Friday, September 28, 2012

I'm in Love

Song: I'm in Love
Artist: Ola
Album: I'm in Love

Happy Friday!

Well here is something super catchy, super pop-y, and super dancey to get you into your weekend.

Friend and reader Luis, a super fan and expert on Swedish dance-pop recently introduced me to Ola, (full name Ola Svensson) a young singer-songwriter who got his start on Swedish Idol in 2005.  He's released three albums since, with a fourth on the way.

The first single off his new record is the Shellback-produced "I'm in Love," which I have been playing non-stop since Luis introduced me.  So fun.

I also decided to check out his last, self-titled third record.  It's a little too poppy even for my taste, though I also really dug first track "All Over the World," which was his last single from the record.  It seems he's making a move toward more "adult" dance-pop, while a lot of "Ola" is a little One Direction.  I certainly appreciate the progression.

I'll definitely be checking out the new record once released, "I'm in Love" is a gem.  Thanks Luis!


I'm in Love
All Over the World

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rock and Roll Me

Song: Rock and Roll Me
Artist: Melissa Etheridge
Album: 4th Street Feeling

Twenty-four years after her debut, rocker Melissa Etheridge is still at it, releasing her twelfth studio album "4th Street Feeling" and keeping things fresh.

I honestly haven't followed Melissa much since her comercial breakthrough, not really connecting with recent albums... but my friend, and reader, Nick, a huge fan and strong supporter, played me a couple tracks from the new album and it was enough to get me to take a listen to the whole record.

"4th Street Feeling" goes for a much grittier, bluesy, direction than her pop-rock recent work, and I immediately connected with it.  Opener "Kansas City" sets a dark, dangerous mood and is rich with personal reflection and on-the-road imagery that recalls, yes a bit Springsteen... but it's all Melissa.

Another gem is the dark groove of "The Shadow of the Black Crow," again highlighting the poetic imagery that really shines on the entire record.  It's a perfect example of the feel to this album, which the more I listen really takes advantage of sounding less pop, and succeeds because of it.  It's Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, and I do hear a little Tom Waits influence here, no doubt spurred by working with Waits producer Jacquire King.

Nick played me the last track; the unbelievably sexy, slinky "Rock and Roll Me," which apparently brought the house down at a fanclub/industry show at Joe's Pub recently, working the mostly Lesbian crowd into a energy-bursting ferver.  I wish I'd been there!  The song sounds classic even on it's first listen, but it's the slow-groove, Joplin-esque singing that just burns through a thousand candles and ignites a fire under this listener.

Let's just say... I'm well turned on and I ain't even into chicks.


Rock and Roll Me
Kansas City
Falling Up

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Song: Ride
Artist: Lana Del Rey
Album: Ride / Born to Die - Paradise Edition

Well, I resisted giving y'all a full week of this year's obsession, the criminally overlooked (at least here in the States) best new artist of the year... Lana Del Rey.  But this girl keeps giving, and I am enthralled.

On the heels of a re-release of her debut album, which includes a bonus disc of new material, she's released a new single from the coming re-release called "Ride."  And... it might be the best thing she's ever committed to tape.

And actually, this song brings it all together for me... Lana is a female Springsteen.  Yes... Springsteen.

I've gone over Lana before, but have been pouring through over 50+ (not kidding) unreleased tracks from the girl... and there are about two-to-four new ones that appear each week, and she's got this romanticized Americana thing happening that recalls Springsteen in mood and tone, and in a way, she's created an entire career out of being a manifestation of sorts of the female character from the Boss' favorite song of mine... "I'm on Fire."

"Hey little girl is you Daddy home, did he go away and leave you all alone..."

 But with "Ride," Lana takes the reigns herself, and like The Killers did with "Sam's Town," she borrows Bruce's lyrical poetry vibe and breaks for the open road herself... and emerges as a force to be reckoned with.  I am mesmerized.

To further add to this sense of Americana, Lana includes a cover of the Bobby Vinton classic "Blue Velvet" to The Paradise Edition, included in an H&M campaign she's staring in.  The commercials go full-on Lynch and she deftly conveys the off-kilter, something evil lurking underneath the seemingly perfect vibe of the film of the same name.  It adds again to the Lana mystique.

