Friday, October 29, 2010

As Good As it Gets

Song: As Good As it Gets
Artist: Goose
Album: Synrise

Goose are a Belgian electro-rock band that formed in 2000 and have been releasing singles and doing remixes since 2002.  I first heard of the band when they did a remix of the Scissor Sisters single "She's My Man," which I actually didn't care much for.  Their debut full-length album "Synrise" was released earlier this month on !K7 Records.

For a band that started out as an AC/DC-like cover band, they are pretty electronic... but that fact is also important to understanding what they're like as they do have a lot of rock elements to their sound.  Though I hear more of a modern-day Duran Duran feel.  (ummm, I think I actually already used that comparison this week in regards to Fenech-Soler, whom Goose sound nothing like.  Oh well.)

The album opens with the swirling, propulsive, title track and instrumental.  It's a nice, dramatic, opening before things really kick in with "Can't Stop Me Now," a deep-dark attention grabbing song.  "After" is similar, employing some light industrial sounds... a little "Pretty Hate Machine-esque" though of course not as dated.

I really like "As Good As it Gets" and "Like You" though I am a bit confused by having "Words" as their lead single.  Not a bad song... but just odd for a single.  I dig this record.


As Good As it Gets (live)


Can't Stop Me Now (live)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sun of a Gun

Song: Sun of a Gun
Artist: Oh Land
Album: Oh Land EP

Recently making quite a splash here in New York for the CMJ Music Festival, Brooklyn, NY's (by way of  Denmark) Oh Land is really one-woman beauty Nanna Oland Fabricius, a former ballerina whom after an injury sidelined her career, she began to focus on music.  (Great story for the bio!)

Oh Land is best described as ABBA meets Bjork, a mix of Scandinavian electro and experimental alternative.  She looks like a model, and has an off-kilter vibe about her that really works to build the mystery... but the music is what truly grabs you the most.

I'd gotten her debut album "Fauna" a little over a year ago and liked it, but think it got lost in the shuffle before I highlighted it here on WeCast.  Actually, I know exactly the problem... she err's on the side of experimental vs. electro-pop.  With the release of the new self-titled EP, and single "Sun of a Gun," it seems that she's harnessing a bit more catchiness to her music.  I connected with it much more immediately.

Epic Records discovered her at SXSW last year and has subsequently released the four-track EP.  I assume that a second, more pop album is on its way.  You might be hearing much more about Oh Land very very soon.  Check this out.  Visit MySpace page here.


Sun of a Gun

White Nights

Heavy Eyes (from the debut "Fauna")

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Indestructible (Radio Edit)

Song: Indestructible (Radio Edit)
Artist: Robyn
Album: Body Talk

Robyn's "Body Talk" has sort of turned out to be the Swedish electro-pop version of The Green Mile. (The book(s) of course, not the movie.)  Throughout 2010 Robyn has thus far released parts 1 and 2 with the promise of the 3rd by the end of the year, with the thought that the EP's would ultimately make a whole album.  And like The Green Mile, there has been a little con at the end.  Stephen King's book was initially released in installments, tiny little $1.99 paperbacks that came out monthly in the Summer of 1996.  The last volume was a little bit of a gotcha... THAT volume was $2.99!  I remember being very upset about that at the time, (I mean, it was a dollar, jeez) not also putting together that adding up the total cost was way more than a regular paperback.  So what is the con of "Body Talk?." well there really isn't an eight-track "Part 3," there is just the fifteen track "Body Talk" album proper which includes five tracks from the first two parts and five new tracks.

Obviously this is minor quibling as this entire project has garnered some of the best dance music of the year, and has establish Robyn as a Kylie-like contender in the world of dance pop.

Like she did with last single "Hang With Me," which was initially released as an acoustic version on the previous volume, the third proper single from "Body Talk" is "Indestructible," which we heard the acoustic version initially on "Part 2."  And like "Hang With Me," the dance version is a revelation and proves Robyn knows the power of some broken-hearted lyrics fit for the dancefloor.  "I'm gonna love you like I've never been hurt before." she sings, another perfect line of the damaged but romantically hopeful.  This is the radio edit, and yet it's got a great disco-freak-out about 3/4 of the way in.  Interesting.

