Your tears don't shake my world like Britney Spears.

New Singles

Popforward: Real Lies

realliesJust 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!

Buy “Seven Sisters” on iTunes.
More on Real Lies.

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ON ROTATION: Ruby Frost – Comeback Queen

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Sound the listicle klaxon! Here are six things you can learn about Kiwi songstress Ruby Frost today.

  1. Ruby Frost is a very good pop star name, I’m sure you agree.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. “Hooked on love since 17, you could say I’m comeback queen” is a good pop lyric.
  6. 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.

Buy the single on iTunes (out in New Zealand only for now).
More on Ruby Frost.


ON ROTATION: Marina and the Diamonds – FROOT

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SUCH AN AUTUMN JAM.
🍎🍏🍊🍋🍒🍇🍉🍓🍑🍈🍌🍐🍍

Pre-order “FROOT,” out in April 2015.


LISTEN: Kimbra – 90’s Music

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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.


ON ROTATION: The Horrors – So Now You Know

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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.

Buy the single on iTunes.
More on The Horrors.


LISTEN: Lana Del Rey – West Coast

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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?

Buy ‘West Coast’ on iTunes.
More on Lana.


J▲M: The Pierces – Kings / Believe In Me

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The Pierce sisters have returned with not one, but two brand new songs! I was a big fan of the singles from their last album “You & I”, so new Pierces music now requires mandatory coverage. “Kings” is the catchy stomper with sweet harmonies, sweeter hooks and a Carole King reference, while lead single “Believe In Me” is the MOR midtempo ballad for Radio 2 listeners to slow dance to. Both tracks are a taster of their upcoming fifth album “Creation”, out June 2 in the UK. If the album maintains this level of quality, then it’s safe to say it should be quite a pleasant listen.

 

W▲TCH: The Pierces – Kings

 

One thing I’m not so sure about is the visual aesthetics this era. On one hand it’s nice that they’re leaving behind the ’70s boho look which has become a bit lazy, on the other hand, judging by the ironically ‘lo-fi’ videos, it now looks like they’ve been spending time at dated mall photo booths.

 

W▲TCH: The Pierces – Believe In Me

 

Pre-order the album to get “Kings” as an instant track.
More on The Pierces.


J▲M: Stine Bramsen – Prototypical

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Stine Bramsen of Alphabeat has officially kickstarted a solo career with her debut single “Prototypical”. Released worldwide last January, the toe-tapping track sees her leaning towards a more mature singer-songwriter direction, but worry not, the hooks are still very much present. A music video will be coming soon, until then you can stream the track right below.

 

 

I also made a late discovery of her collaboration with alt-rock band/labelmate Carpark North on their single “32” last year. I don’t know much about the fellow Danish rockers beside their striking Martin De Thurah-directed videos in 2005 for “Human” and “Best Day”, both of which were admittedly quite good Depeche Modesque tunes. It’s good to know the band still releases music in that same vein. In fact, I find myself liking “32” much more than I expected, thanks to Stine’s star-turn vocals. Then again, the Danes have always excelled at cold water music, like this subtly anthemic synth-rock jam (see also: Mew). Watch the moody video featuring a girl with superpowers.

 

W▲TCH: Carpark North – 32 feat. Stine Bramsen

 

Buy “Prototypical” now.
More on Stine.
More on Carpark North.


Popforward: London Grammar

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Lately the music scene has witnessed the inevitable antithesis to EDM. A small wave of new acts makes music that is more likely to gently stroke a listener’s chin, rather than shout at one’s face threatening to ‘drop’. London Grammar are UK’s brightest new hope. Already scoring a #2 album across the pond, the band is making their way to America. A mix between The XX, Florence & The Machine and Sia, London Grammar’s sound is really as stately and deceptively modest as the name suggests. At times they also remind me of Trespassers William too.
I first got hooked on early single “Metal & Dust”, a gorgeous trip-hop throwback that knows when to hold and release. Follow-up single “Wasting My Young Years” is one of those ballads that might send a lump down your throat in an appropriate mood. It might actually rival the grandeur of Sia’s “Breathe Me”, and I don’t say that lightly. However, “Strong” is the one with mass appeal, landing them their first Top 20 single in Britain. The old-school drum-and-bass High Contrast remix confirms that they sound just as good over block rockin’ beats.

 

STREAM: London Grammar – Strong (High Contrast Remix)

 

As nice as the electronic embellishment around their production is, it’s Hannah Reid’s powerhouse vocals that took center in every song. Her guest vocals on Disclosure’s “Help Me Lose My Mind” is a thing of sunset-in-Ibiza beauty. For such a new band, they’re really building up a solid discography.

 

STREAM: London Grammar – Metal & Dust

 

Check out their US tour dates after the jump.

(more…)


Popforward: Chela

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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

 

Buy Romanticise EP.
More on Chela.