May 21, 2014

Spring Songs #11: Young Hearts

Strange Talk occupies the space that Foster The People departed when they went a bit... avant on their new album. This song is pure pleasure - probably even better in the summer sun.

"We're young hearts, look at us go, all we really need is a stereo."  It's that simple, as sometimes it should be.

May 19, 2014

Spring Songs #11: Pray For Love

Kwabs is, thus far, the best new artist of the year. As I said in my Sohn post, there is a new movement of contemporary electronic soul. It began with, to some degree, James Blake and Jamie Woon, before moving to Jessie Ware and now Sampha, BANKS, Rhye and Kwabs.

Of the class of 2014, I think Kwabs - Kwabena Sarkodee - is the real contender. There is a richness to his voice - you believe what he is singing is from his experience. If Neneh Cherry and Youssou N'Dour had a child (in seven seconds, haha), it'd be Kwabs.

Before you watch his new Plan B-produced single, Pray For Love, please take some time with the two videos that captivated me. The first is a heartbreaker ballad, Perfect Ruin... I watched this about six times in a row the night I found it. He needs nothing but the song and the voice. And that chorus!

Send your love to move me
My world has powered over me
In perfect ruins
Somehow it towers over me

And Last Stand. There is a moment during the bridge (starts at 2:22) that gives me chills, when the lyric seems to completely overtake him. Some quality in Kwabs reminds me of So-era Peter Gabriel, but I cannot put it in words.

I also think he's hot - he works that see through sweater.

Kwabs has two EPs: Wrong Or Right and the just released Pray For Love. The title track's video is below...

May 13, 2014

Spring Songs #10: Lost On The Way

Solange is back in the news today for some pretty dark reasons, which everyone can discover easily for themselves. Instead, I'll focus on the best of my Brooklyn queen: her music. The whole Solange experience was rolling along beautifully with her True EP.  And then something went down with her collaborator Dev Hynes. A falling out that has made it look like there's no album coming. Her first post-Dev release, on her Saint Heron label compilation - Cash In - was a bit weak.

Now she's teamed up with Chromeo and found her voice again. This is exactly the kind of smooth jam at which she excels. She even classes up the Chromeo boys.

May 6, 2014

The Return of La Roux is nigh....

keep an eye on her site

Robyn: This will be a beacon when I'm gone gone gone.

Robyn, rocking a Bowie-esque mullet and bleached eyebrows, has just released her latest collaboration with her fiance, Max Vitali. This time it's a commercial for Volvo Sweden. It's typically beautiful and edgy and serene, all in a just two minutes, thirty seconds.

The Royksopp collaboration in the commercial, Monument, is my most anticipated song this year. I keep playing the snippets on a loop. In a short time we'll have the full EP...

Volvo Commercial

Monument (snippet)

Read a lengthy new interview with Robyn here.

May 1, 2014

Oh Land's beautiful Cherry On Top video

Calling it a trope would imply that it's a tired cliche, so instead I'll say that there's a longstanding tradition is pop videos in which our beloved chanteuse dances with a boy. The most famous version of this is, of course, Madonna's Open Your Heart, but it's also been beautifully employed by Fiona Apple in the amazing Paper Bag and Robyn in her Be Mine video. Now Oh Land adds a gorgeous film to this "series" with Cherry On Top.

Cherry On Top is my favorite track from Oh Land. There was a great comment on the PopJustice Forums that she certainly gets a big sound out of her piano in this clip!  Aside from the amazing young man (14 year old Drew Minard) co-starring in the video with her, Cherry On Top boasts a special cameo from one of the greatest models of all time. Watch to see who it is - she's Danish, like Oh Land, and she was plastered all over my college dorm room walls.

For more on the making of this beautiful video, check out this piece at Noisey.