17 August 2010

Top Tunes To Blog About 2


First up for this post is up-and-coming pop muffin Sky Ferreira. The media conglomerate that is BBC Radio 1 briefly placed this song on it's playlist and gave the tune a few undeserved and rather meagre airings. It is mindboggling how Ms Ferreira, the little electro-pop siren that she is, has failed to show up on the new music radar. Sky Ferreira is young and vivacious, whilst possessing a coveted classiness which puts greater emphasis on her music. Her debut single "One" is instantaneously catchy and comes across as the boisterous cousin of Diana Vickers' "Once". Oozing tonnes of modernistic pop; it's a plethora of electro-fuelled beats, haphazard bleats and variant tempo squeals, sounding rather akin to a stunt-happy dolphin. This track is fresh sounding and determined. Sky has an intonation in her vocals that enforces the point that this is "her" song and her "direction". Despite the tune detailing the sadder sides to a relationship, the song and Sky herself come across as strong and confident.

Sky Ferreira is bestcompared to a puzzled and fragmented jigsaw of different artists along the lines of La Roux, Gabriella Cilmi, Pixie Lott, Marina and the Diamonds, showing clearly how she has snuggled into the current niche of young, edgy female singers currently dominating the charts. The music video for "One" is simplistic, if even a little sparse in places, but retains the focus, as mentioned, on the song itself. Strongly reminiscent of a "Next" clothing advert or an advert for an ex-soapstar-turned-fitness-experts' exercise video set, Sky's natural and boho-orientated beauty compliments the general lack of visual art, helping it stick together neatly like an industrial adhesive. Either way "One" should propel Ms Ferreira neatly into the charts and onto further deserved success. View the video below and give the girl some love by visiting her Facebook/Myspace/Twitter pages.


Next up on the humble conveyor belt of emerging female music industry fodder is Florrie. Hailing from Bristol and based in London, Florrie has all the ingredients for success. She is music pedigree there is no doubting that, especially so, considering Florrie is one of the big guns in production/music company Xenomania's weapons store. Florrie is also a proven whizz on the drums, writes her own songs, composes them, edits them and is even the new face for Nina Ricci's latest perfume. This girl has a business head on her shoulders, to which people should really take note; she doesn't need to make music, she wants to make music, simply because she can, and it shows. She has worked with a miscellany of producers and people "in the know", most notably Fred Falke. Florrie is currently the "excelling child" of proud parents, Kitsune Records. Now she is equipping herself to charge up the UK charts with an onslaught of knowledge and talent that would wipe that smug Geordie grin off a certain Cheryl Cole and trounce Ellie Goulding for taking too much LSD and being all "Starry Eyed". Florrie has the edge and she is cutting it to perfection. She must be so quietly confident of her talent that it has lead to her giving away songs for free (she must be mad), but it's good for us.

Placed on the table is "Give Me Your Love". A mid tempo-ed galloping piano laced tune that hits that nail very much on the head. Guitar twinging, dramatic yet raw, skeletal drumming and an infectious chorus that sprinkles electro-pop in a sugary layer down to the core of your sound-based senses and a stomping background beat mixes together into an ultimately creative work of genius. The song perfectly progresses from a slower and mild pop track into a heavier anthemic piece of indie excellence. There is a gritty uniqueness to Florrie and she really does appear to stand individual to an extent, making it difficult to associate her with other artists. If you blended the lofty sounds of I Blame Coco, the sparkly nature of Goldfrapp, the grace of Ellie Goulding and the gentle electro expertise of Annie, then Florrie would be the lovely end result And Florrie deserves all the credit. Give it time, and it won't be long before NME or BBC Radio 1 start attacking our blubbery whale bodies with Florrie tipped harpoons. So to remedy that, start listening to this UK protege and take note.

Check out the video for the song "Give Me Your Love" and as is customary, show the Bristol lass some love and check out her Facebook/Myspace/Twitter/Home websites too.


Last up is the relatively unknown Mark Huculak. This dynamic music maestro has kept an extremely low profile on the internet. His internet pages and related youtube/facebook accounts are a little sparse and suitably reflect Huculak's position within the music industry. However it is surprising that Huculak is not recognised on the music scene more and up there with the likes of Jason Mraz, Darren Hayes or Paolo Nutini. This guy is a master of words and pinpoints each one with such targeted precision. Mark Huculak comes from Alberta, Canada, and grew up with heavy influences in jazz and music/drama production, which is clear to all who listen to his songs. Huculak has been a musician for some 5 years, only recently starting work with producer Jeff Dawson (most famed for penning Daniel Powter's "Bad Day"). With respected writers and music producers behind him I am baffled as to why this guy is virtually still a blip, a small miscalculation, in the new music radar. The battleship is clearly way too much off course for anyone's liking. Either way, Huculak has a spark that could well lead to an explosion of media giants clammouring around biting off anything they can chew off of his wholesome Canadian carcass.

Promotion for Huculak's latest song "Malkolm" has been in full force, with fashion retailer H&M using his single on their playlists in all UK stores. Now for a multinational company, to unearth this minnow of a Canadian singer/songwriter is rather special indeed. Either way this song is superb. Huculak has kept his raspy and masculine North-American inked vocals and side-shifted into the hub that is charming electro-pop. The word "electro" should not put you off though if you think this Canadian crooner should wallow in the lighter world of folky-based mud swamps. The shift is good, very good. The crude beats and hollow din of the synthing may deter at first but they quickly draw you in when the steady clapping of the song coupled with Mark's vocal abilities truly starts to work in synergy. The song is airy, with few layers, think of the simplicity of The Ting Tings "Great DJ" and you get the idea.

The song timidly knocks on your front door and you kindly welcome it in; that's the theory anyway. But in all seriousness, this song is brilliant and deserves a slab of recognition for the best part. These types of songs; by those undiscovered artists who bubble about in the shadow of mass music, are what drives the industry and creativity in general. "Malkolm" is a decent electro-pop thoroughfare which you should embrace with your dear hearts. Listen to the song first on Mark Huculak's Myspace with the first link provided below, then if you love this snippet of vibrant ingenuity then download it via the second link for FREE. Do it nurse. Now. STAT!



11 August 2010

Top Tunes To Blog About 1

M.I.A. - "XXXO"

It's time to get this blog well and truly steam rollering through a computer screen and into the back of your retinas for your brain to process I reckon. Today I have just seen the music video for "XXXO", the second single off M.I.A.'s latest album "Maya".

I first heard this song whilst at work a while back and felt that the tinny intercom surround sound system instore did not do this finely skewered slice of BBQ feisty music delight any justice at all. This is a song you can easily play over and over and over again and fall in love with. Simple. The attitude driven vocals about love in a tumultuous modern technologically involved world are bitter, yet sincere. The composition of the track is top notch; clunking backgrounds, swooping bass and resonant drones, peppered with an almost annoyingly electro-esque series of glitchy twinks thrown into the mix for good measure. The song is a credible effort for M.I.A. and definitely suits this summer down to a tea.

The music video is also worth a watch. A lot of artists seem to be getting lazy and slapping copious amounts of PC wizardry into their videos that could put a smutty magazine cover girl to shame with the amount of plaster they can smother onto their botox chops. The video shares recognisable similarities with MGMT's "Time To Pretend" video; a psychodelic concoction of graphics, random images and heavy layering. M.I.A.'s garishly cheap bling, the obviously un-subliminal advertising of "XXXO" continuously emblazoned over the video and the pointless use of swans, leopards and unicorns are ultimately superb add-ons to what could easily lull itself into becoming a drab video. Overall, a classy hallucinogenic inspired video for a scorching electro/alt/urby-pop tune. Watch the video below and as usual, show M.I.A. some love by joining her various Facebook/Myspace/Twitter pages.

JUMP JUMP DANCE DANCE - "MODERN EYES" (BIT FUNK REMIX) Jump Jump Dance Dance hail from Australia and they have recently gained a loyal following via Hypemachine and on various blogs, launching them onto the global scene where joyful disco-electro pop is concerned. This clever duo formed due to a love of electro and synthesizers and everything surrounding the Australian electro clubbing scene.

After releasing the moderately successful "Show Me The Night" which helped the twosome gain some headway and deserved praise, they now have a follow up tune which is a cracker. "Modern Eyes" is such a delight. Whispy and airy, trickling into the eardrums like sipping a well-aged whiskey on a freezing winter night. However Chicago/Toronto resident Bit Funk is a welcome addition to this song and it's already excellent credentials.

