Meerkuts’ Musical Musings – April 2013
Hola Beat Boffers, Harmony Humpers, Lyric Lovers & Melody Maters,
There’s not much to say other than the sun has finally come back to us, turning our lives the right way up again and giving music a chameleonic nature by transforming certain songs into UV tinged anthems. April has been a fine month for music with a stunning new album from Bonobo (Cirrus featured in January’s Musings), fun new material from The Knife and interesting new album from The Flaming Lips but they haven’t made the final 5 this time because it’s all about the sunshine this month. So get your shades on, open the car windows & blare these big choons out…
1. Major Lazer feat. Ezra Koenig – Jessica (Taken from the album Free The Universe released 12 April 2013 on Major Lazer LLC)
Major Lazer is back! That’s right more reggae tinged madness from Diplo with his ever astounding roster of colloborators, incredible sound effects and wibbly wobbly bass lines, colour me excited! The first Major Lazer album split opinion with it’s unabashed high octane noise but with the genius Jamaican influence and Funkadelic style backstory/visuals it definitely won me over. I still play a lot of cuts from that album when I’m DJ’ing but it’s more than a gulity pleasure, it’s inspired! So the new album has been released and the pop culture meets heavy bass theme is still prevalent on tracks featuring guests as diverse as Peaches, Bruno Mars, Wyclef Jean & Shaggy but after hearing ‘Jessica’ on 6Music I couldn’t get it out of my head. With brilliantly amusing vocals from Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend and a sublime roots track underneath, it’s a track which just screams out to be played on a beach with nefarious substances and beer. The subtle production of the song is nicely produced, as expected, by Diplo with heavy snare and more echo than the second side of Pink Floyd’s ‘Meddle’. That being said I’m also excited about going batshit crazy on the dancefloor or in my living room to the rest of the new album which, how shall we put it, is slightly less laid back than this track. GET YOUR LAZER’S UP!
2. Letherette – I Always Wanted You Back (Taken from the album Letherette released 1 April 2013 on the Ninja Tune label)
It’s always nice to find a group who let all their influences shine through their music and Letherette are most definitely one of those! The track I’ve chosen (the opening cut on this BoilerRoom video) channels a kind of nu-soul hip hop vibe as well as more disco dancefloor traits and combines them to make a head nodding treat for your ears and feet. The rest of the album has moments of chill out trip-hop which Ninja Tune does so well, there are housey heavier tracks which have hints of Daft Punk to them and occasional moments of silliness which sound inspired by another Ninja Tune alumni, Luke Vibert. The production is clean and crisp but with enough swagger and soul to not feel contrived and it straddles that line in electronic music at the moment which is simultaneously enjoyable in a club or in your home. Thursday maybe the new Friday but this is perfect for either.
3. Snoop Lion – Here Comes The King (Taken from the album Reincarnated released 22 April 2013 on Berhane Soundsystem label)
Is he a P.I.M.P? Is he a misogynist? Is he a character? Is he really still rocking that hair? Who cares because Snoop Dogg is now Snoop Lion and he’s releasing ridiculously rad reggae…Here Comes The King indeed. Who knows whether the change in name and style is a gimmick, who knows if it’s all just an excuse to smoke more weed and who once again, who cares when the music sounds as good as this? The trailer for the documentary of Snoop’s change in lifestyle and a few tracks have been floating around the web for months now and every tantalising teaser of the tracks seems to point towards ballsy reggae with catchy hooks and contemporary production and this track especially has become one of my favourite tracks of the year so far already rastafarianism. Benefitting from a luscious chant and chorus by Angela Hunte, who’s written other memorable hooks like Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z, the track is just so much fun with it’s huge dirty drop and Snoop Lion’s call out for revolution and adoption of the Rastafari movement. This is a track to be enjoyed only with a serious soundsystem and the volume turned way up to experience that rolling bassline, bow cause Here Comes The King!
4. Pulp – After You Soulwax Remix (Taken from the exclusive record store day 12″ released 20 April 2013 on Rough Trade Records)
Excuse me while I just gush a little. A dance track written by Pulp the arthouse wonders who know how to pen a classic or two, produced by James Murphy aka LCD Soundsytem who has fine tuned 21st Century dancefloor fillers to within an inch of their life, and remixed by Soulwax the undisputed rulers of the remix. I’m sorry I made you gush! The original release of ‘After You’ was a fun affair pairing up Pulp and James Murphy to blistering effect and providing an exciting lift to the dirge of 90’s bands coming back on the scene to make songs just as they used to two decades before, this felt like it at least had a place in 2013! Jarvis Cocker’s on full Sheffield minstrel duty providing an amusing, sexy and powerful vocal with a danceable disco track bringing the whole thing together nicely. Now SoulWax have got their hands on it and turned it into a club behemoth, this is one for taking people nice and high and crazy as the party gets into gear, just listen to the build up and drop around the five minute mark and tell me you can’t see the whole club going mental in your mind! After you indeed.
5. Daft Punk – Get Lucky (Taken from the album Random Access Memories released 21 April 2013 on Daft Life records)
Let me tell you a truth right now, the hottest day of the year so far was 21st April 2013. That’s right, Daft Punk, control the weather. If like me you’ve been tentatively thrilled at the prospect of a new album from the fucking fantastic French duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo & Thomas Bangalter then you’ll understand the rapturous reaction to the footage from Coachella announcing the album and debuting tiny snippets of this new song. After days of fake versions or just listening to the tiny snippets on loop this cut from the album landed, as a song it’s a brilliant throwback to the sounds & production of the 70’s featuring Pharrell Williams crooning seductively & Niles Rodgers (of Chic fame) providing a killer hook. I played a gig on the Friday night after it’s release and can tell you it was already a massive crowd pleaser, a bonafide dancefloor filler and an instant classic within hours of it’s release, not many bands can do that. In fact I don’t know any other band who have done that so instantaneously apart from maybe Michael Jackson whose blood, as well as other disco and electro legends, runs through this track like sexy, booty shaking elixir. Blood on the dancefloor you might say?
Thanks for tuning in for another Musical Musings & if you like this make sure to check out Dead Canary Comics for my Monthly Musings on comics too.
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PEACE, MK xx