Tuesday, August 30, 2011

#14: Bounce - Calvin Harris ft. Kelis

Paolo asked me to rate this. While at first humbled (oh shut up, I totally was), I went about it in a calm and professional manner (oh shut up, I totally did) and gave it a calm and unbiased review (oh shut up, I totally did). I've used part of my Facebook review below.
I'll cut to the chase. The video's crap. It's better than a bunch of other videos I've seen. Anyway. About the song: if the portion between ~2'56" and ~3'11" was removed completely I'd rate it three, maybe four stars (out of five). As it stands I give it two at best - and that's generous - because that fifteen seconds is the epitome of what I hate in "house" music and it annoys me that Calvin Harris is pandering to the lowest common denominator. I usually respect him. Having said that, it's better than a bunch of other grungy electronic tracks that have been released lately, thinly disguised as "house". A good example is LMFAO. On a scale of one to "music that makes me melt because of its deliciousness", songs like the Party Rock Anthem score negative; Bounce is in danger of doing the same thing, simply because of the grungy little bit involved. Oh, Calvin Harris, please don't drop any more. Working with Dizzee Rascal is acceptable. Working with Akon is not. So at least you have that over David Guetta. (Yeah, having a go at David Guetta is getting boring. If he hasn't read this by now he probably never will.) But anyway. Bounce is decent. I like how it's not three-and-half minutes of crap. I don't like how it's three-and-half minutes. I like the depth that the music has. I don't like the fifteen seconds between ~2'56" and ~3"11. I like how it's not RnB despite the fact that the title sounds exactly like it. I don't like how overplayed it is. So, pretty much neutral. It won't go in my collection until those fifteen seconds are removed. Here. Have a grain of salt to go with that review.

Monday, August 22, 2011

#13: Dance Rock

Let's start with the catchy shit first, yeah? Then we can move on to the older stuff.
Number one is a reasonably new track, described to me as "reggae rock". Couldn't agree more. What I also agree with is the fact that Triple J played it the other day as my alarm and I recognised it immediately when Rach' played it in the car a few hours ago as a song that had been stuck in my head earlier that day. It's fucking catchy and I love it. And to think, I was going to hunt through my entire music collection (of nearly 9K songs) to hunt the thing down, and have it be a fruitless search. Contrary to Up Up Up, however, this song does belong in my collection. I'd say this is more dancy than reggae rock so I'd call it a hybrid. And I'd call it amazing. No, I don't suddenly like rock. No, I'm not suddenly about to move over to Mick Jagger. I just think that we should start respecting dancy and catchy tracks that are just totally awesome. I would go so far as to say that it deserves its own genre name. The next song fits right in, too:
This one is older. But not by much. I remember hunting this track down after December last year. Can't remember exactly when. But hey, they're from Ballarat and that's proof that Ballarat is so much better than my home town because this song is just as good. It ticks all my boxes. No mentioning the song title in the lyrics: tick. Upbeat, dancy beat combined with upbeat, dancy melody: tick. Two verses, two choruses: tick. Song evolves: tick. 3'16" length: OK, it's not perfect. But hell, a club remix wouldn't be too hard to sort out. I like it. And I also reckon it deserves a little more than "obscurity" from Australia, especially since they're a band called Gold Fields who come from the gold fields... wait, I SEE WHUT THEY DID THAR. Still, it's halfway rock and halfway dance and for some reason the two genres mesh really really well. And yes, I almost spelt "mesh" with an 'x'. "Mexh". Holy crap, I've invented a new word. And I wish I could invent songs like this, very similar example band:
Wait, it's wrong to call them an "example". These guys are the epitome of dancy rock. In fact, I'd say they almost pioneered it if I didn't know better. Alright, this wasn't exactly the best song to work with because it's more synth than guitar but my gods these guys are geniuses. (genii?) Apparently they're influenced by 80s disco. I can see that. Around 2'42" and onwards there's a few sounds and styles reminiscent of Vangelis (amazing pioneer) and that's probably one of the reasons I fell in love with this particular song. Also because the video features sports. And various sports. Not cricket though. I like cricket. And I like Cut Copy. Buy their albums. And enjoy your guide to dance rock, supplemented by this slightly more synthy but equally kickass band:
If you think that video is weird, you should see their stage show. If you think that video is cool, you should see their stage show. If you think that video is psychedelic, you should see their stage show. If you didn't like the video but still loved the song. you should see their stage show. If you hate this song, I challenge you to listen to Shempi and still claim you don't like them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#12: CJ's Addictions 3

It's been a long time since new stuff's come out that is really decent so I'll fire away with some current addictions.

