Friday, May 31, 2013

Chvrches go postal, and five other songs you may have missed


Right then - it's been a hectic week. We put together more than a dozen BBC reports from the Venice Biennale in just 48 hours. You can see the main report here if you like a bit of contemporary art over your luncheon.

In the meantime, tons of great new music ended up on the internet. Here's the best of it.

1) CHVRCHES - Gun
This is utterly, utterly brilliant. The Glaswegian synth trio faltered a little with their last single, Recover, but Gun is as explosive as the title suggests. It starts innocently enough, with a shimmering little riff, but within 30 seconds the band have taken the safety off and unleashed a hail of choruses (I counted three).

"Hide, hide..." threatens Lauren over a rat-a-tat rhythm. "I will be a gun - and it's you I'll come for".

It's a blast. It should go to number one with a bullet. You can't muzzle this band. [that's quite enough of that - tortured metaphor ed]





2) Jagwar Ma - Man I Need
As Popjustice has noted, 2013 is the year of the longsong takeover, which was set in motion by Justin Timberlake's Mirrors. Jagwar Ma upped the ante with their last single, The Throw - a seven-minute Screamadelic house epic that won them celebrity fans like Noel Gallagher and The xx.

This follow-up goes even further, nudging 10 minutes on the album version - a psychotropic sound rush only a few seagulls short of The Beatles' Tomorrow Never Knows. The video edit is more manageable if you're in a hurry.





3) Katy B - What Love Is Made Of
I have no idea why this upbeat, sexy club track requires a downbeat, sexless video that rips off The Fast And The Furious, but that's what it's got. Weird.




4) Money - Bluebell Fields
Read the reviews of this debut single from Manchester quartet Money and one word keeps cropping up: "Lovely". To put it another way, critics love them but they're hard to pin down. You know when you break an egg into a bowl to make an omlette and a tiny bit of shell falls in, and every time you try to fish it out, the bugger gets pulled back in by a gloopy string of albumen? That's what describing this band is like. Look at the knots This Is Fake DIY ties itself into in their write-up. It's probably best just to let the music speak for itself.




5) Diana Vickers - Cinderella
I have a lot of time for Diana Vickers, a pop singer who's not content to settle for formulaic production-line nonsense. Remember the totally deranged whooping on My Wicked Heart?

Her new single isn't quite so brave (Vicko's playing it safe as she relaunches her career on a new label) and the Cinderella metaphor is particularly awful: "For you, I would lose both of my shoes". But it's a solid effort with a catchy chorus and Diana looks lovely in the video, so who's complaining?




6) Miguel - Adorn (live on Jools)
Sadly, Miguel doesn't try to kick any of the audience in the face during this BBC Two performance. Nice coat, though.



That's it for this week... See you on Monday.

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Icona Pop have a new single (former single yet to be released)


It seems that even Icona Pop are fed up waiting for their record company to release I Love It in the UK. According to the current schedule, it's supposed to be out on 30 June - more than a year after it's European release - and Radio 1 have finally put it on their C playlist this week, so maybe the track won't sink without a trace after all. WELL DONE EVERYONE.

Meanwhile, Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo have written and released a new song 'pon de internet. It's called Girlfriend and it interpolates the chorus of Tupac's Me And My Girlfriend (also known from Beyonce and Jay-Z's Bonnie And Clyde 03). Cleverly, Icona Pop have thwacked the melody with a metronome - a little twist that stops the song being a pure cover version. With a hedonistic "young, wild and free" lyric and a na-na-na refrain, it's only a synth handclap away from being the perfect pop record.

Lovely stuff.

Icona Pop - Girlfriend

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Venetian pop update pt 2


One of the joys of being abroad is checking out the music on their local music TV station, which is invariably called something like Deejay247 or Hitzsonic or Das Ist Musik Hits Superstar Party!

It's always informative to see how other countries view the current music scene. In Italy I've learnt three things.

1) Caro Emerald is, like, a really big deal in continental Europe.

