Tag Archives: indie

Deerhunter – Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?

29 Jan

Mixing upbeat pop with depressing lyrics is arguably the biggest cliché in the indie music scene. Juxtaposing the two sounds is an easy way for lesser bands to come off as deep while cleverly hiding an inability to craft complex music. Deerhunter are among a small subset of bands that have proven able to rise above the trope. Over the past two decades, the band has created some incredibly layered music that warrants multiple revisits to understand its intricacies and hidden depths.

Deerhunter’s eighth album Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared thankfully continues this trend, with the 10-song LP finding the band at both their most pop-sounding and their most nihilistic, with polished sounds playing off depressingly bleak lyrics.

Take the album’s second track, “No One’s Sleeping”, where the electric clavichord and up-tempo drums hide the depressing childlike lyrics (“No one’s sleeping / great unrest / in the country / there’s much duress”). Frontman Bradford Cox has commented extensively on the influence played by British MP Jo Cox’s assassination at the hand of a right-wing assailant, but you wouldn’t dwell on it until you dig deeper.

Another standout track that repeats this recurring theme of pop-laden nihilism is “What Happens to People?”. There’s this 2-chord piano phrase that sticks in your head, almost distracting you from the song’s underlying message: “What happens to people? / They fade out of view”.

Disappeared is also notably timely and (very subtly) political, abandoning the band’s earlier nostalgia shtick. This is an album replete with visions of a decaying civilisation that call you not to arms, but to introspective attention, such as in “Détournement” or “Futurism”. It’s almost impossible in this day and age to devoid art from politics and the current state of the world, but Deerhunter’s take is somewhat refreshing even if it does require the occasional hiding-of-sharp-objects to process.

Album opener “Death in Midsummer”

Ultimately, Disappeared is probably not going to make too many year-end lists, nor is it going to drastically expand the band’s wagon. Still, it’s a very solid addition to an already stuffed catalogue, and will definitely have you hitting replay (and, quite likely, a nearby pub).

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Fresh Voice: A Conversation with Srijit Bhowmick

6 Oct

Sri My Indie Playlist With Sri Vol01 Image 01_Srijit Bhowmick_PC Jyotirmoy Gupta

Srijit Bhowmick is a promising young singer-songwriter from Mumbai. In August 2017, he released his three-track EP Sri, a lilting mix of solid songwriting and good musical instincts. Bhowmick has a unique voice and wields it bravely. Although his tone itself is pleasant enough, his distinction lies in the way he makes his voice glide, shorten, elongate and stretch around the music.

Barely a month after his EP release, Bhowmick was featured on an Apple Music playlist celebrating Indian pop for “Am I Here”, an elliptical, wistful track that showcases his vocals – he makes a growl mutate into an echoing shout and a falsetto transform into a haunting whisper with seeming ease. (Funnily enough, we found “Am I Here” to be the least likely contender of the three songs for a pop music list, but what do we know about lists?)

“Yesterday’s Child” is a short but well-written ode to the growing pains associated with a disappointing middle age – bills, mortgages, all of that fun stuff. Bhowmick’s soothing guitar melody is supported well by piano, played by his associate Hrushabh Talapadatur. “Helpless” is our favorite track, though. The guitar work is deft and well-arranged, and Bhowmick’s voice is tethered within ranges that most people would consider pleasant. The lyrics are pretty good too, with clever lines that easily bring to mind a lost love. Maybe it’s the Dylan-tinged nostalgia that set it off, but we definitely got a whiff of Jake Bugg here.

We recently caught up with Sri for his take on his eponymous EP, his musical influences, and more. Check it out below!

So, let’s start at the beginning. Tell us a bit about yourself! 

I’m an indie singer-songwriter and I write songs about life. I was born in Calcutta but grew up in Bombay from the age of seven. Studying for Engineering/Medical was the stereotypical middle-class expectation, so I picked up the guitar as a replacement in high school. I always liked music and could always sing. And so, it began.

I have been writing for almost eight years now. It wasn’t until 2014 that I felt my solo material was taking some form and shape, something I could be really proud of. By 2016, I felt I finally had good enough material to go live with and so, I’ve been at it ever since.

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We listened through your three-track EP Sri a few times already, and we love it! To us, your music seems to draw influences from Dylan-era sounds as well as newer artists like Alex Turner – but we’d love to hear from you. What would you count as your greatest influences, musical or otherwise?

