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.