You'll find a cornucopia of tasty tunes to bounce off your eardrums. I update with new tunes, art and photography every week, depending on what I'm doing and listening to at the time, old and new. I'm based in London UK but I love to travel and discovery new music along the way and share my musical journey on neoloop.
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Janelle Monae's The ArchAndroid - her full debut has been getting rave reviews state-side. It's an amazingly ambitious record. It's a 70-minute, 18-track epic, arranged in a series of suites, The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III) and the Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase) EP that preceded it tell the story of an android (Monae as #57821, Cyndi Mayweather) who has fallen in forbidden love with a humanoid and is consequently being hunted for disassembly. The year is 2719. The place is Metropolis. The story is trippy and combines practically ever genre of music possible from Psychedelic Rock to Hip Hop and R'N'B to Spoken word and Indie to Disco and Funk to cinematic scores with impressive results. The most impressive thing about The ArchAndroid isn't that it bounces between genres, but that it does so without compromising quality or cohesion.
Inspired by such revolutionary musicians and artistic visionaries as Salvador Dalí, Walt Disney, OutKast, Stevie Wonder, Octavia Butler, David Bowie, Andy Warhol, and John Williams. The two suites feature an array of artistic involvement from the likes of Big Boi of OutKast, renowned poet Saul Williams, psychedelic dance-punk troupe Of Montreal, punk prophets Deep Cotton, and the Wondaland Arch Orchestra. Currently on tour with Erykah Badu, this is an album worth hearing just for the construction of such a magnum opus of work and Janelle's raw talent as a vocalist. Enjoy this snippet of excellence, the 2nd track on the album Dance Or Die featuring Saul Williams.
The long awaited return of the Chemical Brothers is here in the shape of Swoon, taken from the forthcoming LP Further. You may also have heard Escape Velocity but this is the official first single from Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons. Quite mellow and quite poppy on first few listens, not particularly typical of anything previously released by the Chems, but this isn't a bad thing as I think this is real grower and has nice blissful vibe about it.
For anyone who missed out on School of Seven Bells first album here's a great track Half Asleep from Alpinisms.
Mercurial French author Rene Daumal defined “alpinism” as “the art of climbing mountains.” Alpinisms is an electronically enhanced pop record of dizzying highs and claustrophobic lows, whose painstaking conception shows in its detail-laden crevices. Benjamin Curtis constructs layers of shoegazing, moire-patterned guitars, while sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza intertwine their near-identical voices like the fingers of praying hands. Throughout, the whole heavenly affair is tethered to the ground with a glitchy, tribal thwomp. A great album to discover or re-discover in wait for the new LP Disconnect From Desire due to surface next month.
Brooklyn's School of Seven Bells recently announced the 2010 release of their second album Disconnect From Desire, the hotly anticipated follow-up to 2009's Alpinisms, a cracking album that spawned some of the best tunes of 2009. First track to appear from the new LP is this slice of hypnotic dream-pop, true to form it picks up nicely from where they left off. The New York trio's new offering is scheduled for release in 13 July. The band plays at London's Scala on 20 July.
The instrumental post-rockers Holy Fuck will follow-up their widely acclaimed LP (2007) with Latin, the band's third album and it's a lot leaner and funkier and less aggressive than its predecessors. This is the first single and first track to be leaked in to blogsville. Sounds very much like a Fuck Button's older brother with intensive grooves that build with emotion and complexities that could fall apart at any moment. A bastard relentless maelstrom of live guitars and techno -informed drum patterns that pound out a unique and utterly compelling sound.
Like this? Try: Fuck Buttons, Broken Social Scene, Wooden Shjips
This week I've been enjoying the new LP from Delorean, another high-quality chillwave pop album to put next to your Animal Collectives and Grizzly Bears. However Spanish four-piece Delorean have been kicking around the scene for awhile now and give the genre a slightly euro-pop edge and dance-pop groove widening their appeal to a broader audience. Following up from hype-building Ayrton Senna EP in 2009 the band releases Subiza, its third full-length album. 90's house groove form the backbone of much of the album with charming harmonies and soaring organs. This track has a slight tribal house vibe and is a mesmerising blistering pop tune for a perfect summer soundtrack. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Like this? Try: The Morning Benders, Sun Airway, Real Estate, Animal Collective
The Morning Benders' second LP Big Echo takes them up a league into the dreamy-pop premiership, it see them take on Grizzly Bear, whose Chris Taylor shares a co-production credit with Benders singer/guitarist Christopher Chu. Perfect indie-pop that's all about now, Beach Boys harmonies, sunny sounds and charming melodies mix-up a kaleidoscopic California haze. Just add sunshine and put the roof down.
