Thursday, March 30, 2017

It's been a good 24 hours for LIttle Mix

All hail Little Mix, who've been totally bossing the US this week. First with an impeccably-choreographed performance on James's Corden's chat show (the 1-2-3-4 synchronised hair toss is in a class of it's own).

Then the released the (superb) new video for No More Sad Songs, any review of which Ian contractually obliged to reference Coyote Ugly.

And, to cap it all off, there was this.

Congratulations, girls!

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Video: Billie Eilish - Bellyache

Billie Eilish is only 15 years old, but she's already a formidable talent. Just check out last year's debut single Ocean Eyes, an astonishingly assured piece of songwriting, in which she compares falling in love to plummeting off a cliff under "napalm skies".

Her new single, Bellyache, is even more striking. I'd call it a murder ballad, except it's not a ballad: It's a shadowy, brooding pop banger that fantasises about finishing off her lover and leaving his body to rot in the gutter. Less "psycho killer, q'uest que c'est", and more "Oui oui, je suis un psycho killer, et puis quoi?"

The video picks up after the gory bits, with Billie on the run from the law, dragging a trailer of her possessions behind her, and doing a victory dance in the desert like any normal murderer would.

But, as the singer told Vice, Bellyache is actually a song "about the concept of guilt.

"When you do things in the moment because you feel so strongly about them, in the end you're left with the decision you made.

"That line: 'I thought that I'd feel better, but now I gotta bellyache' is about how you kinda know that you're the worst but you don't care. It's about a psychopath who regrets being a psychopath but doesn't really care.

The song is pretty much perfect and the video is just as riveting. Billie Eilish is a a star in the making.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Video: Astrid S - Breathe

Norwegian pop star Astrid S has pulled out all the stops (and several of the pistols) in the video for her slinky pop masterpiece Breathe.

An effortlessly cool pastiche of Bond and Tarantino and classic Sunday afternoon heist movies, the video stars the singer as a gun-totin' vigilante on the run with her fella. We follow them across the decades as they evade the law and defeat the bad guys. It is, not to put too fine a point on it, a total riot.

Director Cherry Red Films (not his real name) said: "Our main inspiration for the story were retro action movies such as the cult classic James Bond films from the 60s, as well as 70s road movies, Tarantino-esque characters and Americana influences in general. [See, I told you - Ed]

"We wanted to play with pastiches in all aspects: famous movie scenes, interiors, fashion and clichéd characters." Watch below.

"This is the biggest music video I’ve done yet!" added Astrid. "I think the video manages to capture the edge and sassiness of the song, with a good mix of serious and funny."

Watch above.

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Blondie + Dev Hynes = 🔥

Blondie have been working with a whole host of amazing pop people on their new album: Sia, Charli XCX, Dave Sitek and Joan "I love rock and roll so put another dime in the jukebox, baby" Jett. (They've also been collaborating with Johnny Marr and Nick Valensi out of The Strokes, which dampens my enthusiasm somewhat - but half a good Blondie record is better than no Blondie record at all).

The latest track to be released from Pollinator is called Long Time, and it's produced by Dev Hynes, the man behind Solange's moody pop beast Losing You; Carly Rae Jepsen's moody pop beast All Yours and Sky Ferreira's moody pop beast Everything Is Embarrassing. He keeps up his phenomenal strike rate here, with a song that appends Blondie's signature disco-punk sound with a rushing swirl of synths and guitars.

It's a moody pop beast.

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Here is a remix of Chained To The Rhythm

Ever wanted to hear Katy Perry's Chained To The Rhythm slowed down with a drowsy, vocodered rap "section". Well, you're in luck because Lil Yachty and Lil Boat (but, sadly, not Lil Dinghy or Lil Canoe) have made a remix for you.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Kelis returns - and the rest of #NewMusicFriday: 17 March 2017

Here we go again...

1) TCTS - Do It Like Me (ft Kelis & Sage The Gemini)
This is an absolute monster. Kelis, as usual, turns everything she touches to gold.

2) Clean Bandit ft Zara Larsson - Symphony
Speaking of Kelis, this lifts the lyrical conceit of her 2010 song ("before you, my whole life was acapella, now a symphony's the only thing to sing") and runs with it. Being Clean Bandit, there are plenty of symphonic strings to hammer the metaphor home.

Not destined to dominate the charts like Rockabye, but a barnstorming pop song nonetheless.

3) Feist - Pleasure
"I was raw and so were the takes," says Feist of her new album, Pleasure. "Our desire was to record that state without guile or go-to's and to pin the songs down with conviction and our straight up human bodies."

It cetainly comes across in this single - which is simultaneously scratchy, lo-fi and utterly thrilling. Like all the best songs, it starts as a lullaby and ends like a riot.

4) Tinashe - Flame
Things haven't really taken off for Kentucky's Tinashe Jorgenson Kachingwe so far - but this song deserves an audience. "Tell me that you've still got a flame for me and we can let it burn," she trills over a discarded Carly Rae Jepsen beat. Recommended.

5) Kasabian - You're In Love With A Psycho
This made me do a big, affectionate chuckle on the tube this morning. The lyrics are deliberately preposterous ("I'm like the taste of macaroni on a seafood stick"???) but it's nice to have Kasabian back.

6) Pond - The Weather
If Kasabian have you in the mood for a bit of psych-rock, this dreamy, kaleidoscopic track from Perth's Pond fits the bill nicely. It will not surprise you to learn it was produced by Tame Impala's Kevin Parker.

7) Mura Masa ft Charli XCX - 1 Night
Neither artist's greatest moment, but a perfectly serviceable indie-pop jam for Side B of your latest mixtape.

8) Fenne Lily - What's Good?
Self-taught songstress Fenne Lily impresses on this achingly beautiful ballad: "Tell me why good things die," she pleads, her vocals quivering over a lonely, plucked guitar. "Stay the night - because I need this more than I knew. More than I'd like to". Heartbreaking.

9) Machine Gun Kelly feat G-Eazy and Kehlani - Good Life
As mindless and insubstantial as the film it soundtracks (Fate of the Furious), this will undoubtedly be a huge hit.

10) Linkin Park - Battle Symphony
I'm still mystified by Linkin Park's attempt to become OneRepublic. I mean, they do it well - but to what end?

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