Friday, January 29, 2010

Ghosts 'n' Stuff

Song: Ghosts 'n' Stuff
Artist: Deadmau5
Album: For Lack of a Better Name

I had a few remixes from Deadmau5 (pronounced "Dead Mouse") but didn't know his own material. My cousin Evan gave me a copy of "For Lack of a Better Name," his album from last year, and I have subsequently listened to a handful of his other albums and compilations. I can get real tired of progressive house after a while, and listening to Deadmau5's other records the monotonous beats certainly set in. Small doses I suppose. BUT, I really really like "For Lack of.." quite a bit. It's a big sexy dance-a-thon that I have been really digging. It starts with "FML," which has a great build until it explodes in your face. It's followed by the excellent one-two punch of "Moar Ghosts 'n' Stuff" and "Ghosts 'n' Stuff" featuring Rob Swire... which are pretty epic.

The album is pretty short and sweet which I like. It's gets in, gets you to shake your ass, and is out. I really recommend it if you're into house... though if you are, you probably are well aware of Deadmau5.


Ghosts 'n' Stuff

Moar Ghosts 'n' Stuff

Hi Friend!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Play Together

Song: Play Together
Artist: Chew Lips
Album: Unicorn

"Solo," Chew Lips first single was one of my favorite songs from 2009. It debuted on the Kitsune label, and it was rumored that the band recorded the song, as well as subsequent single "Salt Air" and eight other tracks in their first rehearsal together. Pretty impressive. All of the songs were released as demos, which sounded good... but "Solo" was the clear stand out. I loved lead singer Tigs voice, and was very interested in what they would come up with for their debut.

Well, the bands full length "Unicorn" was released this week and the first thing that needs to be mentioned... they left off "Solo" and "Salt Air!" Now, I thought "Salt Air" was okay, not great, but "Solo" was such a stand out track... I have no idea why they would keep it off their debut album. And yet they include three tracks that appeared in demo form on the "Solo" EP. So, so strange.

So how is "Unicorn?" Well... after getting over the omission, I settled into the albums mid-tempo beats and icy vibe. Tigs voice is still a standout, and the songs have really grown on me given repeated listens. Some of the tracks, including "Karen" have a 90's Alt-rock feel, coupled with the bands electronic beats and synths. It can be quite pretty, and a recommended listen.

As I flip through the album trying to find a particular stand-out track I realize that they are all really good... and yet none stick out more than the others. Maybe that's why "Solo" was left off, as it was SO commanding... I really don't know. Mid-album tracks "Seven" and "Toro" really showcase the tone of the record, so if you dig them... you'll dig the album. "Play Together" is the first single, and was one of the demo songs on the "Solo' EP.

But couldn't they have even just put "Solo" on the end?


Play Together



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Simple As...

Song: Simple As...
Artist: Kid Cudi
Album: Man on the Moon: The End of the Day

I'm a little late to this party but I've been listening to Kid Cudi's debut, "Man on the Moon: The End of the Day" quite a lot. It's got an amazing vibe, a spacey, scary, kind of trip that really blossoms with repeated listens. I loved the single "Day 'n' Nite" when it first came out, and REALLY dug the much slower, not obvious for a single, ah... single "Pursuit of Happiness" which is an amazing amazing track. Again, a little scary... slow, very interesting for a hip-hop single.

Thanks to my friend Cicely, I discovered the amazing third track "Simple As..." which has a great build and a great beat. It's such a feel good song, an if-this-don't-make-your-booty-move-your-booty-must-be-dead situation. My only complaint is that it's too short, coming dead to a stop with some Common-esque spoken word that sets up the second part of the album. (It's broken up into five parts.) It works within the concept of the record... but I just wanna keep bopping out to that amazing beat and flow.


Simple As...

