March 30, 2013

Q1: Slow nights, fast nights

image by santinojrivera

In no order, my Top Songs for the first quarter of 2013. I put on just one song by each artist, which was a serious task in some cases. Still, this has been a slow season. Not a lot of great records out. You can hear/see these tunes by clicking on the title...

Röyksopp (with Susanne Sundfør) Running To The Sea
Like a great novel, the first line draws you in...  "I could hear them howling from afar / I saw them rushing to your car." 

New Order Californian Grass
Everything I wanted from New Order on this EP. Shimmering.

Gold Fields Happy Boy 
A surprise mid tempo twist from their debut LP. I love the mix of resignation and defiance in the lyric - and the violin laced into the end.

Little Boots Motorway 
Literally perfect. Like a sleek bullet. Night driving music.

Young Galaxy Pretty Boy 
This one immediately hits you with that rhythm that loops into your brain. And vocalist Catherine McCandless singing "You're my pretty boy, always" is the sweet spot.

Haim Falling 
The LA hipster sisters do it again. Except for the fact their show fucked up my ear LOL

Tegan and Sara Shock To Your System 
How to choose a song from such a perfect pop album. This slayer gets it for the way the pounding "what you are is lonely" conclusion winds down to a lonesome piano.

Rhye Major Minor Love 
Unknowns deliver fingersnap-beat smooth fuck music.

Johnny Marr New Town Velocity
As a friend said, it's like a lost Electronic song. A captured-in-amber memory of youth.

Fryars In My Arms
Swooning midtempo from an English dude. This song is a total earworm.  Fans of Jamie Woon may dig his sound.

Frida Sundemo Indigo (Strings Version)
Her EP has several new tunes, but I keep sticking on this pure beauty (the studio version was in my Top Songs of 2012).

The Good Natured Lovers 
Produced by Richard X, this is a serious blast of pop. Love the bitchy "shut up and fuck me" lyrics. 

King Need a Woman by Friday (feat. Trombone Shorty) 
Swaggering. Worthy of an 80's Brit group like Blow Monkeys.

Belinda Carlisle Sun
BC's first proper pop single in fifteen years. And it shines. Give her the right song and she knocks it the fuck out. More please.

Jessie Ware Imagine It Was Us
A perfect, seductive dance track. Jessie's imperial moment continues; she never gilds the lily, does she? She just is.

KING In The Meantime
The chorus! It reminds me of the heyday of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Justin Timberlake Strawberry BubblegumThe great songs on 20/20 are sublime, but it's just a bit overindulgent. I had a hard time picking between this, Blue Ocean Floor and Don't Hold The Wall. Ignore these lyrics and just vibe on it.

Slow Knights I Got It That Bad
Del Marquis gathers a collective of vocalists on his new LP, in this case Chrissi Poland on a sleek 80's rock/soul ballad. On the link above, play 1:45 - 2:15.

Active Child Evening Ceremony
Not an official single. The first new music we've heard since his debut doesn't alter the template much, but the result is nonetheless beautiful.


Worthy recent albums: Tegan And Sara (perfect), New Order, Slow Knights, Gold Fields, Frida Sundemo, Suede, Rhye

What's coming: Pet Shop Boys, Alison Moyet, AVAN LAVA, St Lucia, Haim, Little Boots, Young Galaxy, Autoheart, OMD

Disappointments: Hurts, Depeche Mode, Hurts. Ra Ra Riot, Hurts, 

March 24, 2013

Up in '13: KING with In The Meantime

Earlier this month, I posted on a new male solo artist named King. This week I am in deep love with In The Meantime, the debut single from a female trio called KING. Typically, it's the UK that's picked up on this group, perhaps after the wave of smoother female artists creating proper, chilled grooves (see Jessie Ware, among others). 

The group, from LA, are twin sisters Paris and Amber Strother, with Anita Bias. Their music is totally self made - no million dollar producers on board. Still, In The Meantime's smooth chorus reminds me of the heyday of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (see Janet Jackson, Cherelle and a million others). Note that they've caught the ear of Prince recently. Then me. And now you!

  In The Meantime is on iTunes worldwide

March 14, 2013



Pet Shop Boys. Electric. June. Produced by Stuart Price.

There is a God(dess).

March 12, 2013

It's a week for Bloodsports...

Suede is streaming their new album Bloodsports on NPR and The Guardian sites and it's sounding amazing! Varied sounds, meaty playing and proper melodies. Lyrically, Brett is on the mark, especially on the gorgeous album opener, Barriers. First faves are Hit Me, It Starts And Ends With You and For The Strangers. There's been much made of the fact that they're releasing this album at the same time their icon David Bowie is releasing The Next Day, but I actually [whispers] prefer the romanticism of Bloodsports to gritty rock on the Bowie. 

There's been a huge amount of press for the record, including interviews with The Quietus and The Guardian. Poplifer has been doing a brilliant, very personal series on the band (part one here) that includes a track by track.

Bloodsports is out on March 18/19 worldwide.

March 6, 2013

King: Need A Woman By Friday

King - aka Joe King, the guitarist for The Fray - is the surprise voice/writer behind my fave new pop tune, Need A Woman By Friday. Is this guy British? Amazingly not: he's from Colorado.  The track sounds like a hit to my ears... and we need a trombone solo on radio don't we?

Not sure if anyone will get the reference, but he reminds me a bit of Kubb, who released the perfect Wicked Soul back in 2005.

King is working on a debut album and has a brief tour of Colorado coming:

April 25: Bluebird Theater, Denver
April 26: Aggie Theatre, Fort Collins
April 27: Black Sheep, Colorado Springs
April 28: Fox Theatre, Boulder

Need a Woman By Friday is on iTunes


March 5, 2013

Jessie Ware in performance

The Jessie Ware show that I attended in January was such a revelation. Her voice blows up live. Full on diva. She's releasing her album in America next month with a new track (!) and, one presumes, some of the great bonus material she's already put out. Below is a recent performance of one of those tunes, a cover of Bobby Caldwwell's What You Won't Do For Love. 

Note that if you live in the UK, you can download Jessie's version of another classic, Stephanie Mills' I Never Knew Love Like This Before. It's on the I Give It A Year soundtrack. Look out for it.

March 4, 2013

Fifteen Years of Ray Of Light

Sunday, March 3rd was the fifteenth anniversary of Madonna's amazing Ray Of Light album. To celebrate, I did a piece for Idolator, which includes some comments from Rick Nowels, the legendary songwriter who co-write nine tracks with Madonna for ROL, three of which made the final cut. Here is a sweet comment Rick made that I did not put in the piece:
Every night I would drive home with a new beautiful Madonna song playing in my car. It was a happy and very fulfilling time. I love all 3 of our songs on Ray Of Light - The Power Of Goodbye, To Have And Not To Hold and Little Star- each one quite different and each one very strong poetically and conceptually.
On Monday afternoon (Pacific Time), Idolator will hose a Ray Of Light listening session / Twitter discussion (hashtag #IdolatorBacktracking). I'll chime in when I can!