Tag Archive: Soundcloud

  1. Musical Pairings: AM & Shawn Lee – Celestial Electric

    Leave a Comment

    Neither AM nor Shawn Lee are new faces in the music industry. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the Los Angeles-based AM’s music has been featured in over 100 television shows and movies. He’s previously toured with the likes of French band AIR, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Brazilian superstar Caetano Veloso. Meanwhile, Shawn Lee was quite busy himself having worked alongside folks such as the Dust Brothers, Jeff Buckley, Money Mark, Princess Superstar and Psapp. The two musicians met when AM reached out to Lee after having heard Lee’s music played on a Los Angeles radio station. The two quickly discovered a shared appreciation for the music of the late 60’s and early 70’s. As we all know, when two artists who respect one another discover a shared love for the same music, collaborations are born. It’s the musical equivalent of “the birds and the bees.” Their debut album, Celestial Electric, is the result of that collaboration.

    Considering their shared influences it’s unsurprising that Celestial Electric almost sounds like an album out-of-time. I say “almost” because the songwriting shines with numerous elements that call upon contemporary sources. For example, Celestial Electric can manage to simultaneously call to mind an eclectic roster of artists including Jorge Ben, Gilberto Gil, The Postal Service, The Flaming Lips, Heart, and Kings of Convenience. When calling upon their influences the duo don’t rely on only one genre or time period. However you slice it, this is a bright and upbeat album full of catchy hooks, sunshiny melodies, Latin American-inspired grooves, and funky rhythms.

    The album opens with the bounce of a Tropicalia-inspired groove and a quietly-shuffling rhythm on “City Boy.” The track features a melody and chorus which are both as warm and inviting as a ray of diffused light spread through a window across a living room floor. Meanwhile, “Lonely Life” features a crisp, snare-heavy rhythm, feel good handclaps, and laser-sharp synths to compliment AM’s high falsetto. The album’s official first single “Dark Into Light” has the album’s darkest atmosphere with heavy bass and (relatively) sludgy synths. Still, the track remains uplifting thanks to AM’s vocals and Lee’s neon-sharp synth flourishes. A little further into the LP they knock out a funky, soulful cover the Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ “Jackie Blue” for a sure shot. Demonstrating an intuitive touch for perfectly balanced songwriting, the album remains solid and consistently engaging throughout.

    With sweet melodies and sugary hooks, Celestial Electric pairs well with Kasey’s Sliced Mango with Sugared Lime Zest recipe. Both the recipe and the album call to mind heavy shade and a cool breeze on a warm, sweltering summer day. By the way, I should warn you: that sugared lime zest might as well be renamed Fruit Loops-flavored crack it’s so tasty and addictive.

    Celestial Electric is available in a number of different packages through the duo’s Bandcamp site.  Then I suggest checking out Kasey’s Sliced Mango with Sugared Lime Zest recipe.

  2. Single Servings: Azealia Banks, Deerhoof (feat. David Bazan), The Dø, and M.I.A.


    New music from Azealia Banks, Deerhoof (feat. David Bazan), The Dø and M.I.A.!  That is a lot of great new music for one Single Serving. Thankfully, I think you can take it.  What you waiting for: give ’em a play.

    Azealia Banks – Bambi
    Uhm, so the new Azealia Bank’s track is mind-melting (and, uhm, very N.S.F.W.)! As it stands now, Banks only offers up only a brief, but fiery, rap in the center of the track surrounded by giggling and small talk-like narration, but Pitchfork reports that she plans to extend the verse on the track. I don’t know about you, but I need that extended verse. Seriously, I can’t get enough Azealia Banks right now.

    Deerhoof (feat. David Bazan) – No One Asked Bazan To Dance
    I’d be lying if I said that this is what I expected a David Bazan and Deerhoof collaboration to sound like, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t sound great. It is on limited-edition (2000 copies), clear blue vinyl and it is available from Polyvinyl.  What isn’t surprising is that you get stunning guitar picking and Bazan’s vocals with some interesting, unorthodox little flourishes.

    The Dø – Tightrope (Janelle Monaé Cover)
    Ok, I’m new to French/Finnish-duo The Dø, but based on the way they nail this cover, I need to hear their original material stat. Their take on the track is slowly simmering with a creeping, sensual groove. I’ll say it, I even prefer their version to the original (sorry Janelle fans). A big thanks to the always excellent Listen Before You Buy (which is where I discovered this).

    M.I.A. – Bad Girls
    You might remember this song from when M.I.A. released a shorter version of the track on the Vicki Leekx mixtape about a year ago. The full version premiered days ago and it reminds me of just how much I love M.I.A.’s music when she is on top of her game.  Let’s hope we’ll be hearing a whole new album of music this compelling from her.