Thursday, May 31, 2012

Top 5 Songs...

That Should Have Been Recorded By The Scissor Sisters

With Magic Hour fresh out of the box, my friend Bibs thought it would be interesting to see my take on 5 songs that should have been recorded by the Scissor Sisters. It was a pretty fun little challenge and here's what I came up with.

5. Warm Leatherette - The Normal

4. Don't You Want Me - Human League

3. Sex Dwarf - Soft Cell 

2.  All I Wanna Do - Heart

1.  Why'd You Come In Here (Looking Like That) - Dolly Parton 

Honorable Mention

The Boy is Mine - Brandy & Monica 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

DJ M.E.G. - Moscow to California (featuring Sergey Lazarev & Timati)

I've been a fan of Sergey Lazarev's for quite some time. I think that he makes incredible pop music and it floors me to realize he's Russian. I think a lot of it has to do with this antiquated view of Russia that I have. Very Cold War meets Yakov Smirnoff. But I am a fan of most everything he does. This track is no different. The video shows Sergey and his lady friend separated due to her flight being cancelled because of fog. Sergey, DJ M.E.G. and Timati are frolicking in the Los Angeles sun and fun while she is stuck at home pining for him. It's a fun summer song and I dig the hell out of it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Scissor Sisters - Magic Hour (Track by Track)

So many bloggers have been complaining that this album isn't Night Work.  It's not Night Work nor does it pretend to be.  I think as divergent as this album is from their previous releases, it is far strong enough to stand on it's own as the next logical step in the evolution of the band.  As I said in my other review, this album shows growth.  The Sisters aren't in their 20s anymore and I think it's important that their material has some age on it.  I think that's one of the problems I have with Madonna's new album... it still seems like she's mugging like a 20 year old when she should be showing her age in a mature manner.

So here's my track by track breakdown of the new album.  What are your opinions?  Are they different than mine?

Scissor Sisters - Magic Hour

Let me start this off by saying if you are expecting Magic Hour to sound like any previous release by the Sisters, you are going to be mistaken.  This album is them all grown up.  They've been stepped on and pushed around by love and life and have a few battle scars to show.  They've had their fair share of experiences and it's those experiences that give them what they need to deliver the material in this album flawlessly.  Previous albums have all had raucous moments of excitement and glamour ("Night Work", "Skin This Cat", "Sex and Violence", "Paul McCartney", "She's My Man", "Kiss You Off", "Tits on the Radio", "Music is the Victim", "Filthy/Gorgeous") and there is no shortage of them on Magic Hour but what is different about this album may be the content.  The lyrical composition is more sincere and in a way, lovelorn.  Even though it was produced by Calvin Harris, Diplo and other huge producers what's underneath is still nothing but pure magic by the Sisters.

There are actually songs on this album that strike very close to home to me and I have a much stronger reaction to them then I do to others.  "Baby Come Home" and "Best In Me" need to be on the soundtrack to my life because they are my songs.  I've lived them both and I think there are a lot of people out there that have done the same.  There seems to be more music on this that has a very personal connection.  I think "Only The Horses" is an amazingly romantic song. The thought that you can just get so lost in someone that modern means cannot be used to bring you back.  The tone is so somber on the tracks without them trying to force it.

There have been other reviews that don't give them credit for the ballads on this album and want it to be an all out party like other albums have been but I appreciate what they've done because it shows range and depth.  It's no secret that I am very biased.  They are my favorite band and it's hard for me to find any bad in their work.  There are a few tracks that are a bit slower than others and there are a few that may take a little getting used too but all in all they all have a place and you just have to figure out where they belong in your soundtrack.

Get the album because it's worth it.  Get the album because they deserve it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Woodkid - Run Boy Run

Born in Lyon, France; Yoann Lemoine has directed videos for some of the biggest names in the industry and now he's turned his passion for music into his own career where he has the power and ability to create his own brand of art. Coming this fall will be his debut album, The Golden Age and this track, "Run Boy Run" will be the lead single. His is billed as an indie artist and I think that is a broad enough genre to encapsulate what he does. The visuals in this are a bit, Where the Wild Things Are meets the Battle for Minas Tirith. The pulsing rhythmic beat and the rapid fire lyrics drive this song forward and if you aren't careful... you will be dragged along with it. It's a super cool sound and I can't wait until the album releases.

