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The Weekly Froth! - 20160610

  • 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: ‘To Be Free’ Tim Zawada edit

Love that on-the-low-down Chicago bass that this one starts off with, like we’re riding the inner city streets ready for whatever the night brings. Then, the jazz saxophones, which come in after a bass and percussion combo laying down the rhythm. That combination comes back, before ditching the percussion and returning to the sounds that it all started out with. Then, at 1:45, the vocals, singing that We are the one, and that, yes, We’re going far. Then, the clear singular male voice, singing We gotta get away from here, before the bass lets us flow down the river that takes us once more. This time, after the three minute mark, the bass gets the guitar and the saxophone to go along, before diving into the hazy vocals again, thinking about flying away before there’s a little growl in the male voice, insisting they’re going to spread their wings. I mean, that bass, by golly, it’s so sexy, and then with all the helping elements like the sax, guitar, percussion, and then with the vocals coming in time and again; a lovely rhythm piece to get it on to here.


‘VV Violence’ by Jessy Lanza

Jessy Lanza starts this off with some sass, saying that she May say it to your face, but it doesn’t mean a thing (just so you know, hon). She keeps up with the rhythmic vocals, singing that You don’t even talk to me, this all the while there’s some quick firing percussion going on helped out by, around the 45 second mark, a deep, bass like thing. At the minute mark the thing moves to the electro-pop side of it all, upping the tempo, going up a pitch in the vocals, and doing the thing you can dance to before dialling it back with the slow bass sound. Later in the track there is a more dance interlude, where the focus moves to rhythm and beats, though later on the vocals do make their entry again. It is a nice combination of pop, more experimental electro, and dance, giving it an edgy but catchy feel that fits the Jeremy Greenspan produced album that she put out.


‘Beau Sovereign’ by Leon Vynehall

Leon Vynehall has someone whispering in our ear about Our love, which clearly is doing something or another to this person. In the mean time the percussion and, a bit later, the actual beat come in there, kicking this deep house tune by Mr. Vynehall into gear. Then we also get the synth in, providing us with some of that house vibed goodness for the dancefloor. Apparently, our love is all that she wants, putting the sex there where it belongs (namely, in House music). At the two minute mark the synths really start to build up, making no mistake that you should be jackin’ it up on this one. There are some nifty synth shifts in there, from the old house hands to some more atmospheric sounds for the track to slow it down to. However, there are always the drum and beat for the midnight people who want to dance, giving them all plenty of opportunity to do so on this nice deep house track with some vintage elements to take us way back down the alley once more.


‘Star Tripper’ by Breakbot

That’s as close to entering space as you can get really (without risking copyright infringement, that is), with Breakbot starting this one out the way you expect Star Tours in Disney to start out (or at least, to treat you to as the waiting room music). Surely, the first minute is more about the start of a cinematic space adventure than that it is about slow burning space disco, which with the drums and rhythm sounds it veers closer to the rest of the track. And it takes until the 2:40 mark to really get the catchy in, with the bass and sans the synthesizers that basically spell out Up, up, and away. One thing cannot be denied though, that they don’t know how to put theme in their music, and when they say ‘Star Tripper’, dear me, they mean it, giving this a nice, slow space burner to do some shuffling to underneath the starts at night.


‘Keep Moving On’ by Satin Jackets feat. IsaacO

This one starts by laying down the atmosphere, with the high pitched “ooooh-hoo-ooohs” mixed with the deeper, soulful vocals announcing that They will keep moving on. Those vocals are accompanied by the piano first, before slowly but surely other sounds start to arrive. It takes a while before we get to drum sounds of this, and when they do, they are idiosyncratic as opposed to a steady beat line. It helps the head nodding on this low-paced track, giving us the heartache and the yearning through the vocals and the piano, with the drums adding to the solemness. The high pitched backing vocals keep singing the title line, as the singular drum and all the accompanying atmospheric sounds ride this one to a fitting close.


‘Starr-Let’ Dr. Packer rework (Preview)

There comes the disco and funk, courtesy of the The Brooklyn, Bronx & Queens Band, who’s track ‘Starlet’ is reworked by Dr. Packer. From the start, there’s this amazing disco tempo that just has dancefloor written all over it. There’s a nice bass in the back there, providing the rhythm along with the drums, and you’ve got a plethora of vocals. Especially in the verses the bass and the vocals are the starlets (…) of the show, and of course it is all about love and dance and taking a chance. Just one of those funky disco reworks with plenty of good vibes, and all kinds of pace to make sure the dancefloor stays packed. At about 3:20 that pace is dialled down for a moment, though you can already hear it gear up again, though that’s asking a bit much for a preview. Though, before it fades out you hear the guitar riff again, all the rhythm elements being back, so you know they will be at it even after sundown.



