Friday, March 30, 2012

Single Blip

Song: Single Blip
Artist: VCMG
Album: Ssss

I'm not typically into instrumental dance music, but after spending a couple weeks with VCMG's new album "Ssss," I must say it has quite grown on me.  Though it does fall into the genre I've coined "Dungeon Disco," or.. dirty sex music.

VCMG are none other than Vince Clark (Erasure) and Martin Gore (Depeche Mode) who haven't collaborated since 1981.  (lucky stars counted?)  "Ssss" is a pulsing, churning, solid hour of deep transcendental house that manages to save itself from being completely faceless.  It's not for everyone, but if you were looking for one record to fill that private sex club/personal depravity weekend slot here it is. (Not that I, of course, speak from any such experience.)  It's just got that vibe.

Joking aside, for what this is, it's very good.  Happy Friday!


Single Blip
Skip This Track

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Waiting for the Feeling

Song: Waiting for the Feeling
Artist: Bright Light Bright Light
Album: Make Me Believe in Hope

Really digging this new one.

Check this guy out here.

Promising.  Thanks for the tip Sean. :)


Waiting for the Feeling
Disco Moment

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Song: Primadonna
Artist: Marina and the Diamonds
Album; Electra Heart

Been eagerly awaiting new music from Marina and the Diamonds and have been totally loving a fee download of "Homewrecker" she gave from her new album "Electra Heart" due towards the end of next month, and the official first single, "Primadonna."

Marina seems to be headed in a more pop-dance direction, with help from super-producers Dr. Luke, Guy Sigworth, Greg Kurstin, Dimplo, and Stargate.  Oddly, her Stargate-produced single "Radioactive" from back in September of last year, has been relegated to a bonus track.  I loved that song, and am pretty stoked for "Electra Heart," which despite the presence of these big pop producers, seems to retain her odd charms as a singer-songwriter on what I've heard this far.

And if you haven't heard her first album "The Family Jewels," run out and get it this instant!


Starring Role

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Song: I.O.U.
Artist: Freeez
Album: Gonna Get You

So the real inspiration for today's selection is simply this bands name...  I discovered Freeez, a late 80's U.K.-based dance act, just a couple months ago with their track "I.O.U."  It's a cute lesser-known late 80's/early 90's track that popped into my head because... freeze, is what I'm doing, in NYC right now...

It was in the mid-70's late last week and I wake up this AM to find it's 30 out and we have a chance for snow.  Snow.  I was already ready for Spring, errr... actually Summer.  So I'm not trying to hear this.  Freeez indeed!

I.O.U. was written by Arthur Baker and was featured in the cult breakdance movie "Beat Street."  The band had a handful of singles and four albums in total, but "I.O.U." was their most successful track.

I can't say this is warming me up any, but it's worth an 80's inspired smile. :)


Pop Goes My Love
Love's Gonna Get You

Monday, March 26, 2012

All of Me

Song: All of Me
Artist: Tanlines
Album: Mixed Emotions

I discovered Tanlines, a Brooklyn-based indie duo late last year and their track "Real Life," which I really flipped for.  Just last week they delivered their debut album "Mixed Emotions."

As much as I dug "Real Life," I hadn't heard one other song the band did that had the same punch.  I liked their indie-electro, afro-beat vibe... even their slower songs, but again "Real Life" was quite a standout.  It's the one track from all of their released/leaked material that makes it to "Mixed Emotions," which delivers more on the quality, as well as another track on par, or possibly better than "Real Life," and that's "All of Me," a pretty infectious slice of beats, synths, and emotional yearning.  It's amazing, I love it.

I'm still sinking my teeth into the rest of "Mixed Emotions," but am really liking what I hear.


All of Me
Real Life
Not the Same

Friday, March 23, 2012


Song: Euphoria
Artist: Loreen
Album: Euphoria EP

Despite my penchant for European dance-pop, I've never gotten into this whole Eurovision Song Contest thing, which many approach like a sporting event.  It's happening now, and once again... I'm not paying attention.  But friend and reader Luis suggested I check out Sweden's entry, a song called "Euphoria" by a woman named Loreen.  At first listen it sounded like by-the-nubers pop-trance, the type of song that I've heard a million times over at video bars etc.  But even upon the second listen I began to think it was a little different.

