Friday, September 30, 2011

Open for Service

Song: Open for Service
Artist: Crazy P
Album: When We On

Along with the Ben Westbeech record (check out yesterday) I've been into another vaguely "backround music" loungy cocktail album... Crazy P's latest "When We On."  But this one sounds nothing like the Westbeech record.  It's really a modern disco record in the vein of Hot Toddy's "Late Night Boogie."  It has got gorgeous, soulful, female vocals, sweeping strings, unobtrusive but irresistible beats, and enough production layers to keep it interesting after multiple listens.

Crazy P are a UK based band formed by Chris Todd and Jim Baron in 1995.  "When We On" is actually their sixth album, but first to use "Crazy P" as their name... shortening it from the unfortunate "Crazy Penis."  Their music (at least "When We On") has zero of the jokey goofiness a name like that would imply, so their decision to change was right on.  They are biggest in Australia where they've developed a following over the years due to several tours of the continent.

"When We On" starts with the amazing get-things-going "Open for Service," which is an ecstatic orgy of disco strings and strut-worthy beats.  At almost seven minutes long, an epic of sorts... though the album is filled with several six-plus minute tracks.  This is actually much more a mood record than the Westbeech album, but a very very good one at that.  It's ideal for an end-of-the-night come down, or a get-the-sexy-on pick up.  I also really love "Heartbreaker," which nabs the first line of "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)" and spins it into an abstract disco freak-out.  Wild.

A super sexy retro trip to start your weekend down and dirty.


Only found these two non-album versions of "When We On" tracks... you can stream some more of their music on their Soundcloud page.

Open for Service
Future Beat (edit)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Something or the Weekend

Song: Something for the Weekend
Artist: Ben Westbeech
Album: There's More to Life Than This

Wow, this album blew me away.  It is mandatory that you pay attention to this post...

Ben Westbeech is a London-based (via Bristol) DJ, singer, and producer, who is also a trained cellist and vocalist.  His sound is a mix of House, Soul, Jazz, and a little Hip Hop.  All you need to know is... if this don't make your booty move, your booty must be dead.

"There's More to Life Than This" is the man's sophomore album, following 2007's "Welcome to the Best Years of Your Life," which I have not heard.  But the new record grabbed me immediately.  It initially sounds like a great cocktail lounge mix, fusing the aforementioned House/Soul/Jazz sounds to dizzying heights.  It's all of that, and yet a bit more... sounding futuristic, classic, and just plain nice throughout.  I hear shades of Jamiroquai, late George Michael, a less-pop Maroon 5, and that perfect loungy-cocktail-house mix you got in the early 2000's.

Second track "Something for the Weekend" is a great party-starter, and first single "Falling" continues the groove.  Then comes the sorta-Timberlake-ish "Same Thing," which immediately made me realize that the record was a little less-pop version of his "FutureSex/LoveSounds."  (And honestly, if any of the above mentioned artists hit your favorite list, you absolutely MUST listen to this album.)

On one hand, "There's More to Life Than This," (which doesn't include a Bjork cover) sounds like a nice in-the-background record for a cocktail party, and yet the more you listen the more you hear how specifically crafted each song is, elevating it beyond mood music.  And yet it totally works for that too... and is consistently good from start to finish.

You heard it from WeCastMusic, this has future classic written all over it.  LISTEN TO THIS RECORD!


Something for the Weekend
Same Thing

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Song: Weekend
Artist: Class Actress
Album: Rapprocher

Class Actress are a Brooklyn-based electro-chillwave act that sights Madonna's first album as their one major influence.  Which pretty much says it all.  While I don't hear anything in the "Borderline," "Everybody," "Holiday," or "Lucky Star" infectious dancefloor vein, the baselines and synths line up right with that albums sound.  Lead singer Elizabeth Harper brings the tempo down though, for a bored-sexy mix of emotional confession and laid back drama.

My initial favorite is the synth-tastic "Limousine" which is found in the middle of the record, as well as singles "Keep On" and the killer "Weekend."  The album has Brooklyn cool written all over it, but worthy of at least one ironic spin... or simply revel in the retro sounds and Stainless Style-mood.


