The Basement Tapes, ”I’m Walking Away”
You know, music from New Zealand isn’t only about Flight of the Conchords or Lorde. I’ve featured The Basement Tapes before, and wouldn’t feature them again if it wasn’t for the fact that the type of electronica music they create is so freakin’ great. Electronica is a genre that can be very soulless, but The Basement Tapes inject the human element into the mix by featuring vocalists who contrast the hypnotic, but chill, beats with voices that certainly have soul. Have a listen to ”I’m Walking Away” and you’ll hear what I mean. My only complaint about the song is that it’s too short.
Elephant Stone, ”A Silent Moment”
During the 1960s, many rock and pop groups looked to India to infuse their music with an exotic or meditative sound that eventually got labeled ”psychedelic.” Well, that trend didn’t completely vanish. Elephant Stone has picked up on the long arc of groups who have dipped their musical toes into the psychedelic waters for both inspiration and expression. However, Elephant Stone, a Montreal Hindie-Rock band, has more going for them than a kind of musical dilettantism. Rather, the group has an accomplished sitar player (Rishi Dhir) who adds more musical layers to the group’s trippy sound. And while their single ”Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” is quite good, I was more taken with ”A Silent Moment” because it has a varied palette of sounds that range from rock to more traditional Indian ragas.
The Shiverin’ Sheiks, ”Slow Down”
When I was in high school, The Stray Cats, it seemed, were the ones who were bringing that 50s sound to ”the kids.” Rockabilly was certainly a nifty way to experience new music with a retro flavor back then. Well, that genre came and went (maybe it still exists in some enclaves), but with The Shiverin’ Sheiks, they don’t mess around with trying to sound like music from the 50s, they just go ahead and cover it. Case in point: ”Slow Down,” the late 50’s R&B classic that was penned by Larry Williams. It’s a party-starter that they cover faithfully. Sure, it’s not the original, but this Glasgow four-piece band sure plays it like it is.
Mati Matisse, ”I’ll Be Ok”
This electronica/dance tune evoked a breezy quality when I first heard it. It’s not a hardcore dance anthem, but rather has a lighter touch that’s both hypnotic and catchy. Who’s the composer? Mati Matisse, a Dutch DJ who relocated to South Africa. Matisse was originally a jazz musician before trading in his musical gear for DJ equipment and software. Just goes to show you that even though you may be experienced in one form of music, when your muse comes a-calling, you open the door — even if she’s asking you to get behind a DJ rig.