Playlist – Making up for lost time

7 Mar

I’ve not posted for a while, and so thought I’d better post before the site got lost into an oblivion amongst other forgotten blogs. I’ve made a playlist of my favourite songs of the moment, I think they’re quite fitting to the time of year and what I’m listening to right now. I’ve included a little description of the song and artist, so please enjoy my recommendations!

Wye Oak – Cilivian

Wye Oak’s sound is fairly dreamy, the kind of music that wouldn’t have been ill-placed on an OC soundtrack, however I find this certainly not a bad thing. The quirky vocal style combines soft tones with a haunting quality, providing an emotive front to the synthesisers and distorted guitars. The band hail from Baltimore, as do Beach House, and the similarities don’t end there. If you are a Beach House fan then I am pretty sure you will also like Wye Oak. The track provided, “civilian”, is one that I would describe as hauntingly beautiful.

Radiohead – Separator

Radiohead’s “King of Limbs” has had mixed reviews from fans and non-fans alike, some branding it too experimental and unmeaningful drones, and some heralding it as emotive and beautiful. I am of the opinion of the latter. As a Radiohead fan this is probably unsurprising, but I don’t just like it BECAUSE it’s Radiohead, I genuinely think it is a beautiful album. The songs flow with ease to the next, and there seems to be two distinct styles: haunting and intense (Give up the Ghost), and sharp with heavy electronic beats (Bloom). However despite the contrasts, the lyrics sustain their usual Thom Yorke whit. If you like Kid A, you probably like King of Limbs (and Kid A is my favourite Radiohead album!). Here is separator, it’s definitely one that grows on you so if you don’t like it at first, give it another chance! – download link

Tame Impala – Alter Ego

I was a little late catching onto Tame Impala, but lately their album “Innerspeaker” is all I can listen to. Their psychadelic sound gives me flashbacks to some of the Beatles’ records, and the vocals even sound like Paul. Their Australian roots also shine through, creating an album fit for a festival in the sun, or a chilled out Winter day (the context I have been listening to them to lately). This one is my favourites from the album. – download link

Gill Scott-Heron and Jamie xx – I’ll Take Care of U

A surprising combination, and probably completely different from what you think it’ll be like. Jamie (of uber-cool band The xx fame) provides yet again some amazing and very contemporary versions of songs on the album, providing an up-to-the-minute homage to dubstep and soul all at once. I am not a dubstep fan, I would even go as far to say I hate it and think that it is a joke of a genre, however this song has slightly less dubstep influence than some of the other tracks and I like it’s upbeat quality, and of course Gill Scott-Heron’s vocals. Taken from the album “We’re New Here”.

Echo Lake – Sunday Evening

London-based band Echo Lake are dreampop at it’s finest. The sultry and atmospheric delivery of their EP “Young Silence” is making me quite excited about them. I’m a massive fan of this genre since its recent resurgence, and so hopefully Echo Lake will have a chance to breakthrough this year and follow in the dreamy footsteps of bands such as Beach House, School of Seven Bells, m83, Goldfrapp etc.


Miles Kane

10 Feb


So Miles Kane’s solo project is finally here! In case you’ve never heard of him, Miles was formerly frontman of the Liverpool band Little Flames, then went on to front The Rascals, and then moved on to forming The Last Shadow Puppets with friend Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys. The Puppets achieved fair success on the release of their album “Age of the Understatement”, probably due to Turner’s Arctics fame, however they proved to be quite a different project. The album included an array of instruments and definite 60s influence which created something fitting for a James Bond soundtrack. Miles’ solo project seems to have taken some inspiration from his previous work and blended it together to create a distinct sound. First single “Inhaler” was an upbeat, catchy homage to the 60s complete with a riff McCartney or Ray Davies would be proud of. The single was put on the playlist of BBC 6Music, a digital radio station dedicated to showcase new talent and music not for the commercial and mainstream audience, a perfect platform for Miles. Second single “Come Closer” is achieving more radio play and is generating quite a hype around him. The way he effortlessly blends the laid-back 60s inspired groove with the typical Mersey quirk which seems to radiate from Liverpool artists is really exciting and refreshing. Being a fellow Liverpudlian, I have seen Miles perform with former band the Rascals, and also seen Miles around Liverpool. His attitude is not what you would expect from an up and coming “rock star”, but he has more of a friendly, casual and approachable aura making him a crowd favourite when performing. Friend Alex Turner also seems to have kept his roots which has maybe rubbed off on Miles. His forthcoming album should be one of my favourites of 2011, and I look forward to its release in April this year.