I will admit that "Part 2" didn't excite me as much as "Part 1" song for song, and can't BELIEVE that "Cry When You Get Older" from "Part 1" didn't make the final cut of the album.  Oh well... there are four new unheard tracks that we'll get when the album comes out including one co-written and produced by hit maker Max Martin entitled "Time Machine."  The full track list is below.

I can't wait to hear the entire album, and my final complaint will just be... don't wait another five years for new material!  I'm seeing her live next month, can' wait!

1. Fembot
2. Don´t fucking tell me what to do
3. Dancing on my own
4. Indestructible
5. Time Machine
6. Love kills
7. Hang with me
8. Call your girlfriend
9. None of dem
10. We dance to the beat
11. U should know better
12. Dance hall queen
13. Get myself together
14. In my eyes
15. Stars 4-ever


Indestructible (Radio Edit)

Hang With Me

Dancing on My Own

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Song: Lies
Artist: Fenech-Soler
Album: Fenech-Soler

Man, it seems lately we have no shortage of new electro-pop acts popping up here and there.  And yet despite the onslaught, where are the hits here in the states?  Lady Gaga has become a bit of a fast megastar, and yet... La Roux's year-and-a-half old "Bulletproof" only JUST took hold here.  (And the follow-up "In For the Kill" needed Kanye to make it extra viable here in the States.  Please.)

So joining the throng of European acts that can't get play here comes Kings Cliffe, Northhamptonshire's Fenech-Soler, a four-man outfit lead by singer Ben Duffy.  They formed in 2006 and their self-titled debut was just released at the end of last month.  They just released their third single, "Lies" which proceeded the album and is a favorite of mine, though I also quite like their second single "Stop and Stare."

The band have a very song-focused brand of dance music, sounding much more like a band proper than many electronic artists of the same ilk.  The comparison doesn't quite work but I get a bit of a modern-day Duran Duran vibe with these guys.  I'll admit that I haven't completely fallen for the album the way I have with similar acts, but this AM as I gave the album another full listen I was surprised to hear myself thinking; "oh this is a good one too." throughout the entire listen.  A grower for sure.



Stop and Stare


Monday, October 25, 2010

The Nitty Gritty

Song: The Nitty Gritty
Artist: Shirley Ellis
Album: The Complete Congress Recordings

Shirley Ellis was  Bronx-born soul singer and songwriter best known for her novelty hit "The Name Game" from 1964.  Ellis wrote two songs which were recorded by the Chords back in 1954.  She teamed up with Lincoln Chase, whom co-wrote and produced all of her solo hits, as well as serving as her manager.  She quit the business in 1968.

I'd never heard of Ellis until a co-worker was talking about her song "The Nitty Gritty."  I got the compilation "The Complete Congress Recordings," (Congress was a subsidiary of Knapp Records)  which at 27 tracks, serves as quite the intro.  Listening to these tracks, they certainly sound like classics of the era, I'd wondered why I'd never heard of her before.  I did recognize "The Name Game" immediately, though did not connect her name to it at all. But as novelty records go... the artist is usually overshadowed by the track itself.  My friend Brian, who is my go-to girl group expert, said that it was in fact that novelty record that pigeon-holed the singer into that category... possibly damaging her much more varied musical history.

"The Nitty Gritty" and million-selling "The Clapping Song" were also hits for the singer (both going to #8 on the charts, "Name" made it to #3.)  Hipsters will recognize the track "Soul Time" as it was sampled on The Go Team's single "Bottle Rocket."  I was more familiar with Madeline Bell's version (again, thanks to Brian) but it's a great track no matter how you slice it.  Her work has also been covered by the likes of Laura Branigan, Aaron Carter, Southern Culture on the Skids, Gary Glitter, and... Pia Zadora. (!!!)

Great body of work from a singer you might not know.


