The new year is young enough that posting the second half of our what-we-missed list isn't too weird is it? Besides, intern Marie skipped several parties staying late to research this stuff, and we don't want to let her down.
So without further blather, here's the part two of a feature nobody asked for and fewer read.
Benjamin Wynn is Deru, and his slow-build electronic instrumentals tend toward hissing clatters of percussion with bell-toned melodic passages that cycle in and out like warning lights in the fog. It's so detatched and hazy it's nearly relaxing -- good stuff from Mush/Ghostly International.
The Do [the "o" gets a slash through it.]
Hey, this is alright. A Finnish/French duo playing pop so deceptively sunny it that could almost fly as music for children, save for those lyrics. "Playground Hustle" is well creepy -- a Village of the Damned drill team anthem.
Young men recycling late '50s/early '60s surf, instrumental and doo-wop styles without sounding like any of the obvious reference points. In the best possible way, they sound like an actual '80s band because they did what the post-punk/college-rock bands of that era did best: mining the past for "new" ideas.
He's an MC from south Florida, reminiscent of Jemini the Gifted One. Crafty production of the straightforward drum machine & samples variety actually feels refreshing in the age of silly bombast. There's even scratching! [Do they still do that? -- ed.] We don't know how hard it is to get a guest spot from Slick Rick or Jazzy Jeff, but that shows good taste on Dynas' part.
Eva & The Heartmaker
Is Norway the new Sweden? Because duos are the new trios. From Oslo comes this giant, gleeful pop with a woman singing teenage love angst lyrics. That's really all there is to say.
From London comes Ryan Lee West, aka Rival Consoles. As the name implies, his music sounds like a mid-'80s video game, and it's killer. If Daft Punk's tendency toward both mindless repetition and Vocoder overkill put you off, come join the Berzerk vs. Tempest disco jams of Rival Consoles.
Ever since Steven Tyler busted through the wall of Run DMC's rehearsal space, rappers and rockers have been teaming up from time to time, with the results frequently exposing the weaknesses of both forms. The Slew gives history the finger, flipping the usual rock/rap tag team of live guitar & sampled bass and beats. Dynomite D & Kid Koala splice blooze rock guitar samples over the flesh and blood rhythm section from Wolfmother. Disposable fun.
The treated vocals go a long way to making these ladies a lot less Norah Jones by way of PJ Harvey, and a lot more primitive mystique. We tried to resist liking this, but it makes such a fine alternative to all that ridiculous Paw Tracks mumbo jumbo. "Elephants" is particularly good.
This Austin quartet cooks up high-grade pop of the jangle/power variety. Kevin Peroni's voice serves the melody without melodrama or unnecessary quirk. They deserve more attention than they'll get, perhaps.
Their MySpace genre tags are "psychedelic" and "black metal." It's ambient noise instrumentals with a serious occult vibe. We shall call it "bleak metal." There. Please remember you read it here first. Also "Flying Witch" will make children cry.
File under: honorable mention. The DJ Food moniker used to drape over a sizeable collective of Ninja Tune label artists having loads of fun sampling and tape looping. Now the title masks but one: sampling pioneer Strictly Kev. He's still crafting top-shelf sound collages ideal for headphone trips, and he looks like a university professor.