Monday 30 December 2013


Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas! Actually, that's all over and done with now isn't it? I guess it is. But, if you were thinking in terms of the "12 Days of Christmas" then it's actually not over till 12 days after Christmas. I think we do it the other way round now. Christmas starts mid-November and finishes on Boxing Day, at least it does here in the UK. I kinda wish it did stick around for 12 days afterwards. Maybe it does. But anyway, we have New Year's Eve to look forward to now. But how are we going to look sexy in our spangly new outfits with the sudden weight that's come from the insane food gorging over the last few days? I don't know.

Anyway, I thought I'd post something today. Just because, well, it's been too long. It's been over a week since I posted something. It's felt like forever, though. So maybe I just miss it. You know what? I probably do. But I— eugh. Who cares! It's the New Year soon! So here is something pretty and reflective just for you that I hope will make you sit there and have a nice little introspective moment about 2013. It's by a Japanese guy called Tokoma Nonka who is part of the electronic group Leaseka, describing themselves as "dreamy / darkness / deep sea / cosmic / fantasy" – a lovely mix.

Now, I'm not sure if this song is supposed to be called 'Rainy Apartment' or '101102201202' – as it says on SoundCloud – but I'm gonna go for the former because, well, it sounds better. So if it's not the real name, I'm sorry.

Featuring as its eternal backdrop, the sound of an evening (I assume) downpour of rain, the song reflects the icy and sometimes isolating atmosphere of this sort of precipitation with all of its elements; yep, from the synth lead parts, which drip with glassy percussion and that also sound a little like the beautiful melody from Ryuichi Sakamoto's 'Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence', to the beat itself – whose snares are like pinging missiles of rain into deep plopping puddles – it's the very embodiment of an actual rainy apartment. Glowing sounds ache from one emanating note to another behind the plinking melody and distorted vocal samples mix with shuddering noises and ambient grumbles to form a decorative representation of the rain's distorted barrier to the outside world; everything is grey and piled with the grainy footage of rain.

It's a simplistic concept that has a lot of sounds at work at the same time, taking you off and away from where you're sitting to a cosmic, fantasy world where everything is seemingly the same yet slightly changed. I would actually love to listen to this whilst watching the rain – I think it would be the perfect soundtrack. There is also a remix of this by Tom Bombadil, which features heavier drums that you should check out as well.

Listen to Tokoma Nonka on SoundCloud
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Friday 20 December 2013


Whilst other music magazines, websites, blogs and whatever say farewell to you as they disappear into the mists of Christmas like fun-loving spirits of Christmasses present, past and future, I am tirelessly – well, actually completely and pretty much always tired – continuing the music-posting struggle. Christmas or no Christmas. However: please do not get the wrong idea and get it into your head that I am some sort of Scrooge who doesn't give a fig for tradition. Cause I a) really like/love Christmas, and b) Tradition is important. So there. I just happen to be able to write about music even as we inch towards the 25th of December without withering into a pool of why-should-I or where's-the-snow.

Anyway, that out of the way, I'd like you to embrace the latest guest mix that has been lovingly created for YES/NO. This one is the fifth in the current series (if there is another series— hmm, well I'll let you know) and it comes from Australian producer, DCUP, aka Duncan MacLennan. Mr MacLennan was kind enough to answer some questions for an interview earlier this week, and now he's contributed this lovely guest mix – what a guy! I'm also very envious of the probably-quite-warm Christmas he'll be having in Australia. Never experienced that; it would be interesting I gotta say.

His mix is an entirely smooth mix of warm house and funky disco that displays one of DCUP's most impassioned loves of music, "that 'hook' that everyone talks about. I'm obsessed with that piece of a song that you sing in the shower, or in your head." That's embellished by a "love of huge bass and beat," as pretty much every song in his mix displays, including his own track 'Magic', fun track – 'Imperfection' – from Welsh duo Bodhi, and the big tune of Amine Edge & DANCE's track 'Lost'. ENJOY/Merry Christmas.

01. Dave Hollister - Keep Lovin' You (Kartell Edit)
02. Den Ishu & Noah - Put Ur Hands
03. Amerie - 1 Thing (Cherokee Remix)
04. Only Children - Down Fever (DCUP edit)
05. DCUP - Magic
06. Samir Maslo - I'm In Love With You
06b. Warren G & Nate Dogg - Regulate (acapella)
07. O&A - Basement Beats
08. Bodhi - Imperfection
09. Andhim - Boy Boy Boy
10. TCTS - Do It Alright
11. FormatB - Magic Button
12. Amine Edge and Dance - Lost
13. Kartell - Minimum Move
14. Janet Jackson - Rock With You (Milo Mills Edition)

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Wednesday 18 December 2013


It's Jolly Mare! Hooray! I probably could've written about this guy a hundred times between now and the time that I last wrote about him, but I haven't, so— anyway, here he is again with a remix of Wrocław-based Polish musicmaker En2ak's bristling track 'Woodwork Misfits'.

Before I go any further, some of you may be thinking, "who the literal hell is Jolly Mare?" – well, that's kind of easy to answer. From Italy, his real name is Fabrizio Faberismi, and I've written about a couple of his songs before – namely 'Nobody Cares', a vaporwavey number, and 'Castlemare', sounding like the hardest videogame boss fight ever; he was also a participant in the Red Bull Music Academy. So too was En2ak – and that is how the two met. And so Jolly Mare ended up as one of the artists featured on 3 Remixed – a set of remixes of the songs from En2ak's 3, set for release on Christmas day (25th December lol) of all days, via Warsaw-based label U Know Me Records.

But what about the actual remix? En2ak's original – from his third album, simply titled 3 – is a bustling tin-pan assortment of percussion mixed with bubbling bass and phasing synths polka-dotted with tuned vocal samples, turning in its second half into a more menacing rumbler of a track, all with a distinct ghetto house feel to it.

Jolly Mare's version is nothing short of brilliant. Taking on the mind-bending dub sounds of reggae, this remix is a warm and synth-laden foray into a stress-melting atmosphere; bass bulges lazily alongside the raw drums and the glitchy lead synth sounds. Occasional samples from the original cut through the chilled blanket of noises in thin reverbing stabs. By the end of the track, you're so far engrossed in its bliss that it's almost as if you could be on holiday – soaking up the sun and feeling a single beat of sweat drip from your forehead. It also positively aches with an 80s sensuality, perhaps in the raw, almost primordial synth sounds that Jolly Mare chose to use in the track.

His remix, though different to original (which ain't a bad thing yo), is a sultry, head-bopping number that whisks us away from the cold gusts of wind that winter is currently throwing our way – at least in the UK anyway – and takes us to a fantasy island, where the beach is endless, and all the amenities you could ever desire are sitting right behind you, nestled under rows tall palm trees. It's the soundtrack to a sexy dub holiday, that's what.

