Record Musts – Novo Amor – Woodgate, NY EP

1277401_371791359625365_1305200925_oIf you find yourself looking for Bon Iver-ish tunes (and I mean, let’s face it, Bonny Bear’s last record was released in 2011 so you should be feeling the need to listen to new tunes), then you can find some comfort in British musician Novo Amor. His moniker means ‘New Love’  – which the artist himself claims as a representation of “why I started writing music. Two years ago I’d just gone through a break up so I turned to song writing to channel it into something creative rather than feeling down about it (Line of Best Fit).”

Isn’t that the best precursor to what you can expect from his songs? In true Bon Iver fashion – it is melancholic, ambient, and soothing (soon as you get over being all crey about it – it depends on the day). His first single off the 4-track EP, “From Gold” is an appetizing opening and current favorite.

Listen to the first track below:

Listen to the EP:

iTunes    |    Spotify    |    Deezer

More about Novo Amor:

Artist Website    |    Facebook    |    Twitter

Active Child – Rapor EP

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Active Child
Rapor EP
Vagrant Records
Released 22-10-2013

New stuff came in from American electro artist Patrick Grossi aka Active Child in October titled Rapor. From the very first time I’ve sampled this record til now, I have loved it ever since. The EP starts with the uplifting “She Cut Me” – a perfect accompaniment to a live interpretative performance, followed by the energetic “Subtle” featuring one of my favorite newbie artists this year, Mikky Ekko. Coming with two strong tracks in the beginning, the rest of the songs in the record did not fall short. The energy extended throughout the other four cuts, including the track “Silhouette” with electro-pop darling, Ellie Goulding. A solid following to Active Child’s debut You Are All I See which carries the gem of a track “Hanging On” (something worth to hear, if you haven’t yet), Rapor is a good kick to an otherwise dull day.

Record Musts: Night Beds – Country Sleep

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Funny how I first encountered Night Beds – he was then a man with a band who’s decided to do a cover of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” for A.V. Club’s AV Undercover. I suppose it was weird to see a guy singing a Girls‘ anthem, even weirder for him to pick that from the bunch of songs that he could have sung, but the whole performance was interesting enough for me to wonder what Night Beds is like pre-Robyn cover.

The discovery, as you could guess, is pleasant. On the first listen of his album Country Sleep, released in February this year, I’ve managed to separate the stand-out tracks from the ten-track release. A couple of listens later though, the album grew into a full and solid effort, with each track building up and supporting the other, making it hard for me to pick which one is better than the other.

Only time will tell which track from Country Sleep would rise and separate itself from the rest and be its classic go-to track, but for now, I leave you with “Lost Springs” – a sufficiently apt teaser of what Night Beds is about.

This post was initially published in Music Weekly Asia.

The Paper Kites – Woodland EP

I’ve always had a soft spot for folk: the sweet vocal harmonies and the heart wrenching/breaking, sigh enducing lyrics — so it seems like a no brainer for me to go out and lobby for Melbourne-based folk act, The Paper Kites.

The band released their EP Woodland, which is composed of six lovely tracks — all soft, sweet, melodic tunes with  lyrics that pinch your insides like “And my love is yours but your love’s not mine (Featherstone)and “You fill my head with pieces of a song I can’t get out (Bloom)“. No worries, not every track in the EP’s bound to make you lie around the floor weeping, there’s a livelier track in Woodland, a fresh and youthful piece that makes you want to run out barefoot in a field while Willow Tree March oozes with percussion and attitude.

It would seem silly for me to recommend a favorite track, as I’ve become endeared to each one. So click on each title below and I beg you, listen.

For an avid fan, this seems short and barely enough, but it coaxes you to ask for more ala Oliver Twist and his bowl of porridge. Can I have some more, please?