Keep You
All the Saints

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris)

Song: We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris)
Artist: Rihanna
Album: We Found Love (single)

When I first heard Rihanna's "Only Girl (in the World)" I didn't hear an "Umbrella"-sized hit, but that song really really grew on me, and turned out to be one of my favorite songs from last year.  The album that song was from, "Loud" just finished a successful string of no less than seven singles (with varying degrees of success) with an eighth via a re-release expected.  But instead of re-releasing the album with a couple new tracks and stretch it out for the holidays, Rihanna has decided to release an entire new album later this year, and she's already got the first single out, "We Found Love."

I mention "Only Girl," because I'm feeling the same way about "We Found Love"... thought it was okay, no "Umbrella," but it's already growing on me.  Now of course, this single is big deal news for WeCastMusic because it's produced an "features" (??) one of my favorite artists/producers, Calvin Harris.  It's got his trademark sound, married to Rihanna's trademark vocals... dance-pop gold?  Well, it is growing on me... but what I really like is that the beat is made from a vaguely Caribbean sound (which I can't place) yet doesn't fit in that genre at all... but bridges a bit of a gap between the Euro-leaning dance pop she's recently embraced, and the island sound she was brought up with. (and toe-dipped with Loud's "Man Down.")

The hipster may scoff at this, but I also think Rihanna seems adept at taking what seems to be a simple line, and give it much weight.  The chorus of "Only Girl" is an example of something seemingly straightforward that at the right time and on the right dancefloor, felt like the deepest of emotional pleading.  I have to say the line "We found love in a hopeless place" continues to hold more weight with each spin.  Am I reaching?  Possibly.

Seems like a grower to me though... but will it be Calvin's most successful single/collaboration to date?  Just possibly.


We Found Love
Man Down
Cheers (Drink to That)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sheena is a Punk Rocker

Song: Sheena is a Punk Rocker
Artist: Shonen Knife
Album: Osaka Ramones: A Tribute to The Ramones

Here's a great, quirky way to get your Monday off to punchy start... a full album of Ramones covers by Japanese all girl pop-punk veterans, Shonen Knife.

I've always thought full tribute albums by one particular artist as pretty pointless, until The Bird and the Bee's Hall & Oats covers album from last year became one of my favorites.  So I listened to "Osaka Ramones" with an open mind, and while I probably won't listen to it nearly as much as The Bird and the Bee album, it is not without its charms.

I used to love Shonen Knife in high school, and it's sort of mind-blowing that a Japanese trio of female punk chicks that write songs about chewing gum and Barbie could survive for so long and not be forgotten as some sort of gimmick.  But they've been consistently releasing albums since their inception in 1981. (!!!)  I haven't followed them since 1993's "Rock Animals," but still have a very soft place in my heart for their 1992 album "Let's Knife."  They might be best known for their cover of "Top of the World," found on the excellent Carpenters tribute, "If I Were a Carpenter."

The band has been performing as a Ramones cover band under the albums name, "Osaka Ramones" which has segued into this album.  If you're familiar with the band... this sounds exactly like you'd expect.  But it's also really fun and totally charming.  Much like Shonen Knife... and The Ramones before them.  I was in a bar last night and they played the original "Sheena is a Punk Rocker," so that's what you get today.

Enjoy, and Happy Monday.

Sheena is a Punk Rocker
Blitzkreig Bop
The KKK Took My Baby Away

Friday, September 23, 2011


Song: Cruel
Artist: St. Vincent
Album: Strange Mercy

Friend and reader Andrew introduced me to St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, and her previous release, 2009's "Actor."  I liked the record, found it quirky and chock full of layers that unfolded with each listen.  Much the same could be said about her latest offering, "Strange Mercy," which came out just last week.

The music is hard to describe as it contains elements of rock, electronic, and touches of orchestral instrumentation.  (Some call her "baroque pop") The song structures aren't straight-forward, as evidence by the very first, stuttering track, the durge-y "Chloe in the Afternoon."  I really really like second track "Cruel," which has an infectious guitar lick, awash in reverb.  It's got a tiny march-like quality to it, as well as off-kilter production, and of course St. Vincent's crooning.  A bit of guitar feedback and even romantic, sweeping strings somehow are all thrown in and it works.  Pretty amazing.