Pursuit of Happiness

Day 'n' Nite

Monday, January 25, 2010


Song: Rocket
Artist: Goldfrapp
Album: Head First

Another great surprise... I had no idea a new Goldfrapp album was around the corner. This weekend I discovered that the English group have their fifth album, "Head First" coming this March. This follows a bit of a change of direction for the band after 2008's "Seventh Tree" which saw the duo returning to their down tempo beginnings, though favoring a new sound that I can only really describe as psychedelic folktronica. Initially I was disappointed in the change after really falling for the Electro-pop dancefloor stompers from the previous album "Supernature," but despite being a complete left turn, "Seventh Tree" was one of my favorite records of 2008. It was beautiful, mysterious, and yet very catchy. It made me realize that Goldfrapp were not just very talented, but that they would make a true interesting journey of following their career and music.

Well, I am once again puzzled, but happy to report that Goldfrapp have returned with a another head-scratcher. Lead single from "Head First" has been released and while "Rocket" is a return to their upbeat dance music, it's yet another direction. It's not the future-disco of "Supernature," it's 80's. And like... CHEESY 80's.

"Rocket" somehow manages to sound like it's a wink-wink knowing 80's synth parody (not unlike "Feel the Heat" from "Boogie Nights") mixed with a very modern growing beat, and a chorus that is so crazy goofy, yet charming and then irresistible. The song is truly ridiculous... and yet, I think I love it.

I don't know if an entire 80's throwback will work for a full album, and maybe thats not what "Head First" will be, who knows. With Goldfrapp, it seems we need to stop guessing what's next... and just buy a ticket for the ride. Blastoff.



Friday, January 22, 2010


Song: Stylo
Artist: Gorillaz
Album: Plastic Beach

In a pleasant surprise, I just found out that the Gorillaz are working on a new album, to be released in March. The first single, "Stylo" just got leaked. Gorillaz are a side project of Blur's Damon Albarn and comicbook artist Jamie Hewlett, and "Plastic Beach" is their third album. I was a big fan of their self-titled debut, and liked their follow up, "Demon Days" even more. "Feel Good, Inc. with it's amazing video and off-kilter hooks was an out of nowhere hit here in the States. I was shocked that it got as much play as it did, as Albarn's pop sensabilities rarely meet up here in America as they do in the UK and the rest of Europe. (Aside from, I suppose, "Song 2." Woo-hoo!)

"Stylo" is an interesting track, and a bit of a surprise for a first single. It's not nearly as catchy as "Feel Good," but I'm really digging the chorus sung by Bobby Womack, it has a dark, sexy feel.

Really looking forward to hearing the rest of the album and seeing the videos spawned from it as they promise to be visually stunning.


Links to videos:

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Song: Halcyon
Artist: Delphic
Album: Acolyte

Delphic are a Manchester, UK based dance-rock that formed in 2008. Upon hearing their debut album "Acolyte," which was released last week, I immediately heard shades of VHS or Beta, another dance-rock band that I really like. The band is on hot electro label Kitsune (Chew Lips, La Roux, Hot Chip, Cut Copy, etc.) and last year was up for a UK Music Video Award for their single "This Momentary" which I also quite like.

I like the whole album but have really connected with fourth, and recent single, "Halcyon." Cool stuff. Check them out.


This Momentary


Halcyon (Live on Jools Holland)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Song: Midnight
Artist: The Watson Twins
Album: Talking to You, Talking to Me

The Watson Twins are an L.A. based, by why of Kentucky, group that formed in 2006. They are best known for providing back-up on Jenny Lewis' debut album "Rabbit Fur Coat." I LOVED "Coat," and a big part of that was the beautiful yet a touch haunting vocals of Chandra and Leigh Watson. I hadn't followed them since that first Lewis album, so didn't hear their first EP or their debut album "Fire Songs" from 2008. I have subsequently read that that album wasn't very good... but need to hear it as I think their latest, "Talking to You, Talking to Me," is really excellent.

