Now this is music #49 – Planet Parade, Sekuoia, Salt Ashes, Waldo & Marsha, Inni-K

photo credit: headphones via photopin (license)
photo credit: headphones via photopin (license)

 

Life hey?

It’s bland, it’s crazy colourful; it’s predictably the same, it’s a thousand kinds of different; a multitude of unceasing demands, an oasis of calm.

However it plays out for you, and if you’re like most people no two days are ever truly the same, it’s good to have somewhere to escape to, to lost yourself.

Which is what all five of these artists give you in spades – the chance to take a step back or a step forward, think about life or just feel it, and lose yourself in somewhere other than where you are right now.

“Cardiac” by Planet Parade

 

Planet Parade (image via official Planet Parade Facebook page)
Planet Parade (image via official Planet Parade Facebook page)

 

In our fast-paced world, where taking one day out of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it social media-driven spotlight can feel like instant oblivion, taking an extended period of time to work on your art until it is done to your complete satisfaction is not your typical strategy.

But it’s one that has worked for the Irish musical pairing of Michael Hopkins & Andrew Lloyd, who, based in the band’s home studio in Kildare, Ireland, have consistently taken whatever time was needed to create the songs they wanted the world to hear.

While it may have led people to ask the inevitable “Where are they now?” question, especially given the success of their two EPs Ghosts to People (2009) and Zulu Sound (2010) which had them touring with the likes of Passion Pit and Ellie Goulding, it’s meant that they’ve had time to experiment with their sound which Nialler 9 has described as “electronically-charged billowing synth indie”.

Certainly “Cardiac”, which flows with a breezy lightly-danceable momentum, is representative of this new direction which sees them conjuring up the feel of a beach party even on cold, rainy days when an outdoors dancefloor is not the most attractive of options.

It’s beautiful, airy music, augmented by the pair’s light, evocative vocals, proof positive that being the musical tortoise to everyone’s else hare can pay handsome dividends.

 

 

“Somewhere” by Sekuoia

 

Sekuoia (image via official Sekuoia Facebook page)
Sekuoia (image via official Sekuoia Facebook page)

 

Speaking of taking a step away from the usual pell-mell tenor of life, Danish wunderkind producer Sekuoia aka Patrick Madsen has done a fine job of slowing things delightfully down with his new track “Somewhere”.

A dreamy, gently sweeping track, punctuated by bleeps and trembles of warm sound (and later jangly guitar; though only briefly), the track, lifted from his Rebel Heart EP, comes complete with a pleasingly child-like vocal that amplifies the sense of play and relaxation that the song engenders from its opening bars.

This is languidly gorgeous music, electronica that skitters and scatters with happy, trippy abandon, suffused with an emotionality that makes it endearing in every way, the perfect chilled accompaniment to a quiet night gazing out at the world contemplating life.

Which in turns out is exactly what Sekuoia had in mind for the track:

“‘Somewhere’ took form at my show at Roskilde Festival. At that time I just finished the first demo of Waves. I used the same dusty sound from my old Spanish guitar. I enjoyed that sound so deeply, so I tried to resample it. It’s a really personal track for me, it reminds me of that exact summer, when I wrote the track. The track is made for being performed at a dazzling sunset. It felt so alive when I tried to create the song in the studio, it just had a certain ‘live-vibe’.”

 

 

“Raided” by Salt Ashes

 

Salt Ashes (image via official Salt Ashes Facebook page)
Salt Ashes (image via official Salt Ashes Facebook page)

 

Escaping and getting “Miles away” also seemed to be uppermost on the mind of Brighton, UK-based music artist, Veiga Sanchez, known to the world as Salt Ashes.

Her song “Raided”, a delicious slice of disco-infused dark electro-soul, tempered by the artist’s vividly emotive vocals, was inspired by wondering what it is that drives people to lose themselves on the dancefloor:

“A friend took me to an underground club in Berlin that reminded me of Warhol’s ‘Factory’. Everyone seemed to be escaping the outside world, hiding whatever secret or story they had. I became fascinated by them and tried to imagine what their real stories were which lead me to write “Raided.'”

It’s bright, upbeat and yet filled with the “dark B-movie, late-night kind of vibe” the artist was aiming for (Wonderland Magazine), exactly the sort of song that the refugees from real life that she glimpsed in Berlin would clamour to lose themselves to, a dizzying melange of beat, melody and seductively alluring vocals.

