Friday, August 1, 2014

Video: Sam Smith - I'm Not The Only One

Ping! Here's a press release for popular singer of song Samuel Smith, who will be familiar to you from conversations with your mum who likes his voice.

"Sam Smith has revealed the video for his forthcoming single 'I'm Not The Only One' which features guest stars Dianna Agron (Glee) and Chris Messina (The Mindy Project) acting out Sam's heart wrenching pop-ballad," states the PR person, displaying an unusual inability for hyperbole.

The press release also promises banging remixes from Armand Van Helden and Grant Nelson, which surely cannot fail to be terrible.

Video below. Get ready to blub.

Sam Smith - I'm Not The Only One

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Surprise - there's a new Janelle Monae video

It's over a year since Janelle Monae released her fun-packed Electric Lady album, and nine months since she last released a single, so it's a welcome surprise to discover a new video for the title track on her YouTube channel this morning.

Eschewing all the high-concept "fembot revolutionary" shenanigans of her previous videos, this one's just a straight-up technicolor dance clip.

And it's a blast.

Janelle Monawe - Electric Lady

Nice to see the return of the Human Skull Turntable from the Q.U.E.E.N. video, which I would be more than happy to look after once the record label has finished with it.

Oh, and while we're here, here's an all-star remix of the song, featuring Cee-Lo, Solange and Big Boi. Only available on the US deluxe edition of the album, unfortunately.

Janelle Monae - Electric Lady (Dungeon-Wondamix)

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Video: Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence

Instagram filters ahoy as Lana Del Rey "unleashes" the incident-free video for Ultraviolence, the title track to her number one album.

The faded polaroid aesthetic is starting to become a little predictable but Del Rey's recent cover interview with Rolling Stone shed some light on her preferred colour palette, with the suggestion she has the neurological condition Synesthesia - where the senses get mixed up meaning that, for example, you experience sounds as colours.

In one passage, the singer explained how she would gave directions to album producer Dan Auerbach in the studio. "I would explain things to him in terms of colours and touchstone words," she said.

"My word for the record was 'fire,' you know, blue fire, when a flame gets so hot it goes from red to blue. And I told him I wanted everything to sound like it was in the key of blue. And I think at first he was like, 'What the fuck?'"

Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence

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Big tune alert: Fences ft Macklemore - Arrows

A long, long time ago, before Macklemore ever thought of honking a saxophone and "popping" some "tags", he was an unsigned rapper and recovering addict, who'd lost four friends to prescription drug abuse.

He poured those experiences into a song called Otherside ("I've seen cocaine bring out the demons inside... Friendship cease, no peace in the mind") which was one of the first tracks to bring his progressive, confessional rapping style to the attention of record labels.

Macklemore ft Fences - Otherside

The chorus on Otherside was sung by Fences, a fellow Seattle musician who Macklemore describes as being "fucked up in the same way that I'm fucked up".

Fences, aka Christopher Mansfield, is now preparing to release a new solo album, and Macklemore is giving his old friend a leg-up by appearing on the record's first single, Arrows.

And what a song it is. Driving, hook-laden indie-pop with a judicious use of glockenspiel. This could be a massive radio hit.

Fences fr Macklemore & Lewis - Arrows

Bonus content: Here's a brilliantly over-written statement from Fences about this latest collaboration.
"I have known Macklemore for quite some time. A friendship grown in the coffee shops and broken sidewalks of Seattle. We became sounding boards for each other's music and when it made sense we would combine our efforts. I consider him to be a fearless poet and a selfless human. Arrows is the peak of our mountain."
Broken sidewalks. Fearless poet. The peak of their mountain.


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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Video: Banks - Beggin For Thread

Business as usual here from Banks: Monochrome palette, minimal lighting, writhing male torsos, interpretive dance, powerful song.

Watch out for the horse at 3'30"

Banks - Beggin for Thread

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Karen O shares her demos

There's a book coming out in October called "The Greatest Albums You'll Never Hear" - all about the records your favourite artists have abandoned and consigned to the rock and roll graveyard. Of course, being written by a "serious music journalist" it concentrates on Bowie and The Stones, rather than the Scissor Sisters or Madonna - but it's an intriguing concept nonetheless.

Unreleased material is the holy grail of rock music. When record shops were still a thing, I'd always be drawn magnetically to the Prince section, where I'd rifle through the racks in the hope of discovering a new record I'd somehow missed despite an almost forensic knowledge of the moustachioed midget's back catalogue.

When The Black Album was announced, then scrapped, Prince fans went loopy. Bootlegs changed hands for hundreds of pounds. Everyone talked about how this was the "ultimate Prince record" - darker, dirtier, funkier than anything preceding it. Too dangerous for public consumption. And one of the songs was about an erection.

Of course, when you finally heard it, it was a largely a let down. Even the erection song had brewer's droop.

And I think that's true of most unreleased material. Freed from the requirement of hearing the songs, your brain is free to dream up the best music of all time. Harder, sexier, better and sexier (again) in every way imaginable.

So it's brave of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O to open up her songwriting notebook and show us a collection of songs she wrote nine years ago. Her debut solo record consists of tracks she sketched out during a period of uncertainty and weirdness in her love life when she was just 27 years old.

Appropriately enough, it's called Crush Songs, and it's due out in September. The first single, a scratchy, raw ballad called Rapt is playable below. For once, it looks like the unreleased material might actually be worth hearing.

Karen O - Rapt

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