Tycho – Division [Listen]

13559012_10154183096035520_3013331512847276744_o

I love those mornings when you wake up, hazily grab your phone (usually to silence the incessant drone of the alarm), catch up on your RSS/Facebook/Twitter etc and are greeted by a brand new track by one of your favourite artists. A nice morale boost to the day.

So this morning I did just that and by the time I’d grabbed my keys and was on my way out the door I’d already listened to Tycho’s new track five or six times and was feeling all the more chipper as a result.

I love where Scott is taking Tycho; as familiar as ever but brighter, bolder and with increasing confidence. It feels more organic, more expansive and crackles with energy. Maybe that’s to be expected with his move away from solo artist, embracing the band and touring Awake extensively for two years. I’m excited.

Check it out.

The new as yet untitled album is due out on Ghostly International in 2016.

If you’re in the US you can catch Tycho at one of the remaining 2016 shows.

TYCHO 2016 TOUR DATES

JUL 02 – Chicago, IL – Mamby on the Beach
SEP 17 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre (w/ Lotus, El Ten Eleven)
SEP 22-24 – Thornville, OH – Resonance Music & Arts Festival
SEP 24-25 – St. Louis, MO – Murmuration Festival
OCT 15-16 – San Francisco, CA – Treasure Island Music Festival

Kratos Himself – A Town Called Imaginarium EP [Listen]

Kratos Himself - A Town Called Imaginarium

Toward the end of last month Kratos Himself dropped his new EP A Town Called Imaginarium. Days later I stumble upon it on another enlightening bandcamp weekly and before I know it, it’s found a permanent place on my computers hard drive.

Satisfying my eardrums immensely for the last week, the Dutch downtempo wizard has released a fine slice of electronic music which encompasses a slight world music vibe, warm bass, chilled beats and some organic and delicate production. It’s by the numbers, but when the numbers sound this good there’s nothing to complain about. Kratos Himself, or Jethro Hopmans as he is otherwise known, has caught my attention and has me positively salivating for a full length of this calibre.

You can pick up A Town Called Imaginarium for ‘buy now or name your price’ over at bandcamp.

1. Imaginarium (03:57)
2. Remember (04:54)
3. Ayahuasca (04:38)
4. Lucid (05:31)
5. This Town (04:08)
6. Don’t Call Me (06:02)
7. Till We Meet Again (05:16)

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories [Review]

Random Access Memories (RAM) is the fourth studio album from Daft Punk and was released following an intensive promotional campaign, including teaser commercials on SNL. The campaign lead to much anticipation and hype and now we can finally listen to the result of five years of development.

Daft Punk

Daft Punk has always been trying out new directions and have been at the forefront of EDM since their first record. This time they lead us both back, as well as forward in time. With funky songs that remind you of old disco classics and music from the seventies and eighties they try to – as one of their songs is called – “Give Live Back To Music”. They are definitely trying to make a statement with this album; by hardly using any samples and heavy use of real instruments they have tried to find a new form of dance music, maybe reflecting David Grohl’s words on the lack of a human element in EDM. One way they did this is by collaborating with many artists who have inspired them over the years. To name a few: Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers, Paul Williams and Panda Bear are featured in one way or another during the trip that is this album. The song “Giorgio by Moroder” features a short interview with Giorgio Moroder and that serves as a great example to show the amount of detail that was put into the production of the record. From using the best available studios and equipment, to the tiniest details nobody will notice. For example 3 different microphones were used in the recording of the interview with Giorgio Moroder. One from the sixties, one from the seventies and a modern one. The one used is linked to the different time period he was talking about.

This sort of detail won’t be noticed by most of the (casual) listeners and that may be the only problem with RAM. This is more a listeners record than a club album and people who were fans mostly for the electronic part of or their portfolio might feel a little left out. But make no mistake, this is still a Daft Punk album. A lot of the recognizable elements are there including the synthesized robotic voices and funky danceable beats. Also the record closes with the song “Contact” (stemming from a 2002 performance) that is more in line with the previous work, like the TRON soundtrack. It’s just that RAM is so much more than that, what makes this the best Daft Punk album for me. I originally wanted to write that the album is very good, but not worth the full hype. But it just might be. It keeps growing on me the more I listen to it, which has been pretty much non stop the last week.

Random Access Memories

Unfortunately Daft Punk have announced they will not tour in 2013, but the album is out now and available from iTunes.

  1. Give Life Back to Music
  2. The Game of Love
  3. Giorgio by Moroder
  4. Within
  5. Instant Crush
  6. Lose Yourself to Dance
  7. Touch
  8. Get Lucky
  9. Beyond
  10. Motherboard
  11. Doin’ It Right
  12. Contact

Slowly Rolling Camera – Dream A Life [Listen]

Slowly Rolling Camera

Often a bands name is a statement of how they see themselves, sometimes it’s simply to grab the attention or to make a statement. Rarely a bands name is so synonymous with the music; a wonderful embodiment of what you hear and what you read on the page (or web browser in this case). Of course that’s all very subjective, and a sweeping statement of sorts, but take a look at that name, Slowly Rolling Camera, before you hit play and take a few seconds to imagine what you are about to hear. Continue reading

Solar Fields – Origin # 02 [Listen/News]

I’m getting a sense of Déjà vu here, I swear it was about this time last year I wrote about Magnus Birgersson’s last release under his Solar Fields monicker, Random Friday. As with his prior release Origin # 01 however, this one is a look back in time specifically focusing on the period between 2003 and 2009. Continue reading

New Bonobo album announced, The Revival Hour’s debut and Emancipator’s new release out now [News]

Si Green Bonobo

Bonobo returns with The North Borders

Bonobo The North BordersThis is old news if you saw it posted last week, but Bonobo makes a return this April with the release of his new album The North Borders. With the announcement he’s unleashed new track Cirrus as a free download. It’s got real groove and sounds a little more experimental than anything we’ve heard before from Simon. I’m especially looking forward to this one as it’s always been fascinating to see how Bonobo has evolved over the years. The artwork’s brilliant (click on the image to see the hires version for those who don’t want to ruin there eyes). The video for Cirrus is also worth a look with some great visuals that marry to the music perfectly. Don’t forget to do your music library a favour and grab yourself the free single.

