Who would have thought Pink and City and Colour would make for a kickass folk duo? Apparently Alecia and Dallas are old friends and some time magically opened up in both their busy schedules to allow them to get together in the studio. Long story short, they spent a week in the studio and produced—wait for it—an entire album. Though the album came out last fall, it just fell across my lap recently. I’ve listened to the whole thing a few times now and each time I’m pleasantly surprised by the subtle harmonies of both artists. I mean, we all known Dallas has the delicate timber of a celestial being, but hearing it in combination with Pink’s raw vocals was such a cool contrast. “Love Gone Wrong” is probably my favourite single from the album. I love this live version as it shows the incredible amount of passion Alecia and Dallas bring to the project. Really nice collaboration here.
Mondays always end up being way more existential than I can ever predict.
I’m trying so hard not to let out a huge “awwwwww” in writing this post. Being a big fan of The xx, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside seeing members Romy and Jamie collaborate on something. As many of you know, Jamie hit the epitome of cool (and then some) remarkably fast as an up-and-coming producer in the 2000s. He’s often spoken of in the same breath as Four Tet, which is saying something. On top of “Loud Places” being just a great tune, the video melts my heart. Don’t they just look like such good friends?! I think that’s what I love so much about it. He chose Romy on vocals for a reason. So in that way, the song underscores the deep bond of friendship these two musicians have for one another. I think it’s great.
I recently discovered British hip hop trio Hawk House. Brothers Sam and Eman Croydon, along with Demae, have helped usher in a new era in Britain’s ever-fresh hip hop scene. “It’s Everyday” is a track off their debut mixtape about a year or so ago. The group has since gone on to cement their reputation as one of the most exciting emerging hip hop groups around. Knowing me, I’m all over that slow flow. Like any good artist making a name in their scene, Hawk House keep it socially conscious. These guys are serious poets! How about that opening line? “I’m prone to hit prose and proceed when they oppose.” DAMN.
Another trio from Toronto! I first heard the Rural Alberta Advantage when I was watching the coolest documentary trailer I’ve ever seen. Aside from my aspirations at the time to take up base jumping, I thought the song playing in the background was on point. So much texture in those vocals. Since then, I’ve kinda associated the RAA with intense liberation and outdoorsy adventure (“Tornado ’87” fits pretty well into that category, actually). This track is probably one of my favourites from the band; it’s got a great pulse and driving rhythm. I’m super stoked to see these guys in the summer when they swirl?…barrel?…into town (followed by Dan Mangan + Blacksmith…I know, be still my beating heart). Another reason I love this song is that it reminds me how little control we have over anything and everything. I really just need to take a cue from Nils Edenloff lyrics and “let go.” And with that, I’m going to go watch some base jumping videos.
Songstress Jess Mills made her triumphant return to the scene when she unveiled her latest single “Fortune” on Fader last week. Let me just say that this song is liquid gold. Why might you ask? Aside from Jess’s brilliance, it was co-written and produced by Henry Binns (see my last post for more details on this beautiful human being). It wasn’t enough for me to simply post something about Zero 7 and let it lie. No, I had to go out and find their most recent collaboration and post that too! But in all honesty, “Fortune” is one of the best downtempo songs I’ve come across in a while. I always love when I find these kinds of singles because they remind me of my 14-year-old self discovering bands like Morcheeba, Massive Attack, Sneaker Pimps and Thievery Corporation for the very first time. Downtempo music holds such a special place in my heart and it’s always the one genre I find my way back to.
My favourite producers are coming out with a new EP in a few weeks! Trust me, the gravity of new Zero 7 material is never lost on me. If the EP is anything like the last few singles they’ve pre-released—oh man, I can’t even. In my other posts, I’ve talked about how the musical style of Sam and Henry has evolved since they started in the early 00s. They’ve transitioned from this really warm and round sound to something a lot more minimal and ambient. Personally, I’m loving everything about it (and this is coming from someone who grew up with Simple Things). But all you traditionalists, have no fear! Zero 7 still bring their quintessential touch. For example, “Last Light” has classic Sam and Henry written all over it. So beautiful. I could listen to this track on repeat for days.