Buttress O’Kneel

August 15, 2012

Well, I gotta start this off with admitting that I pretty much know nothing about mashups or dubstep. I’m a fan of the classic dub sounds from Jamaica like King Tubby or The Scientist, but I am aware that they really don’t have that much in common and am completely clueless when it comes to the modern stuff. So apologies up front if I make no sense on this. That said, there’s something brilliant about what Australian Buttress O’Keefe creates that makes me laugh out loud from sheer surprise. Her remixes and cross-pollination of modern as well as forgotten hits are just jawdropping and truly creative pieces of insane art.

Listening to her latest album Avant Retro: Post-Tardcore I find myself being thrilled and gleefully anticipating what’s coming next. Mix Eurythmics with Joy Division? Consider it done. Add some DEVO, MC Hammer, Nirvana and the damn kitchen sink to the mix too while you’re at it. This is definitely not for everyone but I found it a true masterpiece creatively speaking and you should definitely give this a try. Brilliant!

Sample track:

Website: http://interwebmegalink.net/

Dancehall isn’t really my cup of tea to be honest. Being more into the ’60s style of reggae, ska and rocksteady it always sounded wrong to my ears on account of not being performed on analog instruments. Might be a snobbish attitude, but production to me is an important issue and the modern sounds of Jamaica seem to have way more in common with rave partys on Crete than burnt out island studios where geniuses like King Tubby or Lee Perry could be found behind the controls. Anyway, I’m glad I discovered New Zealand outfit Unitone HiFi and their 2008 split 7″ with Jefferson Belt ’cause they proved me wrong.

On their Up to Eleven the band offers up a tasty blend of heavy classic reggae dub sounds mixed with modern electronica, managing to give us retro freaks our fill while still having enough dancefloor feel for those more “modern inclined”. Nice samples, thick bassline – perfect to groove on. Tons more material on their Bandcamp, so check ’em out!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://unitonehifinz.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.myspace.com/unitonehifi

The Black Mill Tapes Vol.3

January 23, 2012

Library music meets early synth retro with Pye Corner Audio‘s The Black Mill Tapes series, compiling what they claim are a collection of obscure cassette and 1/4″ reel tape recordings from an unknown artist recorded sometime in the 80’s. Compiled by The Head Technician (true identity apparently withheld), the third installment offers up twelve tracks of early transcendent electronica faintly reminiscent of late 70’s Kraftwerk.

We’re talking heavy Moog sounds with fairly primitive rythms, but it really works and oddly enough brought back a lot of memories from the golden days of video horror, as the songs really reminds me of soundtracks from Carpenter and even the Italo splatterfests by Lucio Fulci. Free downloads are available, so check ’em out!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://pyecorneraudio.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://pyecorneraudio.wordpress.com/

The Dualies

January 16, 2012

Aw, I’m smitten! San Fransisco trio The Dualies blend 80’s New Wave with 8-bit electronics, delivering super-cute modern electropop they call “dancy bitwave” that’s both catchy and charming in the process. Full of nice hooks with a low-key delivery their latest EP Handclaps & Zaps -released in the summer of 2011 – offers up three great-sounding tracks with semi-spoken female vocals.

I gotta admit, at first the combination struck me as a bit odd when I read the tags, but it only took a couple of seconds into the first song for me to get into the band’s sound. Two EP’s and one X-Mas single has been released so far, and all being available for free you should check these guys out!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://thedualies.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.facebook.com/thedualies

Wild Belle

January 16, 2012

A great blend of roots reggae and modern electronica is served up by married (?) couple Natalie and Elliot Bergman on their debut 12″ EP/digital release Keep You. Making music under the Wild Belle moniker, they offer up some nice dub reggae sounds with some slight surf-ish guitars and a fitting vocal delivery occasionally bringing to mind Duffy.

There’s certainly lots of commercial appeal to this outfit and the track has “airplay” written all over it. Apparently not available as a download, so buy the vinyl version and/or keep your fingers crossed they’ll release more material soon.

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://wildbelle.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.facebook.com/wildbelle

Two Syllables Volume Six

January 11, 2012

Here’s a nice lil’ freebie from UK label First Word RecordsTwo Syllables Six released in time for X-Mas 2011! Compiling eleven tracks (twelve if you download) taken from the past year’s releases with some exclusives and previews added, you’ll get a nice cross-selection of modern soul, R&B and funk and great-sounding Dub.

A nicely varied compilation, the music’s got a healthy dose of roots mixed in and I gotta admit, when it comes to modern dancefloor music, this is the kinda delivery I prefer. Check it out!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://shop.firstwordrecords.com/album/two-syllables-volume-six
Website: http://www.firstwordrecords.com/

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

December 27, 2011

For a true slice of unique music I can highly recommend pan-Asian project Yamantaka // Sonic Titan‘s debut album YT//ST. Downright impossible to label, the band is a collective formed by performance artists alaska B and Ruby Kato Attwood mixing up tons of influences in order to create what they themselves call Noh-Wave operas.

A blend of stoner, electronica, industrial noise and Chinese folk music, I was blown away by this outfit’s sheer creativity and even though it certainly won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, just give ’em a listen and discover something truly out there!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://yamantakasonictitan.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.ytstlabs.com/

Zeit Modelle

December 21, 2011

Finn-born Kirill Junolainen (now a Russian native) is a busy man to say the least and got an downright jawdropping discography (check it out here if you don’t wanna take my word for it), focusing mainly on classic electropop. According to himself he’s produced over one thousand songs released under various aliases, but his most recent project Zeit Modelle has so far released five albums and one EP on his own label Datarocket Records. Since November 2011.

The album Network Virus Killer offers up nine classic retro electropop sounds with that slight drone feel made famous by more experimental synth outfits of the 80’s. A great piece of nostalgia – sound and style is just perfect – with a nice dancefloor feel and the occasional unexpected surprise. Fans of Kraftwerk should definitely check this out!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://datarocket.bandcamp.com/
Website: N/A

Girlfriends And Boyfriends

December 19, 2011

Well, retro new wave certainly isn’t that new – Portland, OR outfit The Epoxies started as early as 2000 – but Canadian trio Girlfriends And Boyfriends offers up some nice 80’s electronic hooks on their new EP Young Ones. Lots of classic keyboard sounds (that’s pretty much a given) with some cool guitar work and a rhytmsection mixing Joy Division with a nice dancefloor feel. I’m hearing a bit of The Reds with some Talking Heads vocal delivery and unlike some other outfits emulating these sounds they offer up some nice variety on their material.

Released in December the band also offers one digital album available as a free download and the EP is available as a limited edition 7″.

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://girlfriendsandboyfriends.bandcamp.com/
Website: https://www.facebook.com/girlfriendsandboyfriends

International Observer

December 14, 2011

Well, here’s a blast from the past! Remember 80’s top charters The Thompson Twins? Well, originator Tom Bailey moved back to his native New Zealand and has been keeping himself busy with writing and production work until early 2002 when he launched The International Observer, a sort of modern update of the classic, heady dub sounds of the 70’s! So far he’s released three full length albums and the same amount of EP’s, all available through Bandcamp.

A sort of ambient take on the classic sounds of King Tubby and especially The Scientist, his material is an interesting blend of pretty trippy ambient (including some dancefloor friendly numbers) with some healthy roots I rarely hear in modern dance music. His latest release From the Dungeons of Dub EP was released in October 2010.

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://internationalobserver.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.myspace.com/internationalobserver