Thursday, 30 July 2009

This Summer's Theme Tunes

Audacity Of Huge - Simian Mobile Disco

Remedy - Little Boots

Rabbit Heart - Florence + The Machine

Bulletproof - La Roux

Mercy Mercy - Le Kid

We Are Golden - Mika

I Go I Go I Go - The Wave Machines

One More Chance - Bloc Party

Get Shaky - Ian Carey

I Gotta Feelin - Black Eyed Peas

Raindrops -Basement Jaxx

Sticks 'n Stones - Jamie T

Popiholla - Chicane

The Show - Lenka

Le Kid

Ever wondered what would happened if Cyndi Lauper devoured Girls Aloud? Le Kid are the next lot on the acceptable-Europop scene, following in the footsteps of Alphabeat, Robyn and Abba (Do not diss Abba or you will be crucified.) There's no shortage of this genre, but to be fair, who cares!

'Mercy Mercy' might just be this years Fascination , and has made the infamously bad 'Can't Speak French' sound much better than it has any right to sound! The video is also pretty decent, and to me is a breath of fresh air from some this year's awful videos, bubblegum goodness!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

What could wonky poppers do next?

According to Wikipedia, 'Wonky Pop is a term used to describe a loose grouping of musical acts that play what the BBC calls "quirky, catchy and credible pop". '
There we go, I've summed it up by quoting someone else's words, so I can go and have a coffee now!

Those hipsters among you that keep keep their pointy noses in the Music Press will be familiar with all the recent documentation of 'Woman's Triumph Over The Pop Genre' in 2009. The likes of Lady Gaga, La Roux, LadyHawke and Little Boots (Weirdly all of which begin with an 'L', coincidence? I think not!) run the Synth corner of this style, and it is not often you will read about one without the other. (Note; despite her chart success, lady gaga is just hitching a ride on the hype horse)

It is believed the term 'Wonky Pop' was first used about Mika way back in 2007, but it is not fair to say that he created the phenomenon. Goldfrapp and Madonna was doing it Wonky-like while the Katie 'Ting Tings' was learning to shout! Now there is a way of describing the music, acts are queuing up to join the party. Given how recent this term was coined, about 90% of these acts have not released their second album (Mika has only just clocked in with his new single) and we are left wondering what they could do next.

Of course, Wonkyness stretches over a wide surface. R&B from the likes of Kid Kudi, VV Brown's Soul influences, Florence's dreamer-rock and Passion Pit's art-electro. As music grows, artists are pressed to find a distinguishing feature and a sound that matches it.

Take La Roux, which translates from french to 'The Red-Haired' one. Paralells could be drawn between her and Blondie, not just the 80's theme, but The Hair Colour. Blondie's eye-catching peroxide and La Roux's redhead rendition of the classic Flock of Seagulls cut. Her looks, in the nicest way possible are androgynous, but this is something that so belongs 80's that she herself emulates. These are things that will be important throughout her career, if not central but he music is a different matter.

Her music has a recurring beat present in every song which gives a tinny effect and uses the same set of synths over her wailing vocals to provide a Sweet / Sour contrast. This is one of my undeniably favourite combinations in music history, but how will the Redhead keep it up for a second album? Madonna was known for reinventing herself with every album, going through a disco stage, hippie goddess, R&B, Urban Pop. The catch is that Madonna relied on new producers, whereas La Roux co-produces her own music with Ben Langmaid, who I assume is a close friend. Can he do anything else?

The Same applies to the other electronic acts, Little Boots and Passion Pit. Where next?
A question is raised, should artists feel they have to change their genre to survive? Strong influences to Wonky Pop were masters of reinventing themselves, David Bowie, Kylie, Madonna, so should this trait be a MUST for all the artists?

Please vote in the polls so I can compile information for a follow-on article :)

No more POISON!

This song will most surely become the soundtrack to my summer. Lacking in Substance? BULLLLLLLSHIT!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Boom Boom... Pow?

I'm actually really, REALLY starting to like the Black Eyed Peas again. Caught in the cliches and chart success, I forgot how pioneering the Pea's music is.
Boom Boom Pow feels a bit like a track from Gorilla'z 'Demon Days', not in terms of sound but in the way it captures a dead futuristic landscape. Where much of the Gorillaz material lacks catchyness, this doesn't fail.

Madonna's Disappointing New Single

Again, I'm disappointed. Madonna used to be innovative in her sound, but this sounds like a rejected Britney B-Side...

Friday, 17 July 2009

Polly IsSheGood?

Well I think so! Please Don't touch is playful in that kind of skipping child way, reminds me of Jesca Hoop meets Cassie from skins. I can see how her experimental vocals could be somewhat agitating, but hey it's a marmite situation. Worth a listen anyway, It's not deep, but fun. :)

Stuck on THE KILL

Please note, sacrilege will ensue.

Oh, and because I promised myself I'd limit posts on these guys, I'm gonna include this too. It's a La Roux track I haven't heard before but it is subtley different from the others. The tinny drum isn't as defined:

More 'Hidden Tracks'

Now I've discovered that a 'Hidden Track' isn't just my own little neologism, and is an actual phenomenon. I discovered a further two artists have used these, Little Boots with her 'Hands' and Laura Marling with 'Alas, I Cannot Swim'.
Obviously a part of musical fashion has surpassed me...

