June 17th- Let’s Kill Grandma- I, Gemini

For those who don’t know Let’s Eat Grandma are 16 and 17 year old friends from Norwich. They started making music when they were just 13, a couple of those very early songs appear here. Since gaining attention with the song Shitake Mushrooms the friends have become darlings of the indie music scene and it’s easy to see why they are exceptionally talented young musicians, twee as hell and just a bit weird.

The first thing to say is of course lyrically things on I Gemini are not as strong as a more rounded song writer would produce. However, Let’s Eat Grandma will grow in this sense and the innocence on display here on songs like Chocolate Sludge Cake can be refreshing especially in these dark right-wing political times.

Style wise I Gemini is a bit of a grab bag with echoes of indie pop, house, electro, psych rock and punk all on show. This is perhaps a reflection of millennial listening habits – digital music has resulted in everyone having a very varied Itunes library- and Let’s Eat Grandma are certainly a product of this. Despite all of the various genres on display here it is a credit to both these young musicians that the album does not feel patchy but rather feels like a full and fun whole.

Let’s Eat Grandma often position their innocent lyrics alongside a darker musical sound and this juxtaposed style creates something which is both engaging and often creepy as hell. This creepiness is most apparent on tracks like Sleep Song where the duo sound almost inspired by Jethro Tull or the occult.

Even more impressive is the sheer number of instruments played, drums, guitars, pianos, recorders, electronics and more besides. To have a command of so many instruments at such a young age puts the Let’s Eat Grandma due firmly in the field or virtuosos.

As noted there are areas for development in I,Gemini but in releasing such an impressive, expansive and weird debut Let’s Eat Grandma have proved that their future is one to look forward to.  Alongside Hinds, Let’s Eat Grandma have created one of the freshest sounding and most fun Indie albums of the year. In a stagnant scene which has become burgeoning with sound-alikes it is both exciting and reassuring that it is young women who are turning in the most adventurous and fun albums.

I Gemini is a fun listen and one which show cases a huge amount of potential. As the Who once said: “The Kids are alright”.

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June 3rd- Gold Panda- Good Luck and Do Your Best

At the dawn of this millennium there was a rise in the popularity of groups making downtempo, chilled out hip hop, dub and drum and bass inspired music. Groups like Royksopp, the Avalanches, Aim, DJ Shadow and UNKLE to name just a few. It is very apparent from the first few seconds of Good Luck and Do Your Best that Gold Panda was listening intently to those artists.

Gold Panda’s latest release takes downtempo inspiration, plenty of sampling and adds a modern twist to provide something which feels both as if it has one ear in the past and one in the future.

Production throughout is lush with In My Car feeling particularly beautiful with its swooping Oriental strings and sampled almost unintelligible vocal. Equally as lovely is Pink and Green, which contains a chilled house vibe but again uses samples and loops of orchestral instrumentation to great effect.

Aside from downtempo and hip hop the influence of other genres is hugely apparent. Chiba Nights especially contains a chilled house vibe which could easily close out a set by any of the current crop of house renaissance DJs.

Good Luck and Do Your Best is kept incredibly short and nothing over stays its welcome coupled with the variety of samples and styles on show here the album is an attention grabber in a genre which has often been accused of failing to keep the full attention of its listeners over the course of an album.

Gold Panda’s stock was already rising prior to the release of this album and based on the quality of material on show here expect his stock to only grow from strength to strength, a cult following similar to Four Tet’s beckons.

May 27th- Flume- Skin

How does it feel to be one of the most in demand men in pop? If you want to know the answer you could do worse than ask Harley Streten aka Australia’s Flume. Currently his new album is flying high, tracks he’s produced for the likes of AlunaGeorge are on heavy radio rotation and the record label he is signed to Future Classic is seen as being one of the hippest around. However, none of these things make a good album.

What does make a good album is high quality production and Flume’s Skin is all about production values. The standard is high and the quality near perfect, it’s these production values, which set Flume apart and put him closer to the league of pop star than electronic beat maker.

Skin is actually a pretty chilled listen with some glistening hip hop tracks and a heavy 80s synth vibe. But this vibe never escalates to ratchet levels, rather each track comes at you gently, suckering you into weird yet insanely catchy pop.

Australia has never fully embraced electronic music, it has for many remained a land of big guitars and heavy rock. However, in the last couple of years that has started to change and Flume has played a big part in this. Credit where credit is due to make his sensitive style of electronic music popular Down Under has taken some hard graft. It’s this hard won success through attempts at flawless production, which is now resulting in the world falling at Flume’s feet.

The album’s two already massive singles feature early on in proceedings, the shimmery Never Be Like You sounding like something by Lorde whilst Say It starts off like a traditional pop song with Tove Lo’s chart topping vocals, however, as the beat drops things become weirder, tropical and more hypnotic.

Much has been made of the collaborations on this album and many of them stand out as strong contributions. None is stronger perhaps than the appearance of Raekwon whose flow is as strong as it has ever been. Much like the rest of Wu Tang, Raekwon is a story teller and his appearance takes the track You Know, somewhere it probably couldn’t have gone without him.  Whilst the guest appearances on Skin are impressive, Flume keeps things interesting on his instrumental tracks, which mostly carry a beat heavy tropical feel.

Despite heavy beats, tropical feels and hip hop collaborations the overall vibe of Flume’s album is very relaxed. Flume has created what may be summer’s ultimate chill out album and I am entirely certain summer evenings, summer romances and sunsets will be perfectly sound tracked by Skin.

If pop music continues to sound as varied, well produced and grown up as Flume makes Skin feel then the charts in years to come could be a lot more enjoyable than Simon Cowell has made them.