The Nitty Gritty

The Clapping Song

Soul Time

Friday, October 22, 2010


Song: Superstar
Artist: The Ark
Album: In Ful Regalia

When I was pleasantly surprised by finding out Benjamin Diamond had had a new album out (that was two years old) I also happened upon another band I really connected with several years that ALSO had a new album, that came out earlier this year.  Sweden's glam-rock goofs The Ark had quietly released their fifth album this April entitled "In Full Regalia."  (Though with this band, I'm sure it wasn't SO quiet in their native Sweden.)

I'd first heard of The Ark back in 2004 when they were getting a little US marketing push for their third album, "State of the Ark."  I had flipped for their killer single "One of Us is Gonna Die Young," as well as the video which was all kinds of strange, and made me think that glam was on it's way back.  (No Adam Lambert, it wasn't... but you should have done that song on A.I.)  The album turned out to be one of my favorites of the year.  Their follow up three years later, "Prayer for the Weekend," save for the killer single "The Worrying Kind," left me a little disappointed, but was still very good.  Just couldn't stand alongside "State of the Ark" as a whole.

Well, unfortunately... I'm feeling the same way about "Regalia" as I did about their last.  It certainly has it's moments, and starts very promisingly...

Opener "Take a Shine to Me," is a great kick-off, a sweet glammy song that makes you feel good and gets you geared up for some kick-butt catchy rock.  Then comes first single "Superstar" which has the strut... it just falls short of being listed among their best.  It grows on you the more you hear it...  but they slow things down on their third song, second single "Stay With Me," which is rather nice... but I think was a mistake as it really just sets the album into a nosedive.

But that's the big problem with "Regalia," it's a much more quiet record than I've heard form the band.  And the semi-limp rockers that make up the second half of the album just leave me a little cold.  I hate when I fall for a band or album, only constantly compare any new material that doesn't seem to have the same kick to the old stuff.  Frustrating.

That said, this isn't a complete 180, and if you're familiar with the band you will most likely find stuff here that you'll like.  And "Superstar," upon a few listens does really get you going.  So maybe album six will really do it for them.  We'll see.



Take a Shine to Me (Live)

Stay with Me

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We R Who We R

Song: We R Who We R
Artist: Ke$ha
Album: Cannibal

HUGE guilty pleasure alert...

Okay, so can we agree that Ke$ha's miraculously stupid, but mind-crushingly catchy "Tik Tok" was kinda really... amazing?  It was one of my favorite tracks from last year into this, and specifically... the Fred Falke remix has what I consider an embarrassingly high play count in my iTunes.  So much so that I'm not even going to tell you dear readers...

So it is with a grain of salt I took to her debut album, "Animal," which upon first listen I deemed "trash," and yet dug a couple of her subsequent singles, including "Your Love is My Drug."  But despite what I thought, she seemed to connect with audiences, and honestly... it sounded like this girl paid her dues in the pop world, initially singing back-up for the likes of producer lead artists such as Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and then having a cameo in Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" video.

It was super-producer Dr. Luke who gave her the shot after the backup gigs and gave her the present that was "Tik Tok."  Now, as much as I begrudgingly admit publicly that I really dig that song, it was no "Poker Face," and heck "Animal" was no "The Fame," but regardless, Ke$ha is going the Gaga route and releasing a "companion EP" that was supposed to just be a couple new tracks for the re-release of "Animal" a-la "The Fame Monster."  That EP, "Cannibal," is going to have nine tracks and will be sold separately, but will also be available as a double album including the first entitled "Animal + Cannibal."

First single "We R Who We R," also a Dr. Luke collaboration, sort of sounds like a "Tik Tok" redo and is supposedly a heartfelt response to the recent rash of gay teen suicides.  (Hmmm.)  Well, regardless of my hesitation on that thought, the girl did upload her own video to Dan Savage's "It Get's Better" project, which is very very cool.  I can't front on that.

Initially, like maybe every Ke$ha song I hear, this one got a big eye-roll.  AND like a lot of Ke$ha's songs... I'm secretly totally digging it.  Again, catchy as hell, totally ridiculous, annoying... you name it.  I kind of love it.  It does make me wonder what this girl's career longevity could possibly be but for the moment... I'm dancing.  Though for sure... this is no "Bad Romance," but maybe the entire comparison is completely unfair.  Regardless...