Primavera Sound 2016, Barcelona - Day 2

  • Published in Live


It’s not only the well-known that get a crack at convincing the Primavera crowds, as the young Moses Sumney plays the Pitchfork stage early on in the second day. And, really, he hadn’t expected over a handful people to be there, let alone the sizeable hand he gets dealt early evening. “Who lied to you?”, he asks, smiling, as in his mind the reason people are there cannot possibly be him and his music. He is certainly enjoying himself, treating the audience on one hand to slow, soul & country inspired tracks, and on the other hand he gets the looping pedals going, doing the claps, vocal lines, and other assorted sounds to provide, in the end, a full fledged track over which he sings with a soulful, velvety voice.

The middle part sees most of the slow songs, dragging the pacing a bit, and some of the loops go wrong a tad. Which one can forgive since he does everything himself. In the second to last song he gets the second rhythm clap just a tad wrong, but after a moment’s hesitation decides to just go with it as, well, festival time is unforgiving with the short set-up times between bands. On the whole though, Sumney is pleasant to listen to and, with the sunglasses and cape and the fact he does everything himself, nice to look at. If the album lives up to this promise, maybe next time he is accustomed to those numbers in front of him today.

Same stage, half an hour later, it’s Nao. Her backing band comes on, all in black, and with the slight electronic tinge that her EP has, one perhaps expects something mysterious or broody or the likes. And there she comes, dancing, beaming, and all smiles in the most summery, colourful dress anyone has probably ever owned. The band adds some oomph and takes away some of the cold from her EP, instead even rocking it a bit with some guitar riffs and the likes. In the mean time, Nao is doing the dancing and the singing, both convincingly and with enthusiasm, so much so that it gets contagious. She ends with her track ‘Zillionaire’, which is basically an ode to loving and being happy (as money don’t mean a thang). That is what she not only sings, but exudes as well, and the message gets across.

As far as headliners go, they just don’t get much bigger than Radiohead. It’s silly to expect anything less than a simply jam packed field full of people, an undoubtedly eclectic mix between the die hard creeps, those that never leave the main stage area anyway, and those curious by the skyscraper like reputation of Thom Yorke and band. Surprisingly, the sound even in the belly of the beast is excellent, the band even at times visible due to the slightly upwards curve of the field, and all those kinds of people (after an initial hush by the fans unable to get further upfront) join in with attentively listening to the band. Unheard of, really, and Radiohead manages to cash in on that and deliver a super set.

The band goes from super small to a bigger sound, to more experimental to the hits that everyone knows. ‘Paranoid Android’ is there, a superb version of ‘Street Spirit (Fade Out)’, and the band connects so much with all them fans that the crowd spontaneously erupts in a chorus of For a minute there, I lost myself. And then, at the end, the gut punch, the heartbreaker, the ode to all the people who are prone to gather at the Primavera festival; "I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo, what the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here". It takes a second encore to get there, but they get there, and you can see it’s what many people wanted to hear and the lines with which they want to join in and resonate.

Holly Herndon’s album isn’t the easiest listen, but I’ve worked my way through my share of experimental sounds, including hers on tape. Live, though, she goes from experimental and outside of the box to downright inhospitable, making it such a tough listen for me that I’m finding myself moving further and further away until I’m nowhere near the stage anymore. I’m not demanding three chord songs and verse-chorus-verse structures, but these sounds asked for a ticket that I didn’t have on me, excluding me rather quickly from whichever group it is that might enjoy her live show.

On the Adidas stage it is Shura who brings her brand of dreamy electro/synth-pop to a crowd that already includes some definite fans, eagerly awaiting her arrival and giving her the idol treatment. I like her songs, but despite her at one point donning a guitar and moving all over the stage, the band’s sound seems a notch too tame to really win the votes and hearts of those out there. Compared to a Nao earlier that day, and Jessy Lanza the day before, it feels a bit too sleepy-headed, making it a slight dud to end the second day with.

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