Say bonjour to up-and-coming French indie-pop duo Singtank. Even though the band of Alexandre and Josephine de la Baume is still in early stages, they are gaining attention for being wicked cool by association. The sister, actress/singer Josephine, is in fact Mark Ronson‘s wife, and has been touted by Kate Moss and Daze & Confused magazine as the next big thing. Their first single “The Party” is pretty standard as quirky indie-pop goes, with the brother on lead vocals and Josephine providing harmonies. It’s a fun, catchy ditty that reminds me of another boy/girl duo, The Dø. The video is visually arresting in an Alice in Wonderland meets M.C. Escher way. It’ll be interesting to hear more from them, apparently they worked with Bjork’s former producer Nellee Hooper. I wonder if they worked with Mark too, or maybe that’s too obvious?
STREAM: Singtank – The Party
Their debut album, “In Wonder”, drops May 7.
More on Singtank.
Jessie Baylin is one of those singers/songwriters whose names I recognize despite never really listening to the music. Even though her track “Hurry Hurry” has been out since 2010, it’s now pushed as the lead single promoting her new album “Little Spark”. The Richard-Swift-produced track has a gorgeous ’60s pop arrangement with strings, harp and ghostly backing vocals. It’s a laidback, dreamy tune that should make a nice addition to your rainy days playlist. For the music video, Jessie enlisted childhood friend Scarlett Johansson as the director. The video is an understated affair, a one-take shot of Jessie slo-mo walking on rain-streaked Manhattan Bridge with an occasional change of saturation and effects. For a song called “Hurry Hurry”, she sure moved at a leisurely pace!
Grab an mp3 of the track and a free EP after the jump…
I was first alerted to Ren Harvieu when she was longlisted on the BBC Sound of 2012. Forewarning: she makes music for Radio 2. BUT it’s damn good Lite FM gold. The Mancunian chanteuse possesses an enchanting jazz/soul voice with a drawl that lulls you in effortlessly. Her debut single “Through The Night” is an exquisite, languid, elegant tune, conjuring up an expensive, widescreen kind of sadness. I suddenly found the song creeping its way back into my head on a misty Thursday morning, and it’s been lingering there since. In a nutshell, if you secretly like Rumer but think she’s too mumsy, or have a fondness for Norah Jones circa 2002, then Ren Harvieu is for you. Lovely stuff.
STREAM: Ren Harvieu – Through The Night
“Through The Night” is OUT NOW in the UK.
Sky Feirrera might still be spending her sweet time perfecting her debut album, but she’s been appeasing the fans by sporadically posting snippets and demos on her Soundcloud. Her latest gift comes in the form of a raw, angsty acoustic piano cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans”, deliberately renamed as “Berlin Jeans”, referring to where it was recorded. Allegedly done in one take, it’s a far cry away from her fizzy electro-pop stuff. Despite sounding a bit rough during the middle eight, she did an admirable job with the song.
Sky’s album “Wild At Heart” is set to be released later this year, and that she’s been working with producer Jon Brion only fuels more Fiona Apple comparisons. While it’s quite disappointing that her old electro-pop materials get scrapped, I’m certainly intrigued by her new direction. She’s a very promising artist who well deserves a breakthrough. Check out her cover below and let me know what you think.
MP3: Sky Ferreira – Berlin Jeans (Lana Del Rey Cover)
What a delightful surprise! Indie-pop legend Saint Etienne premiered their brand new single “Tonight” today, taken from their first full-length album in 7 years, tentatively titled “Words And Music By Saint Etienne”. The effervescent tune is produced by Tim Powell (Xenomania) and mixed by Richard X – two of the best British contemporary electro-pop whizzes. According to Bob Stanley:
“Tonight is about the anticipation of going to see your favourite group. For some reason, I imagine this show is at the Forum in Kentish Town. The whole album is about the power of pop, how it affects and shapes your life.”
Well, that’s your new pre-concert soundtrack sorted out then.
STREAM: Saint Etienne – Tonight
You can also hear a sneak peek of another new track called “I’ve Got The Music” on Soundcloud (skip to the 1.16 mark). The prospect of a new St. Etienne album full of pop magic is rather exciting, isn’t it? Bob, Pete & Sarah, we are so glad to have you back.
