Here is our selection of the ten best tracks to have appeared on the internet during the month of August. From 10 to 1, it’s a countdown of the freshest material that may be circulating on your hard disk and your iPod.
Here come the songs from our review of the best of the month at PlayGround. This August there have been advances and cuts included on new albums that have cheered up our days. Now it’s time to choose the ten best ones and count them down from 10 to 1.
10. The Fresh & Onlys: “Presence Of Mind”
The Fresh & Onlys - about to release their new album, “Long Slow Dance” on 4th September via Mexican Summer - are sharing another of the songs that will be included on the work with their followers. Their new weapon is “Presence Of Mind”, which moves away from psychedelic indie rock towards jangle pop, much in the vein of contemporary projects such as Wild Nothing.
9. Karen O: “Strange Love”
It looks like Karen O has developed quite a taste for animated movie soundtracks. She has already strut her stuff with The Kids on the score for “Where the Wild Things Are”, and now she's back at it with “ Strange Love”, a new song that will be part of the soundtrack for Tim Burton's “ Frankenweenie”. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer told Rolling Stone magazine that she found inspiration in “the same era of B-movie fright film references sprinkled throughout the film. I went in the direction of exotica and calypso stylistically because it’s quirky, good vibes music of that era, and when you throw in a Theremin solo, it’s a marriage made in heaven. I remember Beetlejuice introducing me to the genius of Harry Belafonte’s calypso record, so I wanted to give a nod to that, too.” And with great results, we would add.
8. Cat Power: “Cherokee (Nicolas Jaar Remix)”
Nicolas Jaar is like many other people: he adores Cat Power, her voice, her songs, her fragility. He also loved “Cherokee”, one of the first advances from “Sun”. Off his own initiative he decided to do an unofficial remix, which he quickly posted on his Soundcloud and which spread like wildfire. It was as simple as extracting the bare vocal part and wrapping it in a wave of ambient synthesizers. It didn’t need a single beat.
7. How To Dress Well: “Cold Nites (Koreless Remix)”
Young Lewis Roberts shows us his sense and sensibility once more. Koreless has been called upon to add some sprinkles and electronic sparks to How To Dress Well’s cries on “Cold Nites”, the second advance track from “Total Loss”. The album will be out on Weird World (in Europe) and Acéphale (North America) on 17th and 18th September, respectively.
6. Flying Lotus: “See Thru To U (Feat. Erykah Badu)”
The creative souls of Flying Lotus and Erykah Badu were destined to find each other. In fact, their talents already came together last year when FlyLo directed the video for Badu’s “ Gone Baby, Don't Be Long ”. Now the first lady of neo-soul is lending her voice to “ See Thru To U”, the first advance from Steven Ellison’s much-anticipated new album. “Until The Quiet Comes” will be out on 1st October via Warp.
5. Holy Other: “Inpouring”
In the midst of the aquatic, ambient exuberance of “Held”, the hooded Holy Other’s brand-new debut album, this brief piece - it’s less than three minutes long - stands out, seemingly made of air and dreams. “Inpouring” is one of the cuts where the Englishman calls on the influence of R&B; taking sweet, teary voices that fit these morphine-addicted beats suggesting rest and oblivion like a glove.
4. Four Tet: “Peace For Earth”
Are you too lazy to buy anything less than an album, but feel that you simply must collect the tracks that Four Tet has been releasing for the last year and a half in 12” format on his label Text Records? In that case, “Pink”, Mr. Hebden’s “new” album, was made for you. To lure in those fans who want to have it all, the ones who have been spending their cash on those vinyls, the release includes two previously-unreleased cuts, “Lion” and “Peace For Earth”. We leave you with the second here, so that you can savour it before you decide to get your wallet out.
3. AlunaGeorge: “Your Drums, Your Love”
Aluna Francis and George Reid’s stay at Tri Angle has turned out to be short. Their music has the potential and intention of reaching wider audiences, to get into the blood flow of the mainstream, so we aren’t surprised to discover that their next single - with an even more lustrous sound, powerful and panoramic - will be out with support from Island. “ Your Drums, Your Love”, available in shops starting 7th October, also serves as a waiting room for AlunaGeorge’s first album, foreseen for early in 2013.
2. Grizzly Bear: “Yet Again”
Although the key elements remain the same, it seems that with “Shields”, their fourth studio album, Grizzly Bear want to enter into more rock territory. One could already sense this desire in the wonderful “ Sleeping Ute ” that they introduced to us a few weeks ago, and now it is confirmed with the thundering guitar passage used as the psychedelic outro of their new single, “ Yet Again”, and this time featuring the vocals of Ed Droste. It’s a delivery where they at times show themselves to be more visceral than ever, with more complex arrangements, winding melodies, overwhelming choruses and sweet keyboards. It is clear, then, that the Brooklyn quartet hasn’t gotten lazy. The album will be on sale from the 17th September.
1. Teengirl Fantasy: “EFX feat. Kelela”
In May, when they told us that “Tracer” would be coming out this summer, R&S and True Panther Sound let us know that this second full-length work from Teengirl Fantasy would be more focused and refined in its composition. It would be more varied, anchored in new registers, making the whole an effort that is “more far-reaching and takes more risks”, in the duo’s own words. And this seems to be true. So far we have heard three advance tracks, all of them brilliant, and each of them different from the others. The third one is this R&B gem that the young Kelela gives vocal emotion to. A sophisticated feast of pumped-up drum-machines and neon synths with a Rustie sound, but taking greater care of the nuances and moderating intensities.