I'm still digesting this, but have been surprised at this AM's listening as while I've listened to it a handful of times at work, today was the first time I realized the songs had worked their way under my skin.  A female-fronted rock record with an edge.


Chloe in the Afternoon

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fair Warning

Song: Fair Warning
Artist: Penguin Prison
Album: Penguin Prison

I've been really digging the self-titled debut album by New York's Penguin Prison.  An 80's throwback of synths, catchy chorus', Michael Jackson-esque vocal melodies, and best yet... consistent songwriting.  It's one great track after another and quite a surprise.  I initially heard Grum and Miami Horror, as contemporary touchstones, but the more I listen to the album I hear 80's influences that go beyond a semi-ironic wink, I'm hearing ernest George Michael reaching, a bit of Prince, and even a little Talking Heads quirkiness.  This album went from "oh this is pretty good" to "this might be great."

Chris Glover, AKA Penguin Prison, is a New York City native whom got his start singing in choirs, and then writing jingles at the age of ten.  He went to Bard college where he started a boy band-ish hip hop act that had a bit of local success at the school.  He sent a demo to Q-Tip of Tribe Called Quest who got him a meeting in LA at Interscope.  He recorded a full album there under his real name, which the label didn't know what to do with.  The Penguin Prison moniker happened in early 2009, and he began remixing for the likes of Passion Pit, Marina and the Diamonds, and Goldrapp.  You can read a full bio here.

The album starts with the amazing "Don't Fuck With My Money," and continues strong with the single-worthy Golden Train (there's George Michael) and Multi-Millionaire (there's Prince.)  "Something I'm Not" has a nice MJ-ish stuttered quality to it... a bit dark and menacing, yet pop-ish.  Sounds cray cray... but it's good.  "The Worse it Gets" is all synth buoyancy and sunny verses, and "Fair Warning" sounds like a true lost 80's classic.

Man, this is a great record I HIGHLY recommend.  Check it out.


Fair Warning
Golden Train

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shake it Out

Song: Shake it Out
Artist: Florence + the Machine
Album: Ceremonials

Back in April when the Summer was just starting, I was visiting a friend in DC, and just prior to hitting a Blowoff dance party, we stopped at a gay sports bar Nellie's, to have a pre-cocktail.  The place was pretty packed, and we were hanging with some friends at a table, part of a group of them, that was on the first floor of the three-floor complex.  There were TV's everywhere, with the majority playing some sporting event that nobody was watching, but the sound in the bar came from a video channel that played music videos on the TV's that didn't have sports on them, including the large projection screen that was centered in the middle of the room.

Mostly the music was your typical mix of pop music and Euro dance tracks.  Despite the onslaught of visuals both of the sports persuasion, and the much more attention-grabbing videos, the crowd was deep in either conversation, or checking out the other members of the room.  That all changed when Florence + the Machine's "Dog Days are Over" came on.  As the stark white video began, with Florence's voodoo-goddess dance moves and blue-skinned go-go back up girls, the group I was with found itself breaking all conversation and staring at the vision before us.  As entranced I was, despite seeing it before, I soon noticed that our group was not alone, and that all of the guys in the room had stopped their conversation, and began to stare at the screen, and move to the music as well.

It was an amazing moment, one that was broke as soon as the video ended.  But we'd all gotten into the video and danced a bit to the song together.  Moments like this make me marvel at the power of music (and visuals) but it's one that I now permanently associate with the song, and Florence.  Amazing.

I'll be honest and admit that aside from that huge single, I couldn't get into Florence and the Machine's full debut album, "Lungs," despite it being raved about by just about everyone.  But regardless, I was happy that someone so quirky had such a hit, which parlayed itself into performances on MTV and other award shows.  Next month will see the release of the bands sophomore album "Ceremonials," which has been described as a little more beat-heavy, soulful, and a bit about medical studies.  Hmmm.

The first track released from the album, the moody "What the Water Gave Me," had none of the pop and effervescence of "Dog Days," but after a couple listens, the drama of the song fully took me over.  It's quite gorgeous.  I was incorrect in my assumption that it was the official first single... as recently "Shake it Out" was released.  "Shake" is a bombastic, anthemic song, that also takes a couple listens to fully form.  It's got a bit of Peter Gabriel in there, and overall has an 80's bigness to it... without really sounding "80's."  Though, the more I listen to this, the more I see an Annie Lennox connection to Florence... both in voice and presence.  Nice.

