Category Archives: Euro

Like Passion Pit, if it Were 1983: Breakbot

Hey, remember when I talked about seeing Justice live? Or when I posted about Jamiroquai? You do?!?! Awesome, because this post is loosely related to both of those!

When I saw Justice live at the Paramount this past April another French electro artist opened up for them: Breakbot. Had I heard of him before? No. Was he amazing? I think so. It’s hard to remember to be frank. But that is probably more of an indication that yes, yes he was. After the concert, at some point I hopped on my handy-dandy laptop and scoured the internetz for more Breakbot. And I found this: 

A beautifully groovy song, Baby I’m Yours takes on a distinct 80s personality but still reminds you that it’s modern and most importantly, hip. Aside from this one song though, I couldn’t find a whole lot of other good Breakbot music. There were some 40+ minute long mixes on youtube but none of them really got me tapping my feet if you will. So, lo and behold here a mere 7 months or so later, I found myself googling “Breakbot” to find the song and listen to it (for the 200th time), only to find that he has in fact released a new album.

Absurd levels of excitement

By Your Side is all very similar to “Baby I’m Yours” but in a very non-repetitive way. Everything song has it’s own story to it, but they all revolve around sort of 80s pop meets electro meets romance. Romance is the key theme in this whole album. I can’t attest to it just yet, but I’d bet money that this album would be great to have sex to. Just sayin. As was referenced in the title, it sounds a bit like Passion Pit, with light synths and some mildly modified vocals. 

Here you can see a bit of the difference between the songs. Like I said, each song has a story told through the melody and lyrics. The whole album features some really interesting production and layering of sounds that’s very pleasing to the ear. Overall it’s just a great album that I highly recommend. Each song leaves you with a positive feeling and easily 75% of them make you want to dance in some way (the other 25% would be perfect for slow dancing). Breakbot’s really come out in an impressive way here and I’m incredibly pleased with the results. I’m looking forward to hearing more of his music and hopefully seeing him in tours to come.

Check out Breakbot on facebook
Buy and listen to By Your Side on beatport

 


[Must Listen] Little Dragon – “Sunshine”

The folks at Absolut Vodka have enjoyed success in the past  presenting artists with obvious product placement (most recently teaming up with Swedish House Mafia), hence their latest collaboration with Little Dragon.

Last month Absolut Vodka linked up with Little Dragon, a Swedish electronic band to release a new single “Sunshine” to help promote their newest flavor Absolut Punch. The single marks the band’s first release since their 2011 release, Ritual Union.

It starts with a sparkle and a shimmer, as it proceeds straight into the chorus, full of infectious electro-vibes, bumping bass, and seductive vocals from lead singer Yukimi Nagano. This glimmering track and it’s  sonically playful beats demonstrates it’s an excellent song to put into your summer playlist. At this point and time, I won’t want to visit Sweden to get a glimpse of their fascinating political system and health care system, I’m there just for the music thanks to artists like Little Dragon.

Little Dragon Official Website


Introducing- Harry Oakwood (Millionaire)

I’ll be honest by saying that I haven’t had much exposure to folk music before. As a result, I’ve been stewing on this review for a good deal of time now. I don’t have a great grasp of musical terminology, so I think the best way is to approach this is to make a few observations and allow the music to state its case.

On their facebook page, the band Harry Oakwood (Millionaire) portray themselves as “….a streamlined ocean liner of music, steering a true and steady path through an unpredictable sea of three part harmony and foot pounding beats which, combined with an ear for the alternative, enable this incredible ensemble to deliver consistently strong live performances and, most importantly, great songs.”

The band is able to create quite the impression off the first listen. ‘Scared Crow’ which begins as a soft, somber ballad before before the introduction of the horns turns it into an energetic sing-along despite the sobering content of a “cruel, cruel moon rising”. Although ‘Scared Crow’ has been the most popular song of Harry Oakwood when I search up the band, I would like to point to the songs “Brothers” and “Journey Song” as the emotional high points of the work. The subject matter of the working class struggles and ambitions is perfectly complimented by the versatile musical production. In “Brothers”, the piano interjects nicely against the crashing drums as the song really releases itself into a beautiful exuberance.  These two songs serve as a crescendo, building on the momentum at the end of ‘Scared Crow’ while creating their own harmonies.

The biggest positive of their music is accessibility, featuring soothing melodies in the beginning to prod at the individual’s deeper thoughts  before the steady rise to the triumph last minute of the song manages to evoke the memories and emotions that have been left on the shelf for far too long. The very structure of the EP functions in the same manner. As the final song “Empty Chair” ends, you’ll find yourself thinking that despite the anxieties of the future and the uneasy feeling that one can barely grasp the conditions of the present existence, everything will turn out alright.  Then again, having a harmonica can most certainly put a positive spin on anything.In the last few moments of the song, the listeners are asked to “Take a good long look at your life, is it everything you thought it would be?” before the song ends with a fantastic harmony that is simultaneously soothing and provocative. An interesting question to pose, but one that’s definitely in tune with the band’s personal statement.

Harry Oakwood’s music can be rambunctious at times. It can be intimate and soothing in other cases. However, it’s always contemplative and ultimately life-affirming because of its honesty. Definitely one of the biggest musical surprises I have come across so far this year.

