Tomorrow’s World is the unlikely musical pairing of Jean-Benoît Dunckel (Air) and Lou Hayter (New Young Pony Club). Even though their output totals only one song and a half so far, there’s something about them that really intrigues me. The pair makes spooksome, claustrophobic pop-noir specifically designed for night driving. Their first track, “So Long My Love” would be the perfect soundtrack for “Drive”, were it directed by David Lynch. The production is quite inspired, weaving Lou’s detached, deadpan vocals into the dark, bass-heavy soundscape. The psychedelic, distorted guitar freakout bits take some time to get used to, but they do add a raw edge to the song. It’s a highly stylized, conceptual affair, polished but minimal at the same time. There’s an excessive 7-minute version knocking about but I much prefer the edit below.
STREAM: Tomorrow’s World – So Long My Love
A preview of another track, “Drive” (they are not subtle aren’t they), can be heard on Youtube.
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you of this underrated dead-eyed disco gem from Lou Hayter’s previous project The New Sins back in 2008. It helps that she’s very videogenic, too.
Who would’ve thought that Hooverphonic‘s still got it, 17 years plus into their career? I thought Geike’s departure marked the end of the Belgian band, but I was surprised at how easily the new vocalist Noemi fits into the band and holds the fort admirably. It seems they did well with some young blood, as their last album “The Night Before” was certainly one of their strongest efforts. On the strength of that album’s success, Hooverphonic just released “Hooverphonic With Orchestra”, with re-workings of old and new songs since the beginning. I always have a soft spot for well-crafted orchestral pop music, and the album made a lovely listen indeed. The string arrangements were wonderfully grandeur, especially on “George’s Cafe” and the lush new version of “Mad About You”. They even breathed new life into what was one of my least favorite singles, “Expedition Impossible”. Beside a new track “Happiness”, the album also contains a fantastic stripped-down cover of Massive Attack‘s classic “Unfinished Sympathy”, which you can check out below. I highly recommend this album if you’re not quite familiar with the band’s catalogue, or in need of a soundtrack for spring evenings.
STREAM: Hooverphonic – Unfinished Sympathy (Massive Attack Cover)
You can stream their recent liveset for Studio Brussel in full length on Soundcloud.
Moonlight Matters just keeps delivering the goods! After fantastic remixes for Lana Del Rey and Adele, the Belgian producer adds yet another cool female artist to his oeuvre. Check out his ’80s discofied take on Charlotte Gainsbourg‘s “Anna”, to be included on her new remix EP out April 3, alongside remixes by Tom Furse and Clock Opera. You can find the original version of “Anna” on her excellent new album “Stage Whisper”.
STREAM: Charlotte Gainsbourg – Anna (Moonlight Matters Remix)
“High & Low” is the latest single to be released by Sunday Girl. Casually chucked on iTunes UK this week, the song is featured on the StreetDance 2 soundtrack, which I assume is Britain’s own Step Up franchise. Succeeding “Love U More”, the Martin-Solveig-produced track is another dancefloor-friendly number, even though Jade can’t help her penchance for a bit of sadness in her beats. It’s sort of her own “Dancing On My Own” moment. At this point, I’m just glad she still releases a new single every now and then. She is certainly doing well for herself, with her cover of The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” featured on an ubiquitous Thomsons campaign, and her Solveig collaboration “Turn Up The Radio” ends up on Madonna’s new album MNDA. Hopefully, some concrete news about the album will surface soon, but I’m not holding my breath though.
STREAM: Sunday Girl – High & Low (StreetDance 2 Mix)
As a bonus, check out the lovely ASA mix of her previous single “Love U More”, an atmospheric downtempo folktronic take.
OPOSSOM is the latest project of Kiwi musician Kody Nielson. While I’m not overtly familiar with his former band The Mint Chicks, I really enjoy his work with Bic Runga on her new album, so I decided to check this out. Admittedly, lo-fi garage/surf-pop’s not exactly my usual cup of tea, but to my surprise, I do find “Getaway Tonight” quite likeable. It’s a lightweight, spacey and sweet psych-pop ditty that would totally fit in on a night-out playlist, and it’s destined to be on a car commercial soon. Grab the mp3 below.
Tove Styrke proves that Swedish popstars are not above Western sales-boosting tactics, by adding a rapper feature for the single version of “Bad Time For A Good Time”. However, it’s one of the rare cases where the amped up version is actually an improvement on the original. Even though I never heard of this Gnucci Banana before and she gives me unpleasant Karmin vibes, she did a good job of giving more oomph to the track. Tove’s vocals on the album version sounds too polite to match the brattiness of the production. Is it me or is this more of an Icona Pop song? This suits them down to a tee, considering both Tove and Icona Pop share the same producer Patrik Berger. Check out the budget music video below, and stream the original version after the jump.
Welcome back, Shirley & co.
