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Archive for January, 2011

Covercentric: Cheryl Cole Covered

The amazing Adele recently stopped by Radio 1’s Live Lounge, and gave a smoky ballad rendition of Cheryl Cole’s “Promise This”. The little banter she gave before it further cemented my love for her as not only a vocalist, but also a fun, lively personality. Oh I do adore her. I mean, look at this priceless pic of her riding a bike and having a laugh. She’s such a tremendous talent (no pun intended)! Her new album “21” is already a top favorite of mine for 2011, and is worth the hype.
Adele’s not the only one having a go at a Cheryl Cole song. Last year, Vampire Weekend also put their own spin on “Fight For This Love”. Both covers are available for your listening pleasure below. Enjoy!

 

MP3: Adele – Promise This (Cheryl Cole Cover)

MP3: Vampire Weekend – Fight For This Love (Cheryl Cole Cover)

 

Buy Adele’s “21”.
More on Adele.
More on Vampire Weekend.
More on Cheryl.


Beth Ditto + Simian Mobile Disco = Solo EP

I’d been waiting for Beth Ditto to unleash her inner dance diva to its full potential ever since her fantastic collaboration with Simian Mobile Disco, “Cruel Intentions”, offered a glimpse of that side of hers. My wish and many others’ had been granted as Beth once again teamed up with SMD to release her first solo 4-track EP earlier this month. And it’s seriously good! Beth played den mother to the dancefloor with sass and wisdom, telling tales of love & heartbreak over juicy beats with an early ’90s vibe. It’s pop-oriented dance music with a melancholy side – my favorite kind. I’m only a casual Gossip fan, and I’m not so sure about a full-length album of electro Beth, but for a one-off EP, it’s aces. As of now, it’s only available digitally on Beatport and 12″, but a wider release will soon follow. Stream a sampler of the EP below. My favorite has to be “Do You Need Someone”. Also check out the James Ford version of Gossip’s “Pop Goes The World”, which I definitely prefer to the album version, and her previous track with SMD, “Cruel Intentions”.

 

Beth Ditto EP preview by Deconstruction Records

 

MP3: Simian Mobile Disco – Cruel Intentions (Feat. Beth Ditto)
MP3: Gossip – Pop Goes The World (James Ford Version)

Buy the EP.


Poprewind: Paola


Here at Pop Labyrinth, we love to discover new acts as well as to unearth rare, forgotten gems from time to time. Our new  feature, Poprewind, is aimed to serve the latter’s purpose.


Not a lot is to be found of Paola Bruna on the interwebs. She released one sole album “Stockcity Girl” in 2002 that seems to have gone largely unnoticed, and these days, she… paints. In fact, only after finding out that Robyn‘s anthemic “Hang With Me” was actually a pseudo-cover of Paola’s, did I try to seek out her music. In its original form, the song was produced by her ex-husband, Robyn’s producer Klas Ahlund. Not present are the synth arpeggios, thumping beats and the soaring chorus, instead, it was simply a lovely ditty about the yearning for human connection. It’s certainly fascinating to discover the transformation of “Hang With Me” from this early take to Robyn’s. “Interstellar Love” is a lush downtempo pop tune, a great addition to any nightdriving playlist, with its blippy synths and a very catchy chorus. It’s slightly ruined by the automated voice bits which remind me of those Xtranormal ones, though. Another track, “Above The Candystore”, was used in the soundtrack of Spun, an independent film starring the late Brittany Murphy and Jason Schwartzman, along with a music video for it.
Paola’s album does have its pleasant moments. The production may sound somewhat dated at times, but as far as Scandinavian pop goes, there are some real treats here. The album is almost impossible to find a physical copy now, but you can stream/buy it digitally via the link below.

 

MP3: Paola – Interstellar Love
MP3: Paola – Hang With Me

 

Buy the album.
More on Paola.


Those Dancing Days Return

The lovely Swedish all-girl indie pop quintet is finally back! I had been wondering what they were up to ever since hearing lead singer Linnea’s excellent collab with God Help The Girl last year. This time around, their music seems to progress to a bolder, more boisterous new-wave sound, whereas the lyrics continue to reflect the trials and tribulations of coming of age. They even have a swear word in a song title now, thanks to whichever foolish boy who pissed them off! The sophomore effort “Daydreams & Nightmares” drops February 28, and  judging from the few songs I’ve heard, it should be a quality one. If you’re new to the band, you should definitely catch up, starting with their old singles, “Hitten”, “Run Run” & “Home Sweet Home”. Then watch their latest video, “Reaching Forward” below, get a brand new track and grab another for the price of your email address.

MP3: Those Dancing Days – I’ll Be Yours

Free download of “Fuckarias”.

More on Those Dancing Days.


