Thursday, March 31, 2011

School Night

Song: School Night
Artist: Bodega Girls
Album: Et Tu, Bootay?

I recently discovered the Boston-based band Bodega Girls, who have a kitchen-sink approach to music, a mix of musical styles, and a wicked sense of humor.

The trio are all Bostonians that came from other bands, hearing about each other long before they actually met.  On their Facebook page they describe themselves as "Morris Day & The Time meets Echo & The Bunnymen."  And as far as influences, they site; The Clash, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Michael Jackson, Jenny Lewis, Kurtis Blow, Rick James and Lionel Ritchie, amongst others.  Obviously, they are a bunch of jokesters.

The band just released a four track E.P. which you can find here.  Each song is radically different, and yet they certainly have something special going on... I was immediately taken with them, and these four tracks have me quite excited for a full length debut.

The E.P. opens with the moody groove of "She's Into Black Guys" which REALLY grows on you the more you listen to it... and lyrically is as interesting as it is attention grabbing.  Next comes the arena-ready sing-a-long that is "School Night."  This is one huge track that rides a distorted guitar line through some "woo-ho's" into a huge chorus that will have you chanting along by songs end.  Twice now I have caught myself singing along to this with headphones on while commuting to work.  I love it.  Next comes the disco rock of "Ain't That Cold" that also has a soulful tinge to it... I hear a bit of The Walkman, and maybe a little Rolling Stones.  There's a lot going on in this track... and I can't quite name all the influences.  And yet... what you're left with is just a killer song.  The album ends with "Operator," a slow jam of sorts that again brings the soul, distortion, and even some strings... it's crazy, and totally effective.

I think we're about to hear a lot about the Bodega Girls, keep an ear out.


School Night

She's Into Black Guys

Ain't That Cold

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Drive Me

Song: Drive Me
Artist: Blancmange
Album: Blanc Burn

About three years or so ago I reached out to my readers as I wanted to have a more obscure 80's week (I with the penchant for 80's music) with the goal to highlight some good 80's music I'd never heard of.  I was then introduced to under the radar acts like Method Actors, Hilary, Godley & Creme, Shona Laing, and Q-Feel.  During that time a reader (apologies I don't remember who) told me about British synthpop band Blancmange who I read about, listened to some singles, etc.  The band broke up in 1987, but reformed and just released an album last month... and it's good!

"Blanc Burn" is Blancmange's fourth album coming twenty-six years after their last, 1985's "Believe You Me."  They first rode to prominence in 1982 with the surprise breakthrough track, "Living on the Ceiling" from their debut "Happy Families."  They had a slew of relatively successful singles over the next three years, though none reached the highs of "Living on the Ceiling," though "Don't Tell Me," from sophomore set "Mange Tout," came close; reaching #8 on the UK charts. ("Ceiling" reached #7)

The band is composed of duo Neil Arthur and Stephen Loscombe, who each released an album in the long break between Blancmange records.  I don't have info on what brought the band back together, and while I am not familiar with any prior albums as a whole, "Blanc Burn" is a pretty assured effort, a mix with a variety of styles from Synthpop, more straight up dance, as well as Indian and other various world music influences.

The album is a bit quirky, and lead single "Drive Me" will give you an indication of what to expect.  The album is refreshingly laid back, not in-your-face, and is certainly worth a listen, especially if you're an old fan of the band.  Check it out.


Drive Me

The Western

By the Bus Stop @ Woolies

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Too Young To Be In Love

Song: Too Young To Be In Love
Artist: Hunx and His Punx
Album: Too Young To Be In Love

Listening to the new Raveonettes album it immediately reminded me of another band I recently discovered, that do look back to a the same 50's/60's greaser era, yet with VERY different results.

Hunx and His Punx are an Oakland, California-based band lead by "Hunx" aka Seth Bogart whom use to front the electro-queer outfit Gravy Train!!!!.  He formed Hunx and His Punx back in 2008, writing punk-tinged retro-rock with Arizona songwriter Nobunny.  Hunx also co-owns a hair salon called Down at Lulu's in Oakland with fellow Punx member Tina Lucchesi.

