Tuesday, 1 March 2011

#26: Montage Populaire

New Narcotic of the Day #26:
Montage Populaire

Hey! How about some inventive and intelligent indie rock that defies the generic guitar/bass/drums attack and throws in a realm of psychadelic trance-tastic electronics, travelling in the realm of The Beta Band, a band who capitalised on the electronic accessibility in the late 90s to meld this burgeoning indie rock ideology to glitchy glimmers and shuddering robotic shimmers. Since then, the likes of Fiery Furnaces and Destroyer have expanded, exploded and explored this, which continues beating and building in the hearts and minds of the fivesome known as Montage Populaire.

'Break Up The Band' utilises a steady, driving beat until a frantic central riff starts winding towards a muffled vocal lead and a wonderful chant-like cheer. A carefree ethos with the concept of vocals are vital to the fantastic frivolity this band exude, utilising a varying degree of effects and ideas to showcase their lyrical spurts. 'Reject Reinstall' is a brooding, burning flame of a track, using heavy handed backing electronics with surprisingly chipper synth to craft that concise contrast that brings about repeated listens. There are (albeit warped and bolder) bursts of Britpop in the likes of 'Attraction Repulsion' and an Of Montreal-like series of flurrying dashes weaving a rugged path through the majority of their work, standing out like a firecracker in the monstrously madcap 'Simon Says'.

Montage Populaire have a number of gigs coming up at the likes of Old Blue Last and (forever in my heart) Lennons. Tomorrow, they play at The Bull & Gate alongside Francis Neve (previously mentioned HERE!)

Friday, 25 February 2011

#25: Small Engine Repair

New Narcotic of the Day #25:
Small Engine Repair

Updates have become as sporadic as sunspots but the show must go on, stiff British upper lip, keep calm carry on etc etc etc etc...

Oh I do love to have a darn good Midlands band popping up on my musical radar. Hereford (as well as being my current career team on FIFA 11, in the Premiership after six seasons thank you very much) has spawned Small Engine Repair, a trio of musicians who craft Americana-tinged alt folk with an English ear for the blues. They utilise a deft hand in generating softly spun songs that seep a steady stirring of sadness and sweet recollections.

A new EP, fittingly titled 'An Introduction to Small Engine Repair', is available for only five British pounds and is well worth every penny. 'I Feel So Old' ekes it's way into existence with a spindly riff and Cohen-like coherence in it's sentiment and stretching guitar picks. 'This Whole Setup Is A Lie' begins with a She & Him splash of piano before the vocals of Phil Twigg forges it's worn, world-weary ferocity, coming off as a cross between Matt Berninger and Mark Oliver Everett. 'Hey Best Friend' is a beautifully realised tale of youth and friendship, lamenting and reflecting with the utterly despondent crux in 'But I still miss you, more than I can say."

The EP is available now from the link below and join me in seeing them at The Social in London on the 22nd March.

Hey, Best Friend by Small Engine Repair

Saturday, 19 February 2011

#24: The History of Apple Pie

New Narcotic of the Day #24:
The History of Apple Pie

Time away yet again and back again yet again and again and again and again.


Well, a fusion of 90s indie shoegaze plus a smidge of Britpop equals The History of Apple Pie, a group started by Stephanie Min and Jerome Watson (previously of Hatcham Social). Now they have expanded into a five piece who swell and surge to craft that distinct sound of the Yuck-style, 1990s creeping their way back into music (they don't really sound a thing like Yuck BUT I can't help but mention them when talking of this mini-90s 'revival').

This is C86 shoegaze, all ripping guitar lines and shuffling drums behind a sweetly crooning female voice that hovers atop the melody, conscious of it's place in the history of such a musical narrative. 'You're So Cool' drifts along on an endlessly chilled riff, recalling the likes of Luna or The Breeders, leaning back into a melody of sunny relaxation. 'Mallory' croons "Mallory, she's wondering how on Earth they got this far", utilising an imaginary(?) individual to tell a classical tale, treading a line between The Pixies' 'Allison' and The Shirelles' 'Foolish Little Girl'. This 60s girl group backbone is a brazen, beautiful branding on their indie pop, remaining faithful to the melodic, story-telling qualities that the likes of Motown et al utilised to great effect.