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Well now. This is interesting. I didn't know who this guy was until I googled him – is that bad? Who cares. I just saw that somebody shared the video on Twitter and I watched it and was not only intrigued by the video itself but also, and of course otherwise I wouldn't be writing this, by the music. Anyway if you can't read what I'm probably going to say in a tweet about this post, nor the title of this post, then I suppose the right thing to do is to say this is Stromae with 'Tous Les Mêmes'.

Yeah, it's a Francophone song. Everything about it is in French. If that scares you, I'm sorry; if not, then that's good. But who is Stromae? Well, you may remember a pretty funky nocturnal dance number called 'Alors On Danse' from 2010 that was like, huge everywhere – that was his song. He's called Paul Van Haver and he's from Belgium and he writes and sings songs. What else do you want to know? Have a look at Wikipedia for that. All I know is that this video is a strange and entertaining display of a man, Stromae, seemingly living the best – or worst? – or both worlds with lashings of jaunty choreography.

As for this song, it's a swing-infused tune that features the smooth, slightly melancholic vocals of Stromae singing about men being "all the same" ("tous les mêmes") in essence. There's a Latin lilt to it, in the subtly moody chords of the piano and the sweaty brass sounds that give it a bolshy kind of cabaret atmosphere, a hint of fierceness in its syncopated rhythms and a whole dose of electro-funk slo-house feel, thanks to that nicely understated, overlapping-itself bassline and the lush beat with its unbeatable claps. Catchy and destined for dancefloors and radio play (probably) all over Europe, this is a classy song from a pretty unique musicmaker.

This, btw, comes from Stromae's most recent album, Racine Carrée (that's 'Square Root' in English).

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Tuesday 17 December 2013


How do you stumble across new music for thee? Let me count the ways... well there's Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify (namely under "similar artists" which are good because the similar artists bit on Spotify is actually quite bad, but it means that you can find really varied people), getting stuff sent to me, listening to the radio, and lastly there's people telling me about new stuff IRL via the mouth method of communication. Suffice to say, there's a few ways.

The way I found out about this new release was just a simple tweet from Spazzkid, an LA-based producer I've chatted quite a bit about now (if u don't know him check him out). It's easier than ever these days to unearth some really interesting sonic gems from all over the place, so if this clunky blog aids you in any way I'm honoured – it's really quite superfluous to the other discovery methods, plus blogs are like so 2 years ago.

Anyway. This is a little 3-track EP called Popteen, and it comes from a Japanese musicmaker known bizarrely as Tomggg – but maybe it's an acronym; his real name is Tatsuya Fujishiro and he is from Chiba. 'Popteen' is the first song from this release and it's a wonderful track. Moving through varying different sounds, it's a bustling tune that's driven along with the percussive bristles and attitudinal kicks and snares of a juke beat – something that is very popular in a lot of Japanese music I've heard recently. I could be wrong though, so don't take my word for it. About halfway through the tone changes, and to lounge-esque synth chords the volume cranks up and the song explodes, leading into its unintelligible, vocoder'd refrain. By the end, we're caught in a downpour of frenetic bleeps that soak you in energy, the kind that makes you think you can dance like a demon (even though you probably can't).

Into the more chilled atmosphere at the beginning of 'SO-EN', whose ghetto beat supports soothing chords that gradually surge forward and climax into a frantic collection of syncopated chord stabs. These themselves whisk you away into something that, yes, is juke, but just has a dirtier sound to it so we'll call it 'ghetto house' or 'footwork' (for variety's sake) – but for a moment it's just the beat, booming out. How he gets from here to the last third of the song is genius. It's an exercise in building tension, drenching the synth chords in ever-whooshing reverb, adding sounds until we're at the peak of the song, a chaos of candy-coloured clouds that then fades out...

There's barely a chance to breathe before 'ViVi' storms in, snares rolling right through your veins till it bursts into life. The vocal samples here are nothing short of virtuosic, played in devilishly quick succession, sharing the limelight with a decidedly swinging rhythm that makes you want to clap along with it. It makes me think of Golden Saucer in Final Fantasy VII, or the general vibe of Nintendoland – almost theatrical in its heart-stopping speed, in its cutesy imitation of classical scores, at all times showing that this is a song to think fun thoughts along to. It's crazy, really crazy, but I like it.

I have no other words. I feel exhausted after listening to that – but in a good way, like my brain has just been rolled through bars, dancefloors, casinos, videogame worlds and ideal summer days, still now with the concoction of toy-like glockenspiels, hard beats and engaging synth work echoing in my ears. Wowee. A cross between juke, videogame music and the jazzy, hyper-pop sounds of nu-Shibuya-kei, this is mad shit but I like it. If you're interested: the art, this really nice little gif right here, is by Kazami Suzuki. And if you are interested in owning the Popteen EP from Mr Tomggg, then you're in luck: it's been released on Japanese netlabel Maltine Records and you can download it for absolutely FREE.

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Check out Maltine Records


It's been a while since I wrote about Paris duo TOYS – the last time, in fact, was when they were kind enough to agree to an interview, back in June. Around the same time, TOYS shared a video for their new-at-the-time track, 'We Are' – an epic track with an equally epic, and strange, video that followed a strange guy who was seemingly able to bring people back from the dead. Before that, way before that, their song 'Noise' entered my ears and never left: it's still one of my favourites (and I urge you to check it out, too).

Just a little bit over a week ago, the duo were at it again – this time far from their native Paris. Filmed in New York City, their new video – for a song called 'Hey Boy' – showcases various yet connected subcultural pursuits of the city, namely: street art, skateboarding, basketball and breakdancing. All in glorious black and white, filmed up-close-and-personal to its participants, we have director Louis de Caunes to thank for this visual treat. For the music, however, we of course must look to TOYS themselves.

Beginning as a dreamlike trickle of haunting sounds, including a hugely glossy column of sub-bass surging its way through everything, the song soon gets an understated R&B-flavoured beat to drive it forward, complete with sandlike hi-hats and popping-gunshot snares. Vocal samples, from where I dunno, are rhythmically dropped into the song with increasing frequency as wide synth chords build up and up, joined by shots of sharpened electro buzz-bleeps. Everything becomes increasingly distorted by these all-engulfing synths, sounding like a white noise organ with a subverted atmosphere of urban consecration. With its laid-back yet intense atmosphere, 'Hey Boy' provides the perfect soundtrack to the city-based pastimes you see in its video, mirroring the frustrations and determination you can see on the faces of the video's protagonists. I want to hear and see more from these guys.

NB. The video, as nice as it is, has already racked up over 30,000 views in a week AND has been featured on Vimeo as one of their staff picks. Nice going!

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Am I being a bit Breton-heavy recently? If you think I am focusing on them too much, then I'm really sorry and I don't know how you'll ever forgive me. If you don't think I'm focusing on them too much, like if you've never read this damn blog before, then don't worry about what I'm saying. I was worried but now I literally don't care. I'm going to write about Breton again and again and again until I'm sick of writing about them and their music loses all meaning to me – now that's dedication, don't you think?