Bit Funk's energetic injection of excitable synthing, steady beats and funky driven tempo clobbering, in combination with Jump Jump Dance Dance's vortexy glittered vocals makes it the best match made in heaven since the England football team and the word "Disappoint" first plastered its way across a tabloid.

Sadly there is no music video for this tune but check out the song below and as before, give Jump Jump Dance Dance and Bit Funk some love by going to their respective Facebook/Myspace/Twitter pages.

10 August 2010

The behaviour of the UK Top 40 Chart

Hello my dear owls.

So I was musing on the internet the other day, staring at the Facebook newsfeed screen here, looking at the news there, blah blah blah (No Ke$ha pun intended) and I ventured onto the BBC Radio 1 Top 40 Chart to have a gander over what the charts were like this week. I cannot help but think that there has been some sort of discreet yet rather landslidal shift in the commercial masses genre preferences. I was rather surprised. But first let me explain with my excitable typing fingers what the hell I'm getting at.

At the moment (mid-late 2010) we have major US stars clogging our charts arteries with their conveyor belt of saturated commercial muaic (although most of the songs are terribly catchy, like crabs...not that I would know of course) . Artists include Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Eminem, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Jason Derulo and any other pop/urban figurehead from the arena of mass-marketing that your brain cells can recall. They are there in the charts yes. But of late they just seem to be losing headway. They are starting to fizzle into a non-existent realm. But only just.

Take this analogy. A dorment volcano is acknowledged but not taken much notice of. Then picture this. A hungry obese child spotting a subway and wobbling full pelt towards the doors. And that is kind of how the charts appear to be constructed. The dorment volcano is the "new" style of music that is ever present like a lonely ghost in a village pub, and the obese child is the way the charts then change as a reaction by the music-loving public. Complex sounding I know. Basically, there is (in my opinion) a whole new wave of conventionalised dance/electro-y/house-y/dubstep music that is bulldozing itself rather confidently up the UK music charts. Shock horror.

Each year I have witnessed with my humble hazel-green owl eyes the Top 40 chart soak up "the new" like a greedy cactus in the Atacama. It's a strangely subtle process that most don't even really clock on to the fact the charts shift in unified taste. Yet juxtapositionally it is incredibly "new" and "variant". And surprisingly, no one in the UK has seemed to notice it that much this year, or commented on it; as if it's a college drop-out of a child who everyone turns their face away to to avoid conversing with 'it'. I mean, what the hell has happened? The once cocky and intrepid face of indie, of rock, of urban-pop is all but wrinkled and gaunt this year. So why have they shuffled back into the peripheral margin of that bright incandescent limelight? Am I missing something extraordinary in the commercial mainstream music world? Did the zeitgiest doze off for 40 winks?

The names in this week's chart are like an A-Z of current industry fodder; David "could I please be on more songs" Guetta, Inna, Example, Yolanda Be Cool And DCUP, Swedish House Mafia, Magnetic Man, Edward Maya, Tinnie Tempah, Kelis. Who, What, How, Why are all these acts there I ponder? I think it boils down to this movement; the yearly "Music genre of the summer" feel. Out comes the beer and ciders, cheap suntan cream, economy burgers and oozings of sweet ketchup...and amongst all that you need, in fact erase the "you" bit, in actual fact the UK craves and necessitates a wanting for a differing summer inspired music genre year on year to go with said economy burger. It wants something that is there, like a dirty old dog, but you don't pay it given notice, until the dog has a bath, then you love the doggy with all your sugary warm heart. And that's how the UK top 40 is. Dance/Electro/Dubstep/Latino-Italo House...it's always been around; alternative and marginally polarised from the mainstream. Then, by chance, one artist ever so slightly commercialises it straight into the bargain bin of mediocrity, and BOOM! That is the sonic sound of the public leeching onto the tantalisingly 'new' sound of the summer like how an OAP holds onto their walking stick for dear life amidst a gust of wind that could barely rustle a few spindly leaves. And, crucially, it becomes the "must listen to" sound. Finito, I have said what I wanted. Simples. I'm in no way complaining, I think it's amazing to be quite frank. And frank thinks so to. Thanks Frank.

