Monthly Archives: February 2011

On Repeat: Strange Talk, Lord Huron, + More

Today I’m starting what I hope to be a regular series of posts where I touch on a few songs that have been dominating my daily playlists. The simple fact is that since our posts are so writing intensive, they just take a long time to compose. I know that thats what makes Binary different and special, but at the same time, it leaves you guys in the dark about a lot of the music that we’re loving! I’m hoping that once a week or so I can write a quick post that reflects the gems that we’re loving that won’t turn into full-fledged posts. Some weeks there might only be a couple of songs, some weeks more. We’ll see. I’m just hoping it can become a regular thing.

My ‘to blog’ playlist has been way too long for the last few weeks, so consider this particular edition a special massive shipment of gems. Alright, lets get it crackin.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Roy Davis Jr. – Slow It Down (Small Pyramids Re-Work)

First up, Small Pyramids does a brilliant re-working of Roy Davis’ classic, “Slow It Down”. This is exactly what SP does and it emerges from the tunnel as a hazy 3am reverb disco jam worthy of a cup of codeine. Interesting fact about Small Pyramids: He’s Short Circuit’s roommate. In fact, they used to be in a band together called Mechanical Hands Electric Heart that jumped on the electropop game 3 years before it was cool. You can still snag that album on iTunes if you’re so inclined.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The New Division – Starfield

The New Division are a young band from Riverside, CA that we had the pleasure of hanging out with a couple of weeks ago. They write gorgeous epic new wave songs that make it easy to tell where their name came from. Deceptively simple guitar work interplays perfectly with crooning vocals on “Starfield”, creating the kind of song that sticks to your chest and won’t let you go until you’re humming along the next morning. When we talk about using electronic production to create great rock tunes, THIS is what we’re talking about.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Tidal Wave – East Coast Girl

Chillwave was underrated, then overrated, then wildly overrated… By now, I think its probably really cool to say chillwave is lame. Local LA bedroom songwriter Tidal Wave, as far as I can tell, is just making songs that make him feel good, free of labels. Chillwave or not, the drum breakdown in this track is amazing and this song never fails to make me think of drinking Mount Gay Rum under the sun in Long Beach.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Strange Talk – Climbing Walls

Strange Talk, fast rising buzzband from Australia punched into my world a few weeks ago when I heard “Climbing Walls”. Anthemic chorus, spot on production, great vocals; these guys have it all. Of course, New York’s finest Neon Gold signed them and will be releasing their debut US EP. While we all wait anxiously to see if they’ll be the next breakout star from down under, enjoy this song. Its plenty catchy enough to last the few months we’ll have to wait.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Lord Huron – The Stranger

This song hits me in a place that few songs do. When I listen to it, it brings me back to dark times, love lost and gone away. Another band local to LA, Lord Huron’s entire catalog to date is some of the most startlingly beautiful pop music I’ve heard in recent memory. This song in particular has etched itself into my brain. It feels cold and alone, as if drenched in a cold downpour. I’ll take any music that can make me emotional, whether its uplifting or contemplative. I may not laugh or smile or jump up and down when I hear this song, but it brings something out of me that I rarely feel, and I’ll take feeling down over feeling nothing any day.

This is all you need to know about “The Stranger”

 

Heart this song and hear more by following Binary @ The Hype Machine

Written by Josh (Binary). Follow him on Twitter.


RÜFÜS

We’re in the midst of an Australia electronic music revolution. There is no shortage of talent on the continent right now, that’s for sure. From Miami Horror to Cut Copy to Cassian and everyone in between, the past 6 months have seen Australia establish itself at the forefront of the electronic and indie dance scene, and we are all so much the better for it.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


RUFUS – Paris Collides

The latest Australian export to catch our eye is RÜFÜS, a three-piece indie electronica band with quite the knack for song craft. They employ a combination of samples, synths, and regular instruments to craft elaborately layered, huge-yet-humble tunes. RÜFÜS debut EP, released last month on Monekeleon, is the perfect example of the kind of vocal-driven, dreamily melodic music we at Binary go crazy for. The songs all share deep, warm bass lines, which coupled with the accessible melodies and wistful lyrics, give them that kind of blanket feel—safe and comforting. Since the EP’s release they’ve been getting quite a lot of attention from Australia’s Triple J radio, blogs, and even the internationally renowned fashion house Hugo Boss, who featured their track ‘Paris Collides’ on their February playlist. Ready to make an addition the growing list of ‘Amazing Australian Musicians’?  If this initial attention is any indication, we should expect big things from the band in the coming year. It seems like RÜFÜS are here to stay.