I'm not sure what I expected from an album of just the Twins, but it's a folky, Southern-goth tapestry. I love it from start to finish... an album that really takes you to another place. They stand out as pretty accomplished songwriters and I hope the record gets them a bit more recognition than they have had.

The album comes out early next month, you can hear more on their MySpace Page. I had a hard time picking a favorite track to highlight... the record is that good!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Solid Gold

Song: Solid Gold
Artist: The Golden Filter
Album: Solid Gold

I just discovered this NYC-based electro group, The Golden Filter, and have been really digging some of their tracks. They do not have a debut album yet, I can only guess they are working on it, there was no word on a release date. "Solid Gold" is their first single, which came out all the way back in July of 2008. Their latest, "Thunderbird" just came out last November. They also (like Kelis' "Acapella,") have a modernized Donna Summer vibe happening (trend alert?) whom, along with the Human League, the Cure, Pink Floyd, and Saint Etienne, they count as influences. Lead singer Penelope Trappes, who is originally from Australia, adds some vocal sexiness to their songs. Good stuff.

Golden Filter have also gotten into the remix game, putting their spin on Little Boots "New in Town," Cut Copy's "Far Away," and Empire of the Sun's "We Are the People" amongst others. Their slowed-down take on "New in Town" is really interesting, changing the vibe completely. They also do a cover of the White Stripes "Hardest Button to Button," which is also odd but totally beautiful.

"Solid Gold" is great, but also check out the recent single "Thunderbird" as well as tracks "Favorite Things" and "Hide Me." You can hear more on their Myspace Page.



Solid Gold

The Hardest Button to Button

Favorite Things

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tik Tok (Fred Falke Remix)

Song: Tik Tok (Fred Falke Remix)
Artist: Ke$ha
Album: Tik Tok

Pop phenom of the moment Ke$ha is currently enjoying big success with her bratty party anthem "Tik Tok," seeing her debut album "Animal" top the charts, opening above Susan Boyle, who has been #1 for several weeks. "Tik Tok" is insanely catchy and fun, but very bratty. I also think it owes a lot to Robyn's "Konichiwa Bitches." "Animal" the album is equaly bratty, and for those who think Britney is a little too mature for them. With songs titled "Blah Blah Blah," "Party at a Rich Dudes Place," and "Hungover," you sort of get where this is going. I didn't much care for the album, and don't, as some have said, think she is 2010's "Lady Gaga."

But I must admit "Tik Tok" has been a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, and I REALLY like the Fred Falke remix, which keeps all the vocal hooks and adds a modern club element that I think actually works better than the pop-hip-hop original.

I don't really hear any more dynamic singles on the record, but we'll see if this is in fact Ke$ha's year or not.


And P.S., how annoying is that "$" in her name. Seriously?

Tik Tok (Fred Falke Remix)


Thursday, January 14, 2010


Song: Acapella
Artist: Kelis
Album: FleshTones

Is there life after "Milkshake?"

I've always liked Kelis. She has an off-kilter persona, just a little bit more on the edge for your average R & B diva. From "Been Caught Out There," her first big single, to the behemoth that was that super-catchy inescapable aforementioned hit. Back in 2006 she released "Kelis Was Here," which despite the star collaborators didn't produce one hit close to "Milkshake." It shows the fickleness of the pop audience... I thought it was a great record, but Kelis is also not afraid to play outside the box, and doesn't conform to what is strictly a winning pop-hip-hop formula. She rolls the dice, and the public just didn't feel that record.

Proving that she is going to continue in that vein, Kelis' new album due this year, "FleshTones" is said to be a more club-dance record than R & B. This is evident in the David Guetta produced first single "Acapella," a throbbing dance track that mixes a bit of Kylie with her deep soulful voice. Actually, it sounds to me more like an up-to-date Donna Summer. Which, seems like the PERFECT niche for her to fill. Right?

Anyhow, I'm really digging this song and look forward to what the new album will sound like.



Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One Life Stand

Song: One Life Stand
Artist: Hot Chip
Album: One Life Stand

After 2008's "Made in the Dark," I was officially a huge Hot Chip fan. Making some of the best electro-pop in the biz right now, they often marry hooky dance-pop with emotional lyrics. It had been rumored that their follow up to "Dark" would be less upbeat, but given first single "One Life Stand," I'm not sure that's really the case. It certainly isn't as instantly catchy as their last big single "Ready for the Floor," but after a couple listens it really gets under your skin. It's a bit more emotional, I sort of equate it more to "The Warning's" "And I Was a Boy From School."

I'm really excited to hear the rest of album, coming out the first of next month.


One Life Stand

Monday, January 11, 2010

Soldier of Love

Song: Soldier of Love
Artist: Sade
Album: Soldier of Love

It's been now ten years since the last Sade record, 2000's "Lover's Rock," which was one of my favorite records of the year, and continues to be a record I listen to regularly. Aside from sort of not believing that record is ten years old it reminds me that a) Sade is not very prolific, b) that despite ten years her music just doesn't age (my Aunt Nancy was recently playing some of her 80's material at a holiday party last year and "timeless" is the best way to describe it.) and, c) When this woman DOES put out a record, it's always amazing.

I suppose I'd like a new Sade record every three years or so.... but I think I prefer the consistency. Therefore it is with much baited breath that we wait for Sade's sixth album "Soldier of Love" which is set to be released early next month. The title track is the first single, which has already penetrated the R & B and smooth jazz charts. It's another slice of (again) timeless, slinky, sexy, world music-esque pop. The song is very beat heavy, and while it initially didn't grab me the way "By Your Side" from "Rock" did when I first heard it, several listens have opened up new layers... and soon "Soldier" had cast it's spell. It's beautiful, sexy, and mysterious. Just like Sade.

Can't wait to hear the full album, a no doubt treat early in the decade. (And how beautiful is that album cover eh?)


Soldier of Love

By Your Side

Cherish the Day

Friday, January 08, 2010

You Used to Hold Me

Song: You Used to Hold Me
Artist: Calvin Harris
Album: Ready for the Weekend

Best of 2009

I love when expectations are met, and better when they are exceeded. (Who doesn't?) So when I looked back to what I thought were the "best" albums of the year last year, I was reminded about how much I was looking forward to Calvin Harris' sophomore album, how much first single "I'm Not Alone" blew me away... and how a quick look at my iTunes play-counts reveal that this was the one record that I played non-stop... and still am.

Stripping away at least three or four layers of goofy from his debut "I Created Disco," Harris, like Lily Allen, created a sophomore album that somehow managed to be more adult, more complicated, and yet just, if not more, fun than their excellent debuts. For Harris, it started with the trance-heavy first single "I'm Not Alone," which somehow took the epic reach of a super-club four-to-the-floor banger and made it a pop song. Then, months later, the title-track, and second single, went more-pop, and yet... somehow sounded like a disco classic. (My iTunes reveals that these two songs almost hit triple-digit plays, jeez.)

Opener "The Rain" starts bit jazzy, building with sounds I can't identify until a saxophone begins to wail. WTF? Then... it begins to break down, everything stops... and then the beat kicks in... from that moment on you are in Calvin Harris territory. It's a fun ride with ups and downs, the pop heights of "Flashback," "Dance Wiv Me," and "Yeah Yeah Yeah La La La" to the darker grooves of "Blue" and "Relax." Harris knows dumb-fun (he created it after all) but "Ready for the Weekend" does actually up the ante... each song is it's own being, an improvement over "Disco's" sometimes same-sounding tracks.

