Meerkuts’ Musical Musings – June 2013
FESTIVAL SEASON HAS BEGUN!
It’s the time of year where music becomes news headline material and images of people grooving to the latest hit, sounds of crowds singing a classic song arm in arm or videos of inebriated people twirling under the stars to dirty beats are everywhere. That’s right, Glastonbury 2013 is upon us! Festivals are a perfect way to experience music and new music, for me, is what festivals are really all about. Over the years I’ve found so many new acts in a daze at festivals including Dizraeli & The Small Gods, Chromeo, Sound of Rum, Gentleman’s Dub Club, AK-DK, The Black Eagles, Beardyman & many more. So alongside my five picks of June’s top track I also urge you to get out of the city, head to a field, enjoy your favourite music and find some new music too, PEACE x
1. Jon Hopkins – Open Eye Signal (Released on 3rd June 2013 via Domino Records)
I’ve loved Jon Hopkins for a while now following his incredible 2009 album Insides and his stunning work with King Creosote over the last few years so this new album was an immediate purchase on day of release. What stuns me about the music Mr. Hopkins releases is that it’s so visceral. The production and progression of each song catches you of guard as if you were waiting to hear classical music but suddenly you’re transported to the excitement before a night out and then a track will sucker punch you into full blown euphoria before calmly pairing back to post night out bliss. This album is a ride, it’s a journey and it’s a very enjoyable one a that. This single has caught me slap bang in a period where stripped back, minimal dance music is infecting everything I do and with it’s pulsing rythmn, squelchy sounds and rapturous vibe this track conjures up so many emotions and triggers the feeling you get before you head off somewhere exciting so well. The video is also pretty stunning too. I can see this track soundtracking late night areas in festivals, beach fires and house parties all summer long!
2. Riva Starr – The Care Song ft. Bob Andy (Released End of June 2013 via Snatch! Records)
Oh Rodigan how you’ve shaped my year so far, I hope to be able to shake your hand when I see you this weekend. I first heard this corking track from one of Ram Jam’s shows earlier in the year which then turned out to be by Riva Starr who I’d been recommended previously by Kid Karcinogenic as a pounding, club act., thanks to you both. This new album from Riva Starr has been coming for a few months now but is scheduled for release any day now and features awesome tracks with guests as diverse as Roots Manuva, Speech Debelle, Fatboy Slim & Horace Andy as well as this brilliantly bouncy track with Bob Andy. Riva Starr seem to be channelling Norman Cook at the height of his remix and production capabilities with this tune infusing classic sounds with a fun and summery track and focused only on making people dance and be happy. I’m excited to hear the rest of the album when it finally comes out but for the time being, let’s hear this one again – REWIND my selectah!
3. Holden – The Catepillar’s Intervention (Released 21st June 2013 via Border Community Recordings)
James Holden has always been a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve absolutely loved some of his previous tracks, like when I heard ‘The Sky Was Pink‘ on huge soundsystem at about 4am, but then some of his other output has left me cold. I think in my younger days I wanted my dance music to attack me with basslines, huge drops, soaring melodies and more silliness than you find in an episode of Arrested Development but now my tastes have changed. As with the Jon Hopkins track and other groups like The xx, Daphni & Caribou (same person different styles) as well as people like Bonobo getting more club focused there’s a definite movement of groove led tracks that don’t necessarily pound the dancefloor but get you itching to be on it all the same. With this latest album from Holden it goes further than that though, it almost reminds me of Sun-Ra or Fela Kuti in that you can enjoy the basic groove of one of the tracks but you really need to shift your perspective and immerse yourself in this to truly enjoy it. The sounds he’s producing using his analog synths, the contrast to the usual polished dance music, the expansive tracks with subtle builds and jazz influenced nature just come together to form a challenging but ultimately incredible album. I might try and track this down on vinyl beacuse even after first listen, I’m already ready to go back again!
4. Fat Freddy’s Drop – Blackbird (Released 21st June 2013 via The Drop)
Check it First Then Show Them Some Love on Itunes here
The New Zealand based purveyors of soul tinged, jazz infused reggae are back, and they’re back on form too. After incredible buzz from live shows, astounding EP’s and an instant classic first album ‘Based On A True Story‘ they had a bit of trouble finding themselves in the late 2000’s releasing a good but not entirely great LP ‘Dr. Boondigga & The Big BW‘ in 2009. Now however, they are back with a collection of smile enducing, sun coaxing, summer soundtracking tunes that have equal parts talent, soul, maturity and best of all bounce. The title track of the album is pure Fat Freddy’s, a ten minute long cut with beautiful intro, honey-dipped vocals, stunning horn arrangements, epic keys and delicious drops courtesy of DJ Fitchie. The whole album is just as good with moments of real beauty mixed with the more bouncy fare as well as a progression in their sound without losing what made them such a great band to begin with. I’ve said it about a few albums this year so far but Blackbird is strong contender for sound of my summer!
5. Myron & E – Clap Sing (Released on 19th June 2013 via Stones Throw Records)
Stones Throw has been a record label that ofen slips my mind but it’s been producing sublime music for years now and as proven by Madlib’s track last month, they just keep them hits coming. This is classic Stones Throw release bringing nostalgic, beautiful music from the past bang up to date with skilled production and intuitive choices. Harking back to the days of Motown, Northern Soul & Stax this track oozes happiness, good times and best of all summer. It’s one of those songs where you have to go back and check the release date on the vinyl because it really could have been put out in the sixties or seventies but this is not only contemporary but it sounds so fresh too. We’ve had a lot of reggae, dub and Jamaican music in my musings so far this year and as much as that is a go to for summer sounds, there’s nothing quite like driving with the window down and blazing out some northern soul while the sun shines. Keep ’em coming Stones Throw, keep ’em coming!
Have a lovely festival season everyone and I’ll see you in July with some suprise additions to Meerkuts’ Musical Musings but for now, enjoy these mixtapes which feature tracks from all the months musings so far.
PEACE, MK x