Thursday, February 26, 2015

ON AN ON Release New Single "Drifting"

Back in early August, I wrote about ON AN ON lead singer Nate Eisland's beautiful solo ballad, "Drifting" - a moving, guitar-plucked piece that seemed to stop time for a few minutes. I remember hoping that a song that beautiful wouldn't be bound to only Soundcloud or fall on lost ears.

As it turns out, the frontman's stripped down version was only the first instalment of the song, which yesterday was released as the full band's new single. This new version is far more dynamic - starting slow and acoustic (like Eiesland's original) before swelling to this ethereal, percussive peak midway through.

Have a listen to the polished version below.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

One of the World's Best Voices: Listen to Susanne Sundfør's "Fade Away"

The first time I heard Norwegian artist Susanne Sundfør's piercing vocals - around the same time pop powerhouses Adele, Janelle Monae and Florence Welsh were beginning to take off - I remember expecting some kind of an industry uproar or revolution to follow. Sure, Sundfør's particular brand of experimental electro-pop might have been less airwave-friendly than her chart-topping competitors, but whether in studio or onstage, there was no denying that this woman's pure, glass-cutting vocal ability deserved mass acclaim outside of her native Norway, where she was a majorly rising superstar.

A few years later and several collaborations with fellow indie electronic artists M83 and Royksöpp under her belt, Sundfør is back with her sixth studio album (out last week, via Sonnet Sound). And, I'm left begging the question - how is it that one of the world's most exceptional vocalists (and artists) has made six albums, yet still manages to mostly fly under the North American radar?

Ten Love Songs, yet another commanding pop effort from Sundfør, is eclectic mix of haunting hymnals and grand pop gestures, such as the album's lead single, "Fade Away." No doubt poppier than some of her past singles, "Fade Away" is totally welcome in my books; an accessible, syrupy hit that rings as awesome on the first listen as it does on the eighteenth. 

Another great album, another great single, and hopefully this time, more light shone on the outstanding talent at hand.

(PS - Check out her performance at the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for more proof that she's the f**king bomb.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Best New Track: The Tallest Man on Earth's "Sagres"

If this new single doesn't make you want summer and everything that comes with it - bikes, patios, lakes, parks - I would be very surprised.

Released this morning, "Sagres" is easily the most robust production I've ever heard from Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson and his one-man project, The Tallest Man On Earth. His normally understated, wispy folk tales are genius, no less, but the lush instrumentation on this bigger, airy track is totally captivating. As always, the Dylan and Petty influences are palpable in his achy voice, but something about this sunny, soul searcher's anthem evokes memories of Tunnel of Love Springsteen, also.

You can listen to the beautiful ode below, and look out for it on Dark Bird Is Home, on May 12 (via Dead Oceans).

Friday, February 20, 2015

ODESZA - "All We Need" (Dawn Golden Remix)

It sure is cold out there today. Painfully cold. So, here's a little soul to start your weekend, courtesy of my favourite duo, the ODESZA boys, and their brand new collection titled "All We Need Remixes." That's right, eight different remixes of the same song, which is originally off their latest (amazing) release, In Return.

"All We Need (feat. Shy Girls)" is undoubtedly one of my favourite tracks off the album, and this notion was only further reassured when I was happily willing to sit through eight remixes of it, back-to-back.

Dawn Golden's take, however, is easily the runaway favourite (second place goes to Autograf's spin). Their mix maintains all of the song's best features, while blending in some of their dreamy digital accordion and gorgeous pulsing synth. The whole songs paints this sleepless city night picture that makes the sweet track even more irresistible. 

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Missy Elliott Remixes Jack Ü's "Take U There"

Who needs a little hump day, back from the long weekend, is it the weekend again yet, treat? This girl!

Thanks to my job, I dabble in literally every single genre, and obviously have a penchant for anything that sounds good. That goes for bad dance music, sugary pop, crooning emo artists - you name it. And, although the EDM genre and its recent glowstick revival can get on my nerves, talented DJs like Skrillex and Diplo have made quick work of revolutionizing the popular space to be cool and slightly edgy again - almost close to the way it was during the mid-to-late 90s dance era.

So, when the two teamed up to become Jack Ü, and started dropping big beats like those heard on "Take U There (feat. Kiesza)", I was pretty game. But, this morning, I became even more game when I learned that the club banger had become the foundation to some new Missy Elliott rhymes. Because, I love Missy, and although it's been almost a decade since she's made new music, I seem to clearly remember deep bass, crump-ready beats like these ones being her poison.

Needless to say, she kills this. Listen to the official remix below.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Wombats: "Emoticons"

Liverpool alt-rockers The Wombats are back with another ditty from their third album, Glitterbug, set for release on April 7th via Bright Antenna Records. 

Named after some of the best things around, “Emoticons” has the vim and vigour of a youthful anthem penned by The 1975, but the dynamite edge of their first two indie-rock albums. If this catchy single gets the ears it deserves, there’s a good chance it could end up blazing through the mainstream airwaves.

Monday, February 16, 2015

New Sufjan Stevens Single: "No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross"

Before the release of his forthcoming, highly anticipated new LP, famed folk veteran Sufjan Stevens has introduced the album's first single, "No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross."

Although darker, the gentle, plucking hymnal sounds characteristically Stevens in its hushed arrangement - the perfect downtempo ballad to rock you through your holiday Monday.

Carrie & Lowell is out March 31 in North America, via Asthmatic Kitty.

Friday, February 13, 2015

If You're Reading This It's Too Late: Drake Drops Surprise Album Overnight

If every tweet, headline and whisper you've heard today has alluded to Drake "pulling a Beyoncé" - that's because the famed Toronto rapper surprise dropped a 17-track mixtape overnight.

