Track of the Day: Marie Davidson – Naive to the Bone

It’s Friday. You’ve just clocked out after doing a Dolly Parton and you’re trundling through the rush hour traffic like a sardine in a tin can that’s well past its sell-by date. 

You need to shed that fusty workday skin and slip into something more comfortable for the weekend. 

What better way to start than listening to this hedonistic acid-tinged dance track from Marie Davidson

Hailing from Montréal in Québec,  Davidson is one of the many roster of exciting artists making its way out of Canada (see this Track of the Day by Kaytranada for another Canadian love-in). 

‘Naive to the Bone’ fires the synapses in the same way Factory Floor captures the psyche with their repetitive but seductive  house music (this is most prominent on their latest LP 25 25

The listener gets caught up in the euphoria with its thick synth stabs,  then all of a sudden, a female voice breaks through, catching you off guard – “It seems like honesty is not so fashionable these days” could be a comment on post-truth society re Brexit/Trump. Mibbes aye, mibbes naw. 

Doesn’t matter either way though, just get caught up in its trance before you clock in on Monday morning. You might need a boost next week if the US decides to elect a radioactive Oompa Loopma as president. Actually, the way this country’s heading, you need a boost now. 

Marie Davidson’s album Adieux Au Dancefloor is out now. 

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Track of the Day 27/09/16 ‘New Song’ by Warpaint

Whenever a Warpaint song comes on the radio, every guitar scrape, drum beat and vocal seems to seep out the speakers with a haze of smoke, mystique and groove. Love Is to Die sounds like the James Bond theme song rejected for not having enough Bond clichés. 

Meanwhile, their cover of Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes epitomises the Warpaint sound – the bass melody flutters about like Peter Hook cooped up in hill somewhere in L.A, while the guitars and drums lock-in to each other with such nonchalance and ease – it’s such a cool, hip breezy sound that it makes any other band sound like they’re trying too hard. 

Third album Heads Up is a continuation of that trademark Warpaint sound, but with some extra oomph in parts. New Song for example sounds like like the L.A. four-piece have taken their best elements and supercharged them like an Italian plumber tearing through a power star. 

The guitars dance about as if it’s having a fit, the vocals swoon over with overly hopeful and romantic lyrics (“You come along and wash away the rain”), while the drums maintain a fast upbeat tempo, resulting in one of their least mystical and more mainstream records – but y’know, still sounding like Warpaint. Long may we continue hearing new songs from this band (and stop reading piss-poor closing sentences from this blogger).

Track of the Day 26/09/16 : ‘No I Won’t’ by Evans Pyramid

Normally the best tracks hit you when you least expect it – during a listening session of Caribou‘s eclectic Spotify playlist on shuffle, this song came on:

‘No I Won’t’ is a simple but effective slice of disco that combines the raw emotion of Stax soul with swooning pop strings and jerky new-wave guitar licks.

It sounds like taking certain chunks of pop history from the 60s and 70s, cutting it up and condensing it into 5 minutes. 

However, it’s not convoluted at all – it’s a relentless grove that doesn’t change tempo or have any unexpected tricks up its sleeve.

That’s the subtle beauty of the track – it doesn’t show off but grooves nevertheless.

Its understated nature fits well with the relative obscurity of its producer Andre Evans, the brainchild behind Evans Pyramid. 

He was a session player for artists like Issac Hayes and The Delfonics, but eventually started making songs himself. 

Tracks like this and ‘I Want Your Body’ left a lasting impression on the dance scene (and one excitable shabbaz79 on Youtube – read the comment below on the latter track mentioned).

Last December at the now defunct Shapes nightclub, I heard this track during a DJ showcase by Eclair Fifi

This brings me to that other satisfaction in discovering music – when an obscure song you’ve randomly stumbled upon online suddenly plays in a nightclub.

It’s as if the planets have aligned, and you feel vindicated for liking that song – that hip DJ on stage is a fan, the crowd around you are loving it…you get a real buzz (probably enhanced by half a dozen overpriced pints of Carlsberg swirling around your gut).

Of course it’s nice to have that special song or album that no-one can take away from you, but that collective experience on the dancefloor is something to behold too.

However ‘No I Won’t’ will always feel personally special.

 

 

 

Track of the Day 21/09/16- Cass McCombs: Low Flyin’ Bird.

Perhaps this isn’t the track of the album, in the context of Cass McCombs‘s splendid eighth record Mangy Love, his 1st release on the Anti Records label. However, in isolation it’s track of the day for its understated, ephemeral quality. It may soar past you and you’ll only glimpse it in your peripheral vision, but there’ll be something caught in your eye nevertheless.

