Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holidays (Miami Horror & Cassian Remix)

Photo Credit Chantel Baggley

It's time to address the elephant in the room. I didn't want to say anything yesterday because I was honestly worried it was a glitch in the interface, but I've got confirmation and it's true: I'm now listed on the Hype Machine. Wow. At the end of the day, this doesn't effect my blogging at all. I do this because I love it, I love music, and I love sharing it with other people. What it does effect, however, is the audience I'm reaching. My site traffic has sextupled in the past 24 hours. I'm shocked and humbled. Thanks to everyone who has been with me since the beginning. To everyone else: welcome. I'm so excited about this traffic increase because it now means that I can share the music I love so much with an increasingly wide audience. I'm glad you're here, and I hope that you love what I have to share with you as much as I do. Finally, I hope that I might somehow inspire you to go out there and support your local scene and the artists who's music serves to brighten your day. :)

Anyway, on to the good stuff. If you didn't already know, I'm a huge fan of Australia's Miami Horror. Their album Illumination was one of my favorites of the year, providing me with ample amounts the good-times-had-by-all kind of music I so enjoy. Recently I've been getting into another Australian artist, producer Cassian (if you missed his FANTASTIC funk remix of Swick's Grow Up on my year-end post, be sure to grab it here), so it was quite a treat when I saw that the two had collaborated. Sometime this past fall the Aussies teamed up to remix Holidays, Miami Horror's latest single. It was just released a couple weeks ago as a promotion for both the single and Miami Horror’s Illumination Remixes pack, available here on iTunes. Miami Horror's infectious poppiness and big band panache is perfectly complimented by Cassian’s funk styling and driving bass lines, and the collaboration results in nothing less that a toe-curling mesh of both artists’ styles. This song really does feel like a holiday, as its unabashed joyfulness transports you to another time and place. This is the kind of music that has me bouncing around my room using hairbrushes as mock microphones. Embarrassing? Maybe. Excellent? Most definitely.

Holidays (Miami Horror & Cassian Remix)--Miami Horror

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Die Tonight

I'm usually adverse to posting cover art, but this one looks so uncannily like one of my ex boyfriends that I had to include it.

I meant to post this yesterday but fell asleep instead. Which I think is appropriate given the cover art.
Sweden's jj released their first mixtape, Kills, on Christmas Eve via the Sincerely Yours (their label) website, and what a great Christmas present it was. It's a unique and inspiring mix of samples and covers, personalized by original lyrics and production. I've never heard anything quite like it. I guess we should have known something like this was up jj's sleeve, as they've sampled/covered/ripped off pop songs in the past (i.e. the brilliant Ecstasy, which 'ripped off' Lil Wayne's Lollipop), it was only a matter of time before they expanded on that formula. I can only imagine this is going to become the new 'thing' to do among relevant indie-electro acts. But let it be said: jj did it first. And they're probably going to do it the best. Though all the songs are just a step away from genius, I'm posting Die Tonight, the second track off the mixtape. The reason? It samples/covers two of my favorite songs of 2010: Robyn's Hang With Me and my favorite guilty pop pleasure, Taio Cruz's Dynamite (hey, it's a catchy song). It opens with the first stanza of Robyn's lyrics before elaborating, then launching into a Dynamite-driven melody and beat with a completely new set of lyrics. Somewhat amazingly, it not only works, but rocks.

If you like what you hear, be sure to grab the entire mixtape (for FREE) at Sincerely Yours' website HERE.

Right Click to Download: Die Tonight--jj

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Comedown Sunday: Tear Club

There is 6" of snow on the ground here in Chicago...if that not depressing I don't know what is.
Let me tell you, a white Christmas isn't quite all it's cracked up to me. My bruised bum can attest to that after one too many slips on the icy driveway. I know you kids in Florida and California probably won't understand these sentiments, as you're blessed with good weather year-round, but I am in desperate need of some kind of tropical pick-me-up. When craving an island breeze fix, the best remedy (other than a plane ticket to Hawaii) is D.I.S.C.O.Texas, a production collective based out of Portugal, which includes some of my absolute favorite producers, Moullinex, Xinobi, and Justin Faust. Needless to say, today I've been on a total D.I.S.C.O.Texas kick, and while your side of the states might not be experiencing quite the same types of ball-busting weather, I think you will nonetheless appreciate this one. Kick back and nurse your holday hangover with the smooth flute work and airy vocals of Moullinex's beachy Tear Club.

Sorry guys, no downloading this time. Moullinex's Chocolate EP isn't set to be released until January on Gomma Records, and he's not giving any kind of promo downloads in the meantime. This track nonetheless deserves a listen, or several. Be sure to check Gomma's Beatport page in January to buy it for yourself.