I'm looking forward to hearing the entire new record.


Shake it Out
What the Water Gave Me
Dog Days Are Over

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Song: Everybody
Artist: VHS or Bets
Album: Diamonds and Death

Another happy September surprise... a new album by Brooklyn-via-Kyntucky disco-rock band VHS or Beta!  It's been way too long since 2007's "Bring on the Comets," and I've been wondering when new music was arriving from the boys.  The wait is no longer as "Diamonds and Death," their fourth album, comes out on the 27th.

I've been a bit taken aback as the new album is a bit more atmospheric than the hook-heavy "Comets" and "Night on Fire."  It's not ambient for sure, just doesn't have the wall-to-wall grooves and party-starters from the last two albums.  This isn't a terrible thing, and "Diamonds and Death" certainly has upbeat moments... but it also seems to be more layered than past work, a bit more attention to production detail and mood building.

First single and first track "Breaking Bones" is a nice kick-off, with stuttered beats, some 90's House leanings, and then a deeper, space-like groove.  And just shy of the two minute mark, that razor bass hits... and suddenly it sounds very VHS or Beta.  The next two tracks, "Under the Sun" and the album title track, slow the tempo down a bit, giving way to the albums aforementioned moody turn.  An immediate favorite on the album for me is "Everybody," a sort of compromise between this new VHS or Beta, and the groove-tastic band of old.  Though compromise isn't the correct term for such a great song, it's got a great vibe to it.  Gold.

Still digesting this one...


Breaking Bones
Diamonds and Death
I Found a Reason

Monday, September 19, 2011

Job's Coffin

Song: Job's Coffin
Artist: Tori Amos
Album: Night of Hunters

Given that "Night of Hunters" is Tori Amos' twelfth album in just nineteen years, it's a wonder she hadn't already made it... but would it have been the same?  Amos was commissioned by German classical label Deutsche Grammaphon, to create a 21st Century song-cylce that was centered around classical themes.  Classical music, and more specifically the piano, has been the "thing" that has always separated Amos from the pack of even Alternative-leaning singer-songwriters, fusing her love of piano-based music into off-kilter pop tunes.  Over the last couple years she's developed a more rock and roll sound, so "Hunters" is an absolute return to form in some respects.  Though she's never been this acoustic, or this well... "classical."  But Josh Groban... she ain't.

To try to explain "Hunters" briefly...

The songs revolve around a woman whom is left alone on the eve of the end of a relationship in Ireland. As night comes on, she is confronted by Annabelle, a shape-shifting "childlike figure" who transports the two back three-thousand years to witness a previous incarnation of the woman's relationship.  There is also a peyote-induced trip to expand the woman's mind, a meditation on "the hunter" and "the hunted," and a meeting with the Fire Muse, whom casts a spell with the woman to protect the light of the world from the forces of darkness.

Typical right?

While that concept is so very Tori... what she hasn't done yet is a straight-up acoustic record, nor one this steeped in classical music.  In fact, much of the music is inspired directly from the last 400 years of classical themes.  It's not my typical thing at all (aside from insipid pop-country, classical music may be my least favorite music genre) but as a piece of work, "Hunters" is rather remarkable.  I certainly haven't poured through the lyrics enough to follow that off-its-head story, but the music and atmosphere it creates are immediately powerful.  This could be one of Amos' most impressive pieces of work in her cannon.

Opener "Shattering Sea" gives you everything you need to know up front about the record as Amos pounds her piano, recreating the visual of a crashing sea on her instrument.  "That is not my blood on the kitchen floor," is the opening line to the song, letting you know right up front that this isn't a standard classical record.  Throughout she takes on the works of Schubert, Chopin, Bach, and Mendelssohn among others while continuing the story.

The big surprise for me was the turn by Amos' eleven-year-old daughter Natashya Hawley, who plays Annabelle, and had a deep, interesting voice that mixes with Amos' beautifully.  She is featured on my favorite track off the album, "Job's Coffin," which fits the concept musically... though separates itself to me as a standout.  The first single is oddly the album closer, "Carry," something I don't believe Amos has ever done. (Typically the last track of a Tori Amos album goes for a certain sprawling grandeur that fits, and ties up, that albums concept.)

