Friday, June 28, 2013

Bubble Butt

Song: Bubble Butt
Artist: Major Lazer
Album: Free the Universe

Hadn't given this record much of a chance when it came out, but friend and reader Sean sent me this track, the fourth single and well... what can I say?  Another Friday... another twerk anthem.

I'm sorry.

The song and video are outrageous, there's not really much to say.  My favorite comment on the YouTube clip?  "I've literally lost my faith in music."  Seems about right.  (If you lake a sense of humor.)

Free the Universe, producer Major Laser's sophomore album Exec. Produced by Diplo is a mixed bag of reggae, dancehall, electronic, break, & even a little moombahton.  The guest roster is vast; Santigold, Tyga, Bruno Mars, Shaggy, Wyclef Jean, Peaches, Elephant Man, Laidback Luke, Wynter Gordon... the list goes on.

The album starts with a pretty laid-back vibe and ramps up as the songs click by.  You'll find "Bubble Butt" towards the end.  Take a listen.

Major Laser did a couple tracks on the latest Snoop Lion record, one of which; "Get Away" seems like possible hit material.


Bubble Butt

Thursday, June 27, 2013

American Girl

Song: American Girl
Artist: Bonnie McKee
Album: American Girl

Here's one that has a chance* to be this year's "Call Me Maybe..."

*small chance

You might not have heard of Bonnie McKee, but you know her work.  She's been the writer behind some huge pop hits of the last few years, and now she's getting a push as an artist in her own right.  Here's a list of a couple songs she's co-written:

California Girls, Last Friday Night (TGIF), Teenage Dream, Part of Me, Wide Awake - Katy Perry
C'mon - Ke$ha
Dynamite - Taio Cruz
Hold it Against Me, Oh La La - Britney Spears
Let There Be Love - Christina Aguilera

You can see the full list here.

"American Girl" gives me huge Katy Perry vibes, specifically "Teenage Dream."  Perfect for Summer, but will pop radio bite?  You never really know.

Bonnie released an album, Trouble when she was 14, and since has been focusing on songwriting.  The new album has yet to be titled or given a release date.  A proper video is expected soon, but in the meantime she happened to get all of her famous friends to make a "Call Me Maybe"-esque viral video for her song. (see below)

You can download the song for free here.

Always pulling for a songwriter to make it on their own.


American Girl (video #2)

American Girl (video #1)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cookie Thumper

Song: Cookie Thumper
Artist: Die Antwoord
Album: Donker Mag

I was late to the Die Antwoord party, and while I can't say I love them, I do quite like... and just find them so odd, off-kilter, and a touch disgusting that it's impossible not to pay attention.

They last made waves (and honestly got my attention) by slagging Lady Gaga, who had asked them to open for her on her world tour.  This apparently upset them, so they released a music video that made fun of her.  Juvenile is putting it mildly, but what a sure-fire way to get a little publicity...

I missed their one-off single "XP€N$IV $HIT" which came out late last year, but they are now on the first single off their upcoming fourth album, Donker Mag that comes out next February.  They've made one of their now typical videos for the new track, "Cookie Thumper," (see below) which is just as gonzo as their previous material.  So odd.

Die Antwoord draw a lot of their style from the work of Roger Ballen and the Zef counterculture movement.

Here's a primer:


Cookie Thumper

Monday, June 24, 2013

Don't Let Me Die in Florida

Song: Don't Let Me Die in Florida
Artist: Patty Griffin
Album: American Kid

There was a time when I used to listen to A LOT of female singer-songwriters.  I don't really know what happened, but my interest tempered off over time.  Given the time period I should have really gotten into/loved Maine-born Patty Griffin, who has released critically acclaimed, Americana-style folk/rock/country since the mid-90s.  My good friend Dave was a big fan, and sang her praises quite a bit, I never took the bait.

Griffin has just released her seventh album, a tribute to her father entitled American Kid.  Oddly, I heard the track "Ohio" as part of the theater advertising before an advanced screening of World War Z last week and was struck by it so I picked up the album.  It's really beautiful, and perfect for a slightly melancholy, but beautiful summer day.  I'm feeling it.

