Friday, May 24, 2013
Virginia Woolf infamously said that you need a room of your own to write. In today's age, Disclosure is telling me that I need a strobe light drenched dance floor of my own because bopping around in my kitchen just ain't cutting it when it comes to scorching dance numbers like this one right here.
"When A Fire Starts To Burn" is the funkiest of the stream of tracks the British producing twins have put out in anticipation for their debut album, Settle (arriving June 3rd). Even though the looping refrains can get a bit tedious mere minutes in, bought and sold on this groove I am as it blazes away on a truly intoxicating House beat. Get addicted below.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I spent yesterday (plodding) through Daft Punk's newness Random Access Memories, and though I'm still on the fence about the slushy pina colada soft rock funk venture the robotic twosome are obviously trying to take us on, I have to say that Pharrell's appearance brightened the entire record for me. Though he gets a bad rap as a vocalist, I always tend to have a soft spot for him and since I already adore the work he does under the N.E.R.D./Neptunes umbrella, latching onto his newest release, "Happy" was the easiest of "tasks".
One of three songs he has proposed for the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack, "Happy" features that hand-clapping Motor City magic soul that I swore I put a ban on when the clock struck 2010. Yet, Pharrell just sounds so vibrant, and the beat so infectious that there is no reason for me to be crabby about it. So I'll just go on and happily pad my summer playlist with this little jalapeno popper right here. [H/T: Rolling Stone]
Anticipation for Ms. Triana to release new material has been at a constant for me, as her 2010 debut, Lost Where I Belong was just masterful. Just great singing and great songwriting from start to finish.
After premiering the song on the live circuit for some time, Andreya has officially released the studio version of "Song For A Friend" and she continues with the same lyrical and vocal precision that grabbed my attention at the start. This time she pens a heartfelt tune that hammocks in a cerebral Gospel timbre and the result is just mesmerizing. Seriously, you don't have a spine if you don't feel any tingles creeping up on it once you press play because Andreya Triana just sings the ever-loving mess out of this one. Also take a peek after the cut to experience the live version of "Song For A Friend" just in case you missed it the first time. [H/T: Planet Notion]
Monday, May 20, 2013
Of all the male-female duos that have cropped up as of recent, London twosome 14th got a bit lost in the shuffle, and wrongfully so. As the moodier kin to the likes of AlunaGeorge, 14th's exceptional EP, Hide Yourself, was one of my top favorites back in 2011, as from it they penned some poetical, yet potent pop melodies that urged repeating.
Quite glad to know that these two are back on the grind as they quietly drop a dual cover that consists of Tina Moore's "Never Gonna Let You Go" and Indo's "R U Sleeping". Blending these two songs together in some kind of melancholic mutant mash-up is pretty dang cool (not to mention the fab free download option), and lead vocalist, Tracey Duodu carries it off with soul stirring results.
Consider me captivated.
Monday, May 13, 2013
What is love made of? Hugs? Kisses? Phone calls? Pizza? According to Katy B, love is made out of zesty synths and infectious hooks that are seeped in a 90's House disposition and wrapped up tight for your dancing pleasure --- that's what. Along with disco, 90's House is having a big revival this year, and Miss B doesn't wimp out on serving up a healthy slice of vintage glowstick pop heaven on "What Love Is Made Of", her brand new single for her forthcoming follow-up to 2011's sleeper hit, On A Mission.
This is a potent piece of rave pop that perfectly swoops in to save me from the Monday doldrums.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The conversation has been sparked --- disco is prepping to be the liberator to our dubstep demise. Okay, while its arguable, even premature whether or not the long refashioned, ridiculed and revived genre will be curing the ails of the push n' pound of the EDM generation, things got interesting when Daft Punk released "Get Lucky" last month and the song shot up to the #1 spot in 46 countries...that was within a mere weekend. A big deal. That incident perforated the notion that maybe, just maybe, listeners have their ears tuned to something a bit more on the smooth side and something that reaches back into the decades gone by. Peeling your ears open, its blatant that Little Boots seems ready to front and froth up dizzying decadence of a extinct culture, as she unveils this truth on the twilight disco lament, Nocturnes.
Aptly projecting its title, Nocturnes provides Little Boots (birth certificate name: Victoria Hesketh) to usher in a soundtrack that is meant for the darken corners of lounges and the cruises along a glittering skyline in the afterglow of club euphoria. Hypnotic, sensual, brooding, with provokes of breathy come-hither tones that Andrea True herself would moan 'more more more', Nocturnes puts Hesketh in a lofty position as a potential club enchantress for the Millennial set. It wasn't so evident at first as Hesketh had to elbow her way in through a gaggle of pop's most impossible princesses, which featured the likes of Annie, Robyn, Elly Jackson (of La Roux), Beth Ditto (of Gossip), and of course, Lady Gaga. Hesketh was outside of that circle, as her debut album, 2009's Hands, skimmed the surface of what her contemporaries were crafting, as the singer herself sounded completely detached and unconvinced of the directions the sprawling electronic set took. This left Hesketh out of the discussion, when she should have been one of the first names to slip out as her singles, "New In Town" and "Stuck On Repeat" were noteworthy additions to the modern pop panorama.