But recently London band Breton have been doing quite a few things so writing about them often is unavoidable, well, it is unavoidable if you happen to like Breton. And you'd be a cynical fool for not allowing yourself to like them. Cause they ARE good. But then again: is everything just an opinion? I'd like to think no – sometimes things just are the way they are, no matter what a certain amount of people think about it. But what am I saying? I'm sorry again. What I mean to say is: prior to the release of their upcoming album War Room Stories, out 3rd February next year, Breton have sneakily dropped an EP titled Force of Habit.

Officially released yesterday, Breton frontman Roman Rappak – who tackled a YES/NO interview the other week – describes the EP as a "16 minute introduction to our love of hiphop, films, guitar music and massive hooks." Including the wildly different but equally brilliant 'Envy' – a tropico-disco indie math medley – and synth-laden 'Got Well Soon', with its nocturnal heft, the EP leads you by the hand through a small but very cool museum of Breton's varied sound.

Minus the strong, hip-hop-inflected beat of 'Sticker Factory', complete with wonderfully industrial sounding cymbal taps, its orchestral arrangements – which come courtesy of a 44-piece orchestra called upon just for this occasion – could work perfectly just by themselves. It's a superbly rich and all-encompassing sound, growing from a street-level tune with a cool bassline and attitudinal vocals into a veritable symphony of drama, the strings soaring into a an emotional and indeed quite filmic climax. This is something that I'd imagine would take over your whole mind if you saw it live; a powerful atmospheric track, this one.

To finish things off, the wholly unorchestral-and-it-knows-it swagger of 'Plot Device' rings with atonal, buzzing synths and dread quakes of bass, all set to no-nonsense hip-hop drums. It is dramatic, not in the same way as 'Sticker Factory' of course, but it plays with the same dynamics that gangster rap employs in its brutal beats that ring with polished sheen. It's an ear-burster and it's glorious.

From indie dance and electropop, to orchestral rock and hip hop, this Force of Habit EP has it all; for a band to be so varied in their sound, and to accomplish these variations with undeniable finesse, is not only rare but wonderfully enjoyable and refreshing. Creativity is often about finding your own "voice" or sticking to a particular style – Breton here, I think, prove that you can "do" any style you want, enter any genre, so long as it is a genuine love of yours (otherwise people would notice that you're trying too hard), and if not add elements of it into your music, then completely embody that genre for the duration of an entire song. You're limited by your tastes and that's all.

I looked around but I don't actually know where you can get this from. Maybe it's just a streaming thing. Yeah it probably is. Unless you illegally obtain music from sites. In which case you're v naughty.

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Monday 16 December 2013



So just a little bit over a week ago I wrote about a music producer from Australia called DCUP – in particular his latest song 'Magic'; it is a sizzler of a track, filled with the atmosphere of a hundred prospective summers and Latin heat in all its samba-slash-disco glory.

It's not the first I'd heard of him though: a few months ago he put out a song called 'Don't Be Shy', something that tickles your nostalgia bone with its warm retro vibes. Released in the form of the Don't Be Shy EP – containing, amongst others, ace remixes by Wave Racer and Boys Get Hurt, it was a fab introduction to the peripheral tastes and music of DCUP.

Little did I know, and maybe you didn't either, but it was DCUP, along with fellow Australian band Yolanda Be Cool, behind 2010 hit 'We No Speak Americano'. Being a portion of the brains behind such an intensely catchy song so widely popular with people of pretty much all ages and cultures, Mr DCUP intrigued me so I sent over the Lazy Interview questions – he was kind enough to indulge me, and thereby you too, with some answers.

Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?
I'm Jim. I'm from Ohio. I'm a traffic engineer.
How weird would that be?

No really, I'm Duncan MacLennan aka Dcup. Born in Sydney, Australia and I'm a music producer, DJ, and tantric love-maker.

Why did you decide to start creating music?
Curiosity. I grew up with a Casio keyboard in my room. I think it was my brother's but I borrowed it one day and kept it. How different things could have been ;)

As a mid-teen, I listened to electronic music and wondered why I couldn't do that on my Casio. Then a friend mentioned a computer program called "fruity loops" and the rest is history.

How would you describe your sound? What makes you and your style stand out?
A few key things. I often have very strong musical elements in my tracks. I often have solid bass and rhythm. And I love to experiment and create my own sounds, so that gives me a unique aesthetic also.

Is there a perfect time and place for listening to your music?
I would say no. It's all good. Probably just don't listen to it before bed.

What inspires you most when writing a song?
Melody. That "hook" that everyone talks about. I'm obsessed with that piece of a song that you sing in the shower, or in your head. In writing, I'm always looking for that – then my love of huge bass and beat embellishes that.

What is your most memorable musical experience?
Probably the moment I made the little sax line on sampler for 'We No Speak Americano'. Simply because I've told the story so often.

What are your favourite three songs at the moment?
Fark, this changes every day.
It may surprise you, but I love techno and more electronic styles.

Top 3 this minute are:

TCTS - 'Do It Alright'

Format: B - 'Magic Button'

Claude Von Stroke - 'Lay It Down'

Who do you most admire in the music world?
Calvin Harris

In your opinion, what is the future of music?
Songs. Still just plain old songs.

What's the future of your music - what do you hope to do next?
As you may have guessed from my top 3, a very electronic project (still with songs).

What, aside from music, is most important to you?
People. The family and friends I have, the girl I love, the strangers on the street. It would all be worthless without them.

They say curiosity killed the cat, but if you are a human, curiosity almost always seems to be a good thing – especially in conjunction with creativity and all its trappings. It's crazy really, to think that something as seemingly small as growing up with a Casio keyboard in your bedroom would lead to you becoming a brilliant producer of music that people the world over are able to enjoy. Like DCUP said: how different things could've been indeed.

But as it stands, things aren't different and this guy has been able to share his love of making music, and in particular of spreading the joy of catchy melodies, with anyone who wants to listen. Being obsessed with the "piece of a song that you sing in the shower, or in your head" – as DCUP says he is (and as you can kind of tell from his Top 3 songs of the moment) – should mean that everything DCUP touches, in a musical sense please, springs to life with a memorable sheen that sits, or rather dances, in your head for a long time after that first listen. It's something that keeps you coming back to the same song and dosing yourself with the same pleasure that engulfed you when you first heard said song.

As such, I'll be looking forward to DCUP's latest project. The breed of music that he creates is currently one of my favourite sounds, warm and dripping with not euphoria, but rather definitive satisfaction of living and being alive in the "now" – and we all need that affirmation sometimes. But lastly, whatever way you approach it, or however you'd like it remembered or immortalised, a song is a song and that is why they're so strong, so set yet free, so familiar to us all.


