BAIO – Brainwash yyrr Face

BAIO takes a refreshing step away from his Columbia-college band roots with the certainly individual, but not definably indie, new electro-chill single. 

Ahead of upcoming solo album ‘The Names’ Chris Baio, bassist of indie-prep band Vampire Weekend, has released the opening track ‘Brainwash yyrr Face’. Make no mistake, this track is not a Vampire Weekend rip-off – far from it. Nowhere in his new album (I imagine) will one find screeching vocals and summer guitar riffs. Instead, subdued bass electronic tracks which shuffle and dance around your headphones are what characterise Chris Baio’s, aka ‘BAIO’, solo music. He shows himself as a competent and interesting DJ; flavourful and yet subtle. The track is a process. It starts very minimal, with a simple keyboard-type beat, then begins to loop and repeat, suddenly soft vocals creep in and it begins to take form. By the chorus, samples are being tossed into the mix and new layers emerge. Things get interesting. It takes a little while to get going but I’d like to think that is on purpose as the minimalism begins to repeat itself when the heavy beat is introduced. It shows a slow building up, layering, a journey. That is what I take from the single anyway.

His track ‘On&On&On&On’ released in September 2014 was also featured on this blog and I thoroughly enjoyed that single. This one, if possible, surpasses it and allows a slightly edgier sound to be sought out by the expert looping and reversed bass lines. This may not be what one expects from an indie band member, but it’s well worth a listen, and I certainly will be pre-ordering the album. It is chilled mellow track, with a likeness to Garden City Movement, Phoria, MK, and James Blake.

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This Isn’t What We Expected from The Vaccines

What did we expect from The Vaccines? Probably not this crazy new sound – but we are loving it. The indie-pop band recently released their new single, a UK tour and a multitude of festivals dates. ‘Handsome’ has the familiar pop rock melodies of ‘Norgaard’ and the ironic teenage angst filled lyrics of ‘No Hope’ but it also is a breath of fresh air for the band. Justin has said that he wants the song to sound bad in 10 years, and have it define a generation of music – a bold claim for this self proclaimed pop band. I don’t think pop necessarily has to sound bad in 10 years, it just needs to be so familiar that you know it like it the back of your hand and the tune is so lodged in your brain that it’s pretty impossible to remove it once it gets stuck there.

Since ‘Handsome’, the band have given us a taste of the album with other singles like ‘Dream Lover’ and ’20/20′ (seen live 3rd April 2015). ‘Dream Lover’ is dripping with heavy, electronic riffs and is a spaced out, crazy single. 20/20 is upbeat, guitar-shredding, Vampire Weekend-inspired enjoyment, similar to their older stuff – it’s my favourite so far. However, it does have a close competitor in the form of ‘Minimal Affection’. I must admit when I first heard the opening notes of MA I wasn’t convinced – it wasn’t really up my street, or so I thought. On a second, and then third, and then fourth listen (all back to back you understand) – I was sold. It’s funky, it’s catchy – it’s like The Strokes, Chromeo and early Vaccines B-sides in one big, beautiful melting pot. Solid, groovy tunes and ambiguous lyrics are looking more and more likely to characterise the new album.

Major Lazer – Jessica (featuring Ezra Koenig)

So this song is on repeat on my phone at the moment – I just love it! It’s quirky, catchy and a little weird. It comes from Major Lazer’s latest LP ‘Free The Universe’. For those who don’t know, Major Lazer is an electronic music project created by Diplo in which he collaborates with artists from various genres, the latest being Ariana Grande with All My Love. ‘Jessica’ features a lot of double meanings and puns, which are ingenious and different and it also includes lyrics sung in German. Electronic, futuristic and sensual, ‘Jessica’ is one to listen to, even if you don’t think it will be your thing – I promise it will stick in your head and you’ll HAVE to listen to it again (and again and again).

The 1975 – Medicine

The 1975, an indie pop band from Manchester, have produced a single with a radical change of pace compared to previous hit singles like ‘Chocolate’, ‘The City’ and ‘Sex’. This new song, ‘Medicine’ is essentially a ballad, designed to make young hard core female fan’s hearts melt slowly and painfully. I really love the song and it is a call back to their early EPs which included songs like ‘You’ and ‘So Far (It’s Alright)’ which are fairly similar to this new one. However, I keep expecting a crescendo and a rhythmic drum beat to kick in, leading the final 40 seconds into a dramatic key change, making the single a little more exciting and invigorating. This doesn’t happen. Before you know it the melancholic, infrequent vocals have come to an end and you are left needing to repeat the song, wondering if there is something you missed.

Don’t get me wrong, it is a beautiful song which could be timeless, and clearly has a lot of heartfelt meaning, but I personally don’t see why they chose this particular song to introduce their second album – it could turn away a large part of their fan base who are there for the upbeat, interesting pop songs which defined the last album in terms of singles. In my opinion, a band should put out music first and foremost for themselves, and the 1975 have done this, so in that sense it was a good decision and they obviously felt strongly about sharing this song with their fans. I really love the lyrics because although they’re simple they evoke a lot of emotion and they don’t overpower the music, but rather blend into the song as another layer, like a bass guitar. The beat is solid and the melody is catchy in its own way. Definitely check it out and form your own opinion.

