Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Artist Of The Day: Unbuttoned

Every time finals are around the corner, I have to schedule a trip down memory lane: I'll flip through all 700 photos on my phone, read essays from classes I don't remember taking, and do just about anything but face the textbook in front of me. On the bright side, it's a great time for excavating old goodies from the depths of my mp3 player--like the tender grooves of Toronto-based R&B project Unbuttoned. The band tackles the genre from a fresh perspective, encompassing hip-hop, chamber pop, jazz, and even a touch of electronica. And the R and the B don't just stand for rumbling in bed; these songs are decadent, but through intriguing structural and instrumental choices, they also display stunning emotional depth. "Play On Pain" feels oddly hollow for how layered it is, and that's intentional: the song doesn't progress so much as it plops, like drops of rain filling a cracked shot glass left on the sidewalk. Meanwhile, "Ruler Of The Sun" pits Casey MQ and Kamilah Apong's buoyant vocals against folksy foliage, leaving them to sift through the past--and yet the majesty of the strings driving the song's climax hints at a future grander than they can imagine. As I rediscovered the band's debut (and to date only) release Electric Kingdom a few nights ago, I noted all of these little details, how they made me smile and think at the same time.

And wouldn'tchuknowit, right on the day before my Literature final, Unbuttoned has put up this cryptic teaser for all of us to speculate about. Damn it. I'll be right back, folks, but in the meantime here's Unbuttoned's YouTube and Facebook pages.

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