Last I heard from Kiwi singer/songwriter Bic Runga, she was making freeform psych-pop jams with The Mint Chicks frontman Kody Nielson as Kody & Bic, and giving them away on Bandcamp. I was not too fond of it, and thankfully, it appeared to be a short-lived side project. Bic is set for a proper comeback this November with her first studio album in 6 years, entitled “Belle”. It only took one listen to the lead single “Hello Hello” to remind me just how much I missed her voice, and how glad I am to finally hear something new from her. The track harks back to her “Beautiful Collision” days, with an uplifting, autumnal melody, albeit with a folkier tinge. It is a lovely re-introducion to Bic’s music, and also as good a start for those new to hers. Watch the music video, or stream “Hello Hello” right below. To be honest, I can’t wait to hear the rest!
STREAM: Bic Runga – Hello Hello
Another week, another new Lana Del Rey remix. She’s quite the blog magnet, isn’t she? And it’s about time “Blue Jeans” got some love too. Penguin Prison turned in a fantastic straight-up disco treatment. Have a listen below, then watch a cool live performance of the “Video Games” b-side below.
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans (Penguin Prison Remix)
In other news, recently-leaked track “Driving in Cars with Boys” just became my third favorite song by her. One can never go wrong with that Ronettes beat.
Cult discopopstar Sophie Ellis-Bextor has dusted off her rock-band-fronting persona for an unpredictable Arcade Fire cover, in the good name of charity. Recorded for a compilation album in aid of Samaritans, the cover is like a throwback to her theaudience days. Her version traded the quite cacophonous original for a more straightforward alt-rock arrangement. Of course, with this being Sophie, she couldn’t help but sneakily adding some synths at the end of the track. I have to say that I find her rendition really pleasant and tastefully done. Sophie has strongly hinted that her next album will be a departure from her usual sad disco flair, and if this is an implication of the change she’s got in mind, I can’t wait to hear more! Memo: more stuff like “Hello Hello” would be great.
As it’s for a good cause, I highly recommend purchasing it if you like what you hear.
STREAM: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Rebellion (Lies) (Arcade Fire Cover)
When Lykke Li was on tour down under, she popped by Triple J HQ for an acoustic live session. For the station’s “Like A Version” segment which is basically an Aussie version of Live Lounge, she delivered a haunting cover of The Righteous Brothers‘ 1965 classic “Unchained Melody”. The perennially brooding Swede’s got that uncanny ability to sing like she’s alone in a cavernous cathedral, even if she’s just sitting comfily in a studio. With this melancholy performance, Lykke has officially joined the Melody cover club, previously inhabited by the likes of Gareth Gates, Clay Aiken and Air Supply. I quite like how she bluntly answered “No” when asked if she likes the movie “Ghost”. Lykke’s got no love for claymaking doomed lovers! Listen to her version below, and grab it for free if you like.
MP3: Lykke Li – Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers Cover)
It’s a well-documented fact that British pop songstress CocknBullKid enjoys covering songs. During her live session on Radio 2 with Jo Whiley, the self-proclaimed All Saints fan chose to pay her tribute by contributing her own version of “Pure Shores” to the station’s ongoing Great British Songbook project. And what a brilliant choice/sublime rendition it was! She totally breathed new life into the track. This is bringing back all the memories, bar the unpleasant reminder of how unbelievably shit the original music video was. That unfortunate setback couldn’t taint the classic William-Orbit-produced pop perfection, though. This is not the first time CocknBullKid showed her appreciation for late ’90s R&B either, having covered Destiny’s Child’s “Bills Bills Bills” with Eliza Doolittle before. Did you know Shaznay Lewis actually co-wrote the album track “Distractions”? Surely a duet between the two sounds like a good idea? I would also be genuinely interested in hearing her cover “Black Coffee” next, please. Either of those options would suffice, Anita, I’m not fussy!
You can download her amazing All Saints cover below.
Yes, I am well aware this my second Lana Del Rey remix post within a week. However, this new one just popped up and it’s just too good to ignore. British crooner/producer Jamie Woon‘s rework of “Video Games” is by far my favorite of the bunch, serving up Timbaland-by-way-of-Bristol beats, ghostly synths and pitch shifts, all of which makes for a strangely alluring pop-noir groove. Do check it out below!
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – Video Games (Jamie Woon Remix)
Sam Frank proves that it’s still possible to maintain a mystique in the blog age. There’s barely a picture of him to be found, and I suppose his name is not exactly Google-friendly either. A look through his Discogs page reveals he’s largely a behind-the-scenes man, having produced and written for Sia, Mutya Buena, and more recently, Magnetic Man, Skream and Katy B. Based on that list of names, you might have certain expectations of what a track of his own would sound like. Well, throw them out. “My Number One”, currently the free track of the week on DJ Annie Mac’s blog (artwork above?), is the kind of tune that got just the right balance of bonkers and catchy factors that made it more than just a novelty standalone. Imagine a chirpy children’s show theme from another planet. Now listen.
MP3: Sam Frank – My Number One
Total earworm candy this is. Color me fascinated. I wonder what else he will come up with?