Check out the upbeat "Don't Let Me Die in Florida" below, and the full album here on Spotify:


Don't Let Me Die in Florida

Friday, June 21, 2013


Song: Twerk
Artist: Lady
Album: Bitch From Around the Way II

Okay, I surrender...

This song is not new, and those plugged in will find this very two-thousand-and-late, but am I wrong in stating that it seems like "twerking" and the very word "twerk" has jumped into (surprise) cultural relevance like never before?  I partly blame Buzzfeed, Miley Cyrus, even this guy.  They be puttin' it out there, and they be eatin' it up.

Ridiculous.  Sad.  Questioning the direction of our culture, etc.

I'm no twerk historian, but my go-to best twerk explanation can be found in one place; the video for Talbotton, GA-born lady rapper Lady's monumental, jaw-dropping, and yes, possibly cultural shifting video for her song "Twerk," found on her second mix tape, Bitch From Around the Way II.  Please see below, but be forewarned... this is NSFW material, this will make you question the abilities of the human body to a level the Olympics can't touch, and there is a chance it will change your life forever from this point onward.

Just watch this...

It's just... you can't right?  Life can be described as B.T. and then A.T. (Before Twerk/After Twerk.)

Can we marvel at the bathing suit fashion?  How kind of bored Lady looks through this whole thing?  How she is never seen actually twerking... And how one of these dancers, as my friend Dave pointed out when introducing; " clapping with her ass."  This is some mind-blowing crazy-ass shit. (to put it mildly)

Again, this video already had its viral moment like two years ago, but I feel like we're having a real twerk moment in our culture as of late, and Lady represents a key point of reference in this historical shift.  The song itself is beyond critique, it does not matter if you think it is good or bad... it just is.

I'm listening to Lady's mixtape now and every song sounds like "Twerk."  All contain that nasally, high-pitched voice and kinda-slow, is she bored? flow.  But it's all rather charming... in its way.  Take a listen to "Yankin" and most recent single "Pussy" below.  You can now pick your jaw up off the floor.

Please go to her official website and learn more about this crazy lady.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Ton of Love

Song: A Ton of Love
Artist: Editors
Album: The Weight of Your Love

British rockers Editors return with their upcoming fourth album The Weight of Your Love next month, four years after their last.  First single "A Ton of Love" is being released next week... and it's one of the most immediate rock tracks I've heard in some time.

The album is the first after the reportedly amicable split with lead guitarist Chris Urbanowicz, who left stating the old "creative differences."  Which probably explains the length in between releases.  In October of 2011, lead Tom Smith was claiming the album would be "very electronic," which is not evident from "A Ton of Love," which might have been the issue.

Regardless, "A Ton of Love" sounds classic to me... like a long lost track from the Modern Rock 80s or Alternative Nation 90s.  It brims with some of their influences; Echo and the Bunnyman, R.E.M., U2, and The Replacements.  It's so familiar that I almost thought it was a cover, but it's not.

Officially excited for this Editors record, might be a real rock and roll summer moment.


A Ton of Love
The Sting

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Song: Jenny
Artist: Studio Killers
Album: Studio Killers

I can't believe it's been two years since I first heard the Studio Killers amazing debut single, "Ode to a Bouncer."  But it has... and they have finally released their self-titled debut album out on Danish label Copenhagen Records.  Studio Killers was just released digitally, with a physical release coming early next month.

Like the Gorillaz, Studio Killers are a "virtual" band represented by animated characters.  Unlike Gorillaz, the Studio Killers are keeping their true identities a secret from the media, though lead singer Cherry is rumored to be Teemu Brunila, lead singer of Turku-based pop group The Crash.  (Cherry the character is female, Teemu is male.)

After "Ode," I heard follow up single "Eros and Apollo" which sounded sooooo much like "Ode," minus a lot of it's charm, and I sort of lost interest.  In the past two months I've really gotten into follow-up's "All Men Are Pigs" as well as the excellent current single "Jenny," which will get the video treatment in August.  Based on these two tracks, I was back on... and now I can say I recommend this album strongly.