Buy it off Itunes

Website: http://www.harryoakwood.com/
Blog: http://harryoakwood.tumblr.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/harryoakwood
Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/believedigital-uk/sets/harry-oakwood-millionaire/s-E6Mo5
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/harryoakwood/featured


A Music Video You Won’t Forget: Yelle- Que Veux-tu (Madeon Remix)

Quick post here. I was surfing the web when I came across this video by Nathan Barnatt,  an American actor and YouTube celebrity who specializes in not giving a damn. The video is entertaining, but after a clicks on the replay button, I found myself more interested in the song. Let’s get down to the basics:

Yelle is a French band founded by lead singer and namesake Yelle (Julie Budet) whose musical sound can be best described as polished 80s synth-pop.

Madeon is French teenager who happens to be a great producer, but an even greater remixer. Madeon adds an uplifting and sunny disposition to “Que Veux Tu,” making an already catchy song into an infectiously groovy electropop jam.

 

We’ll be more active soon, but for now enjoy!


We Are Knights Tears EP (Review)

We Are Knights, kitsune

Jean-Marc BattalierGuilhem Hatt and Gaëlle Malandrone make up the French band We Are Knights and have recently dropped debut EP Tears. However, before any discussion of the music takes place, let’s talk about how much the trio have accomplished in their short time together. After having taken one of their compositions to the brand American Vintage, they got spotted by the Parisian label Kitsuné, which offered them an appearance on the compilation “Kitsuné Parisien ii”. Vogue has also chosen a few of their songs to illustrate the video diaries of Fashion Week. What a great deal of accomplishments….not bad for a band who has just been together for one year (they formed last year in June). Wow. Wow. Wow. So now that their resume has been covered, let’s examine why exactly this band has skyrocketed to such heights this year, and how their sound provides the foundation for future success in the upcoming years.

Break down of the EP ( I excluded the remixes because I really want to emphasize the fantastic work done by the band)

“Tears”

This is the song that initially drove all those music blogs and most likely propelled We Are Knights onto the French music scene. I’ve already had the pleasure of covering this track a few months ago when I stumbled onto this band for the first time. So allow me to repeat a few things here. Thanks to the low-fi sound and washed out vocals, the song has an absolutely cosmopolitan vibe to it, appropriate to listen to when the individual finds himself just amazed at the bustling pace of the city life. The whispers of the chorus caresses with soothing sounds that evoke serenity.

“Turn Around You”

Gather around that bonfire with your closest friends and put this song on repeat as you all sit and discuss the bittersweet feeling of growing up and moving on. I read another  review classifying We Are Knight’s sound as “vibrant melancholy”, and this song is the perfect manifestation of that characteristic. The French spoken by Gaëlle but it sounds absolutely aching given the nature of this song. “Turn Around You” is a sort of meditation on the exact moment of recognition that everything is wrong. Then again, maybe everything is just fine. In any case, the song is a great tune to listen to when you just want to reflect.

“Out of Sight”

The most upbeat song out of them all, “Out of Sight” expands upon “Tears” and “Turn Around You” by deriving a more active sound from the bread and butter formula of electronic synths and  steady guitar pulse.

This dreamy, electropop  offers the opportunity for reflection and through several listens, the music convinces the world-weary that everything will turn  out alright. Listening to the Tears EP is a great retreat into solitude  to escape the hectic demands of modern life, but paradoxically it’s also the catalyst to inspire return… but this time the individual comes back refreshed.  Before everything is said and done, I hope to be able to see We Are Knights perform. This is low-fi at its finest, and it is absolutely superb.

Buy their music on Itunes


Breakbot “1 Out of 2” (Featuring Irfane)

Breakbot is a French disco pop producer, and his latest single “One Out of Two” featuring the talents of Irfane really puts an emphasis on that disco aspect.  While the subject matter isn’t earth shattering, the song pulls it off with a flourish in its 80’s feel. Squealing guitar that builds into and ends the track. The piano beat that serves as the entire foundation. The gorgeously groovy chorus in all of its innocence with the proclamation of how love has created the greatest action: The synthesis of of two people in one completed whole. That’s the basis of almost every love song right?

Starts around :35 in

What a tune, what a tune. Hall and Oates would be proud.


[Must Listen] Summer Heart- “I Wanna Go”

About A Feeling cover art

I pretty much sound like a broken record now with my recent taste in “dreamy” chill music, but if not for my latest fascination, there would be no pissin’ way that I would stumble onto this awesome track. Now I consider myself a pretty happy guy, but dear god listening to this track has put me in a deliriously joyful state. Summer Heart, the moniker of Swede David Alexander, has a sound that represents what I most desire in a summer track: a yearning desire to have a memorable time and still retain a sense of intimacy.

Check out what the guy listed as his influences: summer // space // beach // love. Speaks perfectly about his sound. The  electric production is blissful enough to elevate you into the clouds, but the real strength of the song lies in its ability to steady this airy characteristic with the  soothing constancy of the rhythmic guitars and drums. The result of this combination is that listening to this song makes me sit in a happy, contemplative state, where I can appreciate how fortunate I am…and how much more I want to accomplished. Perfect.

With the release of this song, the summer vibes coming from this jam should correspond with the weather in the Northwest too (You hear that Seattle? Quit with the flip flopping between sun and showers!). If you have been lacking some Vitamin D, giving this track a few spins will rejuvenate you…just be careful and not have too much fun with this track, or else you might get sunburn. It’s a little early in the game, but I think I am going to call this my summer jam of 2012.

Bandcamp

Facebook