Monday, May 6, 2013
When I heard the news that Mariah Carey was teaming up with Mr. Adorn (aka Miguel) for a brand new single, my first reaction while lighting the candles and burning the incense at the Temple of Lamb: "This is either gonna be amazeballs or an utter hail of fail". Harsh, yes, but after the dismal "Triumphant" and the cautious safe stiletto steps into softer fare ("Bring It On Home" and "Almost Home") it further embellished that Mariah's need to stop chasing trends, work on expanding her sound and realizing her position at enticing new fans and keeping her old ones energized was of the essence. Well, what seemed lost is found on the recently unwrapped "#Beautiful", a summery sweet finger-snapper that has both Mariah and Miguel lounging in a flourishing aural winner.
The most refreshing thing about "#Beautiful" is to actually hear a male singer --- not a rapper --- but hear someone who can actually carry a tune saddle up next to Mariah and wax poetical all while giving shades of the Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell partnerships of yore. We all know that Mariah has had many male duet suitors in the past, but not since Trey Lorenz (and this is to my ears) has Mariah been matched pound for pound, as the two harmonize gorgeously atop a lush guitar driven beat as if they've been doing duets together for years. If this is the start to what Mama Lamb is capable of doing in 2013 then consider me, after years of pearl clutching uncertainty, quite optimistic for what is around the bend.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Lovely n' silk scarfed chanteuse Yuna will be taking a stroll down Sixth Street...erm, well, not technically, as Sixth Street is the name of her brand new EP, which rolls out May 7th. Already she has premiered two new songs from it, "I Wanna Go" and the Kyle assisted, "Let Love Come Through".
After citing her Pharrell-produced single, "Live Your Life" as my #1 song of last year, I'll admit I was a tad disappointed over Yuna's self-titled debut, as it was more slow burning acoustic/folk-pop than I had expected. So I'm actually glad she has opted to go in the electro-soul route of "Live Your Life" for this EP, as evidenced by the breezy sonic synths of "Let Love Come Through" and "I Wanna Go" decked out as a spirited pop stepper (that is interestingly enough produced by Incubus member, Mike Einzinger).
The growth of Yuna's musicality just continues to charm.
Now this is something to bow down to.
As lukewarm as I was about the song, all that has changed as Janelle Monáe and Erykah Badu perch themselves on a triumphant high as they twerk, work, give good face, exude positive vibes, and make the la femme revolution completely televised for the eye-catching visual of their joint proclamation, "Q.U.E.E.N."
Fully fueled futuristic feministic funk and attitude is to be feasted upon, and it is pure excellence.
Bravo, ladies, bravo.
As a admirer of the roaring 20's era (the booze! the bobs! Josephine Baker's glam! Dorothy Parker's wit!) and considering F. Scott Fitzgerald's noted classic one of my favorite books, Baz Lurhman's film adaptation of The Great Gatsby is on my 'gotta watch' list.
Aside from the champagne swilling extravaganza it's visually gearing up to be, the Jay-Z produced, all-star packed soundtrack is shaping up to be essentially music to write your suicide notes to, even though it's perfectly in tune with the sinister undertone that Fitzgerald's glitterati wallow in. The doldrums commenced when Florence + The Machine premiered the blistering good "Over The Love" featuring Welch vocally slicing and dicing. After that, Lana Del Rey then took us down the droning meditative road of "Young & Beautiful" while Sia gave us all the feels and somber symphonic on "Kill and Run". Then, to make matters worse, Beyonce and Andre 3000 take Amy Winehouse's "Back To Black" and just make it an insufferable aural mess (note to Beyonce: sashay away from songs that are much too scholastic for you...) I just recently had a death in my family --- hearing such melancholic melodies was just not my idea of a condolence.
Still the art of the soundtrack has been dead for at least a decade, so consider this a silver lining situation that may provoke a revival of sorts thanks to Gatsby's brooding goods (and it's expectant success). I will say I was majorly more so looking forward to Coco O. of Quadron and her feature, "Where The Wind Blows", which to no surprise livens up the joint. Swirling in a little ragtime piano, Coco's layered vocalizing, and a skittish percussion beat, taps this Jazz era inspired song with a little modern zip, making it perfect to twerk and do the Charleston.