Earlier in the day, Drizzy also unexpectedly pushed a 15-minute short film, Jungle. At 11pm Thursday - typical OVO timing - the singer/rapper mysteriously tweeted an iTunes link and album cover for the new collection, titled If You're Reading This Its Too Late.

Drizzy is supposed to be dropping his new album, Views from the 6, later this summer. Seeing as this is a substantial release itself (both in volume and content , we're not sure whether that official album release will still going down on time, or at all.

Listen to "10 Bands" below.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

She's Back: Florence + The Machine Debuts "What Kind of Man"

Five years ago, when fiery voiced (and headed) Florence Welch thundered onto the scene with her band Florence + The Machine, it was quickly evident that this was one powerful songstress who had no intention of letting her flame dwindle.

Two Grammy-nominated albums later, and a much-needed regroup to conceptualize her next groundbreaking release, Welch + The Machine are back with their album, How Big How Blue How Beautiful, set to release on June 1 (via Island Records).

To quell the major public desire for more prior to the release, Welch released the outstanding video for the album's first official single, "What Kind of Man," today. While her distinctive, relentless vocals soar over the classic rock explosions, the theatrical video is a montage of scenes which accurately describe the tumultuous, sometimes romantic, sometimes volatile, nature of love.

Directed by Vincent Haycock and choreographed by Ryan Heffington, you can see the video and hear the first single below. Be prepared to have a little wind knocked out of you.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Best New Track: Milk & Bone's "Pressure"

Hailing from our very own Montréal, female two-piece Milk & Bone have tapped into that gorgeous flavour of mesmerizing electropop that leaves you with spine tingles.

With "Pressure," the ethereal (third ever) single from the pair, their pixie-like vocals slowly transport you into the ballad's all-consuming dream warp. Sounding a little Wet, a little Sylvan Esso and a little Rhye, the girls' harmonies are a tutorial on how to talk lust, as they coo, "You're like good water pressure in a cold, rainy summer...Is this your heartbeat or is it mine?"

Whether or not you celebrate the forthcoming Valentine's Day - this is the prettiest, and most unique, ballad you'll hear this week. Look out for their debut album, Little Mourning, on March 17.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Portico feat. Alt-J's Joe Newman: "101"

Despite the fact that Portico (Quartet) have been making music for over 10 years, you might not have heard the progressive London-based instrumental jazz group. Like so many of the instrumental greats, they're not headed for chart-topping territory anytime soon, but that doesn't take away from their longevity and experimental greatness.

In fact, if you listen to a lot of your favourite prog-rock bands, you'll likely hear a bit of Portico's influence in there. Take Alt-J, for instance - one of the quintessential art-rock groups of our time - whose music is always a fusion of beautiful instrument use and auditory risks. Their unique brand of unconformity is one of the reasons I wasn't surprised to hear that Alt-J's formidable frontman, Joe Newman, was featured on Portico's comeback single."101," off the trio's new album Living Fields, is a creative trip packed with gloomy Radiohead-sounding sonics and echoey beats, made even better by Newman's distinctive croon.

Both nominees of the esteemed Mercury Prize (Alt-J were winners), this hypnotic collaboration a match made in electronica heaven.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Catchy as Hell: Coleman Hell's "2 Heads"

I love many things about this song.

First, it's been putting a major sunny hop in my step this week as I power through the sludge that is Toronto. Second, this addictive new track is all thanks to Coleman Hell, a budding producer whose made his claim-to-fame from Toronto.

Being based here, maybe Coleman Hell knew what he was doing in releasing this beat-and-banjo-filled groove; maybe he knew he'd be giving the people what they need - a heat-infused earworm to get us through the next six weeks. Released on Tuesday, "2 Heads" is a catchy-as-hell mixed bowl of 70s disco, folk, pop and R&B that could easily climb to the top of the charts any minute now, or stay snug underground the chilly streets of the Big Smoke.

Either way, I guarantee that those who get their ears on this track won't be able to take it off repeat.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Robert Plant: "Rainbow"

Anyone who knows me well knows that, since childhood, I've had a raging obsession with Led Zeppelin. Like, sit in my bedroom and rank their best songs in my journal, kind of obsession. The legends were relentless in their bold 1970s rock 'n roll reshaping, and are mostly still powering forward in music - dabbling in other genres, collaborations and solo efforts that never fail to wow.

Take frontman Robert Plant's most recent album, lullaby and... The Ceasless Roar, and the album's first single "Rainbow." I had a pretty busy, new music-consumed fall and winter, and will admit that I'm only getting around to the album now. But, since I've been deep into this book, I've been even more motivated to scour every corner of the band members' discographies and listen intently.

"Rainbow" is perfection. Sounding every bit Plant in his effortlessly milky vocal performance, the dreamy, droning hymnal is anything but Zeppelin. The percussive mid-tempo track rides the gorgeous melody, and for a minute there, you'll forget you're listening to a reflective 66 year-old Plant, and not some shimmering new indie-rock effort. As always, he's magic.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sirens of Lesbos remake Kanye West's "Runaway"

On an otherwise miserable Monday, spent trudging through the blizzard and sniffling incessantly, a dreamy spin on a Kanye West classic is just what the doctor ordered.

Known for their summery spins, Sirens of Lesbo's shimmery remake of Kanye West's "Runaway" doesn't actually feature Yeezy at all. Maintaining the entire essence of the gorgeous confessional, the new age house crew took over, and slowed down, the soulful vocals - adding in some pulsing synth, drum machines and one wicked guitar solo to make for a starry-eyed dance ballad. Of course, as is the case with most songs - especially a song originally crooned by 'Ye - it does make me miss 'Ye's presence a little bit.

Have a listen to the pretty mix below.