Studio Killers is a strong mix of bubbling electro-pop & catchy trance, all with a very whimsical, yet with a wink-wink humour about them.  It stays consistant, and yet despite the extreme similarities of "Ode" and "Eros" (tracks one and two) the other tracks are pretty varied sonically. (Okay, the beat of "In Tokyo" is a little reminiscent of "Ode" as well, but just slightly.)

If you're in the market for some solid dance-pop, look no further than Studio Killers.


All Men Are Pigs
When We Were Lovers

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Song: Overdose
Artist: Little Daylight
Album: Overdose

Indie-pop trio from New York, Little Daylight got their start remixing artists such as Penguin Prison, Temper Trap, Passion Pit, and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, but are currently making waves with their own self-composed music including the lush, drum-tastic "Overdose" which I've been digging quite a bit lately.

It's not as attention grabbing, or as odd; but Little Daylight exist somewhere in the middle of the Charli XCX/Icona Pop and then Kate Boy/CHVRCHES sound.

Currently opening for Charli XCX on her tour.


Name in Lights

Monday, June 17, 2013

Black Skinhead

Song: Black Skinhead
Artist: Kanye West
Album: Yeezus

Tomorrow Kanye West drops his fast, loud, dirty, and anti-commercial sixth album Yeezus, and it's quite a doozy.  The album was mainly recorded and produced in Paris, where West worked with a variety of producers including Daft Punk, whom are credited with producing the first four tracks.  Rick Rubin did late production work on the album, taking the snippets West had done and pulling it into a conceptual whole in the last three weeks of production.

This is a big record to wrap your head around, and one I still need time with.  It is abrasive, angry, loud, and not made for the general public to "enjoy."  This alone, from an artist like West, is wildly interesting to me.  In an age of smash singles = relevancy, and even five months out of some kind of spotlight is too long... the fact that West has put out a record without a "single" in the conventional sense is a good one for a true artist, especially one tied to the pop charts to do.  But if you're making a record that touches on the current state of racism, white privilege, blistering takes on celebrity culture, hip-hop boasting, and the like... you can't just throw a "Gold Digger" in there for radio.

As "uncommercial" as Yeezus is, it doesn't fall into actually unlistenable M.I.A.'s MAYA territory.  The four Daft Punk tracks certainly form a starting act for the record, and bold new territory for West.  After, Yeezeus combines the auto-tuned electronics of his last "departure" 808s & Heartbreak, and the pitched soul samples that's become part of what, if anything, we can expect from West.

Again, I'm still listening... and feel that this is one that will unveil new layers, emotions, etc. with repeated listens.  This will not be an easy record, but there's a good chance you'll hear a lot about this record over the next few months and will most likely see it on quite a few year-end best lists.

You might hate him, but you can't fault his commitment.


Black Skinhead
Blood on the Leaves

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Just One Look

Song: Just One Look
Artist: Doris Troy
Album: Just One Look

I have always loved this song, but based solely on the Linda Ronstadt version.  Which is one of my favorites of hers.  I didn't have the original, and saw Doris Troy mentioned somewhere recently so I got a compilation.  Of course... she's amazing.

I did know the original from a Cindy Crawford starring Pepsi ad from ages ago, and Troy's version (which she co-wrote) bubbles with that girl group sound and charm that was there a bit in Ronstadt's version, though 70s rock-a-fied.  It's obviously a song that's resonated with a lot of musicians and vocalists as it's been covered by a slew and wide range of artists...

Klaus Nomi has got to have the oddest version... I'm not a fan so it sort of borders on a joke for me.  Also altering the structure, but transcending the song vs. reducing it to caricature, is Bryan Ferry's version from his covers album Taxi from 1993.  I wasn't familiar with this version, and while it lacks the bounce of the original, it's got a magical quality to it that I quite dig.  It's soooo Ferry.  Anne Murray has a nice faithful version, and Harry Nilson goes full-on 70s cheesy grandeur with his string-laden version.  The Hollies went to #2 in the U.K. with their version just a year after Troy's, and even the Bee Gee's recorded a version in the mid-60s.  (And there are more.)