Lykke Li Remixed by Dave Sitek

I’ve been pretty obsessed with wicked popstrel Lykke Li‘s new single, “I Follow Rivers”. It’s a brilliant piece of hippie pop with simple but hypnotic hooks and vaguely occult lyrics. Plus, bongos and handclaps are always a winning combo. Now Dave Sitek of TV On The Radio/Maximum Balloon has reworked the track and added some trumpets! As far as remixes go, this one is really fun. I’ve already got the video treatment planned out in my head. She should be leading an army of dancing Lis, Pied Piper style, to an actual river – literal gold! I doubt they will shoot it on location, though, considering the weather/budget constraints, so I suppose it will be a studio shoot. She’s a strong visual artist/performer, so I’m sure she will deliver.
I was initially disappointed with the previous free single, “Get Some”, which showcases a new aggressive side of her. I somewhat preferred its b-side, the more introspective, stripped-down “Paris Blue”. “I Follow Rivers” was more of a proper tune and a good direction to head in. Lykke Li is pretty much in a field of her own right now, so I have high hopes for the new album, “Wounded Rhymes”.

 

MP3: Lykke Li – I Follow Rivers (Dave Sitek Remix)
MP3: Lykke Li – Paris Blue (b-side to Get Some)

 

Check out a recent live performance “I Follow Rivers” on the Live P3 Guld awards show, which sounds more mellow live than I imagined.

Pre-order “Wounded Rhymes”, out late February.
More on Lykke Li.


Ladytron: New Single & Reissues

Exciting things are happening at the Ladytron HQ. Their first 3 albums were reissued with bonus tracks last week, their great new single “Ace of Hz” is out, and a retrospective compilation, “Ladytron 00-10”, is on its way. It’s about time I revisited their excellent back catalog, since the dreary weather provides just the right setting for their brand of frosty electronic pop. For me, they’ve become one of the bands whose legacy I never get tired of. Get a clubby remix of the new single below, and as a bonus, you can grab one of my favorite Ladytron remixes, the Snap Ant version of “Playgirl”. It sounds like a loungey theme tune to a ’60s tv show envisioning the leisurely life of the future!

 

MP3: Ladytron – Ace Of Hz (Punks Jump Up Remix Radio Edit)

MP3: Ladytron – Playgirl (Snap Ant Remix)


Get the “Ace of Hz” EP on iTunes.
Stream some classic tracks on Soundcloud.
More on Ladytron.


Popforward: Tove Styrke

The latest Pop-Labyrinth-approved Swedish pop export, Tove Styrke, is actually a Swedish Idol 2010 alumna. In many ways, she shares a lot in common with fellow talent-show graduate, X Factor’s Diana Vickers, sans the marmite voice. That her album cover has the same aethestic as Diana’s (black-and-white photo with white text on red) is uncanny! Even though she did not win, Tove was quickly signed, worked with the more “alternative” producers, and released a self-titled debut album in November 2010. Tove looks like a fashion model styled by Alexa Chung, and her voice suits the type of quirky, ’80s-referenced electro-pop well. Her first single, “Million Pieces”, did not woo me, but I reserved judgement and decided to give her album a try. To my surprise, there are some solid pop nuggets here, in the same vein of other Scandinavian pop ladies like Linda Sundblad, Margaret Berger, or Robyn. Some of my favorite tracks are “Chaos”, “Stalker In Your Speaker”, “Walking My Daydream”, and “White Light Moment” (kind of her Robyn moment). It looks like she’s on a fast track to success in her home country, and let’s hope the rest of the world will soon catch on. Below, you can hear “Four Elements”, a lovely, instantly likeable album track with a chorus consisting only of na-na’s. It sways along elegantly but is addictively catchy.

 

MP3: Tove Styrke – Four Elements

(more…)


Covercentric: Le Kid vs. The Killers

Swedish pop band Le Kid has done a cover of The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside”. Imagine an Euro-synth-pop rework with a modern ABBA twist, and you have it – 4 minutes of frothy fun. (via Popjustice)

 

MP3: Le Kid – Mr Brightside (The Killers Cover)

It’s been a while since I heard their catchy 2009 single “Mercy Mercy”. They do have a knack for bouncy, unadulterated pure pop.

More on Le Kid.
 


Keren Ann Returns With “101”

My name is trouble, my first name’s a mess,” sings Keren Ann. After a break, the Israeli-born singer is back, sporting a noir-ish bob cut and readying a new album, “101”. The lead single, “My Name Is Trouble”, got her playing the role of a cold-blooded temptress who coos dreamy melodies. It’s a sorta new sound for her, but is still in the same vein of her previous works – elegant, sophisticated pop. The album will drop on March 22 in the US, and if it happens to follow the same ’60s spy-film vibe of this track, I will certainly be anticipating. You can stream “My Name Is Trouble” in full below. In case you’re not familiar with her music, I recommend checking out a few of my favorites, “Lay Your Head Down”, Not Going Anywhere, & “Sailor & Widow”.

More on Keren Ann.