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Hello. How are you? I've always been interested in writing about the music of mus.hiba; from Tokyo, they're just one person who makes electronic music. I think I first stumbled across them when I was having a mooch around over at Zoom Lens, collective and label part-masterminded by Meishi Smile – mus.hiba is a part of Zoom Lens, if you didn't know what I was getting at by that. In any case, I'm here now and I'm writing about them which is fine.

But the spotlight isn't entirely on mus.hiba; it's actually not an original track but a remix of a little something-something by Barcelona trackmaker Xavier Bonfill. In addition to having a really cool name, he also makes some pretty cool music: the song in question, '1000 cucs', is a quasi-bizarre, alternative pop affair, filled with crunchy saw-wave synths and catchy vocals that sing the refrain "mil cucs", which I learned is "a thousand worms" in Catalonian. An interesting song on its own, mus.hiba's remix soaks it in a dreamy atmosphere and hangs it out to dry in a world where each gentle breeze tastes of the fresh and vital land.

Dotting the track with a clacking beat whose cracking slaps of percussion, and fidgety kicks, summon up a juke feel, providing a rhythmic flow that underpins the rest of the song's sound like a colourful bridge. Delicate flute sounds play a plaintive tune before fizzing synth leads bust in above unintelligible vocal samples from Xavier's original. The drop a little less than halfway through is heralded by a twisting flourish of ghetto snares, and arrives in the form of wildly phasing synths – tireless waves of gushing electronic gales, washing through your brain as if your thoughts were mere mist for a minute. Then we fade out, followed by crystalline clusters of sharp synth – v pretty.

It's an unabashedly chillwave tune – chillwave may have disappeared, a kinda dead genre, but to make and label stuff under this title is not only wonderfully individual, in that it ignores the flow of the majority, but it is also warming to see that people make what they wanna make. Who gives a sheisse if chillwave is so two years ago? Anyway, this song comes from the second remix EP, IX​=​? B (Made in Japan), that has followed Xavier Bonfill's release of last year, 9=0, and you can listen to & purchase both on XB's Bandcamp.

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Thursday 12 December 2013


Ooo well this arrived a lot sooner than I thought it would. Yes! It is a new video from Breton for their really really nice song 'Envy'. I wrote about this song almost a month ago... wow, has it really been that long? Well, time most certainly does fly – whether you're having fun or not.

Premiered on Nylon just a while ago, video features what all bands should be pretty good at: playing live (which is, apparently, a first for any Breton video). Although it's not a live recording of the actual song, it's cool to see that Breton seem to be playing their hearts out. Yep, it's a high-energy performance that perfectly reflects the passion that clearly goes into all of their tracks, especially this one – the yelped vocals, the battering of the drums, the joyfully in-sync melodies.

But it's not just a live performance. Being versed in filmmaking themselves, Breton have included a little character study by personifying the often destructive nature of the very feeling of envy itself. Frontman Mr Roman Rappak had this to say about it: "Envy of other people and the desire to have a life you have been promised is sometimes the most destructive thing in the world." I hear that!

PS. Breton have a pre-album EP, Force of Habit, out on 16th December.

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Hello how is it all going? Well I hope. Now that we've done away with the pleasantries, let's get down to business shall we? The nitty-gritty. The crunch. Whatever you call it: let's do it. And by that I mean, I'm about to start writing about some music that I have found so hold onto your hats, tuck your shirts in, finish the food that's already on your plate and do everything else you need to do in order to read words with your eyes. You ok? No, neither am I.

So, what do we have here? We have Summer Twins – oh! That rings a bell. Yes it does because I wrote about Summer Twins at the beginning of Summer. I wrote about two of their songs, 'I'm No Good' & 'Forget Me' – they're a duo (twins actually) who specialise in creating retro-Americana sounds, full of surf-rock twang and doo-wop 60s prom night romance. It's nice, generally gentle stuff. But here marks a change: enter Rollergirl. Yes, Rollergirl. He – or at least I think it's a he (???) – has remixed Summer Twins' beach-friendly tune 'Forget Me' and it sounds pretty much very different from the original I'd say.

Preserving the twinkling melody of the original, the remix instantly puffs out its chest in bold and ballsy fashion – this is pretty much indie dance at its dirtiest and fuzziest. The bass flaps like a loose telegraph wire powered by people's dancing feet as a thumping kick and crashing hi-hat create an uptempo disco groove. By the end of the song, the sound is a veritable explosion of gloriously live-sounding instruments, everything half-distorted and super-powered with the sound of someone basically "going for it" on the drums and everything else, punching out the sound with glorious gusto.

The vocals are like the only part of this song that's kept wholly intact. At first it was kind of strange hearing the soft tones of the Chelsea and Justine Brown – the "twin" parts of Summer Twins – but then it allowed the remix to remain true to the California sun-pop vibe of the original, whilst still being able to turn up the roughness on the other elements to the track.

Rollergirl's self-titled debut album is out and has been out for a month courtesy of Nah Collective. And you can also download it from Rollergirl's Bandcamp (below).

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Wednesday 11 December 2013


Why hello! Yes, it's another guest mix. How happy I am! How happy are we all! Rejoicing resounding. Don't you think? Well, every guest mix is – despite perhaps being filled with songs that you may have heard before – a piece of new music, essentially. It's like shuffling a deck of cards: there are infinite, or almost infinite, combinations, as well as different personal touches that each artist adds to a mix. Everything is always different.

This latest one, the fourth that has been lovingly crafted for YES/NO, comes from Brighton producer and DJ, Eone. I stumbled across his dark and subtle breed of techno-glinting house around this time last year, namely in the form of his atmospheric track 'Monochromatic World', subsequently writing about a song from his EP Dispersion called 'Airport Lounge' – my favourite from the release.

First inspired to create music by stealing his brother's Roni Size and Goldie records, Eone – DJ/producer/music teacher and fair-weather skateboarder, Simon Mitchell – went on to be awestruck by his first trip to Fabric, explaining: "[I] just fell in love with the scene. I'd been DJing for a few years and I always knew I'd want to make tracks so when another good friend of mine, Mark Allen (Karm:A Brighton's best guitarist!) installed a copy of Reason on my old PC, I was hooked." And it was as simple as that.

In this mix, he aims to conjure the sights and sounds of his hometown by using various Brighton-related tracks. From the illuminating and tongue-in-cheek diatribe on its somewhat seedy nightlife from Oxfordshire rapper Dr Syntax to the fresh-sounding house and rich electronica of fellow Brighton-dwellers Lorca and Eagles For Hands, the mix moves from UK hip hop through to garage-tinged house at the end, showing a varied scene down in this south coast city. "Brighton has a lot of talent and always has done," Eone told me. "The scene down here is very positive and community-structured and that shows." He also contributes to this scene, along with a group of friends, via the BN1 podcast – a show that aims to showcase and support musical talent in Sussex.

But enough chat! Enjoy the mix! Thank you Mr Eone!

