Friday, January 24, 2014

Somebody - Salt Ashes

Song: Somebody
Artist: Salt Ashes
Album: Somebody (single)

While I've been going crazy for the latest Kylie single, I've been listening to this new, very Kylie-esque track in conjunction, making quite the killer one-two punch in any playlist.

Salt Ashes (Veiga Sanches) is a 22 year-old synth pop artist apparently inspired by Madonna, Kate Bush, Daft Punk, and MIA.  She's had a couple tracks on the internet since 2011 which have since been taken down, most likely to gear up for her proper debut.  "Somebody" is her first official single... it's rather amazing.

I've added it to my Currently Digging playlist... you should totally follow!



Thursday, January 23, 2014

XO - Beyoncé

Song: XO
Artist: Beyoncé
Album: Beyoncé

Have you heard of Beyoncé?

After a solid year of her fanbase not knowing what was happening with new Beyoncé music, "Queen B" dropped a "secret" album on iTunes at Midnight on December 13th complete with videos for every track on the album (as well as a video for the leaked "Grown Woman" which ultimately didn't make the record.)  It was an interesting way to get around the expectations that come with  a new Beyoncé album (especially after the relative disappointment 4) which gave her the freedom to be a bit different.  Turn down the perfect, turn up the sexy, and to hell with the bobblehead music... Beyoncé has grown up.   And Beyoncé is the best thing she's ever done.

Beyoncé is Beyoncé's sexual awakening record, and it's secret weapon is unknown producer Boots whom co-wrote and shapes the sound of almost 80% of the album with his production talents.  It continues the Adult Contemporary sound started with 4 and mixes it with the urban-hip of Weeknd/Frank Ocean sheen.  Things take a dip for the boring in the middle of the album, but it starts and ends with her strongest material (by some margin) to date.

She does a bit of Madonna sexy-electronica on "Haunted" and urban slow-grind with her husband assisted "Drunk in Love."  The filth gets turned up with the album's most "fun" moment "Blow," and with "XO" Beyoncé gives us her best song ever, a positively euphoric ode to love that truly sores in a way a track like the ultimately false "Halo" could only dream of.  Dang girl... literally had no idea you had this in you.


Drunk in Love

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Everyday Robots - Damon Albarn

Song: Everyday Robots
Artist: Damon Albarn
Album: Everyday Robots

Blur frontman and head Gorillaz Damon Albarn is set to release his first solo album Everyday Robots this coming April.  The record has been produced by Richard Russell of XL recordings and has been described as a mix of folk, soul, and trip-hop, with Albarn stating the concept centered around "empty club music."  The album is preceded by the title and first track as initial single.

"Everyday Robots" is a sparse, odd little track with off-key percussion and a vibe that's equally calming as it is a bit eerie.  It's a bit of an odd choice for first single, especially when the teaser (see below) for the album capitalized on Albarn's entire successful pop career, making this first solo album a thing.

One of the more gifted and interesting singer-songwriters of our time, I look forward to what he cooks up.


Everyday Robots
Everyday Robots Teaser Trailer

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Kids - Style of Eye

Song: Kids feat. Soso
Artist: Style of Eye
Album: Kids (single)

Friend and reader Luis introduces us to Swedish (of course!) producer Linus Eklow, now known as Style of Eye, whom got his start in the late 90s but has been releasing singles and EPs since 2004.  2013 saw the release of this track, "Kids" which is getting him some new attention prior to the release of his as-yet entitled debut album set for release sometime this year.  Thus far, Style of Eye is most notable for his co-production of the Icona Pop smash hit "I Love It," which you may know.

"Kids" is a genre-splicing energetic dance track that's "quite a bop" as they say.  Been loving this one and look forward to hearing more from this promising producer.


After Dark

Monday, January 20, 2014

Coming of Age - Foster the People

Song: Coming of Age
Artist: Foster the People
Album: Supermodel

The return of 2011's breakout stars Foster the People and their sophomore album Supermodel, set for release this coming March.  "Coming of Age" is the first, upbeat single from the new album.  It finds the band in similar territory to their debut Torches.