We R Who We R

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In Spirit Golden

Song: In Spirit Golden
Artist: I Blame Coco
Album: The Constant

We seem to have a built-in resistance to nepotism, a frustration born from jealousy of the success of someone else that has a seeming advantage in whatever their given vocation is.  I'm certainly guilty of this, sure... but doesn't talent need to ultimately trump all?  I'm sort of amazed, and a touch disgusted, by the meteoric rise if new child stars Jaden and Willow Smith, spawn of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith... so young and seemingly pushed into the biz by their already successful parents.  And yet... from the little I've seen of these kids, natural talent does exists.

So it comes with some amusement to me that I've been enjoying the new wave/pop-alternative album by "band" I Blame Coco, only to find out that the band is really twenty year-old Eliot Paulina Sumner, also known as just Coco, also known as the daughter of Trudy Styler and Sting.  How about that.

Now I haven't heard any of I Blame Coco's music on the radio, certainly not getting pimped out and marketed the way the Smith kids are, and Sumner is working with some interesting people on her debut record "The Constant," so maybe she's got the chops herself to make it on her own.  Counting the open doors not withstanding, "The Constant" is a pretty well put-together record, I really dig her vocals (which are reminiscent of Catatonia's Cerys Matthews) and am loving the single "In Spirit Golden."  So I'm forgetting about the lineage... and focusing on the tunes.

Coco began writing music at the age of fifteen, and got a record deal with Island Records at seventeen.  Three years later comes "The Constant," which is scheduled for release early next month.  She's recorded the record in Sweden partly with producer Klas Ahlund, of Teddybears fame as well as his work producing hits for Robyn, who incidentally contributes vocals on I Blame Coco's very first single "Caesar," which is included on "The Constant."  The album is a mix of upbeat new wave/electropop but does have a slight alternative rock edge.  In some ways, the only slight use of electronics and such production gives the album a bit more weight.

First track "Selfmachine" kicks things off with a punch, and "Quicker" marries an early 90's house sound with the aforementioned Catatonia's pop-rock.  Interesting.  I also like "Please Rewind" and the Cars-esque 80's rock of "Turn Your Back on Love."  While it certainly doesn't sound bad... there is an odd cover of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" that would sound a bit more exciting if I didn't know that it was really just a rip-off of the Saint Etienne version of the song.

I like this record.


In Spirit Golden



Monday, October 18, 2010

Barbara Streisand

Song: Barbara Streisand
Artist: Duck Sauce
Album: Barbara Streisand

Well admittedly, this is a little aggressive for a Monday morning, but I've been really digging this song since I heard it... it's been making the rounds underground for a while, but just recently got released as a CD single last week, and reader Shain just sent me a song by a disco band from the 70's I'd never heard of (Boney M.) who is sampled in the song.  So it all seemed a bit fortuitous.

Duck Sauce the band is a collaboration between DJ's Armand Van Helden and A-Trak.  They formed in 2009 and released an E.P. called "Greatest Hits" which included their singles "aNY way" and "You're Nasty."

"Barbara Streisand" has proved to be their most popular track, still gaining traction in the clubs as well as more mainstream, probably propelled from the cameo-heavy video. (see below.)  But also... it's really such a feel-good track... it's hard to resist.  With the help of the video, it harkens back to a more "fun" era of music... the late 70's and early 80's where the music made the culture, and a good record could save your life on a Saturday night.

And that single cover... really?  I mean... really. ;)


Barbara Streisand

aNY way

You're Nasty

Friday, October 15, 2010

Always Loved A Film

Song: Always Loved a Film
Artist: Underworld
Album: Barking

Best known for their trance anthem "Born Slippery" off of the Trainspotting Soundtrack, Britain's Underworld have been steadily releasing albums since that breakthrough in 1997.  I was a fan of their last album, 2007's "Oblivion with Bells" and am REALLY digging their latest, "Barking" which was released last month.

