Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Darkness of the Dawn

 First, let's talk about James Blake.

Recently, I've been listening to some podcasts and in this one station that I tune in called All Songs Considered, they briefly talked about James Blake and from then on I became interested in his artistry and virtuosity. I've listened to his song Retrograde multiple times before but I've never really gotten to know him as an artist. And going back to that podcast, the hosts, Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton, caught up with him after a show and spoke about possibly having a song that has changed his life. He was quick to say that it was Trouble Blues by Sam Cooke, which came out back in 1963. He said, "It's the hum. In some subconscious way, I filtered that into Retrograde." When you listen to Cooke's track, you'll definitely understand what he was talking about. What actually drew me to Retrograde was the humming. I remember first hearing it and couldn't get it out of my head, which is not at all a bad thing.

Trouble Blues by Sam Cooke

There's a touch of a soulful vibrato when he sings showcased especially in his cover of Feist's Limit To Your Love. But don't call him a soul singer because he doesn't see himself falling into that category. In an interview with Pitchfork, Blake said, "I've never felt like I was a soul singer. It's not really who I am." He goes on about how he feels when people call him "soulful" in the interview, which you can read here. Whatever genre he may lie, it doesn't hide the fact that he's got an amazing voice. 

His take on songwriting has always been about being true to himself, as cliche as that may sound. He says, "When I'm writing a track, I feel like I have to produce something that totally represents me and, if it doesn't, then it's stopped immediately. There's not even a second thought -- I'll close it and do something else. Being honest is an individual thing. It's not something that other people judge you on, although they can smell it.  

I've fallen in love with his song, The Wilhem Scream. The lyrics go, " I don't know about my dreams. I don't know about my dreaming anymore. All that I know is I'm falling. Might as well fall in. I don't know about my love. I don't know about my loving anymore. All that I know is I'm falling. Might as well fall in." and that's it all through out the 4:36 duration of the song. It's so simple yet when he sings it, it feels like it has so much weight to it and meaning to every word he says. With every verse he sings, it feels like he's asking me a question about life and where it is headed to or rather, succumbed to.  Although, I might just be thinking way too deep into this and it's probably because I'm writing this into the wee hours of the night. And so, I am really excited to see him perform live next year at Laneway Singapore because all I've heard are amazing things about his live performances. They're making live electronic music and he and his band do not have pre-taped samples or sequences with them. The looping is all done live. I can't wait to see it for myself. 

Watch him perform The Wilhem Scream live on Later With Jools Holland. (Watch)

Read More.

In other news, Bastille did another cover. This time, it's Cutting Crew's (I Just) Died In Your Arms for Virgin (EMI) Record's 40th birthday. (Listen) Also, Local Natives recently released their iTunes Session which included a cover of King Krule's Out Getting Ribs. (Listen)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack is a star-studded gem with tracks by Of Monsters and Men, The Lumineers, Santigold, Ellie Goulding, and many more. This week, the newest single to be released off the album is The National's Lean. (Listen

Bombay Bicycle Club graces us with their new single, Carry Me, after two years. The untitled new record is said to come out February 3rd. (Read)

Last week, Jason Schwartzman (Coconut Records) co-hosted the first ever YouTube Music Awards with Reggie Watts and the whole event is directed by Spike Jonze. The highlight of the whole show was definitely Arcade Fire's Afterlife with Greta Gerwig. (Watch) Also, if you want to watch the twisted short film, Choose You, written by Lena Dunham, you can watch it here. (Watch)

Sleigh Bells singer, Alexis Krauss, is interviewed by a kid, Olivia, to be precise. She's the daughter of longtime music writer, Chip Midnight, and the two delve into topics such as daydreams, favorite teachers, and the Spice Girls. (Watch)

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