Friday Music

The-Presets-Pacifica-608x602Hey there. Another Friday, another installment of your weekly internet mixtape. Got a bunch of good stuff this week, so let’s get right to it.

First off, we have a track that I discovered via EA Sports FIFA 13. The FIFA series always features great music, and as they go out of their way to pick tracks representative of the sport’s global appeal, I’m always guaranteed to be introduced to acts that I’ve never heard before. Such was the case with The Presets (pictured above), an Australian electronic music duo. This track immediately struck me in its tonal and format similarity to old English sea shanties, but filtered through a modern electronic lens. The Presets – “Ghosts.”

The soundtrack album to Baz Luhrmann’s 3D version of The Great Gatsby is getting some notice, as it features new music from Florence and the Machine, Jay-Z and other big acts. I stumbled across this track via a music blog, and fell in love instantly. It’s from Sia, a vocalist best known on these shores for singing on “Destiny”, the debut single of the electronic music act Zero 7 in the early 2000s. I’ve loved her voice ever since — and this track, which closes out the Gatsby soundtrack has got “give this woman a James Bond theme” written all over it. Sia – “Kill and Run.”

Willy Moon is a London-based New Zealand-born musician who does sample-based music but with a 50s rockabilly edge to the vocals. He was named as “One to Watch” by the Guardian, and has been profiled in GQ, Elle and Vogue. This track was released as a single on Jack White’s record label, Third Man Records: Willy Moon – “Railroad Track.”

Long-time readers will remember that I fell in love very quickly with Janelle Monae, with the release of her first single, Tightrope. Her full-length debut, a sci-fi concept album called The ArchAndroid continued the story begun in her initial EP release Metropolis Suite 1 (The Chase, telling through her mix of neo-soul, funk and art-electronica the tale of Cindi Mayweather, a messianic android sent back in time to free the citizens of Metropolis from The Great Divide, a secret society that uses time-travel to suppress freedom and love. Her second album, The Electric Lady is due soon, and the first single, a duet with neo-soul superstar Erikah Badu, has been released: Janelle Monae – “Q.U.E.E.N. (feat. Erikah Badu).”

A quick jaunt back to the 80s. I always loved Quarterflash — Rindy Ross was responsible for both of the things that stood out for me, providing both the vocals and the sax riffs. Rather than hit you with the usual tracks that nostalgia-radio focuses on (1981’s “Harden My Heart” and “Find Another Fool”), I figured I’d go instead with their last top-20 single, from their sophomore release in 1983. Quarterflash – “Take Me To Heart.”

I was introduced this week to this group from South Africa. SKIP&DIE started as a collaboration between the South African vocalist/visual artist Catarina Aimée Dahms (aka Cata.Pirata) and Dutch producer Jori Collignon (aka Crypto.Jori), collaborating with musicians from Soweto, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Guguletu. This stuff is phenomenal, mixing hip-hop, electronic, various traditional African forms, Indian and more, with vocals in English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu, Spanish and Portuguese, into a style which has been described as “Township Bass.” They’re so good, I’m giving you two examples:

The first, SKIP&DIE – “Jungle Riot.”, and another, SKIP&DIE – “Lihlwempu Lomlungu (with Driemanskap).”

Will close out with a bit of smooth. My favorite track from the solo years of Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry, from his 1985 album, Boys and Girls: Bryan Ferry – “Sensation.”

There ya go, kids. Enjoy, and see you back here with more next week.