PolicyMic Mixtape: 12 New Tracks You Can't Miss This Week
Happy Monday! Here are 12 brand new tracks you shouldn't miss out on this week.
Be sure to check out the entire playlist on Spotify at the end of the article.
The loving comfort of the music for Rhye’s “Open” washes gently over the listener but the lyrics suggests that the delicacy is due to some apprehension. Following a young couple during their winter getaway to a beach house, the music video explores that idea. It’s an interesting destination given the climate, but the cold environment seems to represent the chill between the couple that each member strives to dissipate in their own way. Even as the male protagonist rebuffs her physical advances, he readies a bottle of wine and gathers firewood, both touching images conjuring warmth. She bares herself, to the elements and to her lover, and along with the vocal it seems to suggest that it’s ultimately feminine insistence that catalyzes the intimacy. Except that it’s Michael Milosh’s voice, yes, that’s him singing, which should come as no surprise but an aural one, love isn't limited to one sex, and effort shouldn't be either.
Warp (Records) is home to some of the strangest and most brilliant musical figures you’re likely to encounter (Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Grizzly Bear, Jamie Lidell), and English producer Bibio’s “A tout à l’heure” demonstrates he belongs in such esteemed company. Discussing his approach to the record, Bibio revealed the desire to “focus more on an organic and live sound and to record more guitar and other live instrumentation” than previously, a difficult feat for many electronic producers. His desire to capture the vivid energy of live performance resonates through to the title of the song, a French expression translating roughly to “see you later,” and it also a reference to how quickly a moment arrives and leaves. According to Bibio, the song was inspired by one such moment: “when I listen to the intro of that track now, I still hear the sunshine and the garden in it because for me it’s like a photograph of that moment.” Despite the sense of immediacy behind the artistic notion made a musical reality, the song distends that single moment into an enduring visual-auditory experience.
If you ever wondered what could have been of Jimi Hendrix’ career had it not been for the tragic end of his life, his posthumously released People, Hell and Angels provides at least some of that answer. Composed of material Hendrix and Band of Gypsys bandmates Buddy Miles and Billy Cox recorded in preparation for the follow-up to Electric Ladyland, it’s the last unreleased material that we’ll ever get from one of history’s greatest guitarists and ensembles. “Somewhere” is a standout from the album, in terms of it’s being quintessentially Hendrix, lightning fast, improvisational blues -rock riffs, and idiosyncratic narrative vocals and lyrics, and also because it features none other than Stephen Stills (of Crosby, Stills, and Nash and solo fame) on bass. I always wished I’d been around for Are You Experienced, and I will sleep happier knowing that I got a Hendrix release of this quality in my lifetime.
4. Youth Lagoon – “Mute” (PolicyMic must hear!)
Youth Lagoon’s music creates such an impression of depth and expansiveness that you feel as if you could almost step inside of the spacious guitar chords, each step a snare or hat hit, punctuated by the leaps of cymbals and finally taking full flight on the wings of Trevor Power’s soaring melodies. This expansiveness allows for impressively economic songwriting, making the song feel as brief as its single verse and chorus and as timeless as space all at once, all while running six minutes in length and accommodating a psychedelic instrumental that’s nearly half of that.
“In Your Eyes” was released back in October, along with Kate Boy’s debut Northern Lights EP, but the release of the music video provides a great opportunity to showcase a band you’d be unfortunate to miss out on. The band takes inspiration from Genesis frontman and solo artist Peter Gabriel, and the influence of the funky, groundbreaking pop sounds of that band are evident from the opening moments of the song. The stadium sized pre-chorus follows a subtle but effective build, and the chorus lingers in its climactic tension, as you might feel when looking into the eyes of a loved one, holding eye contact for as long as you possibly could.
6. Rachel Row – “Follow the Step (Justin Martin Remix)”
Dirtybird Record’s Justin Martin had a breakout year in 2012, as did his labels now trademark sound. This remix is what listeners have come to expect of Martin, with shuffling hats and syncopated sounds and samples giving way to booming bass notes that veer between U.K. dance, tech house, and dubstep rhythms, and all of the above elements cradle a romantic vocal line, another Martin staple. For all of the stylistic consistency, there is no lack of inventiveness to his take on “Follow the Step,” and the subdued groove is no less irresistible.