01. Cloud 9 - Hangover Cure
02. Frankie Stew & Harvey Gunn - Solid Air Ft. Ceezlin
03. Dr Syntax - Seaside Postcard
04. Written In Waters - Ligeia (MitchWadeCole Bootleg)
05. Eone - Untitled
06. Eagles For Hands - Peaches
07. Murder He Wrote - One Night
08. Lorca - Moments
09. Joonipah - Yellow & Red
10. Tweet - Opps (Jacques Lorenz Remix)

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Monday 9 December 2013


Back in September I wrote about a release from a man called Anders Obel, aka Tape Transport, from Norway. The release was Panoply and it was dripping with retro dancefloor appeal, ambient atmospheres and glitchy ornamentation. That came from an email he sent me, so I do really appreciate getting emails (I might take ages to reply but I DO TRY to reply to everyone). This song right here right now also came from something TT sent me. Rather than an original, however, it's a remix, which is fine. I love a remix. I've gotten very into remixes over the time I have been living and breathing; from not understanding them at all whilst I was an adolescent, scorning and avoiding them in late teen years, and now accepting them as legitimate pieces of music in themselves, my view on remixes has changed a lot. It's a good idea to change your mind often. Sticking with one thing, well, it's gonna get a bit stale innit.

Anyway this remix is of a track by a guy called Low Tee, a producer from NYC and someone who I've seen round and about on Twitter but I've never really checked his music out. It took this remix to make me check it out. Tape Transport's version of 'Hey You (And Forever)' is a far cry from Low Tee's original – a blissful house number dominated with percussive organ caresses and flute synth – but that's a good thing. As long as the result is good, does it matter how far or near a remix lies to the original? Not particularly.

Beginning with a super-slowed-down sample from the original, which is then pushed into the stratosphere in terms of tempo, before being scratched and flipped on its head, the track sheds the house rhythm of the original, but doesn't leave behind the dancefloor completely. Collections of synth chords in zippy syncopation give a lovely electronic house appeal, creating the atmosphere of a nocturnal pre-night mood-upper with the heavy heft of a hip hop beat. Skittering hi-hats – which go mental towards the end – smatter the track with frenetic energy-driving vibes whilst smoke machine synths create lo-fi ambience across the board.

It's a smart, urbane track that whilst retaining the sheen of newness, contains somewhere within a leftfield appeal with its jungle of noises, tiny and almost undiscernible vocal samples abound in the fabric of the song, as well as those white-noise-aping synth chords. Arriving at the tale-end of this year's set of warm days for the Northern Hemisphere, Tape Transport's remix of Low Tee's 'Hey You (And Forever)' lights a little fire in your heart and tells you that it's still ok to go outside and party, despite the weather.

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Here you are and here I am and here we go again. Some musics for ya. Musique. Um... so here—oh I've done that. So anyway. Some new thing from a person who started following me on Twitter. Yep because sometimes it doesn't take the formalities of sending someone an email saying, "Dear Sir, here is a music submission..." – not at all. In this modern age, no interaction goes unnoticed, many avenues of communication open up and send information and appreciation both ways and everything is very easy these days. The internet retains its Wild-West-feel, its feudal connotations in clans, cliques and collectives, and you naturally meet travellers on similar journeys to yourself, chat, discover things. It's maybe been said 9,999 times or more but I've said it again: the internet really does connect us. Call it obvious or whatever but it IS true. Or at least, I think it is.

After all that, I'd like to introduce Tropes. I don't know anything about this person other than they are from the US. Following in the same vein as the vaporwavers who sample whatever the hell music want to sample and to whatever degree they please, Tropes lifts hard-edged rap from its original environment and puts it in new, lush encasings – the musical equivalent of taking animals from the wild and placing them in a nice zoo. Except the zoos in which Tropes exhibits the music he likes are synthetic sample-heavy skate-hop environments with fresh canopies comprised of the gleaming sounds of yesteryear. As he does in 'Hollows'.

This one is essentially an edit/remix of Clipse's 'Cot' Damn', featuring Ab-Liva and Pharrell. I didn't mention the other guy it features, Roscoe P. Coldchain, cause Tropes cut the song short after Pusha T's verse. Whether that means anything or not I don't know, but what is for sure is that Tropes certainly has an ear for what sounds good underneath these insatiable flows. The beat skiffles along like a thin ghost of boom-bap whilst reverbing muffled bell sounds chime like old memories in the air. A supreme head-nodder, Tropes treats the raps with lashings of echo and subtle sidechaining that gives it a real laid-back appeal, as if the track is moving slower than your ears want it to – yet it sounds so good.

So good. Such fresh. Like a cloud of sunny nostalgia, harps playing as you hark back to summers whisked with hip-hop and endless blissful days just hanging around. It's a new take on old stuff, an expression of the music that Tropes likes, like a collage – if you come across a song you love so much that it's almost as if you wished you'd made it, what can you do but make a contribution to it, create an homage to what you love?

PS. This guy has made so many tracks like this, I just happened to like this one. You should definitely check out his Bandcamp – endless tracks on offer there.

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← #19: BRETON #21: DCUP →

I didn't find or didn't try to find a suitable image for this particular little piece, so I made one. What it is, as you can see, is the word Superfood, in stylised font of course, repeated six times. It's a good thing that who I'm writing about is actually a band called Superfood, and not a band that has a completely different name. Did my research, you see.

However, in all seriousness, I'm here to talk about a band. It is a band from the Midlands – Birmingham, specifically – called Superfood. I've said that already, but saying it again makes you think of the name a little more. Remember it. Savour it. Let it flash in your mind like a gently alluring neon sign. Because that's what it should be doing. And if it isn't, and you haven't heard their music, then their music should have the same effect on you. Why? Cause it's real good, that's why.

First encountering the band at the start of summer in the form of a self-titled demo, I basically got addicted to their sound there and then. Moving onto another demo called 'TV', whose lyrical content included such things close to my heart as being unable to sleep unless the TV was on quietly in the background, they've since picked up the pace with a video for their latest tune 'Melting'. And just yesterday, they released a 12" of two songs: Bubbles/Meltingget that HERE.

But what they sound like? A kind of revitalisation of Britpop, quirky guitar melodies played slapdash-style in a kind of Anglo-Weezer sound with all the beautifully mundane lyrics and laid-back style that has given and still gives British music its sense of cool. Kind of like that. Or to sum all that up in two words: "college rock"... In other news, the band's frontman – Dom Ganderton – was kind enough to lend his time and brain to this latest edition of the Lazy Interview.

Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?
My name is Dom, I am from the beautiful Midlands and I play guitar and sing in Superfood.

Why did you decide to start creating music?
I don't think there was ever a conscious decision to get into music initially, it was just after I had some cello lessons at primary school that I kind of drifted onto guitar and carried on until now. The reason me and Ryan started Superfood however was because we had both had a few years out of playing in bands and only having a computer to jam with became quite stale. We both kind of realised how much writing songs and singing them meant to us and how it kind of emptied a tank in our heads that would otherwise just overflow and send us bonkers. I'm really happy that I'm not completely bonkers yet.