"Too Young to Be in Love" is the band's sophomore album after the release of "Gay Singles" from last year.  I haven't heard it... but there are several videos made form the tracks which you can see on YouTube. (See a couple below.)  The music is very DIY and underproduced, yet has an immediate charm that puts a smile on my face every time I listen.

Lead track "Lovers Lane" really sets the tone for what you're going to hear, a look back to the 50's/60's girl group sound mixed with the attitude and aesthetic of the leather/greaser/chain gang vibe.  Add a heavy dose of John Waters and you've got Hunx and His Punx.  The album is pretty consistent, and again is buoyed by a charm that keeps the entire enterprise afloat even if the gimmick wears thin.  But songs like "Keep Away From Johnny" and title track "Too Young To Be In Love" are not only cute winks back to another time, but story-songs that keep you interested.

Bogart sounds like quite a character, and if you catch some of the videos below you'll see what I'm talking about.  But in the age of the internet, I'm always pleasantly surprised to come across someone who is doing there thing, putting it out there, and has amassed quite a body of work already.  Fun stuff.


Too Young To Be In Love

You Don't Like Rock & Roll (from Gay Singles)

Tears on My Telephone (from Gay Singles)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Recharge & Revolt

Song: Recharge & Revolt
Artist: The Raveonettes
Album: Raven in the Grave

Danish rock band The Raveonettes are set to release their fifth album, "Raven in the Grave" on April 4th.  The first single from the album will be lead track "Recharge & Revolt."

I'm a much more casual fan of The Raveonettes, a noise-rock duo from Copenhagen, that specialize in buzzed-out guitar rock heavily influences by The Jesus & Mary Chain as well as The Velvet Underground.    Since the one-two punch of their debut E.P. "Whip it On" (with each song in B-Flat Minor) and their first full length "Chain Gang of Love" (with each song in B-Flat Minor) the band expanded their sound a bit on their excellent, (and personal favorite) 2005's "Pretty in Black."  I'd lost a little interest from their third album "Lust Lust Lust," and missed their last, 2009's "In and Out of Control" altogether.  Whoops.

Well, it was no surprise to me that the bands latest, "Raven in the Grave" is more of the same.   That said, nobody's really doing what the Raveonettes are doing, and the retro-rock 50's leather cool vibe never tires completely right?  Plus, "Recharge & Revolt," that opening track and first single is hard to resist.  With its jangle guitar, ethereal synths, and muted vocals... it's not the peppy fun of a single like "Trash Can of Love" but it has a dirty, immediate charm that's very cinematic to me.

The rest of the album is slow and dark yet pretty in the Raveonettes way.  I really like the dramatic "Apparitions," which is filled with white noise and washed out melodies.  "Summer Moon" is the kind of track that's really the band's bread and butter; slow, guitar-based ballads that remind me A LOT of some of the tunes Angelo Badalamenti wrote with Julie Cruise for "Twin Peaks," harking back to the same era that The Raveonettes do in their music.  The connection to that time period is key to getting their aesthetic.

This might simply be "another album" if you're not exactly gaga for the band, but fans will surely enjoy. While I might think they are held back slightly by their sound, "Raven in the Grave" is a nice reminder that they do do it well...


Recharge & Revolt


Evil Seeds

Friday, March 25, 2011


Song: Faith
Artist: Boy Least Likely To
Album: The Best B Sides Ever

So now that the week is wrapping up and I sort of fell into a mini-covers week, I was scratching my head as to what to end the week with.  I had been really digging the Ellie Goulding and La Roux songs from this week for the last month or so, and the Bette cover I first heard just a wee ago seemed a perfect fit... where to go?

Well I have been listening (and cringing) to George Michael's new single "True Faith," (listen below) a cover of the New Order classic.  I just am not feeling it... he slows it down, and has altered his gorgeous voice for what?  Initially I thought he was auto-tuned, which seems crazy because again... that dude can sang.  But I've actually found out it's a vocoder, like Cher (another actual singer) used on "Believe."  Okay... but why?  My friend Geoff pointed out how topical the lyrics are with his recent string of drug-related troubles.  Okay... but I'm still not feeling it.

