Thursday, 31 March 2011

Young Dreams

Young Dreams is a big group of musicians from Bergen in Norway; they describe the music they make as 'Tropical Pop'. Their eponymous single 'Young Dreams' is a pretty sweet ode to the joys of being youthful; smooth, jazzy synths filter in over echoey, thin (slightly Brian Wilson-y?) vocals and muted percussion, as well as some really exotic sounding rhythms. The video's really cool too, it plays out a bit like Home Alone but an affluent, Norwegian version with better behaved children. There's another cool track on the single release too, 'Flight 376', which is a slightly more percussion heavy jam, with lots of cowbell action haha. 

Young Dreams - Young Dreams

Young Dreams - Flight 376


Cults are Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin from NYC; they had a track 'Go Outside' which Pitchfork were championing a while ago, and they've now got a debut album scheduled for release in May on Columbia/In The Name Of. They're released 'You Know What I Mean' as the first single from the LP; it's brilliantly downbeat navel-gazing, which explodes sporadically into life with bursts of guitar and percussion.

Cults - You Know What I Mean

The Dø

The Dø (pronounced 'dough', apparently) are a French/Finnish band, consisting of singer Olivia Merilahti and
multi-instrumentalist Dan Levy. They had an album out in '08 called 'A Mouthful', and released the follow up 'Both Ways Open Jaws' on March 7th of this year. Merilahti's vocals are really satisfyingly crisp and sickly sweet; Levy lays them over a variety of different sounds and instruments but their music generally tends to keep a tender, folksy vibe, with occasionally more intense emotional undertones and playful lyrics. I've put up 'Too Insistent' from BWOJ as well as 'Stay (Just a Little Bit More)' from AM. 

The Do - Too Insistent

The Do - Stay (Just a Little Bit More)

Ford & Lopatin

Ford & Lopatin is a collaboration between Daniel Lopatin and Joel Ford, with the duo previously being known as 'Games'; they have an album, 'Channel Pressure', out on June 7th on Software Recordings. The first track released from it is the jazz-funk tinged 'Emergency Room', which sounds massively like Depeche Mode circa Master and Servant but with more effeminate vocals.

Ford & Lopatin - Emergency Room

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Craft Spells

Craft Spells is Justin Paul Vallestoros; he's just realeased his debut LP, 'Idle Labor', on Captured Tracks and it's pretty sweet. He takes the poppy aspects of New Wave and warps it a little, adding tropical flavour by blending in sun-drenched, jangly melodies and blocky percussion. I really like the twinkling, playful 'After the Moment', which has had an awesome video made by Tyler Williams, the guy who makes a lot of Coma Cinema's videos, and the echoey crooning of 'Party Talk'.

Craft Spells - After the Moment

Craft Spells - Party Talk

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Dum Dum Girls

Dum Dum Girls have made an awesome video for their single, 'He Gets Me High' (out on SubPop); it's extremely flowery haha.

Dum Dum Girls - He Gets Me High

Monday, 28 March 2011

Metronomy (Album Review)

The 'English Riviera' is a radically different effort to any of Joseph Mount's previous albums or EPs. Although it utilises a lot of similar concepts, it ties them together in a really different, more varied way than any of its predecessors; throughout the album there's a diversity of emotion that transcends all of Mount's previous work. 'The English Riviera' is a really mature album; but, and importantly so, the melancholy is balanced against the endearing childishness of the awkward synth melodies and swooping falsetto that Metronomy fans have come to know and love. Mount has drawn the good bits of his old music and used it to compliment a change in direction; one of the things I respect most about him as a musician is definitely his capacity for constantly evolving his sound.

The best example of this contrast working is the amazing 'Corinne', a woeful lament to meeting and falling for a girl on a dancefloor that utilises both Mount's previously established talent for brilliantly sheepish lyricism ("I got my heart tied up, got my heart in a bind / She just wants to dance all the time") and his newfound fetish for soaring, euphoric synth lines, building from Mount wailing over reassuringly electronic drums to epic, falsetto-led funkiness. Similarly, the debut single 'She Wants' is gloominess at it grooviest, with Cure-esque bass leading into a bridge characterised by typically Metronomy synth squelches, and 'The Look' is a really shimmering, seductive four minutes (The video is awful though, the sight of Oscar akwardly wielding a guitar makes me want to chain him to his Korg haha).

