Sunday, August 30, 2009
With mysterious act jj and their debut full-length, Sincerely Yours is at it again. Seriously, can these guys ever do anything wrong? jj have been labeled by some as an acoustic version of The Tough Alliance, but that's not even half of the story. Besides the blissful atmosphere, the warm and sunny melodies and the use of escapism as a superior form of art in pop music, there's also hypnotic acoustic guitars and those sweet ethereal voices, while echoes of distant genres like ambient-techno or hip-hop are used to create unique textures. In this case, it seems that everything (and more) counts to make it sound so special. And "special" is really the word in here. Basically, this is what a perfect day in a perfect place in a perfect world would sound like. (9/10)
jj - from africa to málaga (mp3 via Gorilla Vs. Bear)
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Here's another side-project that is totally worth it. Two indie kids (Vampire Weekend keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij and Ra Ra Riot singer Wes Miles), having the time of their lives pretending that they are an R&B version of Daft Punk. And when we have an amalgamation of old-school synths, hip-hop beats, vocoders and a literally out-of-this-world cover of The Jackson 5 ("I Want You Back") in 10 glistening moments of pure joy, it's impossible not to have the time of our lives as well, at least while the music lasts. (8,5/10)
Discovery - I Want You Back (mp3 via Aural States)
Sunday, August 23, 2009
"Kicking into overdrive"
Swedish heartthrob Erik Hassle will be huge, mark my words, and boy, he really has it all, hasn't he? The talent, the voice, the presence, the hair... His plot to rule the world starts officially here, as "Don't Bring Flowers", the first single released outside his home country Sweden, will be out tomorrow in the UK. Basically, an awesome song, with an electro-acoustic feeling and a very cool synth line in its perfect chorus and bridge. The video was filmed in Los Angeles and features our hero wandering around and being cool and stuff. And now that he has your attention, don't go away just yet, as he still has Hurtful up his sleeve coming soon...
Friday, August 21, 2009
If, at first listen, you have mixed feelings towards Complete Me, then don't feel bad, you are not alone. My primary reaction was the same and mainly caused by what Stuart Price, who co-produces this record, has done to the overall sound. Which is actually not much (mainly turning the beats fatter) but still enough to make me feel confused in the beginning, sort of missing the DIY dry sounds of the Frankisum EP. But still, something addicted me in a way that I couldn't stop hearing it over and over again, until nothing else mattered than the fact that this is actually a brilliant collection of pop songs like all pop albums should be: versatile, fun, human and even a bit volatile. So besides the trademark ZX spectrum sounds that made his name in his early days ("Gotta Boyfriend", "In Step", "When Your Around"), we have ballads a la Keane which sound much better than Keane will ever dream of being ("Your Boy"), cheesy 1980's pop anthems - but "cheesy" in the best way possible ("Better Off As Two", "3 Little Words", "Wonder Women"), touching moments ("Complete Me", "Vacant Heart"), experimental electronic ballads that are just incredibly amazing ("Done Done", "Run Away From Trouble"), and much more, while everything still sounding very unique and individual - very "Frankmusik". Hell, he even has a charming and "nice guy" personality that seems almost too perfect to be true (and maybe that's why some critics have been trying to start a backlash and writing pointless and mean reviews - yes NME, I'm looking at you). So basically, a new pop star is officially born. Now show your love. (8,5/10)
Frankmusik - Confusion Girl (video)
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I know that this one is already some months old, but the very warm weather made me go back to it, and damm, it really is a gold pop piece to soundtrack all summer-related things. One of the endless advantages of mixtapes is putting old songs together in a sequence that ends up revealing new aspects to them, like seeing a well-known work of art in a totally new light and, with that in mind, this mixtape by Yes Giantess is pretty flawless. Love the Kylie Minougue moment, for example, and that Mariah Carey oldie has probably never sounded so good. Bonus also to the fact that, with so many classics as company, their own songs shine as brightly. Here's the tracklist for some awes:
Journey - Don't Stop Believin'
Muscles - Sweaty (Shazam Remix)
Yes Giantess - You Were Young (Acapella)
Michael Jackson - P.Y.T.
Kylie Minogue - Boombox (JBAG Mix)
Kylie Minogue - Wow (Single Mix)
Prince - Little Red Corvette
Yes Giantess - Demons
Gui Boratto - Beautiful Life
Phoenix - Heat Wave
autoKratz - Always More (Goshi Goshi Mix)
Giorgio Moroder - What A Night
Yo! Majesty - Don't Let Go (Acapella)
Lily Allen - Not Fair (Kris Di Angelis & Ben Dobie's Circus Mix)
Yes Giantess - You Were Young
Erasure - A Little Respect
Mariah Carey + Jay-Z - Heartbreaker
Yes Giantess - Tuff N Stuff
A-Ha - Take On Me (Twelves Remix)
Download here (via Neon Gold)
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
"Let's escape this town"
New favourite band, everyone! Really all sorts of technicolor brilliance, isn't it? And although they are a duo (from Sweden, btw...), I like what they list as band members on their myspace:
Roland Juno 106
Roland Juno 6
So there you go. Apparently these are the necessary ingredients to make "Widescreen pop".
Monday, August 10, 2009
"you have a womb, you shall deliver me a boy"
Good news everyone, frYars debut album Dark Young Hearts is finally being released on the 14th/21st of September. I've been following this guy's work since his second demo The Ides EP was out about 2 years ago, so it's been quite a long wait. But from what I've already heard, be prepared, as it promises to be one of the records of the year, no question. In the meantime, and to make the expectation a bit easier to handle, here's a new video for Olive Eyes, a track that was previously released on last year's The Perfidy EP and has now a new version, which will be one of the many treats included in Dark Young Hearts.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are back with a new record called It's Blitz. I didn't quite get into the single (Heads Will Roll) but after a second listen it's quickly grown on me. It is, quite simply, mind-blowing. History tells me if I don't like something at first but it leaves me yearning for more it's because I will love it and be obsessed with it for a while. And so it happened. The drum machine, the synths, the guitars, Karen O's voice in a state of emergency... it all works! One of the best tracks I've heard so far this year. And for the rest of the album, I keep the same feeling. It's simply a great collection of songs, that go from rock for the dancefloors to more intimate compostions like Hysteric or Little Shadow that are no way inferior to their flag song Maps. At 41 minutes of length, this is one of this year's most adventurous rock records. Below, the performances of Head Will Roll and Zero on BBC's Later With Jools Holland.