How would you describe your sound? What makes you and your style stand out?
This is always such a tricky question as I feel that we're really not going to know exactly who we are as a band till after we've had a little more time together and got an album down and stuff. It's pretty songwriting with big beats that's a little rough around the edges.

Is there a perfect time and place for listening to your music?
Right now the best place to listen to our songs is in a 200 cap club while we are on stage playing but we want to bring it to the bedroom dancers and pre-lash legends.

What inspires you most when writing a song?
I think what's inspired our songs so far are the two years we took out of being in bands dancing in nightclubs, trying to pay rent and attempting to go to university. But inspiration musically can come from anything. We wrote a song using this old harp my sister made in school years ago.

What is your most memorable musical experience?
So far it has to be this *moment* I had half way through out UK tour with Peace, I can't remember where we were but we were halfway through our set and there was like 5 or 6 seconds where I was like fuck we're actually pulling this off... Kudos.

What are your favourite three songs at the moment?
The Turtles - I'm Chief Kamanawanalea (We're the Royal Macadamia Nuts)
Isley Brothers - Love The One You're With
The Cardigans - Been It

Who do you most admire in the music world?
Jeff Lynne

In your opinion, what is the future of music?
I reckon the future of music is for people to realise that you don't have to be futuristic and use machines to make music evolve. I think people need to get back to the fact that music requires real instruments played by humans. Computers are great tools but people shouldn't rely on them as a main component of their sound.

What's the future of your music - what do you hope to do next?
We're going into record our album in the new year and hopefully we're going tour Scotland a lot fingers crossed.

What, aside from music, is most important to you?

Due to the luxuries of censorship, I'm unable to tell you the answer to that last question. Sorry. But I can tell you that along with sounding like a perfectly down-to-earth chap with honest intentions with regards to music, feeling impulsed to write, sing and play, Dom also has a good sense of humour. A sense of humour is key. Taking oneself too seriously leads to being unable to take a joke, and stuff like going completely crazy on Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

But with that little apologetic and revelatory blip outta the way, to wrap up, it seems that Superfood, at least with Dom involved (cause I don't know what the rest of the band – Carl Griffin (drums), Emily Baker (bass), Ryan Malcolm (guitars) – think), are onto a winner. Songs that spill naturally from people's minds, the work of wordless, intangible inspiration, are often quite good songs; it's been true so far. Gloriously stepping into the future without relying on typical tropes of "futuristic" music, Superfood fill a void in Britain's musical landscape that eschews effects and electronic instruments in favour of "real instruments played by humans". Of course, they haven't been around for long, so what the future holds: who knows?

However, without wanting to sound too dramatic, these guys manage to create music that is not too dominated by throwbacks to past eras, not trusting computers for palatable and zeitgeistical gimmicks – music that sounds like it's from exactly when and where it's from, played honestly and without pretence. GET TO KNOW.

← #19: BRETON #21: DCUP →

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Something for you from Spain (or Catalonia, depends on your view), or more specifically, Barcelona. It arrives in the form of a new project from duo RCA Flacos (a union between DJ/producers Jai el Flaco and RCA Victor, named after the blues, jazz & world music label of the same name) – a brand new, project in fact, named Fast Boo. Whether or not it references a particularly zippy ghost from Mario, they released their very latest, newest and only single last month in the form of 'Times Square'.

A medley of instruments and vocals – with the voices of B. Gina, Crizz Vazz & Rico Smith, Quim Muns on bass and Roger Martínez providing saxophone – the track was ultimately conceived by Fast Boo. It's a futuristic track that plays with the current intergalactic style of R&B floating around now, the kind of thing that sheds its shackles to the Earth and soars out into space with a pair of shutter shades and all the surgical sheen of a neat, catwalk-born astronaut. The deep bass kicks, sometimes accompanied by a gently distorted slice of bass, underpin a phasing set of synth chords that glisten in waves of climactic vibration.

With this, the vocals follow the same melody as the saxophone in a slow pattern that exudes the wonderment of witnessing some landscape for the first time, or recalling the slow nostalgia of such a memory, as is the case here (I assume) with regards to the bustling lightshow of Times Square. Altered sometimes into vocoder spaceman style wordings, the vocals add a human element to the track that keeps it, whilst in space, at least in orbit around our little planet. It's a sumptuous song that drips modernity, alongside small snippets of memory in the form of 80s snare-drum smashes, with a sensual groove that has you swaying in swirls of indefinable bliss.

If this is the first thing that Fast Boo are offering to the world – a post-R&B, slo-swing pop number – we probably have many more treats in store from these guys as time goes on.

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It's always a really fun thing to experience a new song from Aristophanes貍貓. She's a rapper from Taiwan who is also a teacher (mainly helping to write children write stories, as I found out when I interviewed her) – the subjects she talks about in her raps range from the politics of Taiwan and the prospective lives of unborn children, to her own versions of Chinese folk tales; her voice is elastic, shaped and pulled by its master to express feelings and passions in each rap very effectively.

But what's also exciting about Aristophanes is how she presents her work: each song is a collaboration with an awesome producer. There's Lidly's blissful beats, the harsh electro of Sonic Deadhorse, canooooopy's experimentalism and Petechan's traditional boom-bap breed of hip hop, and the chill of Luviia (who recently provided a guest mix for YES/NO), to name a few. It's a varied bunch of beatsmiths and trackmakers who help to augment Aristophanes' intense flow sharp, interesting soundscapes.

And it's happened again. She's collaborated with Nagoya-based trackmaker, DJ and painter, 食品まつり aka Foodman (the Japanese, 'shokuhin matsuri', means 'Food Festival') to produce the wildly experimental track '核' – which in Chinese ('Hé') means 'Nucleus' or 'Nuclear' or 'Stone' (just 'Nucleus' – 'Kaku' – in Japanese). Prepare your ears.

I've been meaning, or rather waiting, to write about Foodman for a while, having kept my eyes and ears on his SoundCloud since I stumbled across it a few months ago; right now, it seems a good a time as ever to feature his surreal, noisy music. Screaming into life, his latest work with Aristophanes features endlessly distorted samples, placed in simple melodic patterns that sound like electric guitar riffs put through an industrial blender with a ZX Spectrum. The almost indistinct beat carries with it a juke rhythm punctuated by booming heart-thuds of kick drum, your mind picking out the typical syncopation carried in the genre amidst the atonal white noise screeches and permitting your head to nod a little. It's juicily grating.