There's a few tracks that hark more obviously back to his wonky electronic origins; the gloriously warped 'Loving Arm' feels like its been recorded underwater, meshing several awkward synth lines together in a way thats certainly funky, if not neccesarily danceable. 'The Bay' takes curiously oriental sounds, syncopated bass and hi-hats and creates something that I imagine is what most people will want from the album; an offbeat, catchy melody. Although it is undeniably catchy it also feels a bit lazy, as if Mount has used a really similar format to a lot of his older music and jazzed it up a bit; the track also features unexpectedly bassy sections, leaving it feeling a little disjointed as a whole.

The tracks that feature complete self re-invention are interesting; 'Some Written' sounds worryingly like lounge music for the first few minutes, but piercing synth and wobbly arpeggios casually filtered into the backing help remind you that Mount at his most laid back is still far wierder than a lot of other musicians. The kazoo led jam is a definite highlight haha. 'Love Underlined' is a really odd, messy song, and definitely a good one to end the album on, with tense vocals, maraca accents and wierd drum patterns building to quick snatches of heavy, dancefloor friendly bass, before collapsing back into wierd tinny, medieval sounding synth melodies and glittery percussion. 

Ultimately I think a lot of people will probably be dissapointed with the album; whereas pretty much all of 'Nights Out' was single material, there are only a few tracks on this that approach the previous album's ability to provoke manic shape-making. It's a lot less instantly satisfying than his previous stuff, and the general move away from the skewed pop of NO means a lot of the album can feel a little underwhelming; but if you can embrace the gloom/groove combo, as well as the preference for acoustic drums, 'The English Riviera' is a really rewarding album. Although the contrast of mature, melancholic sound and more poppy melodies is occasionally skewed, the tracks on which Mount succeeds in getting the right balance are brilliant.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Pete & The Pirates

Pete & The Pirates are back! Their debut, eponymous album is one of my favourites, so pretty happy a second is on its way. It's scheduled for a May release, on my favourite record label ever, Stolen Recordings ( There's been two tracks releasead, 'Winter 1', which you can get for free on their website ( and 'Come to the Bar', which was Zane Lowe's hottest record in the world January 19th. 'Come to the Bar' is a bit lame, P&TP just aren't a synthy band. But, 'Winter 1' is fantastic, featuring a properly compelling bass line and a reassuringly low budget looking video made by Oscar Oldshaw. Pete's voice is as endearingly wierd as ever, the guy constantly sounds like he's got something stuck in his throat haha. I've put up 'Winter 1', as well as an older track, 'Knife'.

Pete & The Pirates - Winter 1

Pete & The Pirates - Knife

TV on The Radio

Sitek and co are back after a year long hiatus with 'Nine Types of Light', due out April 12th on Interscope in the US and 4AD over here. Two tracks off the album have been released so far, the sombre 'Will Do' and the harsher 'Caffeinated Consciousness'. I'm for sure a fan of 'Will Do'; Sitek is really good at capturing poignancy in a pretty restrained, minimal way, then slowly layering the music until it becomes more epic and soaring, without ever being cheesy or sounding forced and unconvincing.

TV on the Radio - Will Do

Daft Punk (Tame Impala Remix)

Daft Punk recently did the sountrack for Tron; there's a remix album called 'Tron: Legacy R3C0NF1GUR3D' out on April 8th. Tame Impala have done an awesome reworking of 'End of Line', which takes the throbbing bass of the original and moulds it into a more dreamy effort, layering acoustic drums over twinkling synths.

Daft Punk - End of Line (Tame Impala)

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


Another track has been released from the upcoming album, 'The English Riviera', due out April 11 on Because Music. It's called 'The Bay', and is pretty odd; it harks back to the wonky electronics of Pip Paine, but feels a little disjointed. Parts of the track retain the subdued, restrained feel Mount opted for on 'She Wants' and the EP 'Not In Love', but then it soars into more epic feeling, bassy sections; as a result the track doesn't really seem sure what tone it's going for and it ends up feeling awkward. Having said that, awkward worked for him first time round so who knows. Increasingly curious about the album now, a big fan of 'She Wants' but definitely not feeling these two most recently released tracks so much.

