Time for part IV in the ‘My ears like to hear…’ series and apparently the last time I wrote one of these posts was back in August 2013, what on earth has happened?! That time has literally evaporated. I need to write these more often. So here are another nine people, groups, collectives, musical and sound art wonders that have caught my attention. Some 2014 treats in here that I’d recommend watching over the coming months…how your ears should begin 2014. So who am I going to begin with? One of my favourites…
I am seriously in love with the energy, infectious noise, individualism and pure dynamism of this group with their “electro-klezmer” music, a hard-hitting blend of Eastern European folk and broken beats. I saw them a few weeks ago with manaXi (who you are going to hear a lot more about from now on) at Antwerp Mansion in Manchester prior to Riot Jazz taking the stage (who were also, as usual, super fun brass band-tastic). It was one unforgettable gig that will stay with me forever. Small space, intensely driven crowd consumed by what they heard that night. Red stripe can in hand. Smoking indoors (which was refreshingly nostalgic). Tantz, I cannot wait to see you play again, to lose my soul and mind to you, and dance like it’s the end of the world. ManaXi is already in talk with a friend to get them to play in Northampton. Watch this space and until then play them LOUD.
I’ve blogged about this dreamic wonder before…and her amazing voice. Definitely one to watch in 2014. Read more about my thoughts on her aural loveliness here. Go and get lost in her sounds. NOW. Love this girl…more than Grimes and FKA Twigs even (who is below)…
The Tea Rockers Quintet
‘The Tea Rockers Quintet’ hail from China with field recording/noise artist/poet Yan Jun, folk artist Xiao He, Guqin master Wu Na, multi-instrumentalist Li Daiguo and tea master Lao Gu. Their debut album, Ceremony, presents their version of a Chinese tea ceremony. I’ve recently commissioned Yan Jun to produce a track for a forthcoming project that includes a CD of sound art called ‘The Temporary: 01’ that I’ll be blogging about very soon.
Simple fresh artsy dreamy folk from this LA female artist. Interested to see what she is going to produce over the coming year.
Trippy electro-pop-rock with a 1980s-esque retro chic that has you wired within seconds. Warm up, warm into Icky Blossoms. Slow move into the beat. Another infectious riotous group with awesome glitchy (with a pinch of the risqué) visual greatness.
This is going to be my Summer 2014 soundtrack. I can envisage it already, it blazing from my headphones as I cycle on B-B fixed gear on the UK streets. Sunglasses on. Blue sky dreaming. Hopefully free of my PhD, taking the next step in writing the book of Rachel (and even “nickel” – a manaXi link here). Pure mellowness laid back beats with a pinch of Miami cool. Harrison take me to sunshine heights, as soon as you can as the weather is terrible right now.
The very beautiful Israeli-French singer and songwriter Yael Naim blends jazz to classical to pop to swing. She also does rather stunning cover versions, including this one of ‘Toxic’ by Britney below. Similar to Fifi Rong, you can melt into her voice instantly.
On a par with Grimes, this girl has gained a lot of attention over the last few months. She has lines of M.I.A. about her…pushing lyricism and vocal tensions that have you deeply engaged, again melting into aural clarity with a sexualised beauty and disjointed rhythm of fluid body motion. Your body waves and slides. You want to be intensely held and guided. Her websites and blogs stand out from the average…giving you a real sense of her, her practice, her style and statement. Play this in the early hours when you’re smiling about something that only you can think about.
I’m going to finish on something that has me in my silly moments, my creative moments, my moments where nothing else in the world matters and I realise it’s ok to be who I am, think how I do, be nothing else but me. Word Girl. Delicate toy rock noises and sounds from this boyfriend and girlfriend duo from Japan called Pimo – photographer Pixy Liao (I am completely in love with her work as I’ve said before here) and Takahiro Morooka.