20 September 2011

Top Tunes To Blog About 14

M83 - "MIDNIGHT CITY"


When you leave a Frenchman; a master of electronica at the pinnacle of his music career, piece together a volcanic track of magnificent proportions layered with synthesisers, instruments and dreamy compositions, that is when you get "Midnight City" by M83.

M83 is the decade long moniker faithfully retained by Anthony Gonzalez and used by himself and his in-house band mates. After supporting industry giants such as Kings Of Leon, The Killers and Depeche Mode, Gonzalez has finally finished honing and sculpting the latest album "Hurry Up We're Dreaming" (released mid-October) after an agonising three year wait. Influenced by the likes of Sigur Ros, Cocteau Twins and New Order, M83's sound is unique for the current market. The indie twangs of The Infadels, the euphoric nature of Delphic and the heavenly panache of The Sound Of Arrows can all be recognised from Gonzalez' musical direction. With international bloggers and media moguls eagerly awaiting the album release, "Midnight City" is dropped as a tantalising morsel as to what the album will offer.

"Midnight City" starts off immediately with an invasive humming stabbed menacingly by squawky laboured synths; putting in motion the momentous tumbling of noise that follows next. The track truly begins when Gonzalez drops in a voluminous cascade of anthemic and overwhelmingly powerful layered percussions and gargantuan instrumentals. Shimmering metallic synths glide stealthily amongst the blackened diamond mass that is the engulfing bass-line. The opening is utterly stunning and unquestionably sticks out as one of the best pieces of music in recent years. "Midnight City" feels almost completely autonomous and mechanised as the mammoth beat thumps through auditory senses with energy and unrelenting enthusiasm. The forceful nature of the percussion is dynamically juxtaposed against the whispered breath and haunting shoegaze characteristics of Anthony's vocals. Almost a wave of breezy nothingness, the indecipherable tones make the entire track feel dreamy and astral; the occasional word being recognised to bring back any momentarily lost realms of normality. The wavy bass, the staccato synth peaks, the harmonious compositions of whimsical eighties neon-pop envelope the abrasive indie drums to create an overall package of musical verve and epic listening pleasure. As "Midnight City" marches forth it draws conflicting audio elements together, channelling them into a behemoth of sound that is dazzling, attractive and grandiose right up until the last note falls.

This track is testament to M83's capabilities, "Midnight City" will undoubtedly enlighten us all. Check the video below and show the guy some love by visiting the Facebook/Youtube/Myspace pages for M83.





BRETON - "THE COMMISSION"

If five Southeast Londoners who reside in their appropriately named "BretonLABS" compound whilst churning out sublime slabs of minimalist electro and cinematic film reels of visual genius sound like your cup of tea, then Breton are definitely your type of brew.

Breton is composed of Roman, Adam, Ian, Daniel and Alex who only within the last year or so have come together to form this unique five-piece and already they have produced exquisite sound and video work for the likes of Penguin Prison and Temper Trap, as well as remixes for Chapel Club and emerging giants, Local Natives. Their ability to notch up several EPs and already have their debut album poised for released early next year is crystal clear proof that these guys mean business and their professionalism is what underpins the Breton package.

"The Commission" is best described as an ultimately emotionally saddened and insurmountably isolating piece of minimalistic electronica. It slices open the senses and fuses together contemporary sounds with complex human emotions creating a fantastic tune full of depth, thought-provoking sparks and floaty wonderment. Even if this isn't the intention, there is a large vacuous space of feeling and emotion that appears lost, maybe anxious or trapped; engulfing the song with a veiled, sombre mood. "The Commission" starts off as a single canvas of tentative keys and spiritual whirrings; striped back electronica and simplistic production at its most effective and efficient. The eventual zorbing of the spacey bass-line gives the track a diligent boost of momentum and emotional drive; seismically driving an infinite crevasse between background instruments and foreground vocals. The vocals are key to harbouring the songs characteristics which are so well hidden and introverted behind cloaked screens that they require a gentle nudge. Haunting, eerie and mesmerisingly soft, the vocals orbit the polished gleam of mechnical noise with skill and sew the overall song together with unparralled finesse. "The Commission" feels like a collision of Sigur Ros, Mount Kimbie, The Avalanches, The Knife and Breakage; a plaintive trip of archaic notions and Nordic expressionism perfectly crafted for the modern day. The song progresses into a cavernous emptiness of heightened vocals that spiral through vortexy bass-lines and sedated dubstep-nuances. This cosmological effect garners a blackened landscape of absolute artistic-electro minimalism. It implores an unexpected pilgrimage into the human psyche, touching emotions and auditory senses; a rare thing for a track to accomplish. Breathtaking and beautiful, it's no wonder this track was commissioned.

