electronic

Maggie Rogers

Maggie Rogers

It's likely you've heard about Maggie Rogers already. We all know that's not gonna stop me from doing my bit here according to my own particular idiom, but it is nevertheless a thing that needs to be acknowledged. Alaska is a certified Internet Event after her, and I'm quoting her directly here, "gif-able moment with Pharrell" and I linked Alaska down there like I damn well must because in addition to being a phenomenon it is a planet-killer payload of quality.

So what is Maggie Rogers doing here that is so magical? Pharrell went a little around the bend on exactly how unique this situation is (Wu Tang reference though, Liquid Swords!, recognize), I expect I am (as are you, dear reader, almost surely) steeped somewhat more significantly in the genre contemporaries than our boy there. I expect that any of you that have read the other posts around these parts might be thinking that you can hear some Sylvan Esso or VÉRITÉ or maybe just a little Ryn Weaver and I don't think you're wrong about that, but there is definitely a unique alchemy coming out of Maggie Rogers' lab.

It may surprise you to know (well, not if you watched all the videos up there, but you probably didn't) that Maggie Rogers used to make banjo music. Alright it's not exclusively banjo music, but it's certainly not this. Well, it's not ALL of this. When you listen to these folk/singer-songwriter songs, you can hear some threads that run up into this new EP and I think that may be where some of the magic is gestated. Her music is coming from this other place and it's passing through this filter, the disillusionment and her nature detour and the reinvigoration, and out the other side of that is this organically danceable, tightly arranged electro-pop with bumpy-bump synthetic bass lines and space-y reverbs and clean beats, but the singer-songwriter is still in there and it's the addition of her stellar vocal work that puts this over the top; just the right vibrato and a smooth falsetto and a sprinkle of echo...que belíssima.

Since Alaska is a given (and I will fight you if you disagree with that) I only had to pick one from this five song (well, four remaining) EP and while that should've been easy it really wasn't. I like On + Off a lot and I was pretty convinced it was the right choice, but when I really got down to it I loved the first pre-chorus at a 12/10 and the rest of the song at about an 8 and I had all of Dog Years at a 9 so here we are.

Go to one of the links down at the bottom there and get this EP. Pay the money, I want the LP, or more EPs, singles, literally whatever she does with all our sweet sweet Benjamins, I want it. You do this for me and we will forget about all the things I've done for you. I mean, also I need you to buy all the other things I've told you to buy, but right now, today? This one, buy this one right now.

Alaska
Dog Years

Where to find ARTIST:
Twitter: @maggierogers
Website: maggierogers.com

Christine and the Queens

Christine and the Queens

I'm gonna keep it simple on this one. First, hot knowledge bomb for you. Her name is not Christine. It's Héloïse Letissier, which may be the most French name I've ever seen, and I keep pronouncing it in a truly awful French accent in my head over and over. I'm talking Steve Martin in The Pink Panther bad, here.

But never mind that. Brass tacks: "Tilted" is one of the best songs I've heard in a long, long time. Thick and round and warm and then she does the spoken word in French and...::sigh:: I want to wrap myself up in this song and stay there. It's synth-y heaven. "Paradis Perdus" I love for the Kanye "sample". She really does justice to it and since she sings the rest of the song in French, of course I adore it even though I have no idea what it means. I understand the lyrics are from a '70s French song of the same title, but I wouldn't understand it any better on the original recording, so this is just gonna be a CatQ song for me.

Tilted
Paradis Perdus

Where to find Christine and the Queens:
Twitter: @QueensChristine
Website: christineandthequeens.com

PS: I feel like I'd be remiss if I didn't also point you to the video for "Tilted". It's kind of an avant-garde pop-n-lock modern dance showcase, and it is mesmerizing and wonderful and I keep watching it:
Tilted (Official Video)

Honestly if I ever moved like that I'd probably need to see a doctor.

Marian Hill

Marian Hill

Come with me on a vision quest for a minute. Picture the word "slinky" in your mind. No, dammit, not Slinky®. Slinky the adjective. Cat burglars and black dresses and smoky nightclubs, steamy noir streets, tuxedos and delicate curls of cigarette smoke against an inky sky, right? Now, imagine slinky as a sound. That's Marian Hill. That's what they do. It's jazz, it's dubtronica, it's chill tempos, thick bass and sultry melodies that radiate classy cool while they whisper untoward nothings in your ear.

