It oughta happen. Lana Del Rey & Baz Luhrmann is such a match made in heaven that it comes as no surprise she’s doing the main theme song for his big-budget, potentially hot-mess adaptation of The Great Gatsby. The Rick-Nowels-produced “Young & Beautiful” is no grand departure for Lana. It’s practically an aural equivalent of her gazing forlornly at her reflection in the pale moonlight in her red dress on a Friday night etc. etc., but fortunately her schtick hasn’t worn out for me yet. It’s vapidly beautiful, bewitching pop-noir and I won’t have it any other way. Right now, I might prefer the Dan Heath Orchestral Version just a little bit more, ’cause I’m a sucker for strings. Check both versions below and tell me what you think.
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – Young & Beautiful
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – Young & Beautiful (Dan Heath Orchestral Version)
Buy the single on iTunes.
The Great Gatsby soundtrack features new tracks from Florence + The Machine, The XX, Fergie, Emeli Sande, Sia, Nero and loads more. And for some reasons, a trap-style cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back To Black” by Beyoncé and Andre 3000.
As you know, Record Store Day is on 4/20 this weekend. and it’s a great date to support local record stores, buy exclusive new releases and just have fun appreciating music. One of the most coveted RSD releases this year is Astralwerks’ limited edition 20/20 Vinyl Box Set to celebrate their 20th anniversary. They’re one of my favorite labels, and this release is a great time capsule of all the great acts on their roster over the years. Included are exclusives or rarely heard tracks from Air, Hot Chip, Kings Of Convenience, The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, Basement Jaxx, Kraftwerk, Sia, Empire Of The Sun, Diamond Rings, Gold Fields and more, each pressed on 20 beautiful flexi discs. Only 1,250 copies were pressed and hand-numbered, so you know it’s strictly limited! Lucky for you, thanks to the nice people at Astralwerks, we have ONE copy to give away, in case they’re all sold out at your favorite local store.
Find out after the jump how YOU can win one of these amazing box sets.
Empress Of is the moniker of Lorely Rodriguez, Brooklyn-based songstress signed to Terrible Records, label home of Solange and Chairlift. Considering the label’s pedigree, it should come as no surprise that her new track “Hat Trick” is a total dream-pop choon. It’s subdued, ethereal ’80s synth-pop at its smoothest, with slick production and silky sweet vocals. In a nutshell, it sounds like St. Vincent produced by Dev Hynes (Blood Orange). The only flaw I can find is that it’s too damn short! With this, Empress Of has unofficially joined the like-minded crystal-ball pop league of Twin Sister, Class Actress and Glasser. Now excuse me while I go hit repeat one more time.
STREAM: Empress Of – Hat Trick
I don’t know much indie-rock duo Foxygen, but I’m glad I didn’t let their questionable band name put me off. “San Francisco”, from their awesomely-titled album “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic”, is a sweet throwback to ’70s AM rock, and also doubles as an out-of-context unofficial West Coast anthem. With its off-kilter, bookish charm, “San Francisco” sits comfortably somewhere between a Wes Anderson soundtrack and a pitched theme song for a non-existent The OC reboot. Its ’70s easy-going sunny vibe is certainly a pleasant distraction from the dreary East Coast weather lately. I haven’t checked out the album yet, but I do hope there’s a dozen more of these.
STREAM: Foxygen – San Francisco
I love me some ’60s-loving duo side projects. I can name a handful off the top of my head: The Last Shadow Puppets, Cat’s Eyes, Scarlett Johansson & Pete Yorn, Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs, James Levy & The Blood Red Rose. Now Adam Green (The Moldy Peaches) and Binki Shapiro (Little Joy), are the latest to channel the Nancy/Lee dynamic with a self-tiled LP out January 29. The opening track “Here I Am” is a playful and sweet love song, with the tried-and-true deep-voiced-male/honey-voiced-female combination that guarantees an immediate spot on your local Starbucks playlist. Expect more loveliness like this when the album drops. Enjoy it while you can, since these kinds of projects hardly last beyond one album.