Moullinex - Tear Club by Moullinex

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Difficult (SebastiAn's 2006 Parties Remix)

Photo Credit Rachael Crowther

It's Christmas, woohoo. I hope Santa was good to all of you. I've got some bad news though: there's no way in hell I'm posting a Christmas song on here (actually, maybe that's good news). After 2 months of hearing 'Jingle Bell Rock' EVERYWHERE I went, if I never hear another Christmas song again it might be too soon. So, instead of posting a warm and fuzzy joy-to-the-world type of shtick, I'm going to embrace the darker side of the holidays: Consumerism. What better way to do that than with a song practically dripping in dollars? Paris' favorite bad girl Uffie (the original, better Ke$ha) released her single Difficult in October. The EP included a remix her label-mate SebastiAn, with a title invoking the the glory days of the last decade, before the financial crisis hit and the economy went to shit; when times were simpler and all we cared about was having a rocking good time. His remix highlights Uffie's delivery of the satisfyingly slick line, "Don't worry if I write rhymes; I write checks." I think it's pretty poignant in light of the holiday season, which has increasingly evolved to mean less about togetherness and more about conspicuous consumption. Whatever kind of spirit the holidays move in you, let's be real here: If it really is Jesus' birthday, I bet he'd want us to party. Turn up this song and get down.

Difficult (2006 Parties Remix by SebastiAn)--Uffie

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

(Other) Best of 2010, Part 2: Instrumental

Photo Credit

Today I’m bringing you Part 2 of Loose Lips’ 2010 Wrap-Up/’Other’ Best, but these songs are of a bit different nature than those I posted yesterday.
After recent repeated journeys through my music library, I realized I hadn’t posted nearly enough of the instrumental music I loved this year. In fact, according to Loose Lips’ archives I hardly posted any. Consequently, I decided that these next 10 songs (11 actually, but I’ll get to that in a second) should serve to fill in all the posting gaps I had this year. Unlike those electronic songs posted yesterday, these 11 instrumental songs (‘instrumental’ meaning music made by a traditional band/solo artist setup, or ‘music that would still sound ok without electricity’) do represent my top 10 ‘best’ or most favorite of the year. Unlike yesterday, where I simply posted the songs in alphabetical order, today’s list is ordered by preference, with the exception of song 11. Song 11 (Kanye) actually might be my number one, but doesn’t quite fit into the ‘instrumental’ criteria, so I chose to tack it on as an afterthought. These songs span a multitude of genres, from pop rock to blues to psychedelic to soul, and everything in between. Despite the discrepancy, they’re all fantastic, and deserved more attention that a quick write-up in a year-end list. In retrospect I wish I had gotten around to it. Thank goodness there’s always next year.

***Update: December 27th, 2010:
I've received a notice of Copyright Violation on this post from the DMCA. I don't know what song the claim is for, so until I figure that out I'm taking off all of the possible violators until I can discern the culprit. They're still available for streaming, so listen away.

1. Tightrope (ft. Big Boi)—Janelle Monáe [from The ArchAndroid]

This is the song of 2010. Ms. Monáe crafted the most creative, genre-encompassing, fresh, and inspiring work of the year, and Tightrope serves as its crown jewel.
If you need any further proof of Monáe's genius, watch the music video:

2. Undercover Martyn—Two Door Cinema Club [from Tourist History]

Two Door Cinema Club exploded onto the scene this year with their unique yet familiar brand of youthful, exuberant power-pop.

3. Tighten Up—The Black Keys [from Brothers]

The Black Keys had been on my radar for years, but it wasn’t until 2010’s release of Brothers that they got my full attention. After polishing and er, tightening up, Brothers saw the band doing what they had always done...but better.

4. Lucidity—Tame Impala [from InnerSpeaker]

I always tell people that Tame Impala sound exactly like post-acid Beatles. However, I don’t think they should be faulted for that, because sounding like the Beatles (in any of their incarnations) could never be less than ‘a good thing.’

5. Come and Get It—Eli Paperboy Reed [from Come And Get It]

2010 saw an emergence in neo-soul music, and may I say, it’s about time. Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed is a white boy who sings like a black angel, and Come and Get It serves to erase any doubts you might have regarding race as a factor in making excellent soul music.

6. Revival—Deerhunter [from Halcyon Digest]

Deerhunter is another band that I had known about for years but never paid much attention until 2010. This is probably the only rock song about Jesus that I’ll ever love, or even tolerate for that matter.

7. Freak Out—Tapes ‘n Tapes

Minnesota’s Tapes ‘n Tapes are set to release a full length in early 2011, but gave away Freak Out this fall as part of a promotional campaign for the album. Thank goodness they did, as there was no better song of 2010 to help me put my shit in perspective.

