It’s the end of the week yet again and given that all good TGIFs demand … nay mandate … a glass of wine, Jessica Fletcher head-back laughs with your friends and music, I have come to the party with 5 of the songs that have been making my musical world go around this week …
New Jack Swoop – ETC!ETC! & Brillz
In most civilised societies, breaking out into a fanciful jig on the train is frowned upon mightily (as is of course smiling, talking, interacting with others and anything that might indicate you’re not an automaton).
And yet despite the possible sanctioning glances of my fellow commuters, I was mightily tempted to start dancing like a Skittles-powered madman with ETC!ETC! & Brillz’s imaginative take on the new jack swing sound of the early 90s that largely defined hip-hop at the time, particularly anything coming out of New York.
According to the good folks at remix nation.com, these two talented music artists, who have managed to craft a song full of good old turntable sound effects and bouncy melodies, have managed an impressive fusion of all sorts of amazing styles and samples:
“‘New Jack Swoop’ has a sick 90′s hip-hop beat, using the “Tick tock ya don’t stop” sample from Color Me Badd’s ‘I Wanna Sex You Up’ to add more 90′s flavor to the track. The old school beat gets injected with some of the newer sounds popular today, from both the Trap and Moombahton sub genre.”
Trust me it is ridiculously contagious and will put a smile-inducing smile on your face and a retro spring in your step.
And the best part? It’s a free download via ETC!ETC!’s sound cloud page.
“Paris” – Magic Man
Longing for good old honest jaunty feel good pop that’s all bouncy organic piano chords mixed with zippy synths and happy sunshine-on-a-summer’s day melodies?
Then “Paris” from Boston-based Magic Man (originally Sam Lee and Alex Caplow; now a five piece with Justine Bowe, Daniel Radin, and Nolan Robert all joining in the fun) are exactly what you’re looking for … or wanting to listen to more accurately.
They have retained the enticing synth pop that delighted everyone on their debut album, “In Real Colour” but have now added in all sorts of indie pop/rock flourishes that make give a depth and immediacy to the music that is impossible to ignore.
It’s bright, breezy pop that’s backed by intelligent lyrics and the sound of a band having fun making music.
Yep, you’re gonna keep smiling with this one.
“Driven Out” – iamforest
Taking things down a notch, because after all we can’t keep dancing forever (unless you pump me full of Pepsi Max and Skittles via some sort of mobile drip), iamforest’s “Driven Out” is a breezy piece of escapist bliss.
iamforest is Vancouver-based producer, Luke Hartle’s baby, and his exquisitely relaxed songs reflect the sensibilities of a city close to all kinds of natural wonders, one that embodies the sort of relaxed West Coast vibe that soothes the troubled rat-race-troubled soul.
It is intelligent, elegantly produced music that beguiles you as it washes over you in waves, and I swear it transports you far away from the train/cubicle/traffic jam to the pine-scented forests and driftwood-laced grey sound beaches of his home region.
Luke Hartle, with inspired mastering from Craig Waddell, has managed to infuse chilled synth pop with an earthy, rootsy sound, helped along by a grounded but almost ethereal voice that matches the music perfectly.
I would encourage you to go to his site immediately and download the music, which is ostensibly free but if I were you, I’d definitely go the donation route and make it clear how wonderful you think his music is.
Happy blissing out my friends … peace out.
“Lioness” – Night Panther
Night Panther are a revelation and the buzz around them is justifiably contagious.
Hailing from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the synth-wielding disoc-leaning duo is made up of Farzad Houshiarnejad and Mike Cammarata, who are two thirds of the band White Birds.
While their releases so far such as “Snudge” and “Two Weeks” have tended to the quieter end of the spectrum (though never boring; I don’t think this duo knows what bland, unimaginative music sounds like), “Lioness” is a tempest of muscular driving melodies with enough sturm und drang mixed in with the seductive pop to have you chilled and amped up all at once.
There is a majesty and orchestral grandeur to the track which I find completely intoxicating.
Night Panther are a band that seem to believe it’s best to make an impression, or not bother at all, which is fine by me, and I daresay the growing legion of fans building around them.
“Run Away” – Sandra Kolstad
If you have paid even just a little bit of attention to this blog, you will know that I love what is affectionately known as scandipop, or Scandinavian pop.
One of the things I love about this music is that many of these artists, while very much plugged into current sounds, and like anyone else in this interconnected age, influenced by them, are resolutely and almost defiantly unique, producing music like no other.
And Sandra Kolstad, from Norway, as delightfully unique as they come.
Apparently she is a major star in Norway with a reputation for dazzling unique shows and a love of busy, bright electropop, with “Run Away” being a perfect example of her penchant for high-energy, passionately sung music that carries you up and away to … who cares where really?
It is gripping, frenetic, brilliantly produced and as addictive as it comes and is yet another sign that Scandinavia, and in this Norway, is the place to go if you want intelligent, visually rich electropop that will stay in your head for days.
* So what tickled your ear worm? What has made you want to bliss out or dance up a storm?