Well, quite apropos... it was Geoff who clued me in to today's song, a cute acoustic-at-the-toy factory take on the George Michael classic "Faith."  I've kind of been on a "Faith" jag as of late due to the recent reissue.  This fits in all rather nicely no?

I don't know Boy Least Likely To very well.  I got their last album, "The Law of the Playground" but it didn't completely grab me.  BUT, I am realizing that since I tear through so much music... a lot of good stuff slips by.  I'm human!  And actually now that I have "Playground" bopping through my headphones this AM I think I need to go back to it.  AND, if you like the sound of their "Faith," it might be worth checking out.

The Amazon link is for that album, but you can get "The Best B Sides Ever" at this link here.

Enjoy... thanks Geoff!

Faith - Boy Least Likely To

When Life Gives Me Lemons I Make Lemonade (single from Law of the Playground)

True Faith - George Michael

What do y'all think of this?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beast of Burden

Song: Beast of Burden
Artist: Bette Midler
Album: No Frills

So, speaking of Rolling Stones covers...

I'm in this bar on St. Patrick's Day downtown just off the West Side Highway that usually has bands play, OR the DJ spins pop-rock music from the 70's and beyond including the videos projected on every screen in the place.  I'm not sure exactly how it works... is it satellite?  Anyhow, middle of the night and the familiar strut of "Beast of Burden" comes through the speakers, but it's a little different... and then, 'no, that's not Mick...' I look up to see... Bette Midler?

Well, I have somehow successfully avoided ever hearing this version of the song, which was included on her 80's pop-rock album "No Frills" from 1983.  And what a shame.  I can't profess to be much of a Bette Midler fan... well, music anyhow, I have always LOVED her 80's movies "Ruthless People" and "Outrageous Fortune," which I practically know by heart.  But homegirl sings the shit out of this song, I quite like it.

It does help that "Beast of Burden" is just, well... like "Under My Thumb," a killer song.  So oddly... in that bar last week, the video I saw was this one...

The video basically just has Bette (who looks great) in front of a stage curtain giving a pretty hard, thought also kind of funny, performance of the song.  Then about halfway through it (sort of) goes color and some costumed weirdos show up... man the 80's were crazy.  But upon reading up on the album, I read that the video featured a cameo from Mick Jagger himself and that it was nominated for MTV Video Awards in the Best Female Video, Best Video Choreography, and Best Stage Performance Video categories.  Huh?  Where's Mick?  Is he in one of those costumes?

Ah... no, take a look below and you'll see another video altogether that does include Mick and a funny spoken word bit between the two of them in the beginning. (And here you see Bette's brash, 80's persona that you see in the movies I mentioned above... and I suppose in the middle of "Beaches" before it gets all cancer.)  It's worth a look.

I haven't heard the rest of "No Frills," her sixth studio album, though apparently was a surprise low charting effort for her here in the States (four years after the success of "The Rose," and "Divine Madness!") aside from being well received (and her most successful to date) in Continental Europe and Scandinavia.

I also never heard the ballad "All I Need to Know" which appears on the album, and was later recorded by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville just five years later as "Don't Know Much," which went to #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts (Bette's version peaked at #39) and was an international hit.

Apparently the album also flirts with a little New Wave, maybe I need to track this down...  PLEASE check out the video below for lead track "Is This Love?" which is a live performance for an HBO special.  Holy 80's!


Beast of Burden (w/Mick)

All I Need to Know

Is This Love?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Under My Thumb

Song: Under My Thumb
Artist: La Roux
Album: La Roux - Gold Edition

I was going through a playlist of my favorite songs of 2009, and came across some killer singles by La Roux and Little Boots, two of my favorite new electro-pop acts to come out in some time.  Both have begun working on their sophomore albums, but I was reminded that La Roux had released a couple different versions of their debut, as well as a compilation album in the year and a half since the release of their self-titled album.

It had become part of their live set on tour, but the band also recorded a studio cover of The Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb," which landed on that compilation "Sidetracked," but also made the tracklist to the bands re-released/remixed version of their debut released just last month entitled "The Gold Edition."