Marian Hill is a Philly export, nominally composed of vocalist Samantha Gongol and electronic producer/artist Jeremy Lloyd. Their current LP, Sway, also heavily features jazz player/saxmaster Steve Davit, for the betterment of all mankind, I assure you.

Look, I didn't want to tell you this way, but you've got a fever. And the only cure is more saxamaphone. Luckily, Marian Hill is here to save you.

Got It
Lovit

Where to find Marian Hill:
Twitter: @MarianHillMusic
Website: marianhillmusic.com

Light PS: they are well on their way to releasing their second album, ACT ONE, some songs from which are already available and in at least one case (Amazon) if you pre-order the album, you'll get the tracks as they release going toward the finish. Also, they've got a super cool looking murdered-out signed vinyl pre-order situation on their main site store, so also give that the 'ol eyeball. I am beset on all sides by temptation, reader.

Sylvan Esso

Sylvan Esso

Sometimes, the music doesn’t click. You listen, you hear, but you don’t find it. It’s not there. Weeks, months, years later you come back and there it is. Like it was always there. And it kind of languidly stares over its metaphorical shoulder at you as if to indicate it was right there the whole time, where were you looking and you sort of semi shrug at the mental apparition and look abashedly at your hallucinatory shoes and think something empty and trite at it like “Brains are weird.” This was me and Sylvan Esso. They were recommended to me more than once, but I just couldn’t get it. It was my fourth full run-through of the album when it just, well happened. I felt it, and then I fell right into it. Full on heavy rotation, just like that. What are you gonna do, right?

Sylvan Esso, a duo of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn, does an interesting thing well with their a-typical beats and electronic sparsity. Meath’s vocals are a treat, jazzy and round and at once contrasting and complementing the electronica while Sanborn mixes a wildly diverse catalog of sounds from buzzsaw bass lines to handclaps and street noise into a carefully weighted tapestry of rhythm and support. This type of expansive electronic mix is a genre I seem to find myself stumbling haphazardly into of late. On the surface, I think I’m attracted to the vocal stylings and the fearless use of space but there’s something else in there that feels like a reaction to the overproduced weightlessness of pop music, something artistically defiant. They seem to simplify where the other would pile layers, strip down when the other would build up. Though the sonic differences are clear, there is something here that I find common with just-posted HOLYCHILD, and I expect I’ll continue accidentally walking into these things now that this idea is locked in my brain.

As to this particular release, it feels as if there’s a zen, a feng shui of sound. It feels substantial but orderly, well built and expressive but in precise proportion. The acapella opening of "Hey Mami" with the great drop setup on the second chorus gives you a taste of things to come, leading into a series with highlights "Wolf" and "HSKT" up to the strongest track on the album, "Coffee", which deftly twists its melody from brooding to a very satisfying sort of resolved over the course of four and a half minutes. It winds down from there a bit, though I do enjoy "Play It Right".

Here are a couple but, as is MY WAY, I find the whole album lovely and you should really go buy it and listen to it in its completeness for that is how the music is best experienced in virtually every case and also how we get more of the good music.

Coffee
Hey Mami

Where to find Sylvan Esso:
Twitter: @sylvanesso
Website: sylvanesso.com

Ryn Weaver

Ryn Weaver

So I’ve got a little something for you here. A little of that good good, you know what I mean? I’m not gonna lie, this stuff right here, this will mess you up. This will: Mess. You. Up. You don’t wanna get into this Ryn Weaver situation unless you’re looking for some of that Singapore Suites stuff. Some of that Grade A+. Uncut.

Yeah, I’m sick of that metaphor also.

Look, this is some crazy-town good music. Just, holy cow good. The Fool is an album I had taken to calling "Florence and the Machine Lite" but that’s not really what it is. That happens sometimes, she’s got a bit of a tendency toward the trilly vibrato, but it’s not a fair brush to paint the effort. This is something much harder to pin down. It has the lyrics of a singer-songwriter but music that goes the distance from a dubstep breakdown on "The Fool" to bare vocal a capella at the end of "Traveling Song". Despite the musical breadth there’s a thread that keeps the album coherent, a touch of vulnerability in Ryn Weaver that leads you along. Really, it feels a bit like an album that walks a tightrope. Sometimes the next song starts and you wonder if she’s lost her footing but never fear, Ryn Weaver keeps The Fool upright every time.

Here are two. I’d recommend you also listen to "OctaHate" (her breakout single), "Pierre", "Promises" and "Traveling Song". And all the other ones too.

Stay Low
The Fool

Where to find Ryn Weaver:
Twitter: @RynWeaver
Website: rynweaver.com