Opener "Bird 1" builds and builds, a perfect opener that's dark and mysterious.  Then comes my new favorite track... "Always Loved a Film," another that builds slow but then explodes in burst of immediate euphoria.  You'll be hearing "heaven, heaven, heeeaaaven" in your head after hearing this one.  Initial single "Scribble" is next and has a touch of drum and bass, though not nearly as harsh or annoying. (I'm not a fan of the genre.)

The rest could be described as "typical Underworld," a stellar mix of trance and deep house but lyrically strong... this isn't a repetitive bore... Karl Hyde and Rick Smith are true songwriters, which has been evident since the beginning of the band... and what has set them apart from their contemporaries.

"Barking" is a great album, and "Always Loved a Film" is one of the best tracks I've heard this year.  Thanks again Jorge!


Always Loved a Film


Bird 1

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Same All Things

Song: Same All Things
Artist: Benjamin Diamond
Album: Cruise Control

Depending on what kind of music you listen to, there is a good chance that, thanks to a marketing budget or that all-over-everything blogger your obsessed with... you're going to hear about new songs and albums from artists you dig.  But depending on the artists you listen to... things fall through the cracks.

I recently was thinking of a band and an artist that I really dug in the past as I hadn't heard anything from them... only to find, after a bit of research, that they'd both released new albums... in 2008.  WTF?!?! Where have I been?

One of those is French singer/producer/songwriter Benjamin Diamond who is best known as the voice on the worldwide smash French House hit by Stardust, "Music Sounds Better With You."  That song, a classic that is now twelve years old (!!!) kicked off the French House movement, and started the career of not only Diamond, but Alan Braxe and Thomas Bangalter (just before he co-created Daft Punk.)  Diamond's debut album, "Strange Attitude" was a favorite of mine, a great catchy electro/house album that not only showed that Diamond was an amazing producer with an ear for melody, but a great songwriter to boot.

His follow-up, "Out of Myself," went in a completely different direction, more pop-rock... and I HATED it.  Maybe because it was SO different, and I was possibly incorrectly looking for "Strange Attitude II," but I don't even have it anymore... so it was with, let's say measured caution, that I took a listen to the now two-year-old "Cruise Control."

Well, it's not "Strange Attitude" and it's not "Out of Myself..." it's maybe a little of both, more dialed-down and singer-songwriter-y but also uses a bit of electronics and beats here and there.  With expectations in check, a couple listens have found some fruit.  I'm still wishing he'd go back to his dance roots (which I've read was actually record label pressure, so I better not hold my breath) but getting over that... "Cruise Control" has it's moments.

The album starts with three great tracks, the laid-back almost adult contemporary leaning "1,000 Lives" and "Still," and then the very upbeat "Baby's On Fire," which I believe was a single and was also used in the show "Ugly Betty."  Things also get a bit "Attitude"-like on "Same All Things," a loungy dance track, as well as "Don't Stop."  In some ways, the album is a bit schizophrenic... with the slower tracks bringing things to a bit of a halt before the disco returns.  That said, if you were also an "Attitude" fan... there is stuff on here you absolutely must hear.


Same All Things

1,000 Lives

Baby's On Fire

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Baptism (Punks Jump Up Remix)

Song: Baptism (Punks Jump Up Remix)
Artist: Crystal Castles
Album: Baptism Single

So my friend Jorge had been trying to get my into Toronto's Crystal Castles but after a listen to their second self-titled album, I just wasn't convinced.  Producer Ethan Kath mixes hardcore house with experimental lo-fi sounds with the quite unpleasant "vocals" from singer Alice Glass... I just found it to be noisy and well... unlistenable.

I've been changing my tune a little as I'm really enjoying the Punks Jump Up remix of latest single "Baptism." It's some serious trancy house music with hard beats and the ah... "vocals" mixed fairly low.  I dig it.

So I thought it important to re-listen to the album and see what it is I was missing. (Or if I was right... it's total noise.)

Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of tracks I really did like.  Initial single "Celestica" (the only one that I liked at all form initial listen) really is beautiful and stellar, I also like the pounding of "Year of Silence," and the etherial "Suffocation."

I'm changing my tune on them a bit.  Anyone hear their first record?  Should I check out?  Also, any albums you listened to once and thought it was awful only to have it grow on you?


Baptism (Punks Jump Up Remix)



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Something New

Song: Something New
Artist: The Amplifetes
Album: The Amplifetes

Well, leave it to Sweden for cranking out the exquisite rock-leaning electropop... The Amplifetes are a four-piece who have a typically cryptic background.  According to their website, the four have written/produced music for the likes of Kelis, Madonna, Grandmaster Flash, and Peter Bjorn & John, and yet wrote the majority of their debut album, due to being in different cities, during late nights over the Internet... and claim that it wasn't until mixing the album that the full band met.  Really?

Well, regardless of that dubious claim... the album is pretty great.  They toe the line between irresistible beats and semi-detached vocals... sort of totally catchy, and yet very relaxed.  Their debut single, the glitchy, stuttered, "It's My Life" made its mark by being in a promotional campaign for Italian designer Roberto Cavalli featuring a Milla Jovovich.

Second single "Whizz Kid" is a bit more straight-forward and rock/punk leaning yet catchy.  I'm really digging third single and second track "Something New" which is a bit more electro and seems even more ready for a fashion show than "Life."  But the album is pretty filled with gems, including the Giorgio Moroder-esque goof "Fokker," and the pop bliss of "Blinded By the Moonlight."

The band incorporates a slew of influences, I hear a bit of fellow countrymen Teddybears, as well as the Infidels.  But it's another good full album, not just a couple good singles and a bunch of filler.  These guys interest me... check them out.


Something New

It's My Life

Fokker (not real video)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Stare Into the Sun

Song: Stare Into the Sun
Artist: Graffiti6
Album: Colours

Here's something a little different... singer/songwriter Jamie Scott, whom had toured with Kelly Clarkson and Alicia Keyes as well as released some folk/soul records that weren't really taking off was introduced to producer TommyD (Jay-Z, Kanye West, Kylie Minogue, KT Tunstall, Right Said Fred) who immediately hit it off and recorded a couple tracks including "Stare Into the Sun," which was used for a TV campaign for UK's "The Sun" newspaper.  The success of the campaign and positive reaction to the song got the duo to write more together and after a series of singles and EP's, have finished their debut album "Colours," which came out this year.

The band's music is best described as 60's-style rock & soul... a-la The Beatles, with a modern dash of Ray Lamontagne and Amy Winehouse.  It sounds very classic without sounding "old" and is really just a great collection of songs.  Once I sort of thought of Winehouse (vocally it's totally different) I began to think that if the stars aline correctly... this record could be one of the more talked about of the year.

The first track that really jumped out at me was the dour "Goodbye Geoffrey Drake," a sad song that none-the-less has a mild groove to it.  Scott's vocals are really on display, and the emotion just pours through.  Singles "Annie You Save Me" and the aforementioned "Stare Into the Sun" are groovy, mid-tempo, hands-to-the-sun throwbacks.  I'm also loving the more upbeat "Free" and rockin' "Never Look Back."

This is really a great record and has he potential to be on some year-end best of lists.  It's a record that if you connect with any of the below songs, you'll dig the whole record.  Had a hard time to just picking one track to highlight.  Honestly... check this one out.


Stare Into the Sun

Annie You Save Me


Friday, October 08, 2010

Raise Your Glass

Song: Raise Your Glass
Artist: Pink
Album: Greatest Hits... So Far!!!

Pink is getting ready to release a greatest hits album this November entitled "Greatest Hits... So Far!!!" that spans her entire career and five studio albums.  I've read a couple conflicting reports, but Wikipedia is reporting that there are going to be four new tracks on the album, one being the new single "Raise Your Glass" as well as her version of "Whataya Want From Me," which she wrote last year for Adam Lambert.

