This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Not only for my own personal running list of things I’ve found via Bandcamp (or Soundcloud) that I like, but for a chance that anyone who accidentally stumbles across this blog might find something they like, as well.
Since this is the first time I’ve ever done this, and it’s something I plan to do randomly as the mood hits me, I’m not putting a timeframe on when anything was released. All I care about is when I find it.
Made In Heights – Without My Enemy What Would I Do
This is, pretty easily, my favorite release that I’ve listened to in the first half of 2015. It’s hit me in a similar way that FKA Twigs did last year, because it feels both familiar and wildly different, all at the same time.
If I were forced to boil this down to a single genre descriptor, I’d have to say this is pop, but I’d be really sad that I’d have to boil it down to that and only that. Made In Heights are a duo that bring beautiful female vocals melted over some very varied (alliteration!) production. That variance in the production can fall under the wide umbrella that is electronic music (whatever that is anymore), melded with some hip-hop/R&B influence along with a pop sensibility that I alluded to earlier.
Cry is probably the track that most says “THIS IS MADE IN HEIGHTS!” to me. It starts with a squealing pig that probably fits better into a horror movie than it does a song as beautiful as this, followed by a chopped-up sample of said pig that somehow turns from that horrid sound at the beginning into something that works as a piece of music. Wrap that up with a water-in-the-bucket drip-drop sound and you have the description of a song that just shouldn’t be as good as it is. Once the vocals drop in, everything comes together to make for what I can only describe via an oxymoron; melancholic bliss.
This is the mix that is Kelsey Bulkin (vocals) and Alexei Saba (a/k/a Sabzi; producer), a duo that can only be described in pairings of words which shouldn’t go next to each other. They are a match… made in heights.
(I NAILED that cheesy ending… nailed it!)
Buy for $12
Recommended if you like – FKA Twigs, London Grammar, ASTR, Basecamp
If you have been following my blog at all the first few months of it’s existence, you have seen my most anticipated music of 2009. One of those albums has dropped making my wait for some good music not to bad, only the 2nd month of the year. The disc is from P.O.S., a Minneapolis based rapper. For those that don’t know him, he started out with punk-rock at a younger age. He started doing hip-hop here and there, playing small shows, and he ended up having quite a bit of fun with it. Not only did he have fun with it, he was pretty good. Never Better is the 3rd L.P. in P.O.S.’ career. His first two albums were stellar front to back with some of my favorite hip-hop songs ever. P.O.S. is on of the few rappers out there who still sound unique to me. At times his vocals do sound a little like Eminem, but he mixes it up well, singing, screaming and rapping… sometimes all on one track. His production is also unique. There are a lot of live instruments sprinkled throughout his albums. He samples rather heavy guitar from groups like Underoath. Mix his vocal variety with a punk approach to production and you have something different from the mainstream.
Thankfully I didn’t post this review when I first planned to. After my first two listens I wasn’t digging it. My first listen was while playing a video game and the second listen while at work. Then came the third go round. I put on my headphones, turned on my Zune and laid back with nothing but the music to pay attention to. It was this listening session that made everything click for me. While listening in the background, I missed so many of the intricacies of the production. There are layers upon layers of strings, beats, live drums, vocal sampling. If you don’t pay attention your going to miss what makes this album so good.
Video for Drumroll (We’re all Thirsty)
Typically these lists start off with a declaration that the year has been great, or maybe it’s been terrible. I always hate lists that start off that way. If you can’t find 10 albums (or discs or downloads) that you loved over the past year you are either really picky (i.e. elitist) or you just like to hate stuff. So here it is, my top ten list of things that were great to listen to over the past year. I doubt my list is the coolest (for instance, I don’t have TV on the Radio so that’s an instant fail) or best, but it’s what I loved. Maybe you can end up loving some of it too.