♪ Something We Heard Today

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Remember Equador? I certainly don’t. Regardless of my shoddy memory, here is an earlier collaboration that Henry Binns (of Equador and Zero 7) did with Bo Bruce (of Equador and… Bo Bruce). It certainly has the feel of a Binns track, what with it being all dreamy and downtempo-y and stuff, but this one has a hint of mid-90s pop sensibility in those drums. It’s all brought together by Bruce’s incredibly lovely vocals, which just goes to prove that not all things connected to The Voice are terrible.

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Something We Heard Before

Into the 80s we go! Figuratively, that is. Never go back, people. Anyway, take a healthy dose of synth drums and a gloriously sexy bass line and mix it with some more laid back, electronic tones and sultry singing and you’ve got yourself a winner! For Esmé has evidently followed this recipe with aplomb with a tune that simply begs to be listened to at night.

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Trying to lock down specific musical influences for artists these days is an inherently difficult task. I submit that this is an awesome thing: it means we’re all getting the equivalent of a musical menagerie with every new song that’s released. Not that we’re getting stuff that’s jam-packed with a thousand different styles and origins, but more that there’s a whole lot of interestin’ experimentin’ goin’ on.

With that, here are Methyl Ethel (so much fun to say), hailing from Australia with their blend of 80s electro-pop and darker synthetic tones and composition. It is all kinds of interesting and tingly, like a good coffee pared with an even better coffee.

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A touch of the downtempos? A touch of the David Bowies? Yes please! At least, that’s the kind of feel I get with this track from Toronto-based rockers, The Smoking Bells. And as we all know, my musical similes are 100% TOP NOTCH AND ACCURATE.

All that aside, this is a tremendously slick tune that sometimes feels like an amalgamation of a whole bunch of songs and styles you’ve heard before, and other times a completely unique experience. Regardless of how you feel about it at any given time, it damn sure isn’t going to put you to sleep.

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Oh my god, it just gets better! I am in aural bliss! Much drooling has occurred! SOMEONE SEND HELP!

Ahem. Allow me to regain my composure. Following on from yesterday’s wonderfulness, here is another track from Equador, which is even more aurally titillating. So please excuse me while I go listen to this until YouTube’s servers collapse into a pile of melted metal and plastic.

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And here was me, like a fool, waiting for Zero 7 to drop some delectable downtempo delights when instead I could’ve been checking out Henry Binns’ (co-founder of Zero 7) side project, Equador. Granted, they’re pretty darn new, so I can forgive myself. For now!

For those of us that aren’t entirely enamoured with Zero 7’s apparent shift in tonal direction, Equador might be the group to fill out that hole. They seem to have taken the former’s sublime, chilled DNA and run with it – undoubtedly modern and with more of an electronic influence, but oh so damn easy on the ears. Equador’s debut album is coming out sometime this year apparently and OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD RELEASE IT ALREADY AND TAKE ALL MY MONEY.

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Let’s have some music, shall we? Here is a 70s drenched tune that sounds a bit like a mellower version of Crowded House, but has also had secret sexy time meetings with The Foreign Films.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with secret sexy time meetings between two consenting musical groups, but that is a matter for another time. For now, enjoy this wonderfully relaxed, musical love child.

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Now here’s something that’s aurally delightful and wholly unexpected: Martina Topley-Bird & Mark Lanegan covering a song by The XX. WHAT. “That’s insane!”, you say? Nope! What’s actually insane is how goddamn amazing it sounds: Martina’s delicate pop vocals blend beautifully with Mark’s gruff tenor to create what feels like a mescaline-tinged wander through a desert at night. It is utterly captivating, stripping away most of the original’s instrumental complexity for something far purer. Absolutely wonderful!

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Sigh. Cretin that I am, I failed to mention the passing of Stevie Wright, lead singer of The Easybeats, on December 28 2015. In honour of Wright’s memory, here is their most famous song. Contentious as this comment may be, I believe this is one of the best songs that the Australian music scene gifted to the world: a Beatles-esque sound that flirted with the early sounds of punk to create a far more aggressive tone than anything in the Beatles back catalogue.

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Too many wonderful musicians have passed away recently. So, given Bowie’s legacy, his eclecticism and his unyielding mystique, I choose to believe that Bowie has simply returned to the stardust and universe that birthed and allowed him to visit us all here on planet Earth for 69 years. There’s not really much I can say that won’t be said more eloquently and with more reverence than I and my silly blog could possibly conjure. Farewell, David. And thank you for all that you left for us to enjoy, marvel and cherish.

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There was no doubt that we had to post this today, given what has just happened. Lemmy was the quintessential rock god: his imposing and hugely powerful vocal and bass work left no question unanswered as to who was in charge of the roost. He meant brutal, hard business with every tune he produced, eschewing the theatricality of his contemporaries for a focus purely on the music. And yet, it certainly wasn’t noise for the sake of noise: there was cohesion and tightness to the equally powerful melodies and rhythms. So today I leave you with my (and probably many others) favourite Motörhead tune and say a sad farewell to a true legend of the rock world.

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