I've been surprised, while gearing up to write this, how much I've been taken with this record, knowing it's not something I would normally gravitate to.  But Amos sells it, and gives her more pop-leaning fans much Tori-ness to get swept up with.  And despite my dislike of Classical as a genre, I of course initially gravitated to Amos because of her piano-based style.  In a way it's a surprise it's taken this long for her to craft an album like this... but then again I can't imagine it turning out how "Night of Hunters" has if not for her years and breathe of output.  Very cool.


Shattering Sea
Job's Coffin

Friday, September 16, 2011

Na Na Nothing

Song: Na Na Noting
Artist: Mike Doughty
Album: Yes and Also Yes

I was a big fan of Mike Doughty's first band, the late-90's stream-of-consciousness lyric, white boy hip-hop, alternative rock band Soul Coughing.  With their debut album "Ruby Vroom" being one of my absolute favorites.  The band split after three great records due to band infighting over songwriting credits and royalties.  Lead singer and chief lyricist Mike Doughty unfortunately developed a heroin problem post breakup, but cleaned up his act and has been releasing solo records trying to build his profile once again.  I really liked 2008's "Golden Delicious," as it seemed to be his most focused and Soul Coughing-as-an-adult record to date.  Just last month Doughty released his new album "Yes and Also Yes," on his own label SNACK BAR.

"Yes and Also Yes" has really grown on me the last couple of weeks.  It's unmistakable Doughty, his nasally voice and skittish musical style in full bloom, proving that the unique Soul Coughing sound was crafted a lot around the man.

The album is a mainly acoustic affair with some string and beat flourishes.  His voice is brought up to the front, and repeated listens unfold some of the background bleeps and production tricks.  Yet the songs are the main highlight, which suits the record, and Mike Doughty very well.  The first three tracks are prime, sounding as much as "classic Doughty" can, and the fourth track, "Holiday (What Do You Want?)" is a surprisingly sweet ballad duet with none other than Rosanne Cash. (?!?!)

This is a good record, and one in which it seems clear that Mike Doughty is re-harnessing his songwriting power.  Where previous efforts were a bit all over the place, "Yes" just like "Delicious," has a cohesive power to it.


Na Na Nothing
Holiday (What Do You Want?)
The Huffer and the Cutter

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cameo Lover

Song: Cameo Lover
Artist: Kimbra
Album: Vows

Kimbra Johnson, known simply as "Kimbra" is a New Zealand born singer-songwriter currently based in Melbourne, Australia.  Her debut album "Vows" was released at the end of last month.  "Cameo Lover" is the second single taken from the debut.

Kimbra's sound is a mix of 60's girl-group revival in the Winehouse vein, and a bit of Bjork's off-kilter pop sensibility. (Mainly "It's Oh So Quiet")  First single "Settle Down" starts the record, followed by "Cameo Lover," which are both upbeat and punchy.  The rest of the album slows down a bit, but remains quirky and fun.


Settle Down
Good Intent

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Water Will Find a Way

Song: Water Will Find a Way
Artist: The Black Ghosts
Album: When Animals Stare

The Black Ghosts are a UK-based electronic-rock duo comprised of Theo Keating (Simian) and Simon Lord (Wiseguys.) They are set to release their sophomore album, "When Animals Stare" later this year.  It's a mix of mid-tempo, moody, rock songs with electronic elements.  It's an odd little record, but starts with the very strong "Water Will Find a Way," and continues with a dark-pop sound throughout.


Water Will Find a Way
Walking on the Moon
In the Clouds

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Do the Washing Machine feat. Lavinia Claws

Song: Do the Washing Machine feat. Lavinia Claws
Artist: Golden Bug + Rodion
Album: Do the Washing Machine (single)

Golden Bug is the monicker taken by French remixer and producer Antoine Harispuru, who lives between both Paris and Barcelona, but is signed to the Australian label Bang Gang, as well as Euro-disco Gomma.  So, despite the "endless" pool of talent in France when it comes to remixers/producers/DJ's, Golden Bug has taken himself out of that scene, focusing his work on other places in Europe through Gomma, or in Australia.

