Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Song: Downtown
Artist: Kids of 88
Album: Sugarpills

Kids of 88 are a New Zealand New Wave/Electro dance duo who became known for their lead single "My House" back in 2008, and recently just released their full-length debut "Sugarpills" earlier this month.  I immediately connected with their album, a mix of rock and dance, beats and synths, that reminded me of London's The Infadels.

The band consists of two best friends, Jordan Arts and Sam McCarthy, who site their influences as:

"Groove, mood, and slutty arrangements. 16th hi hats and hand claps. Culture and couture, Gangster and glamour."

Alright then.

There really isn't much more known about the band as their success has been relatively relegated to their home country.  But on the strength of this album, which doesn't have a bum track, I foresee them breaking out and becoming much bigger.  I actually had a hard time picking a track to highlight as they are all pretty excellent and yet none have a super catchy hook that makes one in particular stand out.  It's sort of telling of the album in that you'll want to give it a couple listens to let the songs work their way under your skin.  Last track "SQRL" is pretty epic... it's a good album closer.

Anyhow, check this out... it's GOOD.



Kids of 88 - Downtown (Official Video) from Dryden Street on Vimeo.

Just a LIttle Bit

My House

Monday, August 30, 2010

F**k You!

Song: F**k You!
Artist: Cee Lo Green
Album: The Ladykiller

Best known for his work as one half of Gnarls Barkley (and their HUGE hit "Crazy,") Cee Lo Green was originally in the Atlanta-based hip-hop act Goodie Mob, then went solo and has thus far released two albums.  He's a big soundtrack artist, most recently providing songs for "Sex and the City 2," "Kung-Fu Panda," and "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse."  He is working on his third album, "The Ladykiller," which is set to be released by the end of the year.

"F**k You!," the first single from the album has become an instant internet hit, boasting over two million hits in it's first week of release... and it's easy to see why.  Of course the title, and it's use in the chorus is um... attention grabbing.  But it's also crazy catchy, has a great retro-soul sound, and winning lyrics and vocals by the man himself.  You'll connect with it immediately.

But it also begs me to wonder... how is this song going to exactly be a single?  It can't really be played on the radio... and does that even really matter anymore?  (Actually, a radio edit of the song it being titled "Forget You" which obviously lacks the same punch.)  Lily Allen was able to have minor success with a song of the same name.  We'll see.

I've always liked Cee Lo as he's had a bit of an off-kilter stye to him music and yet a real ear for catchy pop music.  (He even wrote the Pussycat Dolls biggest hit "Don't Cha.")  After Gnarls took his vibe one step further, I'll be interested in hearing what else "The Ladykiller" has to offer.


F**ck You!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Song: Hands
Artist: The Ting Tings
Album: Massage Kunst

Love them or hate them, The Ting Tings certainly made an impression just about everywhere with their debut album "We Started Nothing" back in 2008.  From the runway to the underground, then to pop radio, and then everywhere... their singles "Shut Up and Let Me Go" and "That's Not My Name" were infectious, crazy sing-along-able, and to some... downright annoying.  Personally I loved it all, and with six total singles, the album had some serious legs.

So it has been with much anticipation that I get to hear their first single from their sophomore set, "Massage Kunst." (Kunst is "art" in German.)  "Hands," the first single, is less pep-rally ra-ra like their biggest hits, a synth-y dance number that really takes hold when the chorus kicks in.  It starts with the 80's synths, and you hear a male voice do the opening line from Bowie's "Let's Dance," which I thought was cool.  The beat kicks in, but only half-way... as again things really go at the chorus.  The song is mixed by Calvin Harris, who is a bit restrained here... though he didn't produce it.  Wikipedia notes that the album was produced by Jules De Martino, the other half of the band, who also produced the debut.

I've listened to the song a couple of times and am really starting to dig it.  The album is due by years end and apparently is inspired by the cold Berlin weather it was created in.  Might just be the thing to get ya through the winter.




Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bang Bang Bang (ft. Q-Tip & MNDR)

Song: Bang Bang Bang (ft. Q-Tip & MNDR)
Artist: Mark Ronson & The Business Intl.
Album: Record Collection

I was a huge fan of Mark Ronson's second album "Version," a collection of off-beat covers that hopped genre's but kept in line with Ronson's 60's obsessed soul vibe.  (It was a great companion album to the Ronson produced "Back in Black" by Amy Winehouse.)  It's been a while, but Ronson is set to release his follow up, "Record Collection" under the name Mark Ronson & The Business Intl.

