Hi there! I’m Daniel Varghese, one of the current assistant leisure editors for the Voice. Welcome to Halftime, the new staff blog for Leisure and Sports. It’s a fun time, isn’t it? We’re super stoked about all the new content we’re going to get to post here. This week we’re going to see a Recap of the Sundance film festival, which ended over the weekend, see the debut of some new weekly columns and get the scoop on The Lego Movie, which is set to be released on Thursday.
I also have the privilege of introducing our first new Leisure column, The Weekly List. The Weekly List will contain a playlist inspired by a new song, compiled by us, for you. This week our inspiration comes from Bombay Bicycle Club, who are set to release their fourth studio album ‘See You Tomorrow’ on Tuesday.
The lead single from the LP “Luna” was released on January 6th. The track opens with an arpeggiated marimba line, which forms the initial foundation for some subtle percussive elements and understated, yet confident vocals. This lasts for all of about ten seconds, before a full, raucous drum and bass backing enters the mixture. The song is expansive, scored with layered harmonies, full of instrumental ebbs and flows, wrought with complex rhythms.
The strength of “Luna” lies in it’s ability to highlight this extremely multi-faceted rhythm, while still retaining melodic integrity with beautiful vocals and dazzling instrumentations. “Luna” is incredibly fun and belongs in a playlist with other like-minded records.
This is what I kept in mind as I compiled this list. After hearing ‘Luna,’ I was immediately reminded of Youngblood Hawke, a Los Angeles band with a very similar sound. The song ‘Sleepless Streets’ is driven by a powerful kick drum that underscores the orchestra of rhythmic elements, guitar chords and synth embellishments that form the melody. I was also reminded of Vampire Weekend and the song “Unbelievers,” as another shining example of this balance.
“Boy” by Ra Ra Riot, “Tightrope” by Walk the Moon, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams are all fairly traditional in that they are recorded by conventional bands. But each has their own special twist to the guitar, bass, drums, singer set up.
“Boy” features the violin and the cello, to provide a classical backdrop on which an ambitious drum line and an energetic bass groove thrive. “Tightrope” features the heavy use of a synthesizer as an accent piece. “Happy” features simple auto-tuned vocals, in contrast to its much simpler instrumentation. (It also can be found in this beautiful 24-hour music video that features the artist and tons of celebrities)
The playlist also features some predominantly electronic songs, like “Changing of the Seasons” by Two Door Cinema Club, “Recover” by CHVRCHES, “I’ll Be Alright” by Passion Pit. All of these songs make great use of the synthesizer and drum machine, creating intricate and exciting fusions of sounds.
Anyways, without further ado, I present to you: “A happy boy walks a tightrope to recover silver tiles from sleepless streets while the changing of the seasons creates unbelievers. I guess I’ll be alright.”
The Weekly List
- Luna, Bombay Bicycle Club
- Sleepless Streets, Youngblood Hawke
- Boy, Ra Ra Riot
- Changing of the Seasons, Two Door Cinema Club
- Recover, CHVRCHES
- Tightrope, Walk the Moon
- Silver Tiles, Matt and Kim
- Unbelievers, Vampire Weekend
- Happy, Pharrell Williams
- I’ll Be Alright, Passion Pit
Photo: Daniel Varghese / Georgetown Voice