Friday, April 18, 2014

Songs you may have missed: Easter edition

It's been a pretty busy week on the blog - with excellent new songs from Lana Del Rey, and Sky Ferreira, and OneRepublic and Robyn in the mix. But here are some of the ones I didn't get round to writing about...

1) Clean Bandit - Rather Be (Live on Jools)
This is the first time I've ever seen Clean Bandit in the flesh. There are about 80 of them. Who knew?

2) Iggy Azalea ft Rita Ora - Black Widow
If you haven't latched onto the Iggy Azalea bandwagon so far, this could be the song to turns you around. Like Katy Perry's Dark Horse, it weds a sparse, minor-key verse to a soaring chorus that gets clipped just before you get to the good bit. It's a cruel tease, but it leaves you wanting more every time.

Clever writing, then, and a good trailer for Iggy's debut album, The New Classic, which "drops" (is released) on Monday.

3) Prince - Computer Blue (full version)
The news that Prince has kissed and made up with Warner Bros means my wallet's going to get much, much lighter.

For a start, it means albums like Parade and Sign O The Times will be remastered and re-released (and believe me, they need it - the original CD masters are woefully tinny and quiet). But the deluxe, 30th Anniversary edition of Purple Rain also promises a bunch of rarities from the Vault. Let's hope it includes an official release for this long-cherished, 14-minute bootleg of Computer Blue.

Sadly, that track can't be embedded - so here's Mr Rogers Nelson performing Purple Rain at the Brits instead.

4) Paolo Nutini - Recover
The mumbling Scotsman covers Chvrches, with spine-tingling results.

5) MNEK - Every Little Thing
It's pronounced Em-En-Ee-Kay, and he's the biggest UK pop star you've never heard of.

He wrote Need U (100%) with Duke Dumont. He plays the spoons on Rudimental's Spoons. That was his voice on Gorgon City's Ready For Your Love. Little Mix's Wings? He produced that one. And he's working with Florence + The Machine, too.

Somehow, in the middle of all that productivity, he's been making his own solo record. Every Little Thing is the 100% not bollocks first single.

6) AlunaGeorge - Kaleidoscope Love (Kaytranada Remix)
Montreal DJ/Remixer Kaytranada has taken one of the least-loved tracks on AlunaGeorge's debut album and turned it into a deep, dark house cut. The backing suits Aluna's ethereal vocals so well, it should give the band a hint of where to take their second album.

7) Future ft Andre 3000 - Benz Friendz (Watchutola)
The stand-out track on Future's new album is a two-hander with Outkast's Andre 3000, with both rappers insisting they do not care for a girl and her choice of automotive transport. Andre goes so far as to declare he'd rather ride his bike or walk. God knows why, but this is one the catchiest beats you'll hear all Easter.

8) Lulu James - Beautiful People
21-year-old Lulu James has been bubbling under for a year or so. Born in Tanzania, raised in South Shields, she's Jessie Ware with a harder edge and a voice that'd make Aretha Franklin jealous.

Beautiful People is the first track from her new, as-yet-untitled, EP. It starts quietly but builds and builds until your walls start vibrating. Spellbinding stuff.

9) Culann - All Reverie
I wrote an article for the BBC News site this week on "the return of rock" - based on the fact that, finally, the UK is producing some guitar bands good enough to be played on daytime radio.

Afterwards, I got no end of abuse on Twitter from hardcore rock fans who said I didn't know what I was talking about. Maybe, but the article wasn't targeted at Metal Hammer readers and, to the majority of Radio One and Two listeners, new guitar bands have been pretty thin on the ground for the last few years.

Anyway, the positive result of the piece was that lots of guitar bands sent their videos at me. Here's one I liked, from Scottish five-piece Culann. Singer PJ Kelly's Celtic lilt has a touch of the Biffy Clyros, while his band are clearly accomplished musicians - this single makes a lot of unexpected detours on its way to the chorus without ever descending into fretwanking. (Unsurprisingly, Culann say they're fans of prog bands like Yes and Rush).

The video, meanwhile, stars Rab Affleck, who you might recognise from his hard-man roles in Layer Cake and Gangs of New York.

10) Nas - It Ain't Hard To Tell (Stink Mix)
A parping jazz remix to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Nas's debut album Illmatic. You've got to love a rap song with a flute loop.

11) Pawws - Sugar
"Upsetting disco" says the bio on Pawws Twitter page, and I couldn't have put it better myself.

She's a London-based electro singer, with shades of Little Boots and St Etienne in her sugar-spun 80s pop. The cascading synth lines in her debut single are sweeter than Canderel. Just the thing for Easter.

That's all for this week, then. Happy Festival of the Chocolate Jesus!

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