I began to think of September, another Swedish dance-pop artist that initially sounds pretty generic, but more complex melodies surface, and the delivery sores, elevating the music to something else.  I really love September's stuff and that's how I'm feeling about "Euphoria."

Loreen was born in Stokholm in 1983 and was a contestant on Swedish Idol in 1994.  She became a TV corespondent, then took a break from the limelight.  Just last year she entered a song she co-wrote, "My Heart is Refusing Me" into Melodifestivalen, placing fourth in the second semifinal.  "Euphoria" was entered this year, and has quickly become the official Swedish entry.  According to all online betting companies, she's is the favorite to win the whole thing.

I'm really digging "Euphoria," and a track no-doubt that will help you launch yourself into the weekend. There's a four-track EP of the song available.  No word on a full proper debut album.


My Heart is Refusing Me

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Got to Have Rock and Roll

Song: Got to Have Rock and Roll
Artist: Heartless Bastards
Album: Arrow

I was a big fan of Cincinnati, Ohio-based Heartless Bastards' debut album "Stairs and Elevators back in 2005, and somehow missed they released two follow up records.  I'm only catching up with their brand new "Arrow," just released last month on a new label for the band, Brooklyn's Partisan.  It turns out the only remaining member is chief songwriter and singer Erika Wennerstrom.

One listen to "Arrow" and it's clear despite the lineup shift, this is Wennerstrom's affair.  The punchy-bluesy "Parted Ways" put me right back on the rockin' Heartless Bastards' train.  Her voice is so intense and expressive... the real heart and soul of the band.  I'm currently going crazy for the big 70's riff-age that is "Got to Have Rock and Roll."  Big!

Let me know if you've heard the second and third records and if they're worth getting.  I've really enjoyed "Arrow," check it out.


Got to Have Rock n Roll (live on Letterman)
Parted Ways

Only for You

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rock it for Me

Song: Rock it for Me
Artist: Caravan Palace
Album: Panic

I discovered Caravan Palace, a Partis-based Electroswing/Gypsy Jazz group, late last year from their single "Clash."  It reminded me of Parov Stelar, whom I've highlighted before, and of course the one big Electroswing hit, Yolanda Be Cool's "We No Speak Americano."  I'm not sure how big a genre Electroswing actually is, but I do dig the sound, and Caravan Palace have crafted quite a nice full length album of the stuff in "Panic," their recently released sophomore album.

The band formed in 2005 in Paris and are on the Wagram label.  They released their self-titled debut in 2008 which went to #11 in France, it's highest charting position, thought it also did relatively well in Switzerland and Belgium.  I haven't heard the debut, but have enjoyed "Panic" quite a bit.  It's a moody little cocktail record, check it out.

You can find more about the band on their official website.


Rock it for Me
The Dirty Side of the Street

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Love Spent

Song: Love Spent
Artist: Madonna
Album: MDNA

So can a fifty-three year-old-woman still compete with pop princesses half her age?  Well it depends on the woman... and if there is anything we all should have learned in the thirty years of her career is that you can never ever underestimate the one and only... Madonna.

It's her twelfth studio album, it comes after the mildly disappointing "Hard Candy," and it's first heard three tracks just didn't seem to rise up to what we all think of Madonna.  I'm starting to think this was all very thought out because, possibly with lowered expectations... MDNA is a revelation, and the strongest material we've heard form her in years.  It's hard, freaky, catchy, wild, and pure Madonna.

"Gang Bang" is "Kill Bill" meets sex club, "I'm Addicted" is real drug-enduced dance floor euphoria, "Turn Up the Radio" is the big pop summer hit in the making, "Some Girls" is a throbbing dance track that sounds like classic Madonna, "I Don't Give A" is the badass spawn of "American Life" and "Hard Candy" in all the right ways, "I'm a Sinner" is a happy, groovy, psychedelic cousin to "Beautiful Stranger," and then "Love Spent" is... well I can't even begin really.

