“Home (Toro y Moi Remix)” by Caribou
While Caribou is a familiar name to me, I can’t say I have heard much of his music. However, upon seeing “Toro y Moi Remix” tacked onto a song, I am then required to listen, no matter who the original artist is. What are the chances of regretting my listening?
This was the case exactly with “Home.” Yet again, Toro y Moi shows off his diversity in sound. The song blends electronic indie sounds with hip hop elements very well. A gang vocal chant and 808 bass can be heard over synths and jangly drums. The focus of the song is on the noisy and messy beat, more than Caribou’s simple vocals. It’s a balance that is necessary, though, considering how little space is left for lyrics in between the interjecting noises and drum fills.
In another edition of “Five Notable Tracks” from the past year, I ranted about my hopes for more high-profile remixes. Each of my 2021 rankings have included a remix so far, which makes me very excited for more. I hope this trend will keep up, and I expect Toro y Moi to provide more candidates in the future.
“The Kiss of Venus (Dominic Fike)” by Paul McCartney & Dominic Fike
This collaboration is the leadoff single for McCartney’s newest project: “McCartney III Imagnined,” a reformed version of his 2020 album featuring reworked tracks with many guest stars. Along with being a talented young songwriter and guitarist, Dominic Fike has the ability to deliver a very theatrical vocal performance. Prior to this song, he showcased this skill on tracks “Dominic’s Interlude” and “10x Stronger” last year.
The instrumental on “The Kiss of Venus” is very showtune-esque with multiple sections and energetic cresiendos. Fike is a perfect fit for the song, and his rendition brings a comfortable new energy that you may not have imagined when hearing the original. The chorus, although a bit hard to discern, introduces the song beautifully and simply. From then on, it’s a showing of creativity and songwriting fit for a huge concert hall.
“Marley” by Gouda
Gouda is a small artist from Drexel who is currently building a solid foundation of local notoriety in Philadelphia. While he is a friend of mine, I remain unbiased in this review and praise for his new release, “Marley.” This is a remixed version of his debut single from August 2020. Since then, his writing, production quality and array of sound has improved.
I was very excited when I heard that a remixed version of “Marley” was in the works. I have always liked the piano parts on the verses of “Marley,” which bring a very joyous energy. The introductory verse is layered and textured intensely with many thin synths and drums, and the sunny verses come and go alongside calm, echoey guitar passages.
The vocals are sung with bravado as Gouda describes daily activities with his cat named Marley. Along with a haunting piano section added to the end of the track, this version is a vast upgrade over the already enjoyable song from Gouda.
“BERNADETTE” by Zack Villere
This newest release from indie artist Zack Villere is his most accessible track yet. I praised his single “CAUSEWAY” for the same reasons last year, but with a feature for Spotify’s POLLEN playlist, “BERNADETTE” marks a noticeable step towards pop music (in both sound and songwriting) for Villere.
Luckily, the awkward characteristics that define his past work still show. Villere’s lyrics progress through a young relationship, and the moving on that seems impossible until it begins to happen naturally. The instrumental is simply guitar and bass that ride a strong enough groove to make up for the lack of drums.
Villere’s vocal delivery is less mumbly than usual, and his melodies are as strong as ever. “BERNADETTE” proves that Villere can be an indie-pop star any time he wants now. As a big fan, I’d personally love to see this happen — as long as his creative control is still there.
“BUZZCUT” by BROCKHAMPTON
BROCKHAMPTON’s rise and recovery has been unrivaled in the past five years, not only in music, but also in cultural trendiness overall. Throughout each era the band has gone through, they manage to be possibly the most consistently current act with their art. Now entering the “ROADRUNNER” era, featuring their sixth album, the group has nailed it once again with their comeback single “BUZZCUT,” which enlists colorful rapper Danny Brown for a rare guest appearance.
Head member Kevin Abstract leads off the track with emphatic delivery on the only full verse by one of the BROCKHAMPTON boys. A siren-like synth echoes over choppy drums, making a fitting background for Danny Brown’s energy. Around half-way through the track transitions into a foreboding outro with interjections from the rest of the band. As the drums fall away, the track fades into cloudy vocals and a dramatic saxophone line; it’s an ending that leaves you needing another track to follow it up. Along with an eccentric music video, this song is stimulating to the brain in a way that’s hard to achieve.