Check out the stunning music video below and give these London lads some well earnt online love via their Facebook/Youtube/Myspace pages.



Mini Reviews In 20 Words: 4

MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS - "RADIOACTIVE"


The Stargate-produced single offers contemporary, thought-provoking vocals etched neatly over a plethora of jabbing synths, Balearic beats and imposing bass-lines.




BOSS IN DRAMA - "PURE GOLD"


Funky up-and-coming producer remoulds disco into a soul-tastic thoroughfare of eclectic house beats, gorgeous synth tweaks and Brazilo-disco glittery charm.



MICHELLE WILLIAMS - "LOVE GUN"


The overshadowed singer vamps it up with a resounding dance-pop number. Stuffed with silky vocals, frenetic synths and a decent beat.




TARYN MANNING - "TURN IT UP"


American singer/songwriter Taryn mixes wobbling bass-lines with husky vocals culminating into an electro-pop chorus of brassy synths and colossal beats.




FOSTER THE PEOPLE - "HELENA BEAT"


US indie-pop heavyweights champion this electro-fused slab of echoed vocals, dreamy shoegaze synth-scapes and contagious beats, stimulating docile audio pleasures.


13 September 2011

Mini Reviews In 20 Words: 3

THE KOOKS - "JUNK OF THE HEART"


The returning Brit-indie-pop band's track is fuelled by breezy sentimental lyrics, sassy guitar twangs and competent drumming; catchy indeed.






2NE1 - "I AM THE BEST"



The Korean pop starlets crank out a bass-heavy, rambunctious hooky slab of synthed electro-dance-pop with a catchy chorus and brash attitude.





FRANKMUSIK FT FAR EAST MOVEMENT - "DO IT IN THE AM"


Electro-synth wizard Frankmusik produces an infectious disco number laden with punchy beats, warping basslines and a dance-inducing shimmering chorus.




ANOUK - "I'M A CLICHE"


The Dutch singer's critical stab at modern society is a soulful number; powerful and honest vocals, jazzy beats and emotion.




TIM AND JEAN - "DON'T STOP"


Australian MGMT sound-a-likes craft twinkling synths with razorsharp guitaring and glittery autotuned warbles into a 'perfect for summer' electro-pop beast.


Mini Reviews In 20 Words: 2




TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB - "WHAT YOU KNOW" (RELIGION REMIX)


Religion fuses fluid chimes and floating keys with a bewildering chorus; thumping bass and jittery synths produce a stark transformation.








Two Door Cinema Club - What you know (Religion Remix) 320kbps by religion


THE SATURDAYS - "ALL FIRED UP"



Eleventh single from the pop group; sultry electro-pop synths, sun-kissed ambient dance beats, seductive lyrics and Balearic energy work diligently.






MATT CARDLE - "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE"


The latest track from 2010's X-Factor winner is Snow-Patrol-esque; Powerful pop-rock ballad with grandiose vocals, emotive drive and majestic verve.




TOM VEK - "AROUSED"



The Londoner's seductive track laces together bumbling beats, inquisitive sound effects and an infectious chorus topped with expressive lyrical genius.




GRACE V - "WHEN THE LIGHTS GO DOWN"



Russian-born Grace is America's answer to Kylie; her debut incorporates vocoded flair, computer-savvy synthesising and twinkling beats that work seamlessly.