The History of Apple Pie have a host of London gigs in the near future including slots at The 100 Club and The Victoria.

You're So Cool by The History Of Apple Pie

Thursday, 10 February 2011

#23: Trogons

New Narcotic of the Day #23:

True psych rock is a worrying offcut of the musical realm. Truly great psych rock needs to simply slip into your own psyche, take over, muddle things up a little bit and screech the whole darn way. Trogons are a foursome who take shake, rattle and roll in their own rollicking direction, utilising driving riffs alongside 80s ideology and a set of roaring vocal chords from lead singer Gemma Fleet.

'Protest Song no.678' begins with a flourishing freight train of sound via a guitar lick that rumbles and grumbles in the short, sharp, stabbing space of a sparse two minutes. 'Rare Earth Materials' holds an almost classical sway in it's punching guitar and Siouxsie-esque vocals that vibe along on an astral plane all to themselves. This is like metal music on downers or post-punk on uppers; drugged up psychadelica at it's most potent...

Trogons are all over London like a lovely rash in the near future, performing at Brixton Windmill, Hoxton Underbelly and The Victoria.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

#22: Kyla la Grange

New Narcotic of the Day #22:
Kyla la Grange

Singer songwriters are an odd breed of musician. All alone compared to the camaraderie that a band brings (barring session and touring musicians), they must forge their way through the musical mire without a guitarist to back them up or a drummer to blame everything on. They are truly brave brave souls. And it takes a lot to grasp attention in the music world when you're all alone, especially with the glut of individuals with an acoustic (generalising pshhhhh); it's certainly tricky to find the so-called 'diamonds in the rough'. So how about a wondrous one for today's New Narcotic?

Kyla la Grange conjures up a heady form of modern pop, drenched in alternative ideology with dashes of pounding melody, smothered in a suitably smoky layer of vocals. She performs with, and relies on, a fantastically attuned backing band but it is her innate sense of mysticism, lyricism and seemingly endless awareness of modern pop music that allows the music to swirl around her, pinpointing the maestro at the centre of this maelstrom, recalling hints of Glasser fused with 80s pop.

'Vampire Smile' starts innocently enough (albeit with an oddly stiring sonic effect hidden behind the acoustic strum) with the rasping whisper of Kyla leading the way into a fusion of modern indie folk with rampaging, spiritual alt pop. This is the tribal music of old stirred together with modern pop technique and tenacity. 'Walk Through Walls' is slightly more bombastic, setting sail upwards, soaring into a sing-along chorus that must surely grace dance floors, bedroom blasts and festival stages sometime in the near future.

Kyla la Grange will surely be heading to many-a stage in the near future but, for now, placate yourself with a free download of 'Vampire Smile' from her website....

Sunday, 6 February 2011

#21: Crows

New Narcotic of the Day #21:

It feels, somewhat, with the departure of The White Stripes acting as a poignant reminder, that true scuzzy, garage-fuelled rock and roll; the kind that burns in the pit of your stomach and growls with a frazzled ferocity; is practically dead when it comes to interesting musical conception. Shoegaze has gone soft and sappy, punk is all but deep underground and the harder edges of indie rock have morphed into either soaring, melodic, rhythmic sauntering or homogenised, unintelligent sap. But, maybe it's time for a revival of rip-roaring magnifience with a four-piece from London known simply as Crows.

Crows have only two tracks on the world wide web so far but both exude a mixture of surf rock vibes with a stony edge of scuzz. 'Reyes' punches with a lashing beat, underlined with a vocal run that utilises an effortless control that manages to sound chaotically emotional. And 'Korea' may have the best intro of any song I have heard in a good long while. Pure surf rock shimmer gives way to trembling vocals and a driving riff which kicks, scratches and bites its way towards a classy collapse.

Crows are playing at The Good Ship in Kilburn on Wednesday and, if prayers are answered, will be crafting more concoctions in the very near future.

