Friday, January 23, 2015

Jess Glynne's good single is good

Poor old Jess Glynne, My Love has just become the first video eliminated from the Brits "best video" category, after receiving the fewest shout-outs on Twitter (yes, you read that right - the Brits are now awarded to people with the most vocal Twitter fanbase, rather than for any artistic merit).

Still, Jess can console herself with the fact that (a) the best video prize is utterly pointless; and (b) her new single is utterly brilliant.

Hold My Hand is a rollicking dancefloor smash, with a ridiculously sunny chorus. The chances of anyone holding hands while listening to it are perilously slim, as they'll be too busy being enthusiastically thrust in the air.

A solid 8/10.

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Stryke alight

Tove Styrke has been building up her pop profile with the unusual tactic of releasing a string of bloody great singles. Even If I'm Loud It Doesn't Mean I'm Talking To You was a bracing culture-clash between acid house and swing jazz. Borderline was a lilting Swedish reggae ballad. Neither of them was as bad as my descriptions make them sound.

Her new single, Ego, is another change of direction, albeit a more mainstream one. Powered by chugging marimba line, it has a delicately sugarspun chorus, that belies the furious lyric: "I want to hold you but you're untouchable... You're too tied up in your ego."

It goes a little something like this.

Ego is from Kiddo, Tove's first album since signing to RCA. According to the singer, the title is inspired by her favorite movie character, Kill Bill’s Beatrix Kiddo.

"I like the word 'kiddo.' It's playful, it's the name of my favorite movie character and I've been called it for ever and ever for better and for worse.

"If I were to describe the album in one sentence I'd say that it’s playful, inspired by movies (especially Kill Bill) and that the songs are very personal to me."

If you're a regular listener to Heat Radio (and who isn't?) you might be hearing this single more often than you'd expect. Their programme manager explains why in this blog...

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Great debut single alert: SNBRN

Here's a great new song from LA-based dance producer SNBRN and his musical BFF Kerli.

SNBRN (I'm assuming it's pronounced Sunburn, rather than Sinbarn) been bumping around for a while, turning out shiny house mixes Ace Of Base's All That She Wants and Mark Morrison's Return Of The Mack, amongst others, but this is his first solo effort.

Called Raindrops, it's an irresistible, piano-driven house track with seductive vocal lines that cascade over each other like... well, Raindrops.

Imagine Disclosure were raised on Venice Beach instead of Reigate and you'll get the idea.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Doing it and doing it and doing it well

"I wanted it to be like this badass Barbie Thelma & Louise-esque video," Charli XCX told Buzzfeed of her new Rita Ora-featuring video, Doing It. "So we robbed a store with toy guns, rode a bucking bronco, and nearly crashed a pink pickup truck through the desert."

Sounds amazing, right? But Charli would have been more accurate if she'd said: "I wanted it to be like Lady Gaga's video for Telephone if it had been shot for £10 and half a Twix (the biscuit half)."

That's not entirely a criticism, though. Charli XCX's videos often make her seem brattish, but here she comes across as a teenager goofing off with her best friend on Vine.

It is, frankly, adorable.

Charli XCX - Doing It (ft Rita Ora)

Hopefully, this single, which has just been added to Radio 1's C list, will chart higher than Charli's last single, the snotty-nosed Break The Rules, which stalled at number 35.

Ms XCX is also preparing to tour with Katy Perry, and belatedly releases her new album, Sucker, in the UK next month. So that's nice.

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Must watch: The Staves - Black and White

Watford's favourite harmonisers The Staves have just surfaced with a brilliantly back-combed video to their new single Black and White.

Starring the Stavely-Taylor sisters as employees of an incestuous TV newsroom, it's a cross between Sidney Lumet's Network and Will Ferrell's Anchorman - only the soundtrack is better than in the former, and the meteorologist is marginally less dense than in the latter.

"A lot of hairspray was used in the making of this video," the band noted on Facebook. "A very lot."

Black and White is the lead single from the band's Justin Vernon-produced second album, If I Was. If you pre-order it today, you'll get an "instant grat" download of the song tomorrow. So get clicking.

The Staves - Black & White

For reference, here are the band in their regular be-denimmed "garb". I think I prefer their 80s dopplegangers.

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Video: Jimmy Napes - Give It Up

If sleeve notes were still a thing, the more eagle-eyed amongst you might have recognised the name of one Mr. Jimmy Napes.

He's the co-writer behind most of Disclosure and Sam Smith's biggest hits - Latch, La La La, Stay With Me - as well as Jessie Ware's gorgeous Imagine It Was Us and Clean Bandit's Rather Be.

He recently tweeted a picture of himself playing Alicia Keys piano (see above) and, according to ASCAP, he's been writing new songs with Eliza Doolittle, including the intriguingly titled Dooodiddidydaboooo.

But before we get to hear that undoubted masterpiece, James John Napier (for that is his name) is launching a solo career of his own, and the first song out of the gates is called Give It Up.

If you've been paying attention, you'll know what's coming: Smooth, rounded soul melodies with a non-threatening undertow of sub bass. What you might not expect is the lyrical content - Give It Up is an anthem to sobriety from someone who's seen the dark side of the druqks.

The storyline is laid bare in the video, which is directed by Luke Monaghan (A$AP Rocky, Sam Smith, Disclosure). Watch below.

Jimmy Napes - Give It Up

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