2) If in doubt, you can't go wrong with a Phil Collins track.

3) There's a band called Wankelmut.


Sadly, Wankelmut is not a badly disguised euphemism for "canine handjob" but is instead a German word for someone who is fickle. It is also the nom de pop of Berlin producer Jacob Dilßner.

Jacob, a former political science student, is currently enjoying a massive Europe-wide hit with the song My Head Is A Jungle, featuring vocals from Aussie songstress Emma Louise. If you can forgive the piss-poor video, the song is a delectable addition to your summer pop playlist.


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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Venetian pop update

Apologies for the lack of updates, but I'm working out of a series of hotel rooms on Venice this week.

Anyway, just had time to check in on planet pop and here's what I found... Three slightly underwhelming songs by major league singers.

1) Jessie J - Wild
In the plus column, Wild showcases the harder R&B edge Jessie J all but buried after Do It Like A Dude bin the minus column, "no more drama" lyrics and Dizzee bloody Rascal.



2) Kylie Minogue - Skirt
Co-written with The Dream, this popped up on Soundcloud on Kylie's birthday. A 45 for her 45th, if you will (vinyl reference - ask your dad). It's a bit of a racket, to be honest, but there's a sudden burst of melody at the 1'30" mark that just about passes muster.



3) Ellie Goulding - Tesselate (Alt-J cover)
Honestly, did anyone really need this in their life?



NB: Ellie did an amazing turn at Radio One's Big Weekend in Derry Londonderry Londerry Derlonlondundolerdery. This performance of Anything Could Happen is the dictionary definition of "throwing yourself into it". Hair explosion ahoy!


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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Must listen: Clare Maguire

Remember Clare Maguire? She came fifth in the BBC's Sound Of 2011, she had an amazing voice, and she had some not-so-amazing songs. Not that her album was terrible (the singles Last Dance and Ain't Nobody are still worth checking out) but too often her melodies were blown to smithereens by bombastic production. It's a common problem for powerhouse vocalists: How do you frame their voice without getting into a futile screaming match? All the greats - Aretha Franklin, Mary J Blige, Whitney Houston - have suffered from it at one time or another. Clare was just unfortunate that the producers got it wrong on her first record.

Luckily, she kept at it, and has just posted a new demo on SoundCloud which I'm really taken with.

Changing Faces is a striking change in direction. Gone are the clattering kettle drums and pompous, swelling strings; and in comes a smoky, muted piano. Clare (whose school choir used to make her mime because she drowned the other kids) has dialed down the histrionics, too. As she sings about losing her mind in a broken town, she sounds on the verge of tears. It's as stop-you-in-your-socks incredible as Bat For Lashes' Laura was last year.

Just one thing: Aren't those opening chords nicked from Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah?

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Here is Jessie J's new single (sort of)

J-J-J-Jessie J's comeback single is called Wild, and it comes complete with shouty bits from Dizzee Rascal and Big Sean. The song's not ready to be heard by the public yet - but Ms Cornish has just uploaded an acoustic teaser to YouTube. Featuring a beautifully restrained vocal from Jessie, I suspect it'll prove to be superior to the final mix, where all the subtlety will be buried under a supersonic jetstream of crap.

Jessie J - Wild

NB: I still don't understand why Jessie has to pull a face like she's just smelled rotting kippers every time she sings.

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The Saturdays pucker up... to themselves


The Saturdays' new single, Gentlemen, is endearingly daft. The lyrics make almost no sense ("a good husband is so 1999??") but it's a relief to get a flicker of personality from the notoriously bland fivesome. The best bit is obviously the rap, but it all chugs along like a jaunty toy train.

The video was unveiled this morning, and it doesn't do much to up the sanity stakes. It finds the girls in a hopelessly green-screened Desperate Housewives suburban scenario, waving around garden tools and pruning their bushes. Then they all dress up as men. And then they lean in to kiss each other. Because, well... Oh, I don't know.

