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SNBRN – Sometimes (Bee’s Knees Remix)

This is such a nice take on the original which we raved about back in May. The main synth gives it a bit of an 80’s new wave rhythm, which is ALWAYS welcome in my house. My door is also always open for groovy horns, so that’s a tasty bit of icing on the cake. The contrast is fantastic too, as the sinister sounding synth line of the chorus blends into the fun time horns. I can just picture Kenny G sauntering onto the scene rockin the sh*t out of his trusty sax with his greasy hair blowing in the fake wind.

The rebirth of horns in electronic/pop music the last few years makes me so happy. I was an impressionable little teen in the early/mid 90’s when horns carried the choruses of just about every great hiphop song of the moment. Songs like A Tribe Called Quest’s “Jazz” and Smif and Wesson’s “Bucktown” are great examples. The horns added so much depth to the song and defined the smokey, blunted and mellow mood so well. It added a smooth relaxed vibe, but was never soft. They were smart and elevated.

For electronic music, it’s often so needed. The horns are like adding peanut butter or caramel to tart vanilla frozen yogurt. It’s a smooth, sweet addition that makes the whole thing better. Unless one of Kenny G’s hair gets in your yogurt of course. That doesn’t make anything better.


BØRNS – American Money (Virtu Remix)

Sometimes a remix sounds like what it is – a new version of an existing song. And that’s fine for the most part, but there’s something extra special about a remix that sounds like it could have been the original. And that’s what this Virtu remix of BØRNS “American Money” sounds like to me. It just works on every level. The dreamy, floaty texture of BØRNS voice builds into a massive future bass drop that explodes into a million pieces. The contrast between the light, almost fragile vocal and the heavy depth of the drop results in a euphoric blast of sound that feels like a roller coaster ride or a drug rush or some sort of intense stimulant…definitely something super exhilarating and quite possibly illegal.

“Green, like American Money.”

Less important, but still worth noting – why after all this time is american money still so plain and easily destroyable? Euros come in all sorts of shapes and sizes with a nice array of colors, it’s like grown up Monopoly money. Money from Mexico and Australia is friggin made out of plastic and cannot be ripped. Seriously, you can kinda stretch it, but you can’t rip it. I’m sure there’s a million other examples, and I’m gonna bet that american money remains the most dull. Maybe a complete overhaul would change the US economy for the better like when NFL teams make deep playoff runs the year they change their uniforms. It’s all in the psyche. Problem solved?


Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”

is the company stalling?
we had what we wanted: your eyes…”


SOHN – Signal

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Like an unmoving body of water, Signal begins. Calm and calculated, first, the waves move slowly. Then, like an animal’s head piercing calm waters, SOHN’s voice comes in. Still, there’s barely any unsettling. The stormy weather SOHN sings of takes place inside of him. The song mimics that apparent composure some of us spend our lives perfecting.

Signal, wave across the water for me.”

That’s all he’s asking.

There are moments in my life I’ve convinced myself I’m not waiting in the dark. A signal from another was all I longed for. But really, it wasn’t. I thought it was just a sign but what I wanted was for another to carry me. Expectations are usually larger than what we convince ourselves we need.

Give me shelter, please.

Let me be the man I wanted to be.”

As though some sign from another is what would allow me to fully be. As though I needed your permission. As though you’d ever give it to me. The mere thought that I’d need you to do anything, means the “me” is gone. It means there’s no agency.

Signal’s soundscape manifests that acute loneliness that encapsulates when you’re waiting on someone else. When you’re waiting on someone who you might even know will let you down. But still, you wait. Because…

We each have our reasons.

Placing trust in another so often fails us. So why do we try again and again to believe? This time it’ll be different. This time it’ll be how it’s meant to be. And the song matches this hope as it swells periodically.

The thing is, it’ll never be how I want it unless I make it so. Unless I believe in myself to create the actions I want to see through.

In the track’s last moments, the music builds, revealing a deep frustration with this current state of being: one of wanting and not receiving. It’s SOHN’s desperation to become what he wants to be. The wave calls him out of his waiting.

Oh I’ve been travelling, waiting for a moment of peace.” 

Don’t wait, just be the peace.

 


Coolwater Set – Dubs Up (Feat. Problem and Whitney Phillips)

In this day and age I REALLY appreciate songs like this. Yes, because it’s a great song, but also because it makes me feel better about my early onset “get off my lawn” mentality about modern hiphop. When I’m questioning my fast developing grumpiness, a song like this reminds that it’s ok to dislike 95% of what passes as hiphop these days.

But that’s a tangent for another time, and it’s a Saturday so there aren’t too many annoyances stacked up yet. Right now it’s all about this lovely Coolwater Set slow-burner that reminds me of so many songs, moments and memories of my teen and college years. There’s something so special and unique about genuine funk-inspired west coast hiphop. To me, this song is what west coast hiphop has and always will sound like. From Egyptian Lover to Kendrick Lamar, the “Dubs Up” philosophy and style is the common thread between all of it.

“Under the bright city lights, nothin but dubs in the sky”

Building on the momentum of “The Coast,” “Dubs Up” proves that CW have an extremely diverse understanding of west coast music, LA culture and how to keep classic styles sounding relevant. They have a knack for connecting the dots between traditional hiphop vibes and the modern styles that will carry the genre into the future. And here, it all equals one helluva bouncy, feel-good song. Shit, maybe i’ll even let some of these new kids hang out on my lawn for a few more minutes.