On a Saturday night in LA, only one day after their third and latest LP ‘Moth’ was officially unleashed onto the world, Chairlift performed an intimate show at Teragram Ballroom. The Brooklyn-based synth-pop duo of Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly came on stage with the band at 10 PM to an adoring crowd.
Two songs in, Caroline realized the synthesizer’s sound wasn’t audible, so Patrick bought some time with some classic technical-issue banter, noting this was their first show since the record came out. Once that got quickly sorted out, the band launched into a fan favorite, 2012’s ‘Something’ cut ‘Sidewalk Safari.’ Caroline cemented her status as one of the finest vocalists (and captivating performers) of our times, pulling off pitch-perfect vocal acrobatics with such ease. The new batch of songs really came alive with their disco-lite, retro-funk R&B vibes, especially ‘Moth To The Flame,’ ‘Ch-Ching’ and ‘Show U Off.’ However, a clear highlight was one of the quieter moments – the gossamer ballad ‘Crying In Public’ in which Caroline sang about having a breakdown on a subway car. The inclusion of their breakout hit ‘Bruises’ got the crowd to sing along, and it stuck out, showing how much Chairlift has grown musically and artistically since then. The energetic set lasted a little over an hour, and even though there was no encore, everyone was applauding so much that the band came out again to say thank you and said sorry they had no more songs.
The setlist was culled from ‘Moth’ mainly, bar two oldies and one unreleased cut called ‘Get Real.’ It makes sense that they wanted to focus on showcasing the new materials live on this night, but I hope they will add more tracks from ‘Something’ for the spring North America headline tour. Check out the tour dates below, and grab your tickets!
On first listen, the second track off Selena Gomez‘s ‘grown-woman’ “Revival” era didn’t seem up to much. “Same Old Love” feels self-consciously minimalist, and the Charli XCX-isms were distracting to say the least. Perseveringly, much like its predecessor “Good For You,” the song has its way of sneaking up on me. Maybe it’s the little details like the Sinnerman-esque piano riff, or the synths from Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes.”
The music video premiered yesterday supports the argument that “Same Old Love” may be one the best things Selena has put her voice to. Directed by Michael Haussman (Britney Spears, Shakira, Justin Timberlake), the video follows the petite pop star on a rainy night out in LA. The treatment feels very ’90s (Madonna’s “Substitute for Love” springs to mind), as the moody visuals bring out the claustrophobic feel of the track. I suppose this whole post is just a long-winded way to justify liking this song, and yes, I’ve got my mind made up. Watch the sultry video below.[vimeo http://vimeo.com/140182388]
Just when you think there’s little left of the ’90s electronic music scene to mine, along comes Real Lies, a hotly-tipped London trio who manages to tap into a less-referenced part of the ’90s. Comparisons so far include Mike Skinner (The Streets), Pet Shop Boys, Underworld. Their poppiest single to date is “World Peace,” which sounds like ‘normcore’ Hurts meet Unicorn Kid (RIP). It’s amazing how it sounds so fresh, considering it was first released in 2013!
“Seven Sisters” is their latest track, certainly one for a lads’ night out. It contains this great line: “No first kiss could explain love, in a decade with no name.”
It really feels like the band is on the cusp of something exciting. They make music that can appeal to both NME, tastemakers and pop bloggers; cool, but not at the expense of melodies. Real Lies are totally the type of band that can be key players in the next BBC Sound Of poll, but I don’t think we’ll have to wait that long for new music!
Sound the listicle klaxon! Here are six things you can learn about Kiwi songstress Ruby Frost today.
- Ruby Frost is a very good pop star name, I’m sure you agree.
- Back in 2012 she released a nice single called “Water To Ice.” It sounded like Florence & The Machine meets The Naked & Famous ie. shouty & catchy electro-pop.
- She was on the judging panel of the first season of X Factor NZ along with Melanie Blatt of All Saints fame. Girl power! etc.
- Frost’s back with a brand new single called “Comeback Queen,” a drum-and-bassy youth-pop number. It was co-produced by Harry Sommerdahl (Robyn, The Saturdays).
- “Hooked on love since 17, you could say I’m comeback queen” is a good pop lyric.
- This will sound especially good on the speakers of an H&M or Uniqlo.
Have a listen below via the (naturally) ’90s-styled music video.
SUCH AN AUTUMN JAM.
Pre-order “FROOT,” out in April 2015.
Attention NYC! Have you got any plans for this Friday, July 25? Lucky for you, the good people at Bounce Boat have kindly offered us a pair of FREE tickets to their latest event featuring DJ sets from Brenmar, Solidisco and Capital Cities. Capital Cities, of course, are responsible for their massive hit “Safe and Sound,” and have been touring with Katy Perry, playing at arenas for the last couple months.
