Yes, I am fully aware it's been a whole 2 weeks with no Tunes. But what with starting a job with early mornings and late nights, looking for a flat in the lovely city of Bristol, and muttering curses under my breath at all the lucky people enjoying Glastonbury this weekend, I've hardly had a moment to catch my breath. First world problems, eh. Hopefully I can make it up to you with this cracking selection of tunes for the beginning of July (where has the year gone?!). A word of caution to this tale: these tracks may test you. They're all what I like to call 'growers' - you may not understand them, or even like them, on the first listen. But give the kids a chance. I promise you will be rewarded.
Tagged as 'SubSoul' on Soundcloud, this fresh sound is perfect to kick off this week's list. It's a little bit Chillwave, a little bit Electronica, a little bit gentle DubStep - rolled into an original track that will worm its way into your ears, brain, and trickle on down into your heart. The musical equivalent to a Summer breeze, Py's ethereal vocals are so high they border on being ultrasound. The gentle beats of the bass anchor it in the here and now and prevent it becoming a 'chipmunk track'. A tricky balance pulled off with aplomb. See if you agree.
Remixes of up-n-coming R&B star Miguel have been the project du jour - featuring at least twice before on TTT. This month, his song Adorn has been taken on by the marvellous Star Slinger, who's been a firm favourite of mine since I saw him live at Parklife fest 2 years ago. His signature is quirky Electro takes on even quirkier tracks - not for everybody - but this track seems to have mass-appeal. With a beat that makes you want to "shake it, baby", I defy anyone who can listen to this without their mood lifting. Happiness is just a click away...
The song of previous summers has been given a facelift for 2013. This updated version has got, wait for it, vocals - curtesy of Will Heard. His sex-smooth vocals are a perfect accompaniment for this sunshine anthem - which combines one of the catchiest sax riffs with the freshest of progressive house beats. An ideal track to take you from BBQ to street party. Enjoy those beats and burgers.
As R Kelly famously said: "after the show, there's the after-party...then take it to your room and f*ck somebody" [explicit version]. If it wasn't Ignition he was putting on for his lovemaking, it would have been this track by Dornik. Cheesy R&B 'lovemaking' tracks have been a makeover of late; they're subtler, dirtier, and way less cringe. Take Something About You as a case in point. With lyrics that wouldn't be out of place in an early 00's Usher song, the sophisticated Chillwave beat picks it up and drops it in a totally different headspace. Unlike putting on some Usher ("Usherrr"), the person you're enjoying some 'quality time' with won't entirely lose their erection. Win-win.
Here's an example of what a difference a beat makes. These songs sound like two totally different tracks - so much so that I found myself checking on my iPod what the song I was listening to was. The original 'alt-electro' bordering on Chillwave track is impressive, but the infectious beat detracts from the emotion of the lyrics. Take that away, and it becomes something totally different: a powerful, piano-accompanied, beautifully boned track - that rather than being less than the original, is, I think, so much more. Black Atlass is a new artist that I'll definitely be keeping a close eye on; watch this space.
It wouldn't be a Tune Tape Tuesday without some covers. Before I say anything, let me just say that the originals of these two tracks - Oblivion by Grimes, and Twice by Little Dragon - are two of my favourite songs ever. So for me to approve of another artist's cover is a big deal. Both Wilsen and Freeze-Tag have stripped the originals back to their bare bones - getting rid of the beat and concentrating purely on the vocals. In Wilsen's case, you might be forgiven for thinking this was simply an acoustic version by Grimes of her original track; the vocals are uncannily similar - both ethereally high, like a fairy who's inhaled helium. Freeze-Tag flips not only the sound but also the gender, slowing it right down and putting much more emphasis on the vocals than in the original. It takes some time to get used to, but I think it's a great fresh take on an original that, for me, never gets old.
This is honestly one of the most organic, and original, collaborations I've heard in some time. Feist (of 1,2,3,4) has teamed up with new guys Timber Timbre to create this beautiful track. As I stated at the beginning, this song is a grower - it might not catch you straight away, but give it a proper listen, and I think you'll agree it's a keeper. The artists' vocals work perfectly together, Feist providing the female dreaminess she's best at, Timber Timbre's masculine, earthy tones rooting it in genuine emotion. Oh and their harmonies are to die for. If you're feeling like an antidote to Summer euphoria, look no further than this thought-provoking track.
From the thought-full to the thought-less, this remix of NoNoNo's track is a mindless joy-fest. While you won't find any deep meaning here, by God you'll have a good time. There's something a little bit retro about this; perhaps it's the French accent on the vocals that remind me of c.2007 Yelle (aka my 'techtonique' phase), perhaps it's the feel-good beat that reminds me of a simpler time, who knows. It's best not to think too much - just stick it on and wave your arms about.
Shout out to a fellow Kiwi who's taking the NZ charts by storm. Lorde is a teen who's sound has mass-appeal. The infectious beat and catchy melody of her first single, Tennis Court, is slowly winging its way across the seas and will no doubt end up on Radio 1 in a matter of weeks. Make yourself sound super-cool by saying you found it first. Your friends won't think you're a hipster-dick at all.
From time to time, I like to see what people have done with a favourite song. Dreamin' by Feldberg is an old favourite I discovered about 3 years ago with the help of a Kitsuné Maison mixtape. This week I listened to what Kyte has done with the track...and I like. The original (which you can listen to here) is a beautiful bit of French electro-pop, which Kyte has honoured in his remix, adding a new dimension through a slow, groaning Dubstep backbeat and some electronic tintinnabulation (that's an amazingly pretentious word for 'tinkles') over the top. I like his style.
Cyril Hahn is the artist on everybody's lips at the moment (just look at that play count - only 4 days' worth!), and for good reason. His take on Destiny's Child's Say My Name was one of the most original and catchy remixes anyone had heard in a while. This week, he's released his own single: Perfect Form. It's undeniably Cyril, but I think lacks the mass-appeal of some of his previous work. He's got a few kinks to work out before he finds his own voice, but this track certainly witnesses him heading in the right direction. Keep at it Cyril! (always makes me think of Archer...)
I realise that for you Hip-Hop fans out there, TTT has been a little thin on the ground of late. Hopefully I can make it up to you by supplying you with two tracks that showcase where HipHop is heading in 2013. Candles by Jez Dior juxtaposes a 'Cali' style of rap with a female Indie-Folk chorus with, I think, a lot of success. Jez's sound is young and carefree, perfect for Summer listening, while the chorus provides a bit of sophistication to what otherwise would be quite an immature track. Rhythum's track is a return to the old-skool sound, combining a mid-90's sound with a Jay-Z sample. Far from being dated, Rhythum updates an old vibe for a 2013 audience. Now that's what I call fresh.
Finally, it's an old classic given a Electro facelift by the skilled hands of Bondax. There isn't a person on earth who doesn't love the original, and Bondax has been pretty faithful to the boys of Blackstreet, cutting it up and layering it over a broken Electronic beat. Twerk it, yo. Peace out.