Doris Troy grew up in the Bronx, the daughter of a Barbadian Pentecostal Minister.  Her parents were against the "subversive" R&B she was getting involved in, but things started when she was discovered by James Brown as an usherette at the Apollo Theater.  Over her career she worked with such varied artists as The Drifters, Dionne Warwick, The Rolling Stones, Humble Pie, Pink Floyd, Nick Drake, Dusty Springfield, Carly Simon, and George Harrison to name a few.

She'll best be known for "Just One Look," and what a legacy.


Just One Look
Stormy Weather
I'll Do Anything (He Wants Me To)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Turn it Gold

Song: Turn it Gold
Artist: Hesta Prynn
Album: Turn it Gold

Back in college I was a fan of Northern State, the from Long Island, started-as-a-joke, all-female trio of MC’s who came out with their debut EP Dying in Stereo back in 2002.  My friends and I ate that shit up, and when their debut full length All City came out in 2004 I thought they might really blow up.  They didn’t, and 2007’s Can I Keep This Pen? also didn’t make a dent… but I liked it, especially track “Sucka Mofo” which should have made more impact yet in retrospect with that title… eh.

I’d pretty much forgotten about them until just recently saw a mention of Hesta Prynn, one third of the group and the member with the best name.  Turns out that pretty soon after the band split she started working on solo material, DJ’ing, as well as doing some pop ghostwriting.  She’s released a handful of singles and two EP’s, and I’m totally digging them.

2010’s Can We Go Wrong has a strong Santigold vibe to it, indie rock sounds mixed with hip-hop beats and sung melodies.  She still sounds like she did in Northern State, and hearing her voice again makes me realize she was sort of always the standout.  There are shades of Le Tigre and even The Breeders here, kind of amazing.  Standouts include opener “You Wind Me Up,” "Recall," and the dirty-propulsive title track, but it’s all pretty stellar.

Single “Turn it Gold” is also notable, keeping the sound of Can We Go Wrong, and included a remix from Bright Light Bright Light.  She released a cover of The Butthole Surfer’s single “Pepper” which also contained the sorta-Northern State-sounding “Seven Sisters.”

Just shy of a year ago the We Could Fall in Love EP was released which featured a much more club-ready sound.  The throbbing beats are a stark contrast to the Can We Go Wrong sound, with the title track sounding like it could almost fit comfortably on current pop radio.  It’s still full-on Hesta Prynn though, and makes me wonder whom she’s been ghostwriting for. 

I’m hoping a full length record is in the works at some point, she should certainly have more exposure than she does.  I can’t believe she’s been working along releasing music that’s somehow completely missed me.  (humpf)

She's worthy of the Playlist treatment...


Turn it Gold
Can We Go Wrong
We Could Fall in Love

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Love is Dangerous

Song: Love is Dangerous
Artist: French Horn Rebellion
Album: Love is Dangerous EP

French Horn Rebellion are a duo of brothers, Robert and David Perlick-Molinari from Milwaukee who currently reside in Brooklyn.  The story goes that younger brother Robert played French Horn for the Chicago Civic Orchestra, but "decided to make hot beats instead."  So he asked his "bassoon-toting brother" to join, boom|origin... French Horn Rebellion.

I never highlighted anything from their 2010 debut; The Infinite Music of French Horn Rebellion, though I see I listened to it several times.  I recently obtained their Love is Dangerous EP, though I'm a bit confused as I was under the impression that it was released recently, but also seeing it as coming out last December.  And it looks like they make have a more recent EP called Girls out as well.  I don't know... these guys need a Wikipedia page for lazy bloggers like myself.

Regardless, I'm urging you to check out the 80s/90s meets future sound of "Love is Dangerous," which also includes a very odd track, "Cold Enough," which features 80s R&B diva Jody Watley, who is also featured on their very very latest track, "Dancing Out."  So that's something.  Both tracks are great, I like "Dangerous" a bit more, but overall I like what these guys are doing.

Luckily, it seems just about everything is up on Spotify, and I think it warrants a quick compilation to get to know the band...

No word on a follow up album yet, that I can see.  They are doing a handful of shows this summer, you can find out more on their official page.


