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UK

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.


ON ROTATION: Marina and the Diamonds – FROOT

froot

SUCH AN AUTUMN JAM.
馃崕馃崗馃崐馃崑馃崚馃崌馃崏馃崜馃崙馃崍馃崒馃崘馃崓

Pre-order “FROOT,” out in April 2015.


Lana Del Rey’s “West Coast” Remixed By Four Tet & More

ultraviolence
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 Bj枚rk’s “Human Behaviour”. Tr猫s 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)

Watch the music video.
Buy ‘West Coast’ on iTunes.
More on Lana Del Rey.


Kiesza Delivers Emotive Cover of Haddaway’s “What Is Love”

kiesza
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.


You can buy “Hideway” on iTunes US now, so get to it!
More on Kiesza.


ON ROTATION: The Horrors – So Now You Know

horrors

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.


Coldplay’s “Midnight” Remixed by Disco Legend Giorgio Moroder

moroder

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.

Buy the remix on iTunes.
More on Coldplay.
More on Moroder.


J鈻睲: Wilfred Giroux – Stronger

wilfred

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)

 

Buy the single right now on iTunes. It’s also available as a seriously cool T-shirt bundle (designed by Young & Sick) via Polkadot Recordings.
More on Wilfred Giroux.


LISTEN: R贸is铆n Murphy – Ancora Tu

Roisin Murphy By Ami Barwell
Only R贸is铆n 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: R贸is铆n 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 R贸is铆n herself. It will cost you 拢40 a pop. Let’s justify it as an investment.

Pre-order the limited-edition vinyl at VinylFactory.
Like R贸is铆n on Facebook.


ON ROTATION: Oscar – Sometimes

oscar

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.

Oscar on Soundcloud.
More on Oscar.


REMIXED: Ellie Goulding – Beating Heart (Cahill Radio Edit)

ellieg
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.

 


Buy “Beating Heart” on iTunes.

More on Ellie.
More on Cahill.


LISTEN: Foxes – Night Glo

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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

 

Pre-order the album on iTunes, out May 9 in the UK.
Foxes on Facebook.


J鈻睲: Tame Impala – Stranger In Moscow (Michael Jackson Cover)

2_TAME IMPALA_NEIL KRUG

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.

 

STREAM: Tame Impala – Stranger In Moscow (Michael Jackson Cover)

 

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.

 

STREAM: Alpines – Stranger In Moscow (Michael Jackson Cover)

 

More on Tame Impala.
More on Alpines.


White Lies Cover Lana Del Rey’s “Ride”

whitelies

Considering they have done a remix for Lana Del Rey before, White Lies‘ cover of the demure songstress’ single “Ride” seems like an obvious move. It first started out a bit Celtic, and just as I almost expected some bagpipe action, the cover took a turn into funkier territory with a more electronic arrangement. Why do I have a feeling they might have recorded this with tongue firmly in cheek?

 

DOWNLOAD: White Lies – Ride (Lana Del Rey Cover)

 

In other news, the band just kickstarted their US tour promoting their new album “Big TV” last night in New York. I happened to be at the show, so hopefully more on that later… In the meantime, check out their remaining US tour dates below.

 

October 3 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom

October 4 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom (SOLD OUT)

October 5 Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club

October 7 Chicago, IL @ Cabaret Metro

October 9 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall

October 10 Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre

More on White Lies.


Popforward: London Grammar

ldngrmmr

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…)


LISTEN: Goldfrapp – Drew

alison

Goldfrapp never cease to surprise. After their brief flirtation with ’80s synth-pop on Head First, Alison & Will revert to nature for their forthcoming sixth album Tales of Us. If you’re a fan of Seventh Tree and Felt Mountain, you’re bound to be pleased, the sound template this time is much inspired by organic textures, James Bond soundtrack, and ’70s Italian film scores, with a touch of grandiosity. Alison’s voice remains otherwordly and crystalline on the haunting “Drew”, which could well be the sequel to “A&E”. Those cinematic strings at the middle eight… they’re quite something.

 

STREAM: Goldfrapp – Drew

 

Every track on the album is named after a person, like a postcard to a ghost of past memories. The second short film for “Annabel” premiered yesterday, and it’s just as gorgeous. It’s clear they’re treating this project as a singular body of work.

 

Goldfrapp are performing a one-off show at Beacon Theater on 9/10 to celebrate the album release next week. Tickets are still available. See you there?

