By Stef Siepel
October 20, 2013
The Weekly Froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.
Tracks of the year: So yeah, 2014 it is now, welcome! Naturally we’ll continue this weekly column with loads of fun tracks veering on the disco/house/electronical/funky side of the spectrum. Before we dive into the new year though, here some of my favorite tracks that were released in 2013.
‘The Only Shrine I’ve Seen’ by Darkside
Though I wasn’t as crazy-over-the-moon with this album as with Jaar’s solo effort back when that came out, there’s still quality music here, and this one takes the cake. Starts a bit noisy, but you already hear some of the percussion elements back there, and at one point the noise part gets cut out and it’s total bliss from that point on. High on atmosphere, these guys know how to give a track the right vibe, and this one gets it by that monkish chanting you get after about the two minute mark. After that there is a moment of slight percussion, which leads up to the vocals coming in. I love, nay, LOVE, the doubling of the vocals. The two vocal lines that work together whilst singing through each other, that for me is the highlight music wise of 2013. I mean, are you kidding me! Especially when one vocal track is still singing, and the other detachedly goes pa-pa-pa-pa-pa a layer below. That is some crazy shit right there. After that, again, loads of instrumental goodness right up to the end, with close to the end a strip-away of the beat and rhythm, going for piano and vocals only. Can’t wait to see them live in 2014.
‘Tears’ by HNNY
I love HNNY, and I love Montauk, the other moniker this guy makes music under. What I love is that he puts down a real contemporary sound which works really well on the dancefloor with that nice little beat in there. What I love most, however, is how he juxtaposes the modern electronic sounds with lines from our favorite tracks of yesteryear. And with that I don’t mean he uses a vocal sample, but he just nicks a line and uses it in a totally different way and context. In this track that line is “Boy, take a good look at these tears of mine / these tears I can’t hold inside”. Quiz question, what track is that from? You know it already? Eh? It’s from Marvin Gaye’s ‘Heard it Through the Grapevine’. And what I love about it is that you’re dancing on the dancefloor, you’ve got the modern beat and electro sounds (which are executed lovely), and then this line is used to trigger the original emotions of the Marvin Gaye track. It’s kind of a super small pastiche at work. A few weeks ago I also wrote a piece about his track ‘No’, using the more kitschy-than-classic TLC’s ‘No Scrub’ track to get the recognition factor in there. Even without that, it’s a great track though, but doing these kind of things put it just over the hump for me.
‘Dumb Disco Ideas’ by Holy Ghost!
I just love these guys. I sometimes think they kind of get too hard a time because I’m reading stuff like that they try or need to fill the void that LCD Soundsystem left behind, which is totally unfair because A) who can do that?, and B) their sounds are just completely different. They released this magnificently fun album this year called Dynamics, which is just multiple layers of awesome. Especially because it is just so much darn fun. Whether they go into synth-pop mode or disco mode, they just push it out there and create the most fun track they can think of. This track is an eight minute behemoth of disco sounds, with a really good break in between that divides the track into two parts that sound really different, allowing the track to indeed go eight minutes without boring, in any case, me. There’s plenty to enjoy on this track, from the synth to the drums, to the ah-aahhh-aaaahhhhs; it all adds up to this super tight track that just epitomizes enjoyment for me. And that second part is just total bliss. Nice beat, great drumming, love the vocoder in there as they go you need to Work it off / and wait / wait for another day. Probably the album I enjoyed most this year, and this is the song I’ve played on repeat.
‘Cool Like Me’ by Fryars (Tigers & Woods remix)
I actually don’t think this is really the absolute strongest track both have put out, but it does give me a chance to talk about both these artists, who again come off strong years. Tiger & Woods put out a delicious single with ‘Golden Bear’, and Fryars is working towards his sophomore album and released some awesome tracks with an eye on that. The stand-out, for me, was ‘On Your Own Pt. 2’, but with that not being up on SoundCloud anymore, this is as good as it gets really. It’s got the trademark Tiger & Woods sound, with the short sampling giving it this nice pace. They add some piano in there, and again the short sampling in the vocals at first, though later (after adding the delicious bass that certainly managed to delight me), they add a bit more of Fryars vocal work. ‘Cool Like Me’, in its original state, is also a really nice track, with some smart lyrics that go with a nice beat and a dash of listenability. The mantra kind of goes “You can be anything you want to be / you can be cool, cool like me”, which I’m hard pressed to take as a statement of his own grandiosity. At 4:30 you get some lovely piano in there by Tiger & Woods, after which they let the beat come back, though this time in combination with the aforementioned piano. Both of these teams’ strengths are on display here, making it a really good listen, and hopefully it’ll wet everyone’s appetite for their next albums, which hopefully will be released next year.
‘Feel Like Movin’’ by The Juan MacLean
Yeah, I probably have a soft spot for these guys. The Juan MacLean has made one of my all-time favorite songs with ‘Happy House’, which also ranks up there in terms of my fav live moment ever (the 23 minute version of it is rad). This again is piano house in optima forma. Love the piano in there, the drums are ace, and then you’ve got Nancy Whang telling you that it feels like movin’, and who can refuse a lady on that account? Especially when she insists you “Put your feet on the dancefloor / show me what you’re made of”. It is just another of those dancefloor tracks that just sounds like fun, and that is just a soft spot for me, really. Because that’s what the dancefloor is about really, isn’t it? This was released this year on a split with a Shit Robot song called ‘We Got a Love’, which honestly wasn’t too shabby either, so definitely worth the pick up I’d reckon. Hopefully this is another band that’ll be releasing a full length in 2014, so again something that at least I’m really looking forward to. And when they come to town, surely it’ll be The perfect night to get away.
‘Call My Name’ by Chris Malinchak
How about something sultry and soulful he? Malinchak has worked miracles with some old R&B sounds, and this one is no exception. Silky smooth, the thing rides on the percussion, but it defenitly gets its atmosphere from the fabulous vocals who ask you to Call my name. When the vocals change to a plea to Don’t leave me, you get some synth and keys that join the mix, and all those things add up to this really nice groove. At about the halfway mark the vocals and the percussion is stripped away for something a bit deeper, both in terms of synth as well as the beat. The male voice is the first to return, after which everything is stripped again at one point in favour of the lighter synth sound, which also functions as the cue for the R&B female vocals to return. Just such a smooth ride this one, and a sexy one at that. It has got that vibe down pat, and with the percussion you can keep moving a bit. And on this song, just a little bit closer to the person you fancy probably.