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: ‘I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler’ by YACHT
Seriously, that title alone makes this one worth talking about, because that is just friggin’ awesome. Not only that, it’s probably exactly what every semi-nerdish person is thinking at this very moment, because who hadn’t expected the future to be cooler? At least give us that hooverboard man! Google Glass is too 1984 (never mind all the curfews-following-protests and stuff), but the hoverboard is the epitome of futuristic playfulness! Anyway, YACHT, I love YACHT. Not only for their witticisms (there’s an English grad in that band after all), and not only for the fact that there’s an actual ideology-- or at the very least, workplace ethos-- behind it, but also because they know how to create a catchy tune. First Claire sings the title of the track, layered with a bit of roboticism. And then the tune start, with the kickdrum, with the bass, with loads of auxiliary sounds like that catchy piano line that starts at around the fifty second mark. They attack the chorus pretty niftily, dialling it slightly back for the verses. There is a little break with some handclaps around the two minute mark, then they go at it again, and then they bring it down to just a synth line and the vocals, before going all out to the finish line again. Love the double vocal layers, the catchiness, and just this whole track is wickedly fun, to be honest.
‘Stranger In A Room’ by Jamie XX feat. Oliver Sim (Pional’s Room Version)
Last week this column featured a Pional remix that he did together with John Talabot, and this week we’ve got a track where lonesome he takes on Jamie XX’s track ‘Stranger In A Room’, featuring Oliver Sim on vocals. Love the piano at the start, leave it to Pional to herald that instrument, and the drums give it some backbone. A floating synthline is underneath it all, being a constant in the background. Soon the vocals come in, slightly detached. At about 1:14 Pional slows the pace down for a moment, going with a non-rhythm bass sound. I love the atmosphere of the tune, it is slightly dark, moody, but for instance that guitar that comes in at 2:16, or the sudden relative clarity of the vocals: just some things that then suddenly come above the fray and give you a little jolt to the body. The ending, pretty nifty, with a slow guitar sound over the more trippy percussion. Another power offering by Pional.
‘Disappointing’ by John Grant feat. Tracey Thorn
John Grant already went fairly electronic with his quite awesome previous album, veering away from the more singer-songwriter territory of his first solo endeavour. After his Hercules And Love Affair stint it should come as no surprise that this new single really starts rubbing its shoulders with the disco. The electro synth lines give it this bass-y catchiness, with new instruments popping up every now and again. In the mean time John Grant puts on his low voice for the verse, where he names all kinds of things that are Disappointing, compared to you. I like the theatrics of the backing vocals doing a sort of shubby-do-waa near the end of the chorus. The second verse Grant gets some help from Tracey Thorn, who helps him come up with stuff that don’t quite cut it if you put it next to love (or, at least, him). In the chorus they kind of dial the pace back a bit, though they keep a kickdrum behind it all to make sure you can still do a little dance whilst the tune keeps plodding forward. At about three quarters of the way through there is a little instrumental interlude, capped off by a moment of just vocals before it reaches its end. Which it does with a sound that is pretty uplifting, they managed to choose the instruments well to convey that feel. Saw them two years ago in the pouring rain at Primavera Sound in Barcelona (No no, look here, it says it’s not going to rain, so we can leave our raingear at home...), and looking forward to seeing him this Autumn when there’s actually a roof over my head.
‘City’ by Stuart McCallum
Stuart McCallum is gearing up for an album release, of which this is the title track. The start is really electronical, with a simmering synth, a bit of echo on the vocals it seems, bit after about thirty seconds you get the soulful voice and a nice slice of guitar to pierce through this atmosphere of a more industrial (nay, city) vibe that the instruments build behind that. At 1:20 he goes ghostly, having just the vocals at first doing some ooooh, after which you briefly here a soft guitar, before it goes into a sort of dub-steppy drum rhythm. In the mean time McCallum is singing that He fell in love with that city, after which you get a sort of jazz guitar solo, which is pretty wicked. And that makes it the intriguing listen that it is, the theme of it that is enhanced by the more electronical drums and instruments, but the humaneness of the soulful vocals and the jazzy guitar sound that walks right through all that. Album will be released on the 28th of August, if this tickled your fancy.
‘Lost In A Dream’ by Eagles And Butterflies (Larse remix)
Larse knows how to make a good deep house tune for the dancefloor, and here too he starts with a nice bit of rhythm with the percussion and beat setting the pace. At about the fifty second mark he sets the tone in terms of atmosphere, before combining that with the returning beat again after a couple of seconds. At the 1:20 mark he slides in a nice, reasonably paced synth line, which becomes more prominent in the upcoming parts. At 2:30 he starts to sneak in the piano, which will become an actual piano bit when he dials out the synth line. Which is neat, as he already introduced the replacement earlier, and when it comes it’s a smoother transition. At the halfway point he again subtly changes things up, in with some new stuff and out with some old stuff, but the core stays within this realm to help the track keep its continuity, which is no bad thing for the dancefloor. Before the five minute mark he turns down the beat and most of the percussion, starting with basically just a synth before building it up with, as the last addition, the beat coming back at the six minute mark (like, exactly). Another awesome instrumental house tune by Larse, who knows how to get those people down by the underpass dancing.
‘You Can Shine’ by Andy Butler feat. Richard Kennedy (The Carry Nation Remix)
Last month an EP of sorts was released where three people took on Andy Butler’s solo effort ‘Can You Shine’, which has Richard Kennedy on vocals. This is The Carry Nation’s takes on the tune, who starts it out with a bit of that bongo percussion to get that rhythm and jackin’ vibe going. Then the beat comes in, and even more African based percussion come out of the woodworks to get all y’all doing whatever you do on that rhythm thing. Just after the minute mark there comes a bit of Berlin in there too, a bit of that industrial synth, before Richard Kennedy comes in with those crystal clear house vocals that sing that He makes me special. The synth, in the mean time, is doing that bass thing to really get that House vibe going on, with this one transmorphing into an old school House tune with the soulful vocals, all those jackin’ rhythms, and this tale of love that fell apart, with house music and the dancing as the saviour. That change-up at about 4:20, that’s sweet, that’s some bass sound dancefloor goodness right there. Which, incidentally, starts an instrumental house-a-thon with some lovely change-ups to keep the dancing crowd going, and it’s only after 1 1/2 minute that the vocals come back in (though, from the back of the mix). Basically it’s just an 8 1/2 minute long party for all the freaks and geeks who like that House sound.