The perfect partner for Foodman's fractured sounds, Aristophanes' rap is typically frenetic, marked by burning intakes of breath and the spitting out of sharp syllables in a harsh yet near-lethargic, sometimes sensual whispering. Her flow is vital and colourful, the perfect match for her words which are unique in that they discuss subject matter not typically discussed in rap. Through quantum mechanics and metaphysics she poses existential questions and statements: "Can you get closer to the truth after burning your imagination?" – "You need gods, so you create them" – "penetrate the line between life and death by your thoughts." Thankfully there is a translation of her Mandarin rhymes, and what becomes evident is Aristophanes' eminence as a cerebral, poetic rapper whose lyrics aim to provoke as much thought and cause as much alarm as other rappers do; but being an individual person, she does it her way.

Read through those lyrics by clicking round about here.

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Friday 6 December 2013


Last time I chatted about anything to do with Austra it was in relation to the new video for their hauntingly dark electropop song 'Forgive Me' – a dirty, modern-day fairytale of absolution. This time around though, it's not just Canadian band Austra standing centre stage – nope, their song 'Painful Like' has been given a hard-edged, club-infiltrating rework by London musicmaker xxxy, or perhaps it's XXXY or even Xxxy. Whatever. In any case, he's done the remix and it's a good one.

Strangely I haven't heard much from xxxy since, well, since I last wrote about his song 'Taking Me Higher' in April this year. I first got onto xxxy though thanks to Spotify – so all the people who say Spotify is good-for-nothing, or evil, or whatever, can just quell their crazed, hype-fuelled anger. Cause Spotify can be a good way to discover artists you've never heard of. Like xxxy for me like two years ago. His song 'Ordinary Things', and other garage-tinged jams like it, hit a very grateful nerve in my body and my spirit and they're often in my memory.

This is like... 3 months old, but I'm sure there are still people who haven't heard it. Like me. Whoops. Haha. Lol. Are you ok with this?

In any case, xxxy's remix of Austra's 'Painful Like' – originally a Kraftwerk-flavoured foray into four-on-the-floor electropop – is not garage but more like electro-disco. It keeps the original's mid-bass melody but gives it some distorted bite, adding raw disco hi-hats and dollops of synth – in the form of dynamic-forming swirls of sound or ambient mist-like swathes that keep up the atmosphere. As the track progresses, the bassline becomes more and more inflected with shining treble; all the while, the voice of Katie Stelmanis (singer of Austra), is treated with respect, weaving through the song soaked with reverb, allowed to breathe on its own.

It's in the second half of the song where things start getting busy. Flute synth leads soar over the top of everything for a dark, voidsome melody and waves of sound begin rising up towards the end, all elements coming together for a perfect finale to a remix that pays homage to the original song, adding to it what he feels – I assume – needs adding for his more dance-oriented version.

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I wouldn't have expected anything less from The Orwells to be honest with you. The last video I saw from them, for 'Who Needs You' – as epic and show-tastic as it was – does not really compare to this one. This, the video for 'Dirty Sheets' – the band's latest song, which seems to be catching the most attention out of all of them yet – is as apt for the song as butter is for toast. It just GOES. In fact, it goes off. Just like a lot of clothes slipping from a woman's body...

Whilst I'm being half-perverted here, I am half-only using what the video has shown me. Yes. It's a striptease. But a striptease shot in the gloriously drab colours and quality of yesteryear, giving this a real 70s-home-video aesthetic, with the girl having a real raven-haired lithe pin-up appeal about her. And, with The Orwells summoning the ghosts of punks past – The Misfits, The Ramones, etc. – in their music, especially in this glam-fi rockabilly scorcher of a song that documents the blossoming of grotty and tongue-in-cheek punk romance, it makes sense that the video should be just as old-school, just as punk, and just as tongue-in-cheek (the way the nipples are covered by those funny little love-hearts at the end, for instance).

There may be people out there who'd brand this with a NSFW tag but I'd just say DO watch it at work. BE PUNK. DON'T do that report. FORGET to go in on Monday. TITILLATE yourself at work. Also: how much does the girl in the video look like Katy Perry? IS it Katy Perry? I wonder. Probably not. Anyway, it was directed by Eddie O'Keefe, an auteur whose claim to fame – aside from arranging this lovely video, amongst others – is that he "gave Bill Murray a beer at a celebrity golf outing when he was six years old." Kudos.

In other news: you can grab The Orwells' Other Voices EP, released earlier this year, by clicking round about here.

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This is sounding so very sublime this morning. It's pretty cold outside, well, it's cold, like 1°C outside, but the sun is bright, coming in through the windows, hitting its edges and making long angles of light on the walls. For some reason, a nice fresh slice of rap goes with this kind of morning just as perfectly as next-to-frozen apple juice and a bowl of your favourite cereal. Ya it's a beautiful sleepy morning and this song 'HypeBeast' matches up just perfectly.

But who has made this lovely tune? It comes from 20-year-old Los Angeles-based rapper Toni Willz and producer AbJo, purveyor of smooth sounds and fine beats. Put these two elements together and you get something pretty magical – it's an exercise in a chilled out, horizontal vibe augmented with a few hits of nostalgic skate-rap's easy-peasy no-sweat attitude. I urge you to treat your ears to this right now.

With laid-back liquid precision, the sounds of the track flow out in a head-nodding medley of boom-bap flavoured drums combined with shiftling glitch-induced percussion and unrecognisable snippet samples that ripple in slow-motion kickflip aesthetic, backed up by subtle, glassy bass. It's wholly fresh yet summons the spirit of the ever-present endless summer – the kind of thing that oozes effortlessly out of sunny places like California. Field recorded conversations about being a "hypebeast" raise up like a kind of cultural backdrop for the song, and it certainly works in placing the song, i.e. giving it even more of a sense of coming from a place in space and time.

Toni Willz exhales his bars with nonchalant confidence, sticking with a po-faced low-register tone that flutters just around the same note for the whole song – exudes a certain swagger. His words defame "hypebeasts", presumably rappers completely wrapped up in hype and celebrity, citing himself as a contrast as someone who just lives their life and raps. For instance "All these new waves form like the ocean / No more one hit wonders, we need true devotion" – "In just reality you learn a life-lesson: true rappers live, hypebeasts go to heaven." The point is made with his "new Nirvana flow" making religious metaphors throughout, ultimately coming across with untouchable poetic lilt as someone who will continue to rap with consistent ear-pleasing quality.

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Thursday 5 December 2013


Wow I haven't heard a new song from these guys in ages. Well, actually, this song isn't that new really – in fact it's like a year old. It's just that very recently it's received a video treatment, which does serve to update a song. And it's come at a good time, well, perhaps me writing about it right now has come at a good time since the video's been out a while – The fin.'s debut EP Glowing Red On The Shore, which also includes the song of theirs I wrote about back in May, 'Misty Forest' , and which is out tomorrow (6th December).

