April Chart – Nearing Summer!
This is where I mention some of the stuff I’ve been listening to other that I don’t usually post about. I’ll run it down a bit like the Top 10, except you probably won’t find Justin Bieber up against Usher. I say probably…
10. I’ve posted this guy before, and I must say, his sound is deteriorating a little, but this track is pretty good as a ‘pop’ track. It’s the usual chopped-up affair from GOLD PANDA, but this time with a simple beat and almost exclusive use of the same vocal sample throughout. And the success of that on its own is impressive.
9. These guys have already done a second album and there’s talk about ANOTHER remix album. Some people think their music – a blend of noise rock and electronica – sounds like having a pneumatic drill in the face, but I quite like the direction they’re taking. I admit, in HEALTH‘s early days they were a little intimidating, but their music is getting a little maturer and in turn more accessible. Despite what I said about their latest video…
8. Talking of a refined sound (I think the emphasis of this post will be ‘improvements’), BLK JKS seem to have finally embraced their African surroundings a little better, rather than ‘trying to be weird’/regarding too many Western influences. I have no idea what they’re singing about (maybe the title stands for “Zulu Out Laughing”?), but it brings me back to Graceland a little, which I will probably never turn down.
7. I was surprised to hear that THE RUBY SUNS had returned, and seem to be contending with everyone often put in the same category as them at one point – Gang Gang Dance, Architecture In Helsinki and the like. Either way, I like it, and at least it’s upbeat, even if the whole vocal echo/reverb thing is getting a bit overused. Who cares!
6. Now I hadn’t heard from these guys for a while. Then my sister pointed them out again, as she’d bought a couple of their records. FAIR OHS might not have the most ‘schooled’ vocalist, but for some reason they remind me a little bit of Frank Black‘s. Then again you’ve got to give them some credit - the guitars are a fiddly joy. In fact, it all just seems to work – a bit garage rock, a bit surf rock, a bit afrobeat, and bullshit free. And there’s a lot of youthful energy in them, which is also refreshing!
5. Now they may not be bringing much to the table this time, but HOLY FUCK are at least back, with the attitude they originally had. And they’re not faffing about with too many vocals either – their last albums pacing was a bit varied, I always found a few songs to be out-of-place…anyway, this stuff’s back to basics, all about the rhythm, making as much noise as possible, and creating atmosphere. This track is a good solid example of the Holy Fuck I love, and I hope to see them live (with SBTRKT supporting!) in the next month or so, if not, hopefully at a festival. If you get the chance, do go and see them – they’re the next best thing to seeing Battles!
4. I heard these guys sometime last year, young startups making a bit of noise in NYC. Next thing I hear, M.I.A‘s signed them and they’re bringing out an album! She might be onto a winner here – Diplo was a bit off with his findings (Pakistani duo Po Po). SLEIGH BELLS can sure make a racket – as much as Gravy Train!!!! or Le Tigre did, or the last album from The Kills – but who they really remind me of is The Rogers Sisters, who split up a while back (shame). But yeah, a bit lo-fi, a bit garagy, a bit of hippedy-hop shit. Tight stuff.
3. I didn’t think the new FOALS album would be quite as relaxed as it is. A lot of people are complaining about it, but I could see them going in this kind of direction at some point, but maybe not so soon. But the new album proves they can at least produce an album that’s consistent, though putting a lot of their ferocity aside. I can imagine this not being as brilliant live, but then again, I’m not doing a live review now am I? Hehe.
2. Now for the next two tracks, it’s a little bit more about the albums, but I thought I’d pick a couple of tracks I really did love. It was tough, but that’s because CARIBOU‘s new album really is astounding. When I first skipped through it I just thought he was making a lot of fussy noise – the same mistake I made with Joe Goddard‘s solo album, Harvest Festival, last year, which I now realise was criminally overlooked. The only difference with this is that everybody’s praising Caribou’s new one, titled Swim, and I can’t see why they wouldn’t. It’s a complete change of tack for Mr. Snaith – though I did admire his last album. In fact he’s really picked up since he changed his moniker. But this new stuff is really different, very house-influenced, and overall a dance record. I could have picked any of the tracks from Swim really.
1. I keep saying how surprised I am by half of this stuff, but this new BONOBO album I really didn’t expect. I still don’t think it might be as good as Four Tet‘s There Is Love In You. But that might just be because I’ve always loved Four Tet’s stuff, and only dabbled with Bonobo before. I have a lot of friends that are big Bonobo fans, and I haven’t yet heard what they think of this, but I recognise it’s a change in sound, but I think it’s for the better – his music hadn’t really leapt out at me before. I thought this change was a react to the whole techno/dubstep scene in London/Bristol etc, and according to recent interviews that’s certainly true, but also a lot of influence from krautrock and Swedish jazz was cited by Simon Green. Well that’s all quite interesting, but I don’t really care that much what he’s listening to, as long as he keeps making music like this. Again, I could have put up any track, but I think this tune represents Black Sands more than any other (even more so than the title track).
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