Song of the Week: May/June 2015
Ok, it’s time to play catch up. In case you didn’t notice, I haven’t been around for the past three months. Well, I’ve been around but not around if you get my drift.
I think it was TS Eliot who wrote that, “somewhere between the idea and the reality lies the shadow.” That’s where I was, in that shadow, coolly and endlessly drifting through darkness, like Matthew McConaughey in the fifth dimension.
As that movie illustrated, the world (or worlds) keeps turning…and there’s always good music to be found. It’s getting beyond the shadow that’s the tricky part.
Jamie xx (feat. Romy) – Loud Places
Jamie xx’s In Colour is an excellent, ambitious album packed with kaleidoscopic detail and textures. On paper it could read like a bit of a mess…a jolt of hip-hop here, some tropical steel drums there, placed over a swirling synth and a deep house tempo.
But it works; the album sounds great. Each song adds to the final product. In fact, it’s hard to pick one out of the 12 tracks on offer but I’ve gone for Loud Places, mostly because I’m a sucker for Jamie xx’s bandmate Romy and her voice.
I loved Jamie xx’s remixes of Gil Scott Heron (on We’re New Here) and this has further cemented his stakes as one-to-watch. Surely a contender for album of the year…
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
Canadian singer-songwriter Mac Demarco is part of that ramshackle, fuzzy, jangly guitar scene, a la Real Estate, Beach Fossils, Kurt Vile etc. And in anticipation of DeMarco’s third album, Another One (released early August), I ventured back to his sophomore effort, Salad Days and the title track, which is one of that album’s standouts.
The Tallest Man on Earth – Sagres
I can’t remember who got me into The Tallest Man on Earth but I do know it was some time ago now.
At university, I distinctly remember hearing his Dylan-ish voice emanating out of dingy dorm-room corridors, often accompanied by the sweet smell of the herbal variety. I also remember hearing his music being pumped out of tinny speakers in exotic youth hostels; fresh-faced backpackers drinking boxes of cleanskin wine, playing cards and recounting adventures past.
Now that my university and hostel days are well and truly numbered, I can only wonder whether that generation continue to listen to The Tallest Man on Earth or if they’ve moved on to something…fresher. I hope they still do. After all, the whimsy and melancholy in his music remains as strong as ever.
But my point is that The Tallest Man on Earth has been around now for a decade, making him an old-timer…there’s comfort in nostalgia.
Neon Indian – Deadbeat Summer
I know this song’s been around for ages (since 2009 in fact). However, it’s the middle of winter here in the depths of ‘down under’ and this song is just so damn catchy and upbeat, like four minutes of balmy sunshine raining down. It makes for great listening as I make the daily commute into town, cheek-by-jowl with my fellow worker bees, all looking as red-eyed, ravaged and stark raving mad as me.
Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment – Sunday Candy
The other day, a friend at work asked me to name my favorite rapper. I didn’t give him a definitive answer; instead I shook him off like a politician or the way a dog shakes off water after a nice swim in the lake.
All I could give him were a few names, one of which was Chance the Rapper.
Chance is part of a collective called The Social Experiment and they’ve just released Surf, which shows off Chance’s rapping as well as all the other talented assets at their disposal…it’s a hyper, twisted, diverse album with jazz, soul, R&B and hip-hop all thrown together. It works.
And the best part is that the entire album’s free!