STREAM: Adam Green & Binki Shapiro – Collage (James Gang Cover)
The Beyoncé PR machine is running on overload. $15 million Pepsi endorsement deal, rumored H&M campaign, Destiny’s Child reunion, new HBO documentary, the inaugural concert, and of course, the Superbowl Halftime show! Her team deserves a gold medal for pulling out all the stops this time. She literally CANNOT fail can’t she. Since there’s little we know yet about the lead single, let’s focus some attention on the one that started her solo career, the horn-blazing, Rich-Harrison-produced “Crazy In Love”. Did you know Beyoncé features a bootleg dubstep remix on the trailer of her forthcoming HBO documentary “Life Is But A Dream”, one that only has about 6,000 views on Youtube prior to this? A Google moment and it turns out this remix is made back in 2010 by a guy called Sebastian Nahi, aka FeelX, who now goes by the name VÄRT. It’s actually quite impressive for an unofficial remix, it’s very “now”, with dark undertones, slightly sinister pitched-down vocal samples and of course, some big ol’ silly wobble-wobble bass.
One question remains unanswered: Does Queen B look up fan made remixes in her spare time when Blue Ivy’s asleep?
You might have known Rachel Zeffira as one half of Cat’s Eyes, the unjustly underrated ’60s-pop side project of Faris Badwan of The Horrors fame. Now the classically-trained Canadian multi-instrumentalist/singer is ready to venture on her own solo debut “The Deserters”, out this March in North America on Paper Bag Records. First single “Here On In” is ethereal dream-pop lushly crafted, with a certain Gallic cool that recalls Air or Charlotte Gainsbourg. Her airy, bewitching vocals float weightlessly above a bed of strings, synths and spectral harmonies. It’s beautifully arranged nocturnal music for fans of shoegaze and retro-minded indie pop. Therefore, it makes total sense that she chose to cover My Bloody Valentine’s “To Here Knows When” for the flip side. Check out both tracks below, and keep a close watch for more to come. The owls are not what they seem.
STREAM: Rachel Zeffira – Here On In
STREAM: Rachel Zeffira – To Here Knows When (My Bloody Valentine Cover)
How many ways can you remix Lana Del Rey? Just how many producers got sent the stems every time she readies a new single? I have a feeling there must be a plethora of unreleased mixes not making the cut, when they always releasing a mixed bag of tricks. For her new Rick-Rubin-produced single “Ride”, Active Child and Photek step up to the task and deliver two of the best rejigs so far. Do check them out below!
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – Ride (Active Child Remix)
Active Child adds some seriously funky basslines and pretty harp chords with an ’80s finish.
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – Ride (Photek Remix)
Props to the legendary Photek for not turning in a token drum n’ bass mix (Special Request has filled that slot instead), and for keeping the melodies intact, making it one of the more tamed offerings from him. I still would like to hear a proper old-school jungle take on Lana though.
By now you probably have heard and seen Solange‘s stunner of a single, the Blood Orange-produced “Losing You”. It’s chilled, it’s understatedly brilliant, it’s probably the best track/video she put her name to. “Sleep in the Park”, the b-side attached to it (how old-fashioned!) is also out now and featuring Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal on vocals. Between this and his back-and-forth collaborations with Janelle Monae, that man does love to work with alt-R&B ladies. Check it out below.
STREAM: Solange – Sleep in the Park (Feat. Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal)
And here’s the amazing video for “Losing You”. I love the path Solange chose for herself, out of Beyoncé’s shadow, and I expect her new album to amaze me.
“Something In The Way You Are” is easily the best of the batch of new songs on Kimbra‘s US release of “Vows”. It’s a straightforward, catchy midtempo pop number that makes good use of a recycled Lil’ Mama beat. What I didn’t see coming is a remix from Nordic space-disco wiz Prins Thomas. Have a listen below.
STREAM: Kimbra – Something In The Way You Are (Prins Thomas Discomiks)
Watch the literally bonkers video for her latest single “Come Into My Head” after the jump.
It’s strange to remember that Joss Stone is still quite big in America. Despite being largely ignored in her homeland, her last 3 albums have all gone top ten here. 9 years after “The Soul Sessions” – the album that started it all, she just released Vol. 2, comprising a new collection of cover songs. The lead single is a stoned-soul rendition of Broken Bells’ “The High Road”, which is pretty much the 2012 equivalent of her White Stripes cover “Fell In Love With A Boy” back then. I actually find it quite agreeable, if a bit oversung. She’s obviously a very gifted vocalist, but I wish she would stop smoking pot for a second to give Eg White a call and go back to her “You Had Me” ways. Anyway, it’s quite nice to see her in a proper music video again. Watch the psychedelic video for “The High Road” below.