BIG ECHO will be released in UK, Europe, Australia (and the rest of the world) on ROUGH TRADE - JUNE 28. It will be preceded by the 'Excuses' single, with a special b-side, so keep an ear out!
Like this? Try: Grizzly Bear, Sun Airway, Real Estate, Animal Collective
This track is an emotional break-up ballad of a man reminiscing on where it all went wrong while watching naked women dancing in the mermaid parade. Matthew Houck's Phosphorescent's new LP Here's to Taking It Easy is an ode to classic rock, born in Alabama and living in New York, Phosphorescent's sound is reminiscent of some old 70's vinyl. Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Eagles and Gram Parsons all come to mind on this beautifully crafted album. An alt-country delight and surely one of the best American LP's of the year, perfect for long sunny days with nothing to do. LP out now. Playinmg live in London 2nd June at the ICA.
Big tune! Some quality beats from the Big Boi, a real summer lover tune that sure to dominate the airwaves in the sunny season. OutKast's Big Boi is off the hook with this jitterbugging' warped funk. Even sing's a bit of Soul II Soul's Back To Life and adds a bit of talkbox vocals. Hip-Hop groove of the Summer so far!
David Holmes releases his greatest hits this month, a true pioneer DJ, producer, musician and composer who'se made some outstanding tunes under his own name. This new LP The Dogs are Parading pulls together all the singles and other stella album tracks, remixes and rarities. He's produced many great soundtracks Out Of Sight, Ocean's Eleven and last years The Girlfriend Experience all of which feature on The Dogs are Parading. The track featured here is from his album Let's Get Killed and is Holmes's retake on Serge Gainsbourg's Melody from Histoire De Melody Nelson LP, considered to be one of Gainsbourg's finest works and featured orchestral arrangements of Jean-Claude Vannier. Holmes's classic version is pretty sympathetic to the original, bringing it up to date. All of Holmes's great tunes in one place with a few obscure remixes thrown in can't be bad, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Like this? Try: Serge Gainsbourg, Massive Attack, Unkle, DJ Shadow
Stereo Total have been turning out kitsch retro-chic pop for some 15 years now, and they never go out of style - here they are again with a new LP Baby Ouh! their 10th album and it's full of the usual retro computer game sound effects and the quirky Franco-German lo-fi kitsch pop we've come to expect. Françoise Von Hove and Friedrich Ziegler sound particularly Dadaist and crazy on this track with added Stephen Hawking vocals. Mad as you like robo-pop!
Like this? Try: Killer Cobra, Pizzicato Five, Stereolab
Outstanding! Coming in from the leftfield, Jamie Lidell releases a new LP next week Compass. Ever the experimentalist Lidell has ventured into many musical directions with varying results, R&B and electronica have been very fruitful. This new LP is produced by Beck and you can really hear the Beckisums in there, it has a real raw quality to the whole album, nothing is to polished and all the better for it. Lidell's soulful voice is rattled around clanging and banging percussion and sounds incredible, fluctuating from soul and R&B to folk and funk with a a new found swagger. There are so many influences in here, I'm hearing Prince, George Clinton, Tom Waits, Nick Drake, Gonjasufi and Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and of course Beck. This LP features some impressive guests too, including Beck, Feist, Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor, Daniel Rossen, and Chris Bear, Wilco's Pat Sansone, legendary R&B drummer James Gadson, soul belter Nikka Costa, Beck keyboardist Brian LeBarton, and Gonzales. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Like this? Try: Beck, Prince, Chris Cornell, Bibio
Some excellent electronic-pop from Steve Mason, stripping it back to basics to great effect. This is the opening track to his new record. Since the breakup of Brit indie favourites the Beta Band, frontman Steve Mason has been producing some exceptional music under his King Biscuit Time and Black Affair aliases. But with his latest offering, the quite brilliant Boys Outside, he's unmasked himself and this is his first album to be released under his own name. Produced by Richard X and Mason himself, Mason wrote the album entirely on acoustic guitar. More often than not all Mason's new music is measured against the first Beta Band LP The Three EPs, this latest offering is the closest yet to brilliance of that sound. Hot Chip have since stormed in and joined the party, but here Mason again takes up the challenge to drive electronic-pop forward with his distinctive vocals, lyrical whit and glacial synths. RECOMMENDED.