The album’s due April 1st (2nd in North America), lets hope it’s not an April fools! There’s also some new live dates to accompany the new album, to make things easy head over to this link for a full (and fairly extensive) listing. Continue reading

Houses – A Quiet Darkness [News]

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 13.11.48

Houses have been very quiet since their debut album All Night (2010). They’re one of my favourite ambient / electronic artist, and I had the pleasure of seeing them live last year in London. Finally there’s some movement from within their den; a video preview of their new album A Quiet Darkness has creeped out, and is due to be released on the 16th of April via Downtown Records. Continue reading

Tame Impala – Elephant [Listen]

Aussie psychedelic rockers Tame Impala are back with the quite frankly brilliant Elephant. First single from Lonerism, the follow up to their brilliant 2010 debut Innerspeaker, it’s chugging riffs, driving rhythm, seriously infectious bassline, fuzzy warm production and epic jams (all in the space of three and a half minutes!) evoke some serious early Pink Floyd vibes and even, as Martin pointed out to me across the office, hints of a heavier Beatles in there – If you really imagine, you can hear John Lennon in those vocals. [sorry, couldn’t resist.] It doesn’t stray from the sound they forged previously but they’re definitely back with a bang. It’s classic production and ethos meet a modern energy and style that really no one else manages like Tame Impala do. Elephant is a big tune and a great way to bring in the new album, no question about that.

Elephant is out now; available in all the usual places, and full-length Lonerism follows on October 5th (Australia) / October 8th (United Kingdom) / October 9th (United States). Preorder links can be found over on their website. Track listing is as follows.

Lonerism

1. Be Above It
2. Endors Toi
3. Apocalypse Dreams
4. Mind Mischief
5. Music To Walk Home By
6. Why Won’t They Talk To Me?
7. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
8. Keep On Lying
9. Elephant
10. She Just Won’t Believe Me
11. Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control
12. Sun’s Coming Up

Hidden Orchestra announce new album ‘Archipelago’ + Listen to new single ‘Vorka’ [News]

Update: The debut single from Archipelago has since been debuted on www.thelineofbestfit.com. It’s an upbeat and slightly more playful sound for the Hidden Orchestra yet retains the sweeping cinematic feel of their debut and live shows. The single is officially out in September, in the mean time have a listen on Soundcloud.

Original Story:

Hidden Orchestra have announced ‘Archipelago’ as the follow up to their inspired 2010 debut Nightwalks. It’s due October 1st on Tru Thoughts, which is tantalisingly close yet so very far…

Sadly there are no audio samples as yet. In the mean time check out Footsteps from the debut Nightwalks. Hidden Orchestra’s sound can be described as a sweeping,emotional and incredibly cinematic experience with strong jazz and classical influences layer with organic sampling.

On a side note, I’m particularly fond of the continuity between artwork which comes courtesy of Norman Ackroyd.

The Shins – Port of Morrow [Review]

It’s been five years since the well praised Wincing the Night Away and The Shins are back featuring a new line-up with Port of Morrow, arguably their strongest record yet.

Mercers dabblings with Danger Mouse on the superb 2010 Broken Bells record is evident with a slightly more electronic sound bubbling away in the background throughout, it’s never at the forefront but it’s noticeably subtle – a nice evolution of the sound Mercer has crafted for The Shins. It’s also unmercifully catchy; something The Shins have always managed and over time has become apparently easier for Mercer judging by how many of the tracks have been jammed in my mind the last two weeks. Vocal melodies bounce effortlessly along with the music (check out The Rifle’s Spiral (below) & Simple Song for prime examples) and this is really one of my favourite elements of the album. James Mercer really is a genius when it comes to the flow of his lyrics. It’s pretty straight up Indie Pop but goddamn it sounds effortless and so very, very confident.

Five years is a long time and if the sound of Port of Morrow is anything to go by it’s not just Mercers vocal melodies that have been honed, the production is sublime and a leap forward from previous efforts. It’s smooth, warm and well balanced, nothing is lost in the mix and it sounds bright and summery. It doesn’t sound like it’s taking elements from any one decade of the past 40 years but blending carefully the best of all of them. Pacing is well managed with a comfortable blend of slower mellow tracks and more upbeat singles helping the albums rhythm and never really outstaying its welcome. If there was ever any doubt after the line-up changes and five year gap between albums, it is very clear that James Mercer is back. He is The Shins and he’s back, familiar yet better in nearly every way.

If you’re a fan of The Shins you should be checking this album out, I have no doubt about that. If you don’t fall into that camp and you’re on the fence, then you could do a lot worse than checking out this brilliantly catchy Indie Pop record. Finally, it also benefits from excellent artwork courtesy of Jacob Escobedo who also worked on the Broken Bells artwork.

Track listing is as follows (complete with highlighted highlights).

  1. The Rifle’s Spiral
  2. Simple Song
  3. It’s Only Life
  4. Bait and Switch
  5. September
  6. No Way Down
  7. For a Fool
  8. Fall of ’82
  9. 40 Mark Strasse
  10. Port of Morrow