Wednesday, 28 October 2015

-Music Videos on my Mind- Leftfield feat. Tunde Adebimpe’s “Bad Radio”

Up until now, Bad Radio was the name of Eddie Vedder’s first band who, in the 1980s, used to perform Duran Duran inspired songs to audiences in San Diego. Fast forward a few decades and Bad Radio is the title of Leftfield’s new track, delivering a body blow of electronic dance music that simply renders the listener both shaken and stunned. The sounds going on in this record are astoundingly produced, reminding us of an era when dance music was not a throwaway affair, it was a statement of intent, a British movement that defined a culture and invoked the wrath of Parliamentary ire hastening in the Criminal Justice Act to stamp out its hedonistic footprint. It was deemed as both corruptive and recklessly emancipating to a generation of youths experimenting with drugs and social boundaries. In Leftfield’s own words: “We changed the possibilities of what you could do on a dancefloor.”
Leftfield returned with a new album this year called Alternative Light Source, its first since 1999, and first without original music partner Paul Daley, thus leaving Neil Barnes as the sole member of the group. But Barnes has been very open about his split with Daley, saying they both wanted to pursue different things. In an interview with the N.M.E’s Louis Pattison, Barnes candidly discussed his hiatus, saying he wanted to spend the last sixteen years raising his kids, also revealing that his battles with depression caused him to lose months of creative time to psychological trauma. Barnes says that Bad Radio is a track that was forged within the furnace of his emotional instability, claiming: “When depression hits you it takes you to a place where it seems like there’s no way out. That’s what Bad Radio is about. But out of all that, good things can happen. There’s light and darkness. Despair and hope. You go through it [and] then come out the other side.”

Monday, 26 October 2015

-Movies on my Mind- Unloved’s “Guilty of Love”

One of the key components of music to feature on this blog is, essentially, how well it compliments one’s love of cinema.  Most folk of our generation may have been profoundly affected by hearing pop songs used in movies, which henceforth triggered a fascination of how music in films generates an emotional effect that both invokes period and soul. Think of it like alchemy, the filmmaker matching pieces of recorded song against film to see what reaction it engenders.
So if one was to inform you that the group Unloved is the brainchild Hollywood music composer David Holmes (Oceans Trilogy, Out of Sight), television composer Keefus Ciancia (HBO’s True Detective), and songwriter-vocalist Jade Vincent (she probably watches a lot of films), you’d get the sense that this is a distinctly cinematic affair made into music.
And you’d be correct. It’s a sound that Lana Del Rey would walk down the aisle to, a film-noir drenched spectacle of drugged-out wasted glamour and forgotten ‘60s L.A. girl groups. Guilty of Love is dark, dark stuff, shaded with expertly produced jangly arrangements and moody vocal tints, though, never losing its sense of melancholic playfulness.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

-Music Videos on my Mind- U.S. Girls' "Window Shades"

Meg Remy, custodian of indie dance outfit U.S. Girls, has borrowed the brooding disco beat from Gloria Ann Taylor's Love is a Hurting Thing and constructed a new track called Window Shades out of it.
Window Shades is produced by Remy’s talented husband Slim Twig, thus creating a song draped in layers of anachronistic piano tinkles, retro funk switches, and very modern takes ofemale self-empowerment. Ultimately, the song registers so strongly because of how richly cinematic it sounds, playing as something that’d be right at home in a dark drama.
Therefore, the 1930s Busby Berkeley inspired music video seems rightly fitting for a song that sports its 20th century American motifs with inspiration to spare. Supreme stuff.

Monday, 12 October 2015

-Music Videos on my Mind- This is the Kit's "Silver John"

So there’s this British girl called Kate Stables who was born in England but now lives in gay Paris, though her music project, This is the Kit, is a thoroughly Bristolian affair that taps into the musical community of the city, producing a protean product which recruits collaborators like Jesse Vernon only to later swap them with Rozi Plain and then bring onboard new teammates to introduce fresh sonic elements. In Stables’ own words: “The more you exchange and share with people, the better things get and the more you learn." 

Silver John is her new single, an alternative sea shanty-type song that seems most fitting considering Bristol’s association with the ocean, it being the British base for voyages of exploration to the New World. (There is a reason why in traditional folklore pirates speak with cutting Bristolian accents: arrr me hearties! and such.) 

Silver John is a stirring meditation on the end of the world, an evocative melody in which a single guitar chord plus miasma of organs, ponder Stables’ introspections on existence and her relationship with life. Heavy stuff, but it sounds lovely.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

-Music Videos on my Mind- Deerhunter's "Breaker"

There’s a glorious yin and yang between British and American music journalists, where they take pot shots at each other regarding what’s good and what’s not. For example, one recalls the American press accusing British tastemakers of overhyping the Arctic Monkeys when they first hit in the mid-noughties. Likewise, Deerhunter’s new track, Breaker, is receiving much love back home but has been blasted by Blighty for being banal and akin to soap opera music.

When broken down, we have to remember that the sense of beach-pop indie dreaminess that comes with a song like Breaker has a lot to do with the open landscapes and bright deposition of the American character. They’re optimists whereas the British equivalent of this would be more nihilistic and caked in subversive irony. Neither is better, but both have their place in modern pop music.