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I’m quickly falling under spell of the caramel smooth voice of Jessie Ware. It’s always a treat to find a singer that doesn’t need to rely on vocal gymnastics (which, in fairness, when done well can be amazing eg. Beyonce but when done poorly produces insufferable results eg. Christina Aguilera) or a if-I-sing/belt-any-louder-my-head-will-actually-explode unavoidable volume to get the song’s message and the singer’s emotions across. Jessie Ware is able to coo and caress the listener’s ear with her breathy angelic tone and still be just as effecting, if not more, than all the Mariahs, Marys and Joss Stones put together. Mind you, girl has some serious pipes and can still hold her own against the rest of the Divas, the difference is she knows when to hold back and when to let it all out.

Sweet Talk showcases Ware’s ability to shift from a subtle and restrained vocal in one verse only to enchant the listener in the following verse with an effortless powerhouse vocal. The instrumentation and production in Ware’s tracks is always top notch, I’m loving this one especially with it’s 80’s style synth bleeps and bloops and that electric guitar that pops up unexpectedly in the middle eight is, as they say, EVERYTHING.

Have a listen and if you love it make sure to check out Ware’s other outstanding tracks!

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The wonderful Lana Del Rey is going to be re releasing her exceptional debut album Born to Die with seven new songs in November.

“It’s not a new album; it’s more like an afterthought,” Lana said. “It’s the ‘Paradise Edition’ of Born To Die. It’s, like, seven new songs that kind of put a period on the statement I was finishing when I was making the record.”

Good stuff. I for one loved Lana’s album, a lot of people criticised it as being to samey but for me, even if the music sucked I ADORE Lana’s voice. Thankfully, in my opinion, the music was the opposite of sucky. I really enjoyed Born To Die’s mixture of retro spaghetti guitar soundscapes but done in a modern hip hop infused way.

In advance of the re release, Lana just released a mix tape containing several unreleased demos and remixes entitled God Bless America. You can catch the full download over at http://www.hardcandymusic.com, and it’s definitely worth a listen. As with any bulk release of material that didn’t make the cut for an album, there’s a couple of duds. However, her voice on everything sounds great and some tracks showcase a lighter more fun side to Lana that wasn’t as prevalent on her debut.

As I said, the mix tape has it’s fair share of duds, but they’re are a few of gems. My favourite is Driving in Cars with Boys, it’s got a much more upbeat 50’s style to it than anything else on Born To Die. I can see why she left it off as it is jarringly different from all the other tracks production/mood wise but it’s still a great pop song with a very catchy chorus.

Have a listen and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! In this version the chorus is an octave lower, I prefer the extra punch the octave higher version gives but I can’t find it on youtube : ( Head over to http://www.hardcandymusic.com to hear the proper version in all it’s glory!

 

 

Lena Dunham is the mastermind behind one of the most clever female driven comedic shows on HBO this year. Lena writes, stars and directs the extremely witty and refreshingly honest Girls; a show that draws upon Dunham’s own experiences as someone in their early 20’s trying to adjust to a post college world and attain the life and career they have always dreamt of.

Dunham plays Hannah, an aspiring writer who gets a nasty reality check when her parents decide the time has come for Hannah to start financially supporting herself. The series centres around Dunham’s character and her small click of friends as they traverse through the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and as the press release states “navigate through their 20’s one mistake at a time”.

Dunham stated in an interview regarding the show that the age bracket of mid to late 20 year olds trying to figure out what to do with themselves has been under represented in shows like Gossip Girl and Sex and The City. I think perhaps that’s one of the reasons I love the show so much as I can really relate to Hannah and her friend’s struggles to carve out a career and life for themselves that will make them happy. It also helps that the show is so well written and rip roaringly hilarious, Lena Dunham is definitely the voice a generation and undoubtedly has an amazing career ahead of her.

If you haven’t yet seen Girls make sure you tune in and fall under the charms of these talented and intelligent ladies!

I was lucky enough to catch First Aid Kit perform at a small intimate stage during the Electric Picnic music festival in Ireland a couple of years ago. Even though it was pretty early, wet and I was nursing a filthy hang over the sisters captivated me with their bewitching harmonies and melancholy lyrics.

At the beginning of this year they released the wonderful country star name dropping single Emmylou. The single somehow passed under my radar but thankfully I stumbled across this gem on one of my daily trawlings through cyberspace. Emmylou features on the duos second album Lion’s Roar which has garnered rave reviews and seen the band chart relatively well across the globe.

Have a listen and be prepared to fall under the spell of these Swedish country music stars!

Whenever I’m feeling a little blue, there’s one person who I know I can always turn to in my time of need. Some people look their families or their faith for comfort but I’ve got something better… Fiona Apple!

Ever since I discovered her music through likeminded friends as a teenager i’ve been obsessed. The sheer ferocity and rawness of Fiona’s vocal and lyrical output has helped distinguish her from her contemporaries and earned her a legion of die hard fans. Fiona Apple has only released four albums in a career spanning nearly 16 years but has still found herself becoming one of the most critically acclaimed singers of her generation.

Lyrically and thematically Fiona’s fourth album focuses on stories of love gone wrong and the singer’s dissections on the workings of her anxiety ridden mind. Whilst this is by no means new terrain for Fiona, the sparse production and instrumentation create a sense of urgency and isolation that have always been in her work but never so prevalent and effecting.

The album in it’s entirety is a must have, but for now I’ll leave you with two of my favourite tracks from the album. Every Single Night and it’s accompanying sci-fi/drug-dream tinged video and I think possibly my favourite Fiona Apple track ever Left Alone.

 

I came across this guilty pleasure on the great middle eastern music blog http://www.loft965.com. The track is called Imagine and it is a duet between two Scandinavian Popstars; Tone Damli hailing from Norway and a past contestant from her native land’s Pop Idol and Eric Saade who represented Sweden in last years Eurovision.

Imagine is pure Euro Pop cheese but like all great pop songs it’s simple and catchy melody keeps you coming back for more…It also helps that Eric Saade is foiiine and is parading around a good portion of the video topless *SWOON*. Unfortunately, Saade seems hellbent on breaking out his less than stellar breakdancing/pop & lock/I-don’t-know-what-kind-of-dance-he’s-trying-to-do moves and it’s a little cringe but in fairness he did provide us with a lot of torso flashing so I’m willing to overlook it!

Imagine; listen to it, love it and pine after Saade

 

 

Dear sweet Marina, it’s wonderful to have you back. Marina & The Diamonds was one of the most musically interesting women to emerge during the female pop renaissance mainstream music has been experiencing over the past couple of years. With a vocal timbre that’s part Kate Bush part Gwen Steffani and an album full of engaging and unique lyrical content, Marina’s success and household name status was imminent.

Unfortunately, the success that Marina had tirelessly been striving for didn’t materialise with her first album. Thankfully, the commercial triumph she had always been aiming for has finally come with the release of her sophomore effort Electra Heart. I haven’t had a chance to properly listen to the album but I have a feeling it’s gonna be a doozy of an album!

This is the latest video released from the album and it’s the Greg Kurstin produced Power & Control. I’m really enjoying this track and it’s accompanying video, Marina looks beautiful and the grim production of the song really helps get the lyrical message across. Marina’s voice is so versatile and she knows exactly how to use her impressive range to create great melodic hooks. I’ll leave you with the video, and make sure to check out all the acoustic performances of the songs as they are also rather good!

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