Pearl Charles, "Sleepless Dreamer" (Kanine). The first video from the Los Angeles native's debut album, which comes out in early 2018, arrives after she earned buzz through a cassette EP for the Orange County label Burger.
Charles is a charismatic, confident performer whose earlier work was less refined than "Sleepless Dreamer," the album's title track. As in the video, the guitar-driven song rolls along with the ease of a cruise down Pacific Coast Highway. As if Tom Petty were riding shotgun, Charles and band capture a certain Southern California essence.
The video presents Charles in various between-state settings — driving down the highway, gazing at herself in a mirror, snuggling with a long-haired lover, bathed in red neon light, ascending staircases — all the while she sings of living "in between/Another sleepless dream."
An advance listen of the album confirms that the title track's allure isn't a fluke. Across "Sleepless Dreamer," the young singer and songwriter taps a classic Americana sound minus any shtick or pretense. Make a note for 2018.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, "I Will Make Room for You (Four Tet remix)" (Western Vinyl). An eight-plus minute cross-continental collaboration between the L.A.-based Smith and British producer Kieran Hebden (Four Tet), this new remix is based on a song from Smith's new album, "The Kid."
Although an electronic composer, her primary instrument isn't a laptop like many contemporaries, but a collection of modular synthesizers that emanate warm, textured tones that hit the eardrums with a visceral buzz.
The original version of this song lacks any semblance of percussion, relying instead on washes of synths, strings and Smith's layered voice.
On Four Tet's remix, you can't escape the beat, which arrives within a split second of starting and soldiers on at a steady 120 beats per minute throughout.
Hebden, a master remixer who understands how to rethink another artist's creation without diminishing the beauty of the original, remakes "I Will Make Room for You" as a meditative, relatively minimal house music track. Across its expanse, he constructs a rhythmic scaffolding to support Smith's drumless creation.