Rodion is a remixer/producer from Rome, Italy.  Also on the Gomma label, focusing on Italian Disco.

"Do the Washing Machine" is a sweeping disco/house single they have recently released together featuring vocals by Lavinia Claws.  It's pretty infectious.


Do the Washing Machine
Flamingo - Golden Bug
Estate - Rodion feat. Louie Austin

Monday, September 12, 2011


Song: Domino
Artist: Jessie J
Album: Domino (single)

Here is a pop-smash in the waiting warning.  "Domino" is the second US single from UK singer Jessie J who had a minor hit this summer with "Price Tag" featuring B.o.B.  The song isn't found on her debut album, "Who You Are," which I'd gotten and listened to earlier in the year.  Nothing really grabbed me at the time so I paid little attention.  I did warm up to "Price Tag" as the Summer went on, but it's been the one-two punch of "Domino" and her collaboration with David Guetta, "Repeat" from his new album that really got me interested.

Jessie J had first written a handful of songs for other artists, most notably Chris Brown, and then for Miley Cyrus... whom she penned the smash "Party in the U.S.A."  She wrote her ultimate first UK single "Do it Like a Dude" for Rihanna, but her label told her to save it for herself, and it became her first solo hit.  She's on her fourth single over in the UK from "Who You Are," but here in the States we are getting a new track, "Domino" a Dr. Luke/Max Martin produced track that's VERY Katy Perry.  I'm not sure if she was instructed to wait for Ms. Perry to finish her record-breaking run of number one hits, but now that the Perry-dominated Summer is over, it's Jessie J's turn.

I do really like "Domino," and again the amazing "Repeat" on Guetta's "Nothing But the Beat," which sounds very Robyn to me, has really peaked my interest in this girl.  I can't say that "Who You Are" sounds any better to me than it did when I first heard it... but either the girl is hitting her songwriting stride, or she's just paid enough dues to garner working with hit-makers now... who are giving her just that.  It's obvious she has some talent though, and given "Domino" we might be seeing a Katy-sized sophomore album from her if "Domino" continues this success train.

This song is very much the state of pop right now... not for everybody though.


Who's Laughing Now

Friday, September 02, 2011

Titanium (w/Sia)

Song: Titanium (w/Sia)
Artist: David Guetta
Album: Nothing But the Beat

It took me a while to come around to David Guetta, and it wasn't the overblown "When Love Takes Over" with Kelly Rowland that did it, though I did warm up to it, it was "Memories" with Kid Cudi that really intrigued me about the French DJ.  But it was of course his collaboration with The Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling" that really changed things for him.  That song became an instant classic, melding the Peas love of urban pop and Guetta's Euro-style house beats.  It was really a turning point, or birth of that genre, and now ALL we hear on the radio and in clubs is this fusion of hip-hop and Euro dance.

So, I got really fucking tired of "I Gotta Feeling," and of this new "genre" in general.  While that was really the only song on "One Love" that went for that loud, beats that beat you over the head style, it obviously meant something to Guetta, and his bank account... because "Nothing But the Beat" is largely one "I Gotta Feeling" after another.

The album starts with a Nicki Minaj/Flo Rida track, "Where Them Girls At," terrible.  That's followed by the equally slick and grating "Little Bad Girl" with Taio Cruz and Ludicris.  Ugh.  Third track "Turn Me On" with again Nicki Minaj is different, it's more dance focused and a real departure for Minaj who puts her trademark cartoonish unhingement on hold.  (Well, until the end.)  But it's alright... it's way more trance than anything else.  Okay.

So then I flip-flop on my stance.  Next is the Snoop Dog assisted "Wet," (or "Sweat" if you have a censored version) which is exactly this type of urban pop house that I've been dissing.  But... Snoop Dog sells this.  It's vaguely naughty, has a pretty colossal beat, and reminds me more of the Calvin Harris/Dizzie Rascal collabs that I loved.  Man, it seemed the album was turning around.

Not so fast.

