Tirzah is HUGE in my world.
It’s been a busy year for Nicolas Jaar – the new single Fight lives up to its name by sounding surprisingly fidgety – for the better!
Kelela keeps up the good work with one of the strongest pop songs of the year!
Here they go:
God Colony ft. Flohio – Steady (really cool young London crew, up-and-coming and unknown)
Little Simz ft. Stormzy & Kano – Dead Body (much better known Londoners, future legends?)
Rich White Ladies – Love Is For The Week (sassy Wimbledon ladies in the afrofuturism mode.)
Erykah Badu – Hotline Bling (Remix) (covering Drake?)
A.Chal – Round Whippin (eerie)
James Blake – The Sound Of Silence (classic James)
Nire Feat. Maluca & Nani Castle – Commie Mommie (communist mum?)
TĀLĀ & Mssingno – Tell Me 말해줘 (ft. WA$$UP) (uhm… mess)
Fem Fel, Kyra – On & Off (awkward but cute)
Jabs ft. Willow Smith – Road Trip (very road-trippy, yet awkwardly Sia-like)
Farrah Abraham got famous as a Teen Mom Reality TV star. Her 2012 album has been panned by the mainstream critics but lauded by others comparing it to “outsider pop” and witch-house of Salem or Crystal Castles.
Emily Reo has flown under my radar so far, but she makes surprisingly touching and bleepy “outsider pop”.
Aloa – Banane Zitrone
Farrah Abraham – After Prom
Faze Miyake ft. Little Simz – The Nest
Faze Miyake ft. Inga Copeland – Ice Cold
Emily Reo – Rainbow Road
I’ve got a lot of material piled up and I’m going to share it in longer posts for a while.
Starting with the brand new DOUBLE music video from Tyler, The Creator: Buffalo and Find Your Wings both appear here under the joint name BUFFALO. You can spot Syd The Kid and Kali Uchis in the band playing Find Your Wings.
I’m slowly getting into the new Badbadnotgood and Ghostface Killah collab.
Another novelty is the official video release of the SOPHIE produced Le1f track Koi. I love SOPHIE and I like Le1f, but I’m not very convinced (yet) by Le1f talking about some guy hitting on him. But hooks are good enough to catch buckets of fish though…
Continuing with hip hop, I’ve been rediscovering the Jonwayne and Scoop DeVille’s collaboration on The Come Up. This track is a real jewel, each of the authors produced a separate part, putting them together gives the track a fresh varied sound.
Forgive me, Father, but I’m getting into your music with a lag of 12 months. Father caught my attention with that gross Who’s Gonna Get Fucked First video this year but here is his last year collab with Makonnen. Retro mobile phones were getting back to spotlight last year after all.
The Watch Me Whip, Watch Me Nae Nae earworm has evaded me until now. Should I consider myself lucky?
Another rediscovery is Shutterbugg, Big Boi’s standout from his excellent 2010 (mainstream) album Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. It was actually his debut solo, having previously been a half of Outkast.
Lil Ugly Mane’s Throw Dem Gunz is a bitter(sweet) rap song of weary action – always fits well in October, same goes for Hi-Tek’s Come Get It. I found that track on DJ Koze’s excellent DJ Kicks mix, same goes for Strong Arm Steady – such soulful voices are always a welcome bonus in hip hop!
Finishing the rap section with the best – the prolific alter hip hop artist Serengeti’s Karate (form 2013’s Saal) touches the heart and the mind!
Tyler, The Creator – Buffalo / Find Your Wings
BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah ft. Danny Brown – Six Degrees
Le1f – Koi
Jonwayne ft. Scoop DeVille – The Come Up
Father ft. ILoveMakonnen – Nokia
Silentó – Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)
Big Boi ft. Cutty – Shutterbug
Motion Man – Porno Moustache
Kool Keith – Sex Style
Lil Ugly Mane – Throw Dem Gunz
Hi-Tek – Come Get It (Tekrumentals)
Strong Arm Steady ft. Phonte – Best of Times
Serengeti – Karate
It is here! Despite me managing only three posts in the second half of the month.
