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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

In Awe Of… Sweet Talk

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!

 

 

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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!

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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.

 

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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

 

 

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In Awe Of… Rebecca & Fiona

Seriously, what is up with the women in Sweden? There has to be something in the genetic code of Swedish females that makes their pop songwriting abilities heightened and ultimately superior to the rest of the world’s. My infatuation with the world of lady led Swedish Pop began with the outstanding brother sister duo The Knife. Since then Sweden has blessed the world with the musical talents of Lykke Li, Robyn, Jenny Wilson, First Aid Kit, Icona Pop..and much much much more, but I’ll stop myself there as I’m already salivating just thinking about all the creamy pop goodness this country has given us and undoubtedly still has to offer.

Step in my new pop fixation Electro Pop duo Rebecca & Fiona. The women released their debut album I Love You Man in late 2011 and it was, unsurprisingly, a big hit in Sweden. The duo are now set to globally release their debut and from the strength of this newly released video for their track Dance I have a feeling these talented ladies are going to become a pop music force to be reckoned with! Take a listen to Dance, don’t let the title fool you it’s not an upbeat “get on the floor” disco romp. I love the way the track gradually grows into a sparkling final chorus/verse section, it’s a slow burner but once it get’s going I assure you you’ll be captivated.

Here’s the video for another single from their album, Jane Doe. Whilst this track doesn’t appeal to me as much as Dance does, I LOVE the video, very dark and amusing! I’m happy to say that Rebecca & Fiona are another great act to add to my list of freakishly talented and wondrous Scandinavian pop stars.

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School Of Seven Bells were originally a trio made up of guitarist/producer Benjamin Curtis and identical twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza. On their debut album Alpinisms, we were introduced to the sisters remarkable ability at creating intricate vocal harmonies together to the most stunning results. The sisters not only possessed identical facial features but also virtually identical singing voices. Left in less capable hands this characteristic could have worked to their detriment. Thankfully, the girls set aside their twin identity issues (and speaking as a twin I KNOW that there was more than likely a time when having the same singing voice was a problem for at least one of them) and got together with Curtis to create some of the most interesting and beautiful electronic music I had heard in quite some time!

Sadly, the trio is now a duo due to personal reasons (twin identity issues) Claudia Deheza left the group in October 2010 . Sonically, it’s not really a problem as I said before the twins voices were almost indistinguishable from each other. Thankfully, the same gorgeous vocal harmonies the group are known for are still to be found, albeit they’re done by only one Deheza this time around. On Alipinisms the vocal arrangements did tend to be a focal point of the music. However on their third album Ghostory the vocals are still at the forefront but the music behind them is much spikier. With their previous work the music, whilst wonderful in its own right, did tend to politely take the back seat to the vocals. It seems with the new album that the two components are now working in tandem to great effect. The Group have said that Ghostory is their most collaborative effort to date. Previously the group would write music independently of one another and on their own time. With their latest album they decided to create a more spontaneous feeling and wrote together in a room, bouncing ideas of each other and reacting to each others’ input and suggestions. The experiment paid off and the group have created their most thrilling album to date.

The new songs have a much more up beat feel to them. They’re a lot more M83ish than their previous tracks which if you share my musical tastes is a very good thing! There’s been a definite effort to create more danceable School Of Seven Bells sound and I for one am thoroughly enjoying it! Ghostory is somewhat of a concept album, in it’s lyrical content at least. The pair have woven together a story about a girl named Lafaye (a title of one of the album’s tracks and a standout one for me) and the ghosts that surround her life.

In the past, the tracks on previous albums had a tendency to blend into one another as the album progressed. With this new offering each track maintains a common musical and lyrical theme carried on throughout the album. However, each track is also able to stand up upon it’s own merit and strength as a song. The Night, Lafaye and Scavenger are three of my favourite tracks, but the whole album is top notch and well worth a buy! If you’re a fan of M83, Glasser or any kind of shoegazey electronic music this is definitely up your street! Have a listen and I hope you enjoy!

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