Monday, January 23, 2017

Welcome back, Goldfrapp and your massive throbbing synths

After four years' absence, Goldfrapp are back with a sultry, throbbing new single that recalls the pomp-and-stomp of songs like Train and Strict Machine.

With flagrant disregard for the Oxford English Dictionary, the song is called Anymore, with Alison purring: "Make me a freak / I can't wait any more," over a slippery, seductive synth line. Like all of music's best songs, it's a hymn to the dancefloor... Or "your strange music, like lucid dreams," as Alison would have it.

It's the best thing they've done since the last thing they did.

Can't wait for the new album - Silver Eye - which is due in March, and is co-produced by John Congleton (St Vincent, Sleater Kinney, Nelly Furtado). They'll be performing a special show at London's Roundhouse on the 27th of that month. See you there.

PS: Here is a superb interview with Alison Goldfrapp, courtesy of PopJustice.

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Video: Ed Sheeran - Castle On The Hill

I'm toying with a new approach to the blog - in which new videos (especially ones for songs I've already written about) get posted with minimal explanation. Like this one, for Ed Sheeran's U2-tastic Castle On The Hill.

What do you think?

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Video: Little Mix - Touch

Poor old Little Mix, being forced to give birth on a slide outside a maze, or whatever the heck is supposed to be going on in this "still" from their new video, Touch.

I can imagine the pitch was "colourful and sexy" but the end result is "headache-inducing and joyless".

Cracking song, though.

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Arcade Fire make a powerful return

On their last album, Arcade Fire played with the rhythms of dance and disco while retaining their quivering, apocalyptic approach to stadium rock. But their new single is a total surrender to "the funk".

Over a dark pulse, Win Butler trades lines with gospel star and Prince acolyte Mavis Staples. "I give you power, over me. / I give you power, now I gotta be free," is their mantra... hypnotic, repetitive and, as the song reaches it's climax, increasingly desperate. (You can also sing the hook to Gold Digger over the top, which is a benefit).

It's an intriguing departure. Can't wait to see how their fifth album builds on the template.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Young Thug has made the best video of 2017... by not showing up

I can't say I care much for the song, but Young Thug's video for Wyclef Jean is a stroke of accidental genius.

It was going to be a pretty conventional rap/trap promo clip - girls in bikinis, a performance by a poolside, you know the drill. But then Young Thug "forgot" to turn up. For 10 hours. And, when he eventually did arrive on set, he refused to get out of his car.

Rather than scrap the video, director Ryan Staake took the existing footage and created a "behind the scenes" music video, explaining the litany of disasters in a series of title cards. It's a bit like that documentary on the making of Apocalypse Now, only more deranged.

Amazingly, Young Thug approved this endeavour and it is now the official video for Wyclef Jean. Much to Ryan's surprise.

"I honestly had no idea that this thing was coming out until it came out," he told Rolling Stone. "I had a sense that, 'OK, I've delivered it, they've paid the final invoice, things seem good,' but based on the way things had gone, I wasn't ready to get my hopes up."

Watch the full clip below - then read the whole interview with Ryan. he deserves a medal, never mind an MTV moonman.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Banks's Trainwreck video is creepy and unsettling

Trainwreck was clearly the standout track on Banks's sophomore (second) album, The Altar, when it came out last year. Featuring lyrics she wrote at the age of 14, it's a pulverising damnation of an "idiot" who dragged her down into his persojnal problems.

When she performed it on US television last November, three days after Donald Trump's election victory, she turned it into an angrily defiant rejection of the president-elect, slamming her microphone to the floor as she stomped across the stage.

Shorn of that context, it remains a powerful piece of music - and the video does it justice, as Banks is manipulated by (and fights back against) a group of faceless suits.

Unlike the Amy Schumer film of the same name, however, this does not contain any hilarious sex jokes.

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