Chrysta Bell is David Lynch‘s mysterious new muse, who self-released her debut album “This Train” in 2011. Even though her new video for album cut Bird Of Flames was not directed by Lynch, it certainly shares a few thematic influences. It’s an otherworldly, colorful, sensual cabaret performance piece that’s a perfect visual match for the song, which I would describe as ‘Goldfrapp goes android’ – eerie, hypnotic, trippy, late-night mood music. If the production reminds you of Lynch’s own “Crazy Clown Time” stuff, you’re not far off since the auteur did produce it indeed. Have a peek at the beautiful video below.
STREAM: Chrysta Bell – Bird Of Flames
Lana Del Rey‘s world has been certainly busy lately, what with the touring, fronting H&M fall campaign, readying the “Paradise Edition” of Born To Die, not to mention spoiling fans with countless leaked demos. Meanwhile, I’m digging this breezy eastern-flavored hip-hop Cashmere Cat remix of “National Anthem” – which in its original form is a major summer anthem on all counts. Now how about some more US tour dates Lana?
Would you like some new Lana Del Rey remixes while we’re all patiently waiting for the “National Anthem” video to drop? The legendary Todd Terry delivers a splendid rework for the summer nights, while Afterlife opts for the afterhours chillout/lounge treatment, which I’m surprised hadn’t been done before. The 4th single from “Born To Die” will be released July 8 in the UK.
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – National Anthem (Todd Terry Radio Remix)
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – National Anthem (Afterlife Remix)
And if you’ve got 35 minutes to spare, her beautiful Hackney Weekend set is watchable in its entirety here.
Diplo is full of surprises isn’t he? Responsible for the most unexpectedly brilliant mainstream R&B song this year, the producer adds a new touch to Usher‘s blissed-out “Climax” with a subtle but “bouncier” alternate mix. It’s sounding especially awesome for this rainy Sunday afternoon. Who’d have thought that a collaboration between Usher, Diplo, and Nico Muhly would be possible, let alone so utterly inspired? “Radiohead quiet soul”, indeed.
STREAM: Usher – Climax (Diplo Bouncier Climactic Remix)
If you want to bring the tears to the dancefloor, check out the Flosstradamus & Diplo remix below.
STREAM: Usher – Climax (Flosstradamus and Diplo Remix)
For some reasons, I am not too fussed about the new Scissor Sisters single “Only The Horses”. The band roped in producer-of-the-moment Calvin Harris for the collaboration, and his signature sound is all over it but Scissor’s. This could have been a Mika track even! I don’t know if this is their attempt to conquer the (UK) chart again, or just the safe for-the-masses one to pave the album sales the way “Fire With Fire” was? Maybe some extra bits and bobs from the extended mix may sway your opinion?
STREAM: Scissor Sisters – Only The Horses (Calvin Harris Extended Mix)
For the record, I think “Shady Love” was the better one. It was different, but still fun & silly.
STREAM: Scissor Sisters vs Krystal Pepsy – Shady Love (Extended Mix)
“Only The Horses” is out May 13.
The latest Lana Del Rey remix comes from Alpines, the moody pop duo previously responsible for this great Emeli Sande remix. Their rework of her new single “Blue Jeans” follows a similar palette, with postdubstep beats and some nice piano bits. They are quite good at this remixing thing, aren’t they?
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans (Alpines Remix)
Even though the Alpines one is not on the forthcoming remix EP (outrage!), Blood Orange‘s is and can be streamed in full now. I would describe it as something to soundtrack an ’80s movie montage.
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans (Blood Orange Remix)
Welcome back, Shirley & co.
It took them a 5-year break and a shelved solo project, but Garbage is finally back together making sweet music again. On their own without a major label this time, they are so kind to give away their first comeback release to the fans for free! “Blood For Poppies”, the lead single from the new album “Not Your Kind Of People”, is like catching up with an old friend from high school. It has a whiff of that classic Garbage sound we’ve known and loved, and but it is also very current, as in I can actually imagine this playing on American radio and become a hit on the Modern Rock stations. And very catchy and arms-aloft it is, too. I am just so goddamn excited about this reunion. Alongside No Doubt, Fiona Apple, Pulp, Blur, and the original Sugababes, 2012 is set to become the best year for ’90s nostalgia yet. Watch out for the music video out soon, and get your tickets for the tour!
Get your free mp3 here, at the cost of your email address.
