I’ve realized that while my music collection is burgeoning and diverse, it is awfully disorganized. This has resulted in lots of stuff being ignored, and a general lack of appropriate playlists for appropriate times. So, on the recommendation of my friend Mike, I’ve started to categorize my entire music catalogue in iTunes in order to create smart playlists (check it out, its pretty useful). This is a monumental task, and I’m not even halfway through. One benefit of this excercise, however, is the fact that I have the chance to rediscover superb music that hasn’t been on rotation for a long time. Thus I will mix it up today. Some old, some new….
1) Artist: Mt Eden Dubstep:
It’s great to be able to highlight a (relatively) local artist. Hailing from New Zealand, Mt Eden Dubstep is making waves in the scene. I cam across a couple of his tracks and was impressed by his ability to combine pop melodies to the dark and bass/reverb heavy sound that charatacterizes the genre. Dubstep has gotten a little stale recently, so its great to see an artist who is mixing things up. He’s created some original tracks as well as remixes. I’ve included examples of each below.
2) Artist: Vampire Weekend Album: Contra
Contra was released earlier this year, and its a commendable sophmore album from this now crossover indie outfit. I love that these guys unabashedly embrace a pop sensibility and make music that is both fun and smart. It took a little longer for me to warm to Contra, for its charm is less immediate than their eponymous debut, but needless to say I am now a convert. I am certain that a lot of people will balk at the peter gabriel-esque afro beat sound that these guys engender, but hey, it’s impossible to please everyone. My only criticism of Contra is that it isn’t an album that maintains a consistently high quality from beginning to end, but there is more than enough to like about it nonetheless.
Top Songs: White Sky, Taxi Cab
3) Album: Dire Straits Artist: Dire Straits
Is it possible to overstate how bloody good this album is? Seriously, can you fathom that this album was made for GBP 12,500 back in ’78? There is still something truly unique about Mark Knopfler’s clean, bluesy and melodic guitar playing. Metal bands may be more acrobatic in their solo’s, but they are no match for the combination of complexity and melody that Knopfler mastered. This debut album may not be their most sophisticated release, but it’s amazing that they put out such a strong first album that remains instantly recogizable to an entire generation. I was of course too young to be a part of that generation, but luckily I had siblings who have had a significant influence on my musical upbringing (even if they don’t know it). Perhaps there is something to be said about the rapidly dying tangible music product. I’m not sure if I would have been exposed to Dire Straits, Eurythmics, The Police, Creedence, and many other great bands if I didn’t…errr….’borrow’ my brother’s and sister’s tapes and CD’s when I was a kid. Sigh….nostalgia. By the way, anyone who likes Dire Straits needs to get their hands on the alchemy live album….superb.
Top Songs: Sooo many- Sultans of Swing, Down to The Waterline, Six Blade Knife, In The Gallery….
Artist: Booka Shade Album: Move!
Booka Shade is a German electronic duo that straddles the techno/minimal/house line in terms of genre’s. More! is a superb little album, containing both the esoteric soundscapes that make minimal so interesting while also having enough rhythm, funk, and beat to make it fun to dance to. There’s something refreshingly 90’s about this release, in that it lacks the sardonic and self aware tinge that besets a lot of electronic music these days, harking back to a time when people just wanted to party and didn’t care about looking sufficiently aloof and detached while they were having fun. These guys just seem to want to make nice tunes. I found this album to be consistently listenable from start to end, and its hard to argue with that level of consistency. These guys started the Get Physical label in Germany….i’ll have to check it out!
Top Tracks: Scaramanga, Regenerate
And finally, I came across this track yesterday and just loved it. I’m going to have to find out more about Local Natives and Suckers. You can check it out here