The album mostly contains more icy/dark versions of tracks off their debut (with some singles appearing twice) but adds the Stones' track, which works seamlessly in with the other tracks.  It's simply the song in their style... yet it works so well and almost sounds so much La Roux you might think they just wrote another killer track if not familiar.  I think that speaks to the level of songwriting they achieved for their debut.

"The Gold Edition" as a whole doesn't add up to much more than just a remix album, yet the piano-based "Abbey Road" version of "Bulletproof" is worth hearing, stripped down and raw, as well as the lounge version of "In For the Kill" that finishes the album.  Again, hearing the songs in a different context really highlights the songwriting.

I'm quite ready for that new album straight away. ;)


Well... it turns out that the version on "Sidetracked" isn't the same as the version on "The Gold Edition." It's a bit harder edged and dancy...

Under My Thumb

Which do you like better?

Bulletproof (Abbey Road Sessions)

In For the Kill (Vevo Lounge Version)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Only Girl (In the World)

Song: Only Girl (In the World)
Artist: Ellie Goulding
Album: Only Girl (In the World)

Ellie Goulding was the next big thing in the U.K. last year, and yet her debut album "Lights," (which was re-released as "Bright Lights") never really took off here in the States, even with an added cover of Elton John's "Your Song" as the lead single.  I couldn't get into the album, which was a surprise as the folk meets electronic vibe is usually right up my ally.

Despite all of that, I have been playing Goulding's cover of Rihanna's "Only Girl (In the World)" quite a bit, which she did late last year on the Radio 1's famous Live Lounge show.  She transforms the dance hit into a pleading acoustic guitar/piano/strings ballad, and like many slowed-down "re-imagined" takes on an upbeat pop song, really highlights just how great a song the original is.

But even the Rihanna version has certainly remained strong with airplay.  I keep hearing this song whenever I'm out, despite being three singles ago for the singer.  I must admit that I liked this song when it came out and yet didn't feel it had the punch of an "Umbrella."  And yet this seemingly silly dance-pop song has some true emotional weight, and I suppose just as I was realizing that... Goulding came along with this pretty cover.  Very very nice.

It's obviously making a bit of impact here and was released as an iTunes single.  Not sure if this is the thing that is going to bring her to the front of the pack, but she's already got a sophomore album being readied for this year... so we'll wait and see.  I gave "Lights" another listen and it is quite lovely. (and much more electronic than folk from what I remember.)  If that's your thing, and you missed Ellie the first time, take another listen.


Only Girl (In the World) - Radio 1 Live Lounge

Guns & Horses

Your Song

Friday, March 11, 2011

Do it Again

Song: Do it Again
Artist: Holy Ghost!
Album: Holy Ghost!

Holy Ghost! are a New York City-based duo (Nick Millhiser & Alex Frankel) who initially formed a hip-hop group called Automato.  They recorded a debut album produced by James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy of the DFA before the band fell apart.  Millhiser and Frankel continued to create music, and soon Holy Ghost! were formed, though they moved toward a more electropop sound over the hip hop of Automato.

In November of 2007 the duo released their first single, "Hold On," and came up with the name "Holy Ghost!" just prior to its pressing.  They've released a handful of singles since then, as well as done remixing work for the likes of Moby, MGMT, and Cut Copy, and toured with label mates LCD Soundsystem.  Their self-titld debut album is scheduled for release in early April on DFA.

I immediately connected with Holy Ghost!, their music sounds like a mix of a variety of groups; Empire of the Sun, Chromeo, Cut Copy, etc.  They write catchy electropop with a focus on songwriting over production tricks.

Lead track and recent single "Do it Again" was an instant favorite.  Do I hear a little "The Look" by Roxette in there?  Regardless, it's a good one.  "Wait and See" starts off a lot like the Scissor Sisters cover of "Do the Strand" and then goes into Empire of the Sun territory, beginning the 80's sound of the record.  "Hold On" is a perfect slice of Italo Disco with a throbbing beat, trickling piano, and sexy-deadpan vocals.

