FIVE years ago, Adam Dunning quit his job as a lawyer in the City to go and live in Rio de Janeiro and make sweet bossa nova music with the likes of Roberto Menescal and João Donato.
In no way am I envious of this man’s talent, lifestyle and sense of purpose. Oh no. Absolutely not.
While people like Bebel Gilberto have done great things subtly updating the classic bossa sound with all manner of electronic trickery, Dunning goes back to basics, making truly beautiful and seemingly effortlessly authentic music that sounds like it comes from another era entirely. And the guy sings like a young Tony Bennett. No shit.
Dunning is currently back home in Melbourne finalising the details for the release of his forthcoming debut album, Sunset Monkeys. In the meantime, we’ll just have to make do with the sun-drenched tunes on his Reverb Nation site here.
More wonderful music of an entirely different hue comes in the odd shape of Cut Price Astral. Narco Bear’s debut album majors on sketchy, glitchy and itchy abstract hip hop, where about 500 things are going on all at the same time, underwater – like some kind of frazzled, fuzzy, woozy jazz-funk Negativland – but it still has a very pleasant groove.
I may not be the biggest hip hop fan in the world but I am absolutely confident the young people will be ‘bigging up’ these guys in the very near future.
I’m not actually. It’ll go right over their heads, most likely. They’re probably too busy listening to fucking Pendulum and Florence and the Machine, the dozy twats.
Either way, with titles like Death To The Depopulators, Requiem For Mirrorball and Ra Colony, Narco Bear are just my kind of happy-go-lucky, wacked-out sample-happy drug-nuts. Fill your orthoepedic boots – for free – here.
More hip hop – yeah, that’s right sucker, we stupid fresh – this time with vocals, comes from Manchester wordsmith Skittles. Late of the Virus Syndicate grime crew, Skittles has a very Mancunian way of expressing himself, both in what he says and how he says it. I got an intriguing promotional taster of his forthcoming album, Poor With £100 Trainers, which boasts three very likeable pieces of inner city blues from inner city Manchester.
Put it this way: Anyone who samples both the Arctic Monkeys and Billy Connolly is alright by me. Listen and learn.
Even more hip hop – yes, yes y’all – comes from longtime EU favourite RQM who recently clued me up about a splendidly edgy video for the Siriusmo remix of his last single Atomic Fusion. Shot by Pol Ponsarnau and Yves Kasten in the sleek, dystopian tidiness of the Berlin underground, it features my man RQM and a very particular kind of home-made jacket.
Meanwhile, yet more recession/depression-busting free stuff comes courtesy of We Love Music, with the Ibiza party-fiends hosting a simply fabulous mix by Leeds duo PBR Streetgang, which takes in all manner of disco-suffused housing loveliness and is – and I quote – “as perfectly suited to cruising round the salt flats of Salinas at sunset in a Land Rover as it is to boogieing around a swimming pool at dawn with vodka limon in hand.”
I dunno about you, but this is about as near to the terrace at Space I’m going to get this year. Oh well. Worse things happen at sea. Whichever way you slice it, if you don’t get your dancing shoes on for this one, you really have no business owning feet.
I’m liking the lush textures of the two tracks on the forthcoming Wild Palms single, To the Lighthouse and Draw In Light, a lot but there’s something about their current chiming guitar sound that makes me think of Big Country every time I hear them. And also the Chameleons, a little bit.
Personally, I’m not so sure this is necessarily a good thing – I don’t care what anyone says (even the band themselves), I liked their initial angular punk-funk Gang of Four stylings an awful lot – but then again, Big Country and the Chameleons must’ve sold about a zillion records in their time so maybe Wild Palms shouldn’t worry about it too much.
And finally, partly because this post has been way too blokey but mainly because it’s actually a very smart tune, here are girls-with-guitars the Rayographs and the delightfully disquieting new vid for their single Space Of The Halls.
I am loving it. And that has got to be the coolest drummer I’ve seen this year.
More on the who, the what, the where and the why here.