That feels great, thank you! Dylan-era sounds have influenced me quite a bit in terms of songwriting. Such a defining period in the history of music – I believe the 60s influenced almost everyone directly or indirectly. Having said that, it’s always a difficult thing to answer, because I’ve had a so many different sets of musical influences over time in phases that they must have consciously or otherwise become a part of my “musicality”.

Growing up, I had the stereotypical Indian mainstream influences coupled with what my Bengali roots provided. I picked up the guitar in high school, and so that became such an important time for discovering more music. Since then, my biggest influences have been Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Dire Straits, Guns ‘n Roses, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Cat Stevens, Oasis, Iron Maiden and various others, alongside some Bangla rock acts and a lot of urban Indian indie music. As for my writing, many movies have played a huge part. I was lucky enough to have enjoyed Satyajit Ray’s films since a young age; Rashomon, Hazaroon Khwaishein Aisi and Schindler’s List have also touched me deeply.

I would always sing at home, but with the introduction of guitar in life, I could improvise and jam with myself and I think that was a turning point. All of it was self-learned. I did the same with words, experimenting, pouring out whatever that came to my mind, and I think together those things sort of synced sometime around 2014.

I think tastes and attitudes are partly affected by our surroundings. As we know more, we are able to choose the ones we’d like to keep, and discard the rest, and figure out where to look for new ones. That is how the evolution of my musical influences has been, and I think my music reflects that. For example, “Yesterday’s Child” has got a little bit of a folksy vibe, almost like American folk music, but “Am I Here” and “Helpless” have maybe a bit of rock ‘n roll seeped in. Of course, it’s up to the listeners.

Tell us a little about your songwriting process. What comes first – the music, the lyrics, or something else altogether?

Usually, it’s a bit of this and a bit of that. I may have a musical idea and then try scribbling something down. And then I add some more musical ideas. Or the other way around – it really depends on the mood, or what’s on my mind. Did I read something that affected me or observed something or someone or pondered over things or just imagined situations? There’s a lot of to and fro to it. You arrive at a moment, or you try to go back to that musical idea you wrote months and years back as well. There are songs I have written in 10 minutes and there are songs I have literally worked at for days. The whole thing is almost maddening to the outside world but there’s an underlying process I’ve chalked out over the years.

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Your song was recently featured on an Apple Music list celebrating fresh new voices in Indian independent pop. That must have felt awesome! What do you have lined up to promote your EP and spread the word going forward?

It felt really great! I think “Am I Here” is still on there and that’s amazing, given that it’s from my first-ever EP and that it’s alongside such stellar Indian indie acts.

Most importantly, I’d love to play as many gigs as I can, take my music to new places, and hopefully plan a tour. My music is best experienced in the quiet embrace of a listening audience as it allows for my art to flow. Having said that, I’m an indie musician and if you pay me to play to your dog and cat, I will. Plus, cats and dogs are such amazing creatures, so why not!

I would also like to interact more with people on the business side of music. It always helps for an artist to stick to music and grow as a musician, while having better choices and help when it comes to handling the business side of it. I would also love to work on a music video or two. And if there are musicians who really like my music and are interested to work with me, I’d be glad to explore those possibilities as well.

And finally, let’s do a couple of rapid-fire questions!

  • Favorite album of all time? 

I am not much of an album person – when I was younger, I would listen to a song continuously for days and months even, until the shine wore off, before moving on. I believe that each song has got a universe of its own. That being said, Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska was an album that has had a huge influence on me and on my singer-songwriter craftsmanship.

  • Last song that you heard (that wasn’t your own)? 

Warfaze’s “Purnota”, Dire Straits’ “Why Worry”, and Parvaaz’s “Ghaib”

  • Dream venue to play your music, anywhere in the world? 

Nowhere in particular. Wherever I get paid with a good listening audience is perfect for me.

You can check out Sri on SoundCloud and Apple Music

 

A Wednesday’s Mix – Five Records to Get You To The End of the Week

11 Mar

It’s the middle of the week! Top Five Records is here to break up the monotony of your depressing existence with 5 (sort-of) new songs that will hopefully tide you over until the weekend!

