Archive for the ‘Downtempo’ Category

Danish duo Moon Panda have brought their bonus-only track “Submarine” to streaming.  This woozy trip-hop tune was previously only available as a bonus track on Moon Panda’s celebrated March debut, What on Earth.  The vocals hiss a whispery singing of the fates, and then the melody hits that beautiful coasting-through-existence motif that comes on so well for this genre.  Maddy Myers’ tone transforms lyrics about riding the city streets into something spacious and otherworldly.  

Moon Panda just played stateside at the emerging Same Same But Different Festival in Southern California.  Here’s hoping they catch on with more USian music fans, those of us who like to lay back in darkened lounges with sounds that make the spirit glide through the plane. Great tune for those who like Zero 7 or Massive Attack.

Moon Panda InstagramMoon Panda BandcampMoon Panda Website

Art by Scarlett Flynn

During my annual May/June burnout I ended up sleeping on some incoming tunes that needed to be heard, but I knew I had to go back to through the inbox for May release “Sour in the Sun” by Scarlett Flynn. Woozy bass and keys paint a downtempo portrait behind Flynn’s enigmatic voice. It sounds a little like Kate Bush fertilized Portishead’s egg sac. It’s another song ruminating on lockdown ennui, a common theme these days, but Scarlett Flynn presents it through a “horror of choices” that color the illustration vividly: “I haven’t decided yet/celery or cigarette/to sour in the sun or split the water/to reach for the gun or the stars.”

The track comes off Scarlett Flynn’s upcoming solo album Living is Hell. This is her debut after fifteen years of co-lead vocals with pop/folk outfit Running Red Lights. Check out the video below, too.

Scarlett Flynn BandcampScarlett Flynn WebsiteScarlett Flynn Linktree

Fingathing are an English electronica duo of Sneaky (bass) and Peter Parker (turntable) that have been at it in the English underground for twenty or so years. Their mostly-instrumental electro-meets-hip hop sound is given further character by driving percussion and vocal sampling. The result is a groove like no other – spacey but dramatic, heady but body rocking at the same time. Their new 4-track EP Where You At? carries their deep red energy into a new era.

Where You At starts with “Devil Banger,” a smash of heavy metal guitar and turntable scratch that I could foresee devolving into a pit at a show, if their crowd were so inclined. It’s an introduction to a zombie dance party that continues into “Man Made Monster,” where the bass feels like cartoon monsters having the best basement rave. The monsters rise from the dead, possibly to feed on the brains that make up the cover of the EP. These visuals aren’t present in the songs themselves, but Fingathing’s album covers and art paint a NickToon panorama of characters and aesthetic details that make me, as a visualizer, so intensely engaged. I only hope they swing around NYC again, because visuals (by third Finga Chris Drury) are apparently a major part of their live show, and I missed my last opportunity.

May 26th 2015 Fingathing in Berlin Photo: Pablo Castagnola

The next tune is the titular track, “Where You At?” which brings that drama and suspense that feels much like an action scene. “Where you at?” the vocal loop asks, among sirens and steel pan drum over a vaguely Caribbean beat, that lends the notion of apocalypse, danger, and need to escape and find one’s people. This exemplifies Fingathing’s creativity at their best – layers of careful percussion paint so much flavor into a four minute masterpiece. Where You At? ends with “Disco Grande,” another simply delicious groove with claps and strings. Disco has always had a way of bowing heartstrings for aural drama, but Fingathing’s style makes “Disco Grande” feel devastating – like we’ve been listening to a groovy tragedy. The fates of the protagonists in my visuals are unknown, but damn is my body moving.

Fingathing produce story-laden soundscapes coupled with narrative concepts that make it completely unique. Add to that the sci-fi visuals, one might be tempted to make a comparison to Gorillaz except without Damon’s presence constantly pulling you out of the fantasy. Fingathing is one of my favorite bands to just lay back and feel – Sneaky’s double-bass has its own gravitational pull. Where You At marks another entry into a brilliant catalog. Don’t sleep on them.

Fingathing Bandcamp

Fingathing.co.uk Website

Fingathing Instathing