"Love Spent" is like everything you know about Madonna into one song, with banjo, a sample of "Hung Up" and... and ... a fucking banjo.  You hear ABBA's "Money, Money, Money" for a second, a marching band beat... and then you realize, it's a bloody divorce song?!  Bonkers.  It's here that you think... this might not just be a good Madonna record, it might be a classic Madonna record.  (and "Falling Free" ends it all and drives that home.)

I think we're all saying... how did I doubt you?


Love Spent
Gang Bang
I'm Addicted

Monday, March 19, 2012

Perfect World

Song: Perfect World
Artist: Gossip
Album: A Joyful Noise

Wow, Gossip are back!

The band is returning sometime this year with their fifth album, "A Joyful Noise."  "Perfect World" is the first track on the album (though it doesn't seem like the official first single) which the band recently released.  It's growing on me, but didn't hit me over the head like "Heavy Cross" did... but I'm ready.

The new album is being produced by Xenomania, an interesting choice for sure.  "Perfect World" doesn't seem to lean this way but it would seem given that production team this would be their big dance-pop moment. We'll see.

In mildly interesting trivia, I just read that "Heavy Cross" (which is now being used in that new Dior ad) sold 450,000 copies in Germany making it "most successful internationally produced single" of all time, spending a record 82 weeks in the hot 100.  Crazy right?

I'm excited about a new Gossip record as their last "Music for Men" was one of my favorites of 2010.  Check out "Perfect World" below, as well as the mind-blowing Fred Falke remix of "Heavy Cross."


Perfect World
Heavy Cross (Fred Falke Remix)
Men in Love

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Right Woman

Song: The Right Woman
Artist: Dragonette
Album: Proud to be Woman Vol. 3

I've always wanted to like Dragonette just a touch more than I actually do.  I have both of their albums, and while it's straight-up wall-to-wall electropop that I should love... they never quite grabbed me.  I loved the song they co-wrote with Cyndi Lauper from her "Bring Ya to the Brink" album, and REALLY fell for last years Martin Solveig collab, "Hello."  So what am I missing?

Well it's been over three years, ages in the pop world, since their last album "Fixin' to Thrill," and it's looking like we'll be getting the third album sometime this year.  There has been a tease of a new single called "Let it Go," but only this brief snippet has been made available.

But just recently, "The Right Woman" was recently made available on the Diane von Furstenberg compilation "Proud to be Woman Vol. 3" which you can get here.  It's an upbeat little gem that has seriously grown on me the past couple days, and may be my favorite Dragonette song yet.  So I am officially excited for this new record.

Happy Friday!


The Right Woman
Fixin' to Thrill
I Get Around

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Wolf is Getting Married

Song: The Wolf is Getting Married
Artist: Sinéad O'Connor
Album: How About I Be Me (and you be you)?

One of the biggest shames in the history of pop music was the collective media stoning pop-eccentric Sinéad O'Connor endured when she tore a picture of the then Pope up live on SNL to protest the sexual abuse children were suffering at the hands of Catholic Priests.  Her career never fully recovered, stopping short the popular success she enjoyed after hitting big with "Nothing Compares 2 U" and her amazing sophomore album "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got."  She'd gone up against the biggest church in the world, which you never recover from... despite being totally right.  We haven't even heard the entire truth, and people still want to turn a blind eye as these are men of God.  Sinéad helped start exposing these monstrosities, and she paid for it with her career.

And while the radio never paid attention to her again, she's been releasing album after album the twenty-two years since, to a small but devoted audience and has just released her ninth and strongest in years... "How About I Be Me (and you be you)?"  It's a mighty strong collection of pop-rock tracks that is pure Sinéad.  Her off-beat storytelling and gorgeous voice are all there.  If you're a casual fan (like me) I highly recommend it.