Video for “Come Closer” captures the song’s vibe perfectly, plus he managed to rope in ultra cool model Daisy Lowe – a job well done Miles!:

Is Shoegaze back?

19 Jan

Recently I heard the latest single from School of Seven Bells “I L U”, taken from the album “Disconnect from Desire”, and immediately thought of My Bloody Valentine, the shoegaze patrons. For those of you who don’t know what shoegaze is, it’s a genre that started in the late 80s which featured often indistinguishable vocals, lots of effect pedals and synthsisers, and distortion, heavily focused on creating a certain ambience. For me personally it is one of my favourite genres, and of recent years its influences seem to have crept into some modern artists’ work. My Bloody Valentine’s album “Loveless” is a firm favourite album of mine, as it is full of innovative and genre-twisting songs which never seem to get old. The comeback started to become apparent when M83 came onto the scene, in particular the album “Saturdays = Youth”. Their heavy use of ethereal vocals and distinct 1980s-sounding synthesizers and effects made for an impressive shoegaze homage. Friendly Fires also heavily used electronics and distortion on their 2008 album, the single “Paris” especially. And now, School of Seven Bells’ newest album seems to have been influenced by the genre with more of a shoegaze vibe than their last album “Alpinisms”. Although I did enjoy their previous album, it failed to capture me like their newest offering, however the alternate version of the single “Half Asleep” was my favourite song for a while when it was released in late 2009. I’m not sure whether it’s the shoegaze influence, or whether simply the songs are cleaner and sleeker on “Disconnect from Desire”, but it has catapulted the band into my current favourites. With the recent electronic, 80s revival who knows, 2011 could be the year that shoegaze makes a comeback in full force. Here’s hoping so. To celebrate the genre, here is a classic My Bloody Valentine song, and the video for School of Seven Bells’ I L U for comparison. – My Bloody Valentine – Only Shallow

I also thought I’d include an M83 song as I mentioned them before: – M83 – We Own the Sky

Lykke Li’s return

8 Jan


Very excited for the return of Stockholm’s finest Lykke Li this year. Her new album is to be called “Wounded Rhymes”, and from what I’ve heard it’s sound will be different from her playful and innocent debut “Youth Novels”. “Youth Novels” was definitely one of my firm favourite of that year, and started a slight obsession which is never a bad thing. Lykke herself has said that the new album will have less “sugar” on it that her first, taking a darker turn and including the use of tribal, big drums. Lykke wrote on her website that she visited Jamaica and found inspiration for this album there, and there are some distinct traces of her visit in the tracks released so far.”Get Some”, the first single from the album, was released as a free download from Lykke’s website late last year. It’s suggestive and brash lyrics marked what seems to be a new direction for the singer, however her charming and sultry vocals are still retained. Here is the video for “Get Some”, and also a download link for the latest preview “I Follow Rivers”. – I Follow Rivers download link


3 Jan

Los Angeles band Warpaint have received much hype in the past few months, and rightly so. Their debut album “The Fool” was one of my christmas presents as I was immediately lured in by their lead single “Undertow”, and the rest of the album did not disappoint. The tender vocals are backed by electronics, guitars and drums which provide an interesting, contrasting combination. Warpaint have been written about as a “girl band” for the new generation, however I’m sure that the band themselves would find this slightly insulting as their music is on a much deeper level than this, and they deserve much more credibility. “The Fool”‘s highlights for me are the songs “Bees” and “shadows”. TheseĀ are two very different songs but show the diversity of the album, and the band’s skills for different styles of music, ranging from acoustic and emotional, to dark but toe-tapping that Karen O (yeah yeah yeahs) would be proud of. Following in the footsteps of previous girl groups such as Le Tigre and The Like, Warpaint are definitely ones to watch this year and are fully deserving of the hype they have been receiving lately. – Bees