Thursday, May 8, 2014

Songs you may have missed: Ocho de Mayo edition

Here it is, then: A semi-regular round-up of songs that I didn't have space or time (mostly time) to write about over the last seven days. This week's selection includes...

1) Katy Perry - Birthday (Cash Cash remix)
Katy Perry kicked off her world tour in former terrorism hotspot Belfast last night and the setlist, which she posted on Instagram afterwards, looks pretty spectacular. She even includes an acoustic section so you can pop out to the loo without feeling guilty.

The tour helpfully coincides with the promotional "window" for her new single, Birthday, and here is a remix of that single by New Jersey dancemeisters Cash Cash.

2) Kelis - Rumble (live on Conan)
One of my favourite tracks on Kelis's grits-and-beans new album Food, is performed live and gains a saxophone solo. What's not to love?

3) Leon Else - River Full of Liquor
The title makes it sound like an awful US hip-hop track, but this is actually a gorgeous, understated ballad from 24-year-old Londoner Leon Else. With shades of SOHN and Mikky Ekko, this R&B potboiler is the title track of his new EP, which hits the streets in July.

4) The Horrors - So Now You Know
If I didn't know The Breakfast Club soundtrack back to front, I would swear this was on it. From the windswept chorus to Faris Badwan's tiny leather jacket, this is a pair of aviator shades away from being a Simple Minds A-side. And that, in case you're wondering, is a good thing.

5) Sia - Chandelier
A rare instance where the lyric video is preferable to the real thing - this clip for Sia's stunning new single is one of the creepiest things you'll see all month. According to the press release it features "an incredibly compelling dance performance by Maddie Zeigler (age 11) of the Lifetime Television show Dance Moms" (no, me neither).

Accomplished as Maddie undoubtedly is, there's something about the way the video is shot (the lighting? the oversized wig?) that makes it constantly seem on the cusp of turning into The Exorcist's infamous "spider walk" scene.

6) Bronagh & The Boys - Lovefool
Here's one that came into my inbox - from Belfast-born, Glasgow-based singer Bronagh Monaghan and her dismissively-titled band, "The Boys". With support slots for Oh Land, Newton Faulkner and Rae Morris under their belt, they're clearly doing something right - and the proof comes from the lead track on their new EP, Lovefool.

A slow-building jazz-pop number, it sits in a similar orbit to Radio 2 mainstay Caro Emerald. The production is slightly flat - but imagine this re-recorded with Paul Epworth and you can hear the band's undeniable potential.

7) MØ - Slow Love
Swirling, seductive Scandipop courtesy of Denmark's Karen Marie Ørsted. Her fluttering falsetto is what makes this track - but the found footage music video is weirdly hypnotic in its own way.

8) Metronomy - Reservoir
"I heard you made the hull of a boat downtown" is one of the worst opening lyrics of all time, but Metronomy's new single rises above it on a sea of woozy Jean Michelle Jarre synth nonsense. Lovely animated video, too.

9) AG Cook - Keri Baby ft Hannah Diamond
I can't decide if this is unspeakably awful or the future of pop music. It's a kind of glitchy offshoot of j-pop, with a parping tuba and a knowing rap ("I don't want to be an mp3") apparently delivered by a sex-change Speak and Spell. Confusing.

10) Black Keys - Fever
The Black Keys' eighth album Turn Blue is out next week - but you can stream it now over here. A more expansive, psychedelic affair than the power-pop of El Camino, it's a solid 8/10.

The best track is the seemingly throwaway album closer Gotta Getaway ("I went from San Berdoo to Kalamazoo, just to get away from you") - but the current single, Fever, is also a gem. Powered along by a reedy Farsifa organ, the video sees Dan Auerbach sweating buckets as he impersonates a pay-TV Faith Healer.

So there you go: A bumper crop of big tunes. More like this next week...

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