The Great Gatsby soundtrack will be available May 7th, while the movie hits theaters May 10th.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
UK collective Rudimental's debut album, Home (arriving April 29th in the UK) is shaping up to being total best friends with me, as it boasts a tight roster of guest spots such as Emeli Sande and Alex Clare, and my current favorite, MNEK, as well as features classy aural capers like buzzy singles "Waiting All Night", "Spoons" and "Feel The Love". Another slice of House-Garage escapism has debuted, and it's the MNEK and newcomer, Sinead Harnett guest spot, "Baby". Proof that a black and white visual can be colorful as the two of them strike multiple poses among inflatable balloons, seeming completely euphoric and lost in the music. Still what is painting on the color is MNEK and Harnett's voices, which are perfectly cast for this type of music craft.
MNEK continues to remind me of a suave New Jack crooner, a Johnny Gill or an Alexander O'Neal. While it seems the male falsetto dominates Pop and Soul respectively, I love a good rich deep he-man voice. Especially one over pounding House beats. Rowr.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Choose Your Own Adventure was quite the ambitious effort from Canadian singer/songwriter Maylee Todd. It pretty much threw a monkey wrench into my existence when I heard it back in 2011, as it was zany and filled with abstract sounds that were definitely ripe for my eclectic pallet and made me think of Todd as sort of a distant cousin to the likes of Janelle Monae and Nelly Furtado. In short, she was my new best friend in my head. It's lovely to see that she has followed up the album with Escapology, yet another fireball of a set that further shows the prismatic makings of her along with highlighting ways she has grown artistically from her debut.
Lead-off singles, the swinging horn-infused "Baby's Got It" and punchy "Hieroglyphics" are the showstoppers, as is the Stevie Wonder-esque, "First and Last" and "I Can't Stand It", a string-laden soul comfort suite that is just itching to be slow danced too. I was quite surprised at Escapeology adopting a more 70's soul-lite disco vibe with a few whisper folk touches ("Clementine's Nights") and blue lights in the basement confessionals ("I Tried") in the mix. Still Maylee is Maylee as she pulls from her sleeve The Pointer Sisters "Pinball Number Count" and if you grew up with Sesame Street like I did you'll recognize it as the funkiest way to count numbers in history, and Todd keeps it just as funky with wa-wa bass lines and scattering percussion. Awesome.
Escapology is available for purchase over at Maylee Todd's Bandcamp spot, and I for one, highly recommend you gather up some coins and give it a spin.
[H/T: Muphoric Sounds]
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Hear yee, hear yee, Lady Janelle Monáe of Wondaland and Lady Erykah Badu of Baduizla have requested that you lend you ears to their collaborative effort, "Q.U.E.E.N." After cryptic thought-provoking .gifs detailing the conjoining of two of music's most innovative minds for what is the introductory number for Monáe's hotly anticipated Electric Lady project, we are now treated with the fruits of their collaborative labor.
Not that I don't appreciate the fussy n' fat bass-funk backbeat, Monáe and Badu spitting out rapid fire viva individualism! lyrics, and the stellar closing notes that weave in jazzy horns and the taunt eclecticism we know and love from the both of them, still "Q.U.E.E.N." is quite a tame feature for this newfound sisterhood. Even with a an obvious Prince sheen, Monáe's symphonic touches, and empowering quotables (love: "even if it makes others uncomfortable I wanna love who I am") it's surprisingly flat soda --- satisfying for the thirst, but no fizz or flavor. Considering what these two have cooked up separately (especially Monáe on her masterful, The ArchAndroid), it's just a bit odd how they would cancel each other out the way they do here, almost sounding too much alike, and it's ironic considering the track's message against conformity.
Maybe expectations were too high, maybe I'm just not on the funky tip today, or maybe it's because someone took the last of the apple cinnamon Greek yogurt from the fridge, but count me swinging on the fence wondering whether "Q.U.E.E.N." is a grower or a thrower.
[Still "categorize me, I defy every label" is my new mantra and needs to be on a T-shirt or something.]
Monday, April 22, 2013
Notorious for coloring outside of the lines, Kelis is back to her old sound-shifting tricks as she sneaks into this week with "Call On Me".
Those hoping for Flesh Tone Round 2 might be sorely disappointed as instead of palpitating sweat-out-your-perm-and-deodorant beats snatch n' grab horns that are cushioned in a chugging Afrobeat-inspired rhythm occupy this transcending number. Personally, I love it. Love, love, love it and as Kelis proclaims in her raspy tone: it does 'feel like it should'. Looking forward, Kelis has now set her roots down on TV On The Radio's David Sitek's label, and is prepping to release not one, but two albums this year, you know, just because she likes showing off like that. Still if "Call On Me" is an indicator on the newest chapter Kelis is scribbling out...consider my interest further piqued.
[Edit 4/24: Kelis' "Call On Me" has been re-titled "Jerk Ribs"...because...well...because Kelis is hungry. I dunno. Still the song kicks.]