kindness

Stream: A Monument To Everything (Kindness mix feat. Busiswa) - Röyksopp & Robyn

Kindness lends his loose and funky charms to Monument, one of the stand-out tracks from Röyksopp & Robyn's recent mini-LP Do It Again... The additional lyrics from Busiswa feel like a bit of an onslaught set against such a laid back track but the last minute or two are pretty special.

This remix comes hot on the heels of the recent preview of World Restart, the first track from the next Kindness album. Hot and heavy summer vibes here with guest vocals from Kelela:

Video: Uncle ACE (Kindness remix feat. Robert Owens) - Blood Orange

It feels like an age since Dev dropped his glorious second album as Blood Orange so this is a welcome reminder... Here Kindness provide a sympathetic remix of Uncle Ace, with additional vocals from legendary house vocalist and producer Robert Owens. There is a neat symmetry at play here, since both Hynes and Owens focus on a more emotionally vulnerable approach to dance music as a route to therapy - something the video touches on.

2012 Album of the Year, Part Two: 10 to 6

Following on from yesterday's 2012 Album of the Year long-list I'm happy to unveil the first half of the top ten. The headings link to album reviews where they exist, and there is a Spotify player and an affiliate link to the MP3 on Amazon.co.uk where possible.

Don't forget there is a Spotify playlist including songs from almost every album on the top ten and the long-list, together with songs from some of the best single and EP releases this year. You can check out the playlist here.

10. The Dread Of An Unknown Evil - KRTS

The most recent release on my list of the year (long or otherwise) and one of most deserving. A short, entrancing album that aims to do so much more than many contemporary releases this year. Subtle and at times unnervingly entrancing.

Get it on Amazon.

9. In Our Heads - Hot Chip

This year Hot Chip finally came out from the shadow of The Warning with an album of grown up songs of relationships and growing up. In Our Heads is the sound of a band free of constraints, maturing with their fans. Where previous albums were torn between the requirement to be commercial and a desire to go deep this (almost) entirely abandoned the single format in favour of something much more adult. The cheeky token single, 'Night And Day', remains the only exception and is the only moment In Our Heads comes up lacking. 'Flutes', on the other hand, is one of the best things the band have ever released.

Get it on Amazon.

8. Shields - Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear managed to achieve so much more than any contemporary indie band this year by embracing a free form love of experimentation. Shields sounds like a jazz album recorded on banjos, snares and blues guitar by a band of ramshackle bearded men.

And that's pretty much exactly what it is. Free form song structures and out of step timing created an album more difficult to get to grips with than Veckatimest but at times all the more rewarding, particularly on the epic closer 'Sun In Your Eyes'.

Get it on Amazon.

7. World, You Need A Change Of Heart - Kindness

BlackPlastic is a small, personal blog and as such hopefully it is understandable that four of the top ten albums for 2013 ended up being releases that I didn't formally review. What is surprising, however, is that Kindess' debut was one of those.

World, You Need A Change Of Heart is an album that does everything I personally could ask an album to do. Full of warm, drowsy and hungover songs it sounds like a loved up festival refugee too spun-out to remember real life. 'House' is the kind of record that could make things sound better at any time, anywhere - deep, dizzy disco bass carving a party out of maudlin vocals and a tiny glimmer of hope. One day you and I will be okay.

Get it on Amazon.

6. Attack On Memory - Cloud Nothings

It's relatively rare that an album as heavy as Attack On Memory makes it onto the pages of BlackPlastic.co.uk but in this case it was just too good to ignore. Steve Albini's production mostly just gets out of the way (as always), leaving Cloud Nothings to make the album of their career.

At 34-minutes long Attack On Memory may be barely long enough to qualify as an album but it was all the better for it's economy - a tight and focused burst of aggression. The nine-minute epic 'Wasted Days' is both starry-eyed and terrifyingly taught, and in the conclusion of the "I thought I would be more than this" refrain Cloud Nothings delivered 2012's best rock song.

Get it on Amazon.

And that's the first half of my album of the year list - come back tomorrow for the final part!

Video: That's Alright - Kindness & Trouble Funk

Kindness' debut album World You Need a Change of Mind is definitely one of my favourite albums of 2012 so far but I've only just now got around to actually blogging about it. Kindness is the name Adam Bainbridge makes music under and his music mostly consists of warm, lazy soul and funk tracks. World You Need a Change of Mind was produced by Cassius' Phillipe Zdar (who also produced Phoenix's excellent Wolfgang Amadeus Pheonix) and thus has his production mark all over it. Which is usually a good sign.

There's a clear house origin that underpins much of the album but it feels suitably removed from the turgid modern day equivalent people often think of when the genre comes to mind, giving the album a beautifully fresh 'n' clean feeling. There are a number of great moments - the sparkling synths and bubbling bass of 'SEOD' or the schmaltzy balladry of 'Anyone Can Fall In Love' - but the standout moment is the juxtaposition of the stoner ballearia anthem 'House' to proto-R&B smash 'That's Alright'. It's one of those moments where you can't help but question whether you are still listening to the same album.

Which is ironic because as the Bainbridge explains on the press release for his latest video 'That's Alright' is based almost entirely on samples from another band, Trouble Funk, and specifically their song 'Still Smokin'.

So what is the music video for 'That's Alright' about then? Well in Bainbridge's own words:

That's Alright' is almost entirely based upon samples from the Trouble Funk song 'Still Smokin'. Trouble Funk are a go-go group from Washington DC, who have existed in one form or another since 1978, and previous to that as a more straightforwardly r'n'b oriented act called the Trouble Band.
"Go-go has been on my radar since Rich Harrison first started putting out incredible songs with a go-go influence. As a DC area native, Harrison knew well the urgency and vitality of go-go, and its unswervable effect on an audience. Hence his use of go-go breaks in 'Crazy in Love' by Beyonce, 'One Thing' by Amerie and 'Take this Ring' by Toni Braxton.
"In clearing a sample for use in a song, you have to send a copy to the original writers for approval and publishing clearance. So I knew that Trouble Funk ought to have heard the song already. For that reason I thought we might try and take things a step further. Would the band perhaps be interested in performing the new version of their song for the video? And could they find me something to do?

The results clearly show Trouble Funk were up for it. There's apparently an additional 'making-of' documentary coming too but in the meantime check out and enjoy the video.

If you are a Spotify user check out the whole album in the player above, otherwise you can grab it from Amazon.co.uk on CDLP or MP3 [affiliate links].