I honestly cannot believe it is July already and I’m onto my eighth playlist for the site. EIGHTH! Oh and noticed how this month’s one is actually on time? I’m getting better, guys! I’ve spent the past weekend hanging with the wonderful editor of this site, Katie, seeing the fabulous sights of London, watching a silly amount of bands and being taught how to DJ- BUT now I’m finally back up North I have some amazing (in my opinion) new tracks to share with you. As ever, let us know your thoughts over on the Facebook page or holla at me over on twitter, enjoy! X
The illusive guise of French artist Jean-Baptiste de Laubie, also known as Para One, has been producing- alongside directing his own series of short films and music videos within the industry- for a number of years now, most recognised for his work with French rap quartet TTC, JB is now gaining momentum (finally!) with his latest full-length Passion. Single ‘Lean On Me’ parades an explosive house beat linked with bends of coiled synth and just a smidgen of convivial keys, coming across to the listener as exhilaratingly fresh, courtesy of uplifting vocals of “I was looking at my girlfriend through the window” being delivered with a lofty and ethereal execution. This atmospheric vibe certainly continues on throughout the album’s presence, as an exultant feel-good Summer dance record, If I ever heard one, yet is entirely conveyed as original, luscious and completely on the right side of left-field; the French haven’t had us dancing this well since Justice came on the scene.
African “futuristic rap crew” Die Antwoord are celebrated by fans for their audacious, middle-finger-up approach of releasing music, after they ditched Interscope in order to start their own label Zef Records, as a platform to release their second album “Ten$ion” exactly how they desired. Now, I’m not even going to begin to lie and say I loved Die Antwoord from the beginning because, quite simply, I never even knew who they were two months ago. Thanks to a friend introducing me to their unmistakably abnormal sound, seeing them as ambassadors for Alexander Wang’s Spring line and hearing their creepy ode to telling someone you fancy them in the form of “I Fink U Freeky”, I hated to say it but I was hooked. Their latest track to drop “Baby’s On Fire”, births an erratic build-up that sounds like it crashed straight off the next Grand Theft Auto soundtrack, yet, this is what makes them so addictive: they know their niche and how to catch on to it by being individually unrefined, corrupt and certainly trashy. Add to this a seasoning of femme fatale via Yolandi Visser’s sharp vocal as the self-proclaimed ”South African cherrie makin’ history”, delivering an exertive performance that is energetic and promiscuous, whilst still bursting with the attitude of a lady you certainly wouldn’t want to mess with. The pace of juxtaposing flips from punchy to intense throbs of rave, along with assertive bawls from Visser’s accomplice Ninja, when joined together with an all-over sleazy presence really shouldn’t work but totally does. Really fucking well, in fact. Oh and the video? Only one of the most comedic promos I’ve seen in a long time showing Ninja playing Visser’s older Brother (pretty weird considering they have a child together in real life, if you ask me) attempting to stop her hanging around with no-good boys from the ‘hood featuring blunts, a lot of pink and a hilarious opening dialogue along the lines of “Thankyou Lord that I’m going to be on the front cover of the new FHM”. Now, where the hell can I get a pair of yellow wink shorts from so I can sport them like a super ridiculous fan-girl when they finally come play the UK?
Hackney-based Quartet Splashh craft beach-perfect tracks that sound like Gross Magic with some meat on their bones, to put it quite crudely. Track ‘All I Wanna Do’ combines garage guitars and wistful vocals combined with delightfully candy-coated edges. Swaggering, elongated vocals of “Sweet Cherry/ Extraordinary” brings all the hazy attributes of an early Crocodiles release with the aura of The History Of Apple Pie that could be mistaken for a Yuck track, yet without the sickly aftertaste, instead substituting in a helping of luscious bite full of perky keys and feedback. Sure, many bands have come out guns-a-blazing with their lo-fi attempts before but the class of 2012, especially when these boys hail from our very own capital city, now thankfully has a new lease of life.
Two Inch Punch
London Producer Ben Ash creates emotive dance music under the mask of Two Inch Punch, as well as forming brilliant remixes for the likes of Metronomy and Lianne La Havas he is now stepping up to get the world to take notice with his ‘Slow Jams’ EP dropping this month. First track to be taken from the release, ‘Moonstruck’, showcases an oxymoron of industrial, dark drums and soothing female expressions to calculate the sentiments of James Blake with splendid, cavorting outcomes. A beautifully diverse advancement from his previous ‘Love You Up’ EP, full to the brim of gorgeous tendencies that dazzlingly showcase his experimentalism with a sublime verge of sentiment that omits like something from a late bridge of Grimes’s ‘Vanessa’. He has been cited in the past as referring to his workings as ‘Lovestep’ and truth be told, jokingly meant or not, I for once am certainly falling in love with his compositions, only further reinforced by the tracks particularly well-edited video adapted from a range of nabbed scenes from the 1968 movie ‘Barbarella’- all chopped and weaved around the music resplendently.
I’ve featured Frank Ocean on this playlist series before, so hopefully he will be a familiar existence in your ears by now and with his debut Deaf Jam release finally being unleashed on the world later this month, his mind-blowing leak of track ‘Pyramids’ has only wetted the appetite of the watching world even more. Featuring some seriously questionable Simpsons-themed artwork (visible on the video above) that seriously made me question his metaphorical use of the track’s title and clocking in at just under ten minutes, ‘Pyramids’ arises with a fusion of erupting electronica and Ocean’s now-trademark vocal that oozes signature soul from every available output, before continuing on with mechanized glitches entering the mix. Proceeded along with a rolling excursion of false pretence come the 4:30 mark, curving droplets of electronica and keys lure you into the songs second section, full of bubbling r&b slickness, it really is exceptionally stunning. Had this track been birthed by the likes of his fellow alumni Kanye or Jay-z, it could be misconstrued as arrogant or egotistical with anecdotes such as “Top floor motel suite/ twistin’ my cigars”, yet Ocean’s suave flow makes for a delicacy dripping with substance and elegance.
Words: Leah Connolly