It took them a 5-year break and a shelved solo project, but Garbage is finally back together making sweet music again. On their own without a major label this time, they are so kind to give away their first comeback release to the fans for free! “Blood For Poppies”, the lead single from the new album “Not Your Kind Of People”, is like catching up with an old friend from high school. It has a whiff of that classic Garbage sound we’ve known and loved, and but it is also very current, as in I can actually imagine this playing on American radio and become a hit on the Modern Rock stations. And very catchy and arms-aloft it is, too. I am just so goddamn excited about this reunion. Alongside No Doubt, Fiona Apple, Pulp, Blur, and the original Sugababes, 2012 is set to become the best year for ’90s nostalgia yet. Watch out for the music video out soon, and get your tickets for the tour!
Get your free mp3 here, at the cost of your email address.
The Shoes’ “Crack My Bones” was one of the more underrated releases of 2011 that I didn’t get a chance to write about. For a band previously rooted in remix service for the blogs, the album was a pleasant surprise of catchy indie synth-pop of a contemplative, melancholy nature, with vocal contributions from all the hip British artists like CocknBullKid, Esser, Primary 1. Even though they are big in their home country France, it looks like they’re finally getting their due here, thanks to their controversial “Time To Dance” video.
Ultra-violent, intense and disturbing, the 8-minute video starred Jake Gyllenhaal as an unhinged serial killer, always on to the next victim. To be honest, the song’s not my most favorite on the album, as it feels like a poor man’s Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.”, down to the spelling bee gimmick, but it will be the one to get people talking, especially after the release of its compelling video. Unfortunately, I think it’s one of those cases where the accompanying visuals are so strong they overpower the song, and the song’s kinda ruined for me now that it will forever be associated with Jake’s creepy-ass serial killer brows. Anyhow, check out the video below if you haven’t (not for the faint of heart obviously), then stream the new extended edit, and the SebastiAn remix which only pushed the Justice comparisons further.
STREAM: The Shoes – Time to Dance (Extended Video Edit)
STREAM: The Shoes – Time to Dance (SebastiAn Remix)
Gossip has just unleashed their new single, “Perfect World”, produced by the one and only Brian Higgins of Xenomania. It’s a polished, straightforward pop-rock number, and the Xenomania stamp is unmistakable on the lush instrumental breaks. Set for a May release, the forthcoming album is called “A Joyful Noise”, as a tribute to the Queen Latifah/Dolly Parton movie of the same name.* I am quite looking forward to this, especially after Beth Ditto’s fantastic but brief solo outing. Check out the track below, or click here to watch the lyric video, if you prefer some nice typography action and kaleidoscopic visuals to go with it.
STREAM: Gossip – Perfect World
British pop star Marina Diamandis and her diamonds premiered the new single and video “Primadonna” yesterday, and once again she’s in it to win it. The song is pure pop confection, with Marina’s distinctive deep voice and her lyrics about self-identity and ambitions adding some bite and character to an otherwise business-as-usual production by Dr. Luke. It really is just hook after hook, with a gorgeous, wistful chorus as well. She continues to add her own unique spin on the commercial chart-pop sound, and I actually like this better than “Radioactive”.
And of course, it helps that the Casper Balslev-directed video is nothing short of stunning, with Marina doing her own Cindy Sherman editorial thing. My favorite moment is probably the rather poignant car wash scene.
STREAM: Marina & The Diamonds – Primadonna
And here’s another cut from the new album, “Homewrecker”:
STREAM: Marina & The Diamonds – Homewrecker
“Primadonna” is out April 16, while the new album “Electra Heart” drops April 30 in the UK, and May 8 in the US.
Meanwhile, you can grab a free download of album track “Homewrecker” here.
It’s not easy to keep up with all the side projects of Hot Chip. While the band’s new full-length “In Our Heads” is not set to drop until June, they still have time to pursue their other gigs. New Build is the new band of Al & Felix, and musically, it is very much in the same universe with Hot Chip, whose sounds I’d like to refer to as “graphic designer pop”. However, compared to Joe Goddard’s project The 2 Bears, this is more stoic and sedative. The new single “Your Love” is a typical indie electro affair with blokey vocals, dubstep flourishes and cowbells. Lyrically, they’re still proudly wearing their hearts on sleeve. The debut LP entitled “Yesterday Was Lived And Lost” is out now in the UK, and on April 3 in US. However, if you can’t wait, they have kindly made the entire album available for advance streaming below.
STREAM: New Build – Your Love (Radio Mix)
For some reasons, I always assumed Rebecca & Fiona‘s music to be more bubblegum/clubby, what with their collaboratons with the likes of Kaskade and Adrian Lux. With that said, I’m glad I gave their new single a chance, because “Dance” actually falls more on the side of Fever Ray or iamamiwhoami. It’s nocturnal electro-pop the way I like – with an insidious bassline, beautiful synthetic strings and a slow-burning atmosphere throughout. The restraint in execution here is quite masterful, ’cause it doesn’t have to be raved up all the time. The moodily-lit visuals are a great complement to the track, too. It does make you wanna stop the car in the middle of a desolate road at night and dance away to oblivion, which is not advisable though. Check out the video & the track below. And yes, they’re Swedes.