The Saturdays - Gentlemen

PS: That's not how you pronounce Ryan Gos-a-ling, Vanessa.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Beyonce's Grown Woman leaks


I could be bad if I want
I could do wrong if I want
I can live fast if I want
I can go slow all night long
I’m a grown woman
I can do whatever I want

Very good, Beyonce, but wouldn’t this song be more accurate if you sang “I’m a very rich woman, I can do whatever I want”? (Hint: Yes it would).

Pedantry aside, the full version of Grown Woman is much better than the 30-second clip featured in last month’s Pepsi advert suggested. Sassy, funky, and rammed full of widdly diddly wee-waow harmonies, it’s the comeback single we secretly thought would never happen.

Best of all is the extended coda (I sense Timbaland had something to do with this) where the robo-R&B groove suddenly shifts continents to Africa. There’s a cheery kalimba hook and a parpy brass band and a slinky Yoraba chant. It’s Justin Timberlake’s Don’t Hold The Wall, pt II. And it’s magnificent.

The song leaked last night on Soundcloud. If it hasn't been torn down by the lawyers, you can hear it below. [Update: it disappeared almost immediately. Try this Youtube link instead]



Otherwise, here's that advert again. Just imagine the bits I described being tacked on at the end.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Two must-watch performances from the 2013 Billboard Awards

So, the Billboard Awards took place in Las Vegas last night. They were mainly memorable for the moment R&B crooner Miguel made the ill-advised decision to try a running jump over the audience.


OUCH.

Crotch/face collisions aside, Taylor Swift took home a entire wardrobe of awards, while One Direction got three. Madonna was named top touring artist, and Justin Bieber was booed, probably because his prize (the "Milestone award") was completely made up.

But the main event was Prince, who turned up in a space helmet made of hair to receive the Icon Award. He celebrated with a blues-rock version of Let’s Go Crazy, complete with bass solo from his new band 3rd Eye Girl.

There’s a school of thought that says Prince is at his best when he remembers he’s an incendiary guitar player. This would appear to be the proof.

Prince - Billboard awards 2013

(NB: If this video gets taken down, there’s a studio version of the swampy 2013 remake of Let’s Go Crazy over here).

At the other end of the scale was Taylor Swift’s highly-choreographed performance of 22. Starting backstage, climbing over tables and through clothes racks, the singer arrived on stage via the medium of a bicycle before a pyrotechnically-enhanced finale. It’s a little High School Musical but the production values are astonishing.

Taylor Swift - Billboard Awards 2013


There’s a full list of Billboard winners on the magazine’s website.


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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Good thing I cook... 'cos you love to eat

After a wasted evening poking around the darker corners YouTube, I chanced across this video of Janet Jackson performing What Have You Done For Me Lately and Nasty with the boys from The Time at the 1987 Grammys. It's pretty spectacular - an awards performance from the days before Vari-Lites and video screens and back projections that relies purely on choreography and charisma. The backflip at 2'50" is really something else.

Janet Jackson - 1987 Grammys

Obviously, the whole thing is mimed - but I've never heard that version of the song before. Anyone know if it's available commercially?

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Monsta, Mash and four more songs you may have missed


Here we go again: Six songs that didn't fit anywhere else on the blog this week, served up in one healthy portion. Feast your ears below.

1) Monsta - Messiah
Gospel + Dubstep = Gobstep.



2) Kelly Rowland - Dirty Laundry
This is one of the bravest songs in recent memory, in which Kelly lays bare several years of emotional abuse (and jealousy and rage and sadness) at the hands of an ex-boyfriend. Not an easy listen - but an essential one.





3) 3) Holy Ghost! - Dumb Disco Ideas
Eight minutes! Vocoders! Syndrum solos! More cowbell!



4) Lissie - Shameless
I saw Lissie play her comeback show at Dingwalls in Camden last week. She was on fire, all hair and spit, despite a few vocal troubles. "I may have to squeak myself through the set," she cringed. A couple of her new songs - Habit, Shroud and I Don't Want To Go To Work - sounded incredible. But we have to wait 'til September (SEPTEMBER!) to hear the album. What a colossal tease. In the meantime, here's the video for the first single, Shameless.





