Weekend Winddown 7

With the summer sun scorching the skins of many Australians, particularly Aderlaidians (who are sufferring 45 degree (celcius) heat) it’s hard to sleep, relax and wind down. The music I offer up today will not likely help with this but it may provide emotional support when you reach breaking point.

I strongly suggest regular visits to your local beach, pool, air conditioned venue or mall, or if you prefer to avoid the crowds, a cold shower.

Nitin Sawhney – Days of Fire [buy]

Nitin Sawhney has been a favourite of mine for a while. His experimental world-sound albums tap into an often neglected rhythm and passion developed with a number of unique musicians.
The gruff voice of Natty, reminiscent of Michael Franti, might at first make you feel like the song is already ruined. But as the instruments are introduced Natty proves himself a phenomenal singer with a broad vocal range. “Days of Fire” acts as a Phoenix emerging from the flames; with lyrical imagery sharing Natty’s testimony of a London bus bombing in 2005.

Alela Diane – White as Diamonds [buy]

It seems Alela Diane is made for these mixes.
The Californian songstress has “upgraded” her music somewhat for her upcoming album, To Be Still, introducing more strings and a bit more of a production beat. Some haven’t been too excited to hear this but I think it’s a step in the right direction. Alela steps up to the plate without compromising her musical integrity.

Geoff Ereth – Surefooted

If you’ve been waiting TOO long for new Sufjan Stevens it’s probably best to give up, like me, and see what else is on offer out there. While maintaining his own unique style, and revealing great ambition, Geoff Ereth can fill this experimental-folk-hole.

M83 – Skin of the Night [buy]

M83’s Saturdays = Youth was one of the most popularly blogged albums released last year. It took me a while to understand why and some songs miss the mark. But when they hit their target, wow does it sound amazing!
“Skin of the Night” showcases not only the heavy influence from the 80’s they’re known for, but also demonstrates their ability to manage their vocal talent.

Passion Pit – I’ve Got Your Number [buy]

Passion Pit may never reach the height of success they deserve. While reminding me a lot of Phoenix the lead singer’s (at times) screaming voice can contradict the slow dance pop they’re producing. But they write good songs and they play them well. And I think if you can do those two things, the rest is gravy goodness.

Twiggy Frostbite – Heroes

Twiggy Frostbite are as cute as their name, but they are also yet to truly impress. When visiting their myspace to hear more, none of the songs quite strike me the way “Heroes” does. This exception sounds a lot like múm’s “Green Grass of Tunnel” but rounds out the child-like innocence more than its counterpart.

Cocoon – Seesaw [buy]

I heard Cocoon a while ago and have never gotten over their very underrated album, My Friends all Died in a Plane Crash. Contrary to the title of the album these guys are not the least bit emo. Better put, they are ACTUALLY emotional. The tried-and-true male and female vocals, combined with guitar and horns or strings, reminds us that you don’t have to try new production methods to come up with unique, yet simply good music.

Firekites – Autumn Story [buy]

Firekites sound much like Autumn Leaf: quiet, melodic, at times instrumental, always quite beautiful.

The Notwist – Boneless [buy]

I first heard The Notwist when watching music videos late one night. The song “Pick Up the Phone” came on and I was mesmerised and sadened by the music and a little bear dealing with what looks like a break-up; poor kid. Neon Golden was a beautiful album which I knew they could never top or even match. Their last album, The Devil, You + Me doesn’t really try to, which is why I like it well enough. Though it’s not quite as symphonic as Neon, it’s a solid effort and just as experimental.
“Boneless” has some nice piano work from go to whoa.

Little Dragon – Twice [buy]

I haven’t heard enough of Little Dragon but “Twice” is a slow piano-driven piece which reminds me a lot of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop.”
Not sure how it got so overlooked, except that I guess this band are still asserting their musical prowess. Singer Nagano and drummer Bodin have both worked with José González which not only illustrates their involvement in the music “scene” but should also allow them to gain a little more recognition.

Now I just need a beach to cool down by…

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