facenoise

Emily Underhill-Lost In Me (Splinter's eMotion Picture Remix)

This is South London producer Splinter’s newest offering, and what a track this is.

His signature atmospheric, dark basslines, with the soft vocals of relatively unknown singer/songwriter Emily Underhill makes for a almost perfect track. This guy is seriously, seriously underrated. Get listening! Listen here.

You can read an interview I did with him too HERE.

Follow him on his official SoundCloud page.

SB

Villagers

Villagers, an Irish folk rock group best known for their track Becoming a Jackal, are in my opinion far less known than they should be. The band gained acclaim touring with Elbow in 2010, and their only album, with the same name as it’s hit single, is a fantastic musical achievement featuring true lyrical finesse giving an emotional ride through joy, sadness and in certain cases even fear. With an ancient Irish theme (tracks titles include, I Saw The Dead, The Meaning Of The Ritual etc), the group have an amazing ability to produce really chilling tracks, a skill mastered by very few, especially using only piano, guitar and the wonderful vocals of Conor O'Brien.

If you like the sound of Irish folk, and have any interest in bare bone tracks with a real bite be sure to check out the gorgeous Twenty Seven Strangers, The Pact (I’ll Be Your Fever), and the group’s website, found here. The group are very hush hush about future projects, however their newest track, Cecelia & Her Selfhood can be found (and downloaded free) from the aforementioned site.

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Interview: Splinter

Growing up in Longsight, Manchester, Splinter sadly became homeless when he was just 15. He gradually got himself together then went travelling for a few years. These days you can find him in South London, for the time being anyway.

Splinter was making music from an early age. He played drums on pots and pans and whatever else he could find that made a “loud noise”.  He always loved the sound of a piano, and amazed him how you could get across so many different emotions on just one instrument. He managed to get a hold of a cheap Casio keyboard from somewhere so he started to learn to play on that.

“I think there’s good in most types of music which is probably why my sounds or selections don’t stick to one style. I don’t like the word genre. It’s limiting and doesn’t reflect life. For me anyway.”

“I’m always trying to add a conscious or positive vibe to my sound. There’s a lot of quality out there but much of it gets drowned out by the disposable shit that gets played unfortunately. Too many egos around too. Self-gratification aint ever cool man. I know there’s underground movements and I hope there will always be, but I think much of our culture has deteriorated big time. So I guess I try to do my bit to help out in my own way. I write stuff almost every day or whenever I get the first chance to. Got 3 new tracks I’m working on which I hope I can get out in the next few weeks. Can take me ages to finish a track. Sometimes it can take me an hour (like the Rokhsan remix), sometimes weeks, sometimes months.  Maybe even years with 1 or 2 of them.”

One of the things that drew me into Splinter’s music is the name. Why “Splinter”?

“I’ve always gone by various names. I wanted a name which said something was different. Kinda like ‘splintered’ from the rest of the pack. Sounds pretentious when I say it like that, sorry about that.” (I chuckled, don’t worry.)

“I’ve seen a few people around with the same name since (or were there before him) so I thought about changing it. But that was before I started getting a few hits lately from people digging my sound so I’m not sure I will now. But you never know with me.”

Given Splinter’s tough background, I find it hard to believe he had an easy route into the producing business.

“I did the band thing and we used to use this recording studio over in Greenwich. I knew then I wanted my own set up so I could produce stuff how I wanted and whenever I wanted. Once I got my own place a few years back I got some money together and bought myself an old pc, a synth and got a cracked copy of Cubase off a mate. That was it for me, I was in my element. I’ve probably written a million tracks since. Anyway time passed and I worked hard to gradually buy more stuff/new computer. Nowadays the set up I got is nothing pro but I’m lucky it’s pretty decent. Well, it does the job for me anyway.”

There are a huge number of producers around at this present time. The indie or alternative dance music scene is in huge transition, which firstly came from the dubstep generation which is filling up every dance floor throughout the world. The post-dubstep or whatever you want to label it as, it’s a new wave of elelctronic music, led by the likes of James Blake, SBTRKT, Four Tet, BuriaI and Star Slinger.

