Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Prince - 3121

His influence is everywhere nowadays, but still, it's a surprise: the new album by Prince is number one in the U.S. charts this week. Nice to see him back where he belongs.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Marisa Monte - Universo Ao Meu Redor + Infinito Particular

Two new albuns coming from one of the most talented brazilian singers of today. Universo Ao Meu Redor is produced by Mario Caldato Jr. (responsible for some of the best Beastie Boys albuns) and gets inspiration from samba, taking it into a whole new level. Infinito Particular is a more personal and intimate album, with rich textures and full of instrumental details. Both are subtle, magnificently written and two more proofs that the simple things in life are usually the most special. Beauty at its best.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Underrated Projects # 2

Missy Elliott - This is not a test! (2003 album)

One year after her most successful album to date (Under Construction), Missy returned and the reactions were mixed. Some loved its radical experiments, others were disappointed, as it had less pop appeal, and the sales numbers were quite low for Missy's standards. Timbaland touch is everywhere with his geometrical production in an album that includes genius lyrics and some of the most original beats we will probably ever hear (horse riding anyone?). With guest-appearances by Jay-Z, Mary J Blige or Nelly, this is the synthesis album for the early 2000's hip-hop movement.

Lady Sovereign - Vertically Challenged

This is a compilation of previously released maxis and is a very good introduction while we're waiting for her highly anticipated first proper album, which is rumored to include collaborations with Pharrell Williams, Timbaland and Missy Elliott.
Like M.I.A. last year, and with a big help from Gabriel Olegavich (the brain behind the excellent Spektrum project), once again the music sounds fresh and new, putting together underground references. It still takes inspiration from the grime movement to which she was first associated, but it doesn't stop there, including elements from dancehall to hip-hop, post-punk and electronics, all with a highly infectious groove. And, being 19, her lyrics are irresistible silly teenage thoughts turned into worldwide slogans.
"I'm the best thing since slice bread / No Eminen / Femenine? / Naw! Ms Sovereign!"

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Music Videos # 1

Madonna - American Life (the uncensored version)

Directed by Jonas Akerlund, this is one of the strongest Madonna videos but it was also one of the causes for the backlash she suffered in 2003, due to its political anti-war messages during a very sensitive time (America was about to invade Iraq). Full of comments towards not only the war but also the material world most western people live in, it eventually suffered a lot of cuts. Then, on its first day of release, she ended up pulling out the final version and replacing it by a very weak and bland video, where she basically was standing still and singing in front of a variety of flags.
If you would like to see the original uncensored version, click here.

Underrated Projects # 1

Madonna - American Life (2003 album)

This was Madonna as we had never seen her before. Political, angry and interventional, she was raising questions and wanted us to hear. Her song-writing skills were the strongest ever, while Mirwais - the producer - took his trademark minimal dry-beats sound to the extreme. The result was a strong and cohesive album, full of protest music and confessional lyrics but also love songs and pure pop sounds. Musically, it touched everything, from folk to french techno, garage rock, electronica, hip-hop or even tango.
Unfortunately, it was out during a Madonna-backlash period and ended up being her least popular album ever. Still, along with The First Album and Erotica, this is probably one of her best works to date.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A History of Violence

I'll just say that this movie is PURE BRILLIANCE. After the disappointing Spider, Cronenberg returns to true form in what is probably one of his best works yet. From the surface, it may seem his most conventional movie ever, but all the Cronenberg trademarks are still here, only in a more refined way. A visual enlightment that creates its own universe and then makes the viewer immerse deeply into it during its 90 minutes. And after the end, it will stay with you for a long time. Best movie in years.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Jens Lekman - Oh you're so silent Jens

More little things from Scandinavia that seem from out of this world, this time coming from Sweden.
With delicate melodies, fantastic lyrics and a sublime use of instruments, this album is too beautiful to put in words. Simple, almost naïve, not taking himself too seriously, yet nearing perfection. One of those cult releases which you don't listen too much, because each time you do, it becomes an unique moment. Who else could rhyme "vending machine" with "wedding ring"?

If you want to know more about Jens, check out his "diaries" here. You won't regret it.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Another band that started to be known on internet communities such as myspace, they are now one of the big new sensations in alternative rock and rightly so. Maybe the Arcade Fire of 2006?
The references are not new in here, but it's the way they are mixed together that makes it sound refreshing and new. Songs with a sense of urgency that demand to be heard now and a strange voice that you'll either love or hate (or both).

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Guilty pleasures # 2

Pussycat Dolls - Don't Cha

Let's face it, their album is really bad, but this song alone, written by Cee-Lo Green, is totally addictive and has the energy of a bulldozer. Try dancing to it in a packed club at 4 am and you'll know what i mean.

Guilty pleasures # 1

Justin Timberlake - Justified

With big-name producers like The Neptunes or Timbaland, this is the new millennium Thriller. And "Cry me a river" is nothing else than pure genius, ok?

Drawing Restraint 9 Trailer

The new Mathew Barney movie, with music by and staring his wife Björk, is scheduled to open in Portugal on the 4th of May. You can watch the trailer here

Saturday, March 11, 2006

2005 Late 50 Music Moments

The best: Arcade Fire - Funeral

Ok, this time, do believe the hype and in all the magazines that said this album was the best of 2005. Intense music to make you have goose bumps, walk on clouds and fall in love.

And 49 more...

13 & God - 13 & God

Amerie - 1 Thing - single

Animal Collective - Feels

Annie - Anniemal

Beck - Guero

Björk - Music from Drawing Restraing 9

Bloc Party - Silent Alarm

The Books - Lost and Safe

Ciara feat Missy Elliott - 1, 2 Step - single

Common - Be

Danger Doom - The Mouse and the Mask

David Sylvian - The Good Son vs. The Only Daugther: Blemish Remixes

Dwight Trible and the Life Force Trio - Love is the Answer

Fannypack - See you next Tuesday

Flanger - Spirituals

Goldfrapp - Supernature

Gorillaz - Demon Days

Hanne Hukkelberg - Little Things

Isolée - We are monster

Jamie Lidell - Multiply

Jon Hassell - Maarifa Street

Juan Maclean - Less than Human

Kanye West - Late Registration

Kelley Pollar - Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens

Khonnor - Handwriting

LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem

Lindstrom & Prins Thomas - Lindstrom & Prins Thomas

Madonna - Confessions on a Dancefloor

M.I.A. - Arular

Missy Elliott - The Cookbook

Nine Horses - Slow Borne Sorrow

Out Hud - Let us never speak of it again

Plantlife - The Return of Jack Splash

Rachel Stevens - Come And Get It

Rihanna - Pon de Replay - single

Robyn - Robyn

Róisín Murphy - Ruby Blue

Sa-Ra - Second Time Around

Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell - Drop it like it's hot - single

Some Water and Sun - All my friends have to go

Soulwax - Nite Versions

Steve Reid Ensemble - Spirits Walk

Steve Spacek - Space Shift

Various Artists - Acid: Can you jack?

Various Artists - Rio Baile Funk: Favela Booty Beats

Various Artists - Run the Road Vol. 1

Whitey - The light at the end of the tunnel is a train

Who Made Who - Who Made Who

Ying Yang Twins - Wait (The Whisper Song) - single