November 3rd, 2004 by Paul Irish

acoustic britpop // quiet piano rock

Solemn sobriety. A boy of definite talent. At age 16, Matt Hales was awarded a scholarship at Winchester to study composition; by 17 he’d had his first symphony “Life Cycle” performed by a 60-piece orchestra, with Matt himself conducting. With “Strange & Beautiful”, Matt creates a mood — like a desolate and wet field with an overcast sky. You see her a quarter kilometer away, she looks warm, though you’re shivering. Take a couple steps towards her…
Pick one or the other: the original for an incredible song; the rework to delve deeper.

Aqualung – Strange & Beautiful
Aqualung – Strange & Beautiful (Cassan Vae Ambient Rework)

Coeur de Pirate

November 13th, 2008 by Julija

french acoustic // indie pop

The debut album of an 18 years old Quebec-based musician Béatrice Martin delivers a collection of colourful and charming piano-driven pop songs. As the album ranges from melancholic notes to playful tones, the standout track “Comme Des Enfants” carries sincere joyfulness, sweet vocals, whimsical piano, organ and string arrangements. Equally enjoyable “C’était Salement Romantique” offers lovely organic nuances and a delicate instrumentation of the finest kind.

From subtle innocence to mature melodies.
Coeur De Pirate – Comme Des Enfants
Coeur De Pirate – C’était Salement Romantique
buy this cd

Aurgasmic Adventures: Cuizinier

April 30th, 2006 by Paul Irish

I need to share with you an encounter I had with a superstar French MC.

Poking around my myspace two weeks ago, I noticed a bulletin from the French rap group TTC, signed to Ninja Tune’s Big Dada label. This bulletin contained two interesting facts:

  1. Two of their members, Cuizinier and DJ Orgasmic, were touring the US
  2. They were looking for a place to crash in each of their stops

TTC – Dancingbox (Modeselektor remix)
Ever since hearing the Modeselektor remix of Dancingbox, I’d been deep into their sound. I figured I could offer up my pad, so I fired back a reply.
Cuizinier replied and was down for it:

hey thanks a lot man
i’ll call you when we’re in town
i already putted you on the guest list

Thursday afternoon I got a phone call from a number with seemingly too many digits. Hello? “Hey this is Cuiz”. After a short chat, I was set to meet up with him at the show. Going to the show I realized I didn’t really know what Cuizinier looked like, but I figured I could recognize a skinny white French rapper. On my way out the door I had grabbed my three bangin pairs of sunglasses so I could look my flyest; DJ A-Trak (Kanye West’s dj and 5-time World DMC Champion) and Brooklyn’s favorite dj duo, The Rub, were spinning.

The Rub warmed everything up with some reggae, then dropping into their signature dance/soul sound. Midway through their set we learned that this was the “Sunglasses Is A Must” tour and the three pair I brought along seemed fortuitously apropos.

A-Trak tore up his set, as usual, with some old classics and brand new hiphop– and of course he brought his turntablism a-game:
Video of A-Trak mixing it up (live)

Cuizinier took the stage around midnight and when I first realized the guy wearing the XXXL Celtics shirt was actually sleeping on my couch, I pretty much blew my shit. His set was hype as hell, bringing out the fire jams from both TTC’s Bâtards Sensibles and Cuizinier’s own Pour Les Filles records.
Video of Cuizinier – L’encule le plus cool (live)
Cuizinier – L’enculé le plus cool from Cuizinier’s Pour Les Filles Vol. 1 (2005)
Cuizinier – Seulement Toi (feat. Tido Berman) from Cuizinier’s Pour Les Filles Vol. 2 (2006)

After the show, me and my girl Anne waited for Cuizi to collect enough cash from the venue to pay for the next day’s train to New York. Cash in hand, we started heading back to my place. Cuizinier told me about the rest of the tour and TTC and Big Dada and all the news, accidentally slipping into French for several sentences, apologizing once he realized, and continuing. Off the stage, Cuizinier and DJ Orgasmic were surprisingly polite and well-spoken Frenchmen. We crashed at my pad, I woke them up at 9am and they took off for the subway shortly thereafter.

Before leaving however, my boy Cuizi Cuiz insisted in giving me a couple “presents” as thanks. I wound up with some goodies: copies of vols. 1 and 2 of his Pour Les Filles records, some flashy stickers and a dope ass Cuizinier sweatshirt.
So of course,


Sunglasses is a mustAs this was the Sunglasses Is A Must tour, y’all gotta email me your best photo of you rockin out in sunglasses.
Prizes will be awarded based on how fly y’all look. You might get just a sticker, or you may get all the booty.