Their 6 track self-titled EP is a journey to the stars and back, with ethereal synth work and lush vocals abounding. The EP opens with ‘Paris Collides,’ which commences with a delicate, almost chime-like electronic bleeps, before being joined by a throbbing kick and airy swirls. Tyrone’s voice enters, stretched to the bottom of his register, deep, sexy, and mysterious. “I’m forming circles in my mind, waiting for the storm to come,” he croons. Indeed, there’s a sense of trepidation in the opening, that feeling of something on the horizon. Then, at 1:35, it hits you. Tyrone launches into falsetto, and the vaporous vocals become almost indistinguishable from the increasingly pressing and complex accompaniment. In a moment, the song switches from abiding to important, while retaining that heavenly, almost untouchable delicacy. This music feels like lying in the middle of the desert looking up into the endless sky above you.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


RUFUS – We Left

My favorite track on the album is ‘We Left’. Like ‘Paris Collides,’ it employs the same slow-build formula, starting with a deep and dramatic chord progression before being joined by pan flutes and twinkling chimes. A breath, and the synths drop out, leaving a minimalist bass line capped by Tyrone’s luscious, fluid vocals. Akin also to ‘Paris Collides’ (I think this could be considered a sister piece of sorts), a sense of drama envelops the entire piece, with the constantly fluxing background chords serving to add an air of mystique and other worldliness. Finally, at 3:03, the gentle reflective mood of the song explodes in a flurry of swirling synthesizers and layers upon layers of samples, creating a sense of urgency and drama that takes the song from pretty little number to absolutely indispensable. “We left our hearts somewhere in the stars.” With an ambience like this, you quite believe that statement. It seems like only after having travelled to the moon could Rufus have so expertly captured a celestial mood such as this.

Build – Palm Tree

Palm trees seemingly always remain green and graceful, and even though they’re scarce in East London, Build has been captivated by the sound those fans make when met by a stiff gust, and how they playfully bounce the suns rays back towards the sky. Jason Reid, AKA Build, created a buzz for himself with dynamic remixes for Cut Copy, The Teenagers, Phoenix and Ladyhawke, as well as a couple of collaborative efforts with Clancy. He’s also received a fair amount of praise from his peers, most notably beaumont. I’ve really enjoyed his synth dominated remixes, and the dramatic way his songs builds. Probably why the name works. His first piece of original music,’Palm Tree,’ is more upbeat than anything he’s done so far, other than maybe his remix of Delphic’s ‘Doubt’. Though a simple, electro-synth dominated track, with upbeat drums, for me ‘Palm Tree’ embodies the timeless glamour of a life of leisure, where you can hop a cruise ship or a private jet at a moments notice.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Build – Palm Tree

I began following Build after his Phoenix remix stood out as having this great Depeche Mode sound to it, at a time when seemingly everyone was remixing ’1901′. Even better though, was the remix of Minitel Rose’s  ‘Wild Birds’ that he did with Clancy, that again features his retro-synths that immediately draw me in every time.

‘Palm Tree’ has more of a timeless quality; It’s music for people on their way to find palm trees, and it would work for kids in the 1960’s on Route 66, or Julian Kaye on his way to Palm Springs in American Gigolo. The uptempo drums are energizing and perfectly complement the thrill of pointless travel, but I love the low-key moments, as if you’ve arrived at your latest stop, and you can rest for a moment before pondering your next tropical destination. The break at around the 2:30 mark is probably my favorite part of this track. It makes me think of pulling into Nice or St. Tropez on a late train, and being exhausted from a day of travel, but suddenly energized by seeing the palms doting the skyline.