8. Go Outside—Cults [from Cults 7”]

Released by Forest Family Records, I loved this song even before I started interning for the label. Cults—who just signed to Sony—are going places, and in summer’s perfect big-sky-fresh-air anthem, urge you to do the same.

9. Boyfriend—Best Coast [from Crazy For You]

Indie rocks reigning princess and marijuana don, Benthany Consentino (lead singer/guitarist for Best Coast) proved that stoners can a) have feelings and b) make great music, too.

10. I Walked—Sufjan Stevens [from The Age of Adz]

2010 marked a change in pace for everyone’s favorite folk hero, Sufjan Stevens. He ditched the banjo in favor of synthesizers, which in turn served as a kind of microcosm for the state of independent music today. Despite the lack of Americana on the album, Sufjan’s poignant and moving lyricism is no less profound.

11. Bonus: Lost In the World—Kanye West ft. Bon Iver [from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy]

What’s left to say about Kanye that hasn’t already been said by the man himself? My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was everything he promised it would be, and perhaps a little more. Though it's a hard call to make, Lost In The World is probably my favorite track on what is an absolute masterpiece of an album.

Check back tomorrow for Part 3: (Other) Best Remixes

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

(Other) Best of 2010, Part I: Electronic

Here’s my first attempt at a ‘Best of [insert year here]’ list…but it’s not quite.
The thing is, thus far Loose Lips has been entirely dedicated to the songs I’ve loved in 2010. I’ve tried to only post music that’s truly moved me, and consequently the blog’s archives can more or less be read as my year’s ‘best' list. However, there were a few notable tunes that fell through the cracks, so to speak. Whether because I never got around to posting them, I was unable to post them due to copyright issues, or they didn’t fit in with the aesthetic of the blog, for whatever reason they never made the cut, but that’s not to say that I loved them any less. They might not be the ‘best’ by industry standards, but they’re what made me happiest or inspired me most. Anyway, I don’t think I have any kind of right (nor do many others) to make a qualitative list of the ‘best’ music of the year, as music taste really is so subjective.
So without further ado, here’s Part I of Loose Lips’ 2010 Wrap-Up, my “Year’s OTHER Best” if you will.

Pt. I of the 3-part Wrap-Up features my top 10 (downloadable) Electronic songs of the year. 'Electronic' meaning music made by producers versus a traditional band setup. I say 'downloadable' because there are actually 12 tracks here, but seeing as I couldn’t legally post the Grum tracks—which are arguably my top 2 electronic tunes of the year—I included 2 extra. (Make sure you listen to the Grum tracks though, they're stellar.)

Either grab all 10 tracks simultaneously by grabbing the Zip Folder HERE,
or pick and choose by clicking each song link and downloading individually. (Right click, save know the drill.)

After Dark—The Count & Sinden [from Mega Mega Mega]

Continuing my Hervé kick (‘The Count’ is yet another one of his aliases, used when collaborating with fellow British DJ, Sinden), this song shows his playful and—dare I say it—poppy side.

Animus Vox—The Glitch Mob [from Drink The Sea]

The Glitch Mob were one of the most unique groups to break onto the scene this year, both in production and performance style. Animus Vox is creative and intricate yet immediately accessible.

Coma Cat—Tensnake

Tensnake proved to be the little disco engine that could, as Coma Cat became THE club anthem of Ibiza 2010. Can I get, can I get get?

Ghost In My Head—Niva

Niva started 2010 unknown, and remains relatively unknown still, but that doesn’t mean this rainy day electro is any less beautiful.

Golddust—DJ Fresh

While the Flux Pavilion remix of DJ Fresh’s song got all the attention among my peers, the original Dn’B version is what had me coming back for more. You can’t beat the energy of the original. And the music video!

Midnight Walk—Barretso [From Bright City Lights EP]

Thanks Barretso, for giving me my most-played song of the year. IT MAKES ME FEEL BETTER.

My Feelings For You—Sebastien Drums & Avicii

2010 was Tim Bergling's (a.k.a. Avicii) year, and this collaboration with Sebastien Drums proves he’s worth the hype.

Second Lives—Vitalic

Though Vitalic’s album, Flashmob, was released in 2009, the Second Lives Single came out in March, so I’m allowing it to count. Vitalic is one of the best producers in the world today; I’d venture to say top 10. If you don’t believe me, just listen and see for yourself.

Tertre Rouge—Russ Chimes [from the Midnight Club EP]

One of 3 tracks off of Russ Chimes’ epic Midnight Club EP; it’s simultaneously sexy, fun, and slightly dangerous.

