Monday 8 June 2015

Winter Solstice

Oh hey there, yes you, the wonderful human (I Hope) that is reading this lil' old blog of mine Its been quite a while since I last sat down and put together a playlist for my pleasure and, hopefully, yours as well. The lack of terrible jokes and fun that constitutes a sitting of this playlist has been missing in this life of mine, but now I'm back (unfortunately for you that is). This year has been work work work and more work for me so you have no idea how great it is to be writing about music again, my soul is genuinely filled with joy (Come on, I'm fully allowed to get all soppy on my own blog so don't you even consider judging me). I want to get through a lot of tracks for this playlist so I will stop with this and just get on with the playlist that you are all here for...

Playlist time...

Right now I promise...

1. Flyte - Light Me Up

We start this week with a thoroughly under-appreciated delicious piece of 80's synth that got confused and lost in time and subsequently appeared in late 2014, sounds like quite a few of my friends actually. An opening synth overlay that makes me sway in that awkward way that only a white man can leads into soothing vocals which make even a cold winter's day in Cape Town seem somehow romantically tragic. The song gets into your gut with a refrain of "I'm burning up, I need you to light me up" (cue the overboard proposal video at this point). Simply put this is an easy listening classic with a music video that belies the deepness that this track actually brings to the party. Go Go Go listen!

2. Oh Wonder - The Rain

Coming in second this week we have a slow burner from 'Oh Wonder', a groove to make the head bop and vocals that vibrate in your inner being, sort of like the effect that happens after a glorious cup of coffee. This brings us back down from the 80's exuberance we experienced at the start of this playlist and takes us to a baser, (No not the makeup kind, sorry ladies but this is not a fashion blog), place where all worries are brought to the fore, but in that good way that makes us giddy, overexcited and satisfied by the end of it all. The trendy duo that constitutes 'oh wonder' have been releasing a track every month for a full year and at the end of the year (September 2015) they will release their debut album, all I can say is that by now I am refreshing my soundcloud feed for the next morsel that they offer up every month, trust me, that is a ton of refreshing.

3. The Colourist - We Won't Go Home

What would a playlist be without some American rockers from Orange County? Well ... incomplete, tragically underdone and just not right, are some of the responses that I was searching for from you guys and girls. This 4-piece plays, what I will be honest and say is, generic American pop-rock, but for some reason I just love it, usually I can't stand the stuff  (Surely that's not too brutally honest?) but these 4 kids do it so so right. Simple hooks and an easy to love melody that puts a smile on your face. They are not attempting to be anything that they are not and for that I love them. They are the mashed potaties of the playlist, everyone eats them and you only miss them then they aren't there, (This may be the worst food analogy that I have ever gone for). Go on and have a listen before I say something else stupid.

4. Beau - One Wing

Now we bring it down a notch and get moody with a New York Duo known as 'Beau'. Beyond that tidbit of information, that they are from NYC, I know absolutely nothing about them except that their music and voices give me chills that run down my spine. This track has outstandingly used minimal instrumentals to complement the pure beauty of the vocals that characterize this haunting ballad. It is a track that gets under your skin within one line and then plays with your ears for the next four minutes, Lana Del Rey eat your heart out! This was an instant classic for me and sadly my vocabulary cannot do it justice today.


5. COIN - Run

Next up is some alt-pop from Nashville locals COIN. They are self described as '90's alt revivalists' (whatever that means) and that they sing songs about 'earnest human emotions'...well that's nice and all but all that I care about is that their music is fun, easy listening for the whole family... Go get your jocks, your hipsters, your moms and dads and everyone will secretly (yes you hipsters) or not so secretly (I'm looking at you Mr. foot tapping loudly) enjoy this track which initially floats on the surface with simple synth and then draws you in with a catchy as chorus...Yes I too am a sucker for something that doesn't require 5 hours of moody listening to decipher!

6. Say Lou Lou - Nothing But A Heartbeat

This. Yoh! What a stunner of a track this one is. The first time I properly heard this track I promptly went into shock. This outstrips anything you hear from main-stream contemporary pop artists in this day and age (bold claims I know). I almost don't have words to describe this one, (Yet again I am a blogger who runs out of words, I really should work on this), it is one of those tracks that just gets you, it catches you unaware and slaps you around a bit and then holds you close and tells you that everything is going to be alright. So go listen and I will keep quiet over here and let the music minister to you in way that my words cannot. The music video is a journey, that is all that I am going to say about that.