The album jumps right back with tracks using Usher, Chris Brown & Lil Wayne, Akon, Timbaland.  Usher's "Without You" is going for what I can only describe as a house-leaning ballad, it's got let-me-be-a-hit written all over it, and it's dreadful.  I actually like the beat of "Nothing Really Matters," but's mugging and incessant talk about "the club" is tiresome.  I can't say I've really been a defender of the Black Eyed Peas... I've just liked a couple tracks of theirs.  But "Nothing Really Matters" is everything you don't like about B.E.P.  So three more tracks follow of this same stuff... man disappointment.

So why am I even writing about this travesty?  Well, aside from the Nicki Minaj track, and Snoop's very fun "Wet," the album does end rather strong with the three last (and notably female-fronted) tracks.  "Night of Your Life" with Jennifer Hudson is really this same old stuff, but this girl can seriously sing... and totally sells it.  It's not trying to be "When Loves Takes II..." but is only reminiscent because it's got a good catchy beat and a serious diva with strong, powerhouse vocals behind it.  Next is the Pink-ish "Repeat" with Jessie J.  The English songbird who's been making notable advancements here in America with the hit "Price Tag," a spot as house band for the VMA's, and a possible Katy Perry sized hit with new single "Domino."  But "Repeat" is the first honest moment of joy on the album.  It just really sings.  Fun.  Story-telling.  I like it.

The whole mess ironically ends with its best track, "Titanium" featuring quirky Australian chanteuse Sia.  It has no chance of being a single, so you won't be hearing it out "in the club" unfortunately.  It starts with some beautiful "Every Breath You Take"-like guitar strumming, then Sia's trademark deep and intriguing voice, a building beat at the one minute mark until the whole thing boils over into euphoric trancy bliss.  I love Sia anyhow, and it's refreshing to have some lyrically driven tracks that are about something human and not just getting down at the club.  (I suppose "Without You" does that too, but it's dreck)  It's really a great great song and a clue to what the album could have been.  Too bad.

Guetta may have realized that he's been slowly losing the audience that put him up on top in the first place as you can get a version of the album with a second disc of mostly Daft Punk-esque hard-hitting instrumentals.  So if you loathe this pop sound that's lined his wallet, you might like disc two.  I'm listening to what boils down to a solid EP of more interesting collaborators that match more interesting vocals and lyrics to his beats.  And it's pretty good.  I don't really recommend the album, but you hear nothing else, please listen to the amazing "Titanium."


Night of Your Life

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Good for Nothing

Song: Good for Nothing
Artist: Hard-Fi
Album: Killer Sounds

The hits just keep on coming...

This is really shaping up to be a pretty exciting Fall for music.  Time with new albums by The Rapture, The Whip, and Cicada, have reinvigorated my musical interest as this Summer is dying, not to mention some great albums by new bands Foster the People & Young the Giant... but also by bands working on their second or third records (Pnau, I'm From Barcelona.)  This continues with Staines, Surrey's Hard-Fi, who just released their third full-length "Killer Sounds" late last month.  I'd heard of the band but never followed them, but based on "KIller Sounds," I have some back work to do.

Getting some production work from heavy hitters Stuart Price and Alan Moulder, the band have crafted a great rock and roll record that uses some elements of dance music to round out their sound.  Funny, this is the album I'd hoped the Kaiser Chiefs had made... oh well, onto Hard-Fi.

First single and opening track "Good for Nothing" reminded me of the beer-swigging, bloke-rock of The Fratellis, a very English blast of brashness.  It's also wildly catchy, and I envision this one as a late-night drunken sing-a-long... though it might lead to a fight.  It has that energy.  Current single "Fire in the House" completely shifts gears with some deep beats and atmospheric sound effects.  I hear a little of the Scissor Sisters "Invisible Light" (Mr. Price?) and Depeche Mode, but the song rocks out on the chorus... it's a serious grower, I love it.

The more I listen to "Killer Sounds" I'm hearing an English version of the Killers.  Super catchy guitar rock with dance music elements and choruses you want to shout at top volume.  "Give it Up" and "Bring it On" continue the party/fight-starting energy... which is held for the whole album.  Some tracks rock a bit more, some are bit more dancey, but they are all pretty amazing.

I have a feeling my friend Mike will like this record a lot.  Mike, if you're reading this... get this album!


Good for Nothing
Fire in the House
Bring it On