The new breed of producers are also a huge force at the moment. The likes of Lancaster duo Bondax spring to mind, as well as Disclosure who are enjoying a lot of attention right now.

“I don’t class anyone as competition because music is no race. Music is there to be heard and felt. The more music out there the better. Not everyone’s the same and not everyone has the same taste in music so the world would be dull if everything sounded the same. I dig Bondax and Disclosure. Those guys got different flex to the standard dubstep/post-dubstep whatever it’s called and I like that. I get a buzz from finding new sounds, you know hearing things being adapted and people putting on their own slant. Then again I love hearing any track whenever I hear emotion and heart’s been put into making it. That’s what music is about to me. I always wanted to play my music out to people. When I was in that band and we played the pubs, the feeling I got from people’s reactions to our sound I just can’t describe it. I’m not famous and I’m not saying I will be, but I don’t like the fame game. It’s just not me. I prefer to let the music do the talking. But it’s every musicians dream to earn a living from what they love to do and I’m no different.”

Splinter is probably most well-known for his breath-taking remix of Rokhsan’s “1000 Yrs”, which he claims she may not even like.

“I’ve been known to spend hours online scouring Youtube, SoundCloud, wherever really, always seeming to look for someone up and coming or unsigned. I guess you could say I favour the underdog. And where I can I try adding my vibe to their sound hopefully to get it sounding where more people would listen to them. I stumbled across Rokhsan during twilight hours a few months ago. Instantly I knew there was something about her voice and her lyrics on her track “1000 Yrs”, it resonated with me big time. Whenever I get that feeling it inspires me to write there and then. So I set about trying to put what I heard in my head into sound. I think I made that remix in a couple of hours, not long anyway. It was rough cut and I sent it off to her hoping she would hear it and maybe like it. I never heard back from her so maybe she hates it! I know there might be some errors on there but I guess I was excited by the sound of the track so I just posted it up and left it at that.”

Having moved around a lot, it’s not always certain where Splinter is. At the moment he’s based in London, near Camden.

“Throughout my life I moved around so sometimes I get this feeling I need to move on, but for the time being I’m staying in London yeah. I love Manchester, it will always be my hometown but I like the London scene too. You can live and breathe life on the street here. Sometimes it can turn around and bite you on the ass though if you’re not careful. But that’s what I like. It’s like being on the edge. There’s this cool looking place in Camden called Inspiral, they asked me to do a set there so if that works out it might be another reason for me to stick around London for longer.”

When I asked Splinter who his biggest influences are, he described it as the “billion dollar question”.   

“I grew up listening to all sorts. Literally you name it I probably dig it. These days producers like Burial, Four Tet, SBTRKT, Boards of Canada are all heavyweights and I got massive respect for them.”

There is a certain mystery behind Splinter, which I find very intriguing. From his humble background, it seems he hasn’t lost where he came from and how he got to where he is now. Although he may not be as well known (yet) as other UK electro producers, he gets my vote as one of the most promising talents around at the minute.

This is Splinter’s official SoundCloud.

This is Splinter’s official Facebook page.

SB

Earl Returns

Having spent 2011 out of the spotlight (some say in a young offenders institute, others boarding school or even prison), Earl Sweatshirt, the youngest member of the OFWGKTA clan has returned. Possibly the most sought after rapper on the planet up to this point, all that was known of Earl was his self titled album and appearances on other OF productions. The single Orange Juice, sampling the beat from Super Duper Lemonade by Big Sean was Earl’s most played song, suggesting the young artist had a serious amount of talent stored up in preparation for the future.

in his reemergence, Earl appears to have established his own Tumblr and Twitter accounts claiming ‘Nigga need followers. Give me 50000 and I’ll release this shit for everybody’. Unsurprisingly the followers came, and true to his word Earl threw Home to the sharks. 

Sounding very much like many other Odd Future productions, sampling jazz drums and soft melodies behind lyrics such as ’Knock-knock, it’s that prodigal pen-throttle, bitch’, Earl’s latest outing seems well set to conquer as Tyler and Hodgy have done, and with the talent he possesses, I wish the best of luck to him.