This is a solid debut and has me interested in that Automato hip-hop album.  Anyone heard it?


Do it Again

Hold On

Wait and See

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Song: Buttercup
Artist: Lucinda Williams
Album: Blessed

After her highly acclaimed third and self-titled album from 1988, and its follow-up, 1992's 'Sweet Old World,' it famously took Lucinda Williams six full years to perfect what became her masterwork, 1998's 'Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.'  That album is start to finish amazing, and since then, she's only let three years come between each new album.  I personally loved the quiet 'Essence' from 2001, and was into about 90% of '03's 'World Without Tears,' (the country rapping lost me.)  But her most recent albums 'West' and 'Little Honey' didn't grab me the way her music used to.  On her 10th album 'Blessed,' it seems that the old strong-songwriting Lucinda is back.

'Blessed' was produced by Don Was (of Was Not Was, but also famous producer of Bonnie Raitt's 'Nick of Time') and right from the start with crackling single "Buttercup" you realize that there is a re-charge in Lucinda, and it's evident throughout.

When I love an artist, and consider albums of theirs the best I've ever heard, it's tough hearing one that I don't connect with initially... I try giving it a second, third, or tenth chance and yet... don't feel it.  Is it me?  That's been the case with the last couple R.E.M. albums (though their new one is getting a LOT of play lately) and the same with Lucinda.  But like R.E.M.'s 'Collapse into Now' 'Blessed' grabbed me immediately.  Either the straight rock groove of "Buttercup" and "Seeing Black," or the beautiful ballads "I Don't Know How You're Livin'" or "Born to be Loved" which show Lucinda at her best... using her gravely voice and penchant for the perfect line... the emotion just seeps through.  This is strong, assured songwriting at its finest.

This album honestly brings me back to the 'Car Wheels'/'Essence' hay day of her songwriting, where a song like "Copenhagen" seems almost tossed-off in it's brilliance, where the good moments of her recent work felt forced.  I could have used a couple more rockers... but, it's not what 'Blessed' is.  And I'm reminded that 'Essence' is still one of my favorite albums of hers... and her most quiet.

The songs on 'Blessed' are still unfolding for me.  And it's been good so far.




Seeing Black

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

New Beat

Song: New Beat
Artist: Toro Y Moi
Album: Underneath the Pine

Toro Y Moi is the moniker used by South Carolina's Chazwick Bundick, whom has positioned himself within the "chillwave" genre that has recently become popular.  "Chillwave" is just another term for loungy dance music... and has something to do with the region it's from.  I don't know... I often find it very silly these ridiculous sub-genre's... but read all about chillwave here.

Regardless of the name, I've been enjoying 'Underneath the Pine's' laid-back beats and charm, especially single "New Beat" which has a soulful vibe to it... reminded me a touch of Miami Horror's "Holidays," though they don't really sound all that much alike.

'Pine' is Toro Y Moi's second album, quickly following his debut 'Causers of This' which came out just last year.  I haven't heard that one, but 'Pine' is getting the band, and the man, quite a lot of buzz.

It's a downbeat, vibe record, that's great for either really really late at night or early early in the AM.  "New Beat" is actually a bit of a misnomer as it's a bit more upbeat than the rest of the record.  But dramatic songs like the instrumental  "Divina" or the pretty, acoustic guitar-based "Before I'm Done" are so beautiful and spacey... it's worth the listen.

Check this one out.


New Beat

Still Sound

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Shark Ridden Waters

Song: Shark Ridden Waters
Artist: Gruff Rhys
Album: Hotel Shampoo

While working together, my old co-worker and friend Rob tried as he could to get me into the Welsh band Super Furry Animals.  I took a listen to a couple of their albums and just couldn't get into it, and yet I knew he was trying to share with me something he cared deeply for, and I've often thought I needed to go back and give them another chance because he has excellent taste in music.  (Thus far... I haven't.)