Counting "Dance Wiv Me" which made the album from 2008, I loved all four singles and played them out. But the most played song for me was the dance perfection that is "You Used to Hold Me." This one did make it into triple-digit plays as it's just to perfect. It builds, it swells, it explodes right at the right moments. It might be cookie-cutter, or "predictable," but what Harris has proven over his short career is that he knows what sounds good and what works. And all of that is put into the nutshell that is "You Used to Hold Me." As it begins to build at the 2:50 mark... you just can't NOT move when the beat kicks in bigger and badder. True dance floor gold. I have now just read it's going to be the fifth single in February. Dig.

I didn't see "Ready for the Weekend" on any year-end best lists from the music rags and websites I read, but for me... it was just the album I listened to the most. And that's good enough for me. It somehow perfectly soundtracked the craziness that was 2009, with all the highs and lows politically and culturally. It made me dance and laugh when I needed, and then tracks like "Blue" and "Worst Day" made the bad days somehow "work." Defining the highs and lows of life. What more can you ask for?


You Used to Hold Me


I'm Not Alone

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Song: Telephone
Artist: Lady Gaga
Album: The Fame Monster

Best of 2009

2009 was the year of Gaga, unmistakably. Her debut album came out in August of 2008, and while first single "Just Dance" had climbed to the top of the charts at the end of that year, it was 2009 that she took over, releasing better singles "Poker Face" and "Paparazzi" that ruled the airwaves. As fan-dom spread through the world for the NYC-bred 23 year old, it wasn't so much of a surprise that she planned a re-release of her debut with new songs. But EIGHT new songs? And just as the new single "Bad Romance" was being released, it was then stated that these new eight songs were not just padding for the re-release, but now her sophomore album. As the track listing didn't change from when the "extra" songs were announced, I thought she was crazy.

But the I heard "Bad Romance" and while I was absolutely a fan of hers, loved the debut and all, it was with "Bad Romance," her best song (and video, see below) that I realized that this girl was the new face of pop music. And then to hear "The Fame Monster," which is more consistently good than "The Fame," it's almost like... where did this girl come from?

"The Fame Monster" is filled with great songs, the ABBA meets Madonna meets Ace of Base "Alejandro," the future-disco dance anthems "Monster," "Dance in the Dark," and "So Happy I Could Die" Then you have the out-of-left-field (sort of) weirdness that is the Queen-esque ballad "Speechless" and the freak-flag closing stomper of "Teeth" proving that the sky is the limit for what sound this woman can go for.

As "Bad Romance" has just become her fifth straight number 1, she is about to release the second single, "Telephone" featuring Beyonce which you will soon hear EVERYWHERE. And unlike the Writer/Producer jigsaw puzzles that Britney and acts of her ilk release, Gaga writes every song she releases. So like "The Fame," "The Fame Monster" has one consistent vision, one creative concept that she carries throughout. She's already announced her third record will come out late this year (does she sleep?)

Lady Gaga is the new Madonna. Just a little more talented.



Bad Romance

Dance in the Dark

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Explorers of the Heart

Song: Explorers of the Heart
Artist: Music Go Music
Album: Expressions

Best of 2009

A lot of my favorite records of the year are the ones that seem to come out of nowhere, or completely defied my expectations. This may have less to do about the music than my "it's all been done" idea about music in 2009. This may explain my gushing over the Adam Lambert record, as well as the "didn't expect it to be this good" entries from Norah Jones, Ian Brown, and Robbie Williams. But when you discover a record that you literally had zero pre-conceived notions of... and then can't stop listening to it, that's special. And that's how I felt about the crazy goofy "Expressions" by Music Go Music.

A seemingly 70's throwback that I've heard described as Italio-disco, psychedelic, or annoying hipster-pop... I hear an ABBA-esque take on Meatloaf, sprinkled with Blondie... and... and something I'm missing. This is a record that I got, listened to, cracked up, and couldn't put down. These are hand-clapping sing-a-longs that gradually get under your skin if you're up for the trip. The band remains pretty mysterious, with only this meager website. But that continues the element of surprise. And consider the shock when I heard a track while shopping at Old Navy this season. ? Who are these people?