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Breakfast

February 21st 2012, Breakfast is coming. Following the widely acclaimed mix tape ’Peanut Butter and Swelly’ this album is set to cause big waves in the world of sample heavy hip hop. Having already leaked the brilliant ‘Ray Charles’, Chiddy appear to have some exciting things up their collective sleeve for the end of the month. Here’s to hoping they fulfil. 

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Santigold-Disparate Youth (Switch Remix)

Been a big couple of weeks for Santigold hasn’t it. First radio play of her forthcoming single “Disparate Youth”, announcing the new album “Master Of My Make Believe” (released April 30th) and this morning, unveiling both a London show, and a remix from Switch of the new track.

“Disparate Youth” is released April 9th, with the album following at the end of the month with the London show being played 3 days prior to the album being put on sale.

Listen to the Switch Remix here.

SB

FACENOISE - HIPSTER WEEK!

IT’S HIPSTER WEEK!

NO DUB, NO HIP HOP, NO HOUSE, NO DRUM N BASS

JUST GOOD OLD FASHIONED INDIE MUSIC 

ENJOY!!!!

New young talent, hope you like it.

1. We Were Children - Tribes £££££ [PICK OF THE WEEK]

Had this track stuck in my head for weeks now, it’s an absolute classic and I think will become one of the defining records of 2012. Think London Indie rock, with big melodic choruses reminiscent of a more emotional Clash.

2. Comeback Kid - Sleigh Bells ££££

After hearing Infinity Guitars [LINK] by this band, and loving it, i feared they may fall into the age old ‘one hit wonder’ category. However, they’ve come back with another absolute banger and blown my pompous judgement completely out of the water. Bloody great heavy tune with female vocals, highly recommended.

3. Gold On The Ceiling - The Black Keys £££££

I now understand why this group are fit to headline Coachella later this year. They have perfected their sound completely, and mix American folk with classic rock guitars. This song strongly reminds me of the Skate era music of early Bowie (e.g. Suffragette City), T.Rex and Ted Nugent, which I bloody love!

4. Midnight City - M83 ££££

Surely one of the most hipster things nowadays is a song taken from a TV show? As the theme tune to the E4 hit Made in Chelsea, this track is so fucking indie it’s eyes burn when it sees soap.

5. The Wolves (Little Dragon Remix) - Ben Howard £££

Second only to tracks from TV shows on the Indie scale is a soft male vocal put on a heavy dub track. See James Blake (Limit to Your Love) or Ed Sheeran (The A Team) for reference.

6. Arrows of Eros - Golden Silvers £££

Recommended to me by a friend, the chorus of this track is so infectious you’ll be humming it for days. The video isn’t half bad either, giving a professional feel on a likely low budget.

7. Paddling Out - Mike Snow ££££

Having heard very little of Mike Snow in the past, this is a great tune to discover him through. Eery effects and great production make this a track highly worth a listen

8. Black White & Blue - LadyHawke ££££

LadyHawke, a female (duh) singer-songwriter from New Zealand, bursts back onto the indie scene with this debut track from her new album, Anxiety, and if the rest of the record is anything like this absolutely cracker, it’s going to be a fantastic piece of music.

[NB: Using £, ★’s are just so mainstream]

[NOTE: ALL TRACK NAMES ARE LINKS WHERE POSSIBLE]

In Focus: Childish Gambino

Who is he?

Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino (a name he discovered on a Wu-Tang Clan name generator) is an American actor, writer, comedian and musician. Aside from a brother and sister, Glover grew up alongside foster children brought up by his parents. Glover attended New York University, graduating with a degree in Dramatic Writing in 2006. With 3 albums self-released, Glover signed a deal with Glassnote Records who also hold contracts with ‘The Temper Trap’ an Australian indie rock band, ‘Two Door Cinema Club’ who are an indie electro-pop band from the UK and ‘Mumford & Sons’ who are a British folk rock band.  Together, Glover released his 4th album with Glassnote Records called ‘Camp’ which peaked in the charts in the US at 11.

Sounds like?

