Tag Archives: 2016

Big Thief – Masterpiece (2016)

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And now to a different strand of the mythical folk rock genre. Brooklyn’s Big Thief balances the singer-songwriter’s storytelling with indie rock. Their debut album’s title track ‘Masterpiece’ sums it up. Adrianne Lenker sings: “There’s only so much letting go you can ask someone to do.”

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Mall Grab – Can’t (2016)

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The young Australian star Jordon Alexander (also known as Mall Grab) nailed the sampling of Alicia Keys (‘Feeling U, Feeling Me Interlude’) on 2016’s deep house track ‘Can’t’. Released on South London’s Church records, the single had impact. Mall Grab’s release was the number one selling house and techno record amongst the discerning customers of Discogs in 2016.

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Michael Kiwanuka – Cold Little Heart (2016)

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‘Cold Little Heart’ is the opening track off Michael Kiwanuka’s second album Love & Hate. Difficult to pigeonhole, unless you have my evident skills….  orchestral, psychedelic, funk rock. Very cool, whatever.

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Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein – Kids (Kapka remix) (2016)

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Netflix are currently engendering a renaissance in soundtrack writing. At the head of the queue are Survive’s analogue synthesisers. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, two members of the Austin-based band, wrote the score for mini-series Stranger Things. Set in the 1980s of E.T.’s America, the show borrows its look and sound from Stephen Spielberg and John Carpenter movies.

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Whitney – Golden Days (2016)

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Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich started their country-rock project Whitney as their former band Smith Westerns disintegrated in 2014. Like ‘No Woman’ posted here a year or so ago, the sound is a nostalgic one. The twangy guitar of a Pavement track; Ehrlich’s strikingly high-pitched vocals; the aching lyrics; and of course, those horns. Released as a single in 2016, the song features on their debut album Light Upon The Lake.

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La Femme – Où Va Le Monde (2016)

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Clara Luciani, Clémence Quelennec, Marlon Magnée, Noé Delmas, Sacha Got and Sam Lefèvre are La Femme. Last year, they produced a Gallic slice of surf music, ‘Où Va Le Monde’. Their modern take on a French affinity for cold wave, the track would not be out of place on a Tarantino soundtrack. 

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Monster Truck – Don’t Tell Me How To Live (2016)

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I saw Monster Truck in Camden Town last night. Marshall stacks, Gibson guitars and the howling lead vocals of bassist Jon Harvey… this is Old school hard blues rock and it’s music to make you smile. ‘Don’t Tell Me How To Live’ features on their 2016 album Sittin’ Heavy.

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The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk – I Feel It Coming (2016)

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And now for a current slice of pop for this Thursday morning. When the Abel Tesfaye (aka Weeknd) and Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter got together in the studio, the result was ‘Starboy’ and ‘I Feel It Coming’. I select the latter for its synth-laden, disco love groove. It sounds like the collaboration that Michael Jackson and Daft Punk never did. And as for the new Star Wars-influenced video… glorious. Both tracks featured on last year’s long player Starboy.

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Matt Maltese – Studio 6 (2016)

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South London-based Matt Maltese would seem to take his cues from a broad range of influences from George Michael to Father John Misty. Studio 6 features on last year’s EP In a New Bed on Café Bleu Recordings. Have a great weekend.

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Foreign Fields – I (2016)

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Wisconsin-born duo Brian Holl and Eric Hillman met in 2011 and quickly began work on self-releasing their 2013  LP Anywhere But Where I Am. Their brand of electronic folk was well received and they’ve since secured a record deal with Universal. ‘I’ features on last year’s album Take Cover.  The website states: “Take Cover has a noticeable lean toward spirited rhythms which dance anachronistically beneath honest lyrical confessions of doubt and hopelessness.” Ah, the inhibition of self-release remains strong in these ones. Have a great week.

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Strand Of Oaks – Radio Kids (2016)

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Strand of Oaks is a project by Philly-based songwriter and producer Timothy Showalter. Previously an arbiter of folk rock, ‘Radio Kids’ sounds more like an arena-rock sing-your-guts-out anthem à la the E Street Band, or more recently, The Hold Steady. I like. Strand of Oaks’ new album Hard Love is out this week via Dead Oceans.

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Maggie Rogers – Alaska (2016)

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Maggie Rogers was given a platform by Pharrell Williams when he undertook a Masterclass at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute. He was bowlded over by the young musician’s stripped back creativity. The resulting single  ‘Alaska’ reminds me of the work of Regina Spektor and Wye Oak. I shouldn’t imagine Mr . Williams is familiar with either. No taking anything away from Ms. Rogers, mind…

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Cass McCombs – Opposite House (2016)

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I’ve noticed my start to the year is a little solemn. There’s no changing the low key today. Cass McCombs released ‘Opposite House’ as the the first single from last year’s long player Mangy Love. Angel Olsen provides backing vocals on the chorus. “Oh why/Why does it rain inside?” they sing. Have a great weekend.

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Sampha – Blood On Me (2016)

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Known for being the principal vocalist for Aaron Jerome’s SBTRKT, Sampha Sisay is flying high and solo. ‘Blood On Me’ is a contemporary slice of electro-infused soul released on West London’s Young Turks label. His voice is breathless, urgent and engaging.

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Miles Davis, Robert Glasper feat. Erykah Badu – Maiysha (So Long) (2016)

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New Year’s Day is part recovery and part celebration in my household. Enter Miles Davis. Last year, jazz pianist Robert Glasper reworked several soundbites of Miles Davis’ studio recordings for a tribute album called Everything’s Beautiful. One such recording is a remix of ‘Maiysha’ taken off a Davis performance found on the 1974 album Get Up With It. The revision features the vocals of Erykah Badu. We’re off for brunch. Happy New Year!

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