Now let’s turn up the dissonance dial a touch. Toronto-based band Alvvays self-released their debut album in 2013. It featured this peach. Molly Rankin hits the high notes on ‘The Agency Group’.
We finish the week with something a little weird and wonderful. Connan Mockasin’s ‘I’m the Man, That Will Find You’ mimics and evokes to great effect. Despite the R&B machismo of the chorus, its psychedelic funk production has to be heard to be believed. The song features on his 2013 album Caramel. Have a great weekend.
In 2013, the mysterious and reclusive William Bevan released his EP Rival Dealer. Burial had had already gained a reputation for standing a head above his electronic peers and this release did nothing to dowse the excitement. The 13-minute closer ‘Come Down To Us’ manages to be both funereal, layered, spacious and upbeat.
Canadian band Le Couleur channel a vintage form of electro-pop for the song ‘Femme’ off their 2013 Voyage Love EP. Laurence Giroux-Do, Patrick Gosselin and Steeven Chouinard had approached French producer French Fox to produce a nostalgic, welcome view of glamour and Twiggy. It feels like being in a French discoclub in 1982.
The singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey is a founding member of the band Portico Quartet. ‘Cucurucu’ was his fourth release after leaving the group in 2011 to go solo. It features on his first studio album First Mind, which, like the work of Portico Quartet, also received a Mercury Music Prize nomination. Mulvey has previously revealed that the song’s title is a meaningless noise a child would make, but to these ears, the salsa-infused sound has more to do with the time he spent studying music in Havana. A salsa infusion as it would be sung by Ian Brown, that is.
French music video director and neofolk artist Yoann Lemoine is better known to some as Woodkid. His track ‘I Love You’ features on the autobiographic album The Golden Age. You will have to forgive him the indulgent video, that sport of what he does and has done for Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey’s …
Based out of North Vancouver, Tobias Jesso Jr. started playing piano in his spare time while working for a moving company. During this time, he wrote his first ear-catching song ‘Just a Dream’. Girls bassist JR White took note and produced his ensuing album Goon with with Patrick Carney of The Black Keys and John Collins of The New Pornographers. The rest, as they say, will be history.
For an artist who created several showstoppers in a 50-year career,’Where Are We Now?’ was perhaps his most unexpected track since 1969’s ‘Space Oddity’. Bowie chose to break a decade-long silence by releasing this strange and haunting single on 8 January 2013, his 66th birthday. Bowie – pop’s greatest star – shone brightly to the end.
Not strictly a 2015 release this one, because the recent buzz around Izzy Bizu’s 2013 song ‘White Tiger’ is due to a fresh pressing of the single as a precursor to her debut album A Moment of Madness – expected out in the first half of 2016. Listening to it again, you can understand why the re-release – pop hooks galore and a smart jazzy vocal treatment creates a sound that just bounces along. She’s from Barnes, SW London too – a voice’s throw from my manor.
Well before you say it, there is more than a touch of Justin Vernon about Ásgeir’s ‘King And Cross’. There is something about those cold northern latitudes that brings about the ethereal – Ásgeir Einarsson is an Icelandic singer-songwriter. In 2013, he released the long player In The Silence on One Little Indian. ‘King And Cross’ was the first single and a strong start. Stay warm.
Jon Hopkins was born in Kingston and raised in Wimbledon. I was born in Wimbledon and raised in Kingston. But that’s not where our dissimilarities end. After studying at The Royal College of Music as a teenager, he was collaborating with Brian Eno by his mid 20s. I’ve already blogged about his delicate folk sounds with King Creosote on Diamond Mine. A couple of years, there was quite a change of speed on his own work Immunity, released on Domino Records. ‘Collider’ is a model track off the album – electronica all elegantly mixed in with the dark murmurs of Lisa Elle and a schizophrenic visual accompaniment.
Just catching up on my back catalogue and in no particular order …
Honourable mentions also go to: Portugal. The Man for ‘Plastic Soldiers‘; Pharrell Williams for ‘Happy‘, Brazos for ‘How The Ranks Was Won‘; Junip for ‘Line Of Fire‘; Phosphorescent for ‘Song For Zula‘ and Mark Kozelek & Jimmy LaValle for ‘Somehow the Wonder of Life Prevails‘
‘Song for Zula’ may be the signature track on Phosphorescent’s 2013 release Muchacho, but the 7-minute + ‘The Quotidian Beasts’ is a harder rocking number. And within it, Matthew Houck is able to convey a dark slice of americana. “She laid her claws all upon me and she found me a glass/I know I’ll be up early, I mean you drew me up bad/And the beast came upon me, I guess it wasn’t so bad.”
Chance The Rapper collaborated with James Blake in 2013, the same year that Blake received universal acclaim for his long player Overgrown. Together they produced an alternate version of Blake’s ‘Life Round Here’. It’s got touches of unmistakable Chance, and so, I like it a lot.