It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a “Single Play” column, and that’s because of one reason: I got lazy. I’ll try to remedy that with a sample of some songs that I’ve connected with in the past few weeks. In fact, many of these artist are singers, bands, DJs I’ve featured in this space before. So while the names may be familiar, the music is new — or novel.
“Blindfold,” Canopy Climbers
I featured this band last year in May with their song “Stuck”– a jaunty tune that had a wonderfully infectious chorus. The band is back with an EP of new songs, and “Blindfold” is the song on the record I kept circling back to. It’s nothing like the hook-heavy “Stuck,” but rather has more of a hypnotic vibe that centers on a minimal chorus that’s backed by the rhythm of hand clapping. All in all, and impressive follow-up to their previous recording.
“Falling 4 U,” Devyn Rose
For decades being a hip-hop artist meant risking being the flavor of the month…and then being discarded by fickle fans. Nowadays, artist who are categorized in the hip-hop genre tend to have a longer shelf life. There’s no science behind it, but if I had to guess, it’s that the genre has undergone another transformation that emphasizes more traditional forms of songwriting. That’s not to say that Devyn Rose is a traditionalist. Far from it. What struck me about her music the first time I heard the single “Who Am I” was the way in which she deviated from bombast and emphasized a subdued, more breathy sound. With “Falling 4 U” she assembles an interesting soundscape that combines atmospherics with delicate beat. This allows Rose to add layers of vocals that creates a sonic treat in the headphones.
“Teardrop (The Basement Tapes Remix), Massive Attack
From NZ, the Basement Tapes is a producer (And probably a DJ. I’m just guessing here since little is known about who the person called “the Basement Tapes” is). I’ve featured a couple of his songs before because I really like his work. When he dropped a remix of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” on Soundcloud last week, I was intrigued, but a little worried that it might not grab me. That’s because I’m rarely taken by remixes these days. I used to really like them, but I think with the advent of technology that makes it easier to remix songs, the market got flooded with a bunch of weird remixes…and my taste for them waned. Well, I’m happy to report that the guy known as the Basement Tapes has done justice to “Teardrop.” Already a classic hit from Massive Attack with alternative and electronica fans, and then becoming tied to the TV show, “House,” one would think there was little one could do to the song to make it sound fresh — but the Basement Tapes has given the song an interesting twist that makes it sounds very fresh indeed.
“Strong” London Grammar
My latest music crush. I mentioned this band in the recent Popdose Music Roundtable and my musical twin (well, actually triplet), David Medsker was eager to hear it. The more I listen to this song, the more I am taken by Hannah Reid’s voice — and I hope you hear why I find this song so appealing. I know I’m not alone on my excitement about this band. Another fan I had a Twitter back and forth last week with described the band as a cross between Florence + the Machine with The xx, and I can totally hear it. Yes, much of popular music is derivative, but a good song is a good song no matter where it draws its inspiration from. London Grammar is currently on tour, and, as luck would have it, the show they are doing in San Francisco is sold o-u-t out, so I won’t be able to sway and shoe gaze with my fellow fans of the band. But hey, we’ll always have the recording, right?