McCartney’s influence leaves a indelible mark on the track, recalling the more pastoral side of his work, and it feels like the blood relative of XTC’s Ladybird, a track that no doubt has drunk from the same Beatles fountain. There’s a slight spike of Space Oddity too in the guitar noodlings and otherworldly chord scrapes that accompany McCombs’s affected vocals. 

It’d be interesting to see where McCombs draws his influences for this track,  as it brings to mind an interesting revelation in the Sodajerker podcast with Field Music. When asked if XTC shaped their sound, Peter Brewis doesn’t think so, but admits that he is  “probably influenced by some of the same things” that the cult Swindon band were influenced by. When he played drums for Sunderland post-punkers The Futureheads, their vocalist/guitarist Barry Hyde was a massive XTC fan. “I would say I was probably more influenced by being [in] The Futureheads, really.” says Brewis. 

It’s probably safe to bet you’ll get a more cryptic response from McCombs. In an interview with SF Weekly in 2013, he is asked if there’s “a kind of folly in being asked to account for [his] music or to explain it.” He responded with a quote he wrote down on his notebook: “To explain is to reason, which is an excuse, which is to bargain, which is an apology. And one should never apologise.” (He does cite John Lennon as an influence in the interview, but only to follow it up with a phrase like “We’re all built from the same stardust.”)

Whether McCombs will agree or not, this track could also fit neatly in the latter half of Skylarking, where the sun sets down, night falls, and you drift off into nothingness. It’s apt then that Low Flyin’ Bird is the less grounded of the tracks to feature on Mangy Love. Turn on, tune in, drop out…

 

 

Track of the Day (2 Oct 15) #4 Miles from Kinshasa – ‘IVRY’

When you Google ‘Miles from Kinshasa’, you’re reliably informed of the distance from your location to the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (it’s 4,335 miles from Dundee – I don’t live in Dundee. Darn location settings…)

No, I wasn’t sorting out my next holiday. It’s the moniker of a new artist from South London (not Dundee) who doesn’t like to be pigeonholed. On his Facebook page, Miles writes ‘Ha nice try.’ when describing the genre of his music. We’ll give it a try though when describing today’s Track of the Day ‘IVRY’. It’s zoned-out electro pop/R&B – there’s a bit of Boards of Canada with its punchy synth hook at the start, ticks of William Onyeabor with its playful guitar lick, and the auto-tuned vocals sound like Kayne West circa 808s & Heartbreak.

At the moment, the song is not available for download, but I’ll keep you posted as soon as it ‘drops’ on the ‘interweb’. Meanwhile, here’s his self-directed video…

Track of the Day (1 Oct 15) #3 Jamie Woon – ‘Sharpness’

From what I’ve heard so far from Jamie Woon, his upcoming album Making Time, looks like it’s gonna be a latecomer for album of the year. Other tracks like ‘Message’ and ‘Thunder’ wouldn’t sound out of place on Radio 2 – with meticulous production, tight hooks and velvety hooks from Woon, it would be an injustice if he doesn’t at least make a dent in the charts.

However, there’s enough experimentation and excitement which has caught the attention of hip tastemakers Annie Mac and Giles Peterson, so before you worry about Steve Wright singing over the end of Woon’s tracks on a weekday afternoon while farting about last night’s Bake Off, there’s enough street cred there to fill your boots.

‘Sharpness’ is a prime example of Woon’s slick but off-kilter R&B. The song has a seductive swagger which sounds like the backdrop to Prince and Omar heading to a trendy wine bar in London, on the pull and making the place a tad sleazier but cooler all the same.

Making Time is out on November 6th 2015 on Polydor

Track of the Day (30 Sept 15) #2 Shamir – ‘Call It Off’

Hailing from the heated desert of Las Vegas, Shamir Bailey (a.k.a. Shamir, for those who can’t bother saying surnames) released his hot debut album back in May. OK, it was a few months ago, granted, but this blog doesn’t boast about having its finger on the pulse (most music blogs and sites cite some effervescent, fat-free techno track as their catch of the day simply for its newness, when it’s really unforgettable noise that some producer from Croydon made from an empty Coke can and an iPhone app.

What makes it Track of the Day is its catchy hooks and synths that hop around a thumping house beat. The song’s also fully aware of its pop sensibilities in very much the same guise as Hot Chip‘s hook-laden singles.

His album ‘Ratchet’ is rather good too, which is out now on Godmode Music / XL Recordings