Scissor Sisters - Baby Come Home (Live on Graham Norton)

On May 25, the Sisters were in attendance with Mr. Graham Norton and they performed their next single, "Baby Come Home". I really dig this song and it's just another in the long line of tracks that are fantastic. It's kind of romantic and it's kind of demanding and it's completely awesome.  The performance is incredible.  Jake and Ana sound amazing being backed up by a choir.  The camera man loves him some BabyDaddy and I don't mind that in the least bit.

The anticipation for this album is so strong that I don't know if I am going to make it until Tuesday.  I am glad that I have clips like this surfacing on the web to curb my appetite.

Kylie Minogue - Timebomb

In preparation for the K25 events, Kylie has released a new single and video called "Timebomb". It was rumored this was going to be on an album accompanying the tour this summer but as of right now, it's just a single. It was released on May 25th (Get it, 25 years in the business, released May 25...) and has amassed over a million hits on YouTube. The video shows Kylie cavorting all over Soho and showing the world that generally she is still relevant and mostly more relevant than other artists in the industry that have shared her longevity. I am a fan of the song and of the video. I think there is something tremendous about Kylie and I hope that she is making music for years to come.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Fuse - Paint This Town

Dreampop is a genre that is relatively new to me so when I am able to stumble across a new artist, I try to learn as much about them and their music as I can. There isn't much out there about The Fuse but I know they are a 5 piece ensemble from London and that's pretty much it.  I can tell you that I dig this song and I like the video.  They have an album out and I am going to check it out and get back to you on it.  Alex Lato has a great voice and he just floats over the melody.  I think that if you're a fan of M83, Guided by Voices, Bat for Lashes or other artists in this genre, you will probably dig this track.  Let me do some more research on them and I will write more about them.

Jhameel - Are You Free

Are you serious?  As a writer, it shocks and astounds me when a track renders me speechless.  When I listen to this song, I almost have no words to describe it.  I don't know if it hits very very close to home but it has caused a very visceral reaction in me.  This track is why I love music.  It honestly has shaken me to the core and for that I have to thank Jhameel.

From the seven second mark, this track just goes on attack.  It is so freaking HUGE.  Jhameel's vocals are so powerful and commanding.  He posted on Facebook, "I put a particular amount of heart and effort into the lyrics, so I hope you enjoy". And you can hear every bit of that in his delivery.  This is the track that makes you stop everything you are doing and just get mesmerized.  I immediately had to just surrender to it and let it take over.  I know I'm swooning a bit but it's wholly deserved.

If you don't have some reaction to this song, then I think it's safe to say you're pretty much a robot.  I've now listened to it repeatedly for the past 20 minutes and this song needs to be so gigantic so you should share it with everyone you know.  On top of everything else... it's free.  He's giving it away for free.  Jhameel is a prince among men and I don't know why he isn't on top of every chart there is.

"Are You Free" by Jhameel

let's take a cold hard look at yourself
are you the man you fought to be
are you strong strong enough to face yourself
proud enough to let pride go and yell
are you free

let's take a cold hard look at yourself
look at the dreams you said you'd reach
were you wrong wrong enough to face yourself
man enough to fuck pride stand and yell
are you free

and everything i said
i would be
and everything i said
i would see
are you feeling like a prisoner
are you living life the way you want
giving time to ones you love
are you giving time to who you are

Get this track NOW.

Monday, May 14, 2012

St. Lucia - Before The Dive

With a bit of Andy Bell in his voice, St. Lucia (Jean Philip Grobler) has taken his worldly influence and created an EP that is totally worth purchasing. If Synthpop is your thing, and you know it's mine, this 6 track piece of awesome is right up your alley.  The visuals in this video have a ton of room for interpretation and I think you have the ability to make a ton of inferences from it.  There's something about darkness and light or matter and antimatter, good and evil.  It's all represented and it just depends on your frame of reference as to how and what you read into it.  I dig how the track has more instrumentation in it than other songs of a similar nature that rely heavily on the synth to make a point.  I plan on getting his EP and delving deeper into his music and when I do, I will absolutely post about it.