First single "Bang Bang Bang" featuring Q-tip & MNDR is very busy and joyous... like an entire party  wrapped up in one song.  Like Ronson's earlier material, it's got a modern sensibility to it as it starts out, then segues into that classic, swingin' 60's vibe.  I really dig it, and cool to see Ronson writing some original material.  Second single "The Bike Song"is also another winner, as well as the recently leaked "Lose It (In the End)" feat. Ghostface Killah.  I'm very very interested in hearing the rest of the album.  (I'm also really digging the album and single art, a mix of "fake" vinyl artwork laid out to form the actual art.   Cool.)

He's been pretty busy producing other artists since making it big with Winehouse and Lily Allen, so it's nice to hear him doing something in his name.


Bang Bang Bang

The Bike Song

Lose It (In the End)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Song: Memories
Artist: Weezer
Album: Hurley

I used to be a huge Weezer fan.  Their sunny take on pop-rock was a little like Nirvana meets the Beach Boys.  A little angst, a dose of fun, and super-catchy crunchy guitar power pop.  They've held onto the sound, and yet something was missing.  From "Make Believe" on, it's been the same band, but the songs seemed to have lost something.  I blame "Beverly Hills," the song that became their biggest hit and yet, one of their dumbest songs.  Yes, catchy as anything... but aside from a vague "I don't fit in" theme it didn't contain an ounce of real teenage angst and emotion that marked both their debut, and arguably best, sophomore set "Pinkerton."

I'd chalked up my waining interest in the band's new output as just getting older and growing out of their music, and yet there has been at least one song off each album that I've really dug.  Last year's "Raditude" was possibly their most juvenile yet, but it did have a bit of the old Weezer charm in there, and I actually really liked first single "(If You're Wondering if I want You to) I Want You To" quite a bit.  And speaking of singles, I am finding myself once again digging their latest, "Memories" which is on their brand new album "Hurley," which comes out next month and is the first on Epitaph.  I had to groan at the bands choice for album title and cover art (how quickly with THAT age?) but I'm looking past all of that as "Memories," the first track on the album seems to recall old Weezer, and might be the band looking back... at the memory of the band that once was.

I'm probably reaching too much... but I do recognize Rivers Cuomo as an amazing songwriter, who possibly has bended with the pressure of keeping his band on top and writing hits vs. emotional, meaningful songs.

Or maybe I am just getting too old.



Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dog Days Are Over

Song: Dog Days Are Over
Artist: Florence and the Machine
Album: Lungs

I missed this record at the time of its release, despite it being recommended from several friends.  Well, I should say that I got it, gave it a quick listen, and moved on.  But, as any good slave of marketing, I have been simply overtaken my the first track on the album, "Dog Days Are Over" which is being used to great effect in the trailers of the new Julia Roberts movie, "Eat Pray Love."  But that's not the first time the track has been used in media, as it first popped up in the teen drama "Skins," as well as the horror-comedy "Jennifer's Body."

Florence Welsh is Florence and the Machine, an English Alterna-pop act who's debut album "Lungs" garnered much attention upon it's release last year and was a strong contender for 2009's Mercury Prize. (But lost to "Speech Therapy" by Speech Debelle. ???)

Possibly due to the exposure from "Eat Pray Love, " Florence is performing at the MTV Video Music Awards next month, an odd choice for the channel's premiere award show, but possibly a sign that (hopefully) left-of-center music is once again invading into the world of pop.  We'll see.

"Lungs" comes across as a less immediate version of Marina and the Diamonds album.  I need to listen to it more, but currently "Dog Days" has a nice little place on my iPod.


Dog Days Are Over

You've Got the Love

Cosmic Love

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I'm Afraid of Everything

Song: I'm Afraid of Everything
Artist: ...music video?
Album: I'm Afraid of Everything

...music video?, the google-proof name for Tucson, AZ electronic trio comprised of Paul Jenkins, Wes McCanse, and Justin Miller, are currently working on their third album, having started back in 2004 with the LP, "Fireproof Your TV."  Their sound can be described as a mix of Postal Service-style singer-songtronica with the 80's elegance of Simply Red.  "I'm Afraid of Everything" is their latest single released in July as a 7".  I've been really digging the song, as well as the flip-side track, "Feelgooddesperation."  There is a relaxed, semi-loungy, vibe to the songs that feel like lost singles from the 80's.  And yet the production steps things up to the future, with fuzzy electronics and stuttered beats, married with some evocative vocals and lyrics... a perfect mix.  A song for rainy days and heartache.