"The Wolf is Getting Married" is the first single, and I love the groovy-shuffle of opener "4th & Vine," the devastating addict confessional "Reason with Me,"and the very pretty "Back Where You Belong."  "Old Lady" has that bold, strong, Sinéad of old with some hard guitars and her subtle humor.  And "Queen of Denmark" will blow you away.  Amazing.

Her best of original tunes since 2000's "Faith and Courage" in my book.  Get this.

The Wolf is Getting Married
4th & Vine
Queen of Denmark

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

No Reflection

Song: No Reflection
Artist: Marilyn Manson
Album: Born Villain

I'm not that much of a fan, but happened to hear this new single and quite liked it.  "No Reflection" is the first taste of Manson's eighth studio album "Born Villain," set for release at the first of May.  It's apparently a concept record and "their best yet."  Okay.

I dont think the band's been culturally relevant since the late 90's, but they've got a supportive fan base that's stuck with them over the years.  "No Reflection" grabbed me as it's a bit more beat focused, something I feel the band should have explored ages ago.

It's all a little Hot Topic but I'm digging it none-the-less.


No Reflection

Monday, March 12, 2012

Land of Hope and Dreams

Song: Land of Hope and Dreams
Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Album: Wrecking Ball

I'm really digging the new Springsteen record, his seventeenth entitled "Wrecking Ball."  An apparent record for the Occupy Wall Street crowd... but also another solid collection of 'for the people' songs that are heartfelt, real, emotional, and powerful.  He can do this stuff in his sleep, right?

For the fan, there's everything here... the heartbreaking ballads (Jack of All Trades, The Depression) the spiritualizing rave-ups (We Take Care of Our Own, Wrecking Ball, Land of Hope and Dreams) and Bruce taking a look back, to say something new (Death to My Hometown.)  What's new here is some spacey production flourishes that despite working are surprising, and a willingness to borrow traditional sounds of other nations.  ("Hometown" sounds like an Irish drinking song.)

This is a solid one maybe my favorite since 'The Rising', check it out.


Land of Hope and Dreams
We Take Care of Our Own
Jack of All Trades

Friday, March 09, 2012


Song: Psy-Chic
Artist: The Ssion
Album: Bent

I've only just recently discovered this Kansas City collective started and run by vocalist Cody Critcheloe.  Formed in 1996, the band released a handful of songs and videos until their debut album, "Fools Gold" was released in 2007.  Just last year they released their follow-up "Bent" which I've quite fallen for.

Heavily 80's influenced in a Madonna meets Prince way, yet with a 90's visual sensibility, The Ssion (pronounced 'the shun') create melodic dancepop that clicks all the right notes.

I recently discovered the quirky video for "My Love Grows in the Dark" and fell in love.  I liked the more upbeat "Psy-Chic" even better, and it's out-of-nowhere "Violet" quoting.  It's got a great synth groove and a killer chorus.  The rest of the album is quite good too, though I'm just getting into it.

The Ssion do dip into a too-conciously hipster shtick a bit, but the earnestness of the music balances out the weirdness.  Check this band out, especially is you're into synthesizer pop.  Official website.


My Love Grows in the Dark
Listen 2 The Grrrls

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Making it Right

Song: Making it Right
Artist: Plastic Operator
Album: Before the Day is Out

In terms of geeky bedroom/laptop electronic pop, I'm in the camp that's still waiting for a Postal Service sophomore album, and does NOT think Owl City is a fitting substitute.  Foster the People became the most popular, more pop version of this emo-electro... and I'll never understand why the Digits record wasn't bigger.

Somewhere in the middle of all this are Plastic Operator, a Canadian/Belgian duo who formed in 2004 while in school in London.  Their song "Folder" got a release in '04 as part of Sunday Best Recordings in the UK getting them their first exposure.  They released their debut album "Different Places" in 2007 and did many European festivals promoting the record.

Last month saw the release of their second record, "Before the Day is Out," "Making it Right" is the first single.  I quite like this record.  Not as moody as Digits or poppy as Foster the People, but it's a nice little electronic pop record with good production and melodies.


