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.


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