Friday, 4 February 2011

#20: Swim Deep

New Narcotic of the Day #20:
Swim Deep

Wow. Well done everyone (me), we've (I've) made it to the big 20. Mazel tov all around guys! Wine and cheese night around my place! Let's cross our fingers and pray, wish and dream we make it to that big BIG 50....

ANYHOO; this is about music and here is some new narcotics to inhale, inject and ingest.

When you think of hazy, drifting surf rock, it's easy to float to images of Californian beaches, sunsets over oceanic horizons and Bethany Cosentino feeding you grapes in a hammock (just me?). How about Birmingham? And not even Alabama Birmingham. I am talking West Midlands, brummie Birmingham. As part of the West Midlands massive, Birmingham based trio Swim Deep make me immensely proud and ready to go back and surf a network of canals longer than Venices.....

Swim Deep spin a heady mix of dazed and confused gaze-rock that drips with a joyous disdain for pop melody, miring itself happily in the deeply serene drone that such use of distortion and steady, hovering sonics develops.

Even the track titles feel drenched in tropical sunrays, with the likes of 'Santa Maria', strutting along on a bed of electronic growling that is garnished with an 80s synth (that, magically, doesn't sound dated) and lead vocals that growl just as convincingly. The tuneful trip towards the finish line is poised and purposeful, heading down the highway into a sonorous sunset. 'Isla Vista' is a darker turn, albeit darkness sprinkled with handclaps, surf riffs and a meandering backing synth that sparkles rather than spits. The heavier tone provides the dark descent, sounding like an alternate world's version of Pixies where Black Francis decided to up and move to LA.

With only two tracks on the interwebz, we have a long road ahead of us before Swim Deep are spreading their sound to the world. Though they have two shows at the Victoria and the Rainbow in April and May. From these early adventures, it could very well be a glistening, sweltering and nebulous journey. Albeit, taking a trip around Spaghetti Junction to get there.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

#19: Domo Genesis

New Narcotic of the Day #19:
Domo Genesis

Hip-hop time? Yes, hip-hop time.

Das Racist are the most successful frontrunners of a movement that can be labeled, simply, as hipster-hop. This is rap music that avoids the traditional vibes and concepts associated with the genre, focusing on a range of matters that delve into introspection, nerd culture and sexual adventures (well, they had to keep a lil' something from the old school). The major component of this advancement is the musical style and beats, often derived from indie, alternative and psychadelic fields of music, with many acts having alternative artists guesting, sampling or playing around with their tracks.

Domo Genesis is one such proponent of this wondrous evolution of hip-hop, and a member of Odd Future (a hip-hop group who have been making tsunami waves on the West Coast of America), produced by the madcap maestro Tyler the Creator. Rather than try to sum him up with something witty and pithy, I will just throw this quote down from his own bio "
I'm Better Than You At Life. Ill. This Isn't "Real Hip Hop" Or "Jerk" Or "Really Any Bull Shit You Heard Of". I'm Not Working With You Unless Your Almost As Good As I Am. Which Is One Notch Under Perfect. This Is Nino Brown In 89. This Is Rick James In His Prime. This Is Domo Genesis."

'Supermarket' is a fantastically realised thought-splatter on the inanities, machinations and oddities when it comes to shopping, via a word-slinging face-off set to a trumping tune courtesy of a 1940s musical, of course. 'Heart of Gold' utilises a trinkling bit of synth to underlie a rant on education and knowledge, dropping references to dinosaurs, puberty, morality and, of course, sex. This is a subtle sort of hip-hop that screams in your face.

Domo Genesis has a record out, titled 'Rolling Papers' and is another US artist that will probably not get to these shores. I am fed up of grime. We need some British hipster-hop.....

Monday, 31 January 2011

#18: Escapists

New Narcotic of the Day #18:

I have no idea where Escapists escaped from (blah-bad-punning-time) but wherever it is, I am damn sure they are missing the group of vivacious four young males who hail from London and craft a melodious mixture of indie rock and upbeat folk pop, stuck together with a confident sense and sensibility, barricading itself in the riffs and percussive elements of their tracks.

