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The Weekly Froth! - 20161118

  • Published in Columns

The Weekly Froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.

Track of the Week: ‘Walls To Build’ by KLLO (Mall Grab remix)

I love the vocals, which are right there from the start. The rhythm that’s put underneath is nice and bouncy, and it’s stopped for a moment just after the minute mark, where the vocals are put in the spotlight with only a small percussion element. Then, the rhythm is thrust right back in there, and this time around the vocals are clearer and cleaner, which is a nice effect, a nice change-up for the track. They still are lovely and dreamy though, a bit apathetic, a bit removed; a tone that fits the deepness of especially the synth sound that works in conjunction with the beat. At about the 3:30 mark, again, a short stop, this time accompanied with higher pitched synth sounds, though quickly the deeper ones return to help the transition to the bass and beat again a little while later. Released on the Ghostly International label in America, which says it all, really.

‘Is There No End’ by Shit Robot (New Jackson remix)

New Jackson gets this one going with a beat to do some of that House club jackin’ to. The atmospherical sounds give it a slower, more melancholic feel, whilst the clean beat design also shows off some of the intricacies in the drum pattern. At 1:40 there’s a wobbly synth sound that arrives in there, though the big shake up comes after the two minute mark, when the bass takes over. The tone of the track stays intact though, even when the talking vocals come in. These are alien, from outer space (or from out-er-that-vocoder-thingy-over-there), and New Jackson subtly shifts in the rhythm department underneath all that talking. It’s a lovely, hypnotic track, of which the original was part of Shit Robot’s What Follows album, which was released earlier this year.

‘On Hold’ by The XX

This track, really, has all the hallmarks we have come to know from the band. The somewhat detached vocals, the melancholic sound, and the interplay between the male and female voices. Building up to the chorus though, they bring in the more orchestral, the bigger sounds, with the chorus getting a helping hand from a more punchy, rap like male vocal. The sounds underneath are also a tad trippier than I remember from when I saw them tour their debut album, which seemed to have a more minimalistic approach to it. The core sound though, the essence of the band, that’s still there, and it still has that little something something that made them go from 0 to 100 in 60 seconds.

‘Disco Child’ by Sean Sounds

How about that riffin’ to start this one off nastily, along with the bass and, immediately, the female vocals taking you right into that Disco Queen party. And why not, as we are all disco children, really, aren’t we? And this one gives you the riff, the bass, the percussion, and, of course, those horns (ah, the horns!) to get some dancing done to. With the vocals leading the band, talking about how in the ye olden days she was already imbued by them dancing sounds, and now she’s quite hooked. Given how Sean Sounds picks up that rhythm after she finishes her choruses, no wonder, because that just makes you want to boogie down, now doesn’t it? At the three minute mark we are treated to some percussion and some of that disco innuendo (Take that beat, now, why don’t ya?), after which the horns are put to some good use before la diva returns for the next chapter in her disco origins story. It’s got the disco flavor down pat, and the euphoria is as addictive as the riffs at the start.

‘Trust Me’ by Mr. Tophat feat. Robyn

Mr. Tophat is about to take you for a ride, giving you those house club sounds with that deep, rich beat as his base for (at least part of) his ten minute extravaganza. To juxtapose that, just listen to those sounds way back in the mix that are there even before he picks up the pace with some extra percussion just after the minute mark. Near the two minute point Robyn comes in for her first set of vocals, which also seems to be the cue for Mr. Tophat to move a bit more into the space territory. At about 3:05, again, a little pick-me-upper in the percussion, with Robyn helping out, her vocals becoming more pronounced and tied in with some disco inspired sounds. And after Robyn and the disco, the space and the deep rhythm sounds come back in, which apparently is so shocking to Robyn she gives out a few good yelps on top of a galloping rhythm that moves into some slick bass action. Mr. Tophat does that so well, keeping it weird and quirky, but also grounded in the origins of the genres on display. The rhythm in there is diverse, but all the transitions work well (although the real shocker at about the six minute mark is another thing yet again), and then there’s Robyn to add some of that typical vocal work that befits the tone of the track. It requires some trust (…), but the result is an eclectic funbox with the first part taking on the classic dancing genres and bringing it home.

