Quinara (quinara) wrote,

Rough Trade Tracks of the Week 31 May 2013

So, in a fit of wanting someone else to find new music for me, I signed up to the subscription service run by Rough Trade, where you get six of their favourite new tracks for £2.99 per week. It says that they get tracks often ahead of release and you get additional material - so far, I can certainly say that these tracks do seem to be ahead of release and properly fresh in that way. Not sure what they're talking about in terms of additional material, but they do also say that this is a fairly new service and they're building it up as they go along, so we'll see what happens!

For as long as I go for it, I thought it might also be fun to keep a blog of my feelings on the tracks. I actually thought this would be more difficult than I'm hoping it will be... My general worry with the service was that, as sponsored by the Guardian, it was going to be a lot of samey Guardian-reader-friendly tunes aimed at 30 year olds, which ten years ago would have meant a lot of Pixies-esque stuff... I don't know if it isn't that, but there's definitely variety here and a clear identity between tracks. My fear now that I'm interested in three of the tracks enough to want the albums is that every Saturday could potentially start getting very expensive. :/

So, this link will have changed by next week, but for the moment these are the tracks. The Rough Trade blurb is in italics.

Zomby - It's Time
A first snippet from the monumental 33-track double album With Love, that's dropping shortly, this is an immaculate production from a true master of the craft, shimmering, deep and soulful dance music.

This is some pretty class ravey dubsteppy type stuff, basically churning around a nice, deep two-beat with the odd bit of distant jangly brass(?) and this great vocal hook "It's time to get fucking mental." It's not really home listening, which I say even as someone who listens to dance music for lols. Maybe if you do a lot of gaming and have dance music like my brother has metal? But excellent dancing could be had.

Wax Idols - Dethrone
There's a sumptuous darkness cloaking Wax Idols' Dethrone. Gothic-tinged and playing abundantly on the pleasure-pain principle, songstress Heather Fortune's day job as a dominatrix seems to be feeding into her art.

The more I listen to this the more I like it. bogwitch, if the description wasn't enough, I should probably just say that I think it's right up your street! It's basically just rolling rock music with a very singable but not sweet female vocal, and and anthemic "Dethrohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhne them alll" as the chorus. I sort of get an 80s vibe from it, but I sort of don't; if it feels retro at all, it doesn't feel tired. The guitars are very liquidy and the drums are stomping. The beat is nice and uptempo, which I like. Very easy to listen to, and a bit poppy for that, but that's hardly a problem...

Camera Obscura - Do It Again
The first single from the hugely anticipated new album from Camera Obscura sets the bar pretty high. Whirling pop energy propelled on those classic guitar jangles, bittersweet vocals and wry, intelligent lyrical moments mark this out as "instant classic" material.

Ack, I don't like this. Skipped the last minute on first listen and haven't been doing well since. Poppy, mid-tempo rock with mildly country-tinged female vocal. There is a buzzing undertone to the guitars+drums which makes it feel modern, but that's about all it's got going for it, as far as I'm concerned. At 2:30 it's already run out of ideas and gone on too long, but it just comes round for another minute of the same stuff. SKIP.

Molly Nilsson - Dear Life
Available a month ahead of release, Swedish-born Molly Nilsson's "Dear Life" builds on her previous work, pulling away from a longing melancholy and emerging into an ecstatic world giddy with possibility.

More dance! Uptempo, glittering trance boom(chh)-boom(chh)-boom(chh)-boom(chh) type stuff with a growly female vocal line actually singing lyrics. Like all the best trance (although this isn't quite trance, I'm not sure; the music isn't quite as sweet), everything is optimism tinged with this shadow of melancholy. This is exactly the sort of thing I would listen to just as music and it is fantastically uplifting. I didn't think I was that interested last night, but I love it this morning. Summer!!!!!!!!
ETA: Hmm, although RT don't seem to actually classify this as dance, rather than rock and pop. I suppose it would be very easy to turn my perspective around and just see this as uptempo, summery rock? Let's go for that, because I know how some people who might be reading this feel about dance... It's not dance at all!! Promise.

Olivier Libaux - No One Knows
Giving you a flavour of what to expect on Olivier Libaux's (one of the minds behind Nouvelle Vague) latest work - a Queens of the Stone Age covers album. This track features Inara George and is a highlight of what we think will prove another slice of interpretive genius.

OK, so we have bossa nova Queens of the Stone Age. (Is it bossa nova? I'm pretty crap on South American genres.) It sounds almost exactly like it should be the background to a Diet Coke advert ("Oh what you do to me, no one knows..."), but despite the ting of the triangle setting off what I think might be my hyperacusis, I like this track more and more every time I play it. The album sounds absolutely fascinating, not least because QOTSA is exceptionally lyrical and great to sing along to. I didn't by anything past Lullabies to Paralyse because they seemed to be getting heavier and heavier, but I could go for this. The track selection looks great - check out Burn the Witch on here. Since it's limited release, I fear I might have to get this before it goes...

Halo Halo - Sunshine Kim
A month ahead of release, South Londoners Halo Halo take post-punk scalpels to both 70s folk rock and undetermined world musics to create something of the moment and other-worldly.

I actually like this an awful lot as well. It sounds like, actually, what maybe rock music is supposed to sound like around now. The RT description doesn't do it justice at all, I don't think, because I was expecting some awful hipster wannabe-Fleetwood Mac with, I dunno, something different, but this is more like uptempo catchy rock, with strong and rolling drums along with a lot of folk instruments, but not in a self-conscious way (East Asian bells, I think? And there's a harmonica at on point - but over a mammoth drum role.) Female vocals again. The chorus hook thing ("huh! huh! Sunshine Kim!") makes me think a little bit of Karen O, but it's not really Yeah Yeahs Yeahs at all. I'm enjoying it, and thought I was on for the album last night, but now I'm in two minds.
It's nice, though.


Overall I think that was a success! Not pausing my subscription yet.

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Tags: music, rt tracks of the week
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