09 September 2011

Mini Reviews In 20 Words: 1

In order to be able to post on a more regular basis, OWL BY NIGHT will be posting music round-ups of both new and nearly new released music to provide you loyal followers with more truly amazing and brilliantly crafted music from indie to pop, electro to remixed. These 'mini-reviews' will act as a nice way to break up the habit of posting similar posts thus enhancing your OWL BY NIGHT blogging fun. Each song will have a succinct twenty word review and a music video will be provided for your audio-visual pleasure. Five songs will be chosen for each of these posts. ENJOY.


HER MAJESTY AND THE WOLVES - "GOODBYE, GOODNIGHT"



Second single from the electo-pop duo. Kimberly Wyatt plus Spencer Nezey equals shimmering synths, rocketing bass lines and feel-good euphoria.



TWENTY TWENTY - "LOVE TO LIFE"



The UK's next Busted; three teenage lads with instrumental flair, an anthemic chorus, hounding drums and lively cheesy pop-rock vibes.





METRONOMY - "THE BAY"



Artistic Brighton band churning out perfected electro-indie-pop. This single oozes glamour, twinkling synths, skittish keys, haunting vocals and melodic charm.






FOREIGN BEGGARS - "PISS TAKE PICTURES" (SUBDUE REMIX)


UK urban favourites who mix hip-hop, grime, dubstep, electro into a fantastically domineering slab of punchy bass whomps and infectious lyrics.





SELENA GOMEZ AND THE SCENE - "LOVE YOU LIKE A LOVE SONG"


The US star matures lyrically with this low-amp mellowed pop tune; Jagged bass, dulcet vocal tones and charismatic energy aplenty.


05 September 2011

Top Tunes To Blog About 13

MY TOYS LIKE ME - "FREAK"


Fronted by squeaky glamour puss Frances Noon and backed by the musical talents of Lazlo Legezer, Alfonso Pisanelli et al, My Toys Like Me are a synth-pop group with a gritty passion and unwavering charm when it comes to forward thinking music. This London band stepped into the underground music scene limelight back in 2009 when they released their debut album "Where We Are", that was met with substantial acclaim and merit from industry experts. However this is a band that like to work with an air of mystery hidden behind thick closed curtains. The group have had a tumultuous year so far; their drummer upping sticks and moving to Canada and a serious burglary at their recording studio. Negatives aside, this band have whipped together, knuckled down and furnished an album that is supremely well constructed and optimises the steely determination alternative bands pour into their work. Titled "Come On Sunshine", the name itself shows this band is holding its head high and looking forward. Sounding like a mix of C.S.S., Dragonette, Sky Larkin, I Blame Coco, The Tings Tings and Metric ground together and churned out and with the magnificent "Freak" as a single, there is no doubting My Toys Like Me will meet expectations.

"Freak" starts off briefly as a five second jaunt of menacing ticking and whirring, promptly followed by the stark and piercing vintage vocals of Noon. Harking back to the hollow wooden sounds of the 1940's and 50's conjures up imagery of miscreant sidebars, tailored Soho dressage and juvenile radio nostalgia. The amalgamation of retro and contemporary creates a dynamic fusion that works harmoniously and with fluid ease. The whole song is underpinned by quite possibly the best thumping and fluctuating bassline heard this year; masculine, bewildering and mountainous, it shoves the song along into a dizzying sprint fuelled by tempestuous synths, bleeping hi-tech effects and a ruthlessly murky back beat. The lyrics are voluptuous and somewhat sordid "You know you're a freak...I've seen the Lycra in your room"; unashamedly vivid and forward, they expertly portray a side to sexual playfulness and fetishes that only Rihanna and her "S&M" smash hit single dared caress and place into the mainstream spotlight. The turbine-derived whomps and propeller-esque bass rotations add a depth of character to the song, helping it evolve into a monstrous behemoth of brash beats and slithering synths; manipulative and seductive. If there is one criticism for "Freak" it would be that some parts of the song don't gel and work as one, feeling too separated to create a powerful presence. However, with Noon's tantalising candy-coated vocal form, both feminine and coy and the engineering prowess of musical instruments meets oily electro, "Freak" continues forth with agreeable energy and diligence, keeping the listener hooked until the last dying musical swoop.

