Photo: The White Mandingos
The White Mandigos first caught my eye because of their name. (You see the term ‘Mandingo’ is pretty loaded in itself – not helped in the least by Quentin Tarantino’s largely historically inaccurate portrayal of mandingo fighting in Django Unchained. )
However it takes more than just a very interesting choice of band name to be obtain really strong reactions for a Record Store Day ’13 release. The band’s release for RSD came in the form of Black/White split 7″ vinyl and was the band’s first physical offering to their fans.
Mandingo Rally, off that release, was pretty much emotionally charged from the onset. West Coast rapper Murs takes no prisoners with his rhymes, hitting it hard with lyrics that are socially and politically conscious. The revolutionary nature of the track is aided by an insane sample off Bad Brains punk-reggae masterpiece, Rally Round Jah Throne.
With the memory of RSD ’13 still fresh, the White Mandingos then decided to drop this controversial black and white music video for Mandingo Rally. The video is in your face and thought-provoking, simultaneously adding another dimension to the political essence of the track.
Photo: Alice and the Glass Lake, Higher Music Video
Before she takes to the Bonnaroo stage, Wisconsin native Alice Lake is set to unleash her brand of charismatic ethereal pop upon us in the form of her debut EP this coming May 28th. She performs under the musical moniker Alice and the Glass Lake – together with four other band members.
On first listen, her music might draw instant comparison to the flame-haired Florence Welch. While vocal theatrics are synonymous with Florence + The Machine‘s sound however, Alice Lake takes a relatively milder approach with her voice – as evident by the two tracks we’ve been treated to thus far, ‘Luminous’ and ‘Higher’.
What truly distinguishes Alice Lake’s music are the ambient soundscapes accompanying her voice. In ‘Higher’, they seem to resemble that of a cheeky celestial being, providing playful accompaniment whilst contributing to the song’s sanguine appeal.
The music of Alice and the Glass Lake is grounded in the vision of the ‘glass lake’ – which on top of providing the artistic inspiration behind her musical process, also enabled Alice to achieve a greater understanding of herself. The notion of the ‘glass lake’ feels almost mythical. It’s easy to see, hear and feel how the lines between the real and imagined are blurred while listening to her music. Truly incredible.
Take a listen to ‘Higher’ below.
Photo: Bomb the Bass (Facebook)
The year is 1988. February 1988 to be precise.
Producer Tim Simenon a.k.a Bomb the Bass is on the cover of the latest issue of music magazine, NME. The accompanying tagline reads, “Hail the DJ! Bomb the Bass and the rise of DJ culture”.
Having Simenon on their cover was a surprising move for a magazine like NME, but it was far from astonishing. The late 80’s saw the cusp of the rise of electronic music – before the surge in the 90’s that saw the unprecedented rise of groups such as Massive Attack and Portishead. With his track, ‘Beat Dis’, Simenon found himself propelled to #2 on the British charts – a groundbreaking feat for a music producer such as himself.
While Simenon would go on to produce music for the likes of Depeche Mode, he never abandoned Bomb the Bass entirely. His subsequent projects as Bomb the Bass, particularly so in the 90′s, featured the unconventional use of samples – an extension of his pioneering work as one of the UK’s most innovative producers.
The latest incarnation of Bomb the Bass features Paul Conboy on vocal duty. Lead single ‘Wandering Star’ off their upcoming album In the Sun opens with a splendidly warm synth and a delicate patter of beats reminiscent of light rain drops. Against that setting, a dreamy, addictive vocal hook is gently introduced and modestly culminates to a slight bass drop and dynamic drum beat. Taking into consideration the constant innovation throughout Bomb the Bass’s discography, the song structure of ‘Wandering Star’ feels relatively conventional, and the samples none too extraordinary. Yet, in a landscape of increasingly over-complicated and sample laden electronica, the latest Bomb the Bass single stands out for being simple yet pleasingly delicious to listen to.
The single ‘Wandering Star’ is available as part of the Wandering Star EP at the official Bomb the Bass web store.
Stay updated with everything Bomb the Bass related on their official Facebook page.
Photo: Lulu McArdle
British producer Chris Ward, better known by his moniker Tropics, is set to release a new EP at the end of this month. You can now listen to an album stream of the four track EP on his Soundcloud here.
Initially conceived as a bedroom project, an electrifying debut release in 2011, as well as several excellent remixes (including this one for M83‘s track Reunion) placed his work firmly under the radar. His style is rather distinctive – his music paints soulful emotion upon an electronic canvas – and the result is an easy-going, relaxing vibe.
‘Courage’ off his upcoming EP, Home & Consonance, features just that. Have a listen.
