Tag Archives: vintage

Monthly Playlist: Jan. 2021

31 Jan

A new year, a new hope and – depending on where you live – the same old lockdown. One thing keeping us going is of course the music, and so without further ado, here are the top five tracks of this month.

 5. “Vintage” by Blu DeTiger

Blu DeTiger (unbelievably her real name) is a 21-year-old NYC DJ whose added color is that she also plays a mean bass. She released two songs in 2020 (but don’t let the low rate fool you – as a Gen Z DJ-slash-female-bassist, DeTiger is, as you would imagine, big on TikTok). Last week, she followed those up with the expectedly bass-heavy track “Vintage”. The gist of the song is that DeTiger is stuck in a love/hate equation with a throwback boy who loves all things 00s and 90s (which, for someone born in 2000 like herself, is vintage I suppose). Overall, the Tame Impala-esque bass line paired with DeTiger’s slightly aloof vocals makes for a cool, fresh track.

4. “Typhoons” by Royal Blood

After the massive thumping hit that was last October’s “Trouble’s Coming“, Royal Blood have finally expounded further on said trouble. The two-member rock band’s third album Typhoons will be out on April 30th, and the title track was released earlier this month. “Typhoons” is classic Royal Blood from start to finish: a dense, hard-hitting production between Mike Kerr’s bass/guitar gymnastics and Ben Thatcher’s simply tireless drums. Also notable were the Foals-like jagged elements on the chorus vocals, as well as the more layered sounds in the pre-chorus and outro portions. At this point, these two are such a ruthlessly efficient sound machine that any audible change implies significant experimentation, so this is a promising taste of the upcoming Typhoons.   

3. “Tonight Tonight” by Celeste

Almost exactly a year ago, Celeste was named as the BBC’s Sound of 2020 – an annual poll of the most likely new act to breakthrough to the mainstream. The prediction was echoed by everyone from GQ to Gucci, and by all measures, they were correct. The British singer-songwriter has had a glamorous year (despite everything), including an Oscar-nominated song for The Trial of the Chicago 7 and an end-credits duet with Jon Batiste on the new Pixar movie. Earlier this month, Celeste released her hotly-anticipated debut album Not Your Muse, from which “Tonight Tonight” is a standout new track. On this song, Celeste’s nostalgic, slightly melancholic vocals meld seamlessly with brisk, modern jazz instrumentals – something that has been done before, for sure, but there’s a certain undeniable freshness that she brings to the table. Keep your eye on Celeste – she’s on her way to household-name status, if she isn’t there already.

2. “No One Knows” by The Vaccines

“No One Knows” from the Queens of the Stone Age’s landmark 2002 record Songs For the Deaf ranks among the best songs of the decade. It’s no easy feat to cover the track in a refreshing manner that’s also respectful of the original’s relentless, raw energy – but The Vaccines have done more than alright here. “No One Knows” takes QOTSA’s hard-hitting LA-cool-meets-leather-jacket vibes and turns it into a dream-pop, mellow track with a pared-back version of that famous beat. This one-off cover is apparently from their upcoming Cozy Karaoke EP and a prelude to the fifth album that they’re seemingly set to release in 2021 – good stuff so far!

1. “Don’t Be Dumb” by Dizzee Rascal feat. Ocean Wisdom

There isn’t much breathing room on the new track “Don’t Be Dumb”, a collab between UK grime legend Dizzee Rascal and compatriot rapper Ocean Wisdom. The entire track is structured like a no-holds-barred cypher, with Dizzee and Ocean Wisdom exchanging zingers and brags at speeds that your brain can just barely process. And as if that wasn’t enough, the track is loaded with Dizzee’s trademark deep, bouncy grime beats. This is the kind of track that makes you (rightly) wonder why you don’t listen more to UK rap. Our pick of the year’s tracks so far.

Miles Davis: Blue Moods

25 Jun

Blue Moods is a beautiful album. It’s absolutely perfect for after a stressful day, cutting effortlessly through the knot of your tension – not like Alexander with a series of vicious chops, but peacefully. Very, very peacefully. Don’t get me wrong: peaceful as it may be, Blue Moods is not an album that can dismissed as just ‘easy listening’. What’s important to understand here is the fact that while its four tracks are restrained, it doesn’t mean that the songs are shallow or uncomplicated in any way.

Blue Moods is a quintessential cool jazz album by Miles. It’s full of those slow ballads that he liked, and the sound is like fat, iridescent bubbles rising in a smoky room and then popping, one by one. While Miles completely overshadows his supporting cast in this album, both Charles Mingus (bass) and Elvin Jones (drums) do wonderfully in a much more relaxed setting than they were used to. Mingus has a couple of nice solos as well, but these merely serve as breaks from Miles’ playing. This is his album; and despite the greatness of his supporting cast, one really cannot overstate that at all.

The first track “Nature Boy” in particular is wonderfully  slow and relaxed; it’s easily the best song on this album. In fact,  put “Nature Boy” in any album ever, and it alone would be enough justification to pick that album up.  However, the languidness of the song makes the albums’ transition into the more active “Alone Together” rather dissonant. (And it doesn’t help that “Alone Together” is probably the weakest track of the album either.) However, a nice vibraphone does a lot to save it. The two standout compositions, “Nature Boy” and “Easy Living” are weakened by their surrounding of merely good tracks. However, if a couple of tracks set an impossibly high bar, we should not complain that the rest fall short.

Verdict: This is not an album that must be picked up. Really, one would do just fine with “Nature Boy” and nothing more, but these are all rewarding tracks, and if you are looking for some relaxing cool jazz, this is as good a place as any other.

– Nikhil

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