By Michael Mandeville ’11
So here I am again with another exciting issue of The Roundup’s premier music podcast, “The Music Sounds Better.”
This time around I’ll be covering the minimalist disco-rock of Germany’s The Whitest Boy Alive, Kanye West’s pick of favorite chill-gazer, Toro Y Moi and the renowned animated stars Gorrilaz.
The Whitest Boy Alive (led by Erlend Øye of Kings of Convenience) have been around for a few years starting as a project that was intended to be a computer-based electronic band.
After the guys worked behind the computer, they grew bored of the production and decided to just play the music with real instruments while maintaining a dance influenced sound.
Based out of Germany currently, the band has released two albums, one called “Rules” and the other more recent “Dreams.”
A favorite track of mine by the band is called “Courage.” Its mellow beat and jumping bass line compliments the airy vocals that Øye is notorious for, but the lead synthesizer drives the song’s rhythm.
The track’s catchy dance structure completely colors the make-you-feel-good atmosphere with in the band’s work.
I really feel it’s refreshing to hear something that can be considered dance music not produced on a computer only to be performed by a DJ.
Moving on, a few months ago Kanye West blogged this new act Toro Y Moi.
Following in the chill-gaze dream-beat R&B influenced indie electronic scene emerging, Toro Y Moi proves to be one of the more unique of the bunch.
Other groups following this rising genre are Neon Indian and The xx.
Anyway, I recommend a song off of his album “Causers of This” called “Talamak.”
Dubbed with various filters manipulating frequencies, the song consistently pulses creating a underwater effect.
The instrumentation is primarily the beat (influenced by hip-hop), with various synthesizers and delayed vocals.
The bizarre structure makes it one of the more creative songs I’ve heard all year. He is definitely going to be something big.
To end this edition, I’d like to talk about the animated visual and music project, Gorrilaz.
Led by Damon Albarn of alternative rock band Blur, known for the famous “WOOWHOO” song or properly entitled “Song 2,” the group has gained wild success for hits like “Clint Eastwood” and “Feel Good Inc.”
The group released two albums plus a collection of B-sides before their newest work “Plastic Beach.”
All together I wasn’t too fond of the album, especially after release such brilliant piece like their 2005 “Demon Days,” but after a second listen it immediately became apparent that this was their best work yet.
The song “Superfast Jellyfish” features Gruff Rhys and De La Soul. The track is a hip-hop song led by 90s rap legends De La Soul, but the chorus sung by Albarn hooks the listener to its ridiculous lyricism and driving instrumentation.
It definitely is one of my favorite songs on the album because it so well illustrates the theme of album, the “plastification” of surrounding society.
Well that’s it for this issue, be sure to listen online at roundup.brophyprep.org.