Danish songstress Agnes Obel has been on my radar for her beautiful piano-laden music, which comes highly recommended if you like Emiliana Torrini or Sarah Blasko. But tonight, I’d like to share a new remix for her single “Riverside”. Lulu Rouge amplified the quiet bleakness of the original with his throbbing, dark spin. It’s an understated and moody rework that’s meant for the night-time. You can stream/download the remix below. After the jump, make sure to stream the original, and get an mp3 of album track “Brother Sparrow”.
Agnes Obel – Riverside (Lulu Rouge Remix)
I was sent this remix for Acid House Kings‘ new single “Would You Say Stop” by Labrador a couple days ago, along with a Foxbase Alpha name-check. All I have to say is the reference was spot-on. Invisible Twin has somehow recaptured that early 90’s Saint Etienne sound lovingly. Plus I’m pretty sure this is the first official Acid House Kings remix ever, so it’s a pleasantly unexpected treat. Maybe they can live up to their namesake and get an actual acid house remix?
If you’re into indie pop, then their new album, “Music Sounds Better With You”, is an essential listen. I’m amazed at how they can still effortlessly churn out catchy little tunes after all these years. You can get the dubby remix, and the cheery original below.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Madonna‘s 1986 album “True Blue”, Canadian indie label Paper Bag Records has called upon their roster to cover the album in its entirety. The best part is they’re giving it away for free, in return for your email address. I haven’t heard all the tracks, but the acts seemed to be having fun recording them. My favorite cover so far is the Montreal-based band Winter Gloves‘ reading of her sugar-sweet single “True Blue”. They brought the song closer to its ’60s pop spirit, and sprinkled it with synths and a special saxophone solo! A lovely listen. Check out the cover below, and get the album if you’re interested. Now if only they could have roped in Sally Shapiro to contribute…
Remember when everyone in the blogosphere was excited about Ladytron working with Christina Aguilera, and even Ladytron themselves was open to the possibility of her fans flocking to discover their work? We all know how that turned out. Well, it seems the band won’t let that slide just yet. “Birds of Prey”, originally and unfairly a bonus track on “Bionic”, just got a makeover by Reuben Wu, with a harder industrial edge than the album version. The Arabian chant bits I liked are still intact, which is a nice touch. Ladytron’s next album, “Gravity the Seducer”, will drop September 13 in US, and you can catch Aguilera as a judge on NBC’s new singing talent show “The Voice” soon.
Franz Ferdinand’s “Covers E.P.” was just released yesterday for Record Store Day, featuring an all-star list of veterans covering their songs, including LCD Soundsystem, Debbie Harry (Blondie), Stephen Merritt (The Magnetic Fields), Peaches & ESG. While the recently-retired LCD Soundsystem’s contribution will most likely get the most attention, the highlight for me is Debbie Harry‘s sublime cover of “Live Alone”. There is just something about her seasoned voice and delivery that makes the song much deeper and sadder. I might actually prefer it to the original for now. Stream both Debbie and LCD Soundsystem’s takes below.
Debbie Harry – Live Alone (Franz Ferdinand Cover)
LCD Soundsystem – Live Alone (Franz Ferdinand Cover)
As you might’ve already known, Britain’s original queen of kooks Kate Bush will unleash “Director’s Cut”, her first new album since 2005, on May 16. The prospect of a collection of re-recordings seemed promising at first, but has since become questionable after I heard the rather dodgy new version of “Deeper Understanding”. A nice update or potential cock-up to ruin her legacy? It could go either way.
Still, her music sounds great when remixed right. Recently, UK’s new electro act Echoes decided to remix “This Woman’s Work”. On paper, the idea of turning such a classic torch ballad into a Moroder-style disco stomper sounds unneccessary, if not a bit sacrilegious. But they made it work! A really unexpected, excellent remix.
While we’re at it, let’s revisit another Kate Bush bootleg. Get the 2005 Datassette rework of “Running Up That Hill”, which I still quite enjoy.
Queen Of Hearts, a fresh, unsigned British electro-pop artist, has been hotly tipped for a while, and for good reasons too. Her latest track “Where Are You Now” is a dreamy dose of melancholy italo-disco pop that will most certainly appeal to fans of Sally Shapiro, or Annie‘s work with Richard X. In fact, Queen Of Hearts has indeed worked with Shapiro’s producer Johan Agebjörn for a track called “The Last Day Of Summer”, for his new album “Casablanca Nights”. One to watch, excitingly.
