These are the tracks we were digging this week at New Moons HQ. Check out our New Moons Weekly Mixtape playlist on Spotify, updated every week with our favourite new music.
KILLER BEE ‘IRL’
Since I first clapped eyes on Pokémon when I was around 5 or 6, I’ve conducted a bit of a secret love affair with anime and manga. It started out with a few comic books here and there, rented from my local library, the odd figurine purchased from Forbidden Planet, a few badly dubbed episodes of Death Note streamed on Youtube after school. It was after attending a couple of comic book conventions that I started to shy away from the whole subculture – my thirteen year old self horrified at the prospect of being considered nerdy or in anyway uncool. It wasn’t until relatively recently that I started enjoying anime again, especially since Netflix have made it so much easier to stream shows you would have been forced to watch in 8 minute segments on Youtube not so long ago. Happily for me, it’s now kind of cool to be into that kind of thing, especially with the adoption of Japanese iconography by underground music genres like Vaporwave and more recently by lo-fi hip hop (although don’t get me wrong, people who listen to this kind of music are almost definitely closet nerds). Lo-fi hip hop is intriguing in this way – juxtaposing all things ‘nerd’, including anime, 80’s computer games, VHS, and old TV shows with hip hop, which is a decidedly ‘cool’ music genre. Just search for lo-fi hip hop on Youtube, and the first page is saturated with music cut to anime videos. Indications of traditional binary descriptors (cool/uncool) becoming more blurred is furthered by the genre’s popularity on geek havens like Reddit, whilst also being assimilated into the mainstream, with more and more hip hop artists experimenting with crackly sounds, heavy low ends, ‘nerdy’ samples, and muddy frequencies. One lo-fi artist who knows all about the relationship between geek culture and hip hop, is New York producer Killer Bee, who’s latest album ‘Otaku‘ (slang for a Westerner obsessed with Japanese culture), is a goldmine for old school hip hop and RnB refrains, loose drum patterns, and collage style sampling. One stand out track from the album is ‘Irl’, which features cinematic chime ostinatos, smooth RnB vocal runs in dreamy harmony, and samples of Eazy E tracks sitting above the ethereal mix. All at once this track, (and the rest of the album) is evocative of years gone by, whilst sounding entirely fresh – and I can guarantee having this on your party playlist will make you the coolest nerd ever.
SO MUCH LIGHT ‘BAD NEWS (FEAT VIVIAN)’
There are too many great gaming soundtracks out there to cite them all, but of course special mention must go to The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, which is said to have inspired Damien Verrett’s latest track under pseudonym So Much Light: ‘Bad News’ featuring singer-songwriter VIVIAN on vocals. Following the release of his EP ‘Idiot Soul’, this new cut is a sumptuously mellow pop jaunt featuring an intro riser inspired by The Legend Of Zelda. Whilst the sound world he has created is undoubtably stunning, it’s VIVIAN’s cooler-than-cool vocal that transports this song to another level – expect this to be on every cool kids summer playlists for lounging around by the pool. Paddling or otherwise.
DEER SCOUT ‘CLUMSY (WAXAHATCHEE COVER)
It’s not often that we feature covers, but Deer Scout’s enchanting reimagining of Waxahatchee’s ‘Clumsy’, a simple song about boredom, insecurity, and behaving badly, is worth a mention. The track features on booking agents Long Island Ladies‘ curatorial album of covers, based on the work of Allison and Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee, P.S Elliot, and Swearin’), a compilation full of lo-fi DIY pop and acoustic loveliness. With softly strummed guitar and fragile vocals, this cover doesn’t add so much as it takes away, leaving the bare bones to allow the pensive lyrics to take centre stage. It’s a successful cover in that sense – taking the essence of what made the original song so good and giving those elements new meaning and perspective. It will win no awards for complex production or arrangement, but that is so far from the point.
PUZZLE ‘LITTLE BLACK BOOK’
Brazilian born New Moons artist PUZZLE, a one-man electro-pop enigma whose darkly emotional songs attempt to unpick the human condition is back with a brand new single ‘Little Black Book’, taken from his upcoming EP ‘Babylon‘. Inspired by a smorgasbord of influences – from the Pet Shop Boys to Lauryn Hill to Years & Years – PUZZLE’s meticulously-crafted sound world is seductive and sultry. The new single tackles the fickle nature of modern relationships, with haunting echo-heavy percussion, dark synths, and soulful vocals.
Taken from their latest EP ‘The Meat That Fell Out’, ‘Blank’ is the newest offering from indie experimentalists Stove. Perhaps an indication of the current vogue for lo fi pop, the track harks back to artists like Pavement, with fuzzy chorus-heavy guitars, and a slacker rock vibe. On vocals is drummer Jordyn Blakeley, who’s stripped back vocal is complimented by harmonies in eerie dissonance, adding a dreamlike layer to the already hazy sound world. Check out the equally understated video below:
SURF DADS ‘UP ALL NIGHT’
Regina indie rockers Surf Dads have been busy since their feature on New Moons Vol. VII, working on their debut album ‘All Day Breakfast’. The band recently shared the lead single from the upcoming album ‘Up All Night’, a summery, upbeat, slice of garage rock that’s sure to be on everyone’s playlist come April when the full album is released. Also bonus points for cute artwork.
Stayed tuned for next week’s picks!