'Longest Day ' begins by moving into Arcade Fire territory with it's steadily expanding instrumentation, touching the memory synapses in just the right way, before moving into something slightly harsher, in the vein of We Were Promised Jetpacks. 'New York' is an ode to my future home (if I have anything to do with it, god damn it!), spinning out a catchy tale of Big Apple romance, whilst 'Ghosts' is a Warpaint-esque drift through ethereal , low-key plucking and harmoniously haunting vocal strains that end by floating ever upwards to the heavens.

Escapists have a bunch of demos to absorb and a host of gigs upcoming in the capital, including a show at the World's End on February 17th.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

#17: Melted Toys

New Narcotic of the Day #17:
Melted Toys

Music that is mired in the the indie muck, full of moping vocal stretches and lazy synths and guitar lines that dawdle and diddle in the most delicious manner, sometimes grasps the heart the hardest. That beautiful form of warped pop comes streaming from the hearts of Melted Toys, a three piece from San Francisco.

'Come On' is a soppy slice of distortion that treads the line between Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and an indietronic Grizzly Bear. This is the sort of music that has deviated and distorted it's way over the last twenty-odd years ever since The Smiths started singing exquisitely forlorn pop songs. 'Wild Waves' sounds like something the likes of The Drums have been aiming for, thanks to it's pure lo-fi heart singed and tinged with surf rock sentiment.

Melted Toys have an EP, 'Washed & Dried', out on February 22nd via Underwater Peoples Records. AND check out the beauteous video recorded by Into The Woods below. And now, they have to be added to the list of bands I need to beg/bribe to come to London.....

Friday, 28 January 2011

#16: Colours

New Narcotic of the Day #16:

What is it with these wonderful little scuzzy rock bands and their ungooglebable names. The likes of Girls, Cymbals, Women and Suckers all bring up a million little web pages that deviate from anything musical or melodic. Now, we have Colours (the British spelling gosh darnit), a google search that brings up a dazzling array of imagery and spectrum based information but very little on the surf rock garage fuzz fusion that leaks from four London based musicians going under the same term.

Signed to Marshall Teller Records and with an EP on the horizon (according to the ever so informative medium of Twitter), it's time to get into the kaleidoscopic world of Colours and the variation of vivid hues that they pump forth. 'Head Germ' is a psychedelic glimpse of noise rock (accompanied by an equally disturbing/sci-fi-tastic video from Benjamin Yiend), with a repeated drone of the word 'over' closing out the track in a suitably catastrophic cauterwaul. 'Wise Woods' begins with a lo-fi drum staple alongside a lazily strummed slice of surf rock riff, reverberating with the atmosphere of the setting sun before the lamenting larynx of the lead vocalist puts a dawdling sheen across everything.

Colours are appearing at Old Blue Last on the 5th January FOR FREE and have an EP on the way which I shall class as a necessity for 2011.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

#15: Francis Neve

New Narcotic of the Day #15:
Francis Neve

The realm of the singer-songwriter is a tricky field to navigate thanks to the glut of garbage that comes under such a banner, as various musicians roll through genre cliches without the flair or originality that allows them to break free of the musical weight of the past. Francis Neve, from Essex, manages to utilise an inventive mindset alongside a true heartfelt sentiment to craft his calm sense of indie gentility that nestles itself directly next to your pleasure points.

Francis has been writing songs since the age of 12, popped in and out of some indie bands and his debut record was released at the end of last year, garnering an understated collection of critical acclaim thanks to the understated style of storytelling that appears to innately inhabit his work. His debut album, 'The Second Time We First Met', has a slight concept in that it documents the life of a relationship, an idea close to my heart with the fiction I am attempting to complete in those moments when I am drunk and awake at 3am in the morning.

'Brian's Drying Up' is a melancholy trip that shows the songwriting prowess in the heart and head of Mr Neve, introducing ourself to the world of his records titular character. 'Come Near' utilises the general template of his work, a driving beat and a catchy riff accompanied by his alluringly, reassuring vocal tone that tells us a tale via an ear-pleasingly punch of a melody.

