Friday, July 3, 2015

New discovery: Gallant - Weight In Gold

LA soul singer Gallant is building up a serious head of steam* thanks to a slew of sweeping, symphonic R&B songs, inspired by everyone from D'Angelo to Janet.

Blessed with a celestial voice, he sets himself apart by shoving dirty great synth lines all over his music. The result will make your stomach plunge. But in a pleasurable way, like going over a speedbump.

His new single Weight in Gold was Zane Lowe's first ever "Future Exclusive" (a tautology if ever I've heard one) the other night. Since then, it's racked up 214,000 Soundcloud streams, suggesting the switch from Radio 1 hasn't diminished Lowe's status as a kingmaker.

Listen below.

If you like that, you should check out Gallant's previous singles, Talking in Your Sleep, Open Up, and his cover of Foo Fighters' Learn to Fly.

* Not literally, that would be painful.

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Prince would rather you listened to his new stuff, thankyouverymuch

By now, we just have to accept the fact that Prince loves fucking with us.

Over the last 20 years he's retired and come back; changed his name at least three times (Prince, Victor, and squiggle); stopped playing his hits then resurrected them; deleted and reinstated his social media accounts; and he's now a YEAR LATE with the promised Purple Rain anniversary album.

Last night, he threw a strop and pulled his music off all the major subscription streaming services (except Tidal and Deezer, as far as I can work out). But simultaneously, he uploaded a storming new single called HARDROCKLOVER which is one of the riffiest things he's done in years.

"Turn my guitar up/ So I can make this woman scream," Prince proclaims priapically. "Ain’t no rapper trying to be a singer... R&B ain't got no place / But put some hard rock on, you'd better cover your ears/ 'Cause you’re about to hear a woman just scream."

The implicit message seems to be "forget Purple Rain, I am not my past." And while this is a great late-period Prince track, I'm pretty glad he can't come round to the house and steal my 12" of Little Red Corvette.

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Rihanna's BBHMM video

Violent, debauched, funny, feminist, anti-feminist, angry, playful, enigmatic, provocative, gratuitous, uncompromising - Rihanna's video for Bitch Better Have My Money is a lot of things, many of them contradictory.

The 7-minute clip sees the star kidnapping and torturing her accountant's wife after he leaves her bankrupt (apparently this is a true story, aside from the kidnap and torture bit).

If Rihanna is this generation's Madonna, then she's deeply into her Erotica / Sex phase - her boobs are everywhere, but the music isn't what it used to be. Her videos are an echo chamber of her media portrayal, while sticking two fingers up at music's moral guardians.

Bitch Better Have My Money is the apotheosis - gleefully depraved, brilliantly produced, but ultimately lacking in soul.

Rihanna - Bitch Better Have My Money

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Demi Lovato's new single is the pop anthem of summer*

Demi Lovato (rhymes with tomato) is one of those artists who pops up in the UK chart every so often with a killer single, then disappears completely. This is one of those singles.

Cool For The Summer, written and produced by Max Martin**, is Katy Perry's I Kissed A Girl crossed with the guitar riff from Sexy! No No No. Which is pretty exciting.

Buzzfeed has gotten itself into a lather about the lyrics, which it says are about a same-sex fling. You can certainly make that interpretation - she sings about tasting the cherry of someone who shares her body type - but does it even matter in 2015?

The main thing is that this is a total banger. A 10/10 pop gem. A good song by a good singer. A record you can purchase. A piece of music. An embedded audio stream.

Demi Lovato - Cool For The Summer

Demi has also posted a teaser for the video on Twitter, which very definitely reminds me of that Pheoebe Cates scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

* Or, at the very least, this week.

** And Lovato. And Ali Payami. And Alexander Erik Kronlund. And Savan Kotecha. And your mum.

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Video: Jason Derulo - Cheyenne

Jason "Jason Derulo" Derulo has just finished a four-week stint at the top of the charts with Want To Want Me, an unexpected move into Maroon 5 territory with a heady whiff of fromage.

But his new single sees him back in familiar territory. Cheyenne is a moody, minor key R&B groove powered by a bubbling electro bass. It tells the story of Derulo accidentally falling in love with a girl called Cheyenne, hence the title.

The gothic, cinematic video sees Derulo waking up in an abandoned mansion tied to a chair in a room littered with half-burnt photos of women. But he breaks free of his shackles, dons a fetching purple suit and starts dancing with a cast of zombie ballerinas (but of course).

"I wanted to take it back to where videos had a huge concept, and also a huge dance break," Derulo says. "The video is kind of like The Haunting - Cheyenne is haunting my mind."

The song and the video both tip their hat to Michael Jackson's Thriller (or, to be more precise, Ghosts). It's rather good, which is as much of a surprise to me as it is to you.

Jason Derulo - Cheyenne

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Video: Disclosure - Holding On

Disclosure have just released a hugely ambitious video for their new single Holding On - which has really grown on me over the last few weeks.

Set in a dystopian future (is there any other kind?), the cinematic clip follows a young girl smuggling a mysterious "ink" through a police state, while lots of pensive and sweaty men have heated discussions on rooftops.

Shot in Mexico City, it's the first in a series of four videos shot by Ryan Hope that, pieced together, will create a short film.

"As each music video comes out... The plot unfolds," said Howard and Guy. "We hope you enjoy!"

Disclosure - Holding On (ft Gregory Porter)

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