Julian Casablancas+The Voidz – Human Sadness

Aggressive melancholy is the first thing which comes to mind upon hearing this epic, distorted 11 minute single from Julian Casablancas’ new project. The Strokes’ front man, who has an infamous knack for writing catchy and short songs, presented his fans with this deeply emotional and drawn out song, proving to them and to everyone else that he is one of the best songwriters of this generation. With the clearly painful and personal lyrics, this song has a way of connecting with every single person who hears it, which is an extremely rare and incredible thing to achieve. These lyrics are painfully poetic and I have not felt anywhere near the same level of grief and pain needed to try and understand or analyze them, I just know that they are beautiful and distressing.

This song is a journey. A twisted, brutal, depression-driven journey which has an ironic and troubled beauty to it. Take, for example, the fact that a clear and catchy riff can be heard throughout the song. It contrasts completely with the atmosphere and meaning of the song but it sounds amazing and gives the feeling of a warped and crazed pop song. There are clear stages and sections to this piece which are highlighted by explosive guitars and separated by varying crescendos. Casablancas wanted to use this song as way of delivering a message, portraying emotional torment and baring his soul. At least that is the way I see it.

Buy ‘Human Sadness’ and their new album ‘Tyranny’ here 

 

“Human Sadness” – Lyrics

Put money in my hand
And I will do the things you want me to.

Vanity, overriding wisdom,
Usually common sense.

Should I delete it,
You said you’d read it
You promised you would never ruin it with sequels,

I wake for you, on and on

Beyond all ideas of right and wrong there is a field,
I will be meeting you there.

The moon’s a skull, I think it’s grinning
The room is full of people now I think it’s spinning

Wanted you, didn’t ask for nothing.
Wait for you, on and on

And I don’t need your tie, I don’t need to, tired of saying it.
We don’t need more talk, don’t empty out your canteen on the desert floor.
Ahhh, it’s all my fault

Never wanna spell it out,
I just want to say that it is all my fault,
I could never spit it out,
I don’t wanna fix your tie.

Never want to say we’re sad,
Thankful that we got some chance,
I know you won’t get back your time,
I wish that you could take it back.

Beyond all ideas of right and wrong there is a field,
I will be meeting you there.

He wanted it more than me, I suppose
I was in a rush to wait in a line.
Now I hear echoes of my old self,
This is not the way to be.
All at once,
I lost my way.

Is it not true, the things that we did?
Come here at once and look what they did
Come here shut down and tune in tonite,
Learn the words that they teach you without you realizing it
Come here sit down and watch some TV

Mine all mine, wait your turn,
Cross my cross, slice his hand,
Not your son, not your friend, not your enemy.

I rely on the little things to get me by,
Conscience says, “I’m okay”,
You don’t hear what they say.
“He’s not my son, search his home”
Off to war,
It’s time to go hide inside.

Soft skin,
Weak chin,
Just walk me thru it, tell me what to do I’ll do

Hurry hurry, that’s my baby
Ohh, do what you can.

All the time – he waits for me.
And now we talk from time to time,

Hits you on the head when nobody’s there,
Then he says, “come here could you fix my tie?”

It’s never gonna be,
To be is not the way to be.

Show me where to go, don’t get angry so quickly,
Fuck depression.

Beyond all ideas of right and wrong there is a field,
I will be meeting you there

Understanding is more important than love,
If not money will always trump justice

All is lost,
I’ll find my way.
So I say,
To be is not to be.
To be is not the way to be.

BAIO – On&On&On&On

Tropical beach vibes and subdued cool radiates from this new track by BAIO of Vampire Weekend. ‘On&On&On&On’ may have a lot of the similar African influences and infamous summer riffs of early Vampire Weekend, however it is definitely a step in a different direction for bassist Chris Baio.

I love this track and although summer is coming to an end, ‘On&On&On&On’ feels like it could extend the heat and energy of those few months for the whole year round. Along with notably subtle and feminine vocals, the repeated beats and distorted keyboard sounds add to the enticing nature of this track and give it an undeniable edge over my other favourite DJ tunes. A deep, brass sounding bass line contrasts with the smooth finger clicking and simple but melodic notes to create a sound which was just made to be heard in a hammock or on a sun lounger. It’s interesting enough to put on repeat and exciting enough to tweet about more than once. I would highly recommend buying the new EP; you won’t regret it.

Garden City Movement

Garden City Movement are an electronic chillwave trio based in Germany and Israel. Having seen their music video for ‘Move On’ which is beautiful and brave, I was intrigued to find out more. Although their following is fairly small, the fans are dedicated, and this band are set for huge things. So far they have released two EPs; ‘Bengali Cinema’ and ‘Entertainment’. Both are interesting, fresh and intuitive. These chilled, synth driven, electronic tracks are wonderfully immersive and totally addictive. The combination of cultures is very interesting, and something worth exploring more for these guys. Garden City Movement have a great balance of delicate and subtle vocals combined with repetitive beats, which echo that of very popular bands like Clean Bandit and Gorgon City. Pay attention to these guys – big things are coming their way; I can guarantee it.

My favourite track is ‘Move On’, mainly because I can’t stop listening to it. I love the effortlessness of the lyrics and the clear images throughout the track. It’s memorable, sexy and a genuinely good song. Here are a couple of my favourite stills from the video