I've just been so taken with this girl that I wish more people were paying attention.  It's rather amazing.  Take a listen to "Ride" and "Blue Velvet" below, as well as a silly, yet unbelievably catchy unreleased track that fell out of nowhere a couple weeks ago.


Blue Velvet
Go Go Dancer

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Die Young

Song: Die Young
Artist: Ke$ha
Album: Warrior

I'm not sure anyone, even after hearing "Tik Tok," the song that put Ke$ha on the map, expected her to have like... a full career.  It was the best thing on her debut for sure, so it wasn't until the release of "Cannibal," a "Fame Monster"-esque follow-up EP that she really cemented her status as someone we should actually pay attention to.  The one-two punch of "We R Who We R" and "Blow" was a surprise... but there were actually a t o n of great songs on "Cannibal," and the likes of "The Harold Song" we didn't know she had in her.  Who did this girl think she is?

Then she co-wrote "'Til the World Ends" for Britney.  Huge.

So there's a surprising amount of anticipation that's coming with her official second full album, entitled "Warrior" which arrives in early December.  She's described the new tunes as "cock-pop," and wanted to bring a "70's rock" vibe to the album, moving away from the electropop and autotune of... well her entire catalogue.

So is "Die Young," the recently released first single a game changer?  Well... no, it sounds just like a Ke$ha song.  Exactly.  Okay, I don't hear much auto-tune.  So there's that.  But... where's the cock-pop?  Where's the rock? (I don't think a little acoustic guitar intro counts.  And speaking of... I first heard a little "Walking With the Ghost" Tegan and Sara there... though many are pointing to Flo Rida's "Good Feeling" as the touchstone for that.)

After three listens before bed last night I woke up this AM with that chorus in my head.  I listened again this AM and have decided... this will be absolutely HUGE.  It's insanely catchy, a reminder of who Ke$ha is... and while it doesn't really push things forward for her, this is a good first single.  If the album is strong, the second single will be the true test.


Die Young

Monday, September 24, 2012

Don't Stop the Dance

Song: Don't Stop the Dance
Artist: Bryan Ferry
Album: Girls and Boys

I've been on a slow climb to getting to know Bryan Ferry, lead singer of Roxy Music and solo artist in his own right.  Life has introduced me to songs here and there, I really dug his last record, 2010's "Olympia," and went through a period of listening to Roxy Music's best-of for quite a while.

But there is just SO much back catalogue... it honestly overwhelms me.... and I move to something else.

But recently my friend Jorge introduced me to the amazing "Don't Stop the Dance," a ridiculously evocative number that recalls smokey, mysterious bars filled with unsavory men and dangerous woman.  It's 80's for sure... (that sax!) but there is a timelessness and mood to the music that's pretty undeniable.

The song is form Ferry's 6th solo album, 1985's "Girls and Boys," which remains his only #1 solo album in the UK.  It's best known for the single "Slave to Love," one of his most popular hits, which is featured in the steamy "9 1/2 Weeks."  Sexy.

"Girls and Boys," given one full listen, is a pretty solid affair and worth a full listen.  If you like "Don't Stop the Dance" and "Slave to Love," you're sure to enjoy this entire thing.

Now I've got eleven more Bryan Ferry records to sort through.  Oy.


Don't Stop the Dance
Slave to Love

Friday, September 21, 2012


Song: Closer
Artist: Tegan and Sara
Album: Closer

OMG, I love love LOVE Tegan and Sara.

Though, I was really a bit disappointed with their last record "Sainthood," especially after the one-two punch that was "So Jealous" and "The Con..." but I am eternally optimistic.

AND, while I've loved some of their dance remixes and guesting on DJ albums from Morgan Page to David Guetta, (see below) they haven't really delved into electronic music on their proper albums.  Until now.

The girls are returning with an as-yet untitled seventh album, working with the likes of Greg Kurstin & Mike Elizondo producing tracks for the record. Color me excited.

First single "Closer" explodes with some marvelous synths and a driving beat... and a typical, charmingly catchy chorus.  Heart heart heart!