St; Lucia on the Web

Twitter: @stlucianewyork

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Iwan Rheon - Follow Me

The raw edge to his voice mixed with a bit of Bob Dylan and some David Gray meets Marcus Mumford make this one of the best acoustic tracks I've heard in a while. You know I am a huge fan of Iwan and his acting and now I am quickly becoming a huge fan of his music. The song isn't complicated, it's not difficult; it just is. I think that Iwan is the same. He's not a difficult man and that gives his music an authenticity that a lot of artists don't have. It's probably the best 2:54 you will have today so just stop what you're doing and take a listen. You know you want to. Do it for Alisha and Simon.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Doug Repetti - The Fools We Suffer

I think what I love the most about this song is muti-focal. I love the theatricality behind it. It's got a very musical theater vibe to it and whether or not that's what Doug was going for, he succeeded. It's not big, it's not brash... it's a simple honest song that straight forwardly tells you exactly where things stand. It has a very Tim Rice/Elton John flavor to it and I think that gives it power. I love the message because more often than not, we do have Fools to suffer and sometimes it's not easy.

The video is a bit experimental and I can see how sometimes you just end up fading into everything that is going on around you because you have no other choice and it's the best thing to do. That's what I got out of the video. As Doug progresses through the song, he starts to disappear more and more. I think we do that more often than we think about it. You have a situation you don't want to deal with, you hide from it. You have a phone call you don't want to answer, you screen. It's a natural self defense mechanism that we all learn and we end up using more often than we think about. Or maybe Doug was just playing with a new version of Premiere and wanted to test out his Chroma Key.

Regardless, listen to the track and let me know what you think and if you dig it, thumbs up the video and subscribe because he does amazing covers and stuff and I dig him. Plus he's an independent artist and you know I love to support some indie folk. Oh and he's a YouTube artist. You know that I love YouTube artists because they don't need or want huge record labels pursuing them (sometimes anyway.)


Levi Kreis - So Much Better

I have had nothing but luck lately with music.  This year is shaping up to be such an amazing year for greatness. (And even though this isn't projected to be released until next year, this single is coming out this year.)   Levi Kreis has released a preview of the first single off his upcoming release that was created via Kickstarter.  This album and the subsequent tracks with it are so freaking cool because his fans are actually part of the project.  We are investors in the creation of the album and as such, we have not only an investment in the product but in the the metaphorical project as well.

This track is so funky. And when a track is as funky as this, the only thing you can do is dance.  It is super groovy and I want everyone reading this right now to get up and do your best Soul Train Dance.  Do it right now... you have to dance your best dance down the line.  When Levi tells you to "Listen to my bassline", there is nowhere else I would rather be.  This song is just so carefree and has such a positive message that there is no way in the world you can't not feel good after listening to it.  So often we sweat the small stuff and this track is just a reminder that sometimes you have to not sweat the small stuff.  I love the feeling behind the song and I can't wait to hear what's to come from the album.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Ice Choir - Teletrips

Digging deep into the New Romantic genre, The Ice Choir knock this inspired track out of the park.  Taking a little more of a chance on this song than they have with previous releases they prove they have the ability to show diversity and a range that other Synthpop acts don't have.  This track is just so fluid and easy.  It has a super cool vibe that just causes you to be in the moment with them.  I've been a fan of The Ice Choir for a while now and learning they are going to be releasing their first LP, Afar, at the end of July is pretty awesome.

I do not own this track, it is simply being used for evaluation purposes only.  Please support the artist and don't steal their shit.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Karmin - I Told You So

Ok so I'm late to the party when it comes to Karmin. I just got their EP this week and have been putting off listening to it because I just didn't have the motivation. Then, last world was changed forever. I didn't realize she was an emcee. I just thought they were pretty bubblegum pop but the manner in which she slings these rhymes is crazy. I am super impressed and this is a helluva example of her lyrical prowess on a mic. I have to give it up for her. The EP is great. It's full of surprise after surprise and if you don't have it you need it. Just remember... I Told You So.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stereo Explosion - Try It

I was gutted when The Ark decided to call it quits.  Not only am I a huge fan of theirs but Swedish music in general.  I don't think there is really a country as a whole that produces as much quality pop music as they do.  There are notable exceptions, but as a whole, there is something magic in the water in Sweden that causes incredible music.  So when I found out 4 of the 6 members of The Ark reformed into Stereo Explosion, I was pretty happy then I heard their music and I became stupidly excited because they are creating amazing music.  It's not The Ark, but it'll definitely do.  They released a new track today, "Try It" and it's glam, it's funky, it's's great.  I really dig the reverence they are paying to music from days past but they are carving out their own path.  It's pretty righteous.  Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Scott Fernandez - Say Hello To Your Mother For Me

