Monday, May 23, 2016

SHREM'S DOUBLE TROUBLE: "LAST" - Rainbow Chan /// "GRIP" - GL


It's quite fitting that I would revive my blogging duties with a song by an artist of Chinese descent, considering the past 3 weeks' hiatus was caused by my travels to Hong Kong and mainland China. Rainbow Chan is no stranger to my carousel of sounds, her last appearance was in March when I was raving about her oddball synth-pop moment "Nest". With "Last" this Sydney-based "fervent collector of sounds" extends her eager exploration of the alternative Pop territories, escaping mainstream's mundanity and embellishes her signature eclecticism with sumptuous layers of unexpected electronic beats. I've had the track on repeat since it dropped via Silo Arts 2 weeks ago. I am also particularly fond of the series of artworks which accompany Chan's singles this year.



I have paired Rainbow Chan with GL today as both acts are based in Australia. My favourite cosmic funk Melburnians revitalise the sweetest synth sounds of the 1980's with complete success yet again. GL's distinctive oldschool productions combined with perfect glitter pop melodies make them one of the most exciting duos globally in my nerdy music books. The impossibly addictive "Grip" begins with some apt reminiscences of Madonna's "La Isla Bonita" in its full 12" mix glory. The track announces the release of the band's debut LP "Touch" which comes out later on this year via Plastic World / Midnight Feature. Heavenly good and ridiculously catchy!



Sunday, May 1, 2016

Crème de la crème: TOP 20 BEST OF APRIL 2016


Crème de la crème April 2016 Artwork by Les Cullinan Designs

20 (N) "Keep It Movin'" - Jungle Brown (self-released)



19 (N) "Fones" - MssingNo (XL Recordings)



18 (N) "Call Me" - Fantastic Fantastic (self-released)



17 (N) "Ultimate Syndrome" - Gnučči feat. Tami Tamaki (self-released)



16 (N) "Young Blood" - Gymnast (Color Station)



15 (N) "Precious Possession" - Anna Wise (self-released)



14 (N) "Lipslap" - Kero Kero Bonito (self-released)



13 (N) "Geschichten aus erster Hand" - Klaus Johann Grobe (Trouble In Mind)



12 (N) "Face The Truth" - Shaun J. Wright & Alinka (Crosstown Rebels)



11 (N) "More Crazyness" - Sébastien Tellier (Record Makers)



10 (N) "Boy" - BoyBoy (self-released)



9 (1) "VV Violence" - Jessy Lanza (Hyperdub)



8 (N) "Time Wind" - M83 feat. Beck (Naïve)



7 (N) "Dive" - Blondage (Tambourhinoceros)



6 (N) "In Your River" - Snoh Aalegra (Artium)



5 (N) "Grip" - GL (Plastic World/Midnight Feature)



4 (N) "Zombi Świat" - Reni Jusis (Sony Music Entertainment Poland)

3 (N) "Manque d'amour" - Juliette Armanet (Barclay)



2 (N) "Boo Hoo" - Nite Jewel (Gloriette)



1 (N) "Mastermind" - Róisín Murphy (Play It Again Sam)



Sunday, April 24, 2016

SHREM'S SPECIAL: THE RETURN OF THE BIG BALLAD [Juliette Armanet + M83 feat. Susanne Sundfør + Kadhja Bonet]

Very unlike the sounds you normally find on my carousel of tunes, I'd like to dedicate this special one-off post to the good old-fashioned ballads. All three tracks I have selected for you are actually new but they're all paying exquisite homages to the golden eras of 1970's and 80's song-writing and balladry. Epic, big, irresistibly melodic and charmingly kitschy these 3 gems will take you on a bizarrely sentimental journey.


I have first come across Juliette Armanet on "Colette French Kiss" - jewel of a compilation, filled with up and coming French talents. Armanet's delicious slice of electro pop "L'amour en Solitaire", produced by the mighty Yuksek, was an instant favourite. Now the Parisian Pop mermaid returns, beguiling us with her angelic voice even more, with a Chanson Française à la vintage "Manque d'amour" which announces the release of her brand new EP "Cavalier Seule". This classic French Pop composition with subtle yet sumptuous production left me astounded. Françoise Hardy meets Air.