5) Lulu James - Sweetest Thing (live on Jools)
Watch it, love, you'll have someone's eye out with those shoulder pads.



6) Gerard i2 - Mash 'Em
He's from Northern Ireland and he's doing a song about potatoes!!

What's that? Really? What a shame.

So, apparently, Strabane-born Gerard "i2" McDaid isn't preparing a Shepherd's Pie when he says "I'll mash them all". Never mind - his song is still a tasty recipe: equal parts Cypress Hill shuffle and menacing string crescendos. Bake it at gas mark five for 30 minutes, and you get Plan B covered by Ian Paisley.


And that's your lot. See you on the other side of the weekend.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

New music: Py - Polyethers

If you always thought James Blake would sound better as a woman, then you're in luck. Py, the stage name of Brighton's Jade Pybus, is making music that's every bit as experimental and adventurous as old Blakey, with the added benefit that she doesn't permanently sound on the verge of dozing off. Here she is, about to ruin her make-up with a pack of Juicy Fruit.


"I've been singing since forever," Py told Fact Magazine last year. "But I wanted to work with producers who normally sample vocals, and spin that on its head". The end result is textured, entrancing 21st Century soul that takes an unexpected journey into the unknown. Py describes it as "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill made by a white girl" - so we can expect her to go bonkers and start ranting about "existential and economic freedom" in about, oh, 18 months time.

In fact, she's already a little barmy, telling Mixmag that, while studying music at university, "I would use only my voice to make tracks, and rather than use effects or technology I would hang myself upside down and essentially throw my voice." Crikey.

Py's beguiling new single is the science-y sounding Polyether. Listen to it in the sunshine. I guarantee it'll make the day 3.142 times more lovely.



PS: If you like that, check out Py's superb Tripping On Wisdom mixtape from last year.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New music I haven't listened to by Solange


1) Solange Knowles has a new single called Looks Good.
2) It features Kendrick "not that Lemar" Lamarr.
3) I am in Cannes, on a dodgy 3G connection.
4) But it's bound to be amazing, right?
5) RIGHT?!



PS Solange has done a cover story with Complex magazine, where she says lots of really meaningful things like: "the idea of convention versus non-convention or mainstream versus indie or any of those quote-unquote ‘conflicts’ has never crossed my mind." You can read it here.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

New Katy B single: What Love Is Made Of


The music industry is a big clockwork machine, its giant cogs rotating slowly on a 20-year cycle. So the current 1990s house revival was only to be expected, with Disclosure, Duke Dumont and Chris Malinchak borrowing their trancey synths and D&B fills from the likes of Livin Joy and Baby D (remember them?). It’s giving me flashbacks to university club nights, making me feel both 20 years younger and really, really old.

Katy B was only five in 1995, but she’s absorbed all the sounds and samples of the era like a little baby sponge of music. Her exuberant new single, What Love Is Made Of, should come with a complementary can of Tango, a fold-out poster of Marky Mark and a collectible Tazo token.

The song premiered on Annie Mac’s Radio One show on Friday, shortly followed by an official link on Katy’s Soundcloud page. I look forward to the Tony DeVit remix.


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Friday, May 10, 2013

Lana Del Rey: Young And Beautiful

As a lifelong member of the lucky bugger club, I'm off to Cannes next week to meet the cast of Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby. For "research", I've been listening to the star-studded soundtrack on repeat this week. A few tracks stand out: Jay-Z's 100$ Bill, which is packed full of dialogue from the film, makes explicit the link between Gatsby's self-made West Egg excess and 2013's hip-hop culture; while Bryan Ferry's lush, orchestral reworking of Love Is The Drug is an unexpected high point.