Foster the People – Foster the People EP

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First off, let me just put it out there that Foster the People may be one of the most good looking bands out there. I mean, seriously, three equally charming and good looking men namely Mark Foster (vocals/keyboards), Mark Pontius (drums) and Cubbie Fink (bass/vocals) decided to come together and make some happy indie pop-indie rock music. That alone is worth jumping for. And they seem to be doing pretty well at it, cause just this weekend they were the guest musician at SNL.
I have already featured “Pumped Up Kicks” in one of my Tracks of the Week earlier this year because it instantly made my ears go ring-a-ding-ding, if that makes any sense for you. This single was included in their self-titled EP, which only includes three songs including Houdini and Helena Beat .
This is quite a shortage of tracks, I know. But I’d say that this EP is a nice teaser for their recently released album, Torches, in which they added 7 more head-bopping worthy tracks. I haven’t listened to Torches yet, but the EP was sheer delight. It’s like the endorphine on my quite depressing playlist, to tell you honestly.
If there’s anything, Foster the People’s tunes never fail to make smile. Their music is infectious and when I’m alone and the speakers are in full blast, it never ever fails to make me dance — take that from someone who never really liked dancing.

Ellie Goulding – Lights (US Version)

Despite one of my friends commenting that Ellie Goulding sounds like a Japanese anime character, I’d like to think that she is fantastic. It’s quite interesting to see that back in the day, we had pop stars like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, etc — well, we still have them now — but Ellie Goulding is a fantastic addition to those female artists young girls could look up to.

For one thing, Ellie is talented — if you need proof then she’s only the Breakthrough Act of the Year at BBC’s Sound of the Year 2010 and recipient of Critics’ Choice Award at the BRIT Awards 2010. This album, Lights, debut at Numero Uno on the UK Albums Chart in 2010 as well.

So yes, I’m a bit late (like always, eh?) on falling in love with this woman and her music, probably because she’s a bit of electro-pop, but ever since I got myself a copy of Lights (US Version), I just loved Ellie Goulding. Loved her songs. Loved herrrr.

This album is composed of eleven mostly lively tracks, including her, well, not-so-lively (since it’s a ballad) cover of Elton John’s “Your Song”. It was produced by Mumford and Sons’ Ben Lovett, so naturally, it performed well in the charts – and was even performed at The Royal Wedding’s reception. That’s right, Ellie performed for William and Kate – so that’s another proof that she’s brilliant.

If you’re a girl, then most of her songs are relatable, since they’re mainly about relationships. If you’re a boy, then don’t worry, because I’m pretty sure guys did not like Britney Spears entirely for her songs. And if it’s any consolation, Ellie plays the drums, which I find so sexy when she performs. 🙂 I have been listening to this album for maybe a month now, and my favorites, excluding the released track “Under the Sheetsinclude “Everytime You Go”, “Your Biggest Mistake” and “This Love (Will Be Your Downfall”.

 

PS – I completely disagree with the Japanese anime character comment – I really think Ellie’s voice is distinctively beautiful. You’ve got to love that huskiness.

 

Noah and the Whale – Last Night on Earth

So, usually, I let albums sit for about a few weeks and months, even before I do a review. That’s the only way I could be sure if it’s good, so-so or not. That’s what I was doing with Noah and the Whale’s The First Days of Spring, since I’m pretty undecided on it yet.
A lot of people say it’s brilliant, I mean, I enjoy it too — but I guess the whole story with Laura Marling (here’s the recap: Charlie Fink, NATW front man, once dated Marling. Sadly, they broke up and Marling started seeing Mumford and Sons’ Marcus Mumford, so Fink got so broken hearted that he decided to start a whole new album out of this heartbreak) helped peeked my interest in the album as opposed to the whole thing standing on its own.
But when I heard Track 01 – “Life is Life” on Last Night on Earth, the recent album NATW released just this March, I flipped. I did. Not literally, but I might as well have. They have gone on a complete 360 — from the sad and somber The First Days of Spring, this album just leaps out of the dark and talked of the beauty of starting over, hoping, and basically — the beauty of living.
I’m still a bit speechless about this; I feel like my thoughts on the album are just quick blurbs — but the gist is this: I am impressed (and in some weird way, I am also proud of Fink for spreading sunshine in this new album. Haha!). I have only listened to this album for two days, but I can’t help but just burst into happy bubbles and spread the news that this album is a dose of serotonin. It’s a certified pick me upper.
In short, all I really want to say is: GO. LISTEN. NOW.
And here it is, the hard task of choosing a track. I had so many favorites, including their first release, “LIFEGOESON”, but this first track just takes the cake: