Saturday, January 25, 2014

Songs you may have missed: Two weeks off edition

Hello... and also goodbye. We're heading off for a bit of summer sun, so unfortunately the blog will be out of action for a fortnight. (It's a one man show, and that man is quite tired). However, I have a bountiful spread of pop goodies to sustain you over the next 14 days. Try not to gorge yourself on them all at once.

1) Katy B - Crying For No Reason (live on Graham Norton)
People always get a little anxious when a record is pushed back but - hooray! - Katy B's Little Red is a triumph. (One song in particular, All My Lovin', sounds like it could have come from Neneh Cherry's Raw Like Sushi. It's that good.)

The album arrives on 10th February, so until then, here's a live performance of the current single Crying For No Reason. As Popjustice has already noted, "it's the best chatshow-based single performance in years". Katy doesn't move around much, but her vocals are mesmerising.

And when a song is this good, that's all you need.

2) NONONO - Hungry Eyes
Nonono, the Swedish band who aren't named after a Dawn Penn song, have released Hungry Eyes, a single that isn't named after the Dirty Dancing song. Ah well.

3) Lorde - Team (Panic City Remix)
I didn't think it'd be possible to dance to a Lorde single, unless you count that creepy Poltergeist thing she does on every TV performance. But San Franciscan DJ/Producer Panic City has taken Team's minimal, spidery beat, shot it with a tazer and dragged it onto the dancefloor.

You won't be able to resist (but if you can, could you keep an eye on my coat?)

4) Little Mix - Word Up!
I wrote about this last week when the audio wasn't available. Now the audio is available. Here is the audio.

5) Ibibio Sound Machine - Let's Dance
Mary Anne Hobbs played this on her peerless 6 Music show this weekend (there is literally no better way to wake up on a Saturday morning) and it gave me a greater jolt awake than the hot jug of coffee I was pouring down my throat.

Ibibio Sound Machine are an eight-piece London collective, fronted by British-Nigerian vocalist Eno Williams, who combine elements of West African highlife, disco, post-punk and psychedelic electro soul. This sprawling, funky single is their debut after signing to Soundway Records at the tail end of 2013. It sounds like The Tom Tom Club got swallowed by Botswana, and it is incredible.

6) Jhené Aiko - Bed Peace
2014 is shaping up to be the year R&B came back from the grave, with Solange, Banks, SOHN, Kwabs and Sampha among the artists hailed as saviours of the genre. Now you can add Jhené Aiko to that list, too.

Jhené's USP is her girlish falsetto - all playful and sensual compared to her contemporaries, who wither sound bored, depressed or stoned.

Her Sail Away EP came out last year, but is starting to get some mainstream pick-up (mostly on 1Xtra). The lead track is the woozy, sexy Bed Peace, which features Childish Gambino on co-lead vocals. The video sees them recreate John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "bed-in" protest against the Vietnam War because... oh, I don't know. You work it out.

7) iamamiwhoami - Fountain
I haven't really bought in to the whole iamamiwhoami "thing". The project, created by Swedish singer Jonna Lee, has consistently sent dozens of blogs spiralling into a frothing whirl of delight, mainly because Jonna wouldn't tell them who she was and everyone convinced themselves it was Christina Aguilera for some reason.

Anyway, now that we know it's not Christina Aguilera, the music suddenly seems more focused and tuneful. Fountain is a beautiful, icy pop ballad with a particularly arresting (ie pretentious) video.

8) Prince - U Got The Look
With his tiny royal purpleness making an impromptu visit to Britain on 3rd February, I will be spending my entire holiday listening to Purple Rain and Sign O The Times and Batman (yes, even Batman) and wishing I was back at home.

If you haven't seen him before, sell your kidneys on the black market to get a ticket. Because even when he doesn't play the hits, Prince is still the best performer alive today.

With the set-list changing every night, I really hope he hauls this one out of the vault. U Got The Look is one of the best-constructed pop duets of all time. Try and deny it.

Right, that's it... The out-of-office is on, and the sunglasses are packed.

If you see anything that should go into a "Songs I have missed" round-up when I get back, put the link in the comments, or send me a tweet @mrdiscopop. I'll put the best ones up here on 10th Feb.


Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, January 24, 2014

Screengrab of the week: Kyla La Grange

I'll be honest, I'd written Kyla La Grange off after her first album - a non-terrible, but largely inessential collection of songs stitched together from Florence and the Machine's cast-offs.

So it took me a week or so to listen to her new single, and now I'm kicking myself for it. Cut Your Teeth is a diaphanous whisper in your ear. A sleek, swooning siren song. A mystical glimpse of pop majesty. The sort of single that has journalists grasping clumsily for adequate vocabulary.

I have clearly failed in that respect. So here's the video instead.

Kyla La Grange - Cut Your Teeth

PS: You can read the treatment for the video here. It says the directors reference "classic 80s and 90s children's movies Gremlins, Never Ending Story and Dark Crystal adding their own dark twist." Am I alone in failing to see get of those references? Where is Mogwai? Where is Falkor? Where is Phoebe Cates?

Labels: , ,

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Must listen: Kwabs

Say hello to 23-year-old newcomer Kwabena Sarkodee Adjepong (don't worry, you can call him Kwabs), who's just been put on Radio 1Xtra's Hot For 2014 list.

Possessed of a stunning, honeyed baritone, his vocals remind me of Seal when Seal was good, adding depth and soul to the swirling electronic grooves he's been creating with Dave Okuma and SOHN (Jessie Ware, Banks). Kwabs himself describes his sound as the "meeting place between elements of old-style gospel with more current sounding music". And everyone loves current sounding music, don't they?

His latest song, Wrong Or Right, is the title-track to a forthcoming EP. The video, which features some mesmerising slow motion choreography, is right here.

Kwabs - Wrong or Right

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Disclosure music keeps coming

You don't hear it much these days but one of Disclosure's first tracks, back in 2011, was a sublime and funky remix of Q-Tip's Work It Out.

Since then, the brothers Lawrence have largely steered clear of rap, even though it would seem a perfect fit for their luminous house grooves. Until today, that is, when they turned up as the producers on a new track by 17-year-old NYC rap prodigy Bishop Nehru.

A dreamy old-school "jam", You Stressin recalls the jazzier bits of Q-Tip and Common's back catalogue. In other words, it's dead good.

Meanwhile, the band have been in the US selling deep house back to the Americans. Here is a very watchable performance of Latch with bequiffed pop warbler Samuel Smith.

Meanwhile meanwhile, Disclosure have been busy in the recording studio with Mary J Blige. She's redoing Howard's vocals on F For You (poor Howard) presumably for a US release. It's coming out tomorrow, but they put a preview clip of the song in this horrible Facebook "module":

What's that? Have they scribbed all over Mary J's face with a Tipp-Ex pen? Of course they have.

UPDATE: Here is the full video for the Mary J Bligey version of F For You. Sounds like a lost C + C Music Factory b-side.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This is not the Little Mix single

Hooray! Popular beat combo Little Mix premiered their Sport Relief single this morning on Radio 1.

Boo! They've only gone and done Cameo's Word Up, a song that's 100% immune to cover versions.

You see, Word Up balances upon twin pillars of brilliance: The funkiest drumbeat of the 1980s, and Larry Blackmon's "unique" vocal technique, in which he rolls every syllable over his tongue like he's tasting it for the first time. Anyone who interferes with those foundations brings the roof crashing down on their head.

Mel B was the first to get covered in rubble, back in 1999. Her hopeless attempt was let down by a surprisingly leaden beat from Timbaland (who should have known better). Five years later, Korn's rock overhaul started off well, until a pile-up of dismal guitar "licks" broke the song's backbone.

Amazingly, then, Little Mix just about get away with it. Yes, they add a pointless "look, everyone, we can sing" section to the intro but the rest of their embellishments - the harmonies, the cowbell, the snippet of Fix Up, Look Sharp - are broadly respectful of the original. All that's really missing is the sample from Ennio Morricone's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Sadly, the band have not seen fit to put the song online today, so all we're left with are "radio rips" by fans who've blatantly just held their phone up to a loudspeaker. So, with regret, here's Damon Albarn's new solo record instead.

Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, January 20, 2014

Here is a great video by DJ Fresh

In a week where the release schedule features 13 repackaged Beatles Albums and "deluxe editions" of Del Amitri's entire back catalogue, this should stop you getting too depressed about the state of the music industry.

It's DJ Fresh, Ms Dynamite, the best video of the month and the silliest chorus of the year. Nicely played, everyone.

DJ Fresh vs Jay Fay ft Ms Dynamite - Dibby Sound

Dibby Dibby Sound is out in a fortnight.

Labels: , , ,

Kylie's Into The Blue is a great pop comeback

Kylie Minogue's new single Into The Blue leaked on Sunday, a week before its official radio premiere. The song was being posted everywhere yesterday afternoon and then, just as suddenly, it started coming down again this morning. Nothing says "I'm back" like a cease and desist letter.

While it lasted, Into The Blue was exactly what Kylie promised: "A euphoric return to the dance floor". Here's why.

1) If you're going to write a proper pop song, then you need at least three choruses. Into The Blue contains, at a conservative estimate, five.

2) The first one comes right at the beginning of the song and it goes "Ey-yo-oh-oh-oh". Coincidentally, this is also the sound of Gloria Estefan's Rhythm Is Gonna Get You sung by a donkey.

3) For your entertainment, the verses are ripped straight from Katy Perry's book of mixed metaphor self-help mantras. "I'm not ashamed of all my mistakes, cause through the coals you'll get the fire burning," sings Kylie (??)

4) It all goes quiet for a couple of bars before the chorus explodes like a supernova. A flawless deployment of pop dynamics, ladies and gentlemen.

5) Rhymes "wall" with "miracle".

6) In the post-chorus, Kylie suddenly sprouts wings and takes off for the heavens. "Into the ballooo-ooo" she trills, gliding through the clouds like a hot-panted gazelle.

7) It's all over in 3'43" - scientifically-proven to be the perfect duration for a pop song.

So well done Kylie, and well done Kelly Sheehan, who wrote it (as well as Beyonce's Grown Woman and Rita Ora's This Is How We Do) because that's how you put together a comeback single.

At the time of writing, you can still hear Into The Blue on this Spanish blog. It's officially out in March, and the video, which was shot earlier this month, should be with us very soon. Here's a blurry screengrab from Kylie's Instagram account.

Labels: , ,

Friday, January 17, 2014

Charlotte Gainsbourg covers Hendrix and nine other songs you may have missed

A semi-regular round-up of music I haven't quite got round to writing about yet. Sometimes for very good reason, but not this week...

1) Charlotte Gainsbourg - Hey Joe
Charlotte Gainsbourg stars in Lars Von Trier's new, definitely-not-porn film Nymphomaniac. Her character is called Joe, and that prompted her to record a cover of Jimi Hendrix's finest moment. Produced by Beck, it's breathy, ominous and delicious.

2) MØ - Don't Wanna Dance
Danish singer MØ was cruelly omitted from the BBC's Sound Of list, but somehow I don't think it matters.

Don't Wanna Dance - a sort of alt-pop riposte to Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) - was Zane Lowe's Hottest Record In The World last night, and MØ's forthcoming album No Mythologies To Follow looks set to be one of the year's strongest debuts.

3) Lily Allen - Air Balloon
"She's back, with her words" wrote the Guardian when this song "dropped" on Monday.

Honestly, I don't understand why the press insists on Lily Allen being a 21st Century Dorothy Parker. Her lyrics are consistently puerile. Case in point, her anti-Bush protest song 'Fuck You Very Much', which displays all the intellectual sophistication of a drunken Big Brother contestant.

Still, she makes exceedingly catchy pop songs and this is one of them.

4) Raleigh Ritchie - Stronger Than Ever
Raleigh Ritchie is probably best known as Grey Worm in TV nerdgasm Game Of Thrones. But the Bristolian has been making music since he was 14 and, in the tradition of Massive Attack and Portishead, he combines widescreen hip-hop with mournful soul melodies. If you ignore all the ACTING in this video, Stronger Than Ever is gorgeous.

5) Johnny Cash - She Used To Love Me A Lot
The 1980s weren't kind to Johnny Cash - he stooped so low as to record a novelty song about having his brain transplanted into a chicken - but this previously unreleased track is just gorgeous.

Johnny's son, John Carter Cash, told the BBC this week there's more where this came from. "There are some great recordings - but we don't want to release something unless it means something." Good lad.

6) Bombay Two Bicycle Club - Luna
Why do Bombay Bicycle Club and Two Door Cinema Club always release music at the same time? I have enough trouble telling them apart as it is...

Whichever one is responsible Luna, they've done a good job - starting off with a lilting tabla loop before settling comfortably into 80s indie, with gorgeous harmonies from Rae Morris.

7) Le Youth - Dance With Me
Following last year's C O O L, which sampled Cassie's minor R&B hit Me and U, Wes James's new single lifts its vocals from TLC's No Scrubs. The man's got taste.

8) Sam Smith - Money On My Mind
Unlike MØ, Sam Smith did make it onto the Sound of 2014 list. In fact, he won the blasted thing and this is his victory single.

Compared to last autumn's stunning, soulful Nirvana EP, it's a little screechy for my taste - but you can't deny he's got a stunning set of pipes. And a pretty good singing voice, too.

9)Charli XCX - Allergic To Love
The best song about sneezing since The Pop Singer's Fear Of The Pollen Count, Allergic To Love is a snappy burst of punk, recorded and released in the space of 24 hours.

Charli XCX is basically amazing, isn't she?

10) Pixie Lott - Nasty
Oh dear.

PHEW! That's all for this week... Have a splendiferous weekend.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Listen: Elbow return with Fly Boy Blues

With the honourable exception of their uplifting theme to the 2012 Olympics, tee-total nu metal quintet Elbow have been uncharacteristically quiet for a couple of years. But they popped up at midnight to unveil a new, two-part song, Fly Boy Blue / Lunette.

You should know what to expect by now: Tender nostalgia and post-pub melancholia. But the new track also comes with a demonic burst of saxophone and some beautifully enigmatic lyrical flourishes from Guy Garvey ("my oldest friends are a serious habit, Fly Boy Blues will bring your faces home, to my sweet trampoline and acres of crash-site love").

The song's accompanied by a short film, featuring footage from the year-long recording process for the band's sixth album, The Take Off and Landing of Everything, which is due in March.

It’s nice to have them back.

Elbow - Fly Boy Blues / Lunette

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Foster The People: Coming of Age

Foster The People: Stupid name, great band.

You may remember them for Pumped Up Kicks and Call It What You Want - spiky, percussive pop songs with killer hooks.

Led by Mark Foster, the trio took a two-year break after the success of their debut album Torches in 2011, but luckily they haven't spent the time off "working on their sound" (always a euphamism for "making our sound worse"). Their comeback single Coming Of Age is as summery and celebratory as its predecessors, with a guitar riff that would have made Duran Duran proud (in 1984).

The band always make brilliant videos - my favourite being Houdini, where the band die in a tragic lighting rig accident, and the record label replaces them with robots - but we'll have to wait and see what they produce for this song. In the meantime, here's a still-impressive timelapse of a giant mural being painted on the side of a building in their hometown of Los Angeles.

Foster The People - Coming Of Age

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 13, 2014

Shakira, Shakira. Rihanna, Rihanna

It's been trailed like it was the second coming of Elvis in a sparkly bra, and now the Shakira vs Rihanna duet, Can't Remember To Forget You has finally arrived. 

To be honest, it's no Beautiful Liar. 

It's no The Boy Is Mine, either. But it just about stands on it's own, slightly bizarre, reggae meets hair-metal merits. What's more, I suspect the chorus will worm its way into your brain and set up home there after about a week of radio play.  

But for a proper, thorough musical analysis, let's see what the professors of YouTube had to say in the first 10 minutes after the video was published. 

"So perfect," opined Sandra Saade, noting, in the words of Lester Bangs: "Shakira is fucking back, biiiiitches."

Nnyou was less impressed. "It sucks," he pouted. "A lot."  Nnyou concluded with an incisive critique of the song's place in the popular oeuvre, remarking: "Rihanna is so much better than this."

Meanwhile, Cristian Andres Ospina Castaño left a message in Shakira's native tongue. "Genial!" he wrote. "Gran colaboracion dos divas juntas!" I wasn't sure how to take this one at first but apparently juntas means "together", not "fat". 

In the end, however, we needed a singular intellect to really get to the crux of the matter. For that, we turned to TheMansterMonster - an unfamiliar name, but one we will surely be seeing in conjunction with the Pulitzer Prize in years to come. He (she?) set aside all musical prejudice to look at the wider social implications of the track. And in a single, concise, expertly-judged sentence, he noted: "They totally photoshopped Rihanna's breasts."

Labels: , , ,

New from Paloma Faith: Can't Rely On You

Our broadband has gone kaput so I'll have to keep this brief...

Paloma Faith has a new single, co-written and produced by Pharrell (see above -- he's getting about a bit at the moment, isn't he?). A striking departure from the grand, sweeping ballads of her last album, Can't Rely On You finds Ms Faith in full-on screeching diva mode. 

A cross between Aretha Franklin's Think and Beyoncé's Work It Out (and, less happily, Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines), it's a bold comeback. 

Paloma's also been in the studio with Diane Warren, Raphael Siddiq and John Legend: I can't wait to hear the rest of her third album later this year...

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Charli XCX: An apology

Dear Charli XCX,

I am writing to offer sincere apologies after your album "True Romance" was omitted from my Top 10 Albums of 2013. It was supposed to be number four, just behind Beyonce and just ahead of Vampire Weekend. But I forgot.

I would like to assure you that I have already taken myself to one side and had a stern word about this incident; and will be donating up to £2.25p to a charity of your choice in recompense. In addition, I have included the write-up which should have gone into the original Top 10 below.

I apologise to you and your family for the distress you may have suffered as a consequence of this oversight.

Best wishes,

4) Charli XCX - True Romance
Pop singers have to walk a tricky tightrope between familiarity and innovation. Charli XCX bounds across it like a kangaroo.

True Romance is distinctive, sophisticated, ambitious and ever-so-slightly weird: Bubblegum pop chewed by a goth princess. On the Take My Hand, Charli is the bad-influence best friend ("Why you gotta go to sleep? Don't go to sleep. Let's go out!"); on Set Me Free, she's broken and vulnerable ("I am just crushed in the velvet. My heart is locked in a box".)

But, crucially, she's never less than convincing. What's more, the album is flawlessly sequenced - to the extent that I Love It, her number one hit with Icona Pop, isn't even missed.

By December, Charli had already started work on the follow-up. "I like working really fast," she told me. "That's the best way to write a song. The best ideas are the first ones that come into your head - so why bother thinking of any more?"

I can't wait to hear what she comes up with next.

PS: You can read the full Top 10 here.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Banks: Interview off-cuts

I don't get to vote in the BBC's Sound Of 2014 because I help put it together - but if I was given a choice, I'd have nominated sultry, seductive R&B siren Banks.

So I'm very pleased that she's taken third placem (as announced this morning) and even more pleased that I got to interview her for a second time as part of the coverage.

You can read the results on the BBC site today, and I've put some of the quotes that didn't make the main piece below.

First, though, here's a song.

Banks - Change (acoustic)

You famously started writing music on a toy piano when you were 15. Was it all very plinky-plonky?
No, the piano was actually quite large, but it was really light and it sounded like a toy. It wasn't a really high quality one. The keys were lighter than a napkin.

And did you learn everything by ear?
I do everything by ear. I still haven't had training. I don't know what chords I'm playing. I wouldn't know if it was A or A minor, or anything like that.

I once played in a band with a guy who called D major "the sunshine chord" because that was the shape his fingers made on the keyboard
You see, that's how I think, too. I totally get that. I don't have names for the chords, but I feel that guy.

You must have sung before you were 15, though? A voice like that doesn't come out of nowhere.
I sang a little bit but, honestly, I really discovered it through writing music. I discovered my voice more after I started writing songs. It all came together at once, really.

Was that a surprise? Were you creative before that?
I've always... I love drawing, I love painting. I've always been very in tune with that side of my mind. But I didn't really notice, like, "oh, I’m starting to write music. I want to be this". It just happened. It was almost my little secret. Once I discovered it, that whole year I was just in my room with the door shut.

Like a typical teenager
Yes. It sounds like a dirty typical teenager, but it wasn't!

Banks - Warm Water

Would you say there's a confessional element to your songs?
I don't know about confession, but it's definitely a release. I want to hear a song that feels like the person who wrote it had to make that song or they'd go crazy. That's how I write, and that's the music I connect to.

You come from Los Angeles where the perception is that everyone is superficial and obsessed with appearances. Did you feel like a black sheep?
I... Definitely, when I discovered writing, felt very alone. It was hard for me to connect with people, with what I was going through. I love LA, it's such an amazing place. But I definitely found music because I felt different.

Is it true you wrote Warm Water with TEED in just three hours?
Yeah, it was really cool. It just kind of came together. That's how the music is that I've made. It just flows out sometimes – and that song in particular. I don't know. It just came out.

You're clearly not using a toy piano any more. Where do all those incredible sounds come from?
I know what I want my music to sound like. I want to create a really dark atmosphere. I want it to feel heavy. Having an idea of what you want to sound like, mixed with working with really, really talented people who understand your idea – you can’t go wrong, I don't think.

The final two places in the Sound Of 2014 are announced tomorrow and Friday, "fyi".

Labels: , , , ,

Tove Lo is habit-forming

"I eat my dinner in my bathtub / Then I go to sex clubs."

How's that for the opening line? It comes from Habits, an extremely good but cruelly-overlooked single released last year by Swedish pop star and whiplash hairdo disaster zone Tove Lo.

Turns out I'm not the only one who thought it deserved more recognition. In fact, New York production crew The Chainsmokers are so keen for it to become a hit, they've done a massive Calvin Harris/SubFocus-style remix FOR ZERO PENCE.

Here's what they say: "We are MAJOR fans of Tove Lo. In fact we are certain she is going to be a massive name in music VERY soon. Habits is one of those unique blend of feelings, its gangster, sexy, relatable, and fun... In fact we aren't quite sure why its not on the same level as Lorde's Royals. So with that in mind, we set out to create a song that complimented the vocals and the subject of the song but brought it into the club arena."

They've done a pretty good job, I think you'll agree. 

And if you download it now, you can lord it over your friends when Tove Lo becomes properly famous in, let's say, July.

Tove Lo - Habits

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What is YouTube trying to tell us about Foxes?

Just now, I clicked on the new video from Foxes – the pop singer with Disney Princess eyes – and look at the advert YouTube placed beneath it:

As we all know, Google uses a complex system of algorithms and user profiling to serve adverts, so it's definitely aware I have a full head of hair (and thank God for that - because when I had childhood chicken pox I only picked at the scabs on my head, thanks to the naïve delusion I'd never go bald).

So that leaves three possible explanations:

1) Foxes is a man in a wig, and the advert is targeted at her
2) 92% of Foxes fans are middle-aged pervs with male-pattern baldness
3) Google is broken

Whatever the reason, it doesn't stop the song from being a smasher. Let Go For Tonight is mid of tempo, but lofty of chorus. Bung in a dramatic string section, thunderous percussion and an unexpected tempo change in the middle 8 and you have a pop classic in the making.

The video, on the other hand, features a terrible waste of flan.

Foxes - Let Go For Tonight

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 6, 2014

Five stages of hearing St Vincent's new single

DENIAL: Something's up with YouTube. Everything sounds wrong.

ANGER: Oh, for Christ's sake. This is exactly what happens when you tour with David fucking Byrne. Just because something's discordant doesn't mean it's "art".

BARGAINING: Oh well, maybe the second single will be better.

DEPRESSION: No, this is awful. I might as well give up all hope and wait for a new Ed Sheeran single.

ACCEPTANCE: Hold on a moment – this chorus is magnificent. I take it all back.

Yes, after a shaky start, St Vincent's new single Digital Witness is one of those records that makes you instantly reach for the repeat button. I've listened to it five times in the last 15 minutes, in fact. I particularly love how the dissonant verses and rickety, syncopated saxophones resolve into a gloriously catchy chorus (that sounds ever-so-slightly like Abba's The Visitors).

Here's what the press release says.

St Vincent - aka Annie Clark - has revealed Digital Witness from her self-titled fourth album (due out 24th February) via BBC 6 Music's Breakfast Show this morning, where it's featured as the Song of The Week.

The track tackles identity in the era of Instagram, with Clark singing, "If I can't show it / If you can't see me / What's the point of doing anything?" Digital Witness follows the first sneak preview of the album, Birth In Reverse, which garnered a Best New Music nod from Pitchfork.

Stream the song, which will be available for instant download with iTunes pre-orders beginning 14th January, here.

Or just watch the video below... Closely.

St Vincent - Digital Witness (audio)

Labels: , ,

New pop discovery: Broods

It's almost three weeks since happy-go-lucky pop jester Lorde released a new song, and I was suffering acute withdrawal symptoms until I stumbled across another New Zealand act with a similarly cheery outlook on pop.

They're called Broods - and never has a band name been so appropriate. Georgia Nott and her brother Caleb make moody, lonesome ballads with choruses that soar uncertainly, like a wounded eagle. "You're pushing down on my shoulders and emptying my lungs," Georgia sings on the gorgeous / desolate new Soundcloud track Never Gonna Change, while minor key synths stutter all around her.