Even though I’ve had this song for a while it still makes me think about places where the palms weren’t brought in on trucks, and weren’t installed by a landscape artist. There’s something different about seeing a palm swaying on a Caribbean beach that you can’t get with strategic tree placement. It’s something that’s always frustrated me, but I guess they’re peppered about urban centers as a reminder of places where the trees occur naturally. Exotic places, where you can be alone with someone in the middle of a palm stand and be utterly unconcerned with anything other than each other. I can’t even begin to think of all the acts who’ve incorporated the palm into their cover art to create something overwhelmingly evocative, for example the current Kings Of Leon album that puts me into a trance every time I see it at Starbucks. Build has been slightly dormant lately, and other than the mentioned remixes, and this track, there’s not much more out there at this point, so hopefully some new original music will surface in the near future.


Ride The Universe

Today I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce an exciting new project, consisting of SoCal trio Fiero and Germany’s Digitalfoxglove. Their name is Ride The Universe, and the sounds that they’ve been contriving so far are simply out of this world. Collaborating from across the globe, they are riding the tech universe to fulfill our dreamy, groovy, funky sonic needs. Demonstrated by Postal Service and countless others, physical distance is obviously no a insurmountable obstacle in collaboration these days. Technology is pretty crazy. Even as I write this, I find myself 10,000 feet up in the air, flying over Nebraska & Colorado. Amazing what we take for granted these days.

So far, RTU are straight up winning, with just a few remixes (all wonderful) and a teaser original. You can sort of see where this thing is going, and it’s a definitely a happy place. Just listen, you’ll see.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Panda People – Sophisticated Girl (Ride The Universe Remix)

This remix of ‘Sophisticated Girl’ by DFG’s German bros, and emerging band Panda People is really nice. Like, tremendously nice. Leading in with a thumping bass line and some lovely synths, the song evolves with a spacey vibe that carries it along with a feeling of uplifting joy. The soft vocals come in and fit the overall vibe tremendously. You may notice a little shaky wobble in there, although certainly not that dirty dubstep wobble that makes me want to vomit on the dance floor. A few lurching builds/drops, but overall just a nice, steady tune throughout that has been keeping me company on my never ending LA commutes over the past couple weeks.

‘Sophisticated Girl’ is a new single by Panda People, and they are more than deserving of an entire post on their own. Check out this rad TNUC-style video for the original song. Their Secret Pleasure EP was released back in July of 2010, and it should be nobody’s secret pleasure. It has that whole airy/dreamy RTU feel, but with a bit more synthy, 80′s, indie rock style. Definitely worth grabbing that EP, and paying attention to this band if you’re not already.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


RÜFÜS – We Left (Ride The Universe Remix)

This next remix of ‘We Left’ by RÜFÜS is similarly fantastic. Starts off with another driving bass line and wah-wah guitar riff, but a bit more keys here, filled in with a plethora of galactic sounds that will keep you guessing. One thing I’ve always loved about electronic music is how you can listen to a song a million times, and still find some sound that you may have just missed on previous listens. I seem to be finding some new lovely noise every time I listen to this remix. The guitar on this one is also ridiculously awesome, fitting with the sound of many things Fiero has done in the past. And then that breakdown and drop at 2 minutes is just magnificent… puts a huge smile on my face every time. Pretty much just the same vocals throughout the track, but that certainly isn’t a bad thing.

“We left our heart somewhere in the stars”
“We left our eyes floating in the night”

Like Ride The Universe’s Fiero half, RÜFÜS is also a trio… out of Sydney, Australia. Their debut EP is due out this summer, and like Panda People they are certainly deserving of a post on their own (which may happen soon). The band will be touring after releasing their EP, so keep you eyes and ears open.

Something to keep in mind with these RTU remixes, is that they were really just working with the vocals to start out. So, these songs don’t necessarily sound anything like the originals. Really beautiful work by these guys. Some of our favorite producers, and dudes in general.

While those two remixes are probably enough to satisfy you, check out this remix Fiero did for Christopher Cross’ song ‘All Right’. They certainly do justice to classic yacht rock hero’s song. I’ve been starting my days with this one, putting me in a great mood for the impending stress that always seems to loom ahead during the week.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Christopher Cross – All Right (Fiero Catalina Remix)

It’s no secret that I love Fiero. They’re great dudes, and incredibly talented producers. Teaming up with Digitalfoxglove only seems natural. Ride The Universe’s future plans include work on an original, and potentially a live show. We’ll see what happens, but I’m pretty stoked about the prospects of this team, and you should be too. Let’s ride this one out together.