Sights and Sounds
by Mike Evans
YOUNG MAGIC — Melt
THE GOOD: Globetrotting indie trio (they’re mostly Australian) Young Magic goes for the spacey on their patchwork debut.
THE BAD: Melt is a mood record; its overall vibe overshadowing the individual songs. Expect something that works best as a whole.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Melt is a compilation of sorts, comprised of a handful of previous released singles, some experimental links and a few new cuts. It’s all hazy low-key electronica that resembles both early Hot Chip (remember the creepy “Playboy?”) and contemporary upstarts such as Small Black. There are sprinkles of dub a la Thievery Corporation and Neon Indian-like chillwave; the entire set a throbbing low-burning ooze.
Tracks like “You with Air” and “The Dancer” flirt with traditional song structures and cohesive melodies but even these touches are engulfed in a neo-psychedelic fog. Most of the album finds the band trying to hypnotize the listener; to send us drifting off to a higher place. It’s a great vibe as long as you’re in the proper frame of mind. This outfit truly shows promise.
BUY IT?: Maybe. Young Magic could be great … but probably not until next time.
THE 2 BEARS — Be Strong
THE GOOD: The 2 Bears make every dancefloor a London dancefloor.
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: We live in the age of the side project. It’s not uncommon for a musician to be in three different groups at once, or for members of varying acts to merge into entirely new outfits. Sure that has always happened, but the world of indie has been totally immersed in this “blurring of the bands” for at least a decade now.
With that in mind, meet the 2 Bears — Joe Goddard of Hot Chip along with MC Raf Daddy.
Together, these men make up a duo hell bent on showing us a great time at some steamy, sweaty English establishment that’ll be pumping until the break of dawn. Encompassing everything from electro to house to dancehall, 2 Bears’ music looks forward while constantly recalling the best of our rhythmic past.
Like many side projects, Strong sometimes feels custom-made for the music geeks; collectors too cool to dance and perfectly content with counting all the classic references lurking in the mix. But the album never loses its sense of fun.
BUY IT?: Yeah!
PORCELAIN RAFT — Strange Weekend
THE GOOD: Italian-born singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Mauro Remiddi offers up the dreamy thumping Porcelain Raft full-length debut.
THE BAD: No complaints.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Recorded and conceived in a Brooklyn basement, Weekend finds Remiddi doing the whole electronic dream-pop aesthetic rather well. Think a lighter Passion Pit crossed with a delicate take on M83. Then toss in some vintage glam, mix in fellow Secretly Canadian act Painted Palms and you begin to sense what this spaced-out journey is all about.
Synthetic instrumentation and Remiddi’s wispy vocals divinely combine over a myriad of fragile beats and warm basslines, creating tracks that owe just as much to classic ambient techno as they do to current indie pop. Tunes such as “Unless You Speak from Your Heart” and “Put Me to Sleep” are equal parts mid-period Orb, contemporary Best Coast, and “shoegaze revival” all at once. The record remembers the past and looks towards the future while pulling us out of the present altogether. It’s a pretty cool all-encompassing effect.
BUY IT?: Yep. And here’s hoping the ever-changing Remiddi settles into this persona for at least a little while.