Queen Of Hearts – Where Are You Now
I am mad about Nerina Pallot’s “Put Your Hands Up”. Originally intended for Kylie, the song is now the lead single off Nerina’s forthcoming fourth album, “Year of the Wolf”. Her vocals sound effortless as ever, and even though I was not sure about Bernard Butler‘s Northern soul ****** at first, it’s now firmly lodged in my brain. Popjustice was right when they said it’s highly addictive. The music video, premiered yesterday, looks like it wasn’t shot on the sunniest day, but the whimsicality fits the track. I wasn’t fussed about her last album, to be honest, spare the fantastic recluse anthem “I Don’t Want To Go Out”. This time around, color me excited. Watch the video below, and get her take of Kylie’s “Better Than Today” after the jump.
Does Firefox AK have a certain fascination with winter? The Swede electro-popette’s last lead single in 2008 was called “Winter Rose”, and now she’s back, stomping the snowy streets in the video for her new single “Boom Boom Boom”. This time, she worked with Bjorn Yttling of Peter Bjorn And John, and one can definitely tell by his signature percussive style. Winter might be over now, but it’s never too late for some sad-eyed disco-pop. Hear the track, and watch the video after the jump.
Firefox AK – Boom Boom Boom
Cat’s Eyes is the new project of The Horrors‘ singer Faris Badwan and his girlfriend Rachel Zeffira. That I’m not really a fan of his band’s music (bar “Sea Within A Sea”) and the alarmingly witchhouse-like name and artwork made me rather cautious. It unexpectedly turned out to be one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. Musically, it’s ’60s-minded dream pop with psychedelic and orchestral flourishes, as well as touches of girl-group pop and bossa-nova. There are ethereal, gauzy vocals drenched in reverb, but not without a charming pop sensibility, and a sense of nostalgia and familiarity in the songs. In short, it’s a brilliant dream pop record. The album is cohesive, while also very diverse, like a collage of the music era they’re paying tribute to. Listening to it reminds me of when Alex Turner made his Scott Walker record with The Last Shadow Puppets, which I actually prefer to his Arctic Monkeys’ stuff. Both are clearly a labour of love, too good to be only one-off vanity projects. Cat’s Eyes’ debut album is a truly exquisite delight, and I expect it to be a real sleeper hit this year. Gotta love it when a release like this just came out of nowhere and took you by surprise.
Get a track called “Not A Friend” for free below, and stream the lovely ballad “Love You Anyway” (which sounds like a lost Carpenters track). The new single, “Face In The Crowd”, is pure Phil-Spector-esque goodness. Or just try the whole album, it’s a wonderful half hour.
Cat’s Eyes – Love You Anyway
This edition of Popforward is an unusual one, because I’m about to “tip” an act that has already ceased to exist. Primary 1, aka Joe Flory, was known for producing leftfield electronic music and remixing artists like Mutya Buena and Metronomy before he decided to take the mic and embark on a major label pop career. He first got on my radar for “The Blues”, a stunning collaboration with Nina Persson (The Cardigans). Signed to Atlantic UK, he released two good singles in a row, “Princess” and “Never Know”, with the latter being his most instant pop number to date. However, despite having the tunes and visually arresting videos, his music remained relatively overlooked, and things got all too quiet. After a while, I found out he deleted his blog and Twitter without an explanation. Apparently, due to his frustration with the music industry, he retired the “Primary 1” moniker and called it a day. The album, “Other People”, was quietly chucked on iTunes with little promotion or fanfare. It is such a shame when things like this happen, because I’ve heard the album, and while it feels a bit underdeveloped, it’s certainly has its share of highlights. He proved to be indeed quite good at making moody, low-key pop music that blends electronic, folk and soul together nicely, like a more downtempo Hot Chip. I hope he will continue to make music under a different guise. Check out the opening track, “A.O.K”, a pick-me-up electro ditty with a chantlike hook that goes “If I can be happy, you can be happy too”. Make sure to get his lullaby-esque cover of “Tonight You Belong to Me”, and see the very cool video for “Never Know” after the jump.
MP3: Primary 1 – A.O.K
British pop lark Sunday Girl sneakily put up a new song on her Soundcloud 3 weeks ago, but I only learned of its existence today. I can only blame myself. The “Alan Branch Mix” of “Human Love” is a smorgasbord of Umbrella-esque beats, faux strings, a chilled bassline and washed out synths. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, epic orchestral strings in vein of “Bittersweet Symphony” came pouring down for the last chorus. It’s wistful, trip-hoppy pop with a build-up done right. This might not be the main version for the song, which I assume will be the next single, but I definitely won’t mind if it is. Very well done, Jade.
Sunday Girl – Human Love (Alan Branch Mix)
Update: Whoops – the link was removed. I guess it was not supposed to be out yet and someone slipped up. Oh well.
While I’m anticipating her next move, this should be on mad repeat. In the meantime, you can get a tropical Young Empires remix of her Laura Branigan cover.