BUT, longtime readers may recall that I had a Mercury Prize nominee/winner week some time back and through that discovered a side project by lead Furry Animal, Gruff Rhys called Neon Neon and their excellent, 80's inspired 'Stainless Style,' a concept record about the self-destructive DeLorean Motor Company founder John DeLorean.  I discovered that record several years after-the-fact, but fell in love with it, and Rhys' song craft.  The man just released a new solo album called "Hotel Shampoo," an odd little record that honestly didn't grab me the way 'Stainless Style' did, but none-the-less has been on heavy rotation for me over the last month and a half.

As I learn more about this man, it's clear he has a penchant for a concept for an album, and dives into that concept with serious, wild, psychedelic indie-pop abandon.  And 'Hotel Shampoo' is no exception.  Intended as a piano and saxophone-based lounge record, the album features that idea, but also bursts at the seems with all kinds of instrumentation and ideas... it's an odd little record that can best be described as Burt Bacharach on a psychedelic drug binge.  (And that's not a lazy description... it's spot on.)

While it doesn't have the electronic pop of 'Stainless Style,' it's not only Rhys' voice that connects the two... I hear a lot of similar songwriting tricks in the two albums, despite the complete difference in genre and tone.  It's hard to deny opener "Shark Ridden Waters," which starts with a handful of odd sound samples only to explode into a 60's inspired splash of trippy pop.  The more I've listened to it, the more I think it's kind of amazing.  It sounds classic and new all in one gulp.  The groovy "Sensations in the Dark" has to be heard to be believed, and "Christopher Columbus" marches along confidently... very go-go 'Valley of the Dolls.'

Songs like "Take a Sentence" and the odd little love ballad "If We Were Words (We Would Rhyme)" really lay into the Bacharach influence, and exude a charm that takes a couple listens to feel.  This is an album that bears much fruit on repeated listens.

And with THAT being said... yes Rob, I will take another listen to them Super Furry Animals. Promise. ;)


Shark Ridden Waters

Take a Sentence

Christopher Columbus

Monday, March 07, 2011

Strange Condition

Song: Strange Condition
Artist: Morgan Page
Album: Believe

Last week I took an extended weekend and escaped the snow and oppressive winter of the Northeast for some fun and sun in Ft. Lauderdale.  I tend to keep my ear to the speakers wherever I go to see if anything jumps out at me, and while this trip wasn't very fruitful in that regard... I did hear one song that stopped me in my tracks.

I stayed at a very nice guesthouse and one lazy day at the pool I was drying off so I could grab something from my room when a song being played through some satellite radio grabbed me.  I knew the lyrics... but was thrown by the house beat and female vocals for a while.  But then it hit me... is this a house cover of Pete Yorn's "Strange Condition?"  It was.

As I am who I am, I wasted no time and looked up the song to find out who it was immediately in my room.  To my surprise it was from a remixer that I'm a fan of, L.A.-based DJ Morgan Page.  A couple years back I'd gotten a remix compilation by him called 'Cease & Desist' which included very cool mild-house takes on Coldplay's "White Shadows," Tegan & Sara's "Walking with the Ghost," and Bowie's "New Killer Star."  I also really dug his mix of Stevie Nick's "Stand Back" which was released in 2007 and became a pretty big club hit.

Pete Yorn, the Springsteen-esque singer-songwriter captured my heart with the release of his excellent debut album, 2001's "Musicforthemorningafter," in which the original "Strange Condition" can be found.  After a so-so follow up, Yorn went off the deep end and has released album after album of increasingly boring material.  Pretty sad.

So it was with some surprise to hear such a great song done in a different way, it totally put a smile on my face.  It turns out that the song, and the Page album it's from, "Believe" is now a year old. (Keeping it fresh here!)  And "Strange Condition" was the second single form the album, released in January of last year.  How have I not heard this?  Giving "Believe" a listen, I was struck by how concise the album was.  As I've only heard remixes in the past, it was nice to hear how the man put together a full album, and this is his second, after 2008's "Elevate."

"Believe" is filled with a handful of female vocalist including Samantha James, Natalie Walker, Jan Burton, Angela McCluskey, and Elisabeth Maurus (aka Lissie) whom Page had his biggest hit with, "The Longest Road" (Who's Deadmau5 remix was nominated for a Grammy.)  Maurus' songs really seem to connect the best with his sound, but I did also really dig McCluskey's assisted "Tell Me Why."  The album itself is more middle-of-the-road house that's actually perfect for pool-side listening.  Haha.