Considering rapping as hobby, Glover, you could say has ‘made it’ in the music industry.  With ‘Freaks and Geeks’ about to hit 8 million views on YouTube he is no outcast. Being a very gifted artist who has produced numerous amounts of singles he has provided us with some incredible remixes.  An outstanding one is his cover of Adele – Rolling in the Deep (Jamie xx Remix). Not only is he a successful artist but Glover also DJs and produces his own music under the name of “mcDJ”. In a recent interview Glover shared that his influences vary, they range from Wu-Tang lyricist Ghostface Killah to rap metal icons Rage Against The Machine. In the same interview he said; “I’m influenced by LCD Soundsystem as much as Ghostface Killah”.

Key Tracks?

His most recognisable songs are ‘Freaks and Geeks’, ‘Bonfire’ and ‘Heartbeat’ in which all 3 he raps with his unique voice, Childish Gambino is not one to be missed.

NM

Lead singer of American superstar folk band Fleet Foxes, Robin Pecknold last night, uploaded a brand new solo track he has been working on. Whilst keeping the same sound as of the band, this track sound a little less busy so therefore is possibly even more accessible.

If you like Ben Howard, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, I highly recommend this solo track, or any other of Fleet Foxes previous albums, especially their last release called “Helplessness Blues”.

SB

Album Review- Lonely Are The Brave: Maverick Sabre

Michael Stafford aka Maverick Sabre hasn’t had the usual route into making popular culture music. Born in Hackney but moved to Ireland as a youngster with his family. He did however in his late teens move back to London to pursue a career in music. Whilst in Ireland, he was playing his guitar, singing, and was a big influence on the underground Irish hip-hop scene.  One of his early supporters was Plan B. Being a white male, neither of them had the greatest chance of succeeding in the hip-hop market. Luckily for both of them, they can both sing, and rather well at that. Plan B let him stay with him in London whilst he was gigging all round the capital. Finally getting some radio publicity from the likes of Mista Jam and Huw Stephens, he began to make a name for himself. He released a few EP’s but on the side he was working on this much anticipated album. He kept on playing show after show, and over 2011, he supported the likes of Snoop Dogg, Professor Green, The Script and Cee Lo Green.This level of variety has given the opportunity to expand his fan base all over the world.

The first single from “Lonely Are The Brave”, “Let Me Go” did relatively well in the charts, getting as far up as 16. Second release “I Need” also did well and is probably the most iconic of his songs.

The album itself is no less than a masterpiece. Critics have claimed that he is not at his best on this record. Many have also said that it’s too ‘samey’. I have to completely disagree. Listening track-by-track, you get a real sense that this whole record is something that anyone can relate to. He sings about subjects only some people are even perhaps comfortable enough to talk about. The thing with the record also, is that it will appeal to so many different genres of music lovers. Whether you are a hard core hip-hop fan, a soul enthusiast or an avid chart follower, there is something here for everybody. His song writing exceeds any of his competitors, and his voice oozes originality, which is exactly why I am so passionate about Mr. Stafford.

Album highlights for me include his breathtaking cover of soul legend Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and brand new single “No One”, which is a song about simply in Stafford’s own words “being cheated on by a woman” and is heavily influenced by throw-back soul form the likes of Aretha Franklin and The Temptations.

In my humble opinion, this is pure brilliance, and Maverick Sabre is one of the most underrated artists around.

SB

In focus: Youngman

Who is he?

Simon Smith, aka Youngman was always cut out to be in the music business. Son to drum & bass pioneer Simon “Bassline Smith”, he grew up listening to his father and other old school garage mcs. He started singing at a young age but as he grew older he began to start mc'ing. He then became a renowned “hype man” for various drum & bass and early dubstep acts such as Breakage, Skream, Benga, Shy FX, Crissy Criss and many more.  In 2011 he took to the studio with Benga and recorded a lot of tracks including “Ho” and “I Warned Ya”. Forthcoming album “Me & My Music” on UK label Digital Soundboy, is set to include production from the likes of MJ Cole, Sam Frank, Skream and Benga.

Sounds like?

The album itself will have a varied sound to it. There will definitely be some drum & bass tracks in there, and with production from the dubstep and bass artists previously mentioned there is sure to be some of that in there too. His current single “Who Knows”, released on 30th January, is set to chart this weekend so go out and buy it, or download from iTunes.

Key track(s)?

Who Knows.

SB