Welcome to my new column here at Vinyl Mag: Tasting Notes! I have had this idea bouncing inside my head for a little while now yet for some reason haven’t gotten around to writing it. Each edition of Tasting Notes will feature a themed menu with a few projects that deserve your time. This week’s theme is Georgia’s Fall Heat Wave. With the weather unable to decide if we will be blessed with Autumntime here in Athens, might as well make the most of the heat and enjoy some tunes better fit for summertime. Let’s take a look at the seasonal menu!
salute – Condition ([PIAS] Recordings)
You’ll have to forgive me as this selection is not a 2021 release, however, Austrian-born producer, salute, has been making waves in the UK Garage & Bass scene with his sweetly infectious DJ sets throughout the year. With his 2019 effort, Condition, Salute curated a tracklist with some of the most refreshing dance music in recent memory. Remarkably light yet sugary, listeners would be hard-pressed to find a better group of tracks to pair with sunny and 85°. Oh, and this is the project that birthed the idea for this column!
Light, Carbonates, Honeycrisp Apple, Ranch Water, Seabreeze, Chlorine, Fleur de sel, Lemon Zest, Pickled Radish
Ducks Ltd. – Modern Fiction (Carpark Records)
Toronto-based jangle-pop duo, Ducks Ltd., debuts their first full-length record on Carpark records in staggering fashion. Keeping pace with their debut EP Get Bleak, Modern Fiction satiates any indie-pop cravings with track after solid track of forwarding guitars and 4/4 drumbeats. It’s easy to draw comparisons to Ducks Ltd.’s influences and contemporaries (college rock guitars ala Real Estate meets UK post-punk DnB), yet the duo manages to use this to their advantage. Modern Fiction showcases Ducks Ltd.’s sprightly compositions and deft songwriting capabilities, perfect for dancing in a stranger’s living room.
Medium, Cinnamon & Almond, Hops, Coca-Cola, Cedar Box, White Pepper, Fennel, Bar-Tar, Morning Dew, Potato Leek Soup
Purple Kiss – HIDE & SEEK (RBW Inc.)
Where do I begin with Purple Kiss’ HIDE & SEEK? 2021 K-pop has required a savior after a glistening 2020… until HIDE & SEEK came along. RBW’s precocious girl group has proven themselves alongside the likes of K-pop veterans and label mates, MAMAMOO, in a little under 7 months. Title track “Zombie” is a Halloween dance party anthem emphasizing treat over the trick. “2am” contextualizes the ballad formula through a western lens with classical orchestration and pedal steel inexplicably reminiscent of early Faye Webster. The chorus begins: “I’m in love with this comfy mood”, explicating the project’s ethos with alarming self-awareness. Yet despite HIDE & SEEK’s candy-coated comfort, many of the tracks here focus on relational turmoil and questioning, namely standout: “So WhY”. I really couldn’t urge you enough to dance, cry, drive, or unwind with HIDE & SEEK… it’s all here.
Medium to Full, Grape Fanta, Acetone, Empress Gin, Crystal Rock Candy Lollipop, Oyster Shell, Pumpkin Flesh, Pour Over Coffee, Steel
Tems – If Orange Was A Place (Since ’93/RCA)
Breakout Lagos-born superstar Tems is following up an explosive 11 months of stardom, after fronting Wizkid’s mainstream hit “Essence” and finding herself on Drake’s Certified Lover Boy, with If Orange Was A Place. As if the music itself didn’t paint a vivid picture of the flavors incorporated, the title rounds this profile together quite neatly. Each track here oozes setting sunshine, almost as if you’re running out to the car before a long evening out. Lead single “Crazy Tings” opens on this liminal note; swirling rhythms and a one-sided monologue exclaim “So you need, someone to deceive/ And you’re trying to think that I’m the one for you”. Tracklist highlight “Replay” finds Tems in a moment of reflection and reassurance (“I’ve been distant to keep my distance/ Goodbye to a boring life”) amongst infectious melodies and syrupy-thick drum patterns. If Orange Was A Place is rich; a picture of a woman finding strength in herself lit only by the sun kissing the horizon.
Full, Pineapple, Lychee, Cashew, Ginger, Sea Bass, Magnolia, Worn-in Leather, Lanolin