Making it Right
Sometimes it's Easy

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

In Decay

Song: In Decay
Artist: Phèdre
Album: Phèdre

Here's an odd little experimental dance/electronic album I've been enjoying.

Phèdre are from Monte Carlo this is their Myspace.

This is their website.

Below are their videos.  Freak out.


In Decay
Ode to the Swinger

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Happy Pills

Song: Happy Pills
Artist: Norah Jones
Album: Little Broken Hearts

First single off Jones' fifth album being produced by Danger Mouse and set for release on the first of May.  It's a project the duo started in secret back in the summer of 2009 with five fruitful days of writing and recording, though didn't finish.  Both parties worked on other projects and reconvened last summer to finish, and thus... "Little Broken Hearts."

It's apparent from the name of the record, and its first single "Happy Pills," that someone has done Ms. Jones wrong in the love department.  Yikes!

"Pills" is a sexy soulful number that I liked immediately.  Was a big fan of her last record and look forward to hearing the rest.


Happy Pills

Friday, March 02, 2012

Pure Vida

Song: Pure Vida (with Jason Caesar)
Artist: Blank & Jones
Album: Relax Edition 6

I'm not necessarily into "chill out" as a genre... most of it is so terrible, but I've been making it a point to listen to a couple "ambient house" or "chillwave" albums and have had a couple I actually liked.  And this is one of them.

Now, it's funny as I've missed Editions 1 through 5 but late last year the German trance duo Blank & Jones released their sixth incarnation of their chill out series.  I didn't think that I knew them at all until I realized that they were responsible for one of my favorite Pet Shop Boy remixes, for the track "Home and Dry." (a favorite)

"Relax" is a twenty-four track double album of lush, beachy-feelling electronic music that dips it's toe a bit into new age and ambient textures, even a little (gasp) fusion jazz.  It's not for everybody, but I've actually played the hell out of this during a couple early mornings and a few late late nights.  I also for a while was listening to it on the train during my morning commute while also novel reading (which I can't do listening to any pop music) helping me was away the bustle of the city and it's cranky AM riders.  Very nice.

It's also not ALL chill, check out the Love Conquers All (Beach Bar Mix with ABC) below, groovy and perfect for dreaming of summer cocktails by a body of water. Is it summer yet?

I'm not an expert in this genre by any means but if you're in the market for an album of this type... I recommend.


Pure Vida
Only Your Love
Love Conquers All (Beach Bar Mix with ABC)

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Tipp City

Song: Tipp City
Artist: The Amps
Album: Pacer

Back in the 90's when "alternative" rock exploded, the Boston-based Breeders has a hit with their second album, "Last Splash" and specifically the song "Cannonball."  Lead Breed(er) Kim Deal saw commercial interest in her band that even topped her experience in the Pixies, though it was ultimately short-lived.

After her twin sister and bandmate Kelly was busted for drugs in 1995 The Breeders went on hiatus and Kim formed The Amps, intending to play and record everything herself. (She learned drums for the occasion.)  That didn't come to fruition, hiring Breeder Jim Macpherson to play drums and Dayton friends Luis Lerma and Nate Farley.  Their debut and only album "Pacer" was released in 1995 with a huge pressing from Elektra thinking they would be capitalizing on the success of "Last Splash."  It was a relative disappointment and given the pressing, you'll probably have no problem finding a copy for $1 at a used record bin.

But I always liked "Pacer," which felt like a dirtier, crazier Breeders.  The second single, "Tipp City" was a quick rollicking track about getting drunk.  What's not to love?  But the record is filled with other guitar buzz gems like the title track, "Mom's Drunk," "Bragging Party" as well as an early version of "Full on Idle," which would be re-recorded by the Breeders for their eventual follow up to "Last Splash," "Title Tk." (which is amazing.)

The last we heard from Kim was The Breeders "Fate to Fatal" EP in 2009 after the semi-lackluster fourth album "Mountain Battles."  Maybe it's time for a new Amps record?


Tipp City
Bragging Party
Full on Idle