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Rabbit Heart Meaning

Apparently the lovely Florence + The Machine's 'Rabbit Heart' refers to her entry into the music industry.

"I must become a lion hearted girl,
Ready for a fight,
Before I make the final sacrifice"
She must be brave to survive life in the limelight?

"This is a gift, it comes with a price,
Who is the lamb and who is the knife?"
She has the gift of music, but it comes with a price.
Who in the industry can she trust?

"Midas is king and he holds me so tight"
Midas is a mythical king noted for his ability to turn all he touched to Gold, hence
"And turns me to gold in the sunlight"

This would fill a lot of blog space if I did it every week!

The Magic Numbers!

The Magic Numbers are coming back apparently! I don't know anything more than this, but according to some newspaper picture I picked up at the Blur festival they are! There was a picture with all their happy smiling faces beaming at me, they honestly look like the happiest most honest group ever.
The set of siblings sat up give this band's sound a really close-knit feel, almost as if everyone was contributing! I think it was actually my dad who introduced them to me.......... *que tumbleweed*

I guess this band suits my dad though, because they too look as if they are still in a different, carefree era! Their debut cult album sound-tracked my 2005 summer, their close to perfect 'Love Me Like You' sounds like the sound equivalent of evening sunshine. Perhaps one of my favorite tracks of theirs is 'Hymn for her' , a hidden track starting at 7.17 on the track 'try', the last 3 minutes of which are a musical, glockenspiel-y epiphany.

(Note: 'In the field of recorded music, a hidden track (sometimes secret track or ghost track) is a piece of music that has been placed on a CD, audio cassette, vinyl record or other recorded medium in such a way as to avoid detection by the casual listener.' - Wikipedia)

Their second album, 'Those the Brokes' didn't achieve quite the same success that the previous reached the same sucess of the previous one in single sales, so I am imploring you to buy their new album and singles when it is finished. LOVE!

Monday, 13 July 2009

22 - Lily Allen

Video for new single, improvement on the disappointing video for the last single, and a very clever idea. A mirror imposed juxtaposition between 22 lily and 30 lily.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Lungs - Florence + The Machine

Florence and the Machine. Nu hippie goddess, magical weaver of spellbinding music.
Florence this year has been a 'watch' point for almost everyone this year, and it is not suprising given some of the outputs of this woman.

  1. "Dog Days Are Over" - 4:12
  2. "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" - 3:52
  3. "I'm Not Calling You a Liar" - 3:05
  4. "Howl" - 3:34
  5. "Kiss with a Fist" - 2:04
  6. "Girl with One Eye" - 3:38
  7. "Drumming Song" - 3:43
  8. "Between Two Lungs" - 4:09
  9. "Cosmic Love" - 4:15
  10. "My Boy Builds Coffins" - 2:56
  11. "Hurricane Drunk" - 3:13
  12. "Blinding" - 4:40
  13. "You've Got the Love" (Bonus Track) - 2:48
  14. "Swimming" (iTunes Bonus Track) - 3:22
The album opens with a lutey dreamy, if not improvised-sounding calmer, that dives into a determined killer chorus, 'Dog Days Are Over' (Subtle name change.) It's a shame this track didn't climb higher on the UK charts, because it is perfectly deserving. It is reinforced by the instant classic, 'Rabbit Heart' , which is wonderfully layered and produced, 3.52 of a solid screamingly catchy song. 'I'm Not Calling You A Liar' and 'Drumming Song' are perhaps the closest we get to a low point in the album, at times you feel like saying, "OK dear, you've told me already, I get the message", but it is at least enjoyable on a background level.
'Howl' is one of my favourites of the new track, and contrasts with the previous by getting straight to the point. It's dramatic enough to be a fantasy film chase scene sountracker and it's chorus will soon be a singalong favourite. I'm thinking fifth single? Kiss With A Fist is to Lungs and White Light was to 'Demon Days', a minimal feel-good clanger to momentarily break the spell. Girl with One Eye feels so Bluesy and I genuinely think it'll become one of those classic songs that get passed down by cover after cover (points to Hallelujah and American Pie.) I get shivers whenever I hear that screaming 'CRY' towards the end.
'Drumming Song' is to be the next single and there is something beautifully catchy and fulfilling about the lyrics 'Louder than silence, Louder than bells, Sweeter than heaven and Harder than Hell.'
'Cosmic Love' has made it to number two in Ireland despite not being a single, and Hurricane Drunk is a Park-bench anthem. I have had the privileged experience of listening to much of florence's accoustic work on a friends (also called Florence weirdly) burned CD. I think the only thing that this album lacks are some more accousticy, less-produced songs (i.e. Girl With One Eye, kiss with a fist) because at a certain point in the album, it all seems too much to deal with!

A huge highlight is 'You've Got The Love', a cover of the Source's dance track. I love this, it dosen't just do justice to the original, it's better! I don't think it deserves to be just a cover!
To top it all off we have 'Swimming', which is an amazing finisher ... Like an epic Jefferson Airplane. There are some earlier more upbeat recordings as well which are worth a listen to.