On February 21, Durham, NC based electronic duo Sylvan Esso released their single “Coffee” on iTunes. “Coffee,” a track loyal to the dance floor sounds of the band’s previous single, the handclapped “Hey Mami,” but is less persistent. The melody waits for you: it is inviting, as it oozes with soul and sophistication.
In the duo’s live WAMU session, singer Amelia Meath’s performance is all-in, as physicality and musicality impact one another. Her body moves in waves, floats ethereally, then hunches and contracts as her voice silences. She and bandmate, Nick Sanborn, perform to one another in a lovely, yet unfinished and raw call-and-answer. Meath’s voice is a soulful whisper and instinctual cry—an easy-to-drink potion, which, when entwined with Sanborn’s cerebral instrumentation, creates a sound that both thinks and feels.
VNTC’s Regaws packs in a listening experience that paints, a backdrop of a suave lower Manhattan hotel lobby. The opening notes whirl like foam amidst tunnels of water—so it only fits the progression when the song is slowly pulled out of water and onto land, as the guitar rhythmically surges through muted keys and a subtle drumbeat. I am reminded of how a guitar can color a piece of music with earthiness, planting each chord firmly, the resonant keyboard plucks like melodic rain.
The guitar begins to slowly riff midway through the song. Every reverberation is familiar but stationed affront a novel backdrop, as it evokes styles of early rhythm and blues guitarists. Married with simple ambience, the guitar plays the record into a sultry sort of euphoria. By about three-fourths of the way in, the melody becomes imbued with uncontrolled guitar riffs and opens to the sound of emptiness. Then, the next few seconds of the piece seem to answer all questions as to the sexual nature of the beachy, bluesy tune. Musically, the choice to include the speaking part is ambitious, albeit perhaps a bit heavy-handed. It certainly adds a final, climactic movement to the piece, but unfortunately, at that point, there is not much left to the imagination.
The last minute of the song is where I find myself most entrapped. It is perfect chaos, as the guitar peaks sporadically throughout varying movements, only to gently fall and end the piece in an audible splash, like a dream being put to sleep.
Quality vibes and quality dance moves in the video for “The Heat” from Jungle. I applaud anyone who can disco boogie on roller skates. The band is clearly establishing a theme here. Compare “The Heat” video to Jungle’s other video for “Platoon” which includes a break dancing, child, thuggin’ real hard. Enjoy… and stay tuned for their EP out on October 21.