"Raise Your Glass" is another super-catchy Max Martin-produced pop-rocker in the vein of her last smash "So What."  I'm a big Pink fan, and while this track initially seemed lack-luster, I guarantee you... two to three listens, and that chorus isn't leaving your head.  I'm currently listening to it non-stop, though it does have a little more-of-the-same feeling.  I was a little disappointed with "Funhouse" for this reason.  I really really loved "I'm Not Dead," and "Funhouse" almost felt like a sequel of sorts.  And I couldn't help, as much as I liked "So What," to feel that lyrically it was a little too negative in comparrison to the similar-sounding, but better written singles "Who Knew" and " U + Ur Hand."

But all that said, I still think Pink is one of the better and more interesting pop stars to emerge from that time.  She's pretty much stayed out of the tabloids (as much as she can) and just WORKS.  And you know what... I see "Raise Your Glass" being sung along to drunkenly all the way into the holidays and New Years.

The record is also coming in a Deluxe Edition with a DVD and apparently is the stepping stone to a new album being released early next year.

Anyhow, a happy Friday to you all, this shall kick it off.


Raise Your Glass

Who Knew


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Down to Love

Song: Down to Love
Artist: Hot Toddy
Album: Late Night Boogie

With indie-dance music leaning so much on the past, it's a surprise when a straight-up new disco record comes out that really sounds... disco.  While many indie-electro bands are leaning on the 80's sound, they also seem to cherry-pick the 70's for the already future-sounding-sounds that that decade is unfortunately not given enough credit to.

"Hot Toddy" is the moniker for UK one-man-band Chris Todd.  Todd has been in the music business for over ten years with a handful of indie releases here and there under different names.  According to his MySpace page (the only info I found on him) he claims to be best known for his work in the band Crazy P(enis) who I've never heard of.   He also lists his influences, and based on "Late Night Boogie," there are those that I hear (Prince, Chic, Moodyman) and those I don't (Pixies, The Beach Boys, The The.)

Regardless, "Late Night Boogie" is a really great record.  There are quite a few instrumentals sprinkled in, but many songs contain the sultry vocals of Jennifer Rhonwen.  The height of the collaboration, and album centerpiece, is the mid-tempo elegance of "Down to Love." It's got everything a killer disco single needs, some cheesy effects, some chimes, and of course those cooing vocals.  Nice.

I also like the slow build of "Won't Let Go," as well as the inescapable hand-claps and boogie guitar of "Flotation Tank."  If you've been missing disco, but find that the current indie-dance artists go a little to far... this might be your bag.


Down to Love


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Shooting Stars

Song: Shooting Stars
Artist: Bag Raiders
Album: Bag Raiders

Bag Raiders are an electro duo from New South Wales, Australia, currently residing in Sydney.  Best known as a DJ duo, Chris Stracey and Jack Glass are just making waves as Bag Raiders with their first single "Shooting Stars," which became very popular among supporters of A-League soccer team Adelaide.    Their self-titled debut album came out just last week as they've been trying to gain traction with their new single, "Way Back Home."

"Bag Raiders" the album reminds me a bit of fellow countrymen Empire of the Sun with a lot less strange.  I also hear the pop bliss of Brooklyn's Shy Child, a touch of 80's on top of some modern indie-electro.  The M.O. is catchy dancefloor ready pop, which the band mostly achieves, even if the result is a little forgettable.

"Shooting Stars" is the clear stand-out on the album, yet there is still much to like here.  Each song is distinct despite most not having the killer hook that "Stars" has... it's odd, I'm sort of half-recommending the record, maybe I just need to listen a bit more.  Certainly, if this is your genre check out the whole album.

Very fun.


Shooting Stars

Way Back Home

Fun Punch

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

La Musique

Song: La Musique
Artist: Yelle
Album: La Musique

It seemed like it's been quite a lot of time since we heard from Yelle, the French electropop act consisting of singer Yelle, musician GrandMarnier, and producer Tepr.  I was always under the impression that Yelle, the girl was the band... but it turns out Yelle is a stage name, and the duo (minus Tepr) originally were calling themselves YEL or "You Enjoy Life," until finding out Belgian band was using the same name, hence Yelle.  (I'm honestly not sure how I much I believe all of this, thank you Wikipedia, as the page originally had some story about them meeting at a party while she ate marshmallows.)  But ANYHOW...

