Larry Ryan is Deputy Editor of The Independent Magazine. He has previously worked on the Home News desk and the website of The Independent and he writes the "Caught in the Net" music column for the paper's arts magazine, Radar.
07 June 2013 07:00 PM
I voted for Joey Bada$$ (pictured) in last year's BBC Sound of 2013 poll. He didn't make the list but I maintain the young Brooklyn rapper is a voice to listen out for. “Word Is Bond” is his new track, released last week and trailing his upcoming mixtape Summer Knights. Find it at snd.sc/16nv7eP. Like his excellent mixtape 1999, still freely available at theproera.com/music/joey-badass-1999, the new single finds Bada$$ rhyming confidently over beats and samples, here provided by Statik Selektah, that recall the classic 1990s era hip hop of the likes of Nas' debut Illmatic – those piano loops are irresistible. As if to burnish his throwback credentials he references, among other things, George Pataki, the long-serving former Governor of New York, who first took office in 1995.
31 May 2013 07:00 PM
LA musician Julia Holter (pictured) returns in August with her third album in three years in the shape of Loud City Song. Last year's much praised Ekstasis was a stand-out, full of great experimental baroque pop, strange electronics, fine songwriting and Holter's lovely high-pitched vocal.
The promotional bumf cites Colette and Frank O'Hara as influences on this album themed around Holter's relationship with her hometown, all of which might make one uneasy, but in her skilled hands it should all be OK.
The first track from Loud City Song has been a released and it is an intriguing opening effort. “World” is an extremely sparse affair with those high-end, poised vocals leading the charge over spare hints of synths and strings. The song can be heard with its lo-fi, LA-shot video at youtu.be/BmT7GKPsxto.
24 May 2013 07:00 PM
Unless you had your ear way down on the ground the 20-year-old performer Chance the Rapper has emerged right out of the blue.
17 May 2013 07:00 PM
Well-regarded art-rock group These New Puritans return with their third album, Field of Reeds, on 10 June. The four-piece, from Southend-on-Sea but based in London, recently offered up the first taste from the album in the shape of “Fragment Two”, a moody and stately piano-led affair. Look out, too, for the lovely, mournful horn section that calls to mind the work of jazz composer Terence Blanchard. Hear it at snd.sc/10avO5T. The song also comes as a free download straight out of the gate if you pre-order the full LP on iTunes.
10 May 2013 07:00 PM
Normally when a film director moves into music-making I would handle with care – but art-house maven Jim Jarmusch has decent music pedigree, stretching back to New York's early-80s no wave/new wave era, when he was involved in a number of music projects.
05 May 2013 09:42 PM
Diamond Joe Biden, Scranton's finest, strikes again. While our politicians struggle awkwardly with pop culture (think David Cameron hanging with One Direction or Gordon Brown "enjoying" the Arctic Monkeys), the US Vice-President shows us how it's done.
03 May 2013 07:00 PM
Back in 2010, Janelle Monáe (pictured) went big with the futuristic pop, R&B, funk and much else of her highly praised album The ArchAndroid. Now the multi-talented performer from Atlanta returns with a single from her upcoming LP, The Electric Lady. The song “Q.U.E.E.N”, featuring a guest vocal Erykah Badu is a sleek and confident mélange of R&B, rap and pop with a lovely gentle bassline floating along near the end. It’s already been released digitally and is streaming at janellemonae.com.
26 April 2013 07:00 PM
The Pulitzer Prizes in America are more often associated with journalism and literature, but in among the awards is one for musical composition. At this year's recent prize-giving, the music gong went to American composer Caroline Shaw (pictured), who at 30 years of age is the youngest ever recipient. Her winning four-movement piece, Partita for Eight Voices, is also reportedly the first time the winner has been a vocal-only composition. The 25-minute piece, recorded with her vocal group Roomful of Teeth, has recently been released as an EP on iTunes, Amazon and at Spotify. The strange, beautiful music that ensues nods to the past – but with chanting, counting, spoken word, harmonising, sighing and all manner of other things thrown in, it sounds unlike most music you'll hear this year. Look out, too, for the suggestive sighs of the third movement, which give Serge Gainsbourg's “Je T'Aime... Moi Non Plus” a run for its money.
19 April 2013 07:00 PM
At the start of the week, Berlin-based (naturally) UK producer Gold Panda (pictured) offered up “Brazil”, the first track to be taken from his forthcoming album Half of Where You Live. The new track can be purchased digitally from Tuesday but is streaming already at snd.sc/ZiysWT. The album, released on 10 June, is a follow-up to the electronic artist's (who gives only Derwin as his real name) gorgeous 2010 debut Lucky Shiner. That widely admired effort was a great exploration of instrumental electro and glitchy techno. Here, on the fine new track “Brazil”, Gold Panda doesn't stray too far from that template, and, as befits the name, it feels rather summery. Let the sun shine.
12 April 2013 07:00 PM
One of my favourite bands of the last five years or so Deerhunter (pictured) return with their first album since 2010's fine effort Halcyon Digest. The new one from the US art-rocking five piece is called Monomania and is due in early May. They recently shared the title track from the album – it can be heard at youtu.be/bYUENZQ84-E. Whereas Halcyon Digest was a relatively controlled, polished affair, here they sound a bit more unhinged and jagged, particularly in final movements as the song spins off into some wild noise. I'm pretty much happy to stick with them whatever move they make, so I'm excited to see how this record turns out.
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