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Archive for October, 2010

Covercentric: Mara Carlyle Reinterprets Amerie

Chances are you have seen this adorable IKEA commercial. Well, the song in it is by a lovely British vocalist named Mara Carlyle. I could only vaguely recall a remix she did for Jamie Lidell, so it called for further inspection. Interestingly, I found out that she has done not one, but two great cover versions of Amerie’s “1 Thing”, both of which sadly flew under the radar. I was completely obsessed with the horn-happy, ridiculously addictive original back in 2004, and to this day it remains Amerie’s best work, and Rich Harrison’s second-best production. Mara was able to take the R&B modern classic to unexpected territories. “Piximerie” is an indie-rock-leaning mashup with the Pixies, featured as a b-side for her 2005 single “Baby Bloodheart”. A much more stripped-down take called “Vietnamerie” was on her 2008 EP “Ancient & Modern”. “Vietnamerie” is probably my favorite out of the two, for its spectral, dreamlike vibe.
Apparently, her new record has been in unreleased limbo for quite a while due to conflicts with her label. Hopefully, thanks to those IKEA cats, this will soon be resolved. She’s got a sweet baroque-pop/jazz voice, I’ll be keeping an eye out for her new materials. Get the covers, and the IKEA track “Pianni” after the jump.


Popforward: Clare Maguire

She’s Irish, has that Stevie-Nicks-esque vocal prowess, and big tunes to match. Her debut single, “Ain’t Nobody”, sounds like standing in the middle of windy moors with arms outstretched gripping the air. She’s for sure not afraid of using her lungs to their full capacity. For a song this intense, the Sam-Brown-directed video is suitably epic. It’s so striking and spectacular, like a Storm Thorgerson album cover come to life. It’s quite impressive that the label seems to be pulling all the stops to launch her properly. I bet there are even bigger tunes, just waiting to be unleashed. Watch out for her, she is clearly going after Florence’s epic pie. But seriously, though, watch the video!

There’s also a dubstep Breakage remix of this floating around. Below, you can grab a version of another track, “Strangest Thing”, remixed by  famous production team Bloodshy & Avant.

MP3: Clare Maguire – Strangest Thing (Bloodshy & Avant Version)

“Ain’t Nobody” is out now in the UK. She has been signed in the US, so a release over here is guaranteed.

More on Clare.

Popforward: Mohini Geisweiller

Nowadays, it’s rare for me to discover a video before an artist. However, that’s exactly the case with Mohini Geisweiller, a lady from France with a very distinctively European name. Her video for “Milk Teeth”, directed by Danakil, is an enigmatic, dreamlike, surreal visual experience. It doesn’t hurt that she looks absolutely gorgeous, too. The song is a subtle but beautiful piece of after-hours electronic pop with cold waves of synths and a sinister undertone. Mohini’s soft, hushed, accented vocals adds to the mystic mood. Musically, it reminds me of Goldfrapp’s quieter moments before the “Seventh Tree” era.

I found it quite odd that Mohini’s presence on the Internet is next to nothing. Apparently, she used to be in a band called “Sex in Dallas”, whose sound is more electroclash. Little information about her and this project is available, except that she’s signed to a major label in France, and the song is on an EP of the same name, already released on iTunes. Music this nice doesn’t deserve to go unnoticed. With luck, we’ll get to hear more music of the same vein from her soon.

MP3: Mohini Geisweiller – Milk Teeth

More on Mohini.

Covercentric: Dermot O’Leary Presents The Saturday Sessions

This 2-disc compilation has recently been released in the UK. The apt timing has a lot to do with the X Factor hype, no doubt. Similar to the Live Lounge series, it’s a mix of live performances and covers originally performed on Dermot’s show on BBC Radio 2, with 20 tracks on each disc. There’s something for everyone here, but obviously, I’m more interested in the covers offered here. The Divine Comedy’s cover of MGMT’s “Time To Pretend” truly stands out as my favorite. Neil adds his baroque touch and truly makes it his own. It’s probably my favorite MGMT cover after Jónsi’s. Another interesting choice is Lisa Hannigan’s “Playground Love”. Imogen Heap’s haunting piano cover of “Thriller” is bound to be a Halloween playlist essential. There are also other solid choices, like Fyfe Dangerfield covering Girls Aloud’s “Call The Shots”, Ellie Goulding doing Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”, Athlete tackling La Roux’s “Bulletproof” and more. If you’re a fan of acoustic live performances, and would like to get these in high quality to replace those radio rips, then I suggest giving this compilation a listen. Sample some picks after the jump.


