Thirty Hertz Rumble

A bl-g about movies, music and nostalgia by James David Patrick

Tag: New Music (Page 1 of 2)

30Hz New Music Radar 2/24/17: Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer

30hz new music radar

Welcome to February 24th. It’s 76 degrees here in Pittsburgh. Everyone thinks its spring and that just means that when it snows again — and it will snow again — they’ll all be in super duper bad moods. I prefer not to get too high or too low about this weather stuff. Either way I’ll still drink my iced americano because I refuse to let the bastards get me down. 

I’ve been waiting for that first top-notch rap or hip-hop album of 2017. Celebrate good times; that record has arrived… in what has turned into a surprising week for new music.

 

30Hz Playlist on Spotify: Every New Music Radar Recommendation.


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30Hz New Music Radar: Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer

stormzy gang signs & prayerStraight out of the UK grime circuit dominated of late by Skepta, Stormzy first made a name for himself with his “Wicked Skengman” series of freestyle tapes in 2014. Gang Signs & Prayer represents Stormzy’s first full-length LP.

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert in UK rap/hip-hop. Beyond my appreciation for Skepta and the occasional track from Dizzee Rascal, my grime experience allows me license (licence?) to identify grime (I know grime when I hear it!) but not dissect the genre specifics with any confidence. So let’s all learn something together.

Grime originated in London during the early 2000’s — a combination of UK electronic music and hip-hop. The sub-genre also borrows liberally from dancehall and reggae. The most identifiable characteristic of grime is hyperactive, syncopated breakbeats, generally 130-140 bpm. Lyrics depict gritty inner-city life. The casual listener will note a rather standard emcee cadence and those aforementioned roots in UK electronic music, specifically breakbeat, drum & bass, and jungle. #TheMoreYouKnow

I normally stumble on modern rap/hip-hop artists when they go slow jam. Stormzy manages to hold my attention even when the bpm’s drop. “Cigarettes & Cush,” as one example of a slow-burner that still hits. Gang Signs & Prayer lacks not for thumpers. A Junkaroo parade strolls through the studio during “Cold,” and “Big For Your Boots” will challenge your speakers with some low-end Gregorian chants laced behind Stormzy’s rapidfire lyricism.

 

Sample tracks: Big For Your Boots, Mr. Skeng, 100 Bags

Buy Gang Signs & Prayer on Amazon

 

 

 

Also highly recommended this week:

 

Vagabon – Infinite Worlds

A deft tightrope strung between brash art-pop and dream-pop.

vagabon infinite worlds
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Hippo Campus – Landmark

Minneapolis indie-rock quartet that’s drawing legitimate Vampire Weekend comparisons.

hippo campus landmark

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Thundercat – Drunk

Neo-soul by way of Frank Zappa.

thundercat drunk

30Hz New Music Radar 2/17/17: Maggie Rogers – Now That the Light is Fading EP

30hz new music radar

Welcome to February 17th. It’s pretty much President’s Day Eve already. If hearing President’s Day Eve doesn’t feel sobering, I congratulate you on being a stone-cold rock in a hail-storm. But about the music. 

 

I’m scrapped for time, but seeing as how I’m trying to be consistent in recommending top-notch tunes week after week after week I can’t take Week 4 off. Maybe Week 12 but not Week 4. Especially considering that I’ve spent most of the day with headphones in my ears and half-listening to everyone around me. It would be a disservice to everyone I’ve ignored today if I didn’t post my new release findings.

As always, music fans, share good music. It’s one of our few pure joys, a renewable resource of life blood and energy. Music, you guys. #NotSoDeepThoughts

 

30Hz Playlist on Spotify: Every New Music Radar Recommendation.


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30Hz New Music Radar: Maggie Rogers – Now That the Light is Fading EP

Maggie Rogers teased us last year with the song “Alaska.” Just the one song. Something to whet our whistles. And just like that first sip of whiskey, we shuddered. Not the bad kind of shudder. The good kind. The kind that just gets us acquainted with this new, bold flavor. But that’s all we had — that first sip.

Today, Maggie Rogers released an LP. So it’s not a full glass; it’s a larger sample. A fingerfull, perhaps. And it’s as good as we hoped. Her bio suggests a merging of folk, dance, pop, whatever. These bios don’t do anyone justice. Maggie Rogers has soul. No. She has SOUL. Singer/songwriters more often than not could be lumped into categories like “pleasant” or “cloying” or “annoying.” It’s all too easy to dismiss their output as ephemeral twee. Not so with Maggie Rogers. Unless I’m unfairly falling over myself about five tracks, Maggie Rogers is one of the most exciting young artists in music.

Legend has it that Maggie Rogers wrote her breakout hit “Alaska” about a hiking trip in college with Pharrell Williams… in under 15 minutes. Legend also has it that Pharrell was moved to tears after first hearing the track. Those legends are tricky things.

Let’s boil Maggie Rogers down. She’s a banjo-laced electro-soulstress and you should listen to everything she’s ever released, which will take you all of 17 minutes.

Sample tracks: All of them.

Buy Now That The Light Is Fading on Amazon

 

 

 

Also highly recommended this week:

 

Middle Kids – s/t LP

Orchestral Aussie indie-pop

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Ryan Adams – Prisoner

Prolific singer-songwriter’s best collection since Heartbreaker.

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Molly Burch – Please Be Mine

Jazz-fueled smoky-voiced indie-pop vocalist.

30Hz New Music Radar 2/3/17: Sampha – Process

30hz new music radar

Welcome to February 2017.

 

At least there’s always new music.