I loved their debut album "Pop-Up" from 2007, a mix of super-catchy electro, semi-bratty vocals, and some wink-wink naughty lyrics... all in French.  I really dug the entire album, despite not knowing what she was singing about.  Ha... pop music!  The band recently did a French-language cover of Robyn's "Who's That Girl" recently, and has now released "La Musique," a new single that is expected to be on a forthcoming album.

The song may have not hit me the way that prior singles "À cause des garçons"      and "Ce Jeu" did... but I'm liking it, and interested to hear more from the album.


La Musique

Ce Jeu


Monday, October 04, 2010


Song: Brotherhood
Artist: Cassius
Album: The Rawkers

So it's Monday morning, you're a little groggy... and WeCastMusic has your cure.  Put on "Brotherhood" the first track from the new Cassius E.P. entitled "The Rawkers."  It's an instrumental that begins slow, building upon itself, until it begins to boil... and you begin to wake up.  It's got a groove that is all but inescapable.  Amazing.  Awake now?

Cassius are a French house duo that I have known very little of.  I was only familiar with their 1999 single "Feelings For You" from the album "1999," because I had the Les Rythmes Digitales (AKA Stuart Price, Thin White Duke, etc.) mix which I loved.  But I never got the album, and a single released in July 2009, "Youth, Speed, Trouble, Cigarettes," didn't grab me enough to find it WeCast-able.  But, this E.P. immediately got my attention... enough so that I went back and got their three full proper albums.  And what I've been missing!

The band was formed back in 1988 and consists of (stage names) Philippe Zdar and Boom Bass.  They incidentally got their start by producing albums for... MC Solaar!  After their fist single as Cassius, "Foxxy" got them some minor attention, they began remixing such other French electronic artists as Air and Daft Punk.  They suddenly broke the UK top ten with the single "Cassius 1999," followed by the album.

The three Cassius album that I am currently trying to get myself through are all very good yet wildly different in their tone.  The band certainly hasn't been prolific though... the follow up, "Au Reve" came in 2002, and their last full length, "15 Again," was released in 2006.  "The Rawkers" is only six tracks, mostly instrumental (which I am rarely into) but really love the beats and vibe of this release. Some hot stuff.  From the epic "Shark Simple," to the Moby-esque "I <3 U So," it's just an E.P., but at just under thirty minutes, it feels like an album.

I am really really digging this other Cassius stuff and you just might see me highlight their other albums down the road.



I <3 U So

Les Enfants

Friday, October 01, 2010


Song: Obsolète
Artist: MC Solaar
Album: Prose Combat

If you've been thinking to yourself; "man, I don't have enough laid back French hip-hop," today is your day!  Well, honestly MC Solaar is the ONLY French hip-hop I know.  My good friend Greg introduced me a couple years ago with a couple tracks from his excellent breakthrough album, "Prose Combat" from 1994.  He's got an impossibly smooth flow that in French sounds like an amazing aural pastry.  Creamy, delicious, and as it turns out... not that bad for you. Haha.

"Combat" was his second album, breaking him from the French underground to the international stage.  He's released seven total albums with "Chapitre 7" from 2007 being his last.  Lyrically his work has covered many issues, often political, with the plight of Black people who migrated to France looking to make a living.  The song "La Belle et Le Bad Boy" from "Chapitre 7" was used prominantly in the final episde of "Sex and the City," as well as an episode of MTV's "The Hills."

I'm not familiar with a lot of his work, but "Prose Combat" is a bit of classic and worthy a listen.  I've always loved the vibe of "Obsolète," despite not knowing anything of what he's saying.  I hadn't listened to this in a while, and doing more research on him has made me interested in hearing more.  But "Obsolète" is another track that is on just about every chill out playlist I put together.  Good stuff.



Solaar Pleure

La Belle et Le Bad Boy