Gruff Rhys – American Interior

Can’t wait for this album to be released, all about his distant relative John Evans, a farmhand who went to America to look for an apparently mythical tribe of Welsh-speaking native Americans. Interesting how that’s not completely far-fetched, that Vikings and the Welsh seem to have headed off to the Americas, and the former definitely knew they were there, traded and maybe settled in the north – and also came back – so why not Madog?

John Evans didn’t find the Welsh-speaking Indians he was looking for, but did become an explorer, and mapped the Missouri river – a map the famous Lewis Clark expedition used later.

SLACKCIRCUS Chvrches video

Love this ‘unofficial’ video for Chvrches ‘Strong Hand’ by SLACKCIRCUS (fresh from finally releasing their He-Man HEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAA cover on iTunes) which takes footage from the bizarre 80′s Crystal Light National Aerobic Championships which I’ve featured here before. Works great – love the little captions too. And the band love it also :-D

Return to the Cloud: Clams Casino, Trill and the new D.A.I.S.Y. age

A few years ago I was all about what later got called ‘Cloud Rap’ – Main Attracktionz, Babe Rainbow, Odd Future – I saw it as the hip hop successor to witch house and an extension of IDM. I tuned out, partly because the lyrical content wasn’t there, and listening now to the more recent likes of A$AP Rocky, Lil B etc. I was correct. Dumb rap for dumb people…sadly that meant I missed Clams Casino, a producer who thankfully releases instrumentals so you can ignore the trill (True + Real = Dumb stupid gangsta) shit. If you listen to one of his most recent releases, the Pia Mia and Chance collaboration, hopefully it’s a sign that Clams is graduating from those who didn’t graduate, and onto something smarter.

I really rate Chance and Vic Mensa, and hope Clams works more with people who know that the four elements never included guns, bitches and bling. Of course hip hop is also about speaking YOUR truth, whatever it is – but I doubt most of these people live the life, especially the likes of Drake – they’d be dead in a week.

Anyway really loving the Clams sound, as Tom from Wild Beasts put it, there’s something feminine about this. Floating, beautiful…which makes it all the odd when some B-grade rapper spits hatred and dumbness over it…these tunes deserve far better. Even working with HAIM would be a step forward (they added vocals to A$AP’s LVL, one of the few redeeming features, and I’m not a big fan of HAIM…) or maybe he should work with De La Soul?

Always saddened as a hip hop fan that all this interest in psychedelics and Molly (MDMA), even the wooziness of purple drank and disorientation of chopping and screwing didn’t lead to some new DAISY age, a Third Summer of Hip Hop Love. Where intelligence or imagination can win out over hatred, tired gangsta tropes and commercial blaxploitation. I mean contrast this with the positivity of another great beatmaker, J. Dilla with the UMMAH/Native Tongues crew and De La Soul.

Thankfully De La have returned to that and released a great mixtape called Smell the DA.I.S.Y (DA Inner Soul of Yancy). It’s recommended, and really schools those cloud rap / trill rappers into where they should be going, rather than boring us with the same old dumb gangsta fantasy selling to 14 year old white middle class boys. Positivity, intelligence, still keeping it to their truth and real (NOT realness, don’t copy drag terms please!*) and not selling out their pride or integrity:

* I was at the Tate Britain last night, they had some street fashion event and they had a talk about ‘realness’ – nothing in the blurb mentioned where that phrase came from. Sad and desperate that a vogueing/drag term has been co-opted by urban fashion without spreading the love back. Boo. Go find your own terms, or respect the source. And no, like Madonna just watching Paris Is Burning once doesn’t give you the right…

Ólafur Arnalds – Living Room Songs

I’ve been raving about Erased Tapes, and especially Ólafur Arnalds and co. for a long time now – and it’s good he’s getting some recognition via the BAFTA nomination. So to celebrate Erased Tapes have posted the full film of Living Room Songs. I played ‘Near Light’ from this last year on the podcast and it jumped out at me from all the Erased Tapes compilations – I didn’t even know it was a video! So nice to see it’s genesis here. In fact it grows an extra element, with his sister and mother on synthesisers (love the tape on the keys, obviously his sister isn’t that used to a keyboard, touches like that give it more of a homely, family feel. I’d not call it a happy song though!). (via Simon Risbridger)

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