Every time I hear Panda Bear sing I think: this is what I should be listening to.
Animal Collective: “New Town Burnout”
Teengirl Fantasy burst onto the music scene back in 2010 with the dreamy track “Cheaters,” one of the best songs of that year.
Fast forward a couple years and we have their new album Tracer, one which further establishes the uniqueness of their own particular brand of dance music.
This album has a few very interesting guest appearances on vocals, from Panda Bear to Laurel Halo to even Romanthony, the guy who sung the vocals for Daft Punk’s “One More Time.” The guest spots are all good in their own way, but this album really shines when TGF’s beats are front and center and free from any vocal overlays.
Tracer is a focused, coherent trip through a hazy dance world; one that only this band seems to know the location of.
Better late than never.
Here’s your July 2012, with a chill summer vibe. Had to put in one of my favorite smooth summer jams, “Be Thankful” by the immortal William DeVaughn. Major upload problems, so this time the file is in mediafire. Enjoy outside.
(00:00) Dirty Projectors – “Unto Ceaser”
(3:30) Frank Ocean – “Super Rich Kids”
(8:27) Blood Diamonds – “Ritual”
(13:33) Flying Lotus – “Between Friends” (Excerpt)
(14:19) The Antlers – “Drift Drive”
(19:00) Holy Other – “Held”
(25:00) Frank Ocean – “Thinkin Bout You”
(28:19) William DeVaughn – “Be Thankful For What You Got”
(35:24) Dirty Projectors – “Swing Lo Magellan”
The first time I heard Dirty Projectors was one of the most vivid first-listen experiences I’ve ever had. In the summer of 2009, my friend put on the song “Stillness is the Move” off their album Bitte Orca, and my ears practically had a siezure it sounded so good.
I couldn’t believe how completely original their sound was, and how complex their compositional elements were. The collision of intricate harmonies, glitchy guitar riffs, and funky basslines was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. Dirty Projectors instantaneously became one of my favorite bands.
Fast forward a few years and we finally have their next record in Swing Lo Magellan. I kept my anticipation in check due to the natural tendency for hyped albums to let down, but as soon as I heard the dirty bassline kick in in the opening track “Offspring Are Blank,” I couldn’t help but laugh at how incredibly good at music this band is.
Swing Lo Magellan is definitely distinct from Bitte Orca: the songs lean into a more folksy realm, the harmonies are de-emphasized, and frontman David Longsreth’s voice is more front and center.
But the thing that stands out the most to me in this record is the playful confidence these songs exude. They know the base formula of what makes them successful, so at times they toy with the listener as they experiment with all the ways they can pull off a great song. At one point they even poke fun at themselves, as one of the girls can be heard in the background asking, “when should we bust into harmony?”
Like Bitte Orca, Swing Lo Magellan sounds genius the moment you put it on. One of the hardest things for artists to do is to continually sound original and innovative, but the ease at which Dirty Projectors pull that off is what makes them one of the best bands in the world today.
Stream the album over at NYTimes (standout tracks: “Offspring Are Blank,” “Swing Lo Magellan,” and “Unto Ceasar” among others)
June 2012 was truly an amazing month for music. Enjoy this tribute to it:
(00:00) Hot Chip – “Motion Sickness”
(05:12) Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”
(08:40) Poolside – “Slow Down”
(13:20) Friendzone – “I Have Nothing”
(17:25) Frank Ocean – “Pyramids”
(27:09) Holy Other – “Love Some1”
(31:33) Grizzly Bear – “Sleeping Ute”
(36:05) Hot Chip – “Let Me Be Him”
(43:38) Clams Casino – “Human”
(46:57) Yeasayer – “Henrietta”
(51:30) Friendzone – “STRESSES”
Here’s a great new cut from Yeasayer. They have a new album due out in August, hopefully the rest of its songs are on the same plane as this one. Love the second half.
The best act I saw at Governors Ball on Saturday, hands down, was James Murphy and Pat Mahoney’s ‘Special Disco Version.’ At one point, they took Poolside’s cover of ‘Harvest Moon’ and spread about six more layers of bass on it—that I was hearing a warped cover of one of my favorite songs didn’t even register with me until it was half over. The mix sounded nothing like the original ‘Harvest Moon.’ What a set. Keeping my eyes peeled for the tracklist.
Poolside - Harvest Moon
Hot Chip in my mind is one of the more standout indie bands of the last decade. They’ve made some incredible tracks (“And I Was a Boy From School,” “Ready for the Floor,” “The Warning,” and a great deal more), but their last album One Life Stand was definitely a let down from their previous works.
With their new album In Our Heads, the band has come back in a big way. Hot Chip has always excelled at both up-tempo dance jams and their slower stuff, but this time around their music holds a little something extra in terms of musical and lyrical complexity.
Moreover, Hot Chip in the past has released albums with two or three superlative cuts on it, but I’ve always viewed the surrounding tracks at not too much more than your typical “filler” material. With In Our Heads, Hot Chip makes us forget about this notion entirely as the album significantly raises the bar in terms of top-to-bottom quality.
As they demonstrate with songs like “Flutes,” there are few things in the music world better than a top notch Hot Chip single. But when the rest of the songs on the release are nearly on that level, then you’ve got an album not many others will surpass this year.
Hot Chip - “Flutes”
Hot Chip - “Motion Sickness”
Hot Chip - “Let Me Be Him”
I’m a sucker for R&B, but you gotta love this new track from Frank Ocean. Love that he’s exploring new territory with this 10-minute track, which is much longer than anything from his relatively straightforward debut LP Nostalgia/Ultra. Stream or download the track for free below:
Pyramids by Frank Ocean