“Tales of Us” is out on 9/10. Pre-order on iTunes.
More on Goldfrapp.


NEW SINGLE: Daley – Broken

daley

It’s been a while since Daley was longlisted for BBC Sound of 2011, and the British R&B/soul vocalist has yet to release his debut album, despite his fantastic Gorillaz collab “Doncamatic” and the Jessie-J-assisted moderate hit “Remember Me”. As frustrating and out-of-control these things are, he soldiers on with a brand new single entitled “Broken”. Probably his most commercial work to date, the soaring string-laden track follows that ’90s trip-hop/drum-and-bass throwback template that’s so on-trend right now, thanks to Naughty Boy, Emeli Sand茅 and Rudimental. He even travelled to the Seven Sisters cliff for the music video, so you know he means business.

 

 


He’s undoubtedly got an amazing voice, I wouldn’t mind more songs in this direction really.

Download a free EP on his website.


LISTEN: Wookie feat. Eliza Doolittle – The Hype

eliza

Funny hat-wearer Eliza Doolittle is a puzzle. One minute, she turned heads on the flawless Disclosure collab “You & Me”. Then she followed up with “Big When I Was Little”, a cynical attempt at prepackaged nostalgia. Then out of nowhere, she delivered another winsome performance on veteran UK garage producer Wookie’s laidback house groove “The Hype”. Then she wasted no time and went back to unleashing a plodding acoustic ballad. I know it’s a fine line between collaborations and being an ‘artiste’ but she is just so damn good at this dance vocalist thing. Maybe one day she might rethink her strategy and become a full-time chill house diva? One can dream.

For now, this Wookie jam will do.
 

 

Buy a DJ version on Beatport.
More on Wookie.
More on Eliza.


NEW VIDEO: Summer Camp – Fresh

summercamp

We might not’ve been exactly vocal about this in the past (apols) but we love Summer Camp, aka UK power duo of Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley. They wrote some very listenable pop tunes.
Now that they’re back for another round with album no. 2, the band has stepped their game up. Current single “Fresh” is what you get when you put the following ingredients in a blender and press “Mix”: Disney string samples, Beach Boys ghost harmonies, funky disco bassline, ’90s Britpop, Tumblr irony, and of course, ’80s John Hughes teen angst. A delicious smoothie, you’d agree.
The charming and colorful music video directed by Lucy Needs is one of those performance videos where the artist has to learn to lip sync to their song backwards. Watch as Elizabeth reiterate Jarvis Cocker’s question “Do you remember the first time?” (can you spot the other Pulp reference?).

 

 

Pre-order the self-titled album, out September 9 on Moshi Moshi.
More on Summer Camp.


Birdy Returns With “Wings”

birdy-wings

More than 2 years after its release, Birdy‘s cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” is still hovering around the lower end of iTunes Top 100. Clearly, the 17-year-old alt-pop interpreter would do just fine living off the royalties of that hit. She bravely soldiers on with a sophomore effort of original tunes anyway. “Wings” is the lead single from her upcoming album “Fire Within” (no easy poultry puns, please), and if it’s an indication of quality, then she’s got nothing to worry about stepping away from the covers.
Sonically, it’s pleasingly stuck in 2005, when the likes of Snow Patrol, Keane and Coldplay were hugely popular with their brand of sensitive indie stadium-pop. You can even sing the chorus of “Yellow” on top of it if you like. Not that I’m complaining, it’s been long enough to feel nostalgic for those days. “Wings” is stately, immaculately-produced Radio 2 pop and an immense grower of a song.
In the music video directed by the legendary Sophie Muller (who previously worked with her on “Skinny Love” and “Shelter”), Birdy seems to find herself at an ennui-laden costume party, but even I’d be pretty down too if my dress sleeves were fashioned out of steamer baskets. Watch the lovely video below.

 

 

Ever the samaritan, Birdy has also offered an MP3 of trip-hoppy album cut “All You Never Say” for the price of your email address. Go for it, it’s worth it. The instrumental middle eight is particularly beautiful.

DOWNLOAD: Birdy – All You Never Say

I look forward to adding this album to my music-for-rainy-days category.

“Fire Within” drops September 23.
Pre-order the album.
More on Birdy.


