We’ve been away for a while lost in the dreamland of the real world. Apologies.
As I’ve been skating through life, one track that’s come across my radar has been a little offering from London’s Still Corners. Set to debut sophomore LP Strange Pleasures, the Sub Pop-signed project of Greg Hughes feeds off of 1980’s synth pop influences to produce gems like “Berlin Lovers.” With a video set to a retro roller rink, the teaser to the group’s second album is Grimes’ lovechild with Victoria Legrand, pumping a heavy synth over the wafting vocals of singer Tessa Murray. It’s dreamy–enough to take you away from the dullness of daily routine.
After announcing their third full album, last month, Oxford, England-bred Foals dropped their first single “Inhaler” today on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 Show. Complete with an aggressive video, the cut from Holy Fire is far more confrontational than anything we’ve come to expect out of a fivesome whose infectious math rock caught fire first with Antidotes and, later, Total Life Forever.
Now touring on their fabulous new album, The North, Stars are renowned for the videos that accompany their brand of Canadian pop. From nude women dancing with tails to juiced up muscle heads mouthing the words “We Don’t Want Your Body,” the lack of rhyme and reason behind on-screen accompaniments to releases has always given the Montreal darlings an extra appeal.
On their video for “Tanlines,” the band goes a little more conservative, taking a Mr. Roger’s approach to their third single from The North. No there’s no sweater and loafers, but the quintet are shrunk down to pocket-size equivalents before playing in front of an automated cityscape. With Amy Millan effervescent, the video is a reminder that Stars, even after their sixth full-length album, are as fresh as ever.
Fresh off the Connecticut trio’s Sweet Salvation EP, this title track is one of two new songs from The Stepkids’ upcoming sophomore album, slated for release in 2013. Directed by the band’s live light show collaborator Jesse Mann, this video is straight 70s tripping, replete with space journey, kitsch graphics and life-size puppets. Like its visual accompaniment, “Sweet Salvation” takes us into psychedelia-tinged pop–just the right amount of odd we’ve come to expect from Stones Throw Records.
By now, your knitted garments are tucked away somewhere in the back of your closet, slopped over your boots and corduroy jeans. The thought of a cozy sweater immediately forms sweat beads on the nib of your nose. So why this song? Why now? Why “Sweater Weather?” as your last-minute summer anthem? Because it’s hot — and because its catchy melody, body-moving beats and seductive lyrics are seemingly more fit for a bonfire at the beach than a book by the fireplace.
Blame it on the fact that The Neighbourhood, despite their pretentious “ou” spelling, hail from Southern California (where summer is winter is fall is spring and a sweater is used for fashion, not function). But seriously, who cares? (Not you, not us). As suggested in the chorus, (“no shirt, no blouse”), this song is the perfect warm weather jam. If you haven’t had the chance to familiarize yourself this summer with The Neighbourhood, allow us to introduce you to the emerging hip-hop-tinged quintet. Their debut EP I’m Sorry was released for free late last Spring. You can download it here, but lest you go on and forget, be sure to add this single to your pool party playlist…before it’s actually sweater weather.
A day after Bloc Party officially released its new song, “Octopus,” André Allen Anjos, the well-blogged-about man behind Remix Artist Collective, has unleashed his own take on the band’s first single in four years. Taking Kele Okereke’s false falsetto and carving it into an opener, Anjos combines the vocal sample with a sticky bassline and disco synths. Leaving the guitar solo–and much of the song structure–the same, RAC makes an already dance-ready track even more danceable. For a band whose remixes can be hit or miss–see: Intimacy Remixed–RAC, as always, is spot on, leaving what works for the song while sprucing up aspects that are more welcome under strobe lights and on hardwood floors.
Seekae, an Australian electronic trio you’ve maybe not heard of yet, have thus far made their name on elegantly crafted, emotionally-affecting electronic songs in the vein of former empire-mates Mt. Kimbie and James Blake. Tracks like “Void” make heavy use of synth pads, hip-hop descended rhythms and vocal snippets for an effect that’s more summer meadow than sweaty club.
With new cut, “Yech,” the group takes the inevitable next stop for crafting electronic pop and throws some vocals in the mix. Surprisingly enough, one of these dudes, Alex Cameron, can sing. It’s the same sort of sad-soft croon that Blake has used to such great success. Although Cameron’s refrain–“I can feel my heartbeat… my ghost is coming,”--is appropriately haunting, the song itself never stops moving long enough to ascend from this plane. Performing with a full complement of analog and MIDI gear while amber sunshine splashes in from the Sydney bay, the trio builds the skittering, pulsing track up from drum machine to synth pad, giving it real weight. It’s only one song, but let’s hope there’s a whole album of this coming.