Francis Neve is appearing in London very soon so get along to The Strongrooms on 9th Feb, AAA on 19th Feb or Dublin Castle on 7th March.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

#14: Ben Butler & Mousepad

New Narcotic of the Day #14:
Ben Butler & Mousepad

Joe Howe is one guy who manages to sound like a group of electronic whizzes, whirring away on a host of electronica that screeches and screams with an attention deficit disorder that breeds beats. Formerly, Joe has worked as part of Gay Against You and Germlin, now using the name Ben Butler & Mousepad to peddle his brand of static stutter, stapling a heartfelt host of grooves here and there to headbop the whole thing home.

"Infinite Capacity" retreats and restarts through glitch and glimmer, shedding a skin of electronica on its way to a 90s dance pop dazzle. 'Other Islands' careens along on a precipice of sci-fi sonics whilst "Electric Bamber-Boo" is a Nintendo-fuelled, madcap dash through laser blasts that fire themselves directly through your eadrum and into your nostalgic memories of platformers, power-up and Pokemon.

He has a free EP on his Tumblr for YOU RIGHT NOW, so don't hestitate and get your glitch on to beep and bloop away those blues....

Publish Post

Monday, 17 January 2011

#13: Dirty Beaches

New Narcotic of the Day #13:
Dirty Beaches

Dirty Beaches is the beautifully pun-tastic pseudonym of one musical man, concocting a low-key, off-kilter collection of ideas and moulding them in his mind until this subdued sort-of-dub leaked into the world. His music burns with an icy sunshine, which sounds implausible until you learn he lived for years basking in the heat of Hawaii before moving to his current haunt, the snowy, chilly Canadian city of Montreal.

'Lord Knows Best', the track that made me fall into sonic reverie, sways with a perfectly pitched piano pop flutter, whilst the voice of Dirty Beaches growls, almost menacingly, atop, fusing these two seperate worlds into a vat of melting wonder, dripping with a late-night, drunk swagger.

He turns The Stooges into something far more terrifying, which is something I never thought possible. But 'No Fun' becomes a warning track, blaring forth a drilling beat with dry, instructive vocals demanding and commanding atop the whole thing. His voice resonates like Ian Curtis on a comedown, mumbling in a half-intelligible saunter that enraptures as much as it creeps and crawls.

Listen to a bit of this Dirty Beaches fellow right now before his album creates another bloody genre craze. GO GO GO!

Friday, 14 January 2011

#12: Chains of Love

New Narcotic of the Day #12:
Chains of Love

Old school sounding music still grabs me by the memory box and shakes me in ways I just can’t shake with new and modern sounds. So, when a band decides to emulate a mixture of old school rock and roll with dashes of soul and 50s boy band, my memory box goes gaga and shuts down for a little while.

But now it is back and giving you another New Narcotic, in the form of Chains of Love, a garage girl group from Vancouver who ache with the heart and soul only heartbreak and true love can instigate, break down and create. ‘All The Time’ is full of that snarky, revenge attitude, with scuzzy sounds and distant vocals aplenty, along with a wonderful bit of fairground synth that seems to spark into life towards the finale. ‘Breaking My Heart’ uses an old fashioned drum beat with precision and panache, resounding with the long lost sound of The Marvelettes and The Ronettes who decided to go garage, swigging whisky and pumping out rollicking jam after rolling melody.

Chains of Love are the highest calibre of retrotastic music, making their music sound like B-Sides to the best, brightest and boldest band of the 50s and 60s. And, just goddamn because sometimes life is wondrous, they have a bunch of songs for free to download right not from their Bandcamp…

Chains of Love Myspace

Chains of Love Bandcamp

Thursday, 13 January 2011

#11: The Babies

New Narcotic of the Day #11:
The Babies

It's time for an indietastic collaboration thanks to a modern day sort-of-super group! The Babies is a quartet formed of Cassie of the Vivian Girls, Kevin Morby of Woods, Nathanael Stark of Bent Outta Shape and Justin Sullivan of Ringers; a veritable indie/lo-fi explosion. Originally conceived as a temporary side project, for the sheer sonic fun of it, they seem to have cemented themselves as somewhat more serious after announcing a debut record on Shrimper Records this February.