On the other hand, Beyonce and Andre 3000 should be imprisoned for what they've done to Amy Winehouse's Back To Black. And everyone else seems to have been given the brief: "Make something like We Speak No Americano, only worse".

In the end, the only real keeper is Lana Del Rey's Young And Beautiful. Darker than treacle, and twice as sticky, it's enchanting and langurous, and a perfect fit for the story's tangle of stolen moments and doomed romance.

You can tell Baz Luhrmann agrees by the way it's plastered all over the trailer. What's more, the song's motif is scattered through the film, with jazz and orchestral versions embellishing the score. Now there's a video, too. Directed by Chris Sweeney and shot by Sophie Muller, it's simple but effective. I'm not sure the film will be the same.

Lana Del Rey - Young And Beautiful

PS: A clutch of great articles were posted on the Gatsby film today. Start with The Guardian, which looks at F Scott Fitzgerald's attitude to his most famous novel; then head over to the New York Times, which looks at how Baz Luhrmann has (or has not) picked up on those themes; and finish up with Rolling Stone, which brands the film "artificial and boring". Ouch.

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Dizzee and Robbie and their mobility scooters


Hands up who saw this coming? Robbie Williams and Dizzee Rascal have collaborated on a single, and that single isn't complete balls.

Goin' Crazy is the first single from Dizzee's long-gestating fifth album - but Robbie steals the show with a stop-start chorus that rivals Candy for singalongability. Dizzee, meanwhile, continues to rap as if he's auditioning for Big Brother. "I'm a whole lot of trouble and I don't do subtle". Really? How fascinating.

The video is lots of fun, too. The cast ride around on motorbikes, mobility scooters, and tractors in a "typical English street". Shot in one take, it's like the Spice Girls Stop, directed by Spike Milligan. And Robbie appears to channelling the body language of Suggs, for some reason.

A summer anthem in the making.

Dizzee Rascal - Goin' Crazy ft Robbie Williams

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

A DIY TOTP FOR W/C 06/05/2013


The one thing people forget about Top Of The Pops is that, for every heart-stopping performance by The KLF or Destiny’s Child, you had to sit through half-a-dozen dismal efforts by Eiffel 65 or Jive Bunny. Yes, it’s bad that primetime TV continues to snub the music industry, but maybe the people who gave us Peter Andre got what they deserved.

Anyway, thanks to the beauty of YouTube, you can now curate your own Top Of The Pops with the added benefit of zero Fearne Cotton. For instance, if you trawl through the last seven days of chat shows and Jools Hollands, you could compile an episode featuring Vampire Weekend, Rudimental, Thom Yorke, Marina and the Diamonds, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Phoenix. But we kick off the show with the biggest song in the world right now...



Icona Pop - I Love It


Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Sacriliege


Rudimental ft Ella Eyre - Waiting All Night (acoustic)


Vampire Weekend - Diane Young


Phoenix - Trying To Be Cool


Thom Yorke - Ingenue


Marina and the Diamonds - Lies


Not bad, eh? And of course we'd play out with the UK's Number One. And of course we would cut it off half way through, in true TOTP tradition.

Daft Punk - Get Lucky (Peter Serafinowicz video edit)

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Saturdays vs Psy: Who sang what?


After scoring their first ever number one, The Saturdays are on a roll. A sausage roll? No, silly, I mean they've finally gathered some momentum, a mere four albums into their career.

The follow-up to What About Us has just leaked over on this Spanish-language pop site, and you might be pleasantly surprised. Silly, sassy and funny, it makes a decent grab for the pop highground Girls Aloud vacated in March.

The song in question is called Gentleman which is, coincidentally, the same name as Psy's new single. Lyrically, both records are equally insane - so here's a quiz. Which lyric comes from which song? (Psy has been translated from the Korean, to make it more challenging).


Lyrical abominations aside, Gentleman is one of The Saturdays' besy singles to date. The middle 8, in which the girls list their top hunks ("I need a Ryan Gosling, I need a Robert Pattison, Somebody I can take to mama, I need to find my Obama") is the best rap roll-call since Salt-N-Pepa's Shoop. Top marks to Madonna / Rihanna songwriter Priscilla Renea.

