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
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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.

Scotch & Sofa

June 30th, 2010 by Paul Irish

chanson // beatbox

Scotch & Sofa is comprised of a Miss Chloé Monin and Sir Romain Preuss. Chloe went to the jazz school of Montpellier; and then sought a bandmate. On the walls of the school, she passed an ad: “seeks guitar”. As a self-taught musician, Romain developed the “finger picking” technique while listening to Joe Tex, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding or Thelonious Monk. He saw Chloe’s post. Months and months later and we can now enjoy this video. (thx Christophe!)

French’s sublime sound, 11 years after Les Nubians’ “Makeda”
Scotch & Sofa – Visite des recoins (video)
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Robert Francis

September 9th, 2008 by Michelle

singer-songwriter // folk // americana

One By One, the debut album from L.A. native Robert Francis is deceptively simple and sparse — unexpected considering his contributions to the record were not limited to guitar and vocals, but also included percussion, piano, banjo, glockenspiel and bass. Despite this multi-instrumentation, the album never overwhelms, but provides space for his often heartbreaking lyrics to breathe. Through his gravelly voice and artful songwriting, Francis presents us with songs of loss, heartache and nostalgia with an authenticity that is startling for his young age.

An aching, leisurely trip on rural back roads.
Robert Francis – Little Girl
Robert Francis – Alice
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Aline de Lima

June 4th, 2008 by Julija

brazilian // bossa nova

The essence of Brazilian Bossa nova is the subtle mixture of wistful melancholy, joy and yearning, often defined as saudade, a Portuguese word with no English equivalent. Far away from her home country, Brazilian native Aline de Lima redefines the Bossa nova sound by blending fresh arrangements of gentle samba rhymes, Latin influences and tropical flavours with the quality of saudade. Lively compositions of her album Açaí (2008) and Aline’s beautifully smooth voice caress the ear, while her rich vocal nuances shine throughout songs of love, longing and nostalgia.

Equally delicate and seductive.
Aline de Lima – O Solar de Catirina
Aline de Lima – Canto Morno
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November 17th, 2010 by Julija

avant-pop // glam folk-pop

By the end of 2010, it’s safe to say that British female-fronted pop projects strongly dominated the year’s musical landscape. Florence Welch’s charming extravagance, Natasha Khan’s (Bat for Lashes) dark-ish melodies and Marina Diamandis’ sparkling pop debut received critical acclaim on both sides of the pond. Fallulah, a.k.a. Copenhagen-based Maria Apetri, certainly reflects the current musical tendencies. While her debut album The Black Cat Neighbourhood (2010) offers quirky melodies and somewhat dark, richly layered soundscapes comparable to the British diva invasion, she adds a rather unique touch of Balkan folk to her sound. The Black Cat Neighbourhood displays Fallulah’s strong songwriting skills, rich instrumentation that includes everything from folky strings, ukulele and glockenspiel to irresistible whistling and hand-claps along her expressive, distinct vocals.

Quirky and glamorous pop gems.
Fallulah – Only Human
Fallulah – Use It For Good
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January 15th, 2008 by Andrew Ladd

electronic // experimental

Kreidler has one of those sounds that teeters on the edge of being irritatingly experimental, but is pulled back by some solid acoustic instrumentation and a good sense of beat and build. Their debut, Weekend showcases an odd mix of chirps and clicks, along with some more conventional driving bass and lightly rocky drums. Some of it’s a bit Four Tet-ish, but it’s a little meaner with its melodies than the English artist, and the overall effect is something slightly darker.

German innovation.
Kreidler – La Capital
Kreidler – Sand Colour Classic
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Aaron Parks

February 23rd, 2009 by Andrew Ladd

jazz // rock

Aaron Parks was born in Seattle “” though he currently lives in Brooklyn with the rest of his taste-making hipster brethren “” and you can almost hear the city in his music. The pitter-patter of rain in the cymbals, the grey swoop of fog in the guitar, and the occasional glimpse of sun in the piano; “Nemesis” is a Mt Rainier in the haze, and “Roadside Distractions” is a fish flying through the air at Pike Place Market. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it all. But either way it’s a nifty album “” take a listen and see for yourself.

A city’s worth of sounds.
Aaron Parks – Nemesis
Aaron Parks – Roadside Distraction
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December 9th, 2004 by Paul Irish

ambient electronica

Awash in aural beauty. A sonic landscape of life unfolding. Electronica heads know Plaid’s 1999 album Rest Proof Clockwork well, and for good reason; it’s a talent showcase of the more experimental side of electronica. “Ralome” is less experimental, more ethereal. Synthesizers so soft, so gentle — luscious round droplets of sound hop-skotching into your ears. Silky sonics wrapping warm legs around you while looking up at the stars. How’s that sound?
One of the most gentle melodic lines you’ll find in all of electronica.

Plaid – Ralome