In this feature, guest contributor RJ Kozain (2020k) shares with us the latest sonic finds that have made themselves at home on his playlists — treasures perhaps not easily stumbled upon. Look for our round-up of favourites on 2020k, Northern Lights and feel free to suggest your treasures on Twitter or Facebook.
It’s been an interesting month. I’m working on my debut record & traditionally jobless as a result of it (click here to play catch up), but still managing to pick out some of the best tracks that’ve ever invaded my ears for all the OTMblog readers. Thank you for the support, for reading, for listening.
It’s been a bit, but there’s five wonderful songs for you to listen to below. From me, to you. Some are influences during the recording of my record, and some are just played at maximum volume during odd hours of the night when I need to take a break or wake up the neighbors (who sleeps before 3AM anyhow?).
Hidden Gems is a an infrasound series on this blog wherein I present to you my own random musical finds that I will subjectively pack into one combined blog entry. These gem entries are presented in hopes that these songs make their way from my playlist to yours. The majority of these releases are songs that’ve been dug up by surprise, that have taken me whole, and refused to let me go. It’s in promotion of music and the joy it brings.
Any genre, any timeframe, any artist.
01. “Life After Defo” Deptford Goth
South London’s Daniel Woolhouse unveiled the intimate Life After Defo LP on Metrok Records last March, and has since been artistically building up its presentation via lyric videos (like the one above), wonderfully composed interviews, a highly recommended, breathtaking collaboration with an experimental gospel choir, live string performances, and more. Though steady in artistic presentation, Life After Defo is a minimal record, one to listen to noiselessly in your candlelit living room with a glass of red wine and a pair of ears ready to soak in every lyric and melody. The title track particularly stands out as glorious poetry, coupled with warm rhythmic hugs, and melodic artifacts of which act as metaphoric backgrounds floating. It’s pretty cool, considering the chorus mourns its way through phrases like “Don’t know where you are, just backgrounds floating. Next one isn’t far, keep tight to many people.” The sheer amount of beauty in this song, in this album, is impeccable to anything released in its vein through the 2013 year.
02. “Sunsets on Skyscrapers” by eyesix
In a way, eyesix is a contemporary to the alternative electronic music scene in the best way possible. Ireland based, the Sparkwood Records artist weaves melodies and rhythms in a laid back focus that’s great for all days – sunny, rainy, grey, blue, warm, or cold. Limerence, the name of his second release, houses “Sunsets on Skyscrapers” that almost sounds like a distant cousin to Boards of Canada, Ghostly International’s more subtle musicians, or a chillout Pandora radio station. Comparisons aside, the conversation chatter, legato-esque synthesized lines, and wonderful stereo imaging makes “Sunsets..”, and all songs released by eyesix so far, to be captivating, moving, and nostalgic, all wrapped under a bow, then set in a peaceful field.
03. “#1” by Madison
Madison proclaims herself as a “FAILED MUSICIAN” on her Facebook page, but we’re unsure why. Three years ago, she released her debut The Noise We Make EP on her own. Inside of this release are four songs that streamline the definition of an immaculate DIY-debut. In fact, Madison is an indie-perfect blend of shining production and smart engineering. Every instrument, voice, and layer have their own sonic niches, with “#1” being the demonstrative number that shows the amount of power Madison can pack in her bubblegum punch. Guitars, synthesizers, samplers, high-EQ focused vocals all blend together to form the perfect coffee + sunshine kind of day. The mix is airy, there’s so much use of space that the perceived musical optimism inside “#1” is infectious enough to brighten hidden caves, clear dismal skies, and make you feel like you’re King or Queen of everything. Keep the magic going. You’re our #1, Madison.
04. “Lydia” by Jessica Bassett
Taken from blog.twenty20k.com: Someone tries out for American Idol and is rejected by the judges. This is a predictable bedtime story. For once we’re seeing a revival of this wrongdoing through the success of an original song called “Lydia” that 22 year old Jessica Bassett elegantly sang in front of the national audience. She was turned away, but her song, which was released on iTunes in February, skyrocketed through the Apple charts in Canada and the United States. In Jessica’s words, the song’s inspiration is a cinch, but its delivery is anything but. “It was a couple months ago and my best friend Lydia had written on Facebook that she was having an awful day and that just didn’t sit well with me – she’s my best friend. So, I sent her a video of a song I had written and she loved it. It made her feel better, luckily.” Strictly guitar and vocals, the live performance of “Lydia” lies in a realm that recalls that of more accessible Stan Getz compositions or other jazz/pop wonders of yesterday, interpolated with a more 21st century vocal delivery.
05. “This Song is Called Jerkface” by Electrobation
In a combination of in your face Electronica, flavored in punk rebellion, Estonia based Electrobation zaps as much as they cum on the cheekily titled “This Song is Called Jerkface” from their 2013 self-titled EP. Their style is as wide as their origins (with a punk rock frontman from Pittsburgh, PA, two Pärnu based members, proclaimed guitar geek from Tucson, and a drummer from Tallinn), creating a melting pot of genre crossovers, but interestingly able to focus it all into cohesive mixes and projects. “…Jerkface” stays guitar heavy, with a few stock samples you can find in Logic Pro here and there, and a great synth line toward the end. Don’t let the humor soaked exterior frighten you, they really are the band for you if you feel like eating candy skulls off your lover to the purring of mohawk kittens dreaming of a better tomorrow (taken from their Bandcamp). Don’t be a jerkface, keep it in your pants (or take it out), and let Electrobation‘s range of talent hit you like two bombs and a lightning bolt.
Be sure to check out Amber’s companion guest post on 2020k, Northern Lights!