However, the song never quite matches Girls Aloud at their most flawless - the American accents are pretty jarring, and Xenomania would never have allowed a hook to be repeated so often. But, all in all, it's a solid 7/10. Well done, everyone.

If you're really stuck on the quiz, here's the Lyric Video for Gentleman for some "helpful hints".

The Saturdays - Gentleman

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Revealed: John Legend video treatment

So basically, right, we get loads of hot chicks to take their clothes off and shoot it on grainy old film stock so we can say it's "art".

NSFW, obviously.

John Legend - Who Do We Think We Are?

On a serious note, this video is totally unacceptable from a mainstream artist in 2013. It's like a James Bond title sequence without the subtlety. The song is a critique of meaningless decadence and empty sexuality, so I really don't know why the video celebrates it. Exploitative and demeaning and just a little bit sad.

You can do better, John.

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Revealed: Selena Gomez video treatment

SCENE ONE:
FADE FROM BLACK
A low, sustained cello note.

We are in the wilderness. A lone eagle surveys the land.
His head turns, startled by a noise off camera.

Lightning strikes. The sky darkens.

A human form is seen from a distance.
It lies twisted and abandoned on the ground.


CUT TO: A tribal ritual.
Faces, obscured by flames flicker in and out of frame.


What dark magic is being practiced here?


FADE TO BLACK

----

SCENE TWO:
A single by pop singer Selena Gomez plays.

Selena Gomez writhes around in her pants for three minutes.


Selena Gomez smudges a perfectly good mirror.


As the song draws to a close, a fierce wind blows across the landscape.
CUT TO: An aerial shot of the prairie.


The corpse was was Selena all along, and it's ok because she can stand up now.


Fade out to record label copyright notice.

THE END.


Selena Gomez - Come And Get It

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mariah Carey: Do we really need the hashtag?

Look, everyone: Putting a hashtag in your song title just smacks of #desperation. You might as well project the words "I have limited confidence in the artistic merit of this record" on the moon.

There's a reason why Radiohead never released a single called AOL KEYWORD: CREEP in the 1990s, and it's not because Thom Yorke's fear of computers had him convinced his teasmaid was sentient and hacking the Pentagon for nuclear launch codes (although that also happened).

It will come as no surprise to learn that will.i.am started the trend for hashtag titles with his recent single #thatpower, a song which has wreaked havoc my obsessively-alphabetized iTunes library. I can forgive Will, because he's 98% robot, but now it's spreading...

The latest culprit is Mariah Carey, whose new single is cumbersomely called #Beautiful. It arrives a couple of months after her "comeback", Triumphant, flopped spectacularly in the US, so I guess the hashtag can only help. Indeed, #Beautiful was trending on Twitter last night after its radio premiere - although I'd argue that was inevitable, given that the song is an almighty return to form in the guise of a sexy, throwback duet with R&B crooner Miguel.

Perhaps Mariah could retrofit some of her other songs so they can appear up-to-date with the latest trends in technology. We have a few suggestions:
:: Vision Of Lolz
:: <3Brkr
:: All I Want For Christmas is YouTube
:: Shake It #FF
:: (You've Got Me Feeling) Emoticons

(Sorry)



PS: Caitlin Moran wrote a ranty column in this weekend's Times about the proliferation of hashtags on TV. My favourite is BBC One panel show Would I Lie To You, which insists on people Tweeting the word "#Wilty".

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Be-bop Beyonce and five other songs you may have missed...

Is it the weekend again already? If so, it must be time for a round-up of the music I forgot to write about because I was too busy listening to Janelle Monae.

In no particular order, then, this week's guest stars are...

1) Emeli Sande - Crazy In Love
Skiddly dee-bop-a-be-bop: Emeli Sande goes all scat jazz on this Beyonce cover, and we have Baz Luhrman' Great Gatsby soundtrack to "thank" for it. Sande trades the rump-shaking sexogroove of Bey's signature song for a mischievous can-can, but it kinda works.