 

Fuck Art, Let’s Dance! – “Atlas”

Fald

 Fuck Art, Let’s Dance! bring more to the table than just a colourful name and a call-back to Lawrence Ferlinghetti. “Atlas,” FALD!’s title track from their debut album (released in mid-2014), is a gorgeous testament to the art of understatement. The Hamburg-based quartet eschew their moniker’s call-to-arms (or legs, at least) and instead have created a song that mixes Nico Cham’s half-swallowed voice with simple drum-loops, clean guitar lines and some heavenly synth sounds that urge you to sit down and quietly contemplate your life. The song’s music video takes the urge further with its sparse visuals of chinese martial artists and dragons; all the action and movement somehow leaves you standing still.

 

 

Shubh Saran – “Mission Man”

Shubh Saran

India’s jazz scene is arguably one of the most malnourished of all the already-starved non-Bollywood music scenes, despite the existence of the Mahindra Blues Festival and sporadic city-based attempts to create a culture for it. This may explain guitarist Shubh Saran’s decision to seek greener pastures at Berklee College of Music. His debut EP, however, is an emphatic underlining of why this was the right call. A Room With a View is a beautifully crafted work of smooth jazz and neo-soul, with just enough world-music to not be obnoxious. Mission Man stands out as a killer track that makes amazing use of a saxophone, creating a jazzy hook that’s coupled with just enough piano and bass to fill out and accentuate the song. Admittedly not without a few rough edges and odd phrasings, Mission Man (and indeed the entire EP) is a great way to shut critics up who lament the modern jazz scene.

 

Young Wonder – “Intergalactic”

Young Wonder

Ireland’s musical gifts to the world just don’t seem to stop coming. Young Wonder are an electronic pop due from Cork whose new single is vibrant, haunting, and all other good things associated with the word “sparkling.” “intergalactic” dreamily begins its space-bound journey right from the first screeching synth sound, guided shortly thereafter by Rachel Koeman’s reverb-laden vocals that are dripping with whatever the ethereal version of honey is. Just shy of 4 minutes long, Intergalactic makes full use of both Rachel and Ian Ring’s considerable talents before allowing you to float gently back to the round, hungry for more.

 

Pond – “Man it Feels Like Space Again”

Pond

What is the city of Perth smoking? It’s hard to imagine, but Western Australia’s capital is home to some of the most talented psychedelic bands in the world right now. Pond have not quite managed to break into the cultural parlance beyond the island nation to the extent that their contemporaries Tame Impala have, but they’ve arguably pushed the psychedelic envelope a good deal further with their single “Man It Feels Like Space Again.” It’s 8 minutes of sheer, unadulterated bizarreness; a cacophony of discordant, disjointed instruments and effects and voices that fall just short of being grating and instead end up in a surreal, blissful territory that is its own. It’s so good it’s good. The only thing more perfectly twisted is the music video: it would be unfair to describe the outlandish, almost unsettling faux-kid’s show as Kafkaesque or Dadaist because that would just be lazy writing unworthy of the lysergide-infused spectacle.

 

The Bots – “All I Really Want”

There must be an inverse relation between band-size and overdrive, because two-piece LA outfit The Bots have some of the fuzziest, grittiest, energy-driven tracks this side of the White Stripes. It’s unfair (though quite common) to make such a comparison, though; where Meg and Jack White often seemed held back, caged, brothers Mikaiah and Anaiah Lei are unfettered and free to unleash their zeal. Their first single “All I Really Want” blazes by in two-and-a-half minutes and demands another listen, if only to keep those energy levels up. A jacked-up bass-line kicks in only to quickly segue into fuzzy guitars and Mikaiah’s deliberately-bored voice. What follows are crests and troughs of shout-singing followed by periods of short refractory, that are over all-too-quickly. The song is arguably anthemic for the milennial generation not just because of its lyrics (“Make a cup of tea/sit down and stare at the screen until I see something that relates to me/but it’s all so boring”) but with the music video: A Mac scrolling through a click-bait-titled Buzzfeed article. Literally the only time that image has made me happy.

 

 

And that’s our list! Love it? Hate it? Swept up by some third emotion we’ve failed to grasp? Leave comments below! 