The below video of the song shows a time lapse view of the Young & Sick-designed cover for the album being put as a mural on a wall in Los Angeles which took twelve consecutive sixteen-hour days to complete.


Coming of Age

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Into the Blue - Kylie Minogue

Song: Into the Blue
Artist: Kylie Minogue
Album: Into the Blue (single)

First single off the Australian pop star's upcoming twelfth studio album, her first big release of original music since 2010's Aphrodite.

The track was written by Kelly Sheehan (Mary J. Blige, Beyonce) though the producer is as yet unknown.  Confirmed collaborators on the as-yet untitled album include Pharrell, Sia, Darkchild, Fernando Garibay, Nervo, and Jay-Z, whose Roc Nation Kylie just signed to for a management deal.

Sounds fresh and very Kylie.


Into the Blue

Friday, January 17, 2014

Best of 2013 - Random Access Memories

Best of 2013

Song: Give Life Back to Music
Artist: Daft Punk
Album: Random Access Memories

Disliked by much of their fanbase, handicapped from exaggerated expectation, but ultimately wildly critically and commercially successful, Daft Punk's fourth album Random Access Memories was a big moment in music in 2013, and my favorite of the year.

Surprising everyone with a throwback album of 70s and early 80s disco/electronica and strictly using equipment of the time, Random Access Memories was met with a lot of 'WTF?' from music fans and people that loved their earlier work, and the breakout, runaway, chart-busting success of first single "Get Lucky" seemed to double-down with the mind-blown hipster contingent who just wanted Discovery 2.  But Random Access Memories is less about the future and more about the importance of the past and how it created the future.  Genre arguments aside, the wild trip that is Random Access Memories is miles above other albums this year, and despite being an anomaly in their discography... it's also Daft Punk's best record start to finish.  (Escándelo!)

There's a lot going on in Random Access Memories, and Daft Punk have expertly balanced the album with pastiche and pop, utilizing a strong set of collaborators both legendary (Nile Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder, Paul Williams) and only recently established (Pharrell Williams, DJ Falcon, Julian Casablancas, Todd Edwards, Chilly Gonzalez) it's a pro album made by pros.  It could be argued that it's too perfect.  I guess.

In the digital age of playlists and single tracks this album brought back the start-to-finish album listening experience (yes debatably) and I for one still feel a heady rush when the first moments of opening track "Give Life Back to Music" explodes as a call to arms and start of a knowly brazen almost eighty minute-long experience.  Beyond everything though, there is serious heart in these songs from robots... and that's what makes it as good as it is.

Both "Giorgio by Moroder" and "Touch" are key to the epicness of the album, both eight-plus minute nostalgia freak-outs that epitomise what the record is about.  But right up front they lay down the manifesto... music about music from machines that ultimately about the human heart.  Truly truly amazing.  (And Nile Rodgers bass lines on some of these tracks are seriously life-giving.  Amen!)

For a final look at my favorites of the year, you can check out the WeCastMusic Best Albums of 2013 and Best Songs of 2013 playlists on Spotify.


Give Life Back to Music
Giorgio by Moroder
Instant Crush

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Best of 2013 - ARTPOP

Best of 2013

Song: Gypsy
Artist: Lady Gaga

Another off-the-wall, high-octane, genre-jumping collection of tracks from Lady Gaga, ARTPOP is tour-de-force of pop music, mythology, and classic art visuals.  Still the Queen of the impossibly catchy chorus, ARTPOP initially was a bit disappointing following the incredible Born This Way, but over time I've realized it's insane brilliance and like it for what it is, not what it isn't.  It's my most played record of the year for sure, and it just came out in November.

Whether it's the koo-koo Frankenstein & kitch of "Venus," the slick gender-fuck of "G.U.Y.," the R&B future grind of "Do What U Want," the silly high-camp of "Donatella," the gravely comedown of the introspective "Dope," or the Springsteen/Killers-esque travelogue first-pump of "Gypsy," ARTPOP's got something for everyone.