Strange Condition

Tell Me Why

The Longest Road (Deadmau5 Remix)

Friday, March 04, 2011

Last Dance

Song: Last Dance
Artist: Clare Maguire
Album: Light After Dark

Here's an album that's not my usual thing but grabbed me right away... Clare Maguire is an English singer-songwriter who was signed to Polydor Records back in 2008 and is just now seeing the release of her debut album, "Light After Dark."  She's only twenty-three, and after listening to the album, it's not surprising that even a little research shows that she's poised as one of the next big things of 2011.

At just 17 Maguire was demoing songs on MySpace and traveling to London to make industry contacts which garnered enough attention for her to meet Jarvis Cocker & Jay-Z, which lead to the Polydor contract and work with producer Fraser T. Smith. (Kylie & Adele)

Maguire writes grand semi-orchestral pop music and has a voice similar to Stevie Nicks or Cher, though I am hearing a strong Annie Lennox vibe to both her voice and sound of music.  Some big names to throw around in comparing a twenty-three year-old, but one listen and you hear what I'm talking about.

I immediately loved first proper track (after a brief intro) "Shield And Sword" which again is strong and grand in all the right places.  Second track, and second single, "Last Dance" was written soon after the death of Michael Jackson, yet rings true for taking on the loss of anyone in your life.  It's pretty amazing. First single "Ain't Nobody" (which is NOT a Chaka Kahn cover) is a darker declaration of love with intense background synths, swooping strings, and that voice... man, the more I listen it's like the second coming of Annie Lennox.  Really something.

Certainly not for all tastes, but I connected with this record immediately.  It's not the typical kind of pop music that's being made today, yet is pretty undeniable right from initial listen.  The album just came out this Monday in the U.K., and while I haven't heard much about her from mainstream music venues... I think it's inevitable.  Keep an eye out on this one.


Last Dance

Shield And Sword

Ain't Nobody

Thursday, March 03, 2011


Song: Rope
Artist: Foo Fighters
Album: Wasting Light

I used to be a pretty big Foo Fighters fan, especially during the beginning of their career.  The band has been pretty prolific over the years, though aside form a Greatest Hits album that featured two new songs, they've been silent since the release of 2007's "Echos, Silence, Patience, & Grace."  They are breaking that silence in April with the release of their seventh album, "Wasting Light."

Reading that the their new set is their seventh album proper, I was reminded that poor Dave Grohl was always working on outliving the shadow of his former band Nirvana, and Kurt Cobain.  The Foo Fighters certainly never matched the cultural relevance of that band, (which is yes, debatable Grohl fans) but what put an end to Cobain, popularity and rock stardom, Grohl has always had fun with.  And hey, he's still around making music.

Not that I haven't liked their more recent material, I just sort of wasn't that interested.  But the last album I did really like of theirs was the double-album "In Your Honor," which contained a hard rock disc, and an acoustic one of original songs.  I'd known how far Grohl came as a songwriter over the history of the band, but that album really proved it.  It also highlighted how nice his voice was.

Well, the band just released the first single off of the new record, "Rope," and it immediately reminded me of their early material that I liked so much.  It turns out that former guitarist Pat Smear, who has played with them live in the past but hasn't been an official member since 1997's "The Colour and the Shape" (my favorite album) is returning.  AND the new record is being produced by Butch Vig of Garbage fame who really made his mark producing a little album called "Nevermind."  (He had also produced two new tracks for their Greatest Hits collection that I never heard.)

Also of note is that the album was recorded entirely analog in Grohl's garage until post-mastering.  I'm not sure I necessarily hear that in "Rope," but I am really digging the song, which has a chorus and spark that's as electric as some of their best tracks.  I'm intrigued by this new record.  I've been looking for a killer rock record to enjoy as of late.  Maybe "Wasting Time" is it...

During the making of the record a documentary crew shot the band for a career-spanning film which includes the recording sessions.



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