2) Pet Shop Boys - Axis
The Pet Shop Boys severed their ties with EMI last year after the disappointing Elysium album but, if this honking great dance track is anything to go by, the break-up did them a world of good. A furious, pulsating electro groove, Axis is either the best song Kraftwerk never released, or the incidental music from an episode of Airwolf.



3) Kelis - Jerk Ribs
Forget Solange, Kelis is the most thrillingly experimental R&B artist around. She embraced dance music two years before Rihanna and her mates started sucking up to David Guetta and Calvin Harris, but paid the price of being an early adopter (IE she got dropped by her label).

Undaunted, she's showing everyone the way again: Mixing soca, afrobeat and classic Stax soul in this rousing ode to her upbringing in Harlem. It should be a mess, but it's gloriously life-affirming. Plus, the song is a free download. YES!





4) Daughter - Get Lucky
"Cut them and they bleed cobwebs" said the NME of perma-frowning London trio Daughter. They're being a little harsh - the band's music is mopey, but ultimately uplifting. Their Live Lounge cover of Daft Punk's Get Lucky is a case in point, layering broody guitars and brushed snares over a hushed vocal from Elena Tonra. Who, it has to be said, sings it better than Pharrell.




5) The Wanted - She Walks Like Rihanna
"She can't sing, she can't dance, but who cares – she walks like Rihanna!" This is utter bollocks, of course, but you've got to admire their gumption.




6) Icona Pop - I Love It (Live on Jimmy Fallon)
I Love It may be more than a year old now, but it's currently gobbling up all the competition in the US. Icona Pop's car-crashing revenge anthem hit the Top 10 for the first time this week, and they celebrated with this syn-drum heavy performance on Jimmy Fallon.

Bizarrely, the song STILL has no UK release date, after being pushed back about three times. Presumably they're having trouble getting playlisted at a certain national radio station - which is a great shame, because this officially the best pop record of the 21st Century (and, yes, that includes Call Me Maybe).


And that's this week's pick of the crop. Any suggestions for future editions, you can always drop me a line via the email at the bottom of the page.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Marina + Diamonds + Charli XCX: Together at last


The last time Charli XCX recorded a duet it was the almighty I Love It (with Icona Pop), so expectations are high for this collaboration with Marina "And The Diamonds".

Just Desserts isn't as much of a knock-down-the-door-and-kick-you-in-the-nuts pop monster as the earlier effort; but it is very good. Twiddly piano figures, huffalumping basslines, and a spooky scary oooOOooOooOoOHHHoooowwWWoooOOoOo vocal from Marina.

Best of all, it's a free download in celebration of the raven-haired pop artistes joint US tour, so you can put it in your pocket and take it on the bus. *Technology high five*

Marina and the Diamonds and Charli and XCX - Just Desserts

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Janelle Monae: QUEEN video

A week later, the Janelle Monae single, Q.U.E.E.N.,continues to be amazing - my new favourite lyric is "I'm tired of Marvin asking me what's going on?"

The video "dropped" (was put on YouTube) last night and it's everything you could have hoped for. A Monochrome choreographic blockbuster set in a museum of cryogenically frozen musical rebels, or something. The best bits look like this...



Janelle had an irrational fear of giant invisible chickens.


Attention: I want me this record player.


This would be a good opportunity to calibrate the horizontal hold on your monitor.


Janelle's backing band were fatally injured in a freak talcum powder accident.


Dancing in a chair: Lazy but impressive.


CHAKA KHAN!


Children, remember to take your Vitamin D supplements.


"You gotta testify / Cause the booty don't lie"

It's better in full, though. If you've got six minutes, press play. If you've got five minutes, press play and skip the nonsense preamble.

Janelle Monae ft Chaka Khan Erykah Badu - Q.U.E.E.N.

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