The Babies peddle that current lo-fi lovefest style (Best Coast et al) that uses stoner mumble and grumble alongside bluesy guitar and an attitude to life that reminisces on youth, weed and lazy, sunny days spent roving around in permanent adolescence. 'Wild I' is a lazy romp through lo-fi territory whilst 'Breakin The Law' recalls garage rock roots, by way of Jay Reatard style clatter and shatter. 'Meet Me In The City' is an urgent charge through sunrays and 'Run Me Over' showcases a punching drumbeat alongside a sonically distorted riff that glides along with suitably catastrophic vocals.

Check out The Babies before they blow up and take the sun with them; the supergroup is back with a drugged up sort of vengeance....

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

#10: Grouplove

New Narcotic of the Day #10:

Sometimes a shockingly good introductory track can lead to a whole world of devastation and disappointment when the music you suddenly love reveals itself as a short loved, one-hit-wonder of your world, as the artist in question managed to use up all available wisdom and talent by channelling it into that one track you fell in love with. Grouplove unleashed a track called 'Colours' onto the net last year and I 100%, abso-fucking-lutely fell in love with it. Jabbing indie vocal jerks and steady but steadfast pulsating percussion, coupled with a shout-along chorus made it a surefire mainstay for my summer of 2010 (blogged about wayyy back in May). The worry came when I decided to see what else they had to offer....

Grouplove are an all-American group (even though one member is from London and they met in Crete...) who exude an upbeat Arcade Fire vibe, full of vigour and good vibrations. They are based, nonetheless, in LA, and you can feel the warmth of the West Coast sunshine through their tone and tenor. A slight sense of the 90s indie revival is in the air when listening to the likes of 'Naked Kids' with the vocals almost sneering their way through the song, aided by some rapid strumming and Smashing Pumpkins bass runs and spoken word verses. 'Gold Coast' is an irrepressible moan wrapped in indie ethos, accompanied by a clatter of drums and comfortably whining vocals, whilst 'Don't Say Oh Well' echoes a US parallel version of Los Campesinos!

The group veer away from the recurrent current sound of the West Coast, swerving away from lo-fi grumbling, edging away (ever so slowly and slightly) from surf rock and stumbling, giggling the whole way, in the opposite direction of noise rock. Grouplove are five content individuals, singing about joy and smiles amidst a Californian sunset and are all the better for this display of sheer exultation. I feel that if Grouplove aim for summer release, the mixture of festivals, sunshine (fingers crossed) and general gaiety in the air will push them into the stratosphere, kept afloat atop chanting crowds, sunny dispositions and face-achingly grinning music lovers.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

#9: Fos

New Narcotic of the Day #9:

Time for something strange, artistic and wondrous to close the weekend with Fos, the musical project of a Greek artist, Katerina Koutouzi, residing in London town. She has released two albums on Near The Exit music and is continuing her uniquely personal and emotive musical journey, crafting tracks that bob, duck and dive out of the way of genre expectations, moving in such unexpected directions that defy logic but placate the ear.

'Un Courant' is a harmonium led gem, using such a distinct sound to create a general sense of unease and cinematic tension whilst the low, humming vocals rumble atop it all. A mixture of instrumentation show's itself up in the work of Fos, with Katerina showcasing her prowess with pianos, harmoniums, accordians and glockenspiels, as well as projecting a hauntingly evocative voice.

The music of Fos has a folktastic base that spirals wildy off towards avant garde directions whilst maintaining a sense of calm pop in the way each song is constructed and the avenues they explore. 'With The Seagulls II' uses a deeply affecting piano riff to set up actual seagull effects and a sudden driving beat, adding a dance tinge to what first appears to be a folk-pop exploration. After a few listens, however, the music starts to feel like an artistic expression via sound and melody, with Fos using noise as a true artform and, more importantly, as her artistic voice. The likes of 'Mnimi' is a vocal and harmonious experiment (that works wonderfully) and 'In Harmony' takes a gentle, twinkling ideology, sparkling with a dream-like sense of awe.

Fos has developed an enormously overwhelming ability to spin together an assortment and array of oddities in terms of sound and style, weaving them together on a giant loom into a tapestry of melody, art, rhythm and hazy dreams. Catch her at the Shh Festival on 22nd January at Cecil Sharp House to try and experience her own unimaginable world in person.

