JULIAN TAYLOR BAND – NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP
For Fans of: Fitz & the Tantrums, Philosopher Kings, Gnarls Barkley, Charles and Eddie, Saint Saviour,
E. GRIZZLY – SHARK HUNTER QUINT
For Fans of: Lateef the Truthspeaker, Buck 65, MF Doom, Heems,
I’d like to welcome you to the Adventures of E. Grizzly, the entertaining website of one of the most raspy and rambunctious MCs out there. It is a mix of hilarious artwork (check out the painting) and youtube videos, but also live shows, songs, and lyrics from the gravelly-voiced, Miami-based rapper E. Grizzly (aka Eric). The highlight for me so far has been finding the indie-rock tinged track Shark Hunter Quint off his newest mixtape – The Nah Mixtape. As stated in Grizzly’s site, the album was produced by the drummer of the punk band 1994, and the influence made for a great marriage. Industrial drums and rock reverb get layered with whirling synth to create a My Bloody Valentine-esque wall of noise that sounds completely novel for a hip hop track. Grizzly’s weathered but energetic delivery adds sand to that storm as he belts out thoughtful and unique lyrics - “I’m about the new religion of free thinkin’, without the superstition”. And all the sounds blend together perfectly in the earworm of a chorus “I-I-I-I-I’m an American Guerrilla”. This is a stellar concoction of new ideas and solid rapping that has me saying, at least for today, IMVERYGUERRILLA.
TRIFONIC – NINTH WAVE
Painting Credit: Jeremy Geddes
For Fans of: Apparat, Clams Casino, Lukid, King Felix, Chill Wave,
In Celtic folklore, the world of the known and the world of the unknown are the divided by the ninth wave from the shore. Beyond that ninth wave, according to legend, are the islands of the Otherworld that are free from war and hardship, and carry within them the promise of eternal peace. This might just have been the feeling these San Franciscan brothers were shooting for.
Brian Trifon, best known for his soundtrack work on some of the most popular video games (Assassin’s Creed, Halo, Ghost Recon), paired up with his brother Laurence to form Trifonic back in 2005. Since then, they have enjoyed their share of critical acclaim and small screen recognition (even used on CSI), and have now dropped their new album Ninth Wave. And akin to the folklore they used as inspiration, the sounds are very much peaceful and…well…otherworldly.
In the title track, plucked strings are cut and looped, tweaked and sliced, and allowed to ebb and flow as natural as the tide. Echoing atmospherics hover overhead while a snapping percussion snakes its way through the song. The highlight drops at nearly two minutes when what sounds like a violin as seen by a funhouse mirror wobbles its way in, and an equally dizzying electric guitar strolls along side it. The effect is as calming as it is transportive.
Brian wrote to IMVERYAPE stating the song is more or less about how change and progress come in waves, and how this reflects the peaks and valleys of their own creative process. Whatever undulating pattern illustrates their method, I look forward to what new waves from Trifonic bring us.
MAJOR LAZER – GET FREE (FEAT. AMBER COFFMAN)
For Fans of: Dirty Projectors, Bob Marley, Jamaican Soul, Rihanna, Lauryn Hill,
Tis the season for sharing, and I have relied on all the blogs I follow to share the gems I missed in 2012. Although I am only ten dollars through my iTunes gift card, all ten of those tracks have been winners, including Major Lazer’s Get Free. I discovered this slow Reggae-inspired song on acityinthemidwest‘s great list ACITM’s Top Music Videos of 2012. I’ve always enjoyed the quality of these Chicagoan, brother-sister duo’s site, and I one hundred percent agree with their choices for best videos. Especially the day-in-the-life-of-your-average-Jamaican video for Get Free. The video is shown in slow-motion, which perfectly reflects Get Free‘s laid back feel. Music fans who may not have been able to find the right time and place for Major Lazer’s often abrasive wall of noise will appreciate the timid vibe on this one. Diplo and Switch give Moombahton a break, and give the boys and the girls in the dancehall a chance to slow dance.
Thanks acityinthemidwest, and long live the Best-Of list!
FRANK OCEAN – WISEMAN
For Fans of: R. Kelly, Weeknd, Marvin Gaye,
I am a big step behind the blogosphere on this one, so I won’t go into much detail about the history of the song. As most know, it is a song meant for Tarantino’s Django, but an appropriate scene wasn’t available for it so it ended up on the cutting room floor. However, it somehow still made it out to the public. That is a great thing, because much like Thinkin Bout You, Wiseman is a touching slow burner. Even better, the lyrics have matured since Channel Orange. Ocean levels the playing field by saying there are no good or bad men, no strong or weak, we are all just flesh and blood. We may have sins, but the killer in me is the killer in you. It is a true, but often ignored wisdom, and I haven’t heard it so sweetly expressed as this.