7. Declan McKenna - Brazil

To the regulars, they exist I promise, at this point it is safe to come of hiding, we have come to the indie segment of the playlist. 'Declan McKenna' is a UK native who seems to be dreaming of the sunnier climates in South America. I would just like to say to Declan: "Oi Mate we have sun in South Africa too", just saying. I actually don't mind one bit where he sings of, just as long as he is singing it in public. His bluesy, jazzy surfer vibe (Yes that exists now) is a pleasure for my ears to lock onto. He has crafted a track that belies his young years and as he croons over sections of the track I begin to wish that I too was far away in warmer climates.

8. LA Priest - Oino

Good Laaaaawd this is one funky track, the man that made this track must wake up in the morning and literally sweat funk. HOW DID HE MAKE IT SO FUNKY!? This may be one of the wackiest tracks out there, the use of samples and bass is unparalleled and I'm pretty sure that I hear one of the horns used in Lord of the Rings thrown in there, (nerdy Stu came out to play). Track of the year material for me.  I'm out: Too. Much. Funk. Yoh.

9. Lusts - Temptations

The penultimate track this week is a throwback to 'The Smiths' from Leicester brothers Andy and James Stone. This is the debut track from these 'dark-pop' proponents and I have to say that it is a pretty spectacular beginning to their musical journey. The playlist started with the 80's come to life and it almost finishes with it once again, jangling guitars, pop-hooks and vocals that are so British that it almost hurts are what set this one apart. Go on and get involved in more of the 80's madness. *Let me go and fetch my over-sized lumo coat for visual effect!

10. M.I.L.K. - If We want To

In the words of the one and only Sean Ross "Ooooooooooooh baby" this is some smooth stuff right here. A Trumpet heavy intro with the sneakiest of rolling beats overlaid some of the most delightfully crafted synth that I have heard this side of 2013. The vocals are so suave that I feel myself agreeing with everything proposed in the track, I mean even to the point of 'going directly from the sky to the sea' hells yeah that's happening now, the man who isn't the biggest fan of heights is going skydiving because of this track! A masterpiece of musical expression and comfortably my track of the year thus far. Go Listen right this instant. Like right now!

Honorary mentions (Because I don't know when I will have time to write again).

11. Desert Sound Colony - Cracks In My Soul

12. Tove Styrke - Borderline

13. Wafia - Let me Love You

14. CHIC feat Nile Rodgers - I'll Be There 

Disco Baybaaaaay!

15. Flume - Some Minds (feat Andrew Wyatt)

16. Beirut - No No No

Cheers everybody! Hopefully I will find the time to write again soon!

Monday 8 December 2014

Sett the Beat

Stewdents! I am back in your midst, the corny jokes, lame innuendos and all round fun that comes with writing this blog has been sorely missed in my life this year! I am now a working man, studying is over and somebody was silly enough to think that hiring me would be a good idea...strange times abound! As I sit in the office staring at yet another report about how badly the global economy is doing I cannot but help myself as I start to daydream about that next amazing track that I will hear in the near future. It is a feeling that I am sure is shared by many of you who do me the courtesy of reading my musical ramblings. So without further ado I will give you your latest fix of musical madness.

1. GOVS - There Comes a Time

First up this weak we have the righteous masterpiece that is GOVS. Dreamy vocals overlaid with towering synth form the base as this song morphs your mind and gets those dear old feet out yours tapping. GOVS have managed to create a sound that easily transitions from half-beat to double beat and back again yet feels like it flows throughout in the easiest manner possible. These Australians really know how to throw a little synth party, I love me a little synth party and you should too!

2. Josh Wantie - Timekeeper

Next up we have something a little bit different, a guitar and vocal driven track from a local Durban talent and all round legend 'Josh Wantie', His latest track has got to be the pick of the bunch, it starts off sounding similar to a lot of singer-songwriter stuff that has been coming out lately but the song manages to captivate you with a melody that angels would be proud of and a sneaky little beat that gets the head bopping along, it has found its way onto my playlist that is dominated by indie-pop at the moment and that is no mean feat. It will find a snug little spot in your heart as Mr Wantie croons his way through your life.

3. HONNE - The Night

The middle of this week's playlist comes courtesy of the UK's HONNE, the duo have been putting together some rather inspired R&B lately, I'm gonna be honest and say that I'm just about as white as they comes, I pretty much define the expectation of a white man in South Africa...I look like Mr Bean when I dance, I love a spot of tennis on the weekend and I scream loudly at the TV during any sporting program where my team is playing (It doesn't help that I support Newcastle United who tend to lose more often than not). All this being said...even I feel that I can groove along to this stellar track from the duo. It exudes soul and sass and makes you get down and dirty with the beat while the vocals keep your head above water for a little bit of air to keep you grooving on. It was said best by another blogger 'they seamlessly blend sensual percussion, light synths, and evocative vocals to create another captivating down-tempo offering'. Go get your groove on!