 

 

Bacardi NH7 Weekender, Bangalore 2014 – Day 1

14 Nov

The Bacardi NH7 Weekender is one of our favorite events of the year. It lets us catch up with tens of acts from across the country – some new, some legendary – all within a beautiful, aesthetically arranged venue. On the weekend of November 8th and 9th, we went to the Bangalore edition of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender, and were blown away by breadth of artists on stage. Here’s our take!

Beautiful aesthetics

Day 1

We kicked off our day with a gig by funk duo Madboy/Mink atop the Red Bull Tour Bus. Comprising Imaad Shah on guitar and Saba Azad on vocals, Madboy/Mink’s energetic performance was the perfect way to pump up festival goers for the several hours to follow. The duo’s show featured some well-known numbers (“Alley Cats”) as well as some new songs (“Powders”) that literally got the crowd jumping along to Saba’s lively stage presence. Imaad even showed off a brilliant T-shirt that said “Funk Junky”, which we saw many people pick up at the band merchandise stall throughout the two days.

R-L: Madboy, Mink

Immediately after the last staccato beats of Madboy/Mink dissipated into the air, a British act called Houdini Dax was ready to go over at the Bacardi Arena. From 3:30 pm, the band had passed around little chits to people around the venue with a polite invitation to come to their 5 pm show. Perhaps because of this early publicity, the band drew quite a large crowd for a late afternoon show. And if that didn’t work, their music sure did: for Houdini Dax was easily Top Five Records’ find of the day. The Cardiff three-piece, dressed to the T in sharp collared shirts and skinny jeans, enthralled the audiences with their delectably British sound. Besides, as a bonus, their bassist pretty much looked like a young Paul McCartney.

The McCartney look-alike

The McCartney look-alike

Soon after Houdini Dax, we trudged over to the MTS Discover stage to check out the peculiarly-named Sean Roldan, a.k.a Tamilian percussion wizard Raghavendra. After Sean Roldan, Australian musician Appleonia started her set with a psychedelic, almost Vedic-inspired stage set-up that went over quite well with the slightly inebriated crowd.

On that note, we headed to the Bacardi Arena for Australian band Money for Rope. The band took the inebriated crowd to a whole new level: shitfaced drunk. Featuring two in-sync drum kits, a keyboard that’s been kicked over quite a few times and a corded telephone for special vocal effects, Money for Rope blew the collective mind of the 6:30 PM Weekender crowd. By the end of the performance, 2/5ths of the band was shirtless and 5/5ths were in a music-induced, almost Doors-like haze. It was a good way to spend the afternoon, although it must be noted that in the midst of all the theatrics, none of the songs particularly stood out.

In a few minutes, this image went on to have a second shirtless person.

In a few minutes, this image went on to have a second shirtless person.

The next few hours featured, in our opinion, the least impressive part of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender at Bangalore this year. Thankfully, there were many new food and merchandise stalls this time, and the weak early evening line-up gave us ample time to check them out. At 8:30 pm, we headed to the Redbull Tour Bus for a lovely set by Kolkata’s post-punk act The Supersonics. Channeling a little bit of Springsteen and a touch of the National, frontman Ananda Sen’s vocals were the perfect transition into the evening’s final act, Amit Trivedi. The famed composer of Bollywood flicks such as Dev.D, Wake Up Sid and Ishaqzaade attracted nearly the entirety of the Weekender population into one  happy crowd.

Amit Trivedi

And thus, Day 1 drew to close. Overall, the good array of international and domestic acts – Houdini Dax, Madboy/Mink, Money for Rope – contrasted with a weak late afternoon lineup. We left Embassy Riding School hoping for a much better Day 2.

Words by Neeharika Palaka. Images by Rajat Tibrewal.

Wednesday’s Wolves: The Queen EP

4 Aug

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It’s a buyer’s market for fans of the indie-folk genre. The likes of Of Monster’s and Men, The Tallest Man on Earth, and Mumford and Sons have popularized melodic guitars and absurdly long band names once again, making it a sizeable challenge for newcomers to leave their mark.

Wednesday’s Wolves’ debut EP The Queen EP makes an ambitious and largely successful attempt at such an impact, with a record that ends up being much, much greater than the sum of its sparse musical parts. The ridiculously gorgeous album art doesn’t hurt either!

The brain child of Ysabelle Durant and Chrissy Renker, The Queen EP avoids some of the familiar trappings of the indie folk genre and embraces others wholeheartedly, providing 12 minutes of hauntingly beautiful music that runs through a whole gamut of emotions.