'The Look' also now has an official video, which features Oscar Cash awkwardly wielding a guitar and pigeons driving dodgems, a pretty sad departure from the heavily conceptual stuff they used to put out haha.

Metronomy - The Bay

Metronomy - The Look

The Weeknd (mixtape review)

The Weeknd have made an awesome mixtape called 'House of Balloons', which you can get for free on their website ( I blogged about the sultry, tense 'What You Need' before; the mixtape carries on the smooth R&B vocals and bass-heavy beats combo, with a few warped samples helping to make sure the tracks never feel too glossy. 'The Party & The After Party' is my favourite; it samples Beach House's 'Master Of None', and although at 7:45 is maybe a bit lengthy is an absolute tune, with the jangling steel-panny synths and dry drum sounds of the original balanced against the anguished vocals and beefed up bass of Jeremy Rose's production. 'Loft Party' also samples Beach House and is pretty sweet, the erratically placed lo-fi snare is a little grating though. The reverb heavy 'Wicked Games' and the noodly guitars of 'The Morning' utilise slower melodies, giving the silence of the tracks a little more prominence in the production and showing the duo's concept works as well in a more downtempo, ballad-y structure as it does in the higher tempo, dancey numbers.

It's definitely really refreshing to hear smooth R&B flavours translated to a more groovy, bassy format; It's cool too to hear music of this genre utilise silence in the production, compared to the heavily equalised sound of commerical hip-hop that gets played a lot on daytime radio.

The Weeknd - The Party and the After Party

Monday, 21 March 2011

Gross Magic

There's a couple of guys here at UEA who have a pretty sweet radio show on monday nights (9pm,; they call themselves Gold Soundz, after the Pavement track I guess. A friend of theirs has just been signed to a small London based label apparently; he makes sort of trippy grunge under the moniker GROSS MAGIC, and it's awesome. He has a demo called 'Teen JAMZ', and the standout track for me is the incredible 'Sweetest Touch'; it's three and a half minutes of Nirvana-esque bass, laid underneath a wailing riff and cutesy, drawling vocals. Unfortunately it's not on youtube haha, but you can listen to it, as well as the rest of the demo, on his myspace at

He also has a track/home-made video on youtube called 'Waiting for You', which is a more synth-orientated effort. I think I personally prefer his music when it has a bit more of an edge to it; the combination of cutesy falsetto and twinkling synth is a bit overwhelming, but it's definitely still really danceable.

GROSS MAGIC - Waiting For You

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Jai Paul (again)

I can't get enough of this guy; he has like one proper track (BTSTU), and two short demos on youtube and they're all so so good. 'Genevieve' is a really funky, shimmering effort, which is cool, but when the the bassy synth stabs kick in it reaches a whole new level... I can't wait to hear a full length EP/LP, as the youtube vid says, "where is Jai Paul"??

Jai Paul - Genevieve

The Weeknd

'What You Need' combines the really eery, sombre R&B wailing of Abel Tesfaye and the beat heavy production of Jeremy Rose (collectively known as The Weeknd), adding a few sparce, stripped down synth melodies. The video's pretty sexy stuff haha, but captures the tension of the track really well. The video's not on youtube apparently but you can see it here:

The Weeknd - What You Need

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Jai Paul

Jai Paul is a producer from London... he released 'BTSTU' as a demo last year, and recently got signed to XL on the back of the hype it generated. Feeling it so much, the track has a really satisfyingly underground feel to the jagged synth bass and harsh snare sounds, and Paul's fluttering vocals lay a real poignancy over the gritty beats.

Jai Paul - BTSU

Beat Connection

Beat Connection are Jordan Koplowitz and Reed Juenger, from Seattle; I've been debating whether to blog about them for a while, but the truly infectious loveliness of 'Silver Screen' has won me over. They had a pretty good single, 'In The Water', out last June from their 'Surf Noir' EP, and Silver Screen carries on the falsetto fuelled summery synthiness, replacing the handclaps with panpipes. One of them also looks a bit like a younger version of Ferris Bueller.

