The scene: 2 or 3 a.m. or the languid period between, when life has slowed down, the thoughts of young men and women (and some of the more nocturnal oldies who’ve had nanna naps) turn to dreamy thoughts of life, the universe and everything.
Obviously at this time of the day, or more accurately night, you want music that won’t disturb the meditative mood too much but will still make you feel alive and engaged (but not too much) which is why these five immensely-talented, and in one case, collaborator, are so perfectly suited to the task.
They manage to give us music that is laidback but also thoughtful, songs that soothe with their softness but stir the mind with their insights.
Sounds kinda wonderful right? And so it is …
“Dark Spring” by Beach House
Beach House, comprised of Baltimorians singer/ keyboardist Victoria Legrand and guitarist/keyboardist/backup singer Alex Scally, has been gifting up with their dream take on pop since 2004.
With their seventh album in the offing, aptly called 7, we’ve been treated to lead single “Dark Springs” which comes armed with the band’s trademark earthy ethereal vocals and stripped-back wafty synth and guitar-enriched melodies, not to mention a sense of engaging mystery and haunting beauty.
It’s laidback music sure but not unnoticeable, possessed of a rich muscularity lyrically and musically that makes this anything but easily-ignored background music.
In fact, Beach House’s music is intensely chilled, and yes that is a thing, that takes you in, doesn’t let go and make you glad you came along for the unhurried though intensely luxuriant ride.
“Faceshopping” by SOPHIE
Described by We Are: The Guard as a “binary-smashing badass”, which is quite possibly one of the best 21st century accolades to be given to anyone lately, SOPHIE (all capitals and nothing but the capitals, thank you) is a Scottish singer/songwriter/producer/DJ who understandably doesn’t want the usual lazy norms to define her.
It’s part of a very welcome modern trend for people to define themselves and not let a smallminded majority do it for them, an unshackling of identity that finds impressive musical and visual expression in “Faceshopping”.
The video show the talented artist, who started off in a band called Motherland, having her face manipulated and played with as a way of demonstrating that making assumptions about who anyone really is a fraught exercise, since we all change in some way from moment to moment.
The song is playfully discordant and sing-songy, the clip immensely creative and brilliantly left-field, and SOPHIE is exactly the kind of artists we need in an age when the forces of freedom, which she champions, and authoritarianism seem to be locked in mortal combat.
“Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Loom:ngs
Possessed of a creative band name that pays no heed to expected spellings – trust me Google has no idea what to do with them which frankly I kind of like since I like the search engine behemoth being bested – Loom:ngs are comprised of Zola Johnson and Daniel Loumpouridis who hail from “somewhere between Chicago and San Francisco” according to We Are: The Guard.
Kicking off with quirkily light beats that percolate with joyously merry insistence, and the soft breathy vocals of Zola before Daniel breaks in with lead vocal duties, “Make This More” is the duo’s debut slice of perfect pop.
It’s beautifully chilled, a fitting way to make the world sit and pay attention which they will most certainly do with a little The Postal Service vibe creeping dreamily into a song that sounds slight but winningly so.
It’s the perfect 2 a.m. soundtrack, that time when you’ve grown a little tired but still want some life and vivacity to your quieter early morning musical musings.
“Seabirds” by Pizzagirl
The only drawback, and frankly there are worse things that can happen to you, to the name shown by so-called Liverpudlian bedroom artist” Peter Zer Girl aka Liam Brown, is that I have been craving some piping-hot pizza at a time at work when my plain old lunch has just made its presence rather blandly felt.
That aside, he’s a promising new talent with an oddball engaging sense of humour that pours into his trippily fun song “Seabirds”, which The Line of Best Fit describes as a “concoction of blending the past with his penchant for more modern and unusual influences make for a sound that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is, in every essence, just really good fun.”
Fun it is indeed but also ’80s-laced musically rich that jauntily takes you on a vintage synth trip into a gloriously lovely place you’ll happily inhabit for the duration … and for a long time after.
As bios go, by the way, Pizzagirl has it down pat, having a ball telling us where’s come from and where he’s going. I have a feeling his career will be worth sticking around for …
“Originating from The Womb™, Liam Brown also known to his classmates and limited fans as Pizzagirl, started crafting music and bustin’ out the fattest beats as early as two weeks old. Since then he has flew through childhood and cruised through the teens with expert grace and style and continues to churn the creamiest rhythms in his bedroom beat factory “The Beatzzeria”. The story continues right to the present day as he flops into adulthood with the hope of being the best beat crafter he can, what awaits for ur boy Pizzagirl? Stick around to find out!”
“Millions” by Animal Feelings (feat. Mammals)
A transpacific creation by way of Australian artist Mammals, described on radio station triple j’s Unearthed site as “the indie/electronica/folk project masterminded by Australian singer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Guy Brown”, and New York City producer Animal Feelings (Oli Chang), “Millions” is a gorgeous piece of luminously dialed-down pop that We Are: The Guard winningly describe thus:
“Much like ‘Depths’ before it, ‘Millions’ is a warm embrace of electronic pop vibes, with Mammals’ vocals lapping against Animal Feelings’ cascading synth arpeggios like sparkling ocean waves.”
The song “Depths” is in fact the first collaboration between the two talented artists with Mammals calling on Animal Feelings for hos producing nous, with “Millions”, all sinewy, liquid loveliness and exquisite brittle beauty, anchored by breathlessly evocative vocals, the second outing although with Animal Feelings enlisting Mammals to help out on his track.
Honestly, given how perfectly they go together, you can only hope these two amazing musicians will create some more beautiful music together.
NOW THIS IS MUSIC EXTRA EXTRA!
“Uptown Funk” was a MAJOR zeitgeist-defining hit for Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars back in the heady days of 2014 and now it lives again via this viral performance of the enormously-catchy song by the Norfolk, Virginia police department, part of Lip Sync Challenge set for them by The Corinth, Texas police department. (Mashable)