You can listen to some of their songs from their sophomore album, "Now That My TV Has Wings I'll Never Be Lonely" on their MySpace page.  Some of the tracks from that album hit a bit harder than the more ethereal new material... but their sound is pretty complex, a wonder that they haven't hit it bigger.

Maybe third time will be a charm for the duo, as "I'm Afraid of Everything has been one of my favorite new tracks.  Check them out.


I oddly couldn't find the single on YouTube, but here are some older tracks from the band:

The Day I Exploded


Monday, August 09, 2010

Love Get Out of My Way

Song: Love Get Out of My Way
Artist: Monarchy
Album: Monarchy

Well, here's an interesting synth band that I know nothing about.  And it seems that nobody else does either... they're not, speaking.  Rumored to be French or Canadian... or possibly English and from London, what we do know for sure is that there are two in the band, based on illustrations of them as constellations in the sky used for cover art... they are both men.  They released first single "Gold in the Fire" in 2009 onto MySpace, no friends, no explanation, just a song... and now their record is coming out and they are remixing for the likes of Marina & The Diamonds, Ellie Goulding, and Lady Gaga.  But that's all we got.

I happened to find this small bio you can read up on. (though they fall over the band a little too much.)

Despite all the mystery behind them, their music is pretty straight-forward synthpop.  It's 80's influenced for sure, and yet they remind me a bit of Empire of the Sun, not so much for their sound... just taking a time-tested genre and doing it with such a go-getter attitude and flamboyance... it could be a set of covers and it would come across a bit original.  (If that makes any sense.)  I haven't heard their remixes, but their self-titled album focuses on the pop versus the dancefloor, though it's clear that remixers can bridge that gap.

The melodies on the album bloom slowly instead of hitting you on the head.  I've given this a couple listens and while I was set on highlighting single "Love Get Out of My Way" as that was the one I could most remember, a skip through the album reveals that many of their hooks had in fact gotten into me, I just hadn't remembered them.  But upon a deep listen, tracks like "Black, Colour Of My Heart," "The Phoenix Alive," and "Floating Cars" really stand out.

If you're a fan of synthpop, this is new required listening.


Love Get Out of My Way

The Phoenix Alive

See... they're strange

Friday, August 06, 2010

Bitch, I Stole Your Purse

Song: Bitch, I Stole Your Purse
Artist: Wendy Ho
Album: The Gospel According to Ho

Well, here is something very silly to get your Friday going.

Wendy Ho the brash, extremely vulgar, and kind of mesmerizing, comedian/rapper/actress and the center of a (minor) controversy originates out of Kansas City, had a long stint in New York City where she honed her act, and is not based out of Los Angeles is about to release her sophomore album, "Yes I'm a Ho" this summer.  I first heard of Wendy Ho when I was working another female artist to the gay community, and had her join Ms. Ho as part of a variety show at a gay bar here in NYC.  She performed her then new single, "Bitch, I Stole Your Purse" which kind of blew me away... in a "is this like real?" kind of way.

Cut to many years later and I see a preview video for her new album... which I can't stop thinking about. Actually, I couldn't possibly describe what this is all about, so watch this:

So... it's COMPLETELY juvenile, and based on what I've seen, usually her "songs" are strictly one joke stretched to its limits and yet... I sort of can't stop thinking about it.  If you watched the above, I challenge you not to let the phrase "shake it out the leg" pop into your head throughout the day.

Admittedly, "Bitch, I Stole Your Purse" is so-so, even as joke tracks go.  But there is a certain energy and WTF?-ess to this woman's whole persona.  I dig.

Now what I didn't realize, is that Wendy Ho was at the center of a minor controversy back in 2009.  First, check out the video for "Purse" here:

NOW, check out this clip from the TV Show "nip/tuck" in which actress Jennifer Coolidge plays a white female rapper named Hot Coco who is getting an ass implant and shows her video for "Yo Stank"

Wow.  Well, apparently the show never gave any credit to Ho.  But yeah, they totally ripped her off.  More about that here.

I had to go to her website just to make sure that this album and its songs were really real.  It's "coming soon."  We'll see.