Like this? Try: Beta Band, King Biscuit Time, Black Affair, Hot Chip
The excellent Foals are back with a new album on Monday 10 May titled Total Life Forever, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed debut Antidodes. And I'm please to say the new LP carries on from where they left off only raising the bar higher, it's full of potential singles and it will undoubtably propel them in to the mainstream arena. The Oxford band possess an extra edge that they didn't have before, a mature sound that really fills up your headphones to bursting point. One thing they always did well was percussion and Jack Bevan's drumming is immense, the driving force behind an incredibly accomplished second album.
Even frontman Yannis Philippakis's vocals sound better than ever, often big albums feature one or two epic tracks, Total Life Forever encompasses 4 big blow-out numbers - opening track Blue Blood, Black Gold, Spanish Sahara and After Glow each build into an exhilarating euphoria that is just amazing. In-between these are perfect pieces of hands-in-the-air sing-a-long pop such as this excellent title track. A captivating masterpiece that is surely a massive contender for one the best LP's this year. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Like this? Try: Friendly Fires, Late of the Pier, Battles
Tosca release an album of remixes of their most recent No Hassle LP this month, which stays in tradition with the Tosca modus operandi. There's been at least one remix album for each original Tosca album to date. Such is the quality of Richard Dorfmeister & Rupert Huber's Austrian band output that all the remixed versions of their albums are always a sure fire success. Pony No Hassle Versions LP is no different, this track is transformed by Grant Phabao into dub reggae groove and a tad more upbeat than the original. Perfect chilled out tunes that still get your toe tapping.
Like This? Try: Kruder & Dorfmeister, Thievery Corporation, Peace Orchestra, Boozoo Bajou
Erykah Badu's tune Turn Me Away (Get MuNNY) samples/covers this tune. I'd thought I'd share the original of it as it's such a great tune, written and produced by the great Roy Ayers.
Sylvia’s debut was released in 1981 via Roy Ayers‘ Uno Melodic label which he set up in the early eighties to showcase new talent that fitted his jazz-funk & boogie sensibilities. Sylvia’s voice is not unlike a young Minnie Ripperton at times although perhaps not quite as polished. Rare-groove gold that certainly deserves a wider audience.
Shortly after her debut performance she was recruited to sing on Roy’s solo album Love Fantasy (1980) as well as was a member of the short-lived group the Eighties Ladies, a quintet of female vocalists guided by Roy. Classic soul.
First Lady of Neo-Soul released her 5th long player New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) in March. This track is a nice slab of chilled-groove badu style, a real head-nodder. Check out the album, there are some fresh cuts on this baby. Includes a heavily sampled version of Sylvia Striplin's You Can't Turn Me Away produced by Roy Ayers on Turn Me Away (Get MuNNY) See above.
Erica Abi Wright (born February 26, 1971), better known by her stage name Erykah Badu.
The National new LP titled High Violet is released next week, it's a very chilled and relaxing affair, I'm loving this track, Anyone's Ghost - it has a nice swagger about it. Well worth checking out the rest of the album, Bloodbuzz Ohio is available as a free download on the bands official album site, which is also a beautiful moment from the album. High Violet is high quality indeed. RECOMMENDED.
Like This? Try: Spoon, Midlake, Wilco, Calexico
One the most eagerly anticipated LP's of 2010 comes Flying Lotus AKA Steven Ellison's Cosmogramma. True to Flying Lotus style it's an intriguing, intricate and challenging as ever. Taking in jazz, hip-hop, soul glitch-pop and videogame sounds it's a captivating listen from start to finish. Tracks range from one minute long to five and half, but most tunes clock in around 2 to 3 minutes making the album as a whole feel like an eclectic mix of cuts. This is one album that will get played over and over while you discover something new with every spin. Guest spot from Thom York is very subtle on …And The World Laughs With You. Laura Darlington adds vocals to Table Tennis, which takes its beats from real time samples of bouncing ping-pong balls that sound obvious but amazing. I chose this track to post up first because I found this instantly incredible, mashing up so many different styles and effects - mesmerising!