I'm getting to see them open for the Killers in December (yay Heather & Ellen!) and am really excited for this new album.


Every Chance We Get We Run - David Guetta (feat. Tegan and Sara)
Body Work - Morgan Page (feat. Tegan and Sara)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Descent

Song: The Descent
Artist: Bob Mould
Album: Silver Age

Like a shot in the arm, from the past... Bob Mould's new album has transported me back to High School, when I discovered his band Sugar in the "Alternative" rock heyday of the 1990's.

I've been following Bob's foray into dance music over the last couple years via Blowoff, his album collab with DJ Rich Morel, and then roving hefty-homo burly dance party of the same name.  His solo work has only grabbed me here and there, but I was interested in hearing he was playing his 90's band Sugar's debut album "Copper Blue" in its entirety on tour.

It all makes sense as his latest, "Silver Age" sounds just like a new Sugar album... and it rocks.

Check out "The Decent" below... it just crackles.  If you were a Sugar fan back in the day, you have to listen to this.  Great record.


The Decent
Star Machine
Steam of Hercules

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Curse the Night

Song: Curse the Night
Artist: The Raveonettes
Album: Observator

I've gone in and out of being interested in the Raveonettes from album to album over the years, was tired of "their thing" it seemed, but since I saw they were putting out a new record I decided to give it a chance... and oddly, I think it might be my favorite record of theirs.

"Observator," the sixth album by Danish indie rock duo apparently got much of its inspiration from a three-day booze and drug bender Richard Gottehrer went on in Venice Beach while looking for inspiration for the album.  (Partly spawned by depression due to a back injury.)  The album was recorded in Sunset Sound Studios, a location the Doors used, which excited Gottehrer because of "ghosts."

The album does sound like The Raveonettes, though I hear less of the vintage rock & roll song-structures and simplistic chords of the past and hear a harkening back to the Modern/Alternative rock of the 80's and 90's, coupled with their reverb-soaked sound.  As I listened to this record I got vibes from Madder Rose, Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cure, even a little early R.E.M.

It's a woozy, druggy album for sure, and not for all tastes but I'm really digging this.

"Curse the Night" has become my favorite.  Great atmosphere.


Curse the Night
The Enemy

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Song: Ghosts
Artist: The Presets
Album: Pacifica

Australia's The Presets return with their third album "Pacifica."

Certainly not a prolific band, the duo of Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes first hit the scene with their amazing single "Girl and the Sea" in 2005, I was a huge fan of second single "Are You the One?" also from their debut album "Beams."

"Pacifica" is much less dark than both their debut and sophomore set "Apolcalypso," despite the slow-building hard-edged first single and first track "Youth in Trouble."  It's a little too meandering for my taste, but a good album opener.  I'm really digging second single (and second track) "Ghosts" which has a Coldplay-ness to it.

The album is a pretty solid synth-driven electro record and worthy of your time if that's your bag.  I'm also loving the lush, almost pop of "It's Cool," which is rather atmospheric, as well as the trancy "Fall."

Another solid record from these boys.


Youth in Trouble
It's Cool

Monday, September 17, 2012


Song: Running
Artist: Jessie Ware
Album; Devotion

I'm a little late to the game on this one, but friend and reader Luis told me about this amazing new Sade-esque English singer-songwriter Jessie Ware, who has just released her debut album "Devotion" on PMR/Island.

The album is a smooth, sensual affair with an R&B shell, filled with some surprise 80's-ish electric guitar and elements of trip hop.  Moody, sexy, and assured... this is an important debut.

I recommend just listening to the first three tracks of this album and you'll have an idea if you'd like to hear more.  It's wildly evocative and does an amazing job referencing music from the past while remaining very much current.

This is adult R&B pop at it's finest.  I'm rarely a fan of this genre but when it's done this well, it's impossible to resist.

Listen to this!!


