Culture, Music

Kaytranada – 99.9% review

Kaytranada is only 24 years young, but already this Canadian whiz kid has been become one of the most sought-after producers of the moment. His debut album, 99.9%, includes features from GoldLink, AlunaGeorge, Syd tha Kyd, Anderson Paak, Vic Mensa and others. It’s a moreish album held back by some slight, but noticeable, structural flaws.

Culture, Music

Best albums of 2014: top 10

(Clockwise from top left) Damon Albarn, Kelis, St Vincent, Little DragonHere it is. The final countdown. We’ve had club bangers, blazing rap debuts, plenty of pop and atmospheric opuses. But the best is yet to come from albums that challenge the social order, boggle your mind and take you to new plains.

10. Jungle – Jungle
9. MØ – No Mythologies to Follow
8. Essa – The Misadventures of a Middle Man
7. Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband
6. Broken Bells – After the Disco
5. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – Give the People What They Want
4. Neneh Cherry – Blank Project
3. Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
2. Kelis – Food
1. St Vincent – St Vincent

Culture, Music

Little Dragon review – an evening of frenetic electronic-pop

O2 Brixton Academy, LondonLittle Dragon, Brixton Academy 27.11 by Aaron Lee (1448x815)Yukimi Nagano appears triumphant. This is her scene and these are her people.

Emerging onto the laser-lit stage, Little Dragon’s angelic frontwoman is wrapped in a flamboyant orange and florescent green dress, with yellow flower petals lining its shoulder straps, which glowed like a neon beacon as she, and her band, set the mood for a striking evening of frenetic electronica and dance jams.

Culture, Music

Little Dragon review – a dynamite return from Sweden’s finest musical export

Village Underground, LondonLittle Dragon, Village Underground, Feb 27, 2014, by Aaron Lee (1920x1080)It started with a blaze of dazzling blue light emanating across the smoky, cavernous venue. Then, the music started. A frenetic pulsing sound from the stage. The faint silhouettes of the band appeared one by one. And then Yukimi herself emerged.

“London, how you feel?” she shouted. The audience responded with a whoop of excitement. “It’s good to be back,” she said, at once leading the band into the robotic psychedelia of ‘Please Turn’. Little Dragon had arrived.

Culture, Music

Best albums of 2011

Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi, Rome press photo 01This year has seen the end of my time at university in Nottingham and the beginning of a new chapter at Goldsmiths in London. From Janelle Monáe’s ArchAndroid and the classic soul of the 60s getting me through my dissertation, to my first ever listen to Danger Mouse’s Rome (walking to and from the city campus’s library for the Trent Media AGM), to Ghostpoet’s life-affirming tones giving me the vigour to make it through my driving theory test; music has been with me every step of the way.


Hypnotic Rhythms in my Mind

This year I’ve treated myself to a lot of music. And in the past three months alone I’ve picked up nine new albums. Now, this would immediately strike anyone who knows me well as odd, because, while I love to listen to all kinds of music, I suppose I’ve been quite conservative when it comes to investing in whole albums by artists I’ve only heard a single track from.

While a two of them were second albums from artists already in my music collection, the rest were chances I took based on being hugely impressed by a single track (Aloe Blacc and Eliza Doolittle) or, in the case of Kano and Little Dragon, and not for the first time, recommendations from my favourite band, Gorillaz.

I’ve been aware of Little Dragon since hearing they would guest feature on Gorillaz third album. The tranquil melody of ‘Empire Ants’ and ‘To Binge’ both feature the transient touch of Yukimi Nagano’s feather-light vocals. But it was when I saw, and heard, them playing live at The O2 that I realised this was a band I needed in my life.

This Swedish four-piece are lead by Yukimi Nagano, who is of Japanese descent. Listening to their self-titled debut album I’ve become fixed with Little Dragon’s effortless blend of smoky percussion, organic electro and lithe vocals that make you feel lighter than air. The infallible ‘Constant Surprises’ on their debut album was an immediate hook. With its hypnotic two-step beat and Nagano cooing lyrics “I was walking home looking at the trees, Got the feeling that they were looking back at me” and in the chorus itself “Constant surprises, Coming my way, Some call it coincidence, I like to call it fate” this song exudes exactly the kind of pensive, otherworldly matter I dig.