Beat Connection - Silver Screen

Beat Connection - In The Water

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Puro Instinct

I don't always like Puro Instinct (Piper and Skylar Kaplan, formerly known as Pearl Harbour); they make hazy dreampop but a lot of the time it doesn't really have anything strong enough to anchor the music, and as a result they come across as flimsy, sort of misty without any real hooks or poppiness. Their recent album, 'Headbangers in Ecstasy' is a good example of how a lot of the time they don't really work. I'm a fan of some of their tracks though, especially 'Silky Eyes', which they've made a video for with Flaunt magazine (you can see the vid here: Silky Eyes sees the duo get a bit more college rocky; giving the guitars more emphasis in the production definitely improves their music.  

Puro Instinct - Silky Eyes 

Burial, Fourtet, Thom Yorke collaboration

Pretty star-studded split single haha; Burial's collaborated with Thom Yorke and Fourtet on his latest release, out on Fourtet's label (TEXT) this week. The A Side, 'Ego', is a sleepy, hypnotic 6 and a half minutes; Yorke's drawl lazily floats over recognisably Burial-esque beats, with subdued snares and clicks. Melancholic samples drift in nearer the end of the track alongside bursts of piano.

The B side, 'Mirror', is sweet too; It's meant to be just a Yorke/Fourtet collab but definitely sounds like Burial's involved with the production, with a shuffling tribal rhythm reminiscent of 'Untrue'. Yorke's vocals are manipulated a little more on the flipside, with alternating echoing and chopped effects. Definitely a really effective collab effort on the whole, all three artists compliment each other really well.

Burial/Fourtet/Thom Yorke - Ego

Burial (?)/Thom Yorke/Fourtet - Mirror

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Shabazz Palaces

Shabazz Palaces are a really mysterious hip-hop outfit from Seattle; they've been about for a little while, with two records self-released last year. They've got an album scheduled to come out on SubPop in May; the first track released from it, 'An Echo From the Hosts That Profess Infinitum' is an eery, shadowy beast of a rap track, with echoing vocals and a looped, ghostly wailing laid behind them. The beats are shuffling and erratic, and I'm a big fan of their complete disregard for the usual 16 bars, chorus, 16 bars structure of rap music; the track instead builds and develops into a misty, thumping beauty, with repeated sections but no discernible chorus. I've put the recently released track up, as well as one of my favourites from their older stuff, the brilliantly woozy "Chuch".

Shabazz Palaces - 'An Echo From the Hosts That Profess Infinitum' 
Shabazz Palaces - Chuch

Sunday, 6 March 2011


YAAKS are a group of guys from Eastborne... their myspace is pretty empty of details, I think they're taking a leaf from WU LYF's book and going for the whole elusive identity thing, although I'm not sure if (like WU LYF) their name is also a ridiculous abbreviation, or they're one of those CAPITAL LETTERS bands. They make pretty danceable music with a bit of a serious, darker edge to it, like if you combined the intensity of Foals, Ed Mcfarlane's (of Friendly Fires fame) hips, and the more poppy bits of the last Crystal Castles album. I've put up 'HRHRHYTHM', which was played on both Zane Lowe and Huw Stephens late last year.


White Denim

White Denim have a new album out, 'D', due may 24th on Downtown. The first track to be floated around the blogosphere is 'Drug'; an appropriate title as the track's a relatively spacy one, with airy vocals and wandering guitar lines. I've put it up, as well one of my favourite singles off the first record, 'Shake Shake Shake', the video for which sees the band/various kooky characters having a good ole dance in a car wrecking yard.

White Denim - Drug

White Denim - Shake Shake Shake

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Summer Camp

Summer Camp (Aka Elizabeth  Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley) had a stream of singles on Moshi Moshi last summer; their sound was hazy and summery, but there was a lot of pretty wistful emotion going on behind the fuzzy production, both lyrically and with the melancholic harmonies; I've put up one of my favourites, 'Round the Moon', which has a surprisingly poignant video lifted from some crazy swedish film.