View the sexy video for "Freak" below and visit the My Toys Like Me Facebook/Youtube/Myspace to give them some of your online lovin'.




OH MY! - "KICKING AND SCREAMING"


Oh My! are the northern duo of Alex and Jade who met in a dance school then teamed together and relocated to London to produce their debut album under the guiding wing of respectable record label 679 and rapper Example. Signing to 679 seems to be the wisest thing for this twosome as fellow label-mates Little Boots, Spark and Marina And The Diamonds have proven their critically acclaimed worth with respectable chart success. Oh My! have certainly put themselves in good stead. However, for reasons unknown, these two enchanting girls seem to feel the wrath of pointlessly obnoxious and demeaning writers. Comparisons to a female Jedward, remarks of their music being "tacky", "cheesy" and "bitterly disappointing" are quite shocking and overly cruel. These girls split opinion; their marketing ethos is perhaps the reason behind the negative jibs. Oh My! are tainted with commerciality, youthful attitude, mildly arrogant pep and sheepishly nonsensical lyrics, but, that's what is invigorating and refreshing about these two. The music caters for the enthusiastic pop-happy electro-synth niche that excites teens and twenty-somethings; slamming their Oh My! ego hard into eardrums aplenty.

"Kicking And Screaming" was released two months ago as the first single to drop since being in the 679 stable. The song has been met with mixed and divided opinion, even more so due to the fact that chart topping maestro Example has helped work and produce Oh My!'s first album. Subsequently they are already being touted as "female Examples", which seems unfair and unjust. Despite the whirlwind of pessimism, this single is a scintillating blaze of a tune and deserves some praise. "Kicking And Screaming" starts off with a punctuating stab of grinding synths and a dysfunctionally bashful bass that pushes the song up to a heady rate of knots. The vocals start off with juvenile spirit and assertive intonation dominating the song in its entirety and nudging it along as the background elements coax one another with a provocative twist leaving the vocals to mull around haphazardly on the surface. The song is overambitious in areas; pockets of clattered noise erode the charm and detract from the lyrical humour, but thankfully this doesn't really tarnish the song in general. The lyrics for "Kicking And Screaming" are seemingly what stands the track out from the usual chart savvy singles that bleat on about love or something along the lines of women, cars and money in LA. Oh My! sidestep commodity with abrasive wit and absurd sentences; "I'm kinda like a scratch upon your brand new car...enjoy a night with me you'll have a fair few scars". Pointless rhyming and sloppy poetic diction doesn't add class or sophistication to the track, but it does make it fun, colourful and simplistic. With erratic electro-synths, breezy pop beats and splattered vocals for good measure the duo's marketing concoction shows similar traces to that of Ke$ha, If The Kids, Mika Miko and Be Your Own Pet. Either way, if Oh My! don't rack up sales, they may well be kicking and screaming, but we all like a spirited fighter, don't we?


Check out the delightfully random music video below and show these girls the usual Facebook/Youtube/Myspace love they deserve.



04 September 2011

Top Tunes To Blog About 12

RETRO/GRADE - "MIND KILLER"



Retro/Grade are the duo of Tom Neville and Serge Santiago who produce high quality sensory Italo-electro-disco. Residing in London at present, they have worked together in unison since 2004 after slapping their musical style onto Kano's track "It's A War". Since then the duo have progressed in leaps and bounds harnessing their position as juggernauts of the electro/disco scene both in the UK, across Europe and beyond. "Mindfighter" is already several months old but is still a cracker of a tune worth mentioning and is one of a number of singles the duo plan to release in the build up to their highly anticipated LP release.

