Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Young Montana? (Album review)

Young Montana? is Jon Pritchard from Coventry. Rising quickly from obscurity last year, he was tipped after his earlier releases as Mary Anne Hobbes' favourite unsigned artist of 2010, with a record contract on Alpha Pup Records following shortly after; his debut LP, Limerence, is out on Alpha now.

The record is for sure an interesting one; several reviewers have hailed his music as 'sound collage', which works as an apt description for me. The album features a bizzarre array of time signatures, with jarring samples shuddering and wobbling around chopped percussive rhythms, slipping in and out of sync without becoming discordinated: the resulting effect can be a little overwhelming. After the 15 seconds or so of silence that open 'In Finite' have been disturbed, the LP has very few, if any, silent periods; the music is really relentless, which is a risky approach, but one that's rendered succesful by the underlying grooviness that perpetrates the heart of Young Montana?'s music. Plus, the frequent use of erratic, wavering sub-bass rather than any militant 4/4 rhythm helps the LP retain a really mellow feel despite the uptempo, insistent nature of a lot of the tracks.

'Sacre Cool' is the listener's first experience of Young Montana?'s stylistic approach; it's a groovy, funk orientated jam, with jazzy vocal hooks. Despite utilising tons of distorted samples, the LP is mostly instrumental; 'Such Beats' is the exception, featuring the rapping of 'Stainless Steele' overdubbed with wailing samples, extreme vinyl-esque crackle and skittering cymbals. 'Dream Home' takes cutesy vocals and twists them into a mix of whoops, wooden clicks and snaps and heavy kicks; '' is a more soulful effort but is warped with glitches. 'Mynnd' exhibits Pritchard's more spacey capacity, but grounds the airy synth with tight snares, erratic hi-hats and steel pan melodies.

The tail end of the album fearlessly keeps up the erratic-ness, with 'Hot Heathrr' balancing bassy stabs against thudding rhythms, twinkling synth flourishes and trickling clicks. 'Legwrap' wouldn't be out of place on Pip Paine but the clanking rhythms and darting melodies are ruined by stupid, dubsteppy wobbles; 'Midnight Snacks' and 'Repetition' sounds like Hot Chip after one too many E-numbers, and closer 'Connct' is a surprisingly dance-floor friendly bassy number.

The LP is for sure a really inventive musical venture; the heavy emphasis on sampling simply adds range to Pritchards imaginative creativity rather than limiting his originality. Although sometimes the sheer overwhelming content of the noise is a little hard to deal with, the tracks on which he manages to balance his creativity more pragmatically are really succesful, glitchy electronic jams. Or, as he describes it on his facebook page, 'glitchy beats for feet'.

Young Montana? - Sacre Cool

Monday, 9 May 2011

Blood Orange

Dev Hynes is an artist who is for sure not afraid of abandoning musical styles; just as the cutesy stylings of Lightspeed Champion were a huge departure from the the thrashy dance-punk of Test Icicles, his latest project, 'Blood Orange', again pursues a completely different approach.

Blending the tense sexiness of Prince and the glossy sheen of 90's R&B, as Blood Orange he makes music of a much more sultry nature. 'Dinner', recently released as a 7" on Terrible Records, is the first official output from the project but there's an LP in the works; hushed, crooning vocals creep over minimal snare snaps, hi-hat accents and funky, subtle bass lines.

You can hear a few more tracks over at his tumblr; they're all accompanied by suitably retro videography haha.

Blood Orange - Dinner

Blood Orange - S'Cooled

Blood Orange - I'm Sorry We Lied

Friday, 6 May 2011

The Jealous Guys

The Jealous Guys are Biz y Casa and Ayinde, both natives of San Francisco, CA. According to their slightly melodramatic blogspot the duo met at school aged three, before growing up in "hostile and urban enviroments" together; their music is them "attempting to express their unique experiences".

Despite the over-played gangsta shtick PR, the duo make really credible rap music. They have an awesome mixtape, 'The Love Mixtape' which you can download for free over at their new blog. There's a really raw, unhoned feeling that perpetrates the release; the duo undeniably put an enthralling amount of energy behind their delivery. Not to belittle the production values though; some of the instrumental backings are recognizably polished in their own right, noticeable the Clams Casino produced 'Brainwash by London' and 82 Fresh's efforts on the Arcade Fire sampling 'Caged'.

Although both rappers deliver lyrics with refreshing clarity, I definitely have a preference for the husky vocals of Ayinde; his flow is really fresh too, with a generally erratic rhyme structure that always seems to fall into place just before the point where it would come across as lazy.

The Jealous Guys - Brainwash by London

The Jealous Guys - Caged

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Boy Friend

Boy Friend is made up of Christa Palazzolo and Sarah Brown  (formerly from Sleep ∞ Over); they make mellow, dreamy music with swirling synths, muted percussion and soaring vocals, an EP of which you can listen to and purchase over at their bandcamp. They've got a 7" dropping on Hell Yes! on May 16th, 'Love Dropper', which is a more discernably melodic effort.

Boy Friend - Love Dropper

SALEM / Britney Spears

Haha SALEM have screwed Britney Spears' 'Till The World Ends', twisting the sultry dancey-ness of the original into an apocalyptic feeling, melancholic jam.

If you haven't already listened to SALEM's LP 'King Night' (out now on I Am Sound records), it's definitely worth checking out; the record is a really great example of how chopping and screwing can be used to make epic, juddering bassy music without neccesarily becoming repetitive or overwhelmingly sluggish. They've recently put out 'Sick' as a single, with a typically SALEM-esque video accompanying the release.

Britney Spears - Till The World Ends (SALEM remix)

SALEM - Sick

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Sleep ∞ Over

Stefanie Franciotti from Austin produces music under the name 'Sleep ∞ Over' (I have no idea what effect the little symbol has on the pronunciation, or even how to type it without copying and pasting); she creates really wallowing, screwed jams. Her twinkling vocals help render the music more engaging, unlike a lot of stuff thats been made using the technique previously. Two tracks have been released so far off her debut LP (due this summer on Hippos In Tanks), the sombre 'Bathsalts' and the much better 'Casual Diamond', which makes use of the aforementioned fragile vocals as well as reverby guitars. She has a couple of cool older tracks as well from back when Sleep ∞ Over used to make music as a trio ( The other members were Christa Palazzolo and Sarah Brown); I've put up the serene 'Outer Limits'.

Sleep ∞ Over - Casual Diamond

Sleep ∞ Over - Outer Limits