Starting this blog off on a West Coast foot. Based out of Oakland, CA we have the producer pair James & Evander making a stronger footing in the downtempo/electronic/synth pop field(s). I’ve been downloading their music in a frenzied fashion and have yet to be disappointed. After sifting through their archives on their bandcamp page, their two EP releases, Constellating and Let’s Go, made waves in mixes I’ve made. I’ll talk about their latest album, Bummer Pop, in a later post, I promise.
It opens with a blend of piano lines setting the stage for a sentimental track but still poppy enough for a quiet late-evening summer drive. From the get go, with the layering vocals, it adds for a very introspective foundation for the lyrics. It’s a song of loss but the melody helps bring in a more “hopeful” feel to the track, making for a complex composition for the song. The track, is reminiscent of California pop-rock from the mid-2000’s. They vaguely remind me of the days when I’d listen to The Fictions on repeat and wish there was an oceanic beach around for me to bum around at.
2. Slap Bracelets
After a strong opening with “Constellating,” this has an almost throw-away quality to it. “Slap Bracelets” has this fantastic chorus though, with the a strong drum line, making you bob your head along to it. The EP continues to have this constant desire to drive around and be blasted from a convertible. In terms for a flow of an EP, the song makes sense, in context: without a track like this, there wouldn’t be a flow going for it. I’m all about the flow.
3. Really Real
We end the James & Evander only portion of the EP with an instrumental. Continuing with the evening-vibe already set in motion, they made a future-pop heavy track to create that disjointed, hyperactive head bopping they led into with “Slap Bracelets.” This is definitely the happiest song off the EP and it makes me want to run around outside. That is, if I actually liked the outdoors.
4. Constellating (Ander remix)
This was the first track that put me on the James & Evander wagon. On some random night of YouTube music hunting, I stumbled upon this remix to add to my glitch/downtempo playlist I had going. Addictive. So addictive. What makes this such a killer remix is when compared to the original, this is the vibe you’d expect the song to have based on lyrics alone. Ander did a beautiful rendition of the song with interesting breaks, a haunting melody, and much creepier vocals.
4. Slap Bracelets (shortcircles remix)
I’m a huge shortcircles fan. After I heard his “iwishthatyouwould (pleaseloveme) off some random mixtape a friend of Giraffage made, I loved all of his dreampop heavy tracks. Uwaa, I love drifting off to sleep to this song. He makes “Slap Bracelets” a lot sweeter of a song, where James & Evander actually created a more “piss-off” sentiment with their lyrics. Damn, whoever that girl is, she really dicked someone over.
SECOND AND SHUFFLE (or, SAS)
This is the part of listening to an album I love. Usually, the first time through, I’m doing something else when listening to a new EP, album, single, whathaveyou. Based on the amount of times I look up while going straight through said music piece, I judge that on how fluid of a production quality it is. After that, I listen to the entire thing again except on shuffle. That is where my full judgement lies.
So for this EP, “Constellating” continued to be a favorite of mine. Everything from the lyricism, to the melodies, and sub-melodies made me grin. “Slap Bracelets” was a pleasant surprise. I think it was the part where it goes, “And I read all your letters, but I never wrote you one back/ I knew you were doing better, with your Facebook facts(?)/ and now I’m glad that you know I was wrong, but this is not a love song.” I’m about 99% sure I botched those lyrics but that was the best part of “Slap Bracelets” for me. The vocals are so distorted that you have to struggle to make out what they’re saying. Always loved a mysterious man.
This EP I’m going to do a bit differently, mainly because I haven’t been able to pull myself away from the title track. “Let’s Go” is one of the reasons I love electronic music to begin with. Being the music nerd that I am, the first five seconds of this song had me freaking out. Like, legitimately running around like a guillotined chicken.
Where did I get my excitement from? No, not from my mama, but instead from James & Evander’s keen sampling. They took the main melody from one of my favorite songs, “Sunshine Luv,” by Korean hip hop producer, The Quiett, and used it as the building block for this here track. They thought they could be tricksy, but HAH, I bested them (not really though, that’s not a thing).
They slowed down the main melody and added poppier drum lines, along with second and third melody lines for a much fuller sound than The Quiett originally gave us. James & Evander makes an effort to use their recordings of live instruments (like the drums and pianos) mixed with electronic production to make a less perfect-sounding track. Sometimes that gets on my nerves, despite how much of an electronic geek I am. Uwaa, love their stuff so hard so fresh so good so clean. Another huge perk – this EP is a free download. Who doesn’t love free shit?
If you enjoyed any of the tracks, the images link to their bandcamp pages for the EPs. They have a monsterload of free downloads so make sure to check them out.
Till next time,