Gossip has just unleashed their new single, “Perfect World”, produced by the one and only Brian Higgins of Xenomania. It’s a polished, straightforward pop-rock number, and the Xenomania stamp is unmistakable on the lush instrumental breaks. Set for a May release, the forthcoming album is called “A Joyful Noise”, as a tribute to the Queen Latifah/Dolly Parton movie of the same name.* I am quite looking forward to this, especially after Beth Ditto’s fantastic but brief solo outing. Check out the track below, or click here to watch the lyric video, if you prefer some nice typography action and kaleidoscopic visuals to go with it.
STREAM: Gossip – Perfect World
Beach House is ready to return with their fourth album “Bloom”, due May 15 on Sub Pop. To get you properly excited, the Baltimore dream-pop duo is offering the lead single “Myth” for free. Usually for a band of their stature, there are two directions to take: either get more polished, or get self-indulgent. I’m glad they chose the former, as “Myth” offers the signature Beach House sound we’ve known and loved. Indeed, it will be pretty hard to top “Teen Dream”, but I trust that their new album should soundtrack many summer nights to come. Grab the mp3 below, and check out their US tour dates after the jump.
MP3: Beach House – Myth
LA-based DJ Skeet Skeet just dropped this hot new remix of Oh Land’s “White Nights”, and the title could not be more accurate. It’s all chill, summery ’80s disco, I can almost picture a Miami Vice montage set to this. Apparently, he put this together while they were touring alongside on Katy Perry’s California Dreams tour. Grab a free download below and add it to your spring break/summer playlist!
The Lana Del Rey has officially announced her next single to be “Blue Jeans”, out April 8. A video has been shot by “Born To Die” director Yoann Lemoine, and the release will be supported with a set of remixes by D/R/U/G/S, Blood Orange, Kris Menace and RAC. You can now listen to the first of the bunch, a deep, pulsing take by German DJ Kris Menace.
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans (Kris Menace Remix)
Having done a brilliant job on Adele’s “Set Fire On The Rain”, Belgian producer Moonlight Matters once again adds his magic disco touch to “Blue Jeans”. The track seems to fit this kind of rendering quite well, as evidenced by the excellent Penguin Prison mix I posted before.
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans (Moonlight Matters Remix)
Last but not least is a brand new mix of “Video Games” by Dutch producer Joris Voorn. I have to say I adore his 7-minute minimal-tech edit, it sounds perfect for late night driving. Europe must really love her.
If you’re not totally sick of the remix overload yet, a new “Video Games” remix EP has just been added on iTunes US, with now-purchasable takes by Club Clique, Jakwob and Etherwood, White Lies, Jamie Woon and We Don’t Belong In Pacha. You can’t say Interscope doesn’t know how to keep milking it properly! Preview the whole set on Soundcloud.
Brooklyn twee-pack The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are readying a remix EP companion to their 2011 album “Belong”. To be released on limited edition colored vinyl for Record Store Day, “Acid Reflex” consists of 2 previously released mixes by Twin Shadow and Violens, as well as new ones by chillwaver Washed Out and UK indie-pop legend Saint Etienne. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have always made excellent music for cold sunshine days, but Saint Etienne went for a more dancefloor-friendly take on album track “Too Tough”. Interestingly, this marks the second time the two bands aligned, as Saint Etienne also did their magic on “Higher Than The Stars” back in 2009. Check out both Saint Etienne mixes below.
STREAM: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Higher Than The Stars (Saint Etienne Visits Lord Spank Remix)
Ever since she arrived on the scene in 2006, Cassie Ventura, professionally known as Cassie, has unexpectedly garnered a cult online following. Beside her model looks, her glassy, detached voice is a producer’s dream, as its limit is just ripe for studio tweaking trickery. She’s gained so much goodwill on the strength of her only major hit to date, the stone cold classic “Me & U”, and a string of underperformed subsequent singles and leaks. After numerous delays and setbacks, the R&B ice princess is finally ready for a proper comeback. I hereby present you her new single “King Of Hearts” in its complete, official form.
STREAM: Cassie – King Of Hearts
At first listen, it sounds like a very current “club banger”, albeit with a fresh twist, and unconventional structure. She comes across as cool and edgy without trying too hard, and the frosty, frenzied electro-pop production laid atop just oozes class. “King Of Hearts” surely makes for a blazing reintroduction. Welcome back, Cassie.
The video and the song will be available to buy on Valentine’s Day next week.