Music to Start the Week With #042
by: Diego Martínez
July 9, 2012
Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian Holland and Edward Holland, Jr. knew what they were talking about when they wrote “(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave” for Motown girl group Martha and the Vandellas in 1963. Sure, love could actually make someone’s heart burn with desire and go insane, but then again, so could the ridiculous weather we’ve been experiencing for the last few days in U.S. shores. Thankfully, it will all ease up starting this week and it looks like a perfect timing for a WILD playlist.
To cool you off, we’ve set yet another selection of up-and-coming acts, happy returns of great names and even an oldie-but-goodie you won’t be able to spot because it sounds so fresh as it did when it first came out.
Grab your headphones and your trusty water bottle. From 1 to 10, here’s this week’s recommendations:
Australia has given us so many good performers over the years and the girl who opens this edition of “Music To Start The Week With” is no exception to the rule. Phebe Starr is based in Sydney and so far in yer young career she’s been compared to the likes of Sia, Florence Welch, Lykke Li and Stevie Nicks. What’s so good about her? Probably everything: from the fact that she’s a looker to her haunting and melodic pipes, blended with electronic and rock influences to create such intimate statements like her new single “Alone With You,” produced by Andy Mak. We’ll be hearing more of Phebe in the next few months, we bet.
Baltimore indie folk duo Wye Oak saw their third album Civilian being included in many ‘Best of 2011′ lists. It made perfect sense that fans of the band and the record would gasp of excitement over the news of a new song, included as part of Adult Swim’s Singles Program series (available for free download in its website.) The hypnotic and rhythmic “Spiral” represents a different sonic direction than expected, with added marimbas, programmed drums and vocal effects. Overall a catchy and menacing effort. At least, that’s what Jenn Wasner thinks.
Carmen, Kieran, and Joseph are the members of a new band from Canada named DIANA. They only have two songs available on their Soundcloud but they are just enough to gather significant attention as perfect introductions. One of these tunes is “Born Again,” a dream pop atmospheric confection with elegant beats to spare. Those who are loving this already (like we do) will have to wait just a little bit longer for an entire LP and other songs from DIANA. Patience is a must.
Divine Fits is to indie in the way that Velvet Revolver and SuperHeavy was to mainstream rock just a few years ago. It’s a supergroup of sorts comprised by Spoon’s Britt Daniel, Dan Boekner of Handsome Furs and Wolf Parade, and Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks. You know it’s a good project when they come out with a cool record like “Would That Not Be Nice,” included in their debut A Thing Called Divine Fits, scheduled for August 28th release. If you happen to be in San Francisco on October 13-14, you better catch them live at Treasure Island Music Festival alongside Girl Talk, Grimes, M83, Toro y Moi and plenty of others.
An epic rock anthem for the summer that’s not “We are Young” or anything produced by fun.? YES. Vancouver noise rock duo Japandroids provides us with a fist-pumping, head-banging number replete with thick chords, shouting vocals and heavy drums. It’s included in their sophomore LP Celebration Rock, just released via Polyvinyl. Oh, and remember these wise words: If they try to slow you down, tell them all to go to hell.
Next up is “Her Fantasy,” the celebratory lead single off Matthew Dear’s fourth-coming album Beams, set for August 28th. It’s a nu-disco route for the avant-pop crooner, all while distortion slowly creeps over the track beautifully. Whistles and cowbells aside, the song is paired with a bizarre video clip that marries debauchery, seduction and a little humor, paying homage to the great film director Kenneth Anger.
Bonde Do Rolê is so unconventional yet so bloody perfect, but when the Brazilian troupe teams with Diplo and one of the MCs of an alternative hip-hop group, something magical happens. Indeed, “Bang”–the first single off Tropical/Bacanal–is western mixed with sunny Rio swag, and if that’s not magic we don’t know what is. Expect crazy collaborations by Rizzle Kicks, Poolside and Caetano Veloso when Tropical/Bacanal hits stores July 31st via Mad Decent.
While we’re in the subject of ‘unconventional,’ let’s revisit an old post-disco classic from art-funk ensemble Was (Not Was). Brothers David and Don Was were never afraid to take chances and borrow from every influence possible (from early Hip-Hop to pop, hard rock, jazz and spoken word poetry) freely and without hesitation. Their uniqueness and individuality shows through on the six LPs produced by the act between 1981 and 2008.
Gigamesh is right up there with Fred Falke, The Magician and Dimitri From Paris if you want to get any synth-drenched party started. One of the best examples of his style on other people’s work is the remix he made of White Sea’s 2011 disco-infused track “Ladykiller.” It’s easy to get obsessed on this banging tune.
Britpop fans, bow down. Blur is back, and they are putting the final ribbon on our playlist. While they’re prepping for their London Olympic closing ceremony gig, Damon Albarn and company are singing Halleluyah on the ballad “Under The Westway,” a song that contrasts with another new song they unveiled, the energetic and electronic “The Puritan.” It’s a ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ kind of tune that shows Albarn’s nodding to his hero Ray Davies. It’s sad but nonetheless brilliant. They will do the Olympic spirit some well deserved justice.