Before Your Very Eyes is the opening track on AMOK, the 2013 debut from Atoms For Peace. While the members themselves don’t call themselves a supergroup, many music fans would be particularly inclined to view this band in that way; especially since its members include Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and producer/electronic composer Nigel Godrich. While these three musicians may seem poles apart in terms of genre and influences (and believe me, they are); they come together in a genre-bending chaos of sound that can only be known as Atoms For Peace. There’s too many “real” instruments for this to be strictly electronic music, the beat is too dance-able for it to be ambient, and it’s too ambient to be proper EDM. It is just Atoms For Peace, straight and clean.
Now I must admit, like anything Thom Yorke is involved in, this track can be a bit difficult to accept at first listen. There’s a ton of sound layering going on that warrants at least 2-3 listens before the song really makes an impact (at least in my case). But when this song impacts, it IMPACTS.
This song is nothing short of an aural film. The complex percussion rhythms created by multiple track layering slither like a bed of snakes while the distorted synth and computer soundscrash in sharp, static waves on the warm sandy guitar tones. All the while Yorke’s echo-laden vocal performance acts the siren; sweetly singing lyrics of the vacuous allure of youth and beauty while hinting at the impending prospect of old age that lies in wait. All of these elements homogenize in a way that allows the listener to unfold the sounds they hear; choosing to focus on any of the given tracks to gain a fresh insight into the song.
Now, multiply that by 9 and you’ve got AMOK. A fascinating blend of styles and sounds that sure to please those who like to try and decode songs for their hidden pearls of insight.
Home Again is the title track off of Michael Kiwanuka’s 2012 debut album of the same name. With a simple, yet incredibly effective melody, Home Again is an excellent example of Kiwanuka’s subtle but heartfelt songwriting style. Indicative of the rest of the songs on the album, the lyrical motifs of overcoming hardship and regaining one’s sense of purpose after one of life’s challenging periods; Home Again feels incredibly raw and close to home. Rather than challenging the world around him like many of his folk songwriting contemporaries, Kiwanuka points his evaluative gaze inward and instead reflects on his own interpretation of the things going on in his own life (or so it would seem).
The music does an excellent job echoing the soul and folk influences found in Kiwanuka’s songwriting, incorporating acoustic guitar, strings, and percussion without distracting the listener’s focus away from the lyrics. In particular, the swelling crescendos of strings midway through the strong do an excellent job of adding dramatic and emotional weight to the music without sounding out of place or bombastic.
An excellent song from a solid debut album from this young UK artist, Home Again is both a song and and an album that is worth looking into.
Sun is the lead single off of Two Door Cinema Club`s 2012 album Beacon. Maintaining their signature dance rock sound, Two Door Cinema Club have delivered another exciting track in Sun. With an up-tempo driving bass rhythm that moves the song`s groove along, Sun is a great mixture of rock and pop sound textures, culminating in an instant classic. With light lyrical themes and musical composition; Sun is a simple, catchy, fun song.
Satellite comes to us off of The Kills’ 2011 release Blood Pressures. The two piece group consisting of Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart have really refined their sound on this song and this album in general. With a devastating backbeat of crunchy, octave – dubbed guitar mixed with a straightforward drum track, this song has an almost mechanical thudding rhythm that is addictive. When combined with the exquisitely harmonized vocals of Hince and Mosshart, the track gains its own unique flavour that is almost like a bastard love-child of ambient indie rock and grunge. Either way, Satellite is a top-notch song and Blood Pressures is a top-notch album worth investing in.
Blood Pressures, as well as the rest of The Kills’ discography is available on iTunes and physical music retail stores.