4.  Dustin Tebbutt - The Breach

Another Australian makes his way onto one of my playlists. This haunting track comes courtesy of New England local, that's the Australian version of NE there, 'Dustin Tebbutt'. Apparently Mr. Tebbutt moved up to Sweden for 2 years to record music in the extreme cold...I for one am more fond of a sneaky cold beer on a sunny beach than the cold but I could never have scuplted the masterpiece that is 'The Breach'. The sprawling track carries the feel of the icy winter that morphs into a a beautiful spring as the song moves from verse to verse. It tells the story of a man coming back the warmth of the sun! Yeah I got deep there guys, don't hate now...once you listen you too will get all deep and 'feely' as well.

5. Albany Lore - The Cynic's Surrender

The final track this week is a powerful ballad from none other than Matt Rightford. Well the track pretends to be a ballad and then around 1 minute in it morphs into a symphonic orgy that is beautifully driven by vocals that manage to transcend the synth, sax various sounds that characterize this beautiful debut from a local lad. I cannot get over how beautifully this track is put together, it has pervaded my conscious and lodged in my brain for months on end. I cannot do it justice with words alone, it effortlessly takes you to another place altogether and oh boy that place is spectacular. I am waxing lyrical about this track because it is THAT good!

That's it for this week's playlist! See you again soon!

Monday 1 December 2014

The Prodigal Son Returns

The stew is back baybaaaaay! It has been far too long since I have gotten around to providing the internet with my favourite form of indulgence...its music for all of those who's minds took a trip into the gutter! This honours year is finally slowing down and I have had some time to breathe once again, in the interim I have accumulated over 100 tracks that need to be shared with you all, so without further ado its time for the music to take centre stage!

1. New Navy - Heaven

First up this week is some dreamy indie-pop from Aussie kids New Navy. These Sydney natives just inspire me to pick up a good book, put my feet up and take a relaxing bath with 'Heaven'. Smoothe vocals, beats that just bubble under the surface as the song builds up and an aura of serenity pervade throughout as 'I could be in heaven' washes over your soul...these guys really make a good go at taking me beyond with this song. Definitely a song for a chilled afternoon in the sun!

2. Salt Cathedral - Holy Soul

Next up we have some charming female-lead indie-pop from the opposite side of the world. Salt Cathedral are 3 piece band based out of New York who have been performing together for around a year and a half now. Their sound is one of undertsated elegance, intro effortlessly leads into verse and into subsequent chorus, all lead by the soaring vocals of Julianna Ronderos. She is ably supported by a beat you can get your hips into and some snyth being artfully used throughout the track. One could even compare them to the early work done by London Grammar, that is high praise indeed from me!

3. Klo. - Make me Wonder

Oh hawt dayuuuuum, this track is a sizzler, it makes a white boy like me want to attempt to groove (it ain't a pretty sight). A beat to die for, vocals that gives a grown man goosebumbs and production levels way up high. This is one of my favorite tracks from the entire year, it has been blaring from my tiny car speakers for months. The duo from Melbourne have only just started to make waves on the scene but with some more offereings like this I can't see why they won't be huge. Even after months of listening I have yet to find a part of the song that does'nt seem to fit perfectly. I cannot be effusive enough in my praise for this duo! Get on it and listen!!

4. cx1331 - Unit

Yes that title is correct, that is the artist and track name. This sneaky little track popped up a few months ago and has RAC written all over it, beats that inspire a smile even on a rainy day, a groove to get those shoulders popping and all round a hell of a good time. Every time this track pops up it brightens up my day and makes me wish that I had half of the beat-making ability that this guy has. I'm actually just going to stop now and tell you to go and have a listen, you won't regret it.

5. The Whitest Boy Alive - Burning

The final track this week is an ode to a group that broke up earlier this year. WBA have been inspiring writers in coffee shops all over the world for the last few years now, their musicality and groove just fits right in with a perfect flat white and a laptop screen, even now I can feel the creative juices flowing, this is a very rare thing for me. Sadly they are no longer with us but we can enjoy their back catalogue or alternatively one can listen to 'Kings of Convenience' which has the same front man and who are one of my favourite bands of all time.

Thats it for this week. I don't want to spoil you too much just yet, too much good music and your ears may not cope! I hope that you all have a fantastic week and that these tracks brighten up your days as much as they do mine. See you all again next time!