Basement Jaxx “Unicorn” http://youtu.be/MUXnwE-BJlQ
The Basement Jaxx are back, and it’s been way too long! Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe have been dependably releasing some of the best dance music of the last 15 years. Every album feels like a fresh, slightly different take on their sound. This song and it’s bright animated video feels like it was hand-crafted for Pride. It’s a dancey smack of sunshine for all my gay Unicorns out there! And if this isn’t enough for you, I highly recommend hunting down the under-the-radar (at least in the States) record Basement Jaxx vs. Metropole Orkest from a few years ago. The boys put on an incredible show, creating a fresh twist on some of their biggest hits with one of the best orchestras in the world, a full choir, and appearances by some of their frequent guest vocalists. I think you can watch most of it on YouTube, but it’s worth buying the album.
The 2 Bears “Angel (Touch Me)” http://youtu.be/0LW6cpFfcdY
I would be surprised if there is a bear alive that needs me to tell them about The 2 Bears. I first heerd their cheeky house hit “Bear Hug” on the local college radio station in 2011. I quickly learned that The 2 Bears are Joe Goddard of Hot Chip and some bloke named Raf Rundell. I am a HUGE fan of Hot Chip, so of course I immediately hunted down every song and remix that I could. The 2 Bears sound is more straight-up house music than Joe’s work with Hot Chip. This is a new single, presumably off their next album.
RÜFÜS DU SOL “Tonight” http://youtu.be/GCa_TKn9ghI
RÜFÜS Du Sol (formerly just RÜFÜS —don’t ask me why. Easier to Google, maybe?) is another artist that I discovered through the French Kitsune Maison label. They’ve released a string of EP’s with an abundance of smooth, sexy house hits.
La Roux “Let Me Down Gently” http://youtu.be/KlyDYI_ddZY
New La Roux! I know her voice is an acquired taste, but I’m a big fan of the flame-haired vixen. She’s released a few tracks in advance of her new album out this month, Trouble In Paradise. There’s definitely a tropical vibe to the new album, as is evident from the title. The one complaint I have about this track is the now completely predictable sax riff at the end. I loved “Careless Whisper” too, but seriously, does every song that is released this year need to feature a sax? Enough.
Naughty Boy feat. Emeli Sande “Lifted” http://youtu.be/9Yi_o8iB0b0
Naughty Boy produced my favorite track off of Emeli Sande’s debut, “Daddy.” He’s got his own album out now, and Emeli appears on a few tracks. A few weeks ago, I highlighted his collab with Sam Smith “La La La.” I think this one’s even better.
“Die Young (Ke$ha cover)” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZYKtlsBQiM&list=UUMaZsyf7nsSbMt9E3014BnA&feature=share&index=8
Gallant is an internet sensation of sorts. He’s been slowly building steam for the last two years. Let me be clear, I am not a Ke$ha fan. But I’ve got to give Gallant credit for his sexy, minimalist take on “Die Young.”
SOHN “Lessons” http://youtu.be/e17iXDf0NGE
SOHN caught my attention with his excellent remixes of Lana Del Rey (“Ride”) and Disclosure (“Help Me Lose My Mind”). His newest album Tremors feels like icy and melancholy. Not your typical summer fair. But it’s a pretty solid album all the way through. This and the other single, “Artifice,” are highlights. Here’s a link to a great remix of “Lessons” that you can download for free via MixMag: http://www.mixmag.net/music/exclusive-music/download-sohn-xo-edit
Courtney Barnett “History Eraser” http://youtu.be/k6_G5PlEXdk
Aussie Courtney Barnett blew up this year. Here 2 EP’s became so popular that they were combined and re-released worldwide on Mom + Pop Music. I was not confident that her music was for me after hearing the first single “Avant Gardner.” Although her lyrical deadpan is charming, it felt gimmicky. But the louder, catchy guitar line on “History Eraser” drew me in. A friend pointed out that she is basically the Australian Sheryl Crow. Think back to Tuesday Night Music Club, and songs like “All I Wanna Do,” and the similarity is undeniable.
Jonny Pierce “Home” http://youtu.be/gXh33EtPjpc
I’ve been patiently awaiting a full album from Jonny Pierce, the dreamy lead singer of The Drums. Unfortunately, this romantic little track is starting to look like it might be a one-off. This song was released in early 2013, and I haven’t heard a peep (other than a collab with Trentmoeller) ever since! Hey, if that means he’s gone back to working on the next album for The Drums, I’ll be satisfied.
Sylvan Esso “Coffee” http://youtu.be/Qr5AIKRPIHo
It turns out I first heard singer Amelia Meath long before Sylvan Esso existed. She is also a member of Mountain Man, a trio of vocalists who toured with Feist as her back-up vocalists on her last tour. Their sound is decidedly different, with a very Appalachian blue grass feel. Nick Sanborn, a member of Megafaun also comes from folkier roots. But together as Sylvan Esso, they’ve released an album of soft, gorgeous elctro-pop that feels like a warm hug.
Finally, I’ve started uploading my BearSKN playlists on my SoundCloud page, and where I can, I add tracks that offer free downloads. Sometimes I also substitute great remixes or totally different tracks by the same artist. If you’d care to enhance your listening BearSKN listening experience, here is my Soundcloud page: https://soundcloud.com/stjislistening/sets. Enjoy!