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 Chrissy and Ysabelle staring wistfully at the ground/horizon

 The EP starts off with “The Stranger’s Waltz” – an understated, harmonized musical delight that showcases the duo’s talent for making magic out of almost nothing. Chrissy’s rhythm-guitar-waltz and Ysabelle’s chilling glockenspeil do a great job of enrapturing right from the start, but it’s when their blended voices kick in that they truly seize your soul. Chrissy and Ysabelle each have vocal textures reminiscent of a mix of Joan Baez and Natalie Merchant, and together are able to create some incredible harmonies, particularly in the final verse’s round.

The song is backed by some vivid (albeit somewhat obscurantist) lyrics:

“All the golden coins the callers gave to me
They vanished as the daytime caused the dark to flee
And all the silver starlight that lit up my way
It faded as the sun came up, turned silver into grey”

Reading a lot like an early Neil Gaiman draft (which would make sense, given the American Gods reference hidden in the band’s name), the lyrics paint a romanticized, gloomy picture of a symbolic “morning after.”
Up next is “War Paint.” Despite the aggressive title, the song continues the musical theme of minimalist texturing, albeit this time in a major key. Chrissy’s finger-picked guitar provides a soft but sturdy framework on which to hang her lovely reverb-laden voice. Again, Ysabelle’s glock provides a punctuated descant at all the right places.

The cheerier tones of the song are somewhat betrayed by the darker lyrics: an abstract imagery-laden take on what seems to be broken love.

“War Paint” seems to capture the electric atmosphere of the world after a Thunderstorm, making it a great song to listen to during this monsoon season!

Rounding out this too-short EP is the titular “Queen.”

“Tamer of the savage beasts
And so much braver than I ever could be
You’re queen of all that you survey
And ruler of the youth that stayed in me”

“Queen” continues the upbeat trend of “War Paint” by sticking to finger-picked major key guitar. Not dissimilar to Goldspot’s “Miss Johnson” in its musical approach, “Queen” relies equally on all of Wednesday’s Wolves’ best elements. Ysabelle’s cajon makes its presence felt properly for the first time, providing a scattered barely-there rhythm that fortifies Chrissy’s finger pickin g and allows for a marvelously mellifluous vocal line to drive the song forward. “Queen’s” bridge features Ysabelle finally going to town on her glockenspiel, creating a rhythmically intricate melody that leaves traces of itself in one’s memory long after the song (and EP) is over.

The Queen EP is a wonderful debut effort, and is evidence of a band with a bright future ahead and the ability to stick out in an overcrowded genre. Future efforts could stand to see some more musically complex work to accompany their wonderful vocal textures and moods, but it’s clear that this level of musical craftsmanship is definitely not out of their grasp.

 


The Queen EP is available on Bandcamp for livestreaming and download on a “name-your-price” basis. Physical CDs are also available at the band’s live shows, for those of you lucky enough to live in England.  Check out Wednesday’s Wolves on Facebook for more updates!

Party Time! Excellent! : A Top Five List of Essential Party Songs

6 Jul

So, it’s Friday night. You’re throwing the party of the year (or month, or day) at your place. You’ve bought yourself a new outfit (totally rockin’ those skinny jeans and Williamsburg-esque beanie), you’ve picked out the drinks (Pabst Blue Ribbon, what else?) and you’ve even rented a VCR from a quaint little vintage store (hey, it’s an idea). The only thing left is the bread and butter of your circle… the music. Whether or not your party will have its own hash-tag on Twitter will ride on this, you know it. You know that you can’t play the old stuff: MIA, CSS and Ratatat are a tad too trite for your taste. You also know that you can’t (God forbid) play Usher or Pitbull or LMFAO. What to do? Lucky for you, we’ve picked out five new songs that’ll get you dancing more than just the Shoegaze Shuffle.

5. “We Are Young”, by Fun.

Used in everything from a Chevrolet ad to WWE background music (!), American indie rock band Fun.’s “We Are Young” has officially broken into the mainstream, in a manner as grand as the song itself. Dramatic, marching-band drums unfold a feeble apology for the violence in a previous relationship (“I know I gave it you months ago/I know you’re trying to forget”).But, suddenly, the verse closes, the drums slow way down, and the song goes from an apologetic Bishop Allen to My Chemical Romance at a New York bar. And I’m not just talking about the video.