The duo have been working closely with songwriter Joel Little - the guiding hand behind Lorde's Royals - and recently signed to Polydor. The Lorde comparison "has come up quite a bit, but I kind of expected that," Georgia told Billboard last year.

"It's impossible not to be in awe of her or be influenced by her in some way, but we have to build our own identity outside of 'Lorde and the rest of New Zealand music.'"

Have a listen to their first two songs below, then take a look at Caleb's new moustache and wonder how long it'll take the label to have a "quiet word" in his ear.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, January 3, 2014

Songs you may have missed: New Year hangover edition

Like the rest of us, Planet Pop has taken most of the last two weeks off, so there isn't much to catch up on. But the few videos that did trickle onto the internet all herald VERY EXCITING THINGS for 2014. Here they are, in all their multifaceted glory.

1) Katy B - Crying For No Reason
FACT: Katy B's new album is going to be excellent.

FACT: Her red jumper is very festive.

FACT: This video contains more lasers than a Bond Villain's toolshed.

2) Foster The People - Feels Like Coming Of Age
FACT: Foster The People have been working with Paul Epworth of "good music (and Adele)" fame.

FACT: Their song Pumped Up Kicks is the "sixth-largest selling alternative digital song of all time" whatever that means.

FACT: Feels Like Coming Of Age already sounds like an indie disco classic, based on this 45 second preview.

BONUS FACT: Here's a video of the full song in a live environment. It's pretty damned good.

3) Sky Ferreira and Ariel Pink - My Molly
FACT: Sky Ferreira's debut album Night Time, My Time is getting a proper release in the UK later this year.

FACT: It's been four years in the making. FOUR YEARS! "You have to go through a lot of hardship before you get what you want," she noted presciently on these very pages back in 2010.

FACT: This song, a cover of Ariel Pink's My Molly, isn't on it. But it should be.

4) SBTRKT ft Sampha and Jessie Ware - Runaway
FACT: All three of these artists are releasing new music in 2014.

FACT: SBTRKT played this at the end of his set at a New Years' Eve party in Mexico.

FACT: It only lasts a minute which, after all the self-indulgent eighteen-minute "jams" of 2014 (I'm looking at you, Justin Timberlake), would be a welcome new trend for 2014.

5) Boots - Haunted
FACT: Boots is the mysterious writer/producer who cropped up on the credits to Beyonce's album, contributing to 8 of the 14 tracks.

FACT: He signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation label last June.

FACT: The reference tracks for Beyoncé's album used to appear on his Soundcloud (including his guide vocals).

FACT: All that's there now is this gorgeous, minor key ballad. I wonder if he'll keep it for himself?

6) Bounce - New Year's Eve Fireworks mix
FACT: OK, this isn't really about an exciting artist to look out for in 2014.

FACT: But the Fireworks mix was superb... Even the bit where they mixed Another One Bites The Dust and Blurred Lines.

FACT: You can listen to it "sans explosions" below, or go over to YouTube to see the pretty lights.

And that's not a bad haul so early in the year. Let's just hope Coldplay and U2 don't turn the year into one great yawnfest, eh?

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Shameless link bait (pt 726)

Every month, this website gets about 1,200 clicks from people who've Googled the term "Ellie Goulding naked". They all end up on this page, which contains a photo of (*gasp*) Ellie Goulding's bare shoulders from the Hanging On video.

So imagine the explosion in sticky fingers now that Ellie has done a topless-but-tasteful photoshoot for Marie Claire?

It's all in aid of her re-released Halcyon Days album (a rare occurrence of a repackage improving on the original) and the forthcoming single Goodness Gracious which, disappointingly, isn't a raved-up cover of the Peter Sellers classic.

Marie Claire have published an excerpt from their article in which they ask Ellie about playing at the Royal Wedding, which is an amazing scoop since no-one else has bothered to mention that in any of the approximately 25,300 interviews Ellie has done in the last 18 months.

You can read her response here ("it was beautiful"), or you can just perv over these photos, which I'm including in a flagrant attempt to inflate my page views purely for archival purposes.

Labels: , , ,

Newer Posts ::: Older Posts

© 2014 Discopop Directory | Contact | Go to the homepage