It is almost summer time, which means the legs by the poolside/beach photos will soon begin invading your Facebook stream. And it could not come quickly enough. All the wedding and baby shit people seem to be obsessed with lately is really hampering my Facebook activity. But I digress. Anyways, to get you in the summer mood, check out this week’s installment of the “weekly rotation.”
M.I.A. – “Bad Girls”
Admittedly, I immediately brushed this song aside the first time I head it, mostly because I feel M.I.A. is a over-hyped, hypocritical loudmouth (and she did not do herself any favors with the now infamous Super Bowl finger.) However, shortly after the single dropped, so did this equally addictive and badass video, forcing a re-listen and new found appreciation.
The song relies on a catchy lyrically hook-like chorus that drills itself into your head with the bluntness of a sledgehammer, reminiscent of Wiz Khalifa’s jam “Black and Yellow.” While, accompanied by a video full of burka-clad women whipping around street cars and M.I.A. standing on the windows of one while it drives on two wheels makes the song not only something to hear, but a spectacle to see.
Neon Indian – “Fallout”
According the people over at Adult Swim, the inspiration for Neon Indian’s new video off last year’s standout album, Era Extrana, came about as follows:
When we heard “Fallout” from Neon Indian’s new record, Era Extrana, we knew we had to do something with him. So we tracked his ass down and said “let us make you a video!” He said “Uhhh, sure…” and we immediately called Lilfuchs, who made this homage to 80′s toons and sexy commercials. Put your arm around someone and click on this bad boy.
All I can say is I don’t remember my ’80s cartoons of G.I. Joe and Transformers looking like this.
Of Monsters and Men – “Little Talks”
A bit of a departure from the last two songs comes the upbeat and energizing single from Icelandic folk-pop group Of Monsters and Men. The song “Little Talks” will feature on their upcoming debut album due out April 3rd and its video was released last Friday.
The video is loaded with CGI-visuals that take you on a mind-bending, monster-escaping dream-like fantasy sequence that is completely captivating and so well done that Tim Burton may be calling for royalties; enjoy the snow-covered chase.
This morning is dedicated to some of the great female-led singles that came out in the past week. Take a few minutes to check out what all three of these electro-popish Brooklyn-based acts had to offer up. Props to these ladies and the one random dude in School of Seven Bells.
School of Seven Bells – “Lafaye” from Ghostory, February 28th.
MNDR – “#1 In Heaven” from the upcoming debut album due out this summer.
Class Actress – “Bienvenue” from Rapprocher.
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Work Drugs dropped this track a few days ago in celebration of their first anniversary as a band. The song is a collaboration with fellow Philly area native, Dylan Sieh, aka Tours. “Dirty Work” is based on beautifully layered instrumentals, a punching synth line, and soft vocals that will surely carry you through the rest of your day. Very happy to have stumbled across this tune, grab it while you still can on free download and enjoy.
This week I am again taking a trip in the way-back-machine in hipster time to mid-2011 to unearth 3 largely overlooked releases that have for one reason or another resurfaced on my radar. These 3 artists comprise a diverse selection, but all deserve some legit consideration and a listen.
Main Attrakionz – 808s and Dark Grapes II
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The indie rap genre is blowing up with the DIY, free mix tape, tumblr driven artists that pump out music on an almost quarterly pace. This unfiltered development in musical convenience can create many misses or a pathway for obscurity, lost in the continual shuffle. However, Main Attrakionz, the Bay Area based duo of Squadda B and MondreM.A.N may have some staying power. There is a textured glossy sound accompanied by consistent bass blasting 808 beats and great sampling to be found on 808 that allows it to easily drift from stoned out hazes to tight production. This sound is also fueled by Squadda and Mondre’s smoothly interchanging lyrical delivery, which can carry some weight, but mostly serves as an added layer of ambiance, included to build a greater whole affect, as opposed to be song drivers itself. The variety and scope of Main Attrakionz can be seen in the contrasts between the chilled-out “Bossalinis & Foolyones Pt. 2,” “Chuch,” and “Modre Mo Murda” to the darker, heavier beats of “Nothin’ Gonna Change” and “Take 1″ to the polished sonic sound of “Perfect Skies.” Although 808s and Dark Grapes II at times can comparatively feel mundane, a mere symbol of the laptop dominated mixtape game that currently exists when the musical backing shifts to more commonplace processed beats; its hits and overall sound make it stand out from the continually changing pack and a LP to chill, hang out and float away with as the album’s artwork depicts.
The New Division – Shadows
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On Shadows, The New Division show that life in Southern California can have a dark underbelly. Singer and songwriter John Kunkel touches on heavy themes like drugs, death, and relationships throughout the recording, even though they are often overshadowed by the dark aesthetics that surround them. The low-fi, synth-heavy sound makes you believe the ’90s guitar movement never existed and given the band’s name, it’s pretty easy to guess where their influences lie. The more concise and packaged songs like “Opium,” “Sense,” “Violent,” and “True Lies” point to a band that is really onto something and even when The New Division get lost within their own sound, they are also successful, see “Momento.” Yet, as a whole Shadows could have been stronger by a slimmer and more punctual delivery, leaving “Momento” as a change and true standout. Ultimately, Shadows is a great tribute to some of the best sounds the ’80s had to offer and a solid debut LP, making this an enjoyable listen with beautiful atmospherics, even if it takes some wading though to get to them.
Strange Talk - Strange Talk
Australian electropop group Strange Talk are the last stop this week. Strange Talk can easily be compared to the likes of Phoenix, Friendly Fires, Yeasayer, or fellow countrymen Cut Copy. They released their eponymously named debut EP last year produced by Eliot James (Two Door Cinema Club, Bloc Party) and have just recently released a single “Sexual Lifestyle” mixed by John Fields (Cut Copy) to precede their debut LP expected in mid-2012. As a sidenote, this past year, they opened for the likes of The Rapture (a personal favorite), Neon Indian, and The Joy Formidable. Strange Talk don’t stray too far from a formula of echoing guitars, a punchy synth, and heavy basslines that discreetly form highly stylized indie-pop dance hits, which can be found in “Eskimo Boy,” “Climbing Walls,” and “Sexual Lifestyle.” Even the slower paced songs “Is it Real?” and “We Can Pretend” are centered around indelible choruses… all-in-all, highly addictive. Strange Talk aren’t poised to win any awards or place on too many end-of-the-year lists by the time they release a full length LP, but as a first impression, they manage to create an unbelievably fun and catchy dance sound that will surely be a party favorite and stay in your head for quite a while.
Last night a close friend was back home from across the country and naturally the night was a rough collection of spilled drinks, great stories, failed karaoke attempts, and dance-offs on empty dance floors; all resulting in the unenviable “please don’t throw up on public transit” commute, followed by the “please don’t throw up in the office” work day. However, there is always a silver-lining and this time of peril has made me revisit some great tunes to pull through, so enjoy…