They're back this year with the brilliant 'I Want You' (the first single off their album, pencilled in for another summer release), which expands on the themes of longing and hopeless romanticism, wrapping up the slightly stalker-y lyrics in a beautifully haunting, syncopated (slightly creepy) synthy package.

Summer Camp - Round the Moon

Summer Camp - I Want You

Friday, 4 March 2011

Ghostpoet (Album Review)

Ghostpoet's (real name Obaro Ejimiwe) debut album 'Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam' has finally dropped. For me Ghostpoet's always been a bit hit & miss; his shambling, slurred lyrical delivery either comes across as genuine and adds to the poignancy and impact of the track (as with the downbeat single 'Cash and Carry Me Home', a pretty forlorn ode to the troubles of alcoholism) or seems really contrived and lame.

Thankfully Obaro's managed to pull it off; the album's a good one. Obaro's use of subtle, melancholic synth melodies and skittering beats works really well against the pace of his vocals, and there's an element of creativity and risktaking throughout that's missing from a lot of modern, commerical hip hop. It reminds me of the first Streets album, but less ballsy jack the lad and more sombre jack the guy in the corner moaning about his problems; the album feels really personal but in an involving rather than an aloof way, and with that sort of intimacy comes a warmth and depth of emotion that's both endearing and at the same time really moving.

I've put up the lead single 'Cash and Carry Me Home', as well as the old-age concerned "Gaaasp".

Ghostpoet - Cash and Carry Me Home

Ghostpoet - Gaaasp

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Hooray For Earth

Hooray for Earth are a New York-via-Boston foursome, fronted by Noel Heroux. They've previously made sunny synth-pop in a similar vein to Twin Shadow (the two outfits colloborated on last years epic, 'A Place We Like'), and a variety of darker jams; the track floating about at the moment from their unreleased album, which is due May 10 on Dovecote Records, sees the quartet embracing the more melancholic side of their sound, whilst still retaining the euphoria their name implies. It's called 'True Loves' and is pretty promising stuff, with crunching drums and haunting vocals balanced against Heroux's well established ear for a pop melody. I've also put up one of their older tracks I like, 'Rolling/Nectarine', which has a trippy video put together by Johnny Woods.

Hooray For Earth - True Loves

Hooray For Earth - Rolling/Nectarine

Wednesday, 2 March 2011


Tennis are Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, an endearingly cutesy American couple who met at university; They make fuzzy, stripped down rock with simple vocal harmonies and hooks. They also have matching tattoos of sheep...

Tennis - Cape Dory

Tennis - Marathon

Toro Y Moi

Toro Y Moi (Chazwick Bundick) has a new album out. Its pretty different to 2010's 'Causers of This'; he's replaced the samples with live instruments and doo-wop melodies, but still retains the blissed out atmosphere. I've put up 'How I Know', which is fragile pop and a good example of the doo-wop i mentioned, and the more funky 'Still Sound'; the video for which sees Chazwick pulling off some nifty dance moves...

Toro Y Moi - How I Know

Toro Y Moi - Still Sound

Tyler the Creator

Tyler the Creator is a crazy rapper/ producer from LA who makes pretty controversial music. His rap crew OFWGKTA recently had a whacky live performance on Jimmy Fallons TV show, is definitely worth a youtube to say the least haha. I've put up his most recent single, 'Yonkers' (how has that video not got an age warning?) and an awesome remix of 'French' by Toro Y Moi. Both are pretty swagged out, the guy definitely has a way with the drum machines as well as with his lyrics.

Tyler the Creator - Yonkers

Tyler the Creator - French (Toro Y Moi remix)

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Twin Shadow

Twin Shadow is American musician George Lewis Jr. His debut album, 'Forget', came out in November 2010, and its pretty incredible. He makes essentially woozy pop with twinges of new wavy synths and soaring vocals; there's so many amazing tracks on the record its hard to pick a few to talk about, but 'Slow' is like The Cure with funkier bass and 'Castles In The Snow' is wistful bitterness at its grooviest.

I've put up 'Castles In The Snow', which also has an awesome video directed by Jamie Harley.

Twin Shadow - Castles In The Snow