‘That’s What You Told Me’ SR Edits

SR Edits adds some percussion, adds some drums, though already from the start we hear some of those original sounds right back in the mix, slowly moving forward, waiting until y’all on the dancefloor are ready for it. And a good minute in, they decide you are, as the beat takes over and the horn and piano sounds come in a bit clearer than before, giving you that good ol’ disco feel. At 1:40, the female vocals come in, quickly followed by their counterpart, as they sing about how the other is going To be loo-hoo-hoo-hoo-ne-ly. Just before 2:30, the male vocals, super silky smooth, giving you all that sweet soul and a bit more, giving you that whole Motown thing that Ashford & Simpson are known for (albeit, admittedly, this was a track released after). It’s a sweet soul disco track, and this edit highlights the latter, the dancefloor part, for some of them good times.


The Hot Five - September #2

  • Published in Columns

The Hot Five – My favourite new tracks of the week, usually rounded off with a classic, obscure or alternate track from my music collection.

Track of the Week: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘Give Us A Kiss’

I think that Nick Cave has to be one of the most consistently fantastic artists on the planet. Not only have The Bad Seeds’ recent studio albums received great reviews across the board, but the band’s live performances are also held in extremely high regard. Cave’s latest project is the documentary film 20,000 Days On Earth, which depicts a fictitious 24 hours in the life of Nick Cave, and seamlessly blends performance and storytelling with emotional truths. Neither a music documentary nor a concert film, 20,000 Days On Earth contains not just electrifying performances, but also keen insights into the creative process. The songs from the award-winning feature 20,000 Days On Earth, including this, the fantastic ‘Give Us A Kiss’, will be available digitally from September 4 with a limited edition vinyl 10” to be released on November 10.

20,000 Days On Earth will be released on September 19.

Philip Selway – ‘It Will End In Tears’

Ramping up the anticipation of new album Weatherhouse, Philip Selway has released a new track, ‘It Will End In Tears’. It’s a succinct and well written song that shows the maturity of Selway’s solo songwriting. Weatherhouse was made in collaboration with Adem Ilhan and Quinta, who had previously performed in Philip's backing band. “From the outset,” Selway recalls, “we wanted the album to be the three of us, and we covered a lot of instruments between us. With a studio full of inspiring gear and a great-sounding desk, we felt like a band.  Different musicians stretch you, and I felt stretched on Weatherhouse, but very enjoyably so.Weatherhouse will be released on October 6 via Bella Union.


Spoon – ‘Rent I Pay’

Okay, so I’ve got to admit that I don’t really know a lot about Spoon. ‘Rent I Pay’ caught my attention after automatically coming on after the above Philip Selway track had finished playing on SoundCloud. The intro to the song made a big impression on me; it’s a classic bit of rock music with indie and blues overtones that is undeniably cool. ‘Rent I Pay’ is taken from the Texans’ eighth studio album, They Want My Soul, which was released in last month.

I think that Gene Simmons needs to give Spoon a listen.


The Fratellis – ‘Oh Scarlett’

I can’t believe it’s been a year since The Fratellis released their comeback album We Need Medicine. As a thank you to their fan base, the Scots have released a new three-track EP entitled The Soul Crush EP. ‘Oh Scarlett’ shows a slightly different side to the Fratellis; a slower tempo and a bluesy, laid back feel suit the vocal of Jon Fratelli in what is one of The Fratellis’ best songs to date. You can download The Soul Crush EP for free via The Fratellis website.

Hidden track of the week: The XX – ‘Crystalised’

I don’t think anyone ever needs an excuse to listen to ‘Crystalised’, The XX’s stunning debut single taken from their Mercury Music Prize winning album The XX. You can hear the atmospheric, minimalistic influence of The XX in many current bands, including London Grammar and Vancouver Sleep Clinic (a personal favourite of mine). With tracks of such quality and originality under their belt, it is easy to see why the sound of The XX is so influential to emerging artists. In May 2014 the band revealed that they were working on their third studio album, working with producer Rodaidh McDonald at the Marfa Recording Company studio in Marfa, Texas.

You can follow Tom on twitter @tom_fake

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