DJ Sessions: What's Coming In 2014

Nov 26, 2013

KCRW DJ Travis Holcombe is already looking forward to new music that’s coming out in 2014.

Among some of his soon-to-be-favorites is U2‘s new collaboration with the indie producer Danger Mouse. And Broken Bells is drumming up some buzz with its forthcoming album “After the Disco.”

Travis Holcombe’s Future Favorites

  • Izzy Bizu, “White Tiger (star slinger remix)
  • Izzy Bizu, “Butterfly”
  • U2, “Ordinary Love” produced by Danger Mouse
  • Broken Bells, “Holding On For Life”
  • De Lux, “Better At Making Time”


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And it's time now for another installment of the HERE AND NOW DJ Sessions.


TOM PETTY: (Singing) There goes the last DJ.


JAMIE FOXX: (Singing) DJ, won't you play this girl a love song.


JET: (Singing) Dance, little DJ, come on.


RIHANNA: (Singing) Come, Mr. DJ song pon de replay. Come, Mr. DJ, won't you turn the music up?

HOBSON: Travis Holcombe is back with us. He's a DJ at KCRW in Santa Monica, California. And, Travis, it is only November, but you are already thinking about 2014.

TRAVIS HOLCOMBE, BYLINE: You know what? I feel like December, especially, people are going to have end-of-the-year list fatigue pretty soon. So I thought we'd give a jump on things and go ahead and start looking forward toward the first quarter of 2014.

HOBSON: Get ahead of the curve. Well, let's get to one artist that you wanted us to hear. This is Izzy Bizu. Her mother is Ethiopian. Her father is English. Here is her song, "White Tiger (The Star Slinger Remix)."


HOBSON: What should we know about Izzy Bizu?

HOLCOMBE: Well, Izzy Bizu is a 19-year-old singer-songwriter from London. She first came onto my radar through that song that you played, the Star Slinger remix. I follow Star Slinger on SoundCloud, so anything he posts, I check out. But I had never heard of Izzy Bizu, like, a month ago. And when I heard her voice, I was, like, wow. Who is this? So I sort of did like a reverse search and found Izzy Bizu's EP, and it just blew me away. She's just got such a catchy voice, and it's - there's, like, a hint of innocence in her voice, too, that's very endearing.

HOBSON: And "White Tiger (The Star Slinger Remix)" sounds like something you might hear in a dance club, maybe even a dance club in London. But this next piece has a very different sound. Let's listen to "Butterfly."


IZZY BIZU: (Singing) Ooh. We'll fly, we'll fly tree to tree just to find butterfly me. We'll fly, we'll fly tree to tree just to find butterfly me. Over in one place at one time, ooh, just caught my last train, left my love behind. Ooh.

HOBSON: Quite a range, Travis.

HOLCOMBE: Yeah. She - I mean, "Butterfly" is probably more representative of what you'd find on her EP. It's very simple arrangements. It's basically just either a keyboard or an acoustic guitar. But she is just at the forefront doing all the heavy lifting with her voice. And she just had me spellbound the first time I heard her voice.


BIZU: (Singing) We'll fly, we'll fly tree to tree just to find butterfly me. We'll fly, we'll fly tree to tree just to find butterfly me. Ooh. And we'll, ooh.

HOBSON: I want to move next to a band that a lot of people have heard of, and have heard plenty of. That would be U2. They haven't released anything in a few years, but they're going to be collaborating with the indie producer Danger Mouse. First of all, tell us about that.

HOLCOMBE: Well, that - I mean, news of this collaboration has sort of been in the ether for five or six years or so. And U2 is a group that's obviously been really successful in the past, but they haven't really generated a whole lot of excitement, I would say, in the last, probably, 15 years. So getting someone on board like Danger Mouse, who has a lot of indie cred, really brings a lot of excitement toward the new project.

HOBSON: And let's listen to the first track from this collaboration. This is called "Ordinary Love."


U2: (Singing) Birds fly high in the summer sky and rest on the breeze. The same wind will take care of you and I, will build our house in the trees. Your heart is on my sleeve. Did you put in there with a magic marker? For years, I would believe that the world couldn't wash it away. 'Cause we can't fall any further if we can't feel ordinary love. And we cannot reach any higher if we can't deal with ordinary love.

HOBSON: Well, I definitely hear U2 there. I also hear kind of a Broken Bells sound. And, of course, Danger Mouse is part of that band, as well.

HOLCOMBE: Yeah. Well, he co-wrote that track, along with co-producing it. So it's definitely got his fingerprint on the song "Ordinary Love."

HOBSON: And Broken Bells, by the way, is about to release a new album, right?

HOLCOMBE: That's correct. In January, James Mercer - who is of The Shins - and Danger Mouse will be putting out a new album called "After the Disco." And we've been playing their new song, "Holding On for Life," here at KCRW a lot, just been getting a really good reception on it. But it sounds a lot different than the previous album. There's definitely a lot more of a '80s synth-pop feel to it, which was - like an element that definitely wasn't in the first album.

HOBSON: Well, let's take a listen.


BROKEN BELLS: (Singing) You're holding on for life, holding on for life, holding on for life. You're holding on for life, holding on for life, holding on for life.

HOLCOMBE: There's a part in the song where James Mercer has a bit of a Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees sound to his voice. That's the first song on the new album, so probably a decent indication of what direction they're heading in for the new Broken Bells album.

HOBSON: Well, let's get to one last group that you are thinking about. This is De Lux. The song is "Better At Making Time."


HOBSON: What catches your ear, here, Travis? What do you like about this?

HOLCOMBE: It's just - it's dancy. It's got sort of like a tropical, post-punk feel that kind of reminds me of the Talking Heads, which is the group that I really love.

HOBSON: It does sound kind of like Talking Heads.


HOBSON: Well, what should we know about De Lux?

HOLCOMBE: Well, De Lux is an L.A. duo comprised of Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco, who are both only 22 years old. They were recently signed to a label called Innovative Leisure, which is becoming like an indie juggernaut in and of itself. They've already put out albums by Hanni El Khatib, Allah-Las and Classixx. And this particular release by De Lux is available as a free download. Their full length is coming out sometime in the spring.

HOBSON: Travis Holcombe is a DJ at KCRW, bringing us some music to look forward to in 2014. Travis, thanks, as always.

HOLCOMBE: Thank you, Jeremy.


DE LUX: (Singing) We're better at making time pass...

HOBSON: And if you, like me, are going to go and buy all the songs that we just heard, you can find a list of them at our website, From NPR and WBUR Boston, I'm Jeremy Hobson.


I'm Robin Young. This is HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.