So if a cool EDM party on a boat sounds like your kind of fun, here’s your chance to spend a summer night on the Hornblower Infinity boat, cruising across Hudson River while living it up to good music! A couple notes below:
- This giveaway is open to those living in or close to New York who can physically make it to the event (obviously).
- You can enter once every day. Earn up to 7 entries per day! Deadline is 3AM EST on 7/25.
- Keep in mind it’s a 21+ show. Boarding time is 7PM, departure is at 9PM.
You want in? Click here to go the entry page and WIN.
Best of luck! In the meantime, here are some tunes to get you pumped up.
STREAM: Capital Cities – Safe And Sound (RAC Mix)
STREAM: Chromeo – Jealous (Solidisco Remix)
STREAM: Route 94 – My Love Feat. Jess Glynne (Brenmar & J Heat Remix)
Whoever has been commissioning remixes for Lana Del Rey deserves accolades. They always take risks and reach out to less obvious acts. The results don’t always pay off but when they do, they do! The latest coup is to get the holy Four Tet to remix her brand new single “West Coast”. Something about the drums on this one reminds me of Björk’s “Human Behaviour”. Très cool.
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – West Coast (Four Tet Remix)
Ten Ven has their eyes on the disco ball, William Carl Jr uses new vocals not in the original mix, and Camo & Krooked dreams up a more leftfield spectral soundscape. Definitely an interesting batch of remixes so far (you just know there will be more).
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – West Coast (Ten Ven Remix)
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – West Coast (William Carl Jr Remix)
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – West Coast (Camo & Krooked Remix)
The Pierces have put their sisterly harmonizing powers to good use with a folked-up version of Lorde‘s commoner anthem “Team”. Absent are the glitches and pitch-shifted vocal samples, as the duo winds the song back four decades, when Fleetwood Mac reigned supreme. It’s a pretty acoustic cover that replaces teen angst with knowing wisdom. Check it out below.
STREAM: The Pierces – Team (Lorde Cover)
Don’t be fooled by the title of Kimbra‘s new one. Yes, “90’s Music” does pay tribute to the ongoing ’90s nostalgia, shamelessly name-dropping Aaliyah, Nirvana, Mariah Carey, R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige and TLC all in the space of one verse. Sonically, it’s utterly bonkers. The future-funk production is courtesy of Kimbra herself and producer Rich Costey, and apparently Matt Bellamy (Muse) & Mark Foster (Foster The People) also snuck in on the track. On first listen it’s a madcap racket that sits comfortably alongside the output of alt-R&B greats like Erykah Badu, Little Dragon and Janelle Monae. Conveniently, Kimbra is having a joint Australian tour with Ms. Monae soon.
STREAM: Kimbra – 90’s Music
She’s wack and she knows it.
More on Kimbra.
Current UK #1 single champion (and deservingly so) Kiesza is keeping the momentum going by dropping a cover of Haddaway‘s ’90s club classic “What Is Love”. Yes it’s a bit of an obvious choice, but also not what you probably expected (it’s done in an emotive piano ballad style). The Canadian singer gets to show off her vocal chops here, and the beautiful strings towards the end really class it up. Check out her pensive cover below, and watch the self-directed video via NME.
STREAM: Kiesza – What Is Love (Haddaway Cover)
And just for extra content engagement I’m gonna squeeze in two cool remixes of “Hideaway” by Gorgon City and Zac Samuel.
The hype surround Cloud Nothings‘ second album “Here and Nowhere Else” was so big I had to check it out myself. While the album as a whole wasn’t entirely to my taste, I can’t deny this irresistible punk-pop gem “I’m Not Part of Me”. Let’s not beat around the bush, this belongs in a ’90s teen flick soundtrack. Proper jump on your bed, sing into your hairbrush, dance like nobody’s watching stuff. The music video even features teenage girls having a weird slumber party. They’re in on it.
It helps that the frontman Dylan Baldi openly talks about his appreciation for Taylor Swift’s songcraft. Check out the Ohio-based indie rock’s single below, and good luck getting it out of your head.
On paper, The Horrors are the kind of band I wouldn’t be bothered with, and yet I keep liking bits and bobs of their output. Plus Cat’s Eyes, Faris Badwan’s side-project with Rachel Zeffira, was far from terrible. With their fourth album “Luminous” arriving soon, it’s safe to say they have become reliable mainstays for panoramic post-punk shoegaze goodness. Their latest single “So Now You Know” is what I’d call one of their accidental pop songs, and I can confirm it sounds fantastic on a sunny day. Turn on the volume!
STREAM: The Horrors – So Now You Know
Watch the desert-based music video for the track here. New album drops May 5 on XL Recordings.