The fin. is a Japanese band from I'm not sure whereabouts in Japan. But where they're from doesn't particularly matter: they're good, they sound good, and that's kind of all that matters really. Yep, it's better to be meritocratic about these things rather than operate on a geographical bias. In any case, let's talk about the video. It's a trip around London on a double-decker bus and also a trip into the English countryside, shot to create the illusion of seeming much older than it is – and it works really nicely, having a retro sound themselves, the retro look to the video is the perfect companion to their song, 'Faded Light'.

Moving between the driving stadium-rock-esque sweeps of supremely delayed and reverb guitar first blasted out in the song's intro, and the relatively sparse, indie-summoning verses – where the raw, simple drumbeat joins hands with the basic plucked lines of the bass – 'Faded Light' is an homage to the music of yesteryear. The vocals, coming from The fin.'s singer and songwriter frontman Yuto Uchino, are thin and soaked in a wonderful echo, adding subtle touches of nostalgic emotion to the song in rich layers.

Overall, it's an epic-sounding slice of indie that sounds like nothing else at the moment, nothing that I've heard anyway. It's this mix of old and new with influences from all over the place: vocals that conjure a kind of MGMT-slant on singing and guitar sounds that clang and thrum in ecstatic U2-like handraising numbers. But rather than clashing, its different elements blend into each other like only the sweetest of memories can do.

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I always feel a little bit bad to share a video for a song that I wrote about like last week or something, but then again maybe I'm just afraid because of the way the larger music sites do it. You know, a couple of sentences below the video – a veritable cop-out. You understand that right? I hope you understand that. But enough of this and that. Time to talk about Superfood.

I really like Superfood. I'd even go as far to say that I love them. Theirs is one of the freshest sounds I've heard around recently and they do it all without using computers — yep, that's right, it's band music. Remember when everyone was like "omg the band is dead" or when the BBC said bands are unfashionable nowadays? I remember too. In fact, it's still going on. It stands as a testament to the prevalence of electronic music in the charts, and nothing more. Bands are alive and well. Birmingham four-piece Superfood is a very good example of one of those living, breathing bands.

This video above is for their latest song 'Melting'. Taking cues from artfully crafted college rock, à la early-years Blur or an Anglo-Weezer, the song is gloriously English: the vocals, the catchiness, the rough-around-the-edges quasi-punk aesthetic. It's all there and it's wonderful. I wrote about it in more detail the other day, but as far as the video goes, it's a stylistically drab and grainy playground of four different perspectives, following the band as they play through the song: fun stuff. There is a timeless appeal to it; something that has worked before, works now, and will continue to work in the future.

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Wednesday 4 December 2013


Wahoo! Here it is. Yes. Ever since I first encountered the music of Houston rapper Cory Jreamz well over a year ago, he's been on a constant curve of improvement; coming across as a guy who not only seems intent on conquering the world, but also as someone whose future efforts must surpass those that came before, it's no surprise that he gets better and better. His latest EP, Invictus ("unconquerable" or "undefeated" in Latin), released a couple of days ago, is his third to date and follows on from last year's Vague Current Vivid Fated, an angst-ridden quartet of songs from the mind of 18-year-old Cory Jreamz. One year and four months later, and one year older, CJ has developed his sound and his style and come up with something very striking indeed.

From the first ultra-distorted, unearthly sounds of 'Pressure' you know you're in for an intense ride. The very first lines introduce the Cory's uncontainable emotion, littered with varied name-drops: "Teen anger's all in my heart / Sylvia Plath all in my veins / I ain't takin' shit like Rosa Parks" and "Play this piece in the Pantheon / I'll play it all in Versailles too / Write a script with Hitchcock / Then show my cock to Lucy Liu" particularly. Grinding saw-waves rise like razor waves from a steel sea, framing a dizzying slew of references – both pop culture and high culture – from Cory Jreamz throughout the song: Napoleon, Thomas Edison, Genghis Khan, to name just a few. He roars the song's refrain – "They should've played this shit up in the movie Casablanca, and have a black man rapping while they fight Nazis" – draping a fierceness across the rumbling beat of the track that he has absolutely no qualms about displaying. He doesn't ooze confident, he burns with it.

At the end of 'Pressure' he brashly raps "I'm the black black black black black Marlon Brando" – clearly unafraid to make a point of his race, something which is still very much an issue in the US. Speaking of Marlon Brando, Cory must be a fan because he references the actor in 'Alive' as well, a song with a more chilled beat, dripping with strings and samples yet still retaining Cory's love for dark atmospheres. This track comes with a new extension, known now as 'Alive/NYC', the 'NYC' part comprised of a track he dropped earlier this year, 'Driving To New York AT 4AM'. It's a wholly nightmarish and menacing closer to the EP, in which he implores, "let my family know that I'm gone with the wind" and spits vitriolic and ironic desire for model wives and fast cars in the nocuturnally alone atmosphere.

As you can tell by now, Cory Jreamz is full of inspiration and influences, from films and pop culture to literature and historical figures. I love them; they're really entertaining, I find myself listening intently to hear who is gonna find themselves mentioned in a rap. The grime-flavoured 'Nina' is packed full of references and irony, displaying a confident, sarcastic lilt against a triumphal, war-like brass section. Also, in 'Howl' (check the video here), for instance – the title itself a reference to Allen Ginsberg's famous poem of the same name – Cory summons art world references in his defence, raining down fiery scorn on anybody who refers to his career as a pipedream.

He tackles that same judgemental attitude in 'Will You Be Here', condemning the world for making people conform and stamping down his conviction for success with lines like "Ain't never stoppin' I'm always climbing" and "Nigga this more than a rap hobby / All this soul up in my body / If I don't make it and get a Grammy / You can shoot me like I'm Bobby." In the second half of the song the music turns slow, ambient, fluid, echoing with ghostly samples in a stew of everdreaming subconscious, the perfect evocation of the "lost highway" he finds himself on, countering fear of death with determination to leave a legacy: "When the lights go out I'ma still be here / Rockin like Keith Moon till my last breath of air."

The cocksure, audacious lines don't stop, gloriously full of Cory Jreamz' personality: determined to make something of himself. Amidst its raw beat and scratching synths, 'Swim' is a track in which he humorously explains "I never learned how to swim or ride a bike" whilst contrasting this with determination in the form of a tongue-in-cheek middle-finger-up attitude to detractors. 'Swim' is potentially my favourite from the EP, because of its very legible beat and being the track to best display the almost yawning flow of Cory Jreamz, talking out the side of his mouth (seemingly) in a sarcastic manner that truly gives no amount of fucks to "doubters".

What more can I say? Alternatively dark beats that scream just as loud as Cory Jreamz's soul seems to be and, as he says himself in 'Swim', his voice is a piece of art, something to enjoy. You don't have to relate to it, of course. But the fact that it exists, and is consumed like art, is enough. With this said, it's pretty evident that Cory Jreamz is going to get bigger – this EP has confirmed it. And since bettering himself from last year to this, I don't really doubt that he's going to top this Invictus next year when he releases album The Lonely Painter. Also, look out for a video for track 'Nina' in January.

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