"Mindfighter" starts off as a brisk, clean and minimal track laying down a galactic stream of electro-synth waves and an eighties inspired woozy echoed bassline that oscillates with dynamic verve and robotic efficiency. As the track progresses, Retro/Grade gently filter delicate layer upon delicate layer of synths and polished back beats that fuse together with expert precision, creating a perfectly honed plethora of computational sounds that tentatively transcend one another. Consequently this track is rich in auditory composition that stimulates the senses and asserts the belief that Neville and Santiago can produce intelligent nuances stemming from Italo-disco norms, defiantly thrusting it in the face of commercial dubstep trends that saturate the present charts. As "Mindfighter" progresses it jabs at the senses and pulses viciously; both jittery and reactive, it forges an anxious weight that looms over the whole ensemble. Whilst the track's momentum builds, there is at times an overwhelming and omnipotent presence that furthers the credentials of this brilliant track; the cosmic beats slice through extraordinarily sublime synths, puncturing the tempo of the track and neatly culminating into the addition of progressive vocals over the sample.

Sounding like a complex hybrid of Jake Shears, Hot Chip and Daft Punk, the vocals start off as a mild whisper and progressively gains in volume, tone and heightened pitch, sounding more exasperated, anxious and emotive as the song strides forth. The glassy vocals conjure images of hysteria and psychedelia which ignites further energy behind the song's already powerful punch. As the chorus peaks there is an array of hypnotically spacey synths and galvanised keying that marches on through till the end highlighting the supreme wizardry behind constructing such a tune. Retro/Grade oozes the French flair of Daft Punk, the efficient Teutonic nature of Kraftwerk and the finesse of Boys Noize; packaging these styles together ultimately returns a quintessential Anglo-Italo thoroughfare, both passionate and pleasant for our ears to appreciate.

Check out the incredible music video below and as is always the case by now; show the guys some love by visiting their Facebook/Youtube pages.






BELLE AMIE - "GIRLS UP"


Belle Amie are a three-piece girl group who were born out of the UK reality show 'The X Factor', back in 2010. All three members originally entered the popular contest as solo artists, but were thrown a wildcard and made to form into a girl group. Since then the original four member line up shed Geneva Lane, leaving Rebecca Creighton, Esther Campbell and Sophia Wardman. After lying low for six months the band have quietly been working on new material and their debut track "Girls Up" is testament to the hard work these young ladies have put into their musical craft and by working with Chad Dexter (Beyonce, Rihanna, Nelly) they are certainly working with top industry professionals. Belle Amie are quite obviously a commercially associated pop band, who are aiming to dominate the Top 40 Charts and give pop heavyweights The Saturdays or resurgent music legends the Sugababes a run for their money. There is no pretence of alternativism, a band like this is commonplace, but Belle Amie have an interestingly ditsy charm and air of excitability, with this energetic exuberance, it gives them a slight edge and degree of interest that perhaps current girlbands may lack.

When you gaze past the initial splurge of sickly pop bravado that "Girls Up" possesses and avoid the narrow mindedness associated with commercial pop, it is refreshing to have a single with some lyrical drive and musical diversity that strays from the current path of "pop plus dubstep equals money earner", courtesy of Britney Spears' "Till The World Ends". "Girls Up" starts off as a heavily layered tune with deep bumbling back beats strung along with wheezing disorientated electro-pop synths, a rambunctious bassline topped with the intermittent chirps of castanets amongst over things in the distant background. This contradictory audio circus carries on with youthful enthusiasm and speed right from the offset barraging through into the chorus. The composition is not exactly smooth and orchestrated, moreover the abundance of various noises and beats makes the song rather overproduced and confused. Despite this, "Girls Up" still remains enjoyable to listen to; the meteorological tide of energy and panache carries on through wildly and will cause you to move limbs and jig around with the same enthusiasm that is instilled within this corker of a pop tune.

What truly sets this track apart from the usual chart fodder is the underlying emotions laced within the lyrics; the girls make a bold dig at misogyny within society and the pressures placed on women to conform to ideological stereotypes. Lyrics such as "she wants the lights turned off...feels like she's lacking it, doesn't realise that she's beautiful" really emphasise the passion of these girls and gives the song much more credibility and applied understanding for the listener. The cumbersome thoroughfare sprints forth into an infectious chorus that is flashy, robust and boisterous, bulldozing onwards till the end without even a momentary pause for breath. This single will split opinions but it puts the humble girls in good stead for deserved chart success.

Check out the zany and visually frenetic music video below, buy the single and show the girls some Facebook/Youtube/Myspace online love.