M83's latest album "Junk" seems to have divided not only their fanbase but the whole blogosphere. I have been completely enchanted by its concept and spectacular guest appearances. While "Time Wind" featuring Beck may be the catchiest moment on the entire album it's the magnificent collaboration with Norway's prime synth-pop diva Susanne Sundfør that stole the show for me. Accompanied by Sundfør's flawless vocal performance, the saxophone laden, wondrously camp "For The Kids" really does reminisce some obscure 80's lost classics. Irresistibly nostalgic and intentionally tacky.




"Remember The Rain" is a marvellous, richly arranged ballad from Los Angeles jazz vocalist Kadhja Bonet. The self-released single brought back some 70's vibes, intricate and generous string arrangements, timeless key changes and sophisticated melody hooks, delicately echoing Barbra Streisand's "Woman In Love". Heavenly.



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

LA MURPHY SAGA CONTINUES: "MASTERMIND" - Róisín Murphy


If I were to name the times Róisín Murphy went creatively off the beaten track, experimented with blending genres, styles and moods to create her very own wicked sonic fusions, or surprised audiences by releasing new music in complete opposition to what's expected of her, I would have to list most of her impressive repertoire to date. Expect the unexpected was always wise advice for all the Murphy devotees through the past 2 decades of her artistic activity. That's precisely how, aside from her natural charisma, the Irish chanteuse has remained a cult figure to this day.

Following a monumental Hairless Toys themed year, La Murphy is ready to drop her 4th solo (8th if we count Moloko's 4 records) studio album called "Take Her Up To Monto!" paying particular hommage to her home country, Ireland, with its title. "Mastermind" - the first teaser from the new material, unveiled yesterday on Pitchfork, is a further exploration of her avant-garde nature. This epic electro symphony begins with some subtle Moroderesque motives, reminiscent of his disco escapades, and fades away with a full on, uncompromising techno wall of sound, quasi-tribal beats and indigenous chants. Yet the track could not belong to anyone else. "Mastermind" electrifies with some classic Róisín Murphy vocal moments, ever-changing melody twists and mind-altering production from the wizard of all sounds bizarre and eclectic Mr Eddie Stevens himself.

It's rather challenging to write about someone I have already blogged about 110 times, someone whose career I have passionately followed for the past 20 years, without sounding biased. "Mastermind", however, promises another extravagant aural excursion from one of the planet's most unique artists. Never predictable, always reliable. Like Bowie or Grace Jones, Róisín Murphy continuously pushes the boundaries of POP music, redefines, revamps and restructures genres and successfully escapes banality, sadly so omnipresent on the current POP scene. Revolutionary. Completely unparalleled. Naturally eccentric.

You can download the unputdownable "Mastermind" immediately once you pre-order your copy of #THUTM on either CD, Vinyl or digitally on iTunes. The album is out on 8th July 2016 via Play It Again Sam.



Monday, April 18, 2016

SHREM'S LATE MONDAY NIGHT SESSIONS: "YOUNG BLOOD" - Gymnast


Brooklyn record label Color Station continues to spoil us with exquisite releases. Following Akiine's enchanting "Neptune" EP they are offering "Young Blood" - a brand new, mesmerising single from Manchester's synth-pop superduo, Gymnast. The syncopated, dreamy soundscapes of "Young Blood" are the first listen from the band's forthcoming untitled EP, "a collection of songs shaped by the concept of liminality, the transition from one state of affairs to another — where no one is in control" as we read in the official press release. The richly produced layers of atmospheric synths, the subtle beats, the surprising mood and melody twists make the track an intriguing journey. I am curious to see what the artistic future may hold for this talented pair and I predict another stellar, non-cliché collection of ambitious Pop released under Color Station's vibrant umbrella of sounds.



Sunday, April 17, 2016

SHREM'S CLUB BIZARRE INTRODUCING: "GESCHICHTEN AUS ERSTER HAND" - Klaus Johann Grobe


My fellow music blogger Pyrotek from No Snobs Allowed introduced me to this rare gem. Think early Jimi Tenor, psychedelic POP, Sébastien Tellier with a solid portion of Krautrock influences, some disco friendly riffs and a healthy dose of sonic insanity. Sung in German. Made in Switzerland. Sounds intriguing enough already? Just press play and get enchanted by Klaus Johann Grobe's "Geschichten aus erster Hand". One of the most original tracks I was lucky to discover so far in 2016. Excellent!