Meaghan Smith

December 23rd, 2009 by Michelle

singer-songwriter // indie folk // holiday

After hearing Canadian songwriter Meaghan Smith’s sweet and carefree songs it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she grew up in a house of music, with her piano-teacher mother, bassist father and three talented sisters. Her affinity for the sounds of the “˜20s, “˜30s and “˜40s features heavily in her music as well. While the jazz-influenced indie folk of Meaghan Smith embraces instrumentation from older eras, the Canadian songwriter gives it her own contemporary twist (Meaghan herself dubs it “modern vintage”). Regardless of what you’d like to call it, her unique take on the holiday classic, “Silver Bells” and her original winter song, “It Snowed” is just what you need to get you in the holiday mood!

Traditional holiday songs go “modern vintage”.
Meaghan Smith – It Snowed
Meaghan Smith – Silver Bells
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Gwyneth Herbert

September 25th, 2007 by Andrew Ladd

jazz // folk // acoustic

At the Fringe venue where I work most summers, the name Gwyneth Herbert has always lurked deep in the music program, and this year I finally decided to check her out. This is what I wrote about the show at the time:

She is stop-you-in-your-tracks, shoot-you-in-the-face fantastic. Her lyrics are tight, her voice elegant, her manner onstage masterful; and it was all backed up by some really superb guitar by Al Cherry.

These tracks are from her latest LP, Between Me And The Wardrobe, which has just been picked up by Blue Note UK. They’re full of beautifully sparse instrumentation over which her vocals get to really gleam and shine. Do yourself a favour and buy the album.

Quiet and beguiling.
Gwyneth Herbert – Lay You Down
Gwyneth Herbert – Sweet Thing
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July 14th, 2009 by Julija

vocal electronica // experimental pop

Katrine Ottosen’s album Fall Down (2008) is a debut that should not be left unnoticed despite the flood of DYI Indie artists. The Copenhagen-based musician who records under the name CALLmeKAT takes the listener with a distinctly Scandinavian sound: melancholic, floating and intense. Fall Down shifts between the experimental and the somewhat urban dream-pop, recalling the fragility of Stina Nordenstam and the edgy mysterious soundscapes of such artists as Klima and Sol Seppy.

From sharp to dreamy electronic arrangements.
CALLmeKAT – Do Your Trick
CALLmeKAT – Flower In The Night
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September 11th, 2004 by Paul Irish

experimental hip-hop // abstract downtempo

Fresh rhythm. Pounding slow dropped-out grooves. His sound has a good amount of reggae influence. This is hip-hop everyone can love, if they do love real hip-hop. Perfect to get yo’ crip walk on to. Dabrye toured with Prefuse 73 a bit ago, and the two share a similar sound.
Get yo’ glad rags on and join me, thug.

Dabrye – Smoking The Edge


March 23rd, 2013 by Kyle

electronic // post r&b

Designs similar to Atupele’s Pictures on Silence have intrigued me, but there is a quality in this 20 y/o’s Michigan Malawi purpose that lava lamps me to a greater plane – liquidating my conscious inside an orb of electronic bass and faint promiscuous echo. Slow Koreless to a hibernating burrow then resurrect in soulful bounty.

Heavy beat patterns your mind spotless.
Atu – Let Me
Atu – The Duo ft Sango
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December 5th, 2004 by Paul Irish

somber vocal downtempo // pensive indie rock

This song isn’t about Faultline. It’s not about how as a child he blew out his left lung while playing clarinet in orchestra. No. What distinguishes this song from the rest of the tracks on Faultline’s recently re-released album is the melancholy voice of Coldplay’s Chris Martin. It’s bare, fragile, and leaking wistful emotion at the sides. This should have been the hidden track on Rush of Blood to the Head.
You listen, you lose focus, and you beat yourself up over why you let her leave; why aren’t you holding her tight right now?

Faultline – Your Love Means Everything (Part 2)

Javier Dunn

November 15th, 2010 by Michelle

indie folk // singer songwriter

Javier Dunn may be an unfamiliar name to most, but the singer-songwriter has years of experience under his belt. The Los Angeles-based songwriter has been playing guitar since he was 10, put out his first full-length album in 2006, and has been playing guitar with Sara Bareilles since their days at UCLA. Despite spending an incredible amount of time on the road as part of Sara’s band, he’s managed to release another EP, Vessel, earlier this year. The new EP features “If You Go,” an folk-pop gem that is as refreshingly catchy as it is sincere. His stripped down cover of Miike Snow’s “Animal” isn’t on the EP, but remains a particular favorite of mine. Javier’s take on the electropop hit highlights the plaintive lyrics without sacrificing a groove that keeps the track moving. Like, “If You Go,” Dunn’s version of “Animal” is vulnerable, heartfelt and unerringly catchy. Take a listen to both tracks below and see for yourself!

Gorgeous melodies and aching lyrics.
Javier Dunn – “If You Go”
Javier Dunn – “Animal” (Miike Snow cover)
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January 25th, 2007 by Paul Irish

soul // german post-jazz

Flanger first recorded records in the experimental downtempo realm. When they started recording their 2005 album, Spirituals they seemed to take a page from label-mate Jamie Lidell‘s book: they transitioned into more soul ‘n blues based songwriting. The reeded instruments in “Crime in the Pale Moonlight” provide the perfect accouterments to Riff Pike’s crooning. “How Long is the Wrong Way” gives us a little lighter jaunt down Finger Snappin’ Lane.

Where inspiration to play and sing come from above.
Flanger – Crime in the pale moonlight
Flanger – How long is the wrong way
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Budos Band

July 12th, 2007 by Paul Irish

staten island soul // afrobeat
(Sorry, no real post. I’m on vacation. :)
Budos Band – Budos Theme
Budos Band – T.I.B.W.F.
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The Herbaliser

April 19th, 2005 by Paul Irish

hip hop // breaks ‘n beats // downtempo

In ’98, I spent the summer on a ladder scraping dry blue paint off an ugly house. Albeit a shitty job, I had a 2X CD-R drive at home that birthed a hiphop mix including The Herbaliser’s “The Blend” featuring vocalist What What. One of my co-scrapers (from ghetto Hartford) dug the track so much that he replaced his prized Nas CD with the Herbaliser. I never saw that CD again. Now, the hip-hop powerduo is releasing their latest album, Take London, on the premire British beats label Ninja Tune. ‘What What’ was actually a psuedonym for female rapper Jean Grae who’s now back to lend her vocal ferocity to “Nahmean Nahm Sayin”. The loud, wide, brash production on this track complements her lyricism perfectly. Meanwhile, “Song For Mary” smooths things out to the downtempo tip; feels a lot like RJD2 on the rocks. This impressive sampling is an indicator of the quality on this CD; highly recommended.
Big, big sounds; slam brass hiphop and dope chilled beats.

The Herbaliser – Nahmean Nahm Sayin (feat. Jean Grae)
The Herbaliser – Song For Mary
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