Mary Jane Holland

Sexxx Dreams

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Best of 2013 - Electric

Best of 2013

Song: Love is a Bourgeois Construct
Artist: Pet Shop Boys
Album: Electric

Just ten months after releasing their eleventh studio album Elysium, the Pet Shop Boys returned with their twelfth, Electric produced solely by Stuart Price.  Elysium did get a year-end mention from WeCast but the album didn't make the final list, but Electric does with it's tight nine-track length, forward-thinking production, and no out-and-out stinkers.

Doing a bit better than their last, Electric hit the top 10 in several countries, including top three on the Danish, Norwegian, German, UK, and US Dance Charts.  But it's all about the music, and Electric doesn't disappoint, featuring what I now consider two hands-down Pet Shop classics; album closer "Vocal" and third single "Love is a Bourgeois Construct" which gets huge points on title alone.  It's one of my favorite tracks of the year.  But look no further to the dark and sexy "Florescent," the catchy pop of "Thursday" or the WTF Springsteen cover "Last to Die" to see why this is one of the best of the year.

I'm happy that PSB are having a late-career surge of creativity.  Truly amazing.


Love is a Bourgeois Construct

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Best of 2013 - Nocturnes

Best of 2013

Song: Beat Beat
Artist: Little Boots
Album: Nocturnes

Little Boots returns with the difficult sophomore set, and creates a killer album.  Oddly released in the Summer, it's got such a Winter vibe that if you let it pass you by in 2013, I'd give it another try now.

In a way the female flip of Cut Copy's Free Your Mind, Nocturnes also dives deep into a 90s House feel, also going for atmospheric meets hooky bliss.  Lyrically and emotionally I give the advantage to Little Boots as Nocturnes delivers some of her best songwriting to date.  There may not be something here quite as infectious as "New in Town," yet the record is filled with tracks that sound classic.

It was way back in late in 2011 that we first heard new material, and then some one-off tracks that didn't end up making the album... it was unclear when this thing was coming out.  She had some label issues and when the album was finally released it was sort of met with a shrug, which is unfortunate.  I really loved it straight away, though again other more summery music took precedence.  I revisited the album towards the end of October and rediscovered it's lush, subtle brilliance.  Give it a shot, it's amazing.


Beat Beat
Every Night I Say a Prayer

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Best of 2013 - Settle

Best of 2013

Song: When a Fire Starts to Burn
Artist: Disclosure
Album: Settle

Up for a Best Dance Album Grammy, the winning sibling duo from the U.K. known as Disclosure took the dance world by storm with their House manifesto Settle.  With no less than six singles, Settle took the UK by storm and the guys became the hottest production team this side of Daft Punk this year.

When I highlighted the band early last year I called them "one to watch in 2013."  See!

Settle is a collaboration-heavy work that never-the-less sounds completely cohesive and an album that's easy to stick with from start to finish.  And what a start... after a killer intro the album launches with the scorching "When a Fire Starts to Burn," which oddly never became a single.  Been one of my favorite jams for the last half of the year.

This album has made it onto just about every year-end best-of list I've seen, and deservedly so.  If you like dance music, this was essential listening this past year.  And if you don't like dance music... what are you on this blog for? (wink-wink)


When a Fire Starts to Burn

White Noise
F for You

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Best of 2013 - True Romance

Best of 2013

Song: Nuclear Seasons
Artist: Charli XCX
Album: True Romance

My favorite pop album of the year that didn't contain an actual pop hit, young English singer-songwriter Charli XCX delivered her debut album True Romance this year after a slew of singles dating back to 2011.  An infectious mix of dark 80s New Wave synth-pop, modern production, killer hooks, and Charli's undeniable personality, True Romance bubbles with left-of-center dancepop that did all the major pop acts one-better by delivering something as emotionally true as it is catchy.  But where are her hits?

Of course it needs to be mentioned that Charli co-wrote Icona Pop's HUGE 2013 single "I Love It," smartly getting a "featuring" credit as it blew up.  While True Romance is brilliant, Charli isn't sitting still... after the album was released in April she put out one last single and then moved on late in the year with a new one, the insanely catchy "Super Love" which is reported to be featured on her sophomore album, already slated for release sometime later this year.

