Most people have heard Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" off her 2003 album Dangerously in Love. We love that song - it's so fun, bouncy and flirty, perfect for getting tipsy and dancing with your best girl friends.
But now, the nearly mythical Antony and the Johnsons has made a version that is, simply put, haunting. (It dropped in August 2009 - I'm just embarrassingly late to this party.) Beyonce's once fiercely energetic dance tune has turned into a ghostly ballad of all-consuming, near-crazy love, indeed. And I can't. Stop. Listening to it.
So many pieces fit together so perfectly to create this slightly troubled tune. It begins with an eerie oboe line that hovers over a shy, tiptoeing piano line. Antony seems to be restraining himself a bit, and that all creates this great sense of someone trying to control himself with all his might. But the stress comes to a climax, complete with shimmering strings. The guy really knows how to pull at a heartstring, doesn't he? I mean, who doesn't remember "Hope There's Someone" off his 2005 album, I am a Bird Now? If that didn't make you cry, then I just don't know. Listen and love, people.
Have you heard of Chiddy Bang? They are a hip hop duo, made up of Chidera Anamege & Xaphoon Jones (um, could their names be any cooler?) who've been making addicting rap tunes since 2008. What's their allure? Well, CB sample riffs from MGMT to Sufjan Stevens, Gorillaz and Passion Pit. Then Anamege raps over them with a unique, fast-paced, nearly perfect flow - you will be deadly hooked after listening to their free mixtape, The Swelly Express. Beware!
Seriously. If you haven't heard "Shake" yet, then it's time you listen. Game samples the refrain from Sam Cooke's "Shake" to drive this proud/angry song forward. The beginning starts with him waiting impatiently for some Mickey D's: "Yo, give me some fries and an extra large SHAKE!" Produced by Dr. Dre, it's got tons of horns and trash talk. Get ready for some beef with 50!
Holly Miranda's The Magician's Private Library is set to be released in the US on February 23. This album is simultaneously luminous, gritty and totally addicting. Read my preview on Ear Farm here. And buy the album when it comes out!
White Denim (made up of James Petralli, Joshua Block and Steve Terebecki from Austin, TX) makes the best type of garage rock: gritty and peppy. Think Black Keys, but with more a bit more funk and optimism. "I Start to Run," off their self-produced 2009 album Fits (out under Downtown), is a rollicking joyride of a song that races in circles through your brain, massaging neurons into fitter states than they've ever been.
Safe is artist Chris Edley from East Bay, CA (not sure what's up with the chicken). According to RcrdLbl, he's been tied to MGMT and has also worked with Aaron Pfenning of Chairlift to produce his debut album, which is due out soon under Greedhead Entertainment. (I smell a Wesleyanian...Wesleyanonian...Wesleyaner?) His voice is like a mix between Tunde Adebimpe of TVOTR and Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields: sweet, subtle and haunting. His music has a gentle, bubbly electro vibe, with undercurrents of dissonance, every now and then. There are hints of video game beeps and blips which adds a delicate layer of innocence/mystery. Listen to his single "Twenty Years On" here.
A mix of the best break-up songs of the aughts (for the indie connoisseur)! Plenty of people soothe their way through a break-up in different ways: booze, crying, moving; but I think we can all agree that music is a common bond when it comes to grieving the end of a relationship. Listening to someone else's pain helps to put your own into perspective: "Hey, that girl also got her heart broken." We're all connected, aren't we?
Check out my article in Flavorpill here and pass it on to anyone who might need it this Valentine's Day.