Wildest Moments

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Song: Candy
Artist: Robbie Williams
Album: Take the Crown

There was a time when I was flat-out obsessed with Robbie Williams, as was most of the world (sans the States) for a good while.  But he stumbled with a couple albums, despite having solid moments on each one... yet one could argue that his last BIG Robbie album was 2002's "Escapeology," which is now ten years old.  Could he ever truly rise up and make another record that could... take the crown again?  (A-hem)

Well, if pre-release buzz can be trusted (it typically can't) we might be seeing a return to this BIG Robbie, one hell-bent on radio hit after radio hit, and pulling it off with effortless charm.  Really?

Well, while I do think the man has had some great moments in the last couple years, and while I liked his last record... the obsession part, that I'd come to terms with in my liking of Robbie, just wasn't there, and hasn't been for some time.  Until now.

First single off the ninth album is a sunny, Gary Barlow co-write/production called "Candy," which is straight-up unrelenting Pop.  Big big P-O-P.  It's amazing.  I've been "Hey-ho'ing" on the street the past couple of days with this in my headphones.  It's GREAT.  And, the video is a curious, but winning, silly little piece, where Robbie plays a bit of an angel, following around some broad.  His charm is maddening in this clip, and the man is seriously aging quite wonderfully.  The slight grey totally works for him.

I'm properly excited about "Take the Crown."  "Candy" might not sound like what's on the radio right now, but with sunny pop like "Call Me Maybe" becoming the biggest hit of the year... maybe it has a chance.

Whistles away...



Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Song: Clapslap
Artist: Rampue
Album: Turn Around

Around this time in 2010, a co-worker was asking me about singer Shirley Ellis, and her song "The Nitty Gritty," which I had never heard of.  When I did some research, I found I did know Ellis, from her novelty song "The Name Game," which was a childhood favorite.  I quite enjoyed her complete recordings compilations and also immediately recognized "The Clapping Song," another novelty track from 1965. You most likely, thanks to cultural osmosis, also know the track as within the last year, there was this:

As always in life it seems, you discover something, in this case Shirley Ellis, and then she pops up everywhere.  Well... obviously I'm not done...

I recently got the EP "Turn Around" from German House "artist" Rampue, (The quotes indicate the very little I could find about the group, which could just be one dude,) and immediately flipped over the first track, "Clapslap," which samples none-other than... "The Clapping Song" by Shirley Ellis.  And it's rather amazing.

This track uses that technique which makes it sound like you're at a packed party,  which makes me want to play it... at a packed party.  It's got a tribal, 70's funk chant thing going on, and is just pretty infectious.

The rest of the four-track EP is some pretty solid deep house, including the ten-plus minute last track, "Zwitscherzwitscher" as well as the title track.


Turn Around

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sweet Nothing

Song: Sweet Nothing (feat. Florence Welch)
Artist: Calvin Harris
Album: 18 Months

As promised, here is the amazing new Calvin Harris single featuring Florence Welch. (the one with the Machine)

The songs serves as the fifth single off his still forthcoming third album, "18 months."

Infatuation, blind love, or being in love (obsessed?) with inevitable disappointment... the thing that makes this song so absolutely amazing is a) it's simplicity, and b) well... that beat.  It might take the stars to be exactly in line, but this song could be his biggest since "We Found Love."  Think?

The thing I always saw as the essence of why "We Found Love" was so huge (aside from, well... that beat) was that "We found love in a hopeless place" is one of the simplest, quietly profound lines that the listener can easily apply to their life.  The best music does that... and if you're on the dancefloor, or a little drunk, or even better both... a line like that, followed by a breakdown can really be dancefloor euphoria.  Brilliant in it's wide-reaching emotional simplicity.

In the same way, the hook of this song is "You're giving me sweet sweet nothing," gives the listener a simple line that's positively pregnant with personal possibilities.  We've all fallen for someone that wasn't into it, and we've all either had that person take advantage of those feelings, or have been blinded by the possibilities, when nothing is actually there.  And wherever you fall, you've got this sick beat and Florence's vocal ticks and huge voice... there you go.  Amazing.

As a fan since his debut, I can't help but pine a bit for old, silly Calvin... when his songs weren't built for long stretches on top of the charts.  But while some would argue he's "sold out" or gotten stale, I think he's actually perfecting a certain type of song... and this one pushes things forward.

I love this dude.


