Jhameel x DWNTWN x Giraffage – Move Me
GO BEARS. For those of you who don’t know, up-and-comers Jhameel and Giraffage both went to UC Berkeley. Giraffage and Robert Cepeda (from DWNTWN) were roommates at one point in San Jose. This collaboration was bound to happen, just like Jay-Z and the xx. All three have been putting out some infectious tunes for a while (click on their names to hear some examples) and Kitsune (a label that constantly seems to be putting out mind-blowingly amazing compilations) had them get together for Kitsune America 2, which releases today.
Daughter – Landfill and Candles
Last year, Daughter helped me get over a break-up and I’ll forever be grateful. I have been obsessed with the band (particularly Elena Tonra’s vocals and lyrics) and today, they have their debut album coming out in the US. Their three strongest songs prior to this release, in my opinion, are “Landfill”, “Candles” and “Youth”. Only one of them has made it to their full album, so I’m kicking off this week’s Tunesday with the other two. As I have said in the review, this is some damned depressing stuff to listen to. For the record, they’re amazing live too. Sadly, my inability to land a date for a relatively unknown band left me with unused tickets for their show in San Francisco back in October. Chances are the next time you hear their name, they’ll be far more well-known and those tickets will be far more desirable — their show in LA next month sold out weeks ago. The last time I believed in a band’s impending success this much was The xx (another artist whose concert I had two tickets for and only used one of in 2009… oh dear).
The xx – Together
Speaking of The xx, Jay-Z is pulling some magic producing the soundtrack for “The Great Gatsby.” This collaboration was bound to happen. Jay-Z has long been a fan of The xx and was spotted back in Coachella 2010 vibing to their music with Beyonce. The soundtrack is due to be released next Tuesday and I could not be more psyched that one of my favorite bands will be on the album for an adaptation of one of my favorite novels. Something that you will catch in the song that isn’t usually featured in their music is the presence of violins. If you like this song, I would recommend you watch The xx Symphony where they play some of their songs with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.
GEMS – All I Ever & Pegasus
Now that I’ve talked about The xx, I think I should give GEMS a mention. They’re an up-and-coming band with both a female and male vocalist. I’m kind of a sucker for that when their voices work well together. “All I Ever” does rightfully bring up some comparisons to The xx, but “Pegasus” shows a use of synth that sets them apart(particularly around 2:32). Regardless of how similar they are said to sound to other bands, I have been captivated and look forward to see what they do next.
Daughter – Get Lucky (Cover of Daft Punk)
In last week’s edition of Tunesday, I briefly mentioned that Daft Punk released the first single from their new album and someone was bound to make a cover or remix of it soon enough. Naturally, I’m going to have to show you guys the one that Daughter did. It’s kind of a cop out in a way to take an upbeat song and make it into a mellow, acoustic version, but it’s a move that’s easily forgiven when it’s quality work — another example that immediately comes to mind is Anya Marina’s cover of “Whatever You Like” by T.I. The band demonstrates how much thought goes into their music as well as how much talent (and humility) they each have individually.
Banks – Before I Ever Met You
It’d feel like a crime not to mention this song when this has essentially become a superpost of break-up music. Banks is an act to watch because her unique, soulful voice is being applied to some trip-hoppy backgrounds and it makes for a genre-defining act. Her voice is constantly compared to some seriously talented names like Fiona Apple and Miss Lauryn Hill. You don’t have to be recently single to enjoy this tune either — with all the passion and downtempo goodness, it’s making its way to some playlists for sex. Whether you have a heart break to get over or a “heart-on” to get under, this is a good accompaniment.
Baths – Ironworks
A special thanks to my friend Jeni for this one! Baths will be releasing his 2nd LP, Obsidian, on May 28 and this is a nice first taste of what’s to come. It’s a change of style from what fans of Cerulean have heard. This quote from the artist himself on Soundcloud should do the job describing what kind of change. “The songs and lyrics all came out of a pretty fucked and arduous process of trial and error,” Baths says. ”But I hope people understand that I’m not the depressed, suicidal, and death-obsessed person the record may paint me as being. These are just darker areas that I wanted to explore.” Don’t expect another “Aminals,” but try to embrace it. “Ironworks” is a beautiful song in its own right and demonstrates the scope of emotion Baths is capable of relaying.
Absofacto – Backfire
Absofacto is the solo project of Jonathan Visger (of the band Mason Proper). Mason Proper makes some okay tunes, but I’m a huge fan of Absofacto. As he describes it, it is “experimental pop,” but I’d go with the cliche music blogging method and say he’s kind of a mix of Beach House, The Shins and Phantogram. He recently announced that he will be touring with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (not as Absofacto, but as a part of their band just for the live performances) and that he will be releasing more music as Absofacto sometime in the near future.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t On The Dancefloor)
Well, this has been one clusterfuck of depressing and/or mellow music. Let’s transition to something a little bit more fun. As I just mentioned, Absofacto (Jonathan Visger) is touring as a part of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. & their new EP, Patterns, had some really catchy stuff. I have no shame in admitting that I danced around in my room to this one and it’s a good thing you didn’t see me since you weren’t on that dancefloor. The song, unlike my dancing, is pretty pleasing to the senses.