Miike Snow won’t stop teasing. Only within days after unveiling new single “Paddling Out”, the Swedish supergroup has now unleashed the third new track from upcoming album “Happy To You”. The Lykke-Li-featuring “Black Tin Box” sounds like the best of both worlds: pretty synths from the band and Lykke’s love for boisterous drums. It’s probably my favorite out of the three we heard so far, from what’s shaping to be a great second album.
STREAM: Miike Snow – Black Tin Box (feat. Lykke Li)
“Happy To You” drops March 27.
Visit their Soundcloud for more new tracks.
Check out their North America tourdates at Pitchfork.
More on Miike Snow.
Controversial rising popstar Lana Del Rey did her first ever UK radio session today for BBC Radio 6, joining Huey Morgan for a chat and performing acoustic renditions of “Video Games” and “Born To Die”. And yes, she sounds just fine and at ease with herself – not that this evidence will stop the online vitriol though, unfortunately. You can stream the full session and interview on BBC, but if you’re not UK-based and can’t access it, I have ripped both songs for your convenience. Listen and download the utterly lovely session below.
My modest advice for future live TV performances? Get a stool, honey. Maybe stand up for the last chorus – no one would see it coming. It works for Westlife after all.
A member of the BBC Sound of 2012’s club, Lianna La Havas is hotly tipped as one to watch by British media. I first heard of the 22-year-old London native through her buzz single “No Room For Doubt”, which I thought was pleasantly nice enough. However, I wasn’t feeling the tracks on her EP as much. Even though she has a great soulful voice, her materials didn’t sound terribly exciting. The Corinne Bailey Rae comparisons also did her no favors.
Well, I would like to take that back. I shouldn’t have written her off so hastily, because her new single “Forget” totally flipped my premature verdict on its head. The song is much more sonically interesting than I expected – a slick, funky midtempo with a Latin twist. The simple, understated performance video gave her space to present herself as a star, taking command of the screen with moxie and sass. It helps that she’s very videogenic and charming, too. I am glad that she’s capable of versatility, beside the acoustic folky stuff. Apparently, she’s been working with Matt Hales (Aqualung), so I look forward to at least a piano ballad. With her album scheduled to arrive in May, you have plenty of time to get acquainted with Lianne and her music. Check out the video, download an acoustic live version, as well as her sweet cover of Everything Everything’s “Final Form”.
STREAM: Lianne La Havas – No Room For Doubt (feat. Willy Mason)
For unknown reasons, I realize I never posted about Alex Winston before, despite being fascinated with her music for quite some time. After a long wait, her debut album “King Con” is finally scheduled to drop on March 6. The American popstrel has been making kooky leftfield-pop tunes since 2010, and after two fantastic singles, “Sister Wife” and “Velvet Elvis”, she’s on to scoring a hattrick with “Choice Notes”. Previously an early single, and album track on her 2011 EP, it has been given a freshened-up mix for the re-release. As for the music video, Alex went back to hometown Detroit for the shoot, and it results in a fun and cute clip. The song is possibly her most accessible track so far, with an instant sing-along chorus and feel-good plinky-plonky piano riffs. Funnily enough, I thought it was so commercial-ready, so I looked it up and apparently it was already synched for two! I’m not entirely sure about the release timing, since it always sounds more like a summer song to me. With luck, it can potentially be the new “Pack Up”.
Part of Alex’s charm is her unique voice, which is part Cocorosie, part Fever Ray meets Joanna Newsom, and of course, [insert obvious reference]. Admittedly, it’s not to everyone’s taste, and can sound shrill and grating at times, unless your ears are trained to quirky vocals for years. With that said, I like that her music is a bit spooky and eerie, with unconventional subjects, but also full of hooks. Watch the video, listen to the old version, and grab an MP3 of “Sister Wife” below.
STREAM: Alex Winston – Choice Notes (2010 version)
Keith Kenniff has brought back his Helios moniker for a new remix of his current project Mint Julep‘s single “Days Gone By”. While the original is pure shoegazing synth-pop ear candy, Helios’ remix mellows it down to a chill downtempo/trip-hop atmosphere. It makes a lovely ambient soundtrack for the late hours.
Watch the creepy music video for the original below, which is like a cool modern spin on an Argento horror flick.