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)
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.
Say hi to your new favorite emerging electro-pop starlet! Aussie Chela is attracting blog buzz left and right with her debut single “Romanticise” for reliably hip French label Kitsune Maison. “Romanticise” (English spelling and all) is a rollicking, electric ’80s pop number, in the tradition of CSS meets La Roux. Yes it’s a bit 2008, but who cares when it’s so damn catchy. Watch her throw some dance moves in the lo-fi video below.
Dancey guitary synth-pop is not her only mode though. She also showcased her softer side on midtempo nighttime ballad “Vegas Nights”. It’s chill and wistful in an ’80s adult-contemporary/quiet storm way, not unlike the output of Say Lou Lou. If you closed your eyes, you could almost see palm trees gently swaying by your windscreen. It really is quite lovely, not to mention it’s a freebie too!
FREE DOWNLOAD: Chela – Vegas Nights
Ever want to hear a Björk song covered through a David Lynch filter? For 20-year-old Aussie singer/songwriter Georgi Kay has done exactly that. Choosing to reinterpret the Icelandic songstress’ 1997 single “Jóga”, she adds a touch of tranquility and road trip melancholia to the song. It’s a sparse, beautifully understated reading, and her voice reminds me of fellow Australian artist Sarah Blasko. I first heard the cover on “Top of the Lake”, a Sundance/BBC miniseries in which Georgi herself played a supporting role, and it sent chills down my spine.
STREAM: Georgi Kay – Jóga (Björk Cover)
Georgi, to my surprise, already had a big club hit down under, featuring on Ivan Gough & Feenixpawl’s “In My Mind” , which I used to hear all the time not knowing who the vocalist was. She also recorded her own stripped down version of it, which was released on 7″ vinyl for Record Store Day this year.
STREAM: Georgi Kay – In My Mind
Georgi Kay may take hairspiration from Frankie Cocozza, but don’t hold it against her. She’s already signed to Parlophone in the UK and is in London recording, so do expect to hear more from her soon.
Proper POP Alert! Aussie newcomer Betty Who is the latest potential pop gal on our radar. Her single “Somebody Loves You” has been on mad repeat, and we only just discovered it yesterday! Inspired by Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, the track was written after a failed long distance relationship as told by her, but you wouldn’t know giving its infectiously joyous nature. The straight-up ’80s jam is pure unadulterated pop: bouncy, sprightly, and unabashedly catchy. Betty also exudes charm and charisma in spades in the music video (embedded below). She’s currently unsigned, but not for long I bet. If you like Alphabeat, or old-school Madonna/Whitney/Janet, this should be right up your street. Seriously, if this song doesn’t have you grinning like an idiot by the end, then you sir need to cheer up a bit.
That was great fun wasn’t it? Did I mention it’s out now as a free download too?
Download remix stems of “Somebody Loves You” if you fancy having a go at it, or grab another free track “Fire With Fire” at her Soundcloud.
Shout-out to the always excellent Singles Jukebox for turning me on to this.
Mysterious Aussie/Swedish twin duo Saint Lou Lou managed to win me over with just one perfect little gem of downtempo dream-pop. “Maybe You”, their first and only song to date, is a sublime synth-pop ballad with an ’80s-indebted ‘quiet storm’ vibe. It’s melancholy yet hopeful, subdued yet tender. It’s the kind of track you can imagine yourself hearing on the radio in the back of a taxi cab on a rainy late-summer night. In fact, I’m surprised they didn’t add thunderstorm sound effects to the intro, so I guess I’ll make do with an open tab of Rainymood.com.
The music video is a gorgeous, sensually-shot black-and-white slo-mo affair. Watch it below, and check out some excellent remixes after the jump.
Potential summer blog hit alert! Aussie indie duo Gypsy & The Cat are back with a brand new single “Sorry”. And if you expect more sun-kissed, feel-good, catchy hipster-pop, you won’t be disappointed. File this under the same category which the likes of MGMT, Passion Pit and Miike Snow frequent. A music video for the track has just been released, and you can see it here if you don’t mind a bit of gross-out weird-for-the-sake-of-being-weird humor.
STREAM: Gypsy & The Cat – Sorry
“Sorry” is out on August 17.
More on Gypsy & The Cat.
Pop mad hatter Róisín Murphy has joined forces with that guy that sang “Black & Gold” for a midtempo funky boudoir jam called “Last Night”. The freshly leaked collaboration was rumoured to be on the deluxe edition of Sam Sparro‘s new album “Return to Paradise”. Honestly I found this to be a bit bland and cringeworthy, but then some new Róisín is still better than no Róisín. Sam Sparro’s output has always been mostly miss for me except “Black & Gold” which is a classic, and I’m not feeling his new ’70s disco direction much either. Róisín, on the other hand, got to add yet another bulletpoint to her longlist of collaborations with everyone from David Byrne to The Feeling. At this point her featured tracks are probably enough to fill a full-length album and some. Still no solo music news in sight though *sighs*.
STREAM: Sam Sparro – Last Night (feat. Róisín Murphy)
Hear her other recent guest vocal stint on David Morales’ “Golden Era”. Sam Sparro’s new album is out now in UK.
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)
Last week, Mark Ronson & The Business Intl‘s member Rose Elinor Dougall mysteriously asked for Australian cover suggestions on Facebook. It turned out it was for Triple J’s “Like A Version” feature, and apparently rather than choosing a random SAW-era Kylie song “for the LOLZ”, the band took the cool route and covered Tame Impala’s “Solitude Is Bliss”, which by itself is a great swirling psych-pop jam. Rose and Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow) took charge of the vocals. Listen to their take below, and get a bonus cover of Alicia Keys’ “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart” featuring MNDR done for Live Lounge last year after the jump.