Sweet Nothing
We'll Be Coming Back
Let's Go

Monday, September 10, 2012


Song: Madness
Artist: Muse
Album: The 2nd Law

Muse are getting ready to release their sixth album, "The 2nd Law" at the end of this month.  "Madness," the albums second single has been kicking around a couple weeks... and it's a head-scratcher.

A throbby, woozy, song with some lumbering beats that builds builds builds to a big, over-the-top U2-ish end.  It's got a slick beat that's sort of R&B-ish and a wa-wa sound that's almost Dubstep-y but thankfully isn't.  There's also a Prince-ish guitar solo toward the end.  This song is just so odd.

I can't say this has been on constant repeat, but I do like it.  Just sort of can't wrap my head around it really.  I really liked the band's last record, though I can't say I'm a huge fan of the band.  But this seems like a bit of a departure, and makes me very interested in the album.



Saturday, September 08, 2012

Your Body

Song: Your Body
Artist: Christina Aguilera
Album: Your Body

I have a bit of a like/hate relationship with Christina Aguilera.  I've really liked songs of hers in the past ("Ain't No Other Man," "Dirrty") and I've absolutely despised songs by her ("Beautiful," the album "Bionic" in its entirety.)  And ultimately I find her songs get really dated sounding pretty quickly. ("Ain't No Other Man," her first record in its entirety.)

But regardless, Christina was a pop force to be reckoned with... until her last record "Bionic" flopped hard and she decided to star in a reality TV show.  But with Britney & Mariah joining her on that front and making the joke less of one... could a new hit song bring her back to... the top isn't the right word, maybe just straight up relevance?

"Moves Like Jagger," the song she guested on with Maroon 5 and her Voice fellow-judge Adam Levine, was a certified smash.  I think the world is ready.

And here we go... a brand new, hit-maker Max Martin production, called "Your Body."  It's a sexy, electro-meets-R&B mid-tempo number that's a little "Heavy Metal Lover" without... well subtlety and depth.  It's still got the standard Aguilera yelling-as-singing... but I like it.  The melody is pretty infectious for sure.

How far is the lack of subtlety?  Well, the chorus goes "ALL... I... WANT... TO DO... IS FUCK YOUR BODY! Ohhh-oh-oh... oh-oh-oh-oh."  Nice girl.

What do you think?


Your Body

Thursday, September 06, 2012

A New Low! It Sucks Itself!

Song: A New Low! It Sucks Itself!
Artist: Ape School
Album: Junior Violence

I've been digging this sophomore album by Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Michael Johnson, AKA Ape School.

I've found very little in the way of info on the band/man aside from this achingly hipster write up on his record label's site.  Ugh.

Pay no mind.  "Junior Violence" is a rather fun, toungue-in-cheek psychedelic pop record that incorporated electronic sounds with an aural gazpacho-ish mix of freak-out and melody.  I read someone say it sounds like a bridge between the two MGMT albums, which I sort of agree with.  But... you sort of just have to hear it.

Best to just start with the first track, "A New Low! It Sucks Itself!," which in title alone is... something. That's followed by "Marijuana's on the Phone," so you know where this is all going.  Indie-pop with a kick of subversive humor.  There you go.

You can stream the entire record here.


A New Low! It Sucks Itself! (live)
Marijuana's on the Phone (live)
Weak in the Teeth

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Shake 'Em Loose Tonight

Song: Shake 'Em Loose Tonight
Artist: Rumspringa
Album: Rumspringa EP

My friend Jack introduced me to this song a little over a week ago and I've been pretty obsessed with it.  A psychedelic folk track that immediately reminded me of Devendra Banhart a bit.  It's woozy and groovy and sounds classic yet current.  I don't really know what he's talking about... something familial, but that lends to its mystery.  I really love it.

I don't know much about the band though... aside from them being a trio from Los Angeles that formed in 2006.  "Shake 'Em" is taken from their self-named debut EP from 2008.  They've since released another two EP's and a full length album, "Sway" from 2010.  I'm going to have to look these up as this track is the only thing I've heard.

But this was too good not to share.


Shake 'Em Loose Tonight
Mind's Awake