Monday, 30 March 2015

Album Review: Tobias Jesso Jr "Goon"

Our most-loved songs are often from a heartbroken man. And while Goon has an undoubtedly autobiographic touch to it, Tobias Jesso Jr at least takes on the persona of any sad lover pining helplessly for what once was. Sure a whole album dedicated to heartbreak has its melodrama, butJesso Jr brought his real-life experience to song writing and the marriage of straight-talk lyrics and a vintage orchestral touch has somewhat of a soundtrack quality.

Goon starts off with a simple piano melody and a touch of wistful sentimentality which sets the scene for the next 12 ballads. Its writer has already been linked to the male greats (such as Harry Nilsson and John Lennon.) Perhaps it’s the subject matter but his vocals range from gentle and mystical (think Lennon’s ‘How’) to more force when required (not unlike ‘Jealous Guy’).

The super slow tempo throughout contributes to the nostalgic feel of the album and a simple approach to instrumentation lets the lyrics shine through: “Have you lost your memories? /Did you wash ‘em down the drain?” There is charm in the simplicity of communication; Jesso Jr sings his feelings as they are.

The album single ‘Without You’ is subtle and hushed that it reads like a love letter: “there is no future I want to see without you.” ‘How Could You Babe’ is also a strong track, where Jesso Jr breaks vocal smoothness and lends his fragility to the sentimental strings.

Goon could be the album which acts as a treatment for heartbreak for those who aren’t so keen on cringe-worthy pop anthems: a new voice of pop storytelling which is romantic yet fragile. He doesn’t shy away from clichés but in expressing himself authentically, Tobias Jesso Jr has crafted songs which feel like they are more familiar than they really are.

Review Score: 7.6 out of 10

Tobias Jesso Jr.'s Goon is out now via True Panther Sounds / Remote Control.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Towkio "Involved" feat. Vic Mensa (Prod. Kaytranada)

Now the mention of “retro” might make you cringe and shake your head, but there’s no ignoring a strong funk sound on a dance track. Kaytranada has collaborated with Vic Mensa before, but now fellow Chicagoan Towkio is part of the mix and it’s sounding rich.

It’s not too often you hear a rapper mention “neutron, electron, proton,” alongside “you should put a coat on.” The quick and clever flow of the lyrics doesn’t exactly give Kaytranada’s production a chance to breathe. But the overall track has an energetic spirit that puts you in a really good mood.

Mensa and Towkio both belong to the Save Money music collective. So fans of Chance The Rapper and Childish Gambino will dig what these artists have created, but the sound is so catchy that it’s not hard for anyone to get caught on that hook.

The track is full energy throughout, progressing from sassy forewarning, “don’t you dare try and put me in the friendzone” to an old school breakdown that builds into yelps and shouts under funky handclaps.

Towkio’s new album .wavtheory comes out in April and if “Get Involved” is anything of a taste tester then we’re excited.

Published on Purple Sneakers.

Cashmere Cat & DJ Mustard "Ice Rink"

One is a soft-spoken NY-based producer and the other an LA man behind rap hits on the radio. We can’t say it’s a collaboration that we saw coming, but this pair of beat-sensitive ears have created a track that’s somewhere in between ambient electronica and a dance jam.

‘Ice Rink’is the first original track we’ve received from Cashmere Cat in nearly a year. If you’ve had a chance to see him live in a DJ set, you’d know that he leans towards R&B classics and unashamedly popular tracks. Here he’s combined his signature distorted vocals and snare rolls with hip-hop “hey” chants and a strong bass-line.

Even if you’re unfamiliar with the name, Dj Mustard has worked behind-the-scenes on well-known tracks, such as ‘Rack City’ and ‘I’m Different.’ He tags with his famous “mustard on the beat” and our ears expect to hear up-tempo club music but ‘Ice Rink’ is more like a cheerier version of ‘With Me.’

Cashmere Cat is beyond an “artist to watch” so it makes sense he’s amping up original production work while DJing around the world. And according to his SoundCloud, the two have more beats up their sleeve for us.

Published on Purple Sneakers.

Life Lessons From Australian Bands on Twitter

A lot of bands just use their twitter for promo purposes. Others leave it to their managers. But some of our favourites use it to unleash wisdom rivalling the Dalai Lama. From finding yourself to social gaffes, our local musicians seem to have advice for every sector. Scroll down to read and solve your deepest doubts and insecurities.

