New UK electronic artist Star Slinger has a sweet but familiar sound that reminds me of Washed Out, Toro y Moi, RAC, take your pick. It’s Chill-wave, which is just another word for electronica to me (Air makes Chillwave if I’m not mistaken), but there is definitely some dance-ability to it. The best thing about this new wave of chill out electronica is that it’s great poolside music. And since it’s 90 degrees in LA right now, I thought this might be the perfect time for this post. I’m especially digging Alex Winston’s vocals on his remix of “Sister Wife” He also remixes the super ‘hot right now’ rapper Childish Gambino, simply adding his surfy Star Slinger sound to CG’s clever “Freaks and Geeks”. I’ve heard other tracks from Star Slinger on his very impressive Soundcloud page, and there is a little more of a Hip-Hop influence than with the other chillwave artists, think Onra. But enough words, listen to the tracks and decide for yourself.
Archive for August, 2011
“Crystalline” is the first single from Bjork’s forthcoming album Biophilia, and the visually stunning video was directed by her long-time collaborator Michel Gondry. I think Michel and Bjork are the music video equivalent of Scorsese and DeNiro. The perfect tag team. I actually first got interested in Bjork by watching her music videos. She was always so strange to me, but her music videos were so mind-blowing that I couldn’t stay away. After watching the videos over and over again, I started to pay attention to the lyrics and Bjork’s large, operatic voice. Don’t get me wrong the chick is bat-shit crazy, but her music is absolutely incredible. And her stuff never gets old, she is always growing as an artist. She’s been doing this since she was a child, and has been a pop star since the 80’s, and she approaches each project, each album with eager eyes and hears. Take note Beyonce. I hope Bjork comes back to LA soon, I that my crazy Icelandic bastard. My guess is we’ll see her back at Coachella in 2012.
Little Dragon has been my favorite band to emerge in the past 5 years (maybe longer). Lead singer Yukimi Nagano has such a perfect voice I dare you not to fall in love with them. She first lent her angelic voice to Swedish Nu-Jazz group Koop and what may have started off as a side project has become a band destined for greatness. Their new album, Ritual Union, is their first work since shocking the world with their charm on the most recent LP from Gorillaz. On Monday they threw an intimate record release party at the Roxy for the aforementioned album. They played the album in its entirety and graced us with an encore of the best tracks off their previous albums. The concert was perfect. It was my third time seeing these guys and they get better with every performance. Their cohesive energy is something to marvel. At one point Yukimi even ran through the crowd, singing and playing her tambourine. They are climbing up the ranks of not just best new bands, but best bands on the planet. And get it right, Little Dragon is a BAND, not just Yukimi and 3 random Swedish back up musicians.
I think Sade has the greatest voice of all time. When we did our list for the current top female singers and Sade came in at #1. It should be no surprise. Her voice is deep, smooth, sexy, and raspy all at once. It’s the best of all worlds. Sade, who I have never had the chance to see live, is coming to Southern California this month. She’ll be playing a handful of dates in LA, Ontario, and Anaheim, with fellow soul singer John Legend opening. I think this music video for “Ordinary Love” is her best. The faux underwater scenes are truly remarkable and she plays a sexy mermaid. Who doesn’t like that?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you should be very aware that Kanye West and Jay-Z have teamed up together to release the mega-album Watch the Throne. I just picked up the super pretty, very gold Deluxe Edition on Friday and upon first listening this album is pretty big. It’s got guest vocals from Beyonce and surprising new comer Frank Ocean among others. Jay-Z has done something like this twice before, teaming up with R. Kelly on two albums, but it’s still pretty shocking to see the two biggest dudes in the rap game at the moment join forces. In my opinion Jay might have needed this a little more than Kanye. Kanye’s last album was ground-breaking and Jay-Z has kind of hit a creative funk, with his most recent albums sounding so similar and unfortunately less inspired than his earlier work. But Kanye has always been like Jay’s little brother, and the two have worked together so much that I guess this collabo was imminent.
The most notably impressive feature about this album is the return to form on the production side. A lot of Hip-Hop recently has been uptempo drum machine sounds with a catchy hook. Kanye has always been known for his samples, and they do not disappoint on this album. Though Kanye didn’t produce every track his influence is definitely present. The first single “Otis” is a banger with a great sample from an earlier Otis Redding song, but “Who Gon’ Stop Me” and “Love You So” go a direction that was quite surprising. “Who Gon’ Stop Me” samples Flux Pavilion’s “I Can’t Stop” and “Love You So” samples a Cassius song with a similar title. Is it ripping them off? Maybe, but at least it’s a little more well done than Beyonce’s lame “Girls” song rip-off/sample of Major Lazer. Overall Watch the Throne was something Hip-Hop desperately needed, a return to form.
I selected Best Coast as the best new band of 2010, and they’re continuing to make waves in 2011. Their new video for “Our Deal”, directed by Drew Barrymore, hosts more star power than a summer blockbuster (for tweens). The story focuses on members of two rival gangs who fall in love. It stars Donal Glover from NBC’s “Community”, Chloe Meretz from Kick Ass, Miranda Cosgrove from “iCarly”, and Alia Shawkat from “Arrested Development”. It’s a cool take on the lame A West Side Story, but is the perfect fit for Best Coast’s most romantic diddy. And if you see a star I didn’t name, please let me know.
Miguel Migs will be following up his amazing performance at the Roosevelt over 4th of July weekend with a brand new album dropping on September 20th. I just got a copy of it in my inbox last week and after first listen it is exactly what “House” music is missing these days. I went to dance festival recently and everyone’s set just sounded like loud screeches and beeps. No one had any soul or played tracks with any melody. And then Miguel comes out with this album that is reminiscent of the deep house that was very prominent in the 90’s, but this ain’t a flashback. This album is some fresh new shit. It’s timing couldn’t be more perfect.
The first single is called “Everybody” and features legendary soul/disco singer Evelyn “Champagne” King. But the guest vocalists don’t stop there. The Soul-House Queen Lisa Shaw has a couple guest spots on this album, along with reggae star Capleton, MeShell N’Degeocello, Bebel Gilberto and a handful of other surprise collaborators. Make sure you cop this when it hits the stores. It’s some real music for dance heads.
And if you want to hear this kind of music being spun live, I (Kool Ethan) will be spinning at the Purple Lounge inside the Standard Hotel in Hollywood this Friday night. Come thru for some good music and the 2 for 1 drink specials from 10-11. Be sure to RSVP at www.danceism.com for Free Entry. See you all tomorrow night.