Quick Hitters: Let’s get sophisticated-like

Simple is a term that describes me well. That said, my taste in music usually isn’t. I can definitely appreciate a track that is not straight forward and more intricate in nature. It is artists like the ones below thinking outside of the box that provides many hours of musical enlightenment that you can’t get out of mainstream music. This post concentrates on a more sophisticated breed of music. Don’t be fooled by that word, however, it is still music that can be enjoyed by ANYONE and not just people like this guy…

Plaid, stripes, solids...I have it all covered in this one outfit...no big deal

Plaid, stripes, solids…I have it all covered in this one outfit…no big deal

 

The music is a little more darker, slower paced,  and complex; and because of that, it doesn’t get much radio play. However, I’m happy to introduce you to some of my favorites of this sub genre. The first is by The xx, a group that hails from England. Their music is about as mellow as it gets. You’re never going to hear any lyrics screamed by this group, their down-tempo lyrics are one of their trademarks. The song I’ve posted is “Infinity”. It’s a song that was under-loved off of their self-titled debut album. Some are probably familiar with “Crystalized” or my personal favorite “Islands” off that same album, along with the super catchy lyric-less “Intro” (a great build up song similar to the Chicago Bulls starting lineup intro). The song features Romy Madly Croft’s always pleasant vocals and a powerful guitar solo @ 1:33.

Massive attack is a project that has held together well over the long haul. They’ve been together over 20 years and produced several albums that have paved the way for other electronic acts. They’ve produced some soundtracks and had a number of their singles used for movies (my personal favorite from a famous Guy Ritchie film) I’d put them with Sonic Youth in terms of being ahead of their time and not being afraid to be experimental with their craft. For about every one Massive Attack song that some people know, there’s about 3 or 4 great ones that no one knows about. “Small Time Shot Away” is one of those. The catchy, tone differing intro hooks you in quickly and the calming yet digitally enhanced vocals almost take you to another place. Simply put, it’s an electronic masterpiece and a chill-out song to end all chill-out songs. I would suggest sitting down and zoning out to this at the end of the day.

This last song I’m posting is by a newer group that I am unfamiliar with. I first heard them on the David Letterman show. Their band name is not the slightest bit ordinary: Ms Mr. Whether that’s a play on words or simply providing the titles of the two band members; it’s a name that’s never been done before. Ms Mr. is out of New York and provides a musical complexity with some exceptional vocal range by from band member Lizzy Plapinger. “Hurricane” has gathered the most buzz due to the vintage chillwave mood that Plapinger and fellow group member Max Hershenow are able to create. The highlights of the song occur during the breakdown portion before the chorus @ 0:35 and the soulful vocals of Plapinger during the chorus and the more melodic backing vocals that start @ 2:41. Once again, a song that can take you to another place.

 

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