Stripping away the exotic rhythms of her original version, Valery Gore’s latest remix, a very minimal electronic reworking of “July”, presents the song from a clipped, impersonal distance. In place of what had once been a relentless flush of Latin percussion are long stretches of gentle, airy sonics. Not especially a surprising turn since much of the number’s parent album, Idols in the Dark Heart, explored similar terrains of moody electronic-pop. If you want to get a sense of how radical the reinterpretation is, then you can refer to Gore’s original, presented here live at the Piston in Toronto; the shudders of polyrhythmic drumming and curls of brass are the flesh and bones of the original number to the remix’s ghost.
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The best part about “Go Out”, the lead single from Blur’s first full-length album in 12 years, is that a lot of people probably won’t like it.
Its side-stepping bassline and timid backbeat set the stage, but “Go Out” is, like all great Blur tracks, all about Damon Albarn’s stretched-out vocal phrasings interacting with Graham Coxon’s lyrical, expressive guitar work. The two collide and build upon each other to reach a climax that isn’t really that much of a climax, typical of the band’s mid- and late-period phases. Albarn finds an obtuse way to speak about isolation, dancing with himself, and then going out to the local (and sometimes, the lo-o-o-cal) on his ownsome, all while Coxon unleashes all the distortion he can out of his cheap pedal before trying to wrestle all of it to the ground in spectacular fashion, our ears caught up more in the struggle than the result. When you get down to it, this is a weird-ass little ditty, and therein lies its charm.
“Using reggae as a springboard, Italian rapper TerronRissa takes a fairly liberal and free-form approach within the constructs of his hip-hop. Aimed squarely at house parties across Italy’s suburbs, TerronRissa dispense his rhymes with humor and easygoing charm. The beats skip and throb with the kind of abandon usually reserved for pop music. Having just released his first proper album of material, L’Era Dei Distratti, the rapper has attracted quite a following in its native Italy.
Reunions can be a dicey proposition, especially for bands who seemed to have run their course organically and ended on a high note, which Sleater-Kinney certainly did with its heavy-duty 2005 swan song The Woods. Then again, if anyone can be counted on not to simply give into nostalgia and come back just for the heck of it, it would be a band that never took anything for granted and was as committed to its craft as Sleater-Kinney was—or, rather, is.
The operative word in the band name “We Were Astronauts” is “were”, for the Boston rock quartet that bears the appellation sounds firmly rooted to the earth. Such is definitely the case for “Keep It Together,” a track off of their upcoming recording Artificial Light, which following a successful Kickstarter campaign was recorded in Los Angeles with producer Warren Huart. Rooted in the country-tinged classic rock of groups like .38 Special, “Keep It Together” is as ideal a summer road trip radio tune as there could be.