CLAMS CASINO – HUMAN LIARS – NO. 1 AGAINST THE RUSH
Photo Credit (Liars): Lewis Stapleton
(Human) For Fans of: Chill Wave, (No. 1…) For Fans of: Joy Division, Interpol, The Horrors,
As I have only spent eight dollars of my iTunes gift cards, I am still mining for those nuggets of 2012 gold that slipped past my pan (sorry, a lot of Discovery channel this week). Excellent website Hello Empty Room, and their Tracks of 2012 list, didn’t help me spend my money (as I had these tracks already), but they reminded me how post-worthy these two songs really were. Clams Casino, made famous for his production work with A$AP Rocky, shows off his mellow and downright spiritual vibes with Human. The vocals swim in and out of the foreground as if they were being pushed by a calm tide. They are completely unintelligible, but like the sample used on Vast’s Touched, they seem all the more powerful for it. The occasional waterfall of white noise and drums washes across to rejuvenate the track, and it remains fresh for its three and a half minute span. The Liars, who first won me over with The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack, have made me a fan again with this Joy Division-inspired tune. Angus Andrew’s delivery is part Ian Curtis crooning, and part Faris Badwan dream pop, and it pairs perfectly with the icy cold, slow-burning instrumentation. Despite the lack of any real build, it works in a bizarre and hypnotic fashion.
Thanks Hello Empty Room, and long live the Best-Of list!
NOTORIOUS B.I.G. x COOKIN SOUL – JUICY XMAS
Artwork Credit – IMPECORP
As my search for the perfect websites to offer me the best ideas for my iTunes cards continues, I have definitely found some gems. Recent favourite of IMVERYAPE, Match Musik, is a stellar site that continuously finds great tracks in a wide variety of genres. Last night, on one of my regular visits to the site, I had to chuckle at the image in front of me. A cartoon version of the Ready to Die baby was sitting with a big grin in front of a christmas tree. Well, growing up as a teen in the nineties and idolizing the Nas and Notorious B.I.G.s of the world, I had to check it out. It turns out Match Musik is offering a free download of the entire Ready for Xmas mashup by Cookin Soul. This holiday album mixes bombastic Christmas classics with B.I.G.’s smooth vocals. My personal favourite is the remake of Juicy using Donny Hathaway’s This Christmas. It gives the celebratory lyrics a very welcomed celebratory sound. It will put a big grin on your face.
Thanks Match Musik!
ROBERT GLASPER – AFRO BLUE (FEAT. ERYKAH BADU)
For Fans of: The Roots, Erykah Badu, Tribe Called Quest, Jazz, R&B,
Like a kid in a candy store with his newly received allowance, I have been joyfully rummaging through the many “Best of 2012″ lists with iTunes gift cards in hand. Last night I found the fantastic Potholes in My Blog website, and their equally fantastic The Best Songs of 2012 (Part 2). This particular list will ensure it keeps all viewers up-to-date with the best hip hop and R&B 2012 had to offer. My favourite find was the super chill track Afro Blue. It is light Jazz/Soul music with Erykah Badu’s mellow vocals moving serpentine to the melody. The instrumentation is just subtle enough to not outshine Badu, but it is also what gives the song its catchy hook, namely that jazz flute that would even put a smile on Ron Burgundy’s face. This is the perfect music for escaping the cold with a hot chocolate and fireplace.
Thanks Potholes in my Blog, and long live the Best-Of List!
FAMILY BAND – MOONBEAMS
Photo Credit – Tom Hines
For Fans of: Julee Cruise, Feist, First Aid Kit,
Tis the season to enjoy the splendours of “Best of 2012″ lists. For me, it is one of the best parts of the holiday season. As a contributor for Little by Listen put it, it is like “discovering a couple more months worth of music” in the matter of a couple weeks. Finding a great track is like finding a needle in a haystack, but with best-of lists, the haystack becomes about fifty percent needles (that makes it sound painful, let’s say marbles in a haystack). And I found a one-of-a-kind marble in Bullett’s The Indisputable , Definitive 20 Best Songs of 2012. Family Band, a Brooklyn-based indie-folk group has created a sparse slow-burner reminiscent of Julee Cruise’s work on Twin Peaks. Like Cruise, they implement a minimal strumming electric guitar with cool, dark synths floating overhead. However, where Cruise’s final effect was eerie and unsettling, Moonbeams remains simply a moving piece. The key exists in the vocals’ frank delivery. It is the sound of a strong, but weathered woman, seemingly tired of white knights coming in with “moonbeams” in their mouth with “stardust pouring out”. It is not real, and it is not what she needs. It is not so much the story of a jaded lover, but instead a woman far too aware of the reality of the world. It carries a great strength.
Thank you Bullett, and long live the Best-Of List!