This Moment—French Horn Rebellion [from The Infinite Music of French Horn Rebellion]

French Horn Rebellion provided us with perhaps the year's best electro pop tune, which all but forces you to put a smile on your face and sing along.

Heartbeats--Grum [from Heartbeats]
Popjustice called Grum's Hearbeats 'the greatest song of the 21st century', and they weren't too far off. The thing I love about this song is unlike most songs that start at a '1' and build, climaxing at '10' and gradually fading back down, this song is at a constant '11'. I wish I could give it to you to download. Buy it here instead.

Grum - Heartbeats from Brian McBlade on Vimeo.

Cybernetic--Grum [from Heartbeats]
Oh Grum. Another song, another masterpiece. All in a day's work for Scotland's great electronic hope.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2: (Other) Best Instrumental Tunes.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Comedown Sunday: Nightcall (Breakbot Remix)

I'm giving you a night call to tell you how I feel.

Now that I'm finished with what has been an absolute hell of a semester's end, I'm devoting my time to keeping up with this blog. To start, I'm compiling a years end 'best-of' list, with a number of my favorite tracks from 2010. Going through all the music I've acquired and loved over the past year has been arduous at best, but simultaneously rather inspiring. 2010 was a great year for music, though perhaps not so much for its audiences. With the rising popularity of music blogs, blog aggregators, and artist-direct free downloads, the sheer volume of available new music proved somewhat problematic for a listener (like myself) with a wide range of music taste and a penchant for discovering the next big thing. If 2010 has taught us anything, its that the world's talent pool is endless, and the chance of music celebrity in this day and age is quickly dwindling.

Today's Comedown Sunday tune is a product of this too-much-too-good paradigm. Kavinsky released his Nightcall EP (produced by none other than Daft Punk's Guy-Manuel) in September, as an 'aperitif' to his upcoming 2011 album. In conjunction with the release, Kavinsky and his label, Record Makers, ran a remix contest promising the winner a spot on the EP. In the excitement over the contest, pre-approved remixes became a passing thought in blog posts and reviews. One such remix is by Ed Banger's audaciously talented Breakbot (my favorite breakout artist of the year). I hope this post gives this stellar remix some of the front-and-center attention it deserves, as it oozes sex and funk, and begs repeated listenings.

Right-Click to Download: Nightcall (Breakbot Remix)--Kavinsky

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Comedown Sunday: Destination Pt. II

"Lately I don't know what I should do. I feel it in the air, it's time to go."

Photo Credit Jordan Chark

Destination Pt. II is from the 2-track Destination Single (which was comprised of Parts I and II) released by the now-defunct Damn Arms back in January, 2009. This song was on nearly every chill/cruising/bedtime playlist that I made for the better part of a year, until I kind of forgot about it. It shuffled up this weekend just in time for a night drive, and good thing it did; my highway cruises were incomplete without this song in the mix. I've loved this song since the moment I first heard it, and it still resonates today. It’s ancient by blog standards, but the song’s smooth synths, dreamy soundscapes, and filtered vocals singing about unknown inevitability make this the perfect Comedown Sunday tune. Though the band is no more, Damn Arms' sound is survived by ex-member Yama Indra’s new project, Gloves. He’s been getting a lot of attention recently for remixing fellow Aussies Miami Horror and Bag Raiders, so be sure to support him by checking out his Soundcloud here.

Right-Click to Download: Destination Pt II—Damn Arms

Thursday, December 2, 2010

At My Heels

"I can't come up with any reason why a ghost is following me."

Photo Credit (my dear friend) Doyle Bley

Happy December Everyone. Unfortunately, school/homework has become my new hobby for the time being. It’s frustrating because now I have all these cool new site features, yet no time to post. I know many of you are in the same boat, so with my 5 extra minutes of time today (literally), here's a song that I hope will help ease the studying pains.
Twin Shadow is the brainchild of Brooklyn’s George Lewis Jr., a multi-instrumentalist with a penchant for bedroom-quality production. He creates new new-wave with emphasis on synths and drum machines that sound like the real thing. Some call it ‘dance rock,’ but really the only dancing I’d be doing to this is in my bedroom. His uptempo albeit mournful meditations evoke 80’s legends New Order/Joy Division much more so than Duran Duran. His entire debut album, Forget (released in August), employs the same subtle gloom which the former made so popular. The under-appreciated At My Heels, while never released as a single is nonetheless my favorite off the album. In this song Lewis stretches his silky smooth croon (which has been compared to Bowie’s—listen for it) to its full potential, beautifully ruminating on his attempts to shake off the past.

Right Click to Download: At My Heels--Twin Shadow