There are a lot of different types of surprises in music but I think the one I love most is the pleasant surprise. It can come along unexpectedly and catch you so off guard that more often than not, that artist or group easily becomes your infatuation for the moment, sec, minute, year(s) or (for some) at least until they put out something wack or quite suspect and in need of a serious side-eye!
Which oddly enough, as @vivrant_thang pointed out to me last week, looks just like the default Twitter user icon.
I usually don’t have those issues, unless you count 808’s and Heartbreak. Normally if I like an artist, I tend to like them regardless of any less than savory tracks and or albums they produce because I understand that artistic vision doesn’t always conform to what society wants to hear (see Common’s Electric Circus, which is not by any means a diss like the Kanye jab was, because I loved the LP despite what the hood said).
So, back on topic, imagine my pleasant surprise when my Brother-In-Law turned me on to Little Dragon. I was sitting at my PC “researching” some other artists as usual when he called to inquire about what software he should use to convert his large record and tape collection to mp3. Bro-In-Law is eccentric like yours truly and we get into long conversations that range from music to software to Bleach all the time. So when he suggests something, I listen.
After helping him decide on Audacity, (great full featured program by the way. I use it to create my ringers) he mentioned that I should do a search for Little Dragon and let him know what I thought. OK, no problem. Looking for them right now. I began with YouTube because it’s just so easy to find anything and everything there. Even if there is not an actual video for a song, some user has taken the time to put a slide show to music for you. So for me it was a no-brainer and of course I found all manner of vids for this group from their debut self titled LP . The first one I clicked play on immediately got me hooked:
Simplistic, yes. Effective, very. It reminded me of a Tool video I really like.
Now, I agree “Twice” is nowhere as hard edge as the vid for “Sober” and I know it’s not normal fare for a self-proclaimed listener of soul music but I do have some music I like as just complete Guilty Pleasure.
Hey, I grew up in Asheville, NC which is like the southern version of the Village so I’m allowed to stray into other genres on GP alone.
I feel it’s similar due to the quirkiness of the animation giving me more visually than just the normal bunch of scenes a director would put an artist in to attempt to somewhat capture the song’s mood. Plus I just like anything animated.
So while watching “Twice” my overactive brain immediately screamed; Who the KCUF is that singing cause her voice is amazing?! Never mind the fact that I was digging it for the blatant but minimalistic references to the Japanese Art of Shadow Puppetry called Bunraku or that the song itself lends to the video with the obvious use of Japanese musical instruments hiding under the synth piano and the occasional turntable scratch. Forget all that for second. Who is the girl singing and why does her voice have so much soul in it?! It was like a nice blend of DianaRossErykahBaduAmelLarrieux with a little helping of Vinia Mojica smoothness on the side. It was enrapturing and worked so well with the production that I watched it five times in a row, totally forgetting about my other avenues of research that I normally already have pre-chosen when attempting to be more informed about any of my new found stalking projects.
Next stop was Wikipedia (though I have recently been giving them the due to their treatment of Nicolay). Imagine my surprise when I read that the band is from Gothenburg, Sweden. Swedes? Playing funky shyt like this?:
“After The Rain”:
or even this one:
It takes a lot to impress me, musically or otherwise but these songs were doing a really good job of it. My continuation of reading revealed that the lead singer is Yukimi Nagano. Yep, you read that right. Don’t worry. I couldn’t have guessed that one either as her voice surely doesn’t give that one away. She’s of Japanese-Swedish decent and this isn’t a typo or the first time she been on the music scene. Seems that she has sung with Sweden’s electronica-jazz outfit Koop.
Yeah, I’ve never heard of them either but they are signed to Diesel Music, are label mates of sorts with Eagle Eye Cherry, have three albums to their credit (one of them went gold, another won a Swedish (?) Grammy) and like to wear woman’s clothing while lounging on red furniture. Don’t ask me why either. I just write what I see. Nagano also has worked with José González, Hird and collaborated with Vikter Dupliax on a project called Jafrosax, a Japanese based Nu-Jazz band and according to all the YouTube videos I found, numerous other international artists that have a smooth funky jazz sound that here voice sounds like butter on. You can check them on the TSR‘s new YouTube channel here. Plus she’s quite pretty to boot. I never heard of any of them either except for Vikter. I like a few of his song’s too, like this one from his “Bold & Beautiful” LP:
So once I found this info out, I used my other “research” resources and came up with their album. Blocked out a little time and just sat back with a cold one (OK, two or three of them) for a good listening session. That was three months ago. How about I am still listening? Matter of fact, I burned it to disc for the car and another for the house. For me, the latter is a great honor for any artist.
There are a good bit of things I listen to in the car. It’s where I test out a new artist to see if they are worth putting in my ears on a regular basis. Difference is, when I’m cleaning my house or cooking dinner, due to my Navy acerbated OCD I can’t just listen to anything. This album immediately got filed in my “Clean The House / Cook Up Some Grub” category along with Choklate‘s self titled LP, Raheem DeVaughn‘s “The Love Experience” and Ledisi‘s “Lost and Found”.
If they keep making music like this:
they will continue to be there, constantly surprising me.
Now normally I would post the album here but my goal is to stop doing that this year so sorry you will have to either purchase it or check my Favorite Sitez links and do your own “research”.