STREAM: Rebecca & Fiona – Dance
“Dance” is off their debut album “I Love You, Man”, released in 2011.
More on Rebecca & Fiona.
I stumbled upon Cœur De Pirate‘s music in passing before, but the Canadian chanteuse’s new single “Golden Baby” is possibly my new favorite song of hers. It is sleek and lush retro-pop, set to a cool music video that’s like Teenage Dream gone supernatural. Among the things featured are exploding candies, flying plates, man on fire and the Northern lights. That it’s in French and I don’t quite understand what she sings just gives it that extra foreign appeal. “Golden Baby” is from her second album, “Blonde”, released last year.
STREAM: Cœur De Pirate – Golden Baby
Beach House is ready to return with their fourth album “Bloom”, due May 15 on Sub Pop. To get you properly excited, the Baltimore dream-pop duo is offering the lead single “Myth” for free. Usually for a band of their stature, there are two directions to take: either get more polished, or get self-indulgent. I’m glad they chose the former, as “Myth” offers the signature Beach House sound we’ve known and loved. Indeed, it will be pretty hard to top “Teen Dream”, but I trust that their new album should soundtrack many summer nights to come. Grab the mp3 below, and check out their US tour dates after the jump.
MP3: Beach House – Myth
LA-based DJ Skeet Skeet just dropped this hot new remix of Oh Land’s “White Nights”, and the title could not be more accurate. It’s all chill, summery ’80s disco, I can almost picture a Miami Vice montage set to this. Apparently, he put this together while they were touring alongside on Katy Perry’s California Dreams tour. Grab a free download below and add it to your spring break/summer playlist!
Susanne Sundfør is no rookie to the indie music scene, but I only just discovered the Nordic singer/songwriter via her latest single “White Foxes”. And what a first impression it was! Susanne possesses a haunting, theatrical voice, with a sorta operatic delivery style that reminds me of Austra. If you’re into eerie, cerebral indie electronic pop, you’ll like this. Clocking slightly over 4 minutes, the song still feels short to me – I wanted her to belt out that strange chorus once more. Notably, the contrast between the warmth of the piano and the iciness of synths is an interesting choice. Practically, it’s music tailor-made for long, dreary winters.
The unsettling music video also build ups the mood to great effect, with footage of her playing the piano in the middle of a forest in snow, a mysterious kid carrying a dead fox, and a disturbing brain surgery scene that’s not for the faint of heart. “White Foxes” is the lead single off Susanne’s 5th album “The Silicone Veil”, scheduled to drop March 26. Thanks to Wears The Trousers for the heads up.
STREAM: Susanne Sundfør – White Foxes
Darkness Falls is the Danish indie rock duo of Josephine Philip and Ina Lindgreen. Together they created “Alive In Us” – their first album released in late 2011 with production handled by Trentemøller. They remind me a lot of their fellow Danish rockers Mew, and for good reasons too.“The Void” is the single to discover, a prime example of just how well the Danes understand atmosphere in music. Instrumentally, it’s flawlessly produced – chilling, brooding, and melancholic. However, it’s not without flaws. It feels like the vocals didn’t maximize the ethereality it could go for, and the lyrics left something to be desired, beside its English-as-second-language charm. Regardless, it’s music that pertains to a certain kind of mood and weather, and a Saturday rainy morning is just the right catalyst, not to mention that the gorgeously-shot music video is a must-watch.
STREAM: Darkness Falls – The Void
Their album is available for streaming on Spotify, so I’ve got my homework cut out. Hopefully there’s more where this comes from.
The Lana Del Rey has officially announced her next single to be “Blue Jeans”, out April 8. A video has been shot by “Born To Die” director Yoann Lemoine, and the release will be supported with a set of remixes by D/R/U/G/S, Blood Orange, Kris Menace and RAC. You can now listen to the first of the bunch, a deep, pulsing take by German DJ Kris Menace.
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans (Kris Menace Remix)
Having done a brilliant job on Adele’s “Set Fire On The Rain”, Belgian producer Moonlight Matters once again adds his magic disco touch to “Blue Jeans”. The track seems to fit this kind of rendering quite well, as evidenced by the excellent Penguin Prison mix I posted before.
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans (Moonlight Matters Remix)
Last but not least is a brand new mix of “Video Games” by Dutch producer Joris Voorn. I have to say I adore his 7-minute minimal-tech edit, it sounds perfect for late night driving. Europe must really love her.
If you’re not totally sick of the remix overload yet, a new “Video Games” remix EP has just been added on iTunes US, with now-purchasable takes by Club Clique, Jakwob and Etherwood, White Lies, Jamie Woon and We Don’t Belong In Pacha. You can’t say Interscope doesn’t know how to keep milking it properly! Preview the whole set on Soundcloud.