Future Classic casts a wide net of sounds, certainly. While we can say they’re purveyors of contemporary dance music, they seem to also get into Australia’s burgeoning synth pop / rock scene. This draws from a lot of different resources – shimmering electro-pop, gritty grungy roots, and that inevitable influence of the sun reflecting off the ocean. No music (or art, for that matter), exists outside its influences or environment, and Jarrah McCleary’s project, Panama, synthesizes the sea and sky into a digital backdrop. McCleary emerged from Darwin, Australia, moved to Perth and then then Sydney. Somehow he found himself starting Panama in Los Angeles. ‘Always’ is their second EP, recorded in San Francisco, a glimpse into their growing indie electronic career.
Comprised of three tracks and three remixes the EP could feel like a truncated examination or even incomplete. The title track, light, airy and breezy, will be the backdrop of so many summer make-outs and road trips. The lyrics betray someone being forced outside of their shell, “Deep down you said I’m a coward when it comes to love / Deep down your words changed my mold.” The second track, “How We Feel,” remains upbeat with that now-classic Australian indie house sound. “Destroyer” fits in the classic 80s synth pop update, moody and pulsating. The EP ends with 3 remixes, “Always” getting treatment by Classix and Wave Runner while “Destroyer” getting touched up by Cosmos. But for me? That remix by Classix is unreal, funkify-ing an already intoxicating rhythm. It’s my early favorite for the 2014 epic mixtapes (including my own) and that-song-you-want-to-give-your-lover. Panama may be a young project but it’s the product of adventure and travel, captivating like the road and the ephemeral moments on it.
It’s been four long years since electronic musician Caribou released a new album. Thankfully come October 7th he’ll be releasing Our Love, a 10 song affair which features the likes of Jessy Lanza and Owen Pallett. Yesterday he released the first single from the album “Can’t Do Without You” which fits the title of the album so appropriately. This track is a little more dance-y and sample heavy than what we heard on Swim, his last album, but it still feels distinctly Caribou. Really looking forward to this one.
Maybe it’s the fact that cultural imports only take seconds to receive, or that you don’t need to go through customs for digital transactions, but the amount of music coming out of Australia right now has been awe-inspiring. This to some extent has a lot to do with the record label Future Classics. Started in 2004 in New South Wales, this alternative disco/house/electronic label is most certainly responsible for the wide variety of sounds that make up the popular music of 2014. For the month of May I’ll be profiling some of the future classics of Future Classics, starting this week with Chet Faker’s LP, Built on Glass.
Ted Feighan, better known as Monster Rally, is an unstoppable musician and artist who’s creativity knows no end. Last month he released yet another EP titled Sunflower which I’ve been listening to a lot lately.
The Sunflower EP was inspired by an old vinyl audio travel guide to visiting Japan. Various physical spaces during inhabit each of the four tracks, intending to evoke wandering on the street, listening to musicians, having some drinks at a hidden jazz club, walking in a beautiful garden, and drifting into a blissful dream.
Can creativity change the world? Advertising agency DDB NY would like to think so, as demonstrated in their new campaign for the Smithsonian National Zoo, the Endangered Song. In an effort to spread awareness of the less than 400 Sumatran Tigers left in the world, the two teamed up with rock band Portugal. The Man to manufacture and record a song. Not just any ol’song, but one created to go extinct, unless digitally reproduced. It’s a wholly clever solution, reminding us of creativity’s importance and influence. I was afforded the opportunity to pick the brains of the two creatives behind it all to find out more. Continue reading
There are few musical acts who actually employ the human voice in a traditional way that I find enjoyable. That is an incredibly ridiculous statement, I am aware, but I’ve never found work in this style to be interesting. I’d rather hear synthetic sonic experiments or human distortions: that’s more fun. But some bands hit a sweet spot usually occupied somewhere between indie rock and drum machine tuning. It’s a spot that acts like Wild Nothing and DIIV and Dog Bite, these sun faded bands making music for dirty beaches. The newest addition to this entry of acts is Hibou, a Seattle act who easily can break into this new genre of post-surf rock quite easily.
Four Tet uploaded a brand new track less then a day ago called “Sext” and it’s damn good. There’s a sincerely hard, driving beat to this track which reminds me of late night driving, the street lights streaming by. He created this track under his alias Percussions, along with 3 other tracks which he’ll be releasing as a pair of 12″ EPs. You can listen to two of the other tracks “Ascii Bot” and “Blatant Water Cannon” below as well.
(Four Tet poster at top by Office vs. Office)
“Estara” originates from the Spanish word for “to be,” a future-tense, third person pronunciation of a persons immediate emotion, location, or status. Essentially, the tense and verb as the most indefinite form of a word about a quickly changing status. E s t a r a, as a record, comes in as a revelation in the current musical environment. Three years after the compilation Collections 01 and four years after his debut Ardour, Mtendere Mandowa, aka Teebs, has returned with a record that already has listeners from Highland Park to Highbury bobbing their heads. A producer and a painter, this record sends a defining sound of atmospherics, improvisation, and articulation of electronic music.
When it comes to streaming music I’m a devout Rdio user, specifically because of it’s clean, organized design. But now the originator of streaming music Spotify has released a fresh new design that almost feels like the dark, swarthy twin of Rdio.
The UI has been significantly cleaned up and simplified, though in my opinion it feels like it’s taken a lot of cues from Rdio, although still awkwardly it looks like a mash-up of iTunes and an old Windows application. Still, it’s too early to be hyper-critical of the effort. Clearly the design team there has been empowered to start making changes to the UI, and hopefully we’ll be seeing incremental changes rolling out from here.
If you need something mellow today take a listen to the brand new album from HTRK, a London based techno duo. The whole thing has a sexy, ambient, breathy vibe to it. If you dig music like Junior Boys or Rhye, you’ll probably be into this.
Of all the themes that run through Psychic 9-5 Club, love is the most central. The word is laced throughout the album in lyrics and titles—love as a distraction, loving yourself, loving others. Standish’s lyrics explore the complexities of sexuality and the body’s reaction to personal loss, though there’s room for wry humour—a constant through much of the best experimental Australian music of the past few decades.