Remember Bamboora and Odd Job from their song “As of Now” last month? Well they’ve just released another banger of an EDM track and they’ve titled it “Frat House”. I can see why this title fits. With a simple deep synth hook, this song starts out hard and fast and doesn’t lose momentum. The sound is insistent and party-perfect, just what you might want at a frat party. It evokes videogame sounds and combat soundtracks. It’s bounce-y and dance-y and worth a listen or three. Enjoy it!
Archive for November, 2013
J. Lye is back with a powerful song and a video to match. In “Where’d You Go”, J. Lye explores themes of love and loss in breakups and the pain and confusion that surrounds them. In this song, Lye continues to expand his sound by having guest vocalist Lisa Bello perform a sweet hook. The instrumental is mournful with muted synths and drums emphasizing the crispness of Lye’s vocals. If you haven’t heard J. Lye already, this is a good place to start; if you are already a fan then this should be a welcome addition to your library.
BONUS: J. Lye actually won this music video from KarmaloopTV. Their team put together a music video that emphasizes nostalgia and everything that one misses from the past in a relationship. By using a skin for some of the footage that gave it a date and sense of being home video, the relationship seems very real and poignant. Enjoy the video.
This is what happens when I get busy! Jordan Bratton releases a Taylor Swift cover and I don’t hear about it until a week later. Better late than never, right? So if you haven’t heard this yet, you should probably listen. Bratton’s version features gorgeous piano, military drum rolls, and his signature gorgeous vocals. This version is softer and sadder than the original and it is beautiful. The cover features brilliant twisting of the tune as well as a bit of original melody along with some background vocals forming a babbling brook of sound. Listen for yourself!
It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Johnny Rain. I had never heard of him before hearing his incredible album “Lullaby of a Machine” in March. If you haven’t heard his incredible and unique sound, check out his song “BL∆CKY∆YO“. Two days ago Johnny Rain released “Villain“, an eleven track album filled with more stellar music. You can download the entire album for free here and while that’s loading, you can start listening to the two songs I was most enamored of upon first listen.
“Isis” opens with an homage to Nancy Sinatra’s classic “Bang Bang”. Her words are framed only by Johnny Rain’s powerful and beautiful vocals, followed by an epic and vast soundscape of deliberate electric guitar chords, a simple and stark synth line, and drums that build suspense and demand attention. This epic background only sets the stage for Johnny Rain’s powerful vocals. Rain’s vocals are melodic and beautiful, often luxuriating in vocal harmonies. Again I am reminded of the Weeknd’s dark and grand songs. While I would file this somewhere between alternative and R&B/soul, Rain calls labels the entire album “avant-electro”. I can see where that comes from as the parts of this song that are most electronic, that simple synth line of three slowly repeating notes, is the same progression used in the climax of the film “Attack the Block”. This is not really a sample so much as another musical nod to a great movie and an amazing soundtrack made by Basement Jaxx and Steven Price. This is interacting with music on a whole new level. Recreating parts to use as a background while adding instruments and vocals over it to make something entirely original. The song ends with a monologue from “The Notebook” backed only by beautiful vocal harmonizing. I wonder how many references I’ve missed. Johnny Rain is truly making high art on many levels.
I’m sharing “Americana Way” not just because it’s a great song, but to show a more alternative rock sound to Johnny Rain. This song relies more on guitar and drums than “Isis” and it is still an amazing song. There are still background synths and orchestral strings to give the song that full bodied sound that I’ve come to associate with Rain, but they are less prominent than in “Isis”. The song opens with strings in an introduction that feels more like a transition than a inseparable part of the song, and when the strings end, the drums, keyboard, bass, guitar and vocals take over. Once again, Rain’s powerful vocals steal the show. This song is happier than many of his other songs, with lyrics about leaving to happier, sunnier places. But behind every suggestion of a happy getaway is the darkness that he wants to run away from. This song seems happier but it is shadowed, haunted. It’s a gorgeous song. Enjoy it and make sure to check out the rest of the album.
The ERAera wowed me last month with their amazing sound. Yesterday they shared their first mixtape “The Heart’s Discourse” with me and I am blown away. They have some very obvious talent. The entire mixtape is grand and well produced, unified by themes of social progression and moral imperative. “Does Karma Last Forever” is a good representative of the mixtape. Starting out with a glorious swelling sound of wonder and triumph, this song relies on reverberating background “ah”s and orchestral strings. Soaring female vocals dominate the beginning and end of the song like bookends. The center of the song contains the perfect breakdown, grounding the song with chanted deep male vocals, toeing the line between rapping and singing. On top of this musical setting the ERAera provide amazing and admirable lyrics. I’d really like to be able to read all these lyrics out, but from the parts I’ve gotten, this song takes time to marvel at how everything that has ever happened in history led to this moment. Not that this moment is perfect, far from it, but just how momentous that understanding is and how important everything we do actually is. They sing about good intentions, striving to adhere to a moral code, and compare the good and bad in their lives, asking if there is a link. If that’s not enough for you, they also manage to work a Toto reference into their chorus. So check out this amazing song, and while you’re at it, check out the whole mixtape here.
DJ Cheapshot is great at bringing older rap back with a whole new sound. Take “Bow Down” as an example. The original had an aggressive and ominous sound to it. But Cheapshot’s version is triumphant and upbeat. His backing track is incredibly catchy and entirely different. The melody is carried by a synth line evoking strings and what sounds like a simple bass line. With some backing chants and a strong drum beat, this song comes together to shape how the vocals are experienced. It’s a stark difference. Enjoy it!
Soothing and chill. That’s the kind of music I’m feeling right now and EEkoz delivers with “JRMY”. Although this song is has a central rapid beat that sounds rather 808 based, this song is gentle and uses relaxed vocals and harmony. The song is relaxed and yet epic in its combination of slow, practically lazy vocals, and rapid, frenetic, backbeat. If you’re sleep deprived like me, then this is the perfect salve for the ears. Enjoy it.