Have you ever experienced the joy of wearing your long stowed away winter coat for the first time that season and unexpectedly finding something truly valuable in one of its pockets? Perhaps its that fifty bucks that you swore that you had in your wallet, or perhaps its something more personal and lasting. Either way, that feeling of unexpected rediscovery and reunion is difficult to replicate on purpose.
This week’s post is about discovering, or rediscovering that proverbial fifty bucks from a musical perspective. I was recently backing up my hard drive, and in the process I discovered a lot of music that was accumulating digital dust. Needless to say, it feels good to give these a good shake and present them to you today.
Artist: Acoustic Ladyland Album: Living with a Tiger
The band’s name clearly pays homage to Jimi Hendrix and his seminal Electric Ladyland album. Acoustic Ladyland’s style of music is in itself reflective of Hendrix’s desire and ability meld a multitude of musical genres into something new and exciting. Acoustic Ladyland mix the often disparate yet undeniably related genres of Jazz and Rock into an energetic, punk infused sound that is both immensely fun yet clearly technical and challenging (for the artist as well as the listener) at the same time. They aren’t the first band to bring jazz instruments and experimentalism into rock music, but they’re one of the first bands to catch my ear. It’s great to hear the sax has the headline instrument rather than the trusty electric guitar. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good guitar riff as much as the next guy, but it is nice when band’s throw some of the unwritten rules of rock out the window, and the interplay between the guitar and sax is what really defines this album.
Artist: Club 8 Track: Dancing with the Mentally Ill
The influence of Scandinavian pop is quite often overlooked. I know that we’ve all danced to an ABBA song at a family reunion party at some point, but contemporary Swedish indie-pop and electroclash is actually on the cutting edge of production that eventually finds its way to the broader mainstream market. Just check out music by Teddybears STHLM, Lykki Li, and Peter Bjorn & John and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Club 8 are another of the multitude of Scandi indie pop groups that are making some noise. I wasn’t hugely impressed with the album, but I loved this track.
Speaking of Scandinavian artists that are making waves, I think I’ve already mentioned jj on this blog before. jj produce what can I can best describe as neo-stoner pop. Their sound is characterized by an ethereal and almost detached sound that makes me feel as if I’m listening to the music in another room through a steel pipe. They create this sound through an interesting (although not particularly novel) use of echo effects. The end result is an incredibly rich and layered sound that nonetheless retains its traditional pop accessibility. This featured track was recently released for free. Do you recognize the voice sample at the beginning? oh, and they throw in a lil’ wayne verse for fun.
Last but not least in this (somewhat lengthy) post are two songs that don’t really fit into my theme of forgotten gems, because I never forgot about them. I suppose however, that I could argue that this guy seems to have been generally overlooked outside of the insular dubstep world. ‘Brighter Day’ and ‘Get Up’ are from a dubstep producer named Pinch, and were a part of his Underwater Dancehall (2007) album. The name of the album perfectly personifies the feeling of the album. This is true night music. Dark, beat driven, and culturally diffuse.
(PS- if your internet speed allows, please try to listen to ‘Get Up’ on the HD setting (look at the bar underneath the video, and set the level to either 720p or 1080p)….and if you have headphones….use them!. It really makes a difference n the sound quality.)