Photo: Bliss Katherine Braoudakis
Here’s some feel good indie psychedelica from SWIMM. They seem to be a rather interesting duo, having previously toured around Florida with the names Cookie SugarHips and Hot Damn Sweet Huckleberry respectively (1).
Their debut EP, Feel is a solid release, with every song carrying enough weight to be able to stand on its own as an individual track. While their meld of energetic, relatively lo-fi psychedelic garage rock is present throughout the release, it is particularly distinctive in tracks such as ‘Tisk Tisk’ and ‘Too Old’.
In the ’Wanderer’ however, gentle guitar swirls give way to a thumping drum beat – and a quiet, driving bass line moves the song forward without losing its characteristically pleasant chillout vibe. On top of being an excellent song choice to open their EP, it also showcases the band’s ability to explore the emotional depth of their sound brilliantly.
The digital download of SWIMM’s Feel EP is available for free (or name your price) on their bandcamp page.
Follow the band’s updates on their Facebook page.
It is a not-so-nice, humid afternoon here in Singapore but… I am having some brilliant crème caramel (aka caramel pudding). What is this crème caramel you ask? Well, it looks something like this:
(P.S. Do click on the image if you’re interested in a wonderful recipe for crème caramel goodness)
While enjoying my wonderful pudding, I put together a rather mellow post-rock playlist. (Hence the title) It features a mix of the familiar and unfamiliar, unless of course, you are very well versed in everything post-rock.
1.Under the Big Bright Yellow Sun - Circus Travelling Show
2.Folkvang - Istanbul
3.Caspian - Moksha
4.Mogwai - Take Me Somewhere Nice
5.Arajua - Vgujh
6.The American Dollar - Anything You Synthesize
7.tide/edit - Pagbangon
8.Explosions in the Sky - Remember Me as a Time of Day
Here’s some groovy indie-dance from Adelaide band Messrs.
With its spacey synths, there is an undeniable 80′s flavour in their latest track, ‘Running Wild’. The catchy melody in the pre-chorus forms a nice bubble of pop happiness before the song bursts into the chorus – with a wet-sounding splash. Additionally, unlike so many other indie dance acts, Messrs seem to carry their music off without being too cheesy as well.
Let’s just say that if fellow indie dance acts Whitest Boy Alive and St Lucia had a musical lovechild, Messrs would be it.
Remember to follow the band’s updates via their Facebook page.
In 2001, at the tender age of 22, American musician Bilal released his debut album, 1st Born Second. The album is now practically a neo-soul classic, having gained both commercial success and critical acclaim for Bilal’s vocal gymnastics and indulgent musical splendour. It’s been twelve years since that spectacular debut, but Bilal has not lost his magical touch. His latest release, A Love Surreal, is grounded in soulful jazz with brief hints of the neo-soul beginnings that launched him into the Billboard charts.
A personal favourite off his latest release, ‘Butterfly’ features jazz genius Robert Glasper on the piano. The track is a mellow number that deftly showcases the voice that had reviewers excitedly drawing comparisons to D’Angelo and Marvin Gaye all those years ago. Bilal morphs his incredible falsetto into shapes that sound both inhuman but natural all at the same time. Absolute brilliance.
It is hard to not like South East Londoner Rainy Milo.
Rather than call herself an ‘original’ musician, which so many others at times wrongfully do, she instead honestly labels her musical personality as a ‘physical collective of her influences’. Her breakout track ‘Bout You comes at a pretty good time. Alternative R&B acts seem to be on a steady rise – with acts like Frank Ocean and even Solange (especially with her latest release, ‘Losing You’) leading the pack.
Rainy Milo’s sassy vocal style has a close liking to songstress Jhene Aiko, but with a dash of attitude akin to the free-spirited Samantha Urbani. It is a style that seems plucked straight out from the streets of London – and it is one that is bound to get you hooked.
Rainy Milo’s Limey EP is available for free download via her Soundcloud page.
Singaporean band The Sam Willows are set to hit North America! Specifically, the South by Southwest (SXSW) and Canadian Music Festival (CMF) festival circuits.
The band’s rise has been pretty amazing by local standards; about a year ago they didn’t even know what to name themselves. Since then, they’ve had a sold-out EP launch at local pub venue TAB and performed at a New Year’s Eve countdown party that was televised nationwide. Their rise isn’t all that unexpected however.
On top of having likable personalities, the band has amassed some pretty impressive original material. Their distinct brand of soul-folk is easy on the ears and complemented by intriguing arrangements. Perhaps my own personal expectations of the quartet are rather high, but beyond their current “pleasantly polished” sound, the Sam Willows have yet to craft a sound that is undoubtedly their own.
Regardless, take a listen to ‘Glasshouse’, my favourite track off their self-titled debut EP.