I’m about to break what I would imagine is a cardinal rule amongst bloggers and proper journalists, I’m aiming this post at a demographic of one; and that one just happens to be SF&L’s editor Sacha. In addition to a carefree attitude towards rules I’m also blessed with a character flaw that I often like to excuse as a pro-active imagination. I find that, quite involuntarily, whenever there are gaps in my knowledge of any particular subject I have a tendency towards plugging them with guess-work and fabrication passed off as actual fact. This has led me to the decision that from what I do know of Sacha’s music taste I ‘know’ Rizzle Kicks will be the perfect distillation of said taste.
Spending a full day doing nothing leaves the mind free to wander (or wonder?). Such wandering led me to the realisation that, aside from an ill-advised stint at Loughborough University, I have yet to live outside of Yorkshire and a future move to Leeds does nothing to extend my borders. Fleeting panic was allayed when I discovered that I don’t need to move from my beloved Yorkshire when the most promising musicians and bands from around the UK are quite happy to move to me. Eagulls are such a band!
So what brings Wilbur crawling apologetically back from the woodwork? Tramlines of course! Sheffield’s annual sprawling, slightly incoherent, festival is again poised and ready to take the city by storm. With the official programme just released into the wild here I thought I’d lend a kindly hand and highlight some of the acts I’ve so graciously deemed worthy of your attention.
I thought as a new contributor I best enter into the spirit of the blog, so here’s my first two chilled-out selections for the bafflingly titled Music For Horses series.
My first selection takes an emotionally charged Pop song by Drake, Fireworks from his fantastic album ‘Thank Me Later’, and twists it delicately into something completely new. Deadboy’s self proclaimed slo mo house edit sees the London based (soon to be) bass heavyweight dismantle the track and extract it’s soul and emotional core. Focusing on the achingly beautiful Alicia Keys piano and adding drum clicks and the deftest touch of bass the atmosphere is delicate, sparse and eerie. Alicia Keys chipmunk’d vocals threaten to ruin the piece on first listens but after a short while you’ll fight the instinct to dismiss the effect and understand they’re pitched perfectly as they wash in and out throughout the track. Taking a lead perhaps from Burial’s production technique Deadboy takes this track to it’s inevitable emotional conclusion, without ever forcing it.
Deadboy posted the track himself on Dubstepforum.com back in June and Pitchfork have recently added it to their playlist which is, hopefully, leading up to the originally mooted limited 7″ release.
What would Devo do if they formed today, would they still obsess about being the devolution of New Wave (obviously they would never pigeon-hole themselves, but eggs is eggs)? Or would they take stock of the current musical landscape and take a swipe at another, arguably, stagnating genre? Well it wouldn’t matter anyway, because whilst some middle-aged men tour the world in silly hats, we have Das Racist taking their own unique devolutional and deconstructional approach to Hip Hop. Their highly intelligent observations, references and statements are masked by a careful sloppiness that is part affectionate and warm parody; Gangsta Rap ‘it’s fun to do bad things like rhyme about hand guns’ and Backpacker Hip Hop ‘metaphysical spiritual lyrical murder. the ill 96 manifestable third eye abstract backpacked vegans, skateboards et cetera’ are both in firing line, and part expertly produced beats. The New York Times wrote ‘Das Racist’s lack of piety has become an aesthetic of its own, with songs that are as much commentary on hip-hop as rigorous practice of it’.
Interwoven into their lyrics are references to seemingly unrelated things; Hugo Chavez and Pizza Hut? Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and KRS-One? But their flow is often absurdly logical and best described as pop culture crosswords. With productions culled from Casio keyboards and seemingly dumb fun flows it’s easy to dismiss the group as a novelty, one interviewer recently posed the question ‘Is this a joke that everyone thinks is a graduate thesis, or vice versa?’, but to do so is to ignore what’s going on beneath the surface. Whilst producing some of the best contemporary hip hop out there they’re also taking the legs out from underneath the genre itself. It’s this electricity between these two aims that powers their brilliance.
The New Yorker again say it best ‘The band members want you to think about the ways that skin color can affect consciousness, they also don’t mind if you go ahead and party’
I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise to Sacha but I, revered Indie music connoisseur, love well crafted Pop music! I also can’t help but find something alluringly exotic about Pop from outside of the English speaking world.
Today I’m going to let you in on a secret that Korea, the good one, has been holding on to for far too long.
SHINee are the embodiment of perfectly crafted Pop, they were ‘formed’ in 2008 by the Talent Agency/ Producers / Publishers and general Korean media tycoons SM Entertainment who are responsible for other South Korean hitmakers such as H.O.T, S.E.S, f(x) and Super Junior. SHINee stand out from the rest of the crowd, quite literally, as they’re walking fashion statements earning endorsements from Reebok as well as many Korean brands and they’ve also inspired a style following amongst their devoted fans. Made up of five devastating beautiful men, Onew, Jonghyun, Key, Minho and Taemin the ‘band’ specialise in R&B toned Pop music which wouldn’t sound out of place on the Billboard 100 – think N*Sync, Pitbull, Flo Rida but with better choreography; See the video here…
Hello and welcome to our blog. There's a bunch of us who write bits about good songs, bad songs or other stuff that catches our ear. Comment, share and generally enjoy the musings.
If you like the songs then buy the music, go to the gigs and get the merch. If you're an artist and you'd like us to take your song down just let us know (email the editor at sacha[@]safetyfunandlearning.com) and we'll make it disappear.
We love listening to music. If you've got something you think we'd like then send it along and we'll get our ears around it.