The only thing missing is: Vox Populi Field Works Vol. 1 http://www.phonicarecords.com/product/baris-k-valentine-stip-vari-field-works-vol-1-vox-populi/132312
Continuing with the accounting of my Parisian trip: I visited the record store Souffle Continu, which is a haven for experimental and left-field music of all kinds, from techno, kraut/psych to field recordings. A bona fide treasure trove! Among other things, I have stumbled upon some Kink Gong records. Laurent Jeanneau records the music of South East Asian minorities – hear a sample track called 3 Hani Pipa from his Voices LP.
There were a few gigs I couldn’t attend: Mac DeMarco unsurprisingly sold out his concert at La Cigale. His most recent issue is Another One, a mini-LP out in August.
I missed an Adrew Ashong & La Famille Looka Pop DJ set in Le Comptoir Général. Google says Looka Pop is Yale Evelev from Luaka Bop records. His mix for Dust & Grooves (in the link) is full of world music gems.
I also missed the closing days of the renowned Jazz à la Villette festival. There was a William Onyeabor tribute show. Onyeabor is a (mysterious) legend of Nigerian music, a sort of electronic version of Fela Kuti. (Already featured on the blog with his song Good Name last October.)
Due to the Villette Jazz event, I downloaded Sinkane (Ahmed Gallab) album Mars from 2012 – this is an album I completely forgot about, but I know I liked it at the time of release, in particular the single Warm Spell. I first stumbled upon his music when I was looking for traces of Sudanese music in modern pop. I felt favourable to his 2014 album How We Be as well.
Another person taking part in the tribute was Para One, a French producer who is responsible for exciting throwback tracks You Too and the recent Elevation.
The following day, I missed a gig by Aldo Romano, Louis Sclavis, Henri Texier who play a beautiful blend of jazz and non-European classical music by using only drums, clarinet and contrabass.
Otherwise, I continued listening to the albums I’ve come across recently.
The compilation Make Do and Mend Vol.10 contains the following two gems:
The Liftmen – Cloudy Orange (a really cool band from Bristol), and
Bruno Spoerri – Baby Baby (the best Bruno Spoerri song I’ve heard, probably because it has vocals).
Another album I love to bits is the new Micachu & The Shapes’ Good Sad Happy Bad. The standout is Unity, one of the weirdest songs in recent years (not available on youtube at the moment), while other highlights include Sea Air and Sad.
I also had a listen to mini album releases from the emerging favourite Domenique Dumont’s Comme Ça and old favourite Inga Copeland who published RELAXIN’ With Lolina under the name Lolina. I had a listen to the complete discography of the rebetika experimentalists Andy Moor and Yannis Kyriakides.
Remote’s The Swarm 1999 Underground Resistance single with its B-side Protecting My Hive were responsible for the funkiest tunes I’ve heard recently, while the Australian band F ingers‘ debut LP currently holds the title of the eeriest album of the year.
I’ve listened to some albums and artists that were more active or relevant in the past and are largely flying below the radar now. Below The Radar is a series of mixtapes issued by the British magazine The Wire which explore the more experimental contemporary works by various artists. The compilation #12 was the first one I listened to, and to prove how rare a material it contains, here are the only three songs I could find on youtube:
Dur-Dur Band – Fagfagley (a 1980s Somalian band)
Powell – Rider (a well-known DJ/producer, head of the Diagonal label)
Aluk Todolo – Woodchurch (French black metal trio)
Another compilation I’ve listened to was The Kings Of Electro, compiled by Playgroup And Alter Ego. It contains a bunch of timeless electro records from the 80s and 90s.
The Deee Lite track What Is Love? (Holographic Goatee Remix) was the most fun of the bunch.
This has naturally led me to discover more of Milton Keynes’ finest Playgroup’s work – in fact his DJ-Kicks mix. Some gems found there:
Tiny Trendies – The Sky Is Not Crying (nostalgic Chillout vibes from 1999)
Ralphi Rosario – Get Up, Get Out (strong Vocal House from 2002)
Dexter – I Don’t Care (ingenius Funky Electro, not to be confused with a fan-made video for Dexter series…)
Random Factor – Broken Mirror (a 1998 UK release)
Harlequin Fours – Set It Off (a 1986 Electro classic)
Previously-unkown-to-me band Eardrum play percussion-heavy avant-garde music with a manic touch. Listening to their 2001 album Side Effects in one go can be a tough but rewarding experience.