Friday, 7 January 2011

#8: Trwbador

Artist of the Day #8:

Whilst I may not be able to correctly pronounce the name of today's band (I am guessing something like Troubadour???), I can correctly claim they excite, enthrall and entice in equal measure, sparkling with a simplicity of sonic structure that twinkles and flutters all at once. Trwbador are a bilingual duo from Carmarthenshire, South Wales who make me want to move to such hallowed, green and pleasant lands, learn the local lingo and form my own indietronica act that utilises the full force of the human voice in the manufacture of melodious motifs.

'Off Beat' is exactly what it says on the tin, chopping and slicing samples of wonderfully clipped vocal efforts to piece together a track that spins around and around, never landing on anything solid but making you dizzy in the most satisfying way. 'Eira' showcases a slightly noodling math rock influence in the guitar windling and weaving, carving a slowly widening path into your mind and staying there for a damn good while. Xylophones are always welcome in my musical inbox, so the delicate sprinkle of the aformentioned instrument, alongside a gentle vocal hum makes for an immensely smiley couple of minutes.

Trwbador make music to feed that part of you deep down that needs comfort, serenity and sweetness, utilising their impressive pair of vocal chords, an undeniable talent for electronic manipulation and a host of sudden and glitchy instrumentation to whisk a concoction of heady heart-throbbing folktronica.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

#7: Childish Gambino

Artist of the Day #7:
Childish Gambino

My first new act of this new year of ours going by the numer 2011 is going to be a comedian/actor/writer/hip-hop-hipster. Yeahhhhhhhhhh....

Hip-hop is a genre that has many many detractors who primarily focus on the mainstream mush of so-called 'Gangster-rap' which ignores the huge swathes of interesting, innovative and alternative rap music being produced nowadays. And I must mention that my new artist of today is not actually all that new. He is a comedian called Donald Glover who has found fame as part of Derrick Comedy (check them out all over Youtube), as a writer for 30 Rock (check it out if you get the chance) and as part of the cast of Community (CHECK IT OUT NOW BECAUSE YOUR SENSE OF HUMOUR DEPENDS ON IT). Aside from all of this, and much unappreciated, is his music career, having released three records for free on the internet, including his latest early in 2010, 'Culdesac'.

Donald uses the pseudonym Childish Gambino, keeping his comedic and musical stylings seperate to distinguish the distinct differences between his two immense talents. He uses his word weaving abilities to craft intelligent, geeky hip-hop that echoes Das Racist and the current wave of alternative hipster-hip-hop breaking through. His unique style of self-conscious boasting namedrops references from Tina Fey to Spider-Man.

Most of his work explores his inner thoughts as a young, gifted and black rising star, ranging from worrying explorations of his early years through to diatribes on his attraction to the beautiful women surrounding him thanks to his highly-earned success. Slow R&B-esque grooves take over on the likes of 'So Fly', with Childish sounding sweet and gentle as opposed to his charging masculinity on 'Put It In My Video'. Here he clearly states that every kind of female can come and appear in his video, using an amazing sample of The Stylistics (pushing my soul buttons) and blurting forth a wondrous line that accurately describes my every thought when in NY this summer in "Mixed girls from Williamsburg, that's my fucking Kryptonite".

Strangely, a sample of Adele forms the backbone for 'Do Ya Like', a sultry seduction song that oozes sex appeal and her soul voice works exquisitely over the stop-start style utilised by Childish on the aforementioned track (whether she knows it or not). There is a vulnerability in the music here yet somehow a sincere sense of bravado alongside the nervousness, with Childish Gambino managing to tread the line with flair, eloquence and a wisdom beyond his years.

Check out the music of Donald Glover (along with every damn thing else he does) before he goes skyhigh and becomes the new Kanye (quite possibly ego and all). Oh, and he also mixes the likes of Sufjan Stevens into oddly pitched dub and dance remixes. He couldn't really get any more awesome...

OH and his latest album 'Culdesac' is free to download HERE!