Sunday, 12 September 2010

Song Crush #1

So I'm well aware that I have become increasingly lax at posting over the past, well, year really. So I thought I'd shake things up a bit.

You know when you can't get a song out of your head for like 2-3 days, when no matter what you do you it just bounces round and round? Sometimes it's not even a whole song, just a fragment or a lyric. I think of these as song crushes. Sometimes it blossoms into something more, a deep relationship with an artist or album or producer. Sometimes you look back a few months later and can't remember why the hell you ever loved that one song SO MUCH. It doesn't have to be the newest or freshest track - sometimes it's an oldie but goldie that suddenly just feels right.

Robyn - With Every Heartbeat

I loved Robyn's last album, Body Talk Pt. 1, and can't wait for her next installments later this year. But I'd forgotten how incredible her break through single, With Every Heartbeat, produced by Kleerup, was. In many ways it's the prequel to the epic Dancing on My Own - it has the same bittersweet, love-lorn feel to it. The way the pulsating beat comes in as the lyrics shift from optimistic to realistic - 'We could keep trying/But things will never change' - my heart just breaks.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Oh those Summer Nights...

Here in London we have been blessed with a rather unusual summer - in that it's been hot, sunny and actually like a proper Summer. It's a bit of a given that certain songs sound better in the sun, but for me, hot sticky Summer nights also can add something special to songs. That late night, not a breath of air closeness that happens in the Summer requires a special kind of music - intense yet mellow, personal and heartfelt, it's music that is about desire and want that is not always entirely fulfilled. Here are a few of my choices.

Gayngs - Faded High [download left hand side of screen]
Bon Iver's Justin Vernon goes soulful R&B - who knew? 'I want your body on me...' definitely the hottest late night track around right now.

Candie Payne - I Wish I Could Have Loved You More
This Liverpudlian singer captures a real 60s Dusty Springfield-esque vibe on this song. After touring with Mark Ronson she's somewhat vanished from view - a shame as the sparse, echoing feeling to this one really captures that late night feeling of panic and guilt.

Bat For Lashes - What's A Girl To Do?
Natasha Khan combines a 'Be My Baby' style beat with creepy piano and almost whispered lyrics to create a truly eerie late night paean to desperation. Helped of course by a weird as video featuring BMXing bears.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience
- Hey Joe
Stone cold classic.

Death Cab For Cutie
- 405 (Acoustic)
A bit more upbeat than some of the other tracks here, this ticks the wistful box instead.

Fink - This Is the Thing
Probably best known for being featured in a Mastercard advert a few years back, this is classic late night anxiety: 'And the things that keep us apart keep me alive/and the things that keep me alive keep me alone'

Rolling Stones - Tumbling Dice
Bluesy Rolling Stones should ONLY be played on hot summer's nights...

Warpaint - Billie Holiday
Hailing from Los Angeles, I would imagine the ladies of Warpaint have experienced plenty of hot sticky nights - perhaps that's why their music is so perfect for night time. Billie Holliday is a cross between a spelling bee and My Guy - but somehow its dreamy, Cat Power-esque vocals make it work.

Sorry it's been so long. I'll try to post a bit more regularly!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Don't need no good advice

'List Advice That You Follow From Song Lyrics'
- (idea courtesy of Music Listography/High Fidelity)

Advice songs are tricky. You don't want to be preached at - who are these privileged rock stars telling us what to do? - but when you turn to music in moments of doubt, you look for something, for a sign of what to do with your life. Also, because of the essential nature of advice, they are very personal. One person's sage words of wisdom are another's crackpot philosophy. Here are mine, anyway.

'If you always get up late, you'll never be on time'
Broken Social Scene - Swimmers

'You must stick up for yourself son! Never mind what anybody else done.'
Yeasayer - Ambling Alp

'We've got a lot to learn from each other, we have got to stick together'
Ra Ra Riot - Oh, La

'Sometimes there's gonna be days like this, sometimes there's gonna be rain like this, sometimes you're gonna feel pain like this, sometimes you gotta work hard for it'
Amerie - Gotta Work

'Thou shalt not put musicians and recording artists on ridiculous pedestals no matter how great they are or were. The Beatles... were just a band.'
Dans Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - Thou Shalt Always Kill

'You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.
Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want

(PS - Forget what I said before, I hate Glee for this)

{Photo courtesy of locket479 on flickr - there's a great story behind it, check it out!}

Friday, 26 March 2010

Dates for the diary

In the next month or so there are loads of new albums coming out by some awesome artists/bands - here are some of the most exciting ones.

MGMT's sophomore album, the somewhat presumptuously titled, Congratulations is officially out on April 13, but is currently available to stream on their website. The duo announced prior to the release that not only would there be no singles from Congratulations, but that it was considerably less commercial, veering towards the trippy, proggy side of their oeuvre, rather than the poppy stuff. That's right, Oracular Spectacular was TOO POP kids... To be fair, I don't think MGMT were ever the kind of band that expected to get as big as they did, so perhaps it's no surprise they've reacted against it - although on first listen Congratulations doesn't seem quite as fiendishly uncommercial as I expected.

I don't think I've really mentioned quite how excited I am about The National's new album, High Violet... It's out May 11th (10th in Europe!), and they've just released a preview of their new single, Bloodbuzz Ohio, available to download from the album's website.

Jamie Lidell, soul crooner/electronic maestro extraordinaire first came to my notice with his 2008 albun, Jim, a collection of soulful tracks that marked something of a progression from his earlier electronic, experimental stuff. But, judging by new single The Ring (video above), Lidell has merged the two, rather schizophrenic sides of his personality for his new album, Compass. It's out May 18th on Warp records, and features a whole host of guest artists: Beck, Feist, Feist, Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor, Daniel Rossen, and Chris Bear, Gonzales, Pat Sansome from Wilco... yeah, I know. Incredible right?

LCD Soundsystem release their third album on the same date (in the U.S. anyways - us Brits get a whole day earlier!) The as-yet-untitled L.P. is supposed to be the last from James Murphy, the DFA honcho, under the LCD Soundsystem banner, but hopefully there will be more awesomeness coming from him soon. I'm loving the new single/leak, Drunk Girls, and I have every faith that the L.P. will be as good.

{photo courtesy of babyben on flickr}

Monday, 22 March 2010

Ellie Goul-ding is Explo-ding

Number One album, Critics Choice Brit Award - it's all taking off for Ellie Goulding. Part of the Neon Gold alumni, along with Passion Pit, who is she currently supporting on their UK tour (and I saw her doing just that a couple of weeks ago), her meteoric rise to success has been pretty surprising. I'm coming to the conclusion, however, that while she's a great song-writer, the production isn't really there, in my opinion. I really didn't expect to think that, given that Fin Dow-Smith, better known as Starsmith, has produced all but one of her tracks on the album, and people I really respect have been touting him for big things this year. Yet the slew of awesome remixes really make his stuff for her look light weight.

First up is Jakwob's dubby remix of Starry-Eyed, adding some dirty dub-bass into the mix. Then Penguin Prison and Theophilius London had a shot at Starry-Eyed, making it more up-tempo, adding a bit more punch to the chorus. Probably my favourite of the lot however is Chiddy Bang's take on Under the Sheets. The Philadelphia duo have done awesome remixes of MGMT's Kids, which is currently floating around the UK chart as Opposite of Adults, as well as Sufjan Stevens and a host of other indie-tastic tunes. Their Ellie Goulding remix adds a more traditional hip hop beat into the mix with some brilliantly witty lyrics over the top. So much fun!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Let go

Perfect stuff for a lazy Sunday afternoon. All of these tracks really deserve their own posts, but this'll have to do for now.

jj - Let Go
Chilled out new single from mysterious Swedes.

The xx - VCR (Matthew Dear Remix)
More double letter band names here - Matthew Dear takes the sparse original song and fill it up with goodness

Grizzly Bear - While You Wait For the Others feat. Michael McDonald
Yup - Michael McDonald of Steely Dan doing vocal duties for Grizzly Bear! Apparently they're friends of friends with his daughter.

Cults - Go Outside
Spring is here - I can believe that when I listen to this track

Beach House - Norway
So chilled out it's practically horizontal, and the album, Teen Dream, is awesome too.

[Picture courtesy of Personal Kaleidoscope on flickr]

Saturday, 13 March 2010

It takes an ocean not to break

Fever pitch levels of excitement!

New album High Violet out May 10 in the UK/May 11 in the US.