If you haven’t already, check out this video also.
The Neighbourhood is a 5-piece American band from Los Angeles, famously described as “dark pop”. They played at Coachella this year for the first time, just before releasing their debut album titled “I Love You.”
I haven’t heard many recent bands that sound like The Neighborhood – what I like in particular are the dramatic tempo changes, which are often half-time, like 2:25 into Sweater Weather posted above.
The popularization of this kind of rhythmic variation is becoming increasingly common, which has modern roots in electronic music. Sub genres like dubstep and trap (which are offshoots of drum & bass and hip hop, respectively) have especially propagated this rhythmic trend. I’m happy to see it become more common in genres outside of hip hop and electronic.
I recently discovered an American group from Los Angeles called Classixx, who have become notable remixers working for artists like Lana Del Ray and Madonna among many others. Their sound is mostly French-sounding heavily filtered retro house music, occasionally accompanied by female vocalists. They have a wonderfully warm sound that sounds like it’s from another era, much like the most recent Daft Punk album Random Access Memories. Their debut album, titled Hanging Gardens, was just released this year. It’s very good – I’d say one of the top 20 albums I’ve heard in 2013.
They have an official video for another song of theirs featuring Nancy Whang which is a good video, but not a song that I like as much as Holding On. You can check that out here: Classixx – All You’re Waiting For on Youtube.
Since rap has moved into the sphere of mainstream music in the mid-1990′s, it has always held onto a worn out cliché.
This ever-present preoccupation prevents many people from appreciating the art form of hip hop by giving them an easy way to dismiss it. Low lives celebrating criminality and monetary wealth, they say. And that’s true in many cases, but that’s not the whole story.
Ten years ago I met a veteran DJ of Washington DC’s hip hop inner-circle, named DJ Ragz. Already well known in he 1990′s, Ragz was the forebear of the more well-known DC hip hop DJ’s who came after him and emerged in the late 2000′s. In addition to being a hip hop DJ, he was a jazz and funk connoisseur who later started a group called the Jazz Addixx. I remember once when he said that he didn’t feel comfortable telling people that he was into hip hop because that statement was so easily misconstrued. Hip hop had been hijacked by vapid one-dimensional cartoon characters like 50 Cent.
I love the video above because it pokes fun at the mainstream culture of hip hop’s obsession with wealth. Nearly all well-known rappers embrace money as a central theme in their lyrics: Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, etc. But those aren’t the people you should be listening to. The most most creative and inventive hip hop lives in the cracks between the commercialized figures that everyone knows.
It’s made by people like Sean Kongery.
One of the best albums of 2010, titled Ring, was released a relatively known American singer named Glasser. Her music is in a similar vein to Björk, but I’d say it’s much more approachable. The follow up album to Ring came out earlier this month and I’ve been listening to it a lot. It’s titled Interiors and this song, “Shape”, is the first song on the album.
Read more about Glasser on Wikipedia
I was introduced to Jon Hopkins earlier this year with the release of his fifth studio album, titled Immunity. I’d say the track above fairly summarizes Hopkin’s contemporary sound: modern, electronic, ambient.
Read more about Jon Hopkins on Wikipedia
This band, Wild Nothing, was formed in 2009 in Blacksburg, Virginia. I didn’t know about this band until I got their 2013 EP, which this song is on, titled Empty Estate.
Sounds very much inspired by Talking Heads, which is a good thing. I grew up hearing my father listen to Talking Heads and have vivid memories of the 1986 David Byrne film True Stories that was released alongside a Talking Heads album released with the same name.