Doesn't matter... this is fun.


Explorers of the Heart

Just Me

Warm in the Shadows

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Music Again

Song: Music Again
Artist: Adam Lambert
Album: For Your Entertainment

Best of 2009

When I heard Adam Lambert's first single, the title track from his debut album after a second place finish on last year's season of American Idol, I was pretty underwhelmed. First, I wasn't expecting a Britney-style dance song, and it just didn't seem to have the personality that he highlighted on the show. But thinking back, as much as I liked the guy on the show, I never really LOVED anything he performed. It was different for sure, and I liked that... but of the studio versions I listened to of his I just thought of them as goofy karaoke. I listened to Kris Alen's "Heartless" a heck of a lot more.

Well... then I kinda got to love the song. After all... I really do like Britney-style dance-pop songs. Was it that I wasn't used to hearing that from a guy? Or was it that I just sort of knew that the Scissor Sisters do the same thing MUCH better. I don't know... but "For Your Entertainment" grew on me, and then I heard the album.

In some ways you have to put the album in context. This is, after all, and American Idol alum's first album which has most likely been over-thought. There is, like most pop records now-a-days, a slew of different producers... yet the collaborators are impressive for a first timer (Pink, Max Martin, Lady GaGa) and also a little WTF (Justin Hawkins? Muse? Uh... Rivers Cuomo?!) But what becomes very very clear is that this is not only the best debut of an A.I. vet by FAR, but also the announcement of a new Superstar. The show didn't let his full lights shine and listening to "Entertainment" you realize this guy has a bit more going on upstairs.

Album opener "Music Again" possibly should have been the first single, as it really showcases the guy Lambert always said he was. Collaborating with Ex-Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins, "Music Again" is their bread and butter, a throwback hair-metal song with wink-wink lyrics (my fav: "Put your little hand in mine and look into my eyes in the eyes") big riffs, and the trademark scream-falsetto. Wow. And what makes it not just a Darkness song that they never recorded is that he reigns in goofiness and just rocks.

Song for song "For Your Entertainment" just gave me what I wasn't expecting. The Muse track "Soaked" sounds convincingly like a great Bond theme, and fellow ballads "Loaded Smile" and Broken Open" go electro and WAY more interesting than that typical fare. "If I Had You" is another great dance track, and the GaGa penned "Fever" initially sounds like a tossed-off track of hers, but then morphes into something different... I just hear... Adam Lambert.

I probably shouldn't over-sell this album because it does have its clunkers. ("Aftermath" and "Sleepwalker" go way-way too far over the top) but this record SHOCKED me in it's boldness and creativity. It still does seem a touch over-thought, which hopefully will be eaten away once Lambert finishes the promotion and tour of this album and dives into his sophomore set. It's a pop record for sure... but one of the most perverse made-for-the-masses product I've certainly heard. I'm watching full-bore now Adam.


Music Again

Whataya Want From Me


Monday, January 04, 2010


Song: Bulletproof
Artist: La Roux
Album: La Roux

Best of 2009

There were two new female-fronted electro-pop acts that got me excited early in the year for there debut albums and while comparing them might be a little apples and oranges, advantage ultimately went to La Roux. I heard "In For the Kill" by La Roux as well as Little Boots "New in Town" around the same time. I flipped for both and couldn't wait to hear more from each band. La Roux are a complete 80's New Wave throwback complete with androgynous lead singer, (Who was born in 1988... ouch) that have as much riding on their look as well as their sound. "In For the Kill" was amazing, but follow-up single "Bulletproof" was even better, and one of the best tracks of the year. With "Little Boots," (whom chose cute over cool in regards to image) there just wasn't a track as good or better as "New in Town." And while it's filled with catchy Euro-disco pop songs, it just didn't resonate like La Roux's album did.



In For the Kill

I'm Not Your Toy