Popforward: Lauren Pritchard

It’s funny that the latest talent emerging from the UK, Lauren Pritchard, actually hails from Tennessee. She crossed the pond and signed a record deal with Island Records. I wouldn’t have known it myself, since her music fits right in with the current sound over there. Her first single “Painkillers” captured my attention with her powerful, soulful vocals. She delivered the rather dark lyrics with such conviction I couldn’t help but think she too might have battled some nasty demons in the past. That it reminds me of Adele is no coincidence, I guess, as she co-wrote the track with none other than Eg White, the man behind “Chasing Pavements”. There’s also a little bit of Feist, Fiona Apple, and Norah Jones in her. The second single, “Not The Drinking”, is a strong contender for my top favorites this year. It’s an infectious, perky number with a soaring middle eight. Lauren looks stunning in the video, which has some pretty impressive choreography. Judging from other tracks I’ve heard, I have reasons to believe her debut album, “Wasted in Jackson”, would make a lovely driving album on a sunny fall morning. If you’re in need of new soulful singer/songwriters, Lauren Pritchard will fill that void nicely. Check out the “Not The Drinking” video, and download the Body Language remix of “Painkillers” after the cut.


MUSIC VIDEO ROUNDUP: Duffy, Hurts, James Blake, Cocknbullkid & More

It has been an exceptional week for new music videos. So many good ones! Here’s all my picks in one post, so if there’s any you haven’t seen, you’d better catch up!


The warbling pint-sized Welsh lady is back! This video is such a fun watch. Duffy seems to be having a blast and enjoying herself. The song is very catchy, but I can’t fully endorse it yet. I’m afraid the novelty will wear off soon, and I keep expecting the C+C Music Factory man to jump in and scream “Everybody Dance Now”. “Well Well Well” is the lead single off her upcoming sophomore effort “Endlessly”, which I assume will have a fair share of moody ballads, too.



The men went to Iceland to shoot the video, and the trip definitely paid off. I haven’t seen that location since Bjork’s “Who Is It”. Even though the execution could have been better, the video is close to what I imagined, and there’s plenty of pensive zoom-in shots to match the overblown melodrama. I admit I have mixed feelings toward the duo, as I start to wonder whether Hurts is just the new Lighthouse Family of this decade… And is it just me or Theo sounds like David Gray at times? Anyway, there’s a Italoconnection remix of “Better Than Love” that was only released in Italy, and it’s 5 minutes of italo disco perfection that has to be heard. Sally Shapiro fans will like this.


NEW SINGLE: The Concretes – All Day

Let’s start with an honest confession. I lost track of The Concretes after Victoria Bergsman left the band to pursue a solo career under the “Taken By Trees” moniker. However, with their second album after her departure, “WYWH”, they seem to be doing just fine, with a new, exciting sound, too. Granted, it’s another foray into the ’80s revival, but it feels like a genuine, logical stylistic shift, rather than just bandwagon-jumping. “All Day” is the perfect song to match the mood of a chilly autumn morning. “We’re gonna stay in bed… all day, all day, all day,” sings Milberg. It’s just the right soundtrack for one of those days.


MP3: The Concretes – All Day

Watch the video here.

You can visit their Bandcamp site to download 3 versions of another new song, “Good Evening”, for free.

More on The Concretes.

NEW SINGLE: Club 8 – Closer Now

One of my favorite Swedish bands ever, Club 8, will be releasing a brand-new single, “Closer Now”, in late November. It’s an extension of their latest album “The People’s Record.” Since the band pretty much mastered the art of crafting melancholy indie pop with “The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Dreaming”, I’m glad they went ahead and explored another direction. The new sound, which is more upbeat, funkier with dense Afro polyrhythms, was a breath of fresh air. My favorite track from that album, “Dancing With The Mentally Ill”, is as brilliant as the title suggests. For the first time, a Club 8 song makes me want to actually get up and dance without reservation! Over the years, Johan and Karolina has experimented with so many different sounds, and still that wistful, sentimental quality that makes them so special remains. “The People’s Record” is certainly an album indie-pop fans should not sleep on. You can download “Closer Now” and the album’s first single “Western Hospitality” below.


MP3: Club 8 – Closer Now
MP3:  Club 8 – Western Hospitality


More on Club 8.

NEW VIDEO: La Roux – In For The Kill (US Version)

La Roux and her mighty quiff are back with a brand new video for “In For The Kill”, intended for the US audience. Here are some quick thoughts regarding this version:


MUSIC VIDEO ROUNDUP: Lissie, Brandon Flowers & Uffie

Lissie – Everywhere I Go

I first heard of Lissie when “Everywhere I Go” was featured as the swansong of Joss Whedon’s short-lived cult tv show “Dollhouse”. Since then, she certainly has gone far, having released a debut album and found moderate success in the UK. “Everywhere I Go” will now be her next UK single, in the form of a new drummed-up radio-friendly version. It’s like an “AM” companion to the “PM” original one. The gorgeous Marcus-Soderlund video has an elephant follow, um, everywhere she goes. The shot at 2:20 is my favorite. Her album “Catching A Tiger” has some pretty amazing songs, and I love her Stevie-Nicks-esque big pipes. Her “Bad Romance” cover is highly recommended.

MP3: Lissie – Everywhere I Go (Album Version)