A slow jam/power ballad is hardly the type of music to suggest for a party soundtrack, and you might just sneer away this article at this point. But just wait until “We Are Young” hits the chorus (“Tonight, we are young/ So let’s set the world on fire, we can grow brighter than the Sun.”). Listen to how each syllable there is repeatedly enunciated and stretched and dramatized until your life somehow achieves melodramatic, Hollywood-tinted sunglasses, and you know why this song is such a cross-over hit. A better way to put it is this: everyone at your party will feel like they’re on the Gossip Girl season finale, full of drama and exhilaration and the heady rush of youth, and if that isn’t a formula for a great party, I don’t know what is.

Sidebar: We do have one bone to pick about this song. Janelle Monae possesses a divine voice that needs to be showcased (if at least for a verse), not delegated to mere backing vocals on the chorus. Ah well.


4. The House That Heaven Built, by Japandroids

You’re twenty years old: listless, restless and reckless to boot. You spend your days drinking, partying and falling in and out of lust. One such night, drunk on God-knows-what, all inhibition thrown out the window, you and your best friend find yourselves a guitar and a drum kit, and just decide to jam the buzz away, singing about drinking, partying and falling in and out of lust. If you’re thinking this is a good idea, it is: Japandroids did exactly this.

Their first album was aptly called Post-Nothing, which makes sense because the band isn’t post-rock, post-punk or whatever else. Japandroids make the kind of candid music that would require quite a bit of inebriation: and in that state, coming up with a genre for your sound would be impossibly contrived. Their second album is called Celebration Rock, and this is even more apt, for the eight songs here are just that: a celebration of rock, in all its original sex-and-drugs-and-rock-and-roll nature, before certain artists ruined it with all that hair and ego tripping.

“The House that Heaven Built” is a post-break up song (“But you’re not mine to die for anymore, so I must live”) and a lusty invitation (“We’ll shove our bodies in the heat of the night/ All day the day after, blood in the skies”), which are both interesting elements to throw into your party. But best of all, the Japandroids are insanely fun when you’re drunk, and few things are more important than that.

3. Night and Day, by Hot Chip

Hot Chip’s 2008 single “Ready for the Floor” introduced a wide audience to the UK band’s dark, clever synthpop, which makes our job easier: we don’t have to spend entire sentences convincing you to listen to their latest single! “Night and Day”, from their latest album In Our Heads, is a hybrid genre monster (electronic disco-synth dance music?) that articulates, from beginning to end, of burning lust. Hot Chip makes absolutely no bones about it. “The way I feel about you, baby, in the middle of the night/ there’s just one thing that I can do to make me feel alright,” hints Alexis Taylor; later, he loses even that much politesse: “If I could be inside you darling, at the center of your life/ I’d write no more upon the page, we’d live with no disguise,” he slyly suggests.

Hot Chip are masters of penning sexed-up versions of 60s pop songs about love. Besides, disco-derived electronica is always the perfect soundtrack for creating a ruckus. Listen to the first five seconds of this song, and you’ll know why we insist that this is an essential party song.

2. Idea of Happiness, by Van She

Electronic/pop band Van She’s record label introduced them as “new band from Sydney fresh on ideas, fresher than Flavor Flav, fresh like coriander, fresher than the Fresh Prince, fresher than fresh eggs,” and we think they’ve got it spot-on. Van She appear to be Gods of the synthesizer: they make those electronic beats pop, pound, march or roll over you, in a very seamless manner. “Idea of Happiness” is the title track and first single of their second album, which releases today. Through the haze of electronica, the track just yells one thing at you: “Screw it all, it’s summertime.” It’s like Junior Boys remixed a collaborative track by Hot Chip and Passion Pit in the Sydney summer. Or, to put it better, Van She’s “Idea of Happiness” is three things: Sydney, synthpop and summer. In fact, their entire album seems to be about those three things, and we suggest you give it a whirl after you’re done with this party. Or maybe during.