Carmen McRae & GB

December 5th, 2005 by Paul Irish

jazz vocal remixed // chilled broken beat

While jazz sirens like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan had voices that made doves cry, Carmen McRae had a rhythm in her song – a bebop-style phrasing that could make Max Roach swoon. Her take of “Just a Little Lovin'” was first released in 1965 on Atlantic’s Great Moments in Jazz compilation. Earlier this year a mysterious producer named GB took McRae’s precise and casual vocal line and crafted a chilled, soulful track directly around it. Since then he’s gotten his paws into one of Ninja Tunes’ latest releases by Dwight Trible & The Life Force Trio.
Some sexy, sneaky bedroom music.

Carmen McCrae – Just a Little Lovin (GB Remix)
buy this cd

Electric Guest

March 5th, 2012 by Kyle

indie pop // eclectic

Cruising toward widespread status, Asa Taccone & Matthew Compton are the scrumptious and charming Electric Guest from L.A. A Dangerous Mouse is the secret ingredient in their addictive confections; giving us a catchy, carefree, Motown-tinged strut on “This Head I Hold” followed by a 9-minute capsule of slow-release, pop ballad pleasure in “Troubleman” – morphing around curves on a summer’s coastal drive lending twilight to moonlight. Adding the uncanny trip-hop-esque “American Daydream” piques my interest for the unboxing of their Mondo debut on April 24th. (thx, Divya)

Contemplative pizazz.
Electric Guest – This Head I Hold
Electric Guest – Troubleman
+ Purchase/Visit


November 2nd, 2006 by Paul Irish

urban soul

Gilles Peterson would be proud of me. Mr Peterson, radio host on BBC Radio 1 and one of my favorite DJs, has an affinity for a particular sound. What is that sound like? These adjectives might get you close: urban, sultry, smooth, jazzy, funky. And all those are perfectly applicable to New Orleans songstress Voice who just dropped a new CD on Toronto’s Public Transit Recordings. A grooving rhythm section and an eccentric tempo curl around Voice’s.. umm”¦ voice. The result is close to the current West Coast soul sound (a la Raul Campos’ Nocturna show on KCRW).

Tight little one for the head nodders and the soul sistas.
Voice – Know Rhythm
buy this cd

Porcupine Tree

March 8th, 2006 by Paul Irish

acoustic art rock // post-rock

Samples of the videotape from the leader of the famed Heaven’s Gate cult is not something you’d expect to hear in a rock song. But this song (with the extraordinarily long song title) strikes you as something entirely new but yet simultaneously recognizable. The lead melody, introduced by the deliberate guitar work and continued by vocalist Steven Wilson, feels timeless in its familiarity. This track knows time and treats it masterfully–strolling patiently but then hop-scotching around your ears with a dynamic arrangement. Now, I rarely repeat songs immediately, but here it’s a neccesity. [Thx to Jason]
Taking as long as it needs to transfix your ears.

Porcupine Tree – Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled
buy this cd


September 24th, 2004 by Paul Irish

dropped out hip hop // dub hop

Icy spicy quiet sizzlin’. You know this song. At least, you’ve heard it sampled before. Bahamadia, the philly princess, emerged as the protege of Gang Starr’s Guru, and dropped this single on the hip hop world. I picked up this remix from Jazzanova’s new Mixing record. (hot shit) This sexy little track has appeared in some quality hip hop grooves before. I’d love to tell you what, but I seriously have no idea. I need you all to help me out on this one.
What was this moist ‘n drippy soul-filled hip hop song sampled in?

Bahamadia – uknowhowwedo (Ski Remix)


October 7th, 2004 by Paul Irish

nu-skool breaks // hip hop // drum ‘n bass

Mind-stimulating dance music. ILS, aka Ilian Walker, was picked up by breakbeat godfather Adam Freeland after the promo Idiots Behind The Wheel hit Adam’s ears. The sound that he heard was something new: instead of an targeting the hard body-moving breaks and drum machine sounds of standard breakbeat, “ILS succeeded in bringing a deeper, jazzier, more intelligent flavour to the genre without losing its trademark punch.”[BBC Collective] The following tracks are off his latest release, Soul Trader.
This breakbeat’s got an organic, natural feel that gets your body and mind into the groove.

ILS – No Soul
ILS – Prohibition

Katie Costello

December 26th, 2010 by Julija

indie-pop // singer-songwriter

Over the last few years numerous indie artists went vintage with their music. Katie Costello’s quirky retro melodies share the current trend and similarities with Rosi Golan, Lucy Schwartz, Laura Jansen and Regina Spektor and yet evolve into her own original and captivating sound. Set to release in early 2011, Katie’s album Lamplight is a collection of contagiously melodic, clever and soulful piano driven pop songs that will capture the hearts (and ears) of many. “Ashes Ashes” offers a sweet taste of the upcoming album, while the lyrical “How Do We Know” is taken from Katie’s latest EP.

Sweetest melodies.
Katie Costello – Ashes Ashes
Katie Costello – How Do We Know
+ Purchase/Visit