My mood right now – Mr. Probz perfectly the captures the essence summer in his hit ‘Waves’. If you’re not won over by the chilled bongo taps, the sun-kissed guitar riffs and club beats courtesy of Robin Schulz will have you floating off to a Balaeric beach in double time. Please don’t let this glorious summer end, I’m not mentally prepared for the next 6 months of dreary London rain.
I must confess, I have a musical guardian angel in the form of a young lady named Halle Murcek. This talented SoulCycle instructor and fellow music fanatic (she has a blog of her own) knows all my musical soft spots and makes sure I never miss a beat when it comes to new releases. She also knows that Duke Dumont is my kryptonite, so she was uber quick to forward along this dub rework of his unreleased single ‘Won’t Look Back’ as soon as it hit SoundCloud earlier today. I mean, this is exactly the kind of alluring darkness I’ve been missing from him – the type of deep house beats that first landed him on the map with ‘The Giver’, which we now only have the honour of experiencing in the megastar’s smaller, unadvertised gigs. I know it’s only Tuesday, but I’m ready for the weekend again. Thanks Halle – this is everything.
When I first heard this gem from Londoner Redinho, it reminded me of of drawn-out, chilled version of Plan B’ identically-titled track (I had to listen them back to back several times just to confirm it’s not a cover). Redinho drew his own inspirations from the songs, synths and drum machines of 80’s Funk records and classic British Electronica, but this record is very much a product of 2014. The producer’s debut 15 track album, out in September, has been three years in the making and showcases the full weight of his vocal and production skills. Something tells me this guy is not a one-hit-wonder.
BANKS’ seductive voice is perfect for this track – sounding like a cross between Fiona Apple and Erikah Badu, the LA born singer-songwriter has earned major praise from fellow artists (Ellie Goulding, The Weeknd) for her natural magnetism in front of the microphone. First delving into songwriting at the age of 15, Jillian Banks taught herself piano when she received a keyboard from a friend to help her through her parents’ divorce. She says she “felt very alone and helpless. I didn’t know how to express what I was feeling or who to talk to.” These deep emotional influences definitely show through her dark R&B style, and ‘Beggin For Thread’ is actually one of her more upbeat singles. Watch out for more from this rising star – her new album Goddess is set for release on September 8.
London-based producer Maya Jane Coles always knows how to put the emotion into her music, and this remix of Kwabs’s already emotional jaunt ‘Pray For Love’ is no exception to the case. Her rework flips the track’s angelic chorus into a deep, haunting track that will easily seduce listeners to the dance floor. This hypnotic gem is so versatile that it works as well in an after-hours club as for a daytime BBQ – I’ve personally experienced it in both situations, and I approve. So go get the most playtime out of this before the summer is over.
Although Chicago artist Vic Mensa calls himself a rapper, it is his tour gig last year with UK dance duo Disclosure that has clearly influenced the tone of his latest number, ‘Down On My Luck’. Mensa’s slick vocals flow seamlessly over the throbbing deep house beat of the track – this could easily pass off as a Disclosure track without anyone bothering to question otherwise. Needless to say I’ve had it on repeat. All morning.
Who knew you could experience such opposing emotions from one song? Parisian musician Woodkid has flipped Pharrell’s feel-good anthem around into what I can only think to describe as melancholic optimism. The cheerful lyrics from William’s original persist over a new sombre and passionate traditional piano riff, inflicting a juxtaposing tone that is a world of emotions away from its title suggests. This rework is short but golden – try listening to it back to back with the original and you won’t know what to feel anymore.
Before I sign off (for now), I’ll leave you with one more track to help wind the weekend down. I stole this gem off one of Annie Mac’s Musical Hot Water Bottle’ shows on Radio 1, so however much your brain might be hurting today this was designed to help ease the pain. Josef Salvat’s emotional outpourings are deliciously soulful and oh so easy on the ears. This is musical angst at its best – on that note, have a lovely Sunday everyone.
One of my first music dunce moments in London occurred when my Burberry colleagues bewilderedly discovered that I didn’t know who Paloma Faith was. The Brit songstress, who was belting out the ballad ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This’ live as we watched the AW14 Prorsum show, was at the time a complete stranger to me. Yet despite my ignorance, it turns out that with 3 studio albums (the latest charting at #2) she is actually quite the A-List celeb around here. Her powerful chops, which have haunting resemblance to the late Amy Winehouse, have now earned her a new collaboration with drum & bass duo Sigma. The accompanying music video sees the acts head to downtown Miami, with Paloma performing the track in the backstreets of the sunny American city. This is a powerful number with serious gospel vibes – watch out for the official UK release on September 14.
Almost a year ago I made a major life decision that involved me moving across the Atlantic on a complete whim. With only a few interviews an Airbnb room waiting for me on the other side, I packed up my belongings in my barely lived-in Williamsburg apartment, hopped on a flight at JFK and arrived 7 hours later to the city that has shaped and influenced my musical preferences and remained an overwhelming presence on this blog: London, England. Although it is this city’s intrinsic musical culture that lured me here in the first place, somehow between the new job, new flat and new friends, my motivation to keep Dr. Eardrum going got lost along the way. For this I apologize, and I cannot describe how incredible it feels to have rediscovered my creative outlet.
It only felt right for my comeback track to be a tribute to Duke Dumont, #1 because he is IT when it comes to break British music, and #2 because the lyrics feel completely relevant to my life at this very moment. There’s no question that the Blasé Boy has become a mainstream figure, but how could you not feel an instant connection to the deep beats and euphoric vocals that are the foundation of all his hits? ‘Won’t Look Back’ is an uplifting summer anthem with a witty video to go along, filling the massive void that ‘I Got You’ left behind. Now the highly in-demand producer just has to be careful not to spread himself too thin – this weekend he was forced to cancel a show due to exhaustion. Duke’s new single will be released August 24 via Blasé Boys Club / Virgin EMI in the UK, and unfortunately at a later date for all you foreigners out there. If that’s a problem for you, then you’ll just have to move to London too.