Oh man, D. Ramirez has a gift for electronic music. If you don't remember or know him, you will when you hear this (yes I gave you the instrumental version, if you don't like it you can suck my keyboard. Instrumental music is brilliant, which is a topic for another post). He remixed both these songs into awesomeness - I haven't heard Yeah Yeah's original but my gods did he make Lost so much better. I turned the original of Lost off after 25" because I just couldn't take another generic female vocalist over an upbeat dreamy almost-trancey tune, because that shit gets stale fast. Don't get me wrong, I find some of them decent. For about ten seconds. It sounds too much like September. And September sounds too much like Cascada. And Cascada sounds too much like September. I swear someone pushed Ctrl+C on one and carbon-copied the other with Ctrl+V. But yeah, D. Ramirez is incredible. Look up more of his stuff. A good place to start is his own track, the very cheeky La Discotek. If that's not your thing, hunt down his remix of Junk by Ferry Corsten and Guru.

Which leads me into something a little more obscure.

YES. I had to give you the full version. I posted this on Facebook with a comment to the effect of "Listen to it, love it, buy my book". It's a nice, dreamy-electro-without-being-dreamy-trance track. Ethereal. That's the word. It's not a clone of Robert Miles trying to screw dream-trance fans out of all their money (incidentally, Robert Miles as the pioneer was pretty awesome but the genre went downhill faster than an avalanche on heat) by just putting a few piano soundbites in the middle of an otherwise poorly-made trance beat. It's a song. The lyrics (although somewhat indecipherable) are really nice, especially for a male vocalist. His vocals on this song are the male equivalent of the female singer Kaskade normally collaborates with (whose name I can't recall right now). And Kaskade's stuff makes me melt faster than an avalanche on heat. I owe a lot to Zan Rowe (who, incidentally, doesn't know I exist) for playing this song on Triple J one morning, and waking me up in a good mood. She seems to have a knack for doing that - she woke me up with Street another morning. This morning, however, she gave me this:
I'm kinda disappointed by this song. Not because it's bad, but because of Flight Facilities' (somewhat small, but growing) fanbase. To "liberate" a quote from Yahtzee: unfortunately, Foreign Language is in the uncomfortable position of necessarily having to be compared to Crave You. Crave You exploded and Foreign Language has to live up to that. Having said that, Foreign Language is exactly what I've been craving (excuse the pun) since Crave You came out: another decent throwback to when EDM was actually good: 1977 (when Jean-Michel Jarre released Oxygéne) to 2009 (when David Guetta switched sides). I place Foreign Language somewhere in the late 1980s, maybe early 1990s. Now that EDM is all commercial and shit, the lowest common denominator has been satisfied but music snobs like me aren't. Alright, some of it's good (if about 15 seconds were cut out of Bounce by Calvin Harris and... whoever the hell did the vocals, it would be on this blog). Some of it's good (Swedish House Mafia and Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, for example. Oh, and Example are OK, too). Some of it's fantastic (Aston Shuffle WOOOOO! Bag Raiders WOOOOO! Bloody Beetroots WOOOOO!). But a lot of it is (quoting Bernard Black) tossycock. Bring us back to proper EDM before all this grungy shit came along. You producers were Doing It Right for over thirty years and in the last two and a bit you've killed my faith in EDM ever becoming a hit. Flight Facilities are taking a step in the right direction with both songs. Hell, they're taking a giant leap in the right direction. Hopefully it'll catch on and pretty soon EDM will become the avalanche on heat that my naïve teenaged self predicted some eight years ago.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

#11: A Thing For Me - Metronomy

Before I begin, I'm going to put it out there: this song is average. It's not rap, it's not hiphop, it's not metal, it's not music that makes you deaf. It's freaky, bleepy electronica, and I find it an average song. So there.
The song is still well and truly worth a mention purely because of the video. OK, at first it looks like a really crappy karaoke song - even worse, if the band are there playing/singing, because I absolutely detest music videos that do all that boring crap - but hell, at ~0'15" things start taking an interesting turn, and ten seconds later comes the SHAZAM moment when you realise that this could be kinda cool. Even better is at ~0'40" when the puns start and ~1'30" when they get even better. This almost matches the Treadmill Video in terms of sheer brilliance. Almost. Except it doesn't. Because the Treadmill Video has a better song accompanying it. But not by much. It's like comparing a cocktail to an identical cocktail, except with an umbrella.

If you're looking for a better version of the song, try the Breakbot remix. If you're looking for a better video, try the original. Hell, I want to see the original video chopped and changed to fit in with the Breakbot remix. Somebody do it. I don't have the software, expertise, schedule, or motivation. I'm lazy. And I'll lazily move on to my next glow(er)ing review. (I'm currently aiming my gunsights at the Black Eyed Peas.)