7. Psy – “Gangnam Style (Diplo Remix ft. 2 Chainz & Tyga)” (PolicyMic Must-Listen!)
The infamous "Gangnam Style" needs no introduction, and neither do Diplo, 2 Chainz, or Tyga. Despite the consistently low standard set by 2 Chainz’s verses, he’s slightly sought after as a featured artist. His performance here is par for his course, but Diplo’s expertly tuned internal hype machine seeks to give the song club weight with as broad a demographic as possible. The same considerable club presence Is afforded by featuring Tyga (“Rack City”), but while his nonsensical verses are capable of an impressive flow, here his verse is conspicuously mediocre. So why is this song here? Always making the newest sounds sound better than anyone who’s previously used them, Diplo gives a masterclass on Trap production. Part dutch house, part southern rap, the instrumental is spectacular, as per usual for the superproducer.
8. Jeremy Olander – “Let Me Feel”
Eric Prydz might be most well known for his anthem “Call On Me,” but he also runs an impressive couple of labels “Pryda” and “Pryda Friends,” on which “Let Me Feel” is released. Among frequent club and festival goers, Prydz’ live show is considered to be among the very best and his own productions are inimitable progressive house gems, so when he recently invited Jeremy Olander to go on tour with him it was a sign that there was something special there. Though he adopts the progressive house formula of mixable intro, build, and drop, Olander avoids the excessive and garish production that accompanies so many of the genre’s releases. “Let Me Feel” stands out for its subtle transitions, tastefully chosen and employed vocal sample, and for its eponymous, moving effect.
9. Psy – “Gangnam Style (Afrojack Remix)”
Like Diplo, Afrojack’s mission is to get the party started, keep that party going, and make it the best one you’ve ever been to and so it makes sense that he would choose to remix perhaps 2012’s biggest hit for his first release of 2013. Though he’s largely responsible for popularizing the Dutch house sound and it’s been an essential part of nearly all of his productions, he continues to develop and refine his characteristic sound, keeping it fresh and its dancefloor destroying ability intact. This is one of his best productions to date!
10. Dark Horses – “Alone” (PolicyMic Must-Listen!)
The time distorting, claustrophobic, cryptic and colorless music video for “Alone” is appropriate for a band that is equally inscrutable. It’s also appropriately captivating for music that has gained them Harvest Festival gigs, and touring invites from the likes of Tame Impala, BRMC, and Kasabian. Bands with as many pseudo philosophical statements as Dark Horses tend to be as hollow as Oasis or The Killers (post Hot Fuss,of course), but the purity behind their concern for with image, “we look good so you can hear our music,” explains why they employ a photographer as an official member of the band. It also gives statements such as “if you send out a signal, a certain soundwave, and it oscillates in a certain way then only certain people are going to hear it…if those people hear it, they’re the people that you want to hear it anyway and then they’ll come and find you…that’s essentially what it’s about, energetically.” I’ll let you make up your own mind about this band, but they certainly caught my ear.
Untogether is an appropriate title for an album consumed with separation and isolation. The word itself is slang, suggesting the desperation of an active attempt to make sense of that fragmentation, and the transparency of the cover art only echoes that yearning. Though their compositions are largely electronic – their musical ideas are reminiscent of Grimes (Yours to Keep) – calling either act electronic would diminish from the stunning tenderness of the vocal performances, and the poignant plaintive lyrics. On the least electronic tune from Untogether, stuttering vocals largely take the place of percussion and only emphasize the yearning, the desire, repetitive and consistent, at the heart of “Try to Be.”
12. Shlohmo feat. How to Dress Well – “Don’t Say No”
From “Wen uuu” to “I Can’t See You” Shlohmo’s ethereal, R&B influenced productions and remixes are tender and romantically inclined, and so collaboration with emotionally charged How to Dress Well (aka Tom Krell) was bound to bring out the best in both. Shlohmo cleverly modulates Krell’s falsetto, his one weakness as a vocalist, transforming what borders on unlistenable vocalization into a sincere plea. Krell, in turn, provides Shlohmo’s meditative but bordering on experimental production with a more accessibly pop feel.
On the Mix, Off the Mix
Crayon & Pyramid – “So Far Gone”
Mogwai – “Wizard Motor”
Flatbush Zombies – “MRAZ”
Objekt – Shuttered
Monsta – “Moombah”
Tiësto – “Chasing Summers (R3hab & Quintino Mix)”
Mark Knight, Sander van Doorn & Underworld – “Ten”
Wolfgang Gartner – “Anaconda”
Clayton Steele - “Passion (DJ T Remix)”
Disclaimer: There’s a lot that is “out” on the internet, but since it’s not officially released you won’t see it here yet unless you've got to wear out the replay button on SoundCloud or YouTube until it’s released.