanctuary. Their debut album Don’t You arrives on January 29th on Columbia Records.
LA-based R&B singer on the rise.
21 year-old Maryland singer Gallant marked himself apart from the pack of new R&B acts by writing one of the best songs of 2015. While nodding to the synthesizer-rushing zeitgeist, Gallant lifts things by writing a better song than any of his peers – connecting on an emotional level with the soulful vocal delivery that could easily be drawn from the songbook of the past. Recently, he jumped on stage with Sufjan and made a track with songwriter James Fauntleroy. His debut album is in the process of being finished.
Anna B Savage
An intense and brittle singer-songwriter howl.
In an age where confessional writing has found an abundant home online, yesterday’s music’s cathartic power can feel reduced. Yet listening to the music of London’s Anna B Savage and the power of intimate raw emotion in song is immediately apparent – in both its simplicity, directness and its ability to make you feel vicariously uncomfortable.
Anna B Savage’s music achieved that to a powerful personal degree last year. On the highlight of her debut EP, ‘I’ she sings about her body image in the face others “Jesus I’m too insecure for this / for him to undress me and take the piss,” and “Jesus he came off smarter than that / to grab an inch of stomach and say fat.” Those gut punch lines are delivered in a gentle quivering tone that is beautiful in its operatic timbre as the song rises above such insults. On ‘II’ it’s a skulking blues guitar notes that slithers around her voice admonishing herself – “I will never amount to anything / Skipping showers every other day.” Again, “I’m getting on a bit,” leads to the song bursting into energy rather than tears, solstice in sound. It’s easy to hear the burning intensity of PJ Harvey in it.
Most of all though, Savage music and voice puts us in her shoes in a way that few mediums can. Anna B Savage holds us close. Sometimes uncomfortably so.
Atmosfolk Belfast and Dublin pair
Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre’s Saint Sister band were the best new band to emerge from Ireland last year. With a Celtic harp and a sibling-style gift for shared harmonies (alas they are not sisters – one is from Belfast, one from Dublin), their songs, both traditional and modern, were some of the best made on these shores.
The hardware store clerk turned pop hope
Louise McSharry reminded me of Kiiara, and that she was working in in a hardware shop in Illinois when she put her best track ‘Gold’ up online. That track, a modern earworm with production by Felix Snow featured mangled catchy vocals and finger-clicking percussion. It racked up over 7 million views. People clearly responded to it. See also, the tightrope-vocal iced walk of ‘Feels’ and the bright pop of ‘Intention’. There’s more to come from the hardware store clerk.
Seductive R&B that bangs
It was a gig at Iceland Airwaves in November that confirmed a year’s listening to Londoner’s NAO’s music (pronounced NAYO) that started with the head-nodding click clack thrill of ‘Inhale/Exhale’ and continued with her A.K Paul collaboration, the taut funk of ‘Golden’ and ended with a swimmingly-good slow song in ‘Bad Blood’. Nao has absolute jams sure but she has them in spades too, as a I found out in Reykjavik, as well a great live set and band.
Hypnotic London trio
The power of Haelos’ music thus far has been the English trio’s ability to create hypnotic rhythms for their songs to live in with a chorus of voices and a rush of synths to fill that space. A debut album is coming on Matador Records this year.
Dublin experimentalists find new forms for themselves.
Dublin band Meltybrains? began the year as searching rock experimentalists before discovering a new level of creativity that drew on their post-rock ambient foundations while diverting into tropical pop on ‘The Vine’, a rich-detailed six minute epic of ‘Donegal’, a rattling ‘New Don’ and then, just before Christmas, the space oddity of ‘Wiggly Worms’.
With each new song, the band showcase a different side of themselves, perhaps one they did not know existed until it manifests and with it comes a sense of identity. Who knows what 2016 will bring from the gang, but that’s part of their appeal.
Kanye snapped up this former model for his GOOD Music label
A former American Apparel model and Arizona-born musician, Kacy Hill dropped her debut EP on Kanye’s Good Music label a few months back, after she was a dancer on his Yeezus tour and he heard her collaboration with producer Jaylien Wesley – ‘Experience’.
Hill’s music is 21st century leftfield pop – synth-driven, spacious, slow and with great potential. ‘Foreign Fields’, her best track yet from that Bloo EP, has drawn comparisons to James Blake. Hill’s voice has a commanding magnetism to it, equally at home with pop melodies on ‘Arm’s Length’ and unfurling operatically on the commanding ‘Shades Of Blue’. Her 2016 debut is being produced by Kate Boy’s Oskar Engström and is expected to feature “90s alternative and left-field pop.”
Italian London-based lo-fi dance musician
I first featured Andrea Tirone’s music back in 2013, with the impressive lo-fi dance-pop track ‘My Girl’ which sounded like a pleasant hangover from chillwave.
Mind Enterprises‘ new music has moved into a more loose-fitting indie disco territory and a debut album will be released in February on Because Music, that was partly inspired by Afro-funk music after he was given a hard drive of music by Salvatore Principato of Liquid Liquid. As you do. The title track, ‘Idealist’ has some of that rough funky charm to it.
Copenhagen electronic pop trio
An electronic pop and R&B trio from Copenhagen, Fine, Simon & Simon, released three fine slices of music last year, most notably the sophisticated ‘Minds’ and the brilliantly slinky ‘Away From Me’. More new music is expected this month.
New Dublin/London beats and bass
Dublin-born and London-based Bonzai received a Hottest Record in the World status from BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac last year with ‘Doses’, a swerving bass and beats track that falls somewhere between R&B, rap, pop, grime and spoken word. It was drawn from the Royah EP which affirmed those disparate influences and added some dubstep and drum and bass ones. Before that came the sweet warped pop of ‘KGB’. Both were released on Mura Masa’s Anchor Point level, who himself is a rising new artist.
Independent Dublin funk and pop
A fledgling Dublin musician with a sarky lyrical attitude and a penchant for creating fun bedroom funk pop music, as heard on her debut EP Dead as Disco, Katie Laffan makes exuberant music and may have a bright 2016 ahead.
The polychromatic lo-fi dance-pop track, ‘My Girl’ is taken from the Because Music-released EP of the same name. It sounds like a cross between Vampire Weekend and Animal Collective. The unique visual effects in the video is a result of the collaboration between director duo Pen$acola and visual artist Gusti Fink. (more…)