Love is Dangerous
Cold Enough

Monday, June 10, 2013

Blurred Lines

Song: Blurred Lines
Artist: Robin Thicke
Album: Blurred Lines

Pharrell is riding quite the high isn't he?  First came the Daft Punk collab "Get Lucky," which has become an unexpected mega-hit, on the most talked-about album of the year, and now what is looking to be a song of the summer contender, "Blurred Lines" a track he co-wrote and produced for Robin Thicke.

"Blurred Lines" was released in March as the first single off of Thicke's upcoming sixth studio album of the same name.  A second single, "4 The Rest of My Life," was just recently released but I'm assuming now that "Lines" has started to really take off that one will be put on the back burner.

Possibly helping the exposure to the track is the controversial music video, which comes with an unrated version that has Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I. romping around a studio with topless models.  The video was directed by a woman and is being presented as post-sexism.  Unsurprisingly, this has become controversial.

The song itself is effervescent, infectious, and a lot of fun.  It sounds quite a lot like Pharrell's production "Give it 2 Me" by Madonna... also amazing.


Blurred Lines
4 The Rest of My Life

Friday, June 07, 2013

Came Back Haunted

Song: Came Back Haunted
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Album: Hesitation Marks

New Nine Inch Nails!

After an extended hiatus, frontman Trent Reznor is returning with a brand new album this September, his eighth, which will be released on Columbia.  It's the first new NIN material since 2008's The Slip, and his first major label release since 2007's Year Zero.

Reznor is once again teaming up with Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder on the record, as well as artist Russell Mills, whom last worked on The Downward Spiral album and singles.  Clue to return to form?  Hmmm, we'll see.

First release "Came Back Haunted" is classic NIN, bubbling synths and aggression.   I like it.  I have a good feeling about Hesitation Marks, not sure why.


Came Back Haunted
[HALO 28]

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Beat Down - Steve Aoki with Angger Dimas feat. Iggy Azalea

Song: Beat Down
Artist: Steve Aoki with Angger Dimas feat. Iggy Azalea
Album: Wonderland Remixed

It's been a couple months since a song by Iggy Azalea clicked with me... "Work" seemed ridiculous initially, but very very listenable.  Since, she released what I think is an amazing, star-arriving music video to the track (see below) and a follow up, "Bounce" that doesn't really grab me.  But I have been obsessed with a track she's featured on by Steve Aoki... so it's filled the second-single slot for me, while we wait for Iggy's debut album The New Classic, coming sometime this summer.

More than being disappointed with "Bounce," I really feel like "Work" is still growing and should have still been pushed... I've been introducing it to friends whom have flipped for the song and video, and Iggy in general.  My boss came back yesterday from getting a coffee and saw the video playing while waiting in line. "Have you heard of this white chick who's 'working on her shit?  She is fierce!'" she asked.  It really is an announcement song, amazing.

"Beat Down" is equally captivating yet also initially a bit "is she serious?" like "Work."  Lyrically it's beyond juvenile  and that stuttered air-horn is... I don't even know how to describe it.  Yet... it works for me.  It really works.

And then there's "There's a party on your face and I'm about to dance on it."


While they sound nothing alike, I'm grouping this track in with Icona Pop's "I Love It" as well as the new Miley Cyrus track as something I've been calling "Brat Pop," which sort of falls in line with a lot of what is said negatively about the current youth generation.  Entitled, self-absorbed, and "me" focused to a fault... giving birth to a lot of bratty dance pop.  I should hate it, but... I don't care... I love it.

Yes, "Beat Down" is ridiculous, but infectious.  It's cartoonishly agressive, not all that believable... but it's got a wink-wink-able charm to it that I've succumbed to.

This is a Steve Aoki track, whom I know little of... but this is really Iggy's show, and way more interesting than not only "Bounce," but all of the more hip-hop, and boring, mix tapes and EP's I've heard form her.  I'm hoping she goes more in the "Work"/this direction on The New Classic... time will tell.


Beat Down

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Take My Hand

Song: Take My Hand
Artist: Charli XCX
Album: True Romance

I didn't realize it was all the way back in 2011 when I highlighted up and coming Charli XCX, whom at the time had "Nuclear Seasons" and "Stay Away" out.  Her debut album (which is really her second release) True Romance, came out in early April and it's been one of my favorites thus far this year.