From the Soundcloud vaults of Arbutus Records (Grimes’ label) comes this lovely little gem, a lo-fi acapella cover of The Beatles classic “And I Love Her” by Eola aka Brooklyn-based musician Edwin Mathis White. Surfaced in October 2012, it’s just a simple take drenched in reverb and tape loops, but it’s the naked simplicity that emits a sort of moonshine hypnotism. He even made the effort to riff on the “Meet The Beatles!” cover!
STREAM: Eola – And I Love Her (Beatles Cover)
Giorgio Moroder is the latest to join disco greats like Nile Rodgers and Cerrone to resurface after the renewed interest thanks to Daft Punk & Pharrell. The Italian legend lent his magic touch to Coldplay‘s recent single “Midnight” and turned it into a 9-minute intergalactic trip, complete with French-singing robot vocoders, violin strings and delicious synth sequencers. Leave it to the master to bring on good times.
STREAM: Coldplay – Midnight (Giorgio Moroder Remix)
You can check out the original, co-produced by Paul Epworth and Jon Hopkins, via its unintentionally hilarious video here.
Coldplay’s 6th album “Ghost Stories” drops on May 16.
So AlunaGeorge recommended this certain tune a while ago on Twitter, and since I trust their taste in music I followed through. And yup, total jam. “Stronger” is a hot garage throwback whose not-so-secret weapon is an instantly recognizable sample (spoiler alert: it’s Corinne Bailey-Rae‘s once-inescapable “Put Your Records On”). It’s very 2014, in the veins of Disclosure and the current wave of catchphrase-based UK house music.
Wilfred Giroux is the alias of Joshua Mooney, a 22-year-old London-based producer with a fast growing Internet following. Apparently Corinne has personally approved the sample so there should be no clearance issues. Next, with radio support, this will be huge.
And now I realize it’s perfectly acceptable to sample “Put Your Records On” because it’s been EIGHT years, and I just want to gaze into the blood moon and feel all kinds of feels.
STREAM: Wilfred Giroux – Stronger (Extended Mix)
Only Róisín Murphy can get away with making her first official solo material in 8 years a 6-track EP of Italian covers. “Mi Senti” (“I Feel” in English) is a collection of electronic renditions of 5 classic Italian tracks from the ’60s and ’70s by the likes of Mina, Patty Pravo, Lucio Battisti and Gino Paoli (nope, me neither), plus one original penned by the former Moloko star. The project is a joint effort with her partner and Milanese producer Sebastiano Properzi. You can now stream “Ancora Tu”, a laidback, moody post-Italo-disco number that might be indicative of the overall sound of the EP. I like the stylized ’80s vibe, but shall reserve my judgement ’til I hear the whole thing in context.
STREAM: Róisín Murphy – Ancora Tu
The EP drops May 28, digitally and physically on special gatefold double white vinyl, strictly limited to 1000 copies with the first 500 hand signed by Róisín herself. It will cost you £40 a pop. Let’s justify it as an investment.
After a week of relentless teasing, this morning Lana Del Rey finally premiered “West Coast”, the lead single off her highly-anticipated sophomore album “Ultraviolence”. The multi-layered, slow-burning midtempo ballad is something of a departure for her. It’s not like she has gone trap or anything, but it’s still a fairly new territory for her, sound-wise. To be honest, I was hoping for something on the poppier side (à la “National Anthem”), still, as I let it marinate a bit more, here are a few keynotes:
- It’s produced by The Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach. So credible.
- A video has been shot with director Vincent Haycock (Calvin Harris, Florence + The Machine). Expect it to be a serious narrative affair
- I wonder if they deliberately sampled The Beatles’ “And I Love Her” opening bar? Listen to 1:04 and compare.
- Hello, “Pure Shores” synth pads!
- Basically it’s something you can swing from side to side to in the pale moonlight.
- Perpetua tweeted that it sounds like “she merged Portishead and Mazzy Star”, which I can actually hear.
Have a listen below:
STREAM: Lana Del Rey – West Coast
What do you make of the ‘queen of Saigon”s new direction?
Nina Persson‘s debut solo album “Animal Heart” has been a Pop Labyrinth favorite since its release in February. Now that the sun is out, it feels like the right time to revisit the soaring title track. “Animal Heart” sees The Cardigans/A Camp frontwoman at her ’80s synth-pop new wave mode, and rest assured, it’s a fantastic song injected with wildlife metaphors, heartfelt melodies, and of course, her unmistakable voice. The one-shot music video filmed at her Harlem neighborhood features back-up dancers, confetti, and costume changes, all in one quick walk to grab some milk! It looks like great fun without appearing too rehearsed. And her belting at the last chorus – she’s still got me after all these years.