Popforward: Solomon Grey

solomongrey

Cloaked in mystery, Solomon Grey is the latest signing to Black Butter Records. There’s next to nothing about him/them online, but that he’s on the hottest UK dance label right now is a coup in itself. The gorgeous artwork depicting nighttime cityscape just piqued my curiosity even more. So I clicked play.
And I hit repeat, again and again.
“Gen V” is an exquisite piece of widescreen downtempo electronica. With cascading synths and soulful vocals, the beautifully produced track operates within a nocturnal solitary world. “Inside it’s raining… always”, the male protagonist sings in melancholy. The song is a cross between Rhye, Air, and the Drive soundtrack. It’s a total stunner.

 

STREAM: Solomon Grey – Gen V (Edit)

 

More on Solomon Grey.


REMIXED: Little Boots – Motorway (Little Boots Discotheque Edit)

lb

Not complacent about “Motorway” being one of her finest tracks to date, British disco siren/DJ Little Boots has expanded the atmospheric Nocturnes opening track to a swirling 7-minute epic joy ride. Billed as the “Little Boots Discotheque Edit”, the eargasmic extended version should please any fan of disco beats, bongo drums and vintage synths. To sweeten the deal, Victoria is kind enough to offer it up as a free mp3 download, so you can sync it to your iPod, add it to your getaway playlist, blast it in your car and driiiive away.
Seriously loving this.

 

MP3: Little Boots – Motorway (Little Boots Discotheque Edit)

 

And just in case you haven’t heard the original, it’s still available as a free download too!

MP3: Little Boots – Motorway

 

Buy “Nocturnes”.
More on Little Boots.


FREE MP3: White Lies – Getting Even

whitelies

White Lies are back with a brand new beat! Nah jk they’re still the same old demure chaps. In fact, the frontman’s sporting a new beard so they’re probably even more serious about their craft this time around etc.
Jokes aside, as far as stadium rock bands go, they’ve had a pretty strong listenable single run, and now that Muse are inching further towards self-parody territory, we need new bleak-but-catchy British indie rock to fill up our quota. “Getting Even”, the first track from their upcoming third album “Big TV”, introduces the addition of synths, which make it sound not a mile away from The Killers’ output. I find the “I can forgive/ And we can forget” bits irritatingly catchy too. Best of all, it’s a guilt-free download!

 

MP3: White Lies – Getting Even

 

The proper lead single is called “There Goes Our Love Again”, and it’s not half bad either.

STREAM: White Lies – There Goes Our Love Again

Pre-order the new album.
More on White Lies.


NEW ALUNAGEORGE: Bad Idea (Radio Rip)

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British future-pop duo AlunaGeorge continues their hot streak by teasing another new track on Lauren Laverne’s BBC 6 Music radio show 2 weeks ago. Album track “Bad Idea” is a sassy kiss-off number with major ’90s Timbaland vibes. Production-wise, it’s probably their most straightforward R&B throwback so far, with mad catchy hooks and a beautiful spacey middle eight. Those onomatopoeic doo-doos shall haunt my head for days. So so good.

 

STREAM: AlunaGeorge – Bad Idea (Radio Rip)

 

And in case you haven’t seen the glossy new video for the re-release of “You Know You Like It”, watch it below:

Body Music is out on July 29.
More on AlunaGeorge.


ON ROTATION: The Proper Ornaments – Waiting For The Summer

WFTS

Perfect summer indie pop alert!
The Proper Ornaments are my new favorite Soundcloud discovery. Their new single “Waiting For The Summer” is everything I wanted in a song with that title. The UK band lovingly crafts that timeless jangle-pop sound: dreamy, short and sweet, and more than ideal for a sunny day in the park. This was so good I immediately searched for all their past releases to listen. Apparently, one of the band members James Hoare is also in Veronica Falls, another favorite English indie band of mine, so I shouldn’t be surprised. Take my word for it, press play and enjoy.

 

STREAM: The Proper Ornaments – Waiting For The Summer

 

And here’s the equally lovely b-side “Candy”:

STREAM: The Proper Ornaments – Candy

Bonus points for the band name, which I presume to be an homage to a Free Design song of the same name.

 

“Waiting For The Summer” is out now on Lo Recordings. Their album is expected for a late summer release. In the meantime, grab a free download of a track from 2011, “Shining Bright”.

MP3: The Proper Ornaments – Shining Bright

 

Buy the single on iTunes.
More on The Proper Ornaments.