 

Another rotten week of the upside-down. But at least we have Besty Devos. God save you, Betsy, for giving us all hope. Hope that in this brave new world, nobody is unqualified for any job. Like just today I decided I’d become Nickelback’s new tour manager. One would have though that my well-documented tweets about how Nickelback’s music causes hemorrhaging in deaf children would have precluded me for consideration! But thanks to Betsy Devos, I’m convinced that my constant attempts to undermine the terror that Nickelback has brought to the general populace in now way prevents me from becoming the person most in charge of Nickelback’s career. In fact, before coming here to tell you about some amazing new music (that’s not made by Nickelback), I stopped over at LinkedIn to declare my candidacy for the position.

And when I get the job, for which I’m totally qualified, I’ll have to stop writing all this nonsense and start on my memoir — On the Road with Nickelback: Aural Regurgitation and the Blood of Bleeding Baby Brains.

Anyway, while we wait for that, let’s check back in with the New Music Radar. This was supposed to be the week we all got time to digest the handful of solid records that came out last week. But what ho?!? No rest for the weary. The first week of February has offered up a trio of records that require your attention.

 

30Hz Playlist on Spotify: Every New Music Radar Recommendation.

 

30Hz New Music Radar: Sampha – Process

Sampha’s first full-length LP Process had been on my list of most anticipated records of 2017 after his track “Blood On Me” stormed onto my Best of 2016 list.  Sampha Sisay — singer/songwriter, keyboardist and go-to producer for Drake and Beyonce — blends pop and R&B with subtle, almost seamless electronic production. His soundscapes envelop the listener, yet his vocals are present but largely unremarkable. They hover in a narrow but well-trodden band of traditional, breathy soul singers. That would normally be a criticism, but Sampha uses this predictability to his advantage. Note how he uses his upper range on “Blood On Me” to shake the listener’s cobwebs of complacency, inspiring a “call to action” or more appropriately a call to intent. Conscious music appreciation relies on intent. To be present and accountable. Divided attentions account for the majority of our listening. Which is why I’ve returned to vinyl as my preferred listening source.

After “Blood On Me” switch gears and sample stripped-down Sampha on “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano.” It’s a moving portrait of family and nostalgia. He again uses his upper range to float his chorus along with the notes on the piano before again bringing both down a level for the verse.

Just when you think you’ve got the artist pinned down midway through the record, he increases the electronic production, adding blips and bloops for tracks that would likely normally linger as tossaway B-sides on a lesser record. The more overt production causes the listener to adjust and recondition. Process grounds the listen, reminds of the importance of intent and consideration. It will no doubt hang on to become one of the finest records of 2017.

Sample tracks: Blood On Me, (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano, Incomplete Kisses

Buy on Amazon

 

 

Also highly recommended this week:

 

Communions – Blue

 

Ten Fe – Hit the Light

 

 

30Hz New Music Radar 1/27/17: Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness

30hz new music radar

Welcome to January 27th, 2017.

 

At least there’s always new music.

We’re living in a world of the waking nightmare. We can’t wake up. It won’t go away. The upside-down time. The boogie-monster in the emperor’s clothes continues to disassemble forward progress. If we keep marching backward, slipping against time, we’ll soon be back in the 1950’s. And as much as that thought haunts me… at least there’ll be good music. I could see all of those original icons of jazz up close with a glass of gin in hand. We could witness the birth of rock and roll, like Marty McFly. Believe in harmony. Believe in the power of time travel to fix all that ills us. We’re in the future with the Gray’s Sports Alamanac.

Silver linings, I suppose.

I had this week marked as a prime-choice release week. January 27th did not disappoint. Though I found myself facing four fantastic records, all worth your time and needing to pick just one. And quite honestly, I’m still digesting some other releases that weren’t even on my radar at all. Those sleeper picks that will reveal themselves as the year carries on, ceaselessly.

Here’s a link to my Spotify New Music Radar Playlist with every record I’ve recommended so far in 2017.

 

30Hz New Music Radar: Julie Byrne

Julie Byrne is a bit of an anomaly. A singer-songwriter with bombastic, breathy range. She can scar and she can heal simultaneously. One minute she’ll drop down into fragile, seductive Julie London come-hitherness before pulling herself gradually up, up, up, hope breaking through the haze of modern disillusion and moral distrust. The power of her voice overcomes, a fragile warble warm enough to remind you that she’s indeed a human folk singer and not an ethereal being waiting for her call back to her mothership docked in the Horesehead Nebula.

I cannot recommend this record more highly — which is why I’m placing this record at the top of your listening pile. Ahead of the new Cloud Nothings (which disappointed), ahead of the new Japandroids (which did not), ahead of — yes, indeed, the new Bell Biv Devoe (which just exists and that’s pretty cool).

Julie Byrne will seduce you. When you fall in love and stop listening to other records, I’m sorry.

 

Sample tracks: Follow My Voice, I Live Now As a Singer, All the Land Glimmered

Buy on Amazon

 

 

Also highly recommended this week:

 

Japandroids – Near to the Wild Heart of Life

 

Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular

 

Tift Merritt – Stitch of the World

 

Priests – Nothing Feels Natural

30Hz Recommended: Vondelpark

Last year I plugged POOLSIDE, a band with aspirations no greater than inspiring you to chill out and drink adult beverages next to a sterile body of water. The ocean, most likely. I definitely don’t see them advocating a stagnant pool or freshwater lake. This year, I’ve got another fantastic candidate for chill-the-fuck-out record of the year. I submit to you: VONDELPARK. Critics seem to call them dream pop, but that doesn’t really translate here. Vocals are whispy, synthy and minimal. Listen to this:

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