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April 21, 2024

Sleeper hits of 2013 AKA music pretention for dummies

By ALEX HUROWITZ | April 27, 2013

While last time I wrote  about albums to look forward to, I’m now going to look at the underdog albums released so far this year. These are albums with little to no major press, meaning there is not much hype to make or break their success. Hearing albums of this nature can generally be refreshing and help you not be as reliant on what popular media of any variety tells you to listen to. While I note the ironic message of the column, you should still check out these groups.

Night Flight Europa – Palmbomen: The moniker for Amsterdam-based musician Kai Hugo, Palmbomen features a lo-fi atmospheric sound that combines 60’s psychedelia with 80’s italo-disco. This gives the entire album an almost tropical paradise-like vibe, which, coincidentally, explains the name Palmbomen, which is Dutch for palm trees.  Despite the experimental nature of the material, the songs are still quite poppy and catchy. The watery analog synths that compose most of the song’s melodies will definitely bring one a sense of nostalgia and also of something new, wrapping you in further.

Letherette – Letherette: Another electronic music producing duo from the ever burgeoning electronic music scene of England, Letherette aims to set themselves apart by mixing the house music of Daft Punk with hip hop instrumentals made famous by producers such as Madlib and J Dilla. In general, the albums feeds more into the hip hop influences of the production duo, while still experimenting with the melodies and implementing the groove and feel of the drums and bass. The songs on the promising LP range from very energetic and funky to more laid-back material that is slow, but bass-heavy. Listening to this album works pretty well with most occasions and moods.

No Thrills – Amateur Best: Producer Joe Flory first started making R&B inspired synth pop under the name Primary 1 until he felt he hit a mental block. He laid low till he got his creative drive back and started releasing new material under a new name, Amateur Best. While still delivering the same infectiously catchy synth pop that he made as Primary 1, Amateur Best is Joe Flory bringing it to another level. His voice is as soulful as ever and adds an extra edge to his material. The production throughout is top notch and the intricate melodies fit into one cohesive form instead of sounding overwhelming.

Adrift – Harry Fraud: While this is a free mixtape from producer Harry Fraud, it is probably one of the best hip hop mixtapes to come out so far this year. Not only does he collaborate with rappers such as Action Bronson, Rick Ross, French Montana, Juicy J, Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, Pusha T, Danny Brown, Curren$y and Kool G, but you will probably hear some of the best jazzy hip hop and trap beats on this tape. The production work is so well done, that you will find the collaborations really just compliment the melodies. For any lover of rap, especially east coast material, this is the mixtape for you.

Heat Division – Dauwd: Another British electronic music producer, Dauwd, creates an ambient, but dance generating, vibe that mixes UK garage and bass with the techno made famous by the Belleville Three of Detroit (Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins and Derrick May). So while some tracks on this EP have a drive to them, Dauwd, in general, is more on the downtempo side of electronic music. Despite the sophisticated nature of the melody and rhythm of some of the tracks, there still is an inherent sense of coherence that is captured that helps keep Dauwd’s material grounded.

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