Because he's on his way to becoming like a legitimate artist, I needed to dig this out of the vaults so that you all can see what true artistry looks like. Scott Fernandez is one of the most amazing artists I've had the pleasure of meeting and writing about.  He does things with stringed instruments that most people couldn't imagine doing.  And all the while, he doesn't require band mates to do so.  What he is, is a solo artist breaking molds and people's perceptions of how music should be made, packaged and marketed.  He doesn't meet the conventions of the industry and he dares you to not be captivated by what he does.  I am proud to be able to say, I knew him when because he is blazing a trail for those people that never thought that a solo bass player could step out of the shadows and stand on the merits of his talent.  Go watch his videos on youtube and get some education on what honest to goodness love of the instrument sounds like.

Levi Kreis - Is There Anything I Can Do

I've said it before, when you take Levi Kreis and a piano and put them in the same room, magic is going to happen. I don't think there's another artist that has the ability to speak straight to your heart. His voice is so pure and honest that he could sing me the phone book and I would buy every minute of it. Listen to this song. I mean just stop and listen to it. If you don't feel something by the first chorus, there's something fundamentally wrong with you. I mean on a base level and you probably need to see some one about it. I want someone to sing this to me at sometime in my life. I want someone to have this much emotion pouring out of them, this is how they have to express it. I mean, come on... This is what perfection sounds like and it's an unreleased B-Side. This man is a genius and deserves all the awards and all the everything.

Get with it and listen to this song, right now!  You will be a much better person afterword, I promise.

Son of a Kid - Solow

This starts off and it's a bit reminiscent of The Police.  I can hear this right alongside "Message in a Bottle" or "Canary in a Coalmine" and I think that's a bit of a departure for Son of a Kid in comparison to some of their previous releases.  It's a great thing, in my opinion because it shows range and growth.  It still has a very familiar feeling but it branches out into a new direction and broadens their musical footprint.  I like that its more of a down tempo song because it helps to balance out other tracks.  A friend said they remind him of Penguin Prison or Bright Light Bright Light and in other tracks like "Emotional" or "Don't Speak Love", you can hear those references.  This track moves a bit away from that and breaks the standard they have set for very danceable pop tracks.  I think it's gonna be one of my favorites.

Lauren Ray - You Just Don't Know

What we have here is the emergence of a new artist and you are on the verge of her rise. Trust me, the combination of Lauren Ray and Stormby are going to take the music scene by storm (No pun intended). Her voice is so strong and has such a depth of character that keeps Stormby on his toes. She absolutely kills this track. When the chorus breaks in, I was like...whoa, settle down there. She increases the power in her voice and just entices you that much more. There is a smoky-ness to her voice that adds a level of maturity that I think makes her capable of sharing the stage with Cheryl or Alexandra Burke. I know that she is just coming up in the clubs but if she keeps putting out tracks like this, I think she has a great future in store. It's also another notch in Stormby's ever growing belt of successes. I think the production on this song allows Lauren to shine and doesn't hamper her in the least. There are some producers that have a habit of wanting more of the limelight than the artists singing on their tracks and I think that is more detrimental to the song than a bad mix. If this cut of the song is this good, I can't wait to see if he releases any dance mixes of it. I am ever becoming a bigger and bigger fan of his work because he knows what he's doing.

Jhameel - White Lie

To say that Jhameel is his own man is an understatement. I think that not only is he his own man, he's the man that most men actually wish they were. His outward persona is one that is so comfortable in his own skin that it really doesn't matter one bit what anyone could ever think about him.  This video appears to be shot from the point of view of the women in Jhameel's life as he burns through his "White Lie".  This is one of my favorite songs because of it's carefree nature and he is able to capture that beautifully in the video.  I love how the video seems to be super organic and nothing is really planned.  The choreography isn't anything more than the music running through him and it looks like he just moved as he wanted too.

I think that everyone should be a fan of Jhameel because of how unconventional he is and the passion he puts into all of his music.  He deserves to be a mega star and I can't wait until he is.