1. I Love It, by Icona Pop

Here’s what you need to know about Icona Pop: they’re Swedish, they’re “90s bitches”, they just got out of a relationship, and they are loving it. Like, seriously loving it. In fact, they’re so over you that they threw your stuff down the stairs and drove their own car off the bridge, and guess what? They don’t care. About anything. To put it into perspective, it’s like someone teleported ABBA into 2012, got them drunk, and made them party with Ke$ha. Believe it or not, that entire combination produced one of the best tracks of the year, period. LMFAO, look out.

So there you have it. Give  our playlist a spin at the nearest party. And tell us what you think!

– Neeharika

Anthems for the Insomniacs: Top Five Late Night Tracks

1 Jul


 
It’s 2 in the morning. The silence of the world outside is almost overwhelming. ‘Normal’ people are fast asleep by now. You, on the other hand, are wide awake. Perhaps you’re lying in bed, mind wandering in the midst of a journey with no fixed destination. Maybe you’re at your desk, midnight oil burning away as you attempt to use the uninterrupted free time and creative boost of that ghostly hour. Or maybe you’re just awake because you have nothing better to do. Either way, you need a soundtrack – music to set the tone for your night, to capture the peaceful, bittersweet, beautiful nature of true late night. Luckily, you have us to provide you with five such songs!

5. Cayman Islands, by Kings of Convenience

Norway’s traditional musical export of black metal is heavily challenged by the indie-folk-pop duo Kings of Convenience (KoC). “Cayman Islands,” from the band’s 2004 album Riot on an Empty Street, sets the scene perfectly for an extended late-night session of intense pondering. Melodic finger-picked guitars flow and meld together in warm, rich, relaxing harmonies, and serve as the perfect backdrop for Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe beautiful, mellifluous voices. Øye and Bøe sing in perfect unison, in a vocal dance with neither leader nor follower.


 
4. If We Cannot See, by Devics

“If We Cannot See” by Los Angeles indie-rock outfit Devics features the same reliance on warm harmonies, but on a much more grandiose scale. Dreamy, ethereal piano chords shift into overwhelming shoegaze-inspired guitars, as soft breathy vocals whisper-sing lyrics full of beautiful melancholy. It’s almost as if this song was designed to inspire the late-night bittersweet artist in you.


 
3. All I Need, by Radiohead

Radiohead has always been known for the quality of their music, the emotions their songs invokes and their almost uncanny ability to musically portray your thoughts. “All I Need,” from the album In Rainbows, carries on this tradition. Thom Yorke’s moody, melancholic voice and lyrics underscore the low, driving bass-line, textured soundscape and drumbeat. Echoes of guitars and pianos turn up in odd, unexpected places. The song’s climax is paradoxically both chaotic and melodically refined. “All I Need” is a gloomy, realistic vision of everything in your life that’s going wrong, but what better moment to reflect on all that than while lying awake in bed at 2AM?


 
2. Take Me Home, by Sulk Station

Bangalore’s first real trip-hop duo are a class apart in India, and not just because there’s almost no one else doing what they’re doing here. Sulk Station’s Rahul Giri and Tanvi Rao have been getting rave reviews from anyone who’s been fortunate enough to hear them. “Take me home” from the album Till You Appear features Tanvi Rao’s beautiful voice in all its haunting, understated glory, admirably supported by computer-and-synthesizer based music that stands toe-to-toe with the best chill-step out there. This is the kind of song that perfectly captures that raw, soul-weary, tired feeling you have after a too-long day of non-stop work. Too awake and alive to sleep, yet tootired to get out of bed? Throw this track on, lay back, close your eyes and let Sulk Station take over your mind and soul.


 
1. Anthems For a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl, by Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene has been a critical darling almost since their inception, and is one of the few indie music collectives that does in fact do justice to the term “supergroup,” even if they do eschew the term. “Anthems For a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl” features everything you’d want in a late-night song. High, breathy, effects-laden vocals are sung over a lilting combination of soft strings, banjos, perfectly simple drums, and guitars that focus far more on atmosphere than technique (and rightly so). The song develops gradually, gathering momentum and building up to a sustained plateau that will keep you on a musical high long after the final notes have died down. Spend some time listening to the lyrics – in a few simple lines, they express what countless teenagers and college kids have gone through and continue to go through, as they grow up and find their (sadly all-too-often fake) identities. This song will both paralyse you and invigorate you, breathless, as your mind races with all the possibilities that lay before you.


 
– Manickam.

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