Daughter – Medicine (The Chainsmokers Remix)
I had a dilemma deciding between this remix and Sound Remedy’s and decided to link the Chainsmokers version. Sound Remedy takes on the track and makes a dubstep version, which turned out rather beautiful, but The Chainsmokers took it in the direction of house music while preserving a lot of the original version’s components. In a little blurb on their Soundcloud they say, “”We heard this song on a depressing cold winter day in NYC (it can get pretty bad) but as soon as we heard the haunting voice of Elena from Daughter and the bands equally incredible wallowing piano chords, we didn’t necessarily feel happier, but we fell in love with the song and knew we had to try give our Chainsmokers touch to it without ruining the already beautiful song.” My personal take is that they definitely didn’t ruin the already beautiful song (which, by the way, is another one that Daughter decided not to include on their full-length album).
MF Doom x Clams Casino – Bookfiend
Clams Casino is one of my favorite producers and MF Doom is one of my favorite rappers. Hopefully, there’ll be more collaborations between the two. Would it be too much to ask to hear Doom rap over “I’m God” (one of my favorite tracks produced by Clams)? Before I go off wishfully thinking, I can hold myself over with this song.
Blondfire – Walking With Giants (Shreddie Mercury Remix)
In this remix of “Walking With Giants” by Blondfire, Shreddie Mercury makes Erica Driscoll sound like GLaDOS from Valve’s “Portal” series by adding elements of glitch music and a heavy beat. The original song by Blondfire was also a pretty catchy tune to dance along to and the band is picking up steam now that they’re touring with Surfer Blood and Foals. I’d recommend checking out Blondfire’s EP, Where the Kids Are and their cover of “Trojans” by Atlas Genius”.
Mr Little Jeans – Oh Sailor (ft. The Silverlake Conservatory of Music Youth Chorale) & Waterfalls (Cover of Paul McCartney)
Mr Little Jeans caught my attention when she (real name Monica Birkenes) released a cover of Arcade Fire and an original song, “Runaway,” that was just as addictive. I had the chance to see her open for St. Lucia last summer and she is just as attractive as she is talented. There are rumors floating about that she may be releasing a full album in June and two more songs have popped up on Soundcloud. The first is “Oh Sailor,” an original song that’s the best use of a youth choir that I’ve heard since Ryan Gosling used one for his band, Dead Man’s Bones (ah yes, a 2nd consecutive week managing to mention him). It wasn’t soon after noting Gosling’s young back-up singers that I realized that it was the same choir. More recently, Birkenes released a cover of Paul McCartney’s “Waterfalls.” As she’s already demonstrated with her cover of “The Suburbs,” it is a cover that is uniquely hers.
Run the Jewels – Get It & Banana Clipper (Snippet)
Run the Jewels is a newly formed collaboration between El-P and Killer Mike and yesterday, they released a single from their album. A while back, El-P posted a snippet from a song called “Banana Clipper” on Soundcloud. The latter is the song that got me more excited and it’s an album to keep an eye on (especially since they’ll be releasing it free of charge in June). It’s worth noting that Killer Mike is on tour during the summer and El-P will be joining him in July along with Despot and Kool AD (of the recently broken-up Das Racist).
TORCHES – When You Gonna?
TORCHES is a band that’s been around for a while in LA, but they still haven’t seen the spotlight. “When You Gonna?” is the kind of song that’s easier for people to catch on to and they will be starting a residency soon at The Echo in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, a big part of their sound in this song is the harmonizing of Azad Cheikosman and Bridgette Moody’s voices, but Moody (also the bassist) left the band recently and it remains to be seen what kind of direction they will take the band with their new bassist. Their EP, If The People Stare, comes out May 6.
Empire of the Sun – Alive (Music Video)
When I heard the single from Empire of the Sun’s upcoming sophomore album, Ice On The Sun, I was a bit underwhelmed. It was clearly intended to be catchy, but it quickly became repetitive whereas previous hits like “We Are The People” and “Walking On A Dream” did not. However, upon watching the music video that they released yesterday, one thing is clear: they have not lost their showmanship. Empire of the Sun clearly care about crowd-pleasing. They are entertainers and it showed in one of the best live shows I’ve ever been to. Hopefully, the rest of the album offers something more challenging to listen to, but for the time being, nothing’s convinced me not to buy tickets the moment they’re on sale.
Jez Dior – Candles
To end Tunesday, once again, some hip-hop. If you thought I was done talking about Daughter, well, you’re wrong. Jez Dior sampled “Candles” (the first song in this post) to make this song from his mixtape, Scarlett Sage. Last week, I bashed auto-tune, but this is one of the few instances where I think it’s used well (when used sparingly)… you’ll see. He’s been slowly gaining fans and “Candles” was his earliest hit. Other songs that have been getting attention since include “Love Me To Death” and an appearance in mdnt’s “Dreamcatcher”.
As usual, I’d love to hear your feedback and even more, to know what music you think deserves some attention. See you again for another installment of Tunesday in a week! I promise I won’t mention Daughter next week. Probably. I’ll try not to be so depressing with my musical choices in the future, especially during dead week. Here’s a cute cat video to make up for it.
Contact Ephraim Lee at [email protected].