Katharine Mcphee - Touch Me (NBC's Smash)

NBC's drama Smash is the story of a Broadway musical going from book to stage and all the ups and downs that go with it. The musical in question is all about Marilyn Monroe and there are two actresses vying for the coveted role, one who has some stage experience and the naive girl from Iowa. Katharine McPhee plays Karen the wide eyed idealist hoping for her break on stage and she has to work her way through a vipers nest of people out to tear her down and use her in their own machinations. This track is just that, she is being used as an unwitting pawn. The song was written and produced by Ryan Tedder and it is amazing. I think it should be a number one hit and I'm shocked that it isn't. It's one of the best moments on the show and I think Katharine just shines in the song.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Jane Badler - Mistaken Identity EP

In the 80s, who wasn't infatuated with the stunning beauty of Diana, the leader of the alien "Visitors" from the tv movie V and then later in the full fledged series of the same name.  She won us over with the way she chewed up the scenery against our protagonist, Mark Singer and gave that role everything she had.  She made her rounds across the dial for the next 25 years and came back in 2011 to reprise her devilishly delicious role of Diana in the re-imagining of the series.  As much as we loved her as an actress did anyone know that all this time, there was an amazing vocalist hidden behind her screen persona?

She has released a new 3 track EP on Ninthwave Records called Mistaken Identity and it's incredible. Her voice is everything you would ever want it to be. She is sultry without pandering. She is vulnerable and she's coy. She's an ingénue, she's a vamp. She has an uncanny ability to take on the character of the song and give it everything she has. I believe that's her amazing acting ability coming through the lyrics and into her delivery.

The songs are smoky and delicate but they've been around the block and had their share of life handed to them.   There is a darkness to them that would make them at home in any film noir.  It's an amazing EP and it showcases her talent brilliantly.  Make sure you go to her YouTube page and watch the videos for "I Want A Lot of Boys to Cry at my Funeral" and "Four Corners to my Bed" because they are super sexy and just amazing.

Jane on the Web
Twitter: @janebadler

Daniel Bedingfield - Stop the Traffik - Secret Fear

Back in 2002 we were introduced to a New Zealander with a penchant for writing songs in his underwear.  "Gotta Get Thru This" was a break out hit that propelled him into stardom but Daniel Bedingfield wasn't able to keep momentum in the United States.  He had a few other chart successes off his debut album but nothing as high as "GGTT".  In 2004, he released Second First Impression to much critical applause and an outpouring of fan support but he wasn't able to generate much interest in the US.

He's now released a free 5 track EP on his website titled, Stop the Traffik - Secret Fear and it's a helluva ride.  The EP has an incredible sound and it's so good to hear new material from Daniel.  Upon first listen, it appears that this EP was created on the verge of a horrible break up or at least that's the overwhelming theme woven throughout the album.

I have to say that my picks on the EP are "Secret Fear", "O.V.E.R. U.", and "Don't Write Me Off".  The other two tracks aren't bad they're just very jarring.  There's a lot of pent up anger in those songs and I think as much of a catharsis it was for Daniel, they just don't translate into anything more than just a ton of aggression.  "Rocks Off" takes several listens to get to the meat of it as it's can be repetitive and I think there  are parts where it seems like there needs to be more of a song attached to it. Kind of like it's an amazing intro to a song.  The video is pretty incredible though and I am glad he's still making videos.  I'm just glad there's more Daniel in the world because  I was a HUGE fan of his first release.  I want to see more from him in the future and you should too.

Daniel on the Web

Matthias - Someone That I Used to Know (Gotye Cover featuring Catherine Rose)

I don't usually cover covers, so to speak so when one comes along that makes me want to listen, I do just that. I've spent about half an hour now perusing Matthias' catalog on YouTube and I have to say aside from the Katy Perry cover, I am a fan. I really dig his voice and his production values are great. It's amazing what artists are capable of creating from home studios and I am a huge fan of taking art and putting it in the hands of the creators so they are able to be more free and have greater control of what they produce. If he has the ability to create this without the support of a huge record label, then he needs to create a BandCamp page and an EP and get to making some money because I would buy his album. Granted, he gives the songs away for free on the YouTube video pages, but I want to hear original music from him and I want to support him because all artists need patrons. Anyway... It's a pretty great cover, I love how he doesn't stray too far away from the original arrangement and that he's faithful to what Gotye and Kimbra have done. And let's just say Catherine Rose... keep on keeping on. You have a gift as well and I want to hear more from you as well.

Check out his cover of "We Are Young" by Fun., because he does an amazing job there as well.

Matthias on the Web