WATCH: Nina Persson – Animal Heart
Nina Persson is playing a show at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn this Wednesday, 4/16, for which you can buy tickets here.
One year has passed since I raved about Oscar’s “Never Told You”, and the London-based bedroom pop artist is back with another perfect pop song. “Sometimes” is instant love at first play, generous with riff-laden hooks and the scruffy charm of the lo-fi indie pop ethos. Wearing its Blur-isms on its sleeves, the track harks back to the golden days of early-’90s Britpop. Oscar Scheller certainly has a way with catchy melodies, and he doesn’t hold them back. On a sunny spring day, I ask for nothing more. Irresistible.
STREAM: Oscar – Sometimes
Oscar is now signed to Smalltown Supersound’s new sub-label Brown Rice, and his debut EP “146b” drops next month.
Here’s a name I bet you haven’t heard of for while: Sam Sparro. He was like the Sam Smith of 2008. Yes, it’s been 6 years since “Black and Gold”. Let that seep in.
I was just alerted to his recent collaboration with fellow Aussie Plastic Plates, a track called “Stay In Love”. It’s an on-trend laidback house number, and Sam’s soulful vocals go down easy. It was quietly released on iTunes back in February and managed to slip under my radar until now. A jam and a half, you may agree.
STREAM: Plastic Plates – Stay In Love (feat. Sam Sparro)
Professional soundtrack botherer Ellie Goulding just premiered the video for her latest young adult blockbuster theme song “Beating Heart”. For those of you who prefer EDM Ellie, the Divergent tune also got a fresh club-friendly remix by the ever-reliable Cahill. If you’re up for some generic good fun, check out the dance radio edit below.
STREAM: Ellie Goulding – Beating Heart (Cahill Radio Edit)
You can watch Ellie having a nice walk in the woods below.
Foxes’ ascension to pop stardom has been a long time coming, but it looks like 2014 will be her year. January brought her a Grammy award for her Zedd collaboration “Clarity” (Best Dance Recording), February landed her a UK Top 10 single for “Let Go For Tonight”, and come May her debut album “Glorious” will finally drop.
“Night Glo” is one of the album tracks, and it presents a somewhat different side of the British pop star. The midtempo number is produced by Liam Howe (Lana Del Rey, Marina & The Diamonds, Ellie Goulding, FKA Twigs), with a piano intro that recalls a Studio Ghibli score. Over an atmospheric, swampy instrumental, Louisa sings: “When soldiers are calling, just run through the night glo.” The track already sounds ready-made for a young adult film adaptation soundtrack.
STREAM: Foxes – Night Glo
Does the name Plastiscines ring a bell to you?
Let me jog your memory: back in 2009, the all-girl French rock band became the first to sign to NYLON magazine’s record label, released their second album “About Love”, and even nabbed a guest spot on Gossip Girl. Since then, the group downsized to a trio, added synths to their sound and continued to release new music. Their most recent release is a covers EP sponsored by Paco Rabanne perfume Black XS. It’s an eclectic collection of slick and stylish reinterpretations of Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans”, Air’s “Sexy Boy”, Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s “Murder On The Dancefloor”, Caroline Loeb’s ’80s hit “C’est la ouate”, and an acoustic version of Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”. If you like your bands to consist of guitar-rocking ladies (The Like, The Donnas, HAIM etc.), you should dig into this pronto. You can’t go wrong with some fun rock n’ roll with a French accent.
Listen to their new-wave take of Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans” below. Cowbells included!
STREAM: Plastiscines – Blue Jeans (Lana Del Rey Cover)
I also quite enjoy their 2013 French single – the groovy “Comment faire”, whose video is a fun retro homage to American ’70s cop shows à la Charlie’s Angels.
WATCH: Plastiscines – Comment Faire
Last weekend, Aussie psych-pop wizards Tame Impala casually chucked a cover of Michael Jackson‘s 1996 single “Stranger In Moscow” on Soundcloud. The track’s arrival might be unexpected, but its gorgeousness is no surprise. Generously doused with swirling psychedelia, comfy synth pads and layer upon layer of reverb, it’s an effortlessly superb re-imagining that sounds fresh and retro at once. Honestly, if they hadn’t put “MJ Cover” in (double) parentheses, I would have totally bought it as a new unreleased Tame Impala song.
Out of curiosity, I launched Youtube right after to check out the original, which turned out to be a beautiful ’90s relic. Then I ended up at the track’s Wiki page and found out UK duo Alpines also recorded another lovely version which was put up on their Myspace back in 2010. I’ve unearthed that and uploaded it for your convenience below. Have a listen while I lean back and congratulate myself for such a productive day.