Yeah she’s hot but whats her recently used emojis look like?
ɹǝʞɐ ʇǝɥƆ (@Chet_Faker) February 23, 2015

Duck, Duck, Goose: the original Tinder
— Flight Facilities (@flightfac) January 10, 2015

Sometimes I wanna be Jay-Z, but other times I wanna be Beyoncé…you know?
— TheKiteStringTangle (@TKSTmusic) February 13, 2015

You are the sausage
— SAFIA (@SAFIAmusic) February 6, 2015

Are the Labour Party seriously all wearing matching red ties? Cmon guys really
— The Preatures (@ThePreatures) February 11, 2015

— peking duk (@pekingduk) February 2, 2015

It’s fair to say Champagne gets you pretty pissed
— Twerps (@twerpstwerps) December 25, 2014

Are underscores still cool?? _ _ _
— Willow Beats (@Willow_Beats) December 22, 2014

Probably should have worn shorts
— Twerps (@twerpstwerps) February 22, 2015

Can winter just come already, my wardrobe full of nu jackets.
— Tkay Maidza (@TKAYMAIDZA) February 22, 2015

— peking duk (@pekingduk) February 8, 2015

Still can’t believe Voldemort is Harry’s dad
— Ball Park Music (@ballparkmusic) February 24, 2015

Published on AdamNOTEve.

Romos "Helios"

The bedroom producers seem to be getting younger and younger. But the great thing about the internet is that you only find that out after you’ve fallen in love with their music. Romos has just cleared his Soundcloud of all but two tracks to get a fresh start for 2015. And his new track ‘Helios’ sounds like the creation of a much more experienced and technical producer.

Rom Bartov aka Romos is just a few months away from turning 15. His music is playful with a touch of glitchy effects but it’s clean and flows without disruption. Not quite dance music, or chill – the tempo of ‘Helios’ sits somewhere in between. It reminds me of the pop vitality of Madeon’s music, along with experimental interludes and an endearing melody.

And he did say to listeners that he wanted to stray away from genre categories, in a message on his soundcloud: “I want to try and let go of those ideas and do something that people won’t really be able to identify, at least at first.” Well, there’s nothing generic about the way this track has been put together.

Romos has less than 200 likes on his facebook page, get on it while you can! 

Published on AdamNOTEve.

Artists to watch in 2015: Hatch

Jerry Gorman aka Hatch has been playing violin since he was a boy and he’s taken his classical training to strong and sophisticated production. Taking cues from 70s funk and soul, he layers strong vocals among elements of house and he has a maturity to his music which gives us the idea that he has a lot more to bring in 2015.

“What You Need” has to be one of my favourite tracks of this year – with its dramatic start from minimal chords to its wavelike dynamic that creates a rich, warm sound. For those who love Kite String Triangle, Safia and Peking Duk, it’s that similar combination of ambient electronica and highly emotive vocals, which give “the feels” and make us want to play the song over and over.

Hatch is based in Sydney’s but he’s already travelled a fair amount this second half of the year on tour. He supported Giraffage last month in Brisbane and he often plays alongside other Australian acts, such as Slumberjack,UV Boi and Crooked Colours. He’s also on the line-up for Mountain Sounds Festival next February 2015.

Gorman is a passionate producer and a passionate performer. He hasn’t quite hit the hype point yet so do yourself a favour and head along to one of his locals shows while he’s still around and keep tabs on his SoundCloud in the meanwhile.

Published on Purple Sneakers

Artists to Watch in 2015: Dugong Jr

It seems that we take our local producers for granted: after a string of local (cheap!) shows at squishy venues, suddenly they cross international waters and get snatched up overseas. And you can be sure that when they return they won’t be playing the 11pm opener set with free entry.

We’ve had our eye on Melbourne producer Dugong Jr (aka Dylan Tainsh) for a while now but we’re not sure he’s had all the exposure that he deserves. His music has similar playful vibes to Wave Racer and Basenji, and it’s also good news to ears familiar with Cashmere Cat and Ryan Hemsworth (who also loves all things Japanese.)

And among all this name-dropping, Dugong Jr manages to get his original tunes shared around the world because some of his tunes are just so damn happy that they make you want to tear out your earphones and dance at full volume. Tainsh has already had premieres on Run The Trap and international blogs and we think his music will spread even further in 2015.

His latest single ‘In Love’ showcases his skilful hand in production, sometimes it’s the mood for high-pitched vocals and sometimes he pitches down with groovy bass. Dugong Jr seizes all the dynamics and although it’s a pleasant listen, it’s by no means background music.

And then he gets his hands on remixes, where he shows that a remix isn’t just the original with a new tempo. He really gets his hands on the song and chops up the rhythm, adds in chimes and reverb vocals.

As you’d expect from his music, he’s a keen user of emoticons. And he’s a funny one on the social medias, with explorations of first-world dramas like “who the fk puts asparagus and squash in a green curry” and “when you realise there is no beer on tap. :( 

Published on Purple Sneakers.