Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fleur East covers Nick Jonas and Alanis Morisette in the live lounge

Previewing her Live Lounge performance earlier today, Fleur East admitted she'd only had one evening to rehearse the obligatory cover version. It was a perfect humblebrag, as her parping performance of Nick Jonas's Levels was practically flawless. And when she segues into Alanis Morisette's You Oughta Know? Oh, the goosebumps.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say Fleur's cover beat her original song, (the otherwise riotous Sax) into a cocked hat.

The full performance is watchable on the iPlayer... although there are some dodgy-looking YouTube versions below, for the lazier reader.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Wolf Alice are away with the fairies

Wolf Alice have rebounded from their Mercury Prize SNUB with a colourful video for their new single, Freazy.

It finds the band playing in a gaudy technicolour dreamscape, when they stumble on a mysterious plant that sends them on what can only be described as a "far out freaky trip, dude".

It's a clever treatment that helps reinforce the band's outsider status on what is, essentially, a really pretty pop song. It's also nice to hear the band namecheck themselves in the chorus ("Do you really wanna... with Alice? Do you really wanna... with the Wolf).

"We’ve got the name of our band in the song!" bassist Theo Ellis told DIY mag. "Like a rapper! Or Superfood!"

Freazy also got a beautiful, string-assisted Live Lounge treatment last Friday. You can watch that on the Radio 1 website "while stocks last".

NB: Don't do drugs, kids

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Five of the best performances from the American Music Awards

The American Music Awards took place last night, with lots of people winning trophies like "best country lady" and "most votes for One Direction". It was all very exciting, I'm sure, but the main draw was the spectacle of pop's toppermost stars playing their songs in a live environment.

There were a patience-testing 19 performances - including a weird a capella rendition of the Star Wars theme. But some of them were actually worth watching. These are they.

Ariana Grande - Focus
The best vocal performance of the night - on a cabaret version of Grande's hit single. Bonus points for her grandmother Marjorie, who can be seen dancing in the audience.

Coldplay - Adventure of a Lifetime
In which Chris Martin is surrounded by dancing gorillas.

Selena Gomez - Same Old Love
The dancers do all the heavy lifting here, but the song is still a corker.

Alanis Morissette and Demi Lovato - You Oughta Know
Giving the censors kittens, here are two of pop's fiercest ladysingers with a gutsier version of Adele's Someone Like You.

Justin Bieber - Justin Bieber Medley
Thankfully, it's only a medley of the recent, good stuff. The acoustic version of What Do You Mean is superb, and then you get the chance to see Bieber being waterboarded. Bonus!

PS: Sorry for the Coldplay video auto-playing. If anyone knows how to fix that, message me on twitter.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

A new video from the band formerly called Lovely Owl

Lauren Mayberry and Iain Cook were guests on Radcliffe and Maconie's 6 Music show, where they revealed some of the band names they rejected before settling on Chvrches. The options included:

  • Wooden Churches
  • Burning Churches
  • Screen Violence
  • Lovely Owl.
Lovely Owl... With the band currently on a massive, sold-out tour, they haven't had time to appear in the video for Empty Threat - which is instead a sort of Winona-Ryder-from-Heathers-visits-a-water-park tale of youthful rebellion. It's no Dazed and Confused, but the song is still a 9 out of 10.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

One to watch: Iris Gold

Iris Gold could be on the verge of something big. Yes, even bigger than her hair.

I first mentioned her in a "songs you may have missed" post this summer, thanks to her gloriously sun-drenched debut single, Goldmine. Now she's back with her second effort, Colour Trip, a laid back, lava lamp-lit take on West-coast hip-hop.

Living in London but hailing from Copenhagen, the singer was raised on 70s psychedelia and hippy counter-culture, before falling in love with the Fugees, Beastie Boys and Wu Tang Clan. You can hear all those influences in her music, which is broadly a hip-hop / R&B hybrid, but essentially uncategorisable.

It's her flow which impresses me most - a languid drawl that's effortlessly chic without feeling superior or unwelcoming.

Gold has been working with MNEK, Dimitri Tokovoi (Nicola Roberts) and Adamski - so it'll be interesting to see what she comes up with in 2016. For now, though, this track will do very nicely indeed.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Frances releases new single with Disclosure

I've been following the career of Berkshire-born singer-songwriter Frances for a couple of months, thanks to stormy piano ballads like Let It Out and Grow.

While those songs place her in "John Lewis Christmas advert" territory, her new single is something of a revelation. Co-written with Howard Lawrence from Disclosure, it showcases a completely different style for the flame-haired 21-year-old...

"So excited to share my new song with you!" she writes on her Facebook Page. "This is 'Borrowed Time' ❤ It was amazing to work with Howard on this song and to experiment with a style I haven't tried before.. I hope you all enjoy it! X"

Maybe the singer's sudden interest in pop shouldn't have been such a big surprise, though. She covered Justin Bieber in Radio 1's Live Lounge earlier this year to great effect.

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