Prolific indie dream pop group Beach House has made its mark like a storm slowly rolling to shore. The duo from Baltimore have been putting forth their hallmark lethargically epic soundscapes since 2004 but only in the past few years have gained notoriety. It could have something to do with their shift to Seattle’s Sub Pop Records for their last two albums. This is off of their most recent collection Bloom which was incidentally released a year ago today.
I’ve been meaning to work in more hip hop into this list and this seems like an appropriate track to do so with. Seattle based Dark Time Sunshine, consisting of producer Zavala and rapper Onry Ozzborn, have been quietly building a loyal following for about 5 years now. This is off of their 2010 LP Vessel which made serious underground waves. In a lot of respects it is a quintessential Pacific Northwest hip hop album, with congenial beats meshed with contemplative lyrics. Yet, this album stood out on multiple levels. First off, Zavala brought with him from Chicago a more avant garde sensibility and his approach to production is significantly more experimental than the radio friendly projects of Seattle counterparts such as Sabzi of Blue Scholars and Ryan Lewis of Macklemore. Most of the tracks on Vessel are complex and multifaceted, with multiple layers of synth rhythms woven into a nexus with ever-changing warped beats. Their latest album ANX is equally left-field, with progressive (somewhat dreamy) soundscapes and provocative lyrics.
This track, however is one of their more accessible products. The soulful croon of Portland’s Reva Devito softens its impact and ergo highlight’s Onry Ozzborns deeply personal and introspective lyrics. Pacific Northwest hip hop has been thrust into the mainstream recently due to the explosive success of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” (it’s even taken off in Cambodia, I kid you not), and it’s inevitable that other Seattle mainstays will likely garner more attention. We’ll see if Dark Time Sunshine picks up any of this byproduct. Something tells me though that they’re perfectly happy occupying their avant gard niche the hip hop underground.
I’ve got another track for you from Brooklyn’s Black Light Dinner Party. You can read more about them from my prior post and hear their track “We are Golden” here.
Wow, I’ve gotten pretty behind on posts. I guess it can get hard to get back into the swing of things after such a wonderful trip.
Anyways, my track for you today comes from Brooklyn based Tanlines. Tanlines consists of percussionist Jesse Cohen and vocalist/guitarist Eric Emm who has a background in avante garde production (specifically, he produced Professor Murder’s ep). Although they came together in 2008, they didn’t produce a full length album until 2012’s Mixed Emotions. They’ve played with the likes of Vampire Weekend, The xx, Yeasayer and Rick Ross and are slowly building a following. This was their first single off their album and it has a sense of build-up and theatrics that I found captivating.
Black City Lights are a Wellington, New Zealand electronica duo made up of Calum Robb and Julia Catherine Parr. I’m honestly surprised they haven’t taken off more, but they’re gradually building a following from opening for headliners like Grimes. Just came across this remix of Collapsing Horizon and I’m really digging it.
I was admittedly pretty late to the Grimes train having just started listening to her a few months ago (give me a break, I live in Cambodia for christ sake). I want soooo badly to dislike her. You know, it’s the super repetitive synth hooks and squeaky anime vocals. But I just can’t. Almost every single song on Visions is just so catchy. I’m not sure if it really lives up to its hype, but I sure do enjoy it. This, however, is off of an earlier EP she did with d’Eon. I like how this video was filmed and I also like how it shows just how much she does live (not very common with the “just press play” electronica generation). I’ve added the original for comparison as well.
I love Matt & Kim. I really do. On the one hand, they represent everything about Brooklyn that makes me gag… but then their music is just so damn fun. This track came out last summer and was definitely sort of my anthem for being back in the States visiting my family. It’s one of those rare songs that genuinely puts you in a better mood.
So cheers to that.
Jacques Greene is an immensely talented young producer out of Montreal that primarily does hip hop influenced house tracks. This has been one of my morning jams for a year now. His remix of Kelly Rowland’s “Motivation” is killer as well.
On another note, he was also the hipster in the glasses in Azealia Bank’s “212” video. Street cred for dayyyyssss.
Yep, that guy.
I think this is becoming an obsession. Yes, I already featured Trails and Ways, but it must be done again. They’re just soooo good. I initially came across this track via the Wallpaper remix, but the original just perfectly exemplifies the sound of this awesome new group. Both tracks respectively kill it though, so it seemed necessary to include both here.
Ghost Loft (aka L.A. based Danny Choi) made waves last summer with his debut, “Blow”, a heavily R&B influenced (Ignition anyone?) electronica track. Since then he’s stayed mainly underground and little seemed to be known about him or his musical future. Last fall however he released “Seconds”, a stripped-downtempo track that epitomizes contemporary electro-chill. Its seductive and mercurial and transports you in a way only music can. Its the sort of track that compels you to pour yourself a stiff one and zone out on your balcony daydreaming about living a far more profound and dramatic existence (or at least about balconies in far more exotic elsewheres).