For conclusion, the album Cotonou by Julien Jacob who is a Benin-born poet and musician living and working in Northern France. His lyrics are in a made-up language although they appear “African” to European ears. A truly charming album balancing between electronic production and African traditional music tropes. His bio at Wrasse records states:
“Few are the pioneering musicians who have managed to invent a whole new style or musical language, but how many have ever invented a new bona-fide verbal language?! Composer, singer, writer, poet and spiritualist Julien Jacob seems to have done exactly that. For him, the meaning of words and the pressure to understand them sometimes encumbers the impact of music. His own imaginary language, which is inspired by the timbre and vibration of words, is intended to release the listener and allow her or him to interpret the song in their own way. Born in Benin, west Africa, Jacob came to southern France at the age of four. After discovering rock and jazz in his youth, Jacob played in a pop-rock band called Anaphase before moving to Nice and pursuing growing interests in literature, poetry and spirituality. He hit the road and hung out with musical heroes like Fela Kuti, Miles Davies and Al Jarreau and then moved to Paris to develop his music. In the mid 1990s he finally settled in the unlikely location of Hennebont, a small town in Brittany where he wrote a series of books and a huge trove of songs. After teaming up with Breton producers and musical visionaries Ghislain Baran and Thierry Nedelec, Jacob recorded his first album ‘Shanti’ in the Breton port town of Lorient and released it at the end of the 1990s. His music is palpably African but also distinctly unlike any African music you’ve ever heard, full of original nuances, twists and the off-beat musings of a very rich imagination. Jacob’s deep sonorous voice hits the G-spot too. Biography by Andy Morgan, July 2003 “
Kink Gong – 3 Hani Pipa
Mac DeMarco – Without Me
Andrew Ashong & Theo Parish – Flowers
William Onyeabor- Fantastic Man
Sinkane – Warm Spell
Sinkane – How We Be
Para One – You Too
Para One – Elevation
Aldo Romano, Louis Sclavis, Henri Texier – Annobon
The Liftmen – Cloudy Orange
Bruno Spoerri – Baby Baby
Benoît Pioulard – Upon The Break Arch
Benoît Pioulard – Loupe
Micachu & The Shapes – Sea Air
Micachu & The Shapes – Sad
Domenique Dumont – Comme Ça
Lolina (Inga Copeland) – Lolina
Yannis Kyriakides & Andy Moor – Minores
Remote – The Swarm
Remote – Protecting My Hive
F ingers – Useless Treasure
Dur-Dur Band – Fagfagley
Powell – Rider
Aluk Todolo – Woodchurch
Deeelite – What is Love? (Holographic Goatee Remix)
Dexter – I Don’t Care
Random Factor – Broken Mirror
Harlequin Fours – Broken Mirror
Eardrum – Deep End
Julien Jacob – Cotonou
While I’ve been away from blog, I listened to a lot of music and visited Paris again.
I saw Lil’ Louis perform Live in a pricey Parisian club Rex. Lil’ Louis is a legend of Chicago house, whose career spans more than 30 years. His best known song, French Kiss, (ft. Shawn Christopher) spent two weeks at #1 on the Billboard dance chart in 1989 and even crossed over to the mainstream charts in Europe, topping the charts in the Netherlands and coming second in UK and Germany.
Another band I saw in Paris were Flowers Of Hell, a trans-Atlantic experimental orchestra made up of a revolving line-up of 16 or so independent musicians based in Toronto and London. The line-up on the concert however contained only 7 (or 8?) musicians. Their play orchestral pop with post-rock and even drone and operatic elements. They made a cover album of the classic recordings of bands such as Jesus & Mary Chain, Velvet Underground and Joy Division – hear their version of Atmosphere.
The free gig took place in a bar called L’international whose owners also run a record shop a few doors away. The space is usually dedicated to local new acts and so the opening band was a Parisian duo LillaBox, who play classical music with a worldly flavour – listen to their song India to get the idea.
The weather was pretty sour, so my mind was on the Ann Peebles classic non-stop.
Lil’ Louis – French Kiss
Flowers of Hell – Atmosphere
LillaBox – India
Ann Peebles – I Can’t Stand The Rain