I also can't believe that it's been a year since I was rocking out to Icona Pop's "I Love It," and predicting it was going to be the song of the summer.  Well, it still has a chance... it's just going to be this year, not last.  I bring it up as it was co-written by Charli, whom has proved herself to be quite the songwriter.  I liked Icona Pop's record, but Charli's is roughly five times better... so pay attention. ;)

While none have made even close to the impact that "I Love It" is currently enjoying, Charli has burned through five killer singles from True Romance, and is rumored to be serving up "Take My Hand," an album highlight for me, as next single.  Her songs have a dark electro edge, while remaining bubbly and pop-oriented.  She's got quite the ear for melody, and I'm looking forward to watching her grow.

A couple quality demos have recently leaked, as well as a collab with Marina and the Diamonds, coupled with the continued success of "I Love It" made me realize that I need to get y'all to pay a bit more attention to her.  Take some time to check out some of the singles below, or take a listen to the Charli XCX playlist I've put together which basically consists of True Romance and some collabs, inclding "I Love It" and the Marina track, "Just Desserts."

She's good.


Take My Hand
What I Like
You (Ha Ha Ha)

Tuesday, June 04, 2013


Song: D.I.S.C.O.
Artist: Ottawan
Album: D.I.S.C.O.

Here's a semi-ridiculous slice of Eurodisco from the golden age... 1980, just as punk was grabbing hold, New Wave was starting up, and disco was... well dying.  The title is so apropos.  But there is a modern connection here, and one you're probably listening/invested in right now...

Ottawan were a French disco duo lead by lead singer John Patrick (Baptiste) and Annette, with the songs written by writing partners Daniel Vangarde and Jean Kluger.  "D.I.S.C.O." was their debut single which went to #2 in the U.K., their track "Hands Up (Give Me Your Heart)" went to #1 in Ireland and New Zealand.  And their most popular track (in France,) "You're OK," was copied in a Bollywood film as "Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Aaja Aaja Aaja," which became the blueprint of M.I.A.'s "Jimmy."

While John Patrick was the lead of the band, it was Vangarde & Kluger who really owned the band's name and direction. (Later part of a lawsuit with Patrick.)  The writing due also, prior to Ottawan released the cult album Le Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki as the Yamasuki Players, a pseudo-Japanese psychedelic pop record that over time became fertile ground for sampling of it's bass and drum breaks.

Why is this worth mentioning?  Well, Vangarde happens to be the father of musician Thomas Bangalter, and helped him and his partner Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, when they started their dance duo... Daft Punk.

That's right.

Anyhow, Ottawan are quite goofy... but much inspiration has been taken from their music.  And "D.I.S.C.O." has been successfully interpreted on a number of occasions, notably by N-Trance in 1997, former X-Factor contestant Chico Slimani in 2006, and just two years ago by Israeli duo The Young Professionals, who completely change the track lyrically.

This shit is iconic.  And ridiculous.


You're O.K.
Hands Up

Monday, June 03, 2013


Song: Vocal
Artist: Pet Shop Boys
Album: Electric

Spanking new single from the legendary Pet Shop Boys' upcoming twelfth album Electric.  If you're scratching your head a second and thinking... wait, didn't they just come out with an album last year?  Yes they did... and now they have another one.

The duo announced the record a while back with instrumental album-opener "Axis," which I thought was interesting but certainly not single material.  But "Vocal" is pure PSB bliss, an ode to nightlife and raver culture, with a hint of their snark.  (They are obviously NOT into instrumental, thumpa-thumpa club music... they want 'vocals!')

Very excited for this new record, which is being produced by one of the masters of the remix, dance-producer Stuart Price, whom has had a good run with producing full albums for artists such as Madonna (Confessions on a Dancefloor,) Seal (System,) Scissor Sisters (Night Work,) and Kylie (Aphrodite.)

The album contains a Bruce Springsteen cover, "The Last to Die."

The Boys never disappoint, having yet to release a bad record.  Can't wait.


Florescent (teaser)