Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Video: Tegan and Sara - Boyfriend

Tegan an Sara are best known in this country for the Lego Movie theme song Everything Is Awesome. Will that change with their upcoming ninth album Love You To Death? Probably not, if I'm completely honest. But for a certain brand of fan, they're synth-pop's best kept secret.

Their new single, Boyfriend, takes songs like Katy Perry's I Kissed A Girl or Demi Lovato's Cool For The Summer and tells the other side of sapphic experimentation.

In a recent Pitchfork interview, Sara explained that the track was written about the beginning of her current relationship. Her girlfriend had never dated a woman before, and was still involved with another guy.

"You turn me on, like you would your boyfriend," she sings. "But I don't wanna be your secret any more."

The video shows the sisters being forced into a series of music video clichés - confetti cannons, silhouetted dancers, green screen videos of zebras (?) - but eventually being allowed to be themselves. It's a metaphor for freedom of sexual expression, innit?

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Sometimes it Snows...

What a week. What an awful week.

As you know by now, Prince died at the age of 57, alone in a lift in his Paisley Park home and recording studio. I've written all I can on the BBC News website, a lot of it without the chance to reflect. But I think I expressed what he meant to me, musically and personally, as well as I could. Here are the links.

Meanwhile, over on YouTube, there's a copyright infringement free for all as Prince's fans eulogise him by uploading rare footage and unreleased songs. Here's one of the best. Who, in 2016, would allow a timbale sole in the middle of a televised awards performance?

Normal service on the blog will resume shortly. But it will never be the same.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tove Lo breaks some hearts (and beds)

Carnally-obsessed Swedish pop maven Tove Lo has been sharing her songwriting skills with Australian dance wunderkind Flume, and the results are predictably earth-shattering.

Their collaboration, Say It, is a sensual, spellbinding track in which Tove is torn between ending a relationship and staying for some amazing sex. "Bite me babe," she sings. "You make me love the pain / Break my bed to make me wanna stay."

Cor blimey.

The song premiered on Annie Mac's Radio 1 show last night, where Flume explained how the collaboration came about.

"I was in LA doing some writing and I went to see Kanye at the Hollywood Bowl. On our way back, we stopped off at a bar. I heard a track that she [Tove Lo] did, I think it was Habits — I wasn’t really familiar with her stuff but I really, really liked it.

"I was like, 'who is this, I need to figure it out', so I Shazam'd it. Basically, my manager hit her up the day after and she happened to be in LA too and she was down to write. So, all within about two days, we got together and wrote that track. It just happened, it was easy, it was natural."

Tove added:

"I was in LA for a few days between tours when Harley reached out to me about writing together. I've been a big fan of him for a long time so I pretty much ran over to his studio. He played me some ideas which one of them was the track for Say It, and I just started vibing melodies over it and we put together something we loved. It was so relaxed and fun and kind of a new way for me to write. Very excited for people to hear it!"
So there you have it.

Say It comes from Flume's second album, Skin, which is out next week. It also features the sublime Never Be Like You, which was released last month.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Songs you may have missed... Bumper edition

Hello, I have woken from my slumber and discovered a sackful (technical term) of brand new music waiting for me. Here's what you (I) missed during the last three weeks of inactivity.

1) Little Mix - Hair
In which we discover that Little Mix wear slinky lingerie and full make-up for a girls' night in. Of course they do.

2) Roisin Murphy - Mastermind
When she said there was a ton of material left over from last year's Hairless Toys, it turns out she wasn't lying. This is the first single from a new album called, intriguingly, Take Her Up To Monto.

3) Taylor Swift - New Romantics
Accompanied by a video that is the dictionary definition of "will this do?"

4) Carly Rae Jepsen - Boy Problems
Nice mullet.

5) Grimes - A full gig by Grimes
This is amazing. A complete half-hour live set, direct from the BBC's Maida Vale studios.

6) DNCE - Cake By The Ocean
I'm sure you're aware of this one by now - but the video version is much more sweary.

7) Honne and Izzy Bizu - Someone That Loves You
Dreamy electro-soul, with an undercurrent of unrequited lust. This is sublime.

8) Slowolf ft Kimbra - White Feathers
Danish producer Slowolf is a drummer - and it really shows on this jittery, polyrhythmic potboiler. Kimbra provides an impassioned vocal, and it's all recorded live in a scrapyard for some reason.

9) Michael Kiwanuka - Black Man In A White World
The BBC's Sound of 2012 is back, still sounding like the sound of 1971. I still maintain he's found a vault of unreleased Bill Withers tracks and is pretending they're his own material.

10) ft Pia Mia - Girls & Boys
If you put 1,000,000's in front of 1,000,000 laptops, one of them will eventually write an above average pop song. And here it is.

11) Broods - Free
New Zealand brother-sister duo Broods have upped the ante with this, the first single from their second album. Free is strident, powerful and ever-so-slightly abrasive - the sort of thing that would have been perfect on The Hunger Games soundtrack.

12) Blossoms - Getaway
Blossoms are the indie band most likely to cross over in 2016, and for good reason. Never shy of a melody, and fortuitously telegenic, they're a music programmer's dream. Getaway is their catchiest single yet, and it comes with a video that appears to be a lost episode of 1980s spookfest Dramarama.

13) Rihanna - Kiss It Better
The director says this is inspired by "surrealism and dadaism" - which is funny, because I don't remember either of those previously being associated with soft porn.

14) El El - Animal
This slice of summery, feel-good indiepop reminds me of MGMT (when they were good) Phoenix (when they were good) and Empire of the Sun (when they were good). So check out this eight-piece Nashville band before they go completely off the boil.

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