Want to take a great surreal leap away from the blandness of everyday living?

This is your song, and most assuredly, your artist.

 

 

“In it to Win it” by Waldo and Marsha

 

Waldo and Marsha (image via official Waldo and Marsha Facebook page)
Waldo and Marsha (image via official Waldo and Marsha Facebook page)

 

Speaking of life, Waldo and Marsha, one of the most playful names I’ve come across in a while, are adamant that while they take it all very seriously, that doesn’t mean their music has to be a funeral dirge.

As the Danish collective – they’re based in the eastern university town of Aarhus – told the awesome JaJaJa Music site, they are all about connecting “the serious with the hilarious”.

“The album title connects the serious with the hilarious, a main theme on the album in its instrumentation and lyrics. It’s not that we don’t mean things seriously, but music shouldn’t always be too solemn – ‘cause it can get very hard to relate to. Humour and joyfulness have always been our biggest inspiration in life, why shouldn’t it be our biggest inspiration in music as well?”

But as Crumb magazine makes clear that doesn’t mean that the music is in any way throwaway pop, simply because the guys are enjoying themselves:

“Their music is luscious, fine-tuned post-shoegaze as well as expansive and startling dream pop, each track appearing as fresh and distinct as the last, without compromising that specific Waldo & Marsha sound.”

Drawing on a distinctly ’80s infused sound, with more than a few traces of sweetly-melodied J-Pop and K-Pop,and some deftly placed autotune that actually works for the songs rather than against them – Britney Spears, though I love you, please take note – Waldo and Marsha make dreamy, heartfelt music that doesn’t suffer from an over earnest intensity.

It’s fun pop with a brain that acknowledges that while life can be a grim business at times, with many things to occupy the heart and the mind, it’s still possible to have fun with it.

And have fun with it they do.

 

 

“Come With Me” by Inni-K

 

Inni-K (image via official Inni-K Facebook page)
Inni-K (image via official Inni-K Facebook page)

 

Recalling the gloriously wonderful playful weirdness (in the best possible way) of Lykke Li, Jenny Wilson and Regina Spektor, Inni-K is a delight in every sense of the word.

Crafting what Nialler 9 called “an impressive collection of effervescent folk pop with big slabs of smile-inducing tracks”, the Kildare, Ireland-based Inni-K possesses a pitch-perfect impish voice that graces her songs with a mischievous but deeply felt wistfulness, a sense of visual flair, and gentle but engaging melodies that wrap themselves around your head and heart and don’t let go.

It’s impossible to overstate what a joyful breath of out-of-the-box fresh air she is.

She even playfully titled her album The King Has Two Horse’s Ears, and every lyric in every song seems to have that same poetic feel to them, perfect accompaniments to the gleefully joyful music.

This is music that touches the head and the heart in equal measure, and it’s easy to understand why this most delightfully idiosyncratic of artists is garnering so much attention.

All music should be this interesting, emotionally-arresting and engrossing.

 

 


NOW THIS IS MUSIC EXTRA EXTRA!

 

Madonna‘s era-defining hit “Vogue” turned 25 in March this year – yes you may now take a moment to feel exceptionally not-as-young-as-you-once-were – and to mark the occasion two of the original dancers from the clip, Jose Xtravaganza and Salim “Slam” Gauwloos, recreated their now-iconic moves with impressive effect.

Enjoy … and of course, vogue, vogue, vogue …

(Source: Huffington Post)

 

 

Swedish artists Peter, Bjorn and John, who shot to musical prominence worldwide in 2006 with their gentle, whimsical song “Young Folks”, and who haven’t released a new song since 2011, are back with a new track “High Up (Take Me to the Top)” which Rolling Stone described this way:

“The song itself is based around a series of loops – a few layers of grooving percussion, occasional feedback, toy piano flourishes and LCD Soundsystem-esque bass squelches under the hook. The song, describing a moment of euphoria, will be released on Record Store Day compilation Ingrid* Volym 2.”

* Ingrid is a record label Peter Bjorn and John co-founded in 2012 with “a group of musicians that included fellow Swedes Lykke Li and Miike Snow.”

 

 

Aussie singer/songwriter Vance Joy, who made it big on the world stage with his infectiously up beat song “Riptide” released a clip back in March for “Georgia” which featured an of-the-moment emotionally-evocative theme of war and loss and love, perfectly timed for the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings in World War One.

The song is exquisitely beautiful and the clip complements it just so.

 

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