Check out Ho's stand up reel here:

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Don't Turn the Lights On

Song: Don't Turn the Lights On
Artist: Chromeo
Album: Business Casual

Chromeo is an electro-funk duo based out of Montreal, Canada.  They are set to release their third album, "Business Casual" in September.  I had listened to their debut, "She's in Control" back in 2004 and found it to be a little too jokey and just not very... good.  I thought single "Rage!" was alright, but their 80's biting (Hall & Oats, Klymaxx) a little cloying.  Cut to 2010, when EVERYONE is biting the 80's and the band releases a second track from the forthcoming album "Don't Turn the Lights On."  I've been digging this for a couple weeks now and just sort of realized how much I dig it.  They released a song called "Night By Night" from the new album last year, which I just took a listen to... very Night Rider in a way.

This sort of goes either way, either you embrace the cheesy-ness and get into the faux-sleeze, or you label it derivative.  I think "Don't Turn the Lights On" transcends the kitch a bit.

What do you think?


Don't Turn the Lights On

Night By Night

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hang With Me

Song: Hang With Me
Artist: Robyn
Album: Body Talk Pt. 2

Well, I can't help it.  I'm sort of over-doing it with these Robyn posts but this new stuff has been so exciting... I just need to bring it to you.

If you're not aware, Swedish pop star Robyn has finally followed up her 2005 self-titled album (which admitedly, packed single after single for some time after release, and re-release) with a three-part mini-album project called "Body Talk."  After two great songs leaked from Part 1 ("Fembot" & "Dancehall Queen") we got the official first single "Dancing on My Own" which is STILL gaining ground on the charts and in the clubs.  It's one of her best singles ever... I can't stop listening to it.  The rest of "Part 1" was equally fantastic with additional single material "Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do" and "Cry When You Get Older."  With just eight songs, I wondered if the remaining two additions to the trilogy were filler.

Well, Robyn is already set to release the first single off "Part 2" (skipping possible other singles on Part 1) which is scheduled to be released in early September.  For the first single, she is choosing "Hang With Me," which actually appeared on "Part 1" in acoustic form.  It's cool to know the song first in that version, as "Part 2's" single version is aimed at the dancefloor once again... and it's another home run.

I'm now dying for the rest of "Part 2" and equally excited to see what this entire project will be as a whole.  Let this one dance you out of the summer.


Hang With Me

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Lost Where I Belong

Song: Lost Where I Belong
Artist: Andreya Triana
Album: Lost Where I Belong

I first heard of Brighton's (by way of South East London) Andreya Triana from producer Bonobo, who's album "Black Sands" I highlighted a couple months ago.  That album had a handful of tracks with vocals from Ms. Triana, and her debut, "Lost Where I Belong," has a similar vibe to Bonobo's downbeat, more soulful trip-hop, which makes a ton of sense... he's also produced her record.  I'd even argue that hers is much better, but that might just be me, I connect with songs with lyrics much more than the mostly instrumental "Sands."

Triana is a self-taught singer who began to go to open mic nights in her teens, meeting musicians, and learning music from experience.  She was a bedroom poet, and recorded songs on two cassette recorders when she was young.

Her debut recalls Sade to me.  Her voice is sexy and distinctive, and "Lost Where I Belong" creates a very assured vibe... this might be one debut a lot of people will be talking about as the year goes on.  The music is very downbeat, but has a certain urgency to it, that's more emotional than anything else.  I immediately was drawn in by this, check it out.


Lost Where I Belong

A Town Called Obsolete

Monday, August 02, 2010


Song: Boyfriend
Artist: Best Coast
Album: Crazy for You

Best Coast are an indie-pop/garage act hailing from Los Angeles.  A mix of fuzzy guitars, sunny melodies, and lead Bethany Cosentino's semi-deadpan vocals.  A dash of The Breeders riot-grrl surf-rock mixed in and you start to get the idea.  I've been listening to this a bit and it's really grown on me.  The production is decidedly lo-fi, yet "Crazy for You" makes a nice impression with its minimal atmosphere and winning melodies.  It's a summer record through and through and recalls lazy beach days and a lot of just hanging out.  I also hear a girl group influence in there a touch, but thankfully doesn't fall into gimmicky territory.

"Crazy for You" is the band's debut, comprised of songwriter/front woman Bethany, multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno, and the recently added drummer Ali Koehler, from the Vivian Girls.  The album comes after the band released several attention-getting EP's starting in 2009.

It's not what I've been typically listening to lately, but I've been digging it quite a bit.

Check it out.



When I'm With You