There's a chance she could blow up this year with the right material.  So you might as well grab the hipster card now and be in the know.  She's great.


Nuclear Seasons
What I Like
You - Ha Ha Ha

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Best of 2013 - Ice on the Dune

Best of 2013

Song: Concert Pitch
Artist: Empire of the Sun
Album: Ice on the Dune

Sophomore follow up for Australian duo Empire of the Sun, coming five years after their 2008 debut Walking on a Dream.  Ice on the Dune covers familiar territory, but is ultimately more enjoyable than their debut due simply to consistency.  Initial single "Alive" felt a little limp in comparison to "Walking on a Dream" and "We Are the People," but time and spins have really endeared me to it, as well as the full record.  This is solid electropop.

The album has both a Summer and Winter feel.  It's lush regardless of season.  Favorites include the title track, "Alive," "DNA," and "Concert Pitch."

I saw a British-based music blog call it "three times better than the Daft Punk record."  You decide.


Concert Pitch
Ice on the Dune

Monday, January 06, 2014

Best of 2013 - Days Are Gone

Best of 2013

Song: Don't Save Me
Artist: HAIM
Album: Days Are Gone

Days Are Gone, the debut album by the California-raised, Los Angeles-based sister trio HAIM can be found on many year-end best of lists, deservedly so.  On one hand, it's a left-of-center mix of folky Fleetwood Mac-isms and 90s-era RnB, and on the other... it's just a killer collection of songs.  You should hear this.

I initially fell for a killer remix of "Falling," but Days Are Gone the album is a warm, kicky joy.  An easy pick for one of the best of the year.


Don't Save Me
The Wire
If I Could Change Your Mind

Friday, January 03, 2014

Best of 2013 - Reflektor

Best of 2013

Song: It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)
Artist: Arcade Fire
Album: Reflektor

The first Arcade Fire album I've connected with.

Could it be the new electronic elements to their sound?  Dunno, but now... "I get it."

Dark, dream-like, mesmerizing.


It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)
We Exist

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Best of 2013 - Night Time, My Time

Best of 2013

Song: Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)
Artist: Sky Ferreira
Album: Night Time, My Time

2013 finally saw the release of Sky Ferreira's debut album, one which changed names several times, release dates, and entire direction.  It was destined to be a mess, so when Night Time, My Time was finally released this October... it was a bit of a surprise how good it was.

WeCast has been following Sky for quite some time, from her early electro-pop singles from early 2011, to the introduction of more rock elements on her EP from 2012.  But it was when Sky hooked up with Producer Ariel Rechtshaid that things began to gel and the album took shape.

Night Time, My Time is an electric mix of Blondie-esque new wave rock with kicky beats, buzzy extortion, and above all Sky's half-pissed-off, half confessional lyrics and raw delivery.  It really packs a punch, and grows over repeated listens.  Song like "Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)" and "I Blame Myself" show true songwriting skill, while punchy tracks "24 Hours" and the amazing "You're Not the One" show she still knows her way around a hook.

It's unclear if Sky will have a record label after this, though it seems like something indie would suit her better anyhow.  Regardless if we never hear another thing from her, we'll have Night Time, My Time.


Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)
24 Hours
I Will

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Best of 2013 - Free Your Mind

Best of 2013

Song: Let Me Show You Love
Artist: Cut Copy
Album: Free Your Mind

Zonoscope was okay, but it certainly made you feel like we wouldn't see something as magical as Cut Copy's amazing In Ghost Colors from 2008 again.  Not true.  The Aussie group took inspiration from 90s House and created a cohesive, groovy, & psychedelic soundscape that's just as good.  After the intro, the record opens with three hands-down Cut Copy future classics, the title track, "We Are Explorers" and "Let Me Show You Love."  Perfection.  It gets a bit trippier from theret.. this album is probably very good on illegal substances.

Man, is there anything better than 90s House piano?  Dang.


Let Me Show You Love
We Are Explorers
Free Your Mind