Right, the overall point is this; these last few weeks show how transitional and crazily varied the UK music industry is whilst also being monotonised no end, to the point that it could insult a kaleidoscope . The charts are hungrier than a game of hungry hippos, and they will happily digest the teeniest ounce of 'new'...and then plop it out more than a chav 14 year old girl on a Croydon council estate can push out unplanned for babies. The industry; the people; the artists are like individual garden sprinklers dripping the 'new' and the 're-invented' over the canvas that is the mainstream and we love it. The UK chart exemplifies that to the extreme. So when you pour your ketchup onto your economy burger, think about the song you're listening to, just think, and remember what I said right here. Over and out.

Oh and check out this little firecracker; it's been around for yonks now and only gained headway thanks to Annie Mac, but it's a tune and now has an awesome video to boot, which means it definitely deserves some top 40 chart land rentage space. QVC channel take notes is all I'm saying...

02 August 2010

Kylie Minogue - "Aphrodite" Album Review

Hello my fellow owls.

Right, I have to start blogging sometime and I have actually found time to do so right now. My eager talons have decided to review Kylie Minogue's eleventh studio album "Aphrodite", so sit back, have a cup of tea and please enjoy.

I had been waiting with baited breath and anticipation for this album for a long time coming now since her previous album “X” was infiltrating the chart more than swine flu was making it’s way around Mexicans; controversial pandemic references aside, for those of you living with a paper bag over your head for the last 22 years, Kylie is the little Aussie starlet who personifies feel good glittery pop that is infectious and unique. In the UK especially, Kylie has always had the moniker of the “Pop princess”, and with notable success from previous albums “Fever” and “X”, she has cemented that general opinion amongst industry critics.

However, as great as “X” was, a music behemoth termed “Gaga” well and truly swept aside the then current run of pop chart regulars such as Girls Aloud, Goldfrapp, Pussycat Dolls, The Ting Tings and the like. It could be said that Lady Gaga raised the stakes when it came to modern and contemporary pop. Controversial, “quirky”, talented, and a gifted performer. Something the global media relishes and thrives on. Thus, Kylie was swept aside and almost forgotten about as she concentrated on her personal life and post-cancer recovery. The longer she stayed away, the more was indirectly expected of her to make an epic comeback. And I think, Kylie, the "Pop princess", has done just that with an air of class, modesty and professionalism.

“Aphrodite” is the fruits of hardwork and excellent collaborations, crafted by Stuart Price, Richard X, Calvin Harris, Jake Shears amongst others. I grabbed myself a copy of the album on it's UK release date. I sat down and played it all the way through,. I can safely say I was so relieved that Kylie had not let me down. The album is simply a work of genius. If you crave breezy electro-laced synthy pop songs, then this album is most definitely worth your time and hard-earned money. The album is teeming with superb pop tunes. The first single to be released, “All the lovers”, is pumped full of swirling synths, airy vocals, and beautifully mixed beats to create a heavenly endorphine ride of contemporary pop as its best.

Every song is most definitely a corker. “Get Outta My Way” is a classic pop tune. Light yet edgy vocals generates a chorus with some underlying emotion allowing the listener to engage with the lyrics and liken themselves to what is being sung. This in turn creates a refreshing and uplifting feel that tumbles onwards like an avalanche, sweeping you up and onto that dancefloor; arms extended and dance moves at the ready. “Closer” is a bohemian electo-harpsi-esque song that digs its claws into you and drags you into a state of awe upon hearing the darker tinged side of modern pop. “Illusion” has a distinct 90’s feel about it, with catchy intermittent bleeps, staccato piano keying and electro troughs of wavey delights. “Put Your Hands Up” is another stormer. A real club classic that could blow Scandinavian minx Robyn high and dry out of that frozen glacial lake that is uber cool pop. The song is commanding, vivacious and oh so very Kylie in its irreverent upbeat and shimmering composition. "Aphrodite" and "Cupid Boy" are other standout tracks that exude the classic Kylie charms of fantastic pop at its very best and most exuberant.

The whole album unquestionably highlights the feeling that Kylie is starting to dictate the direction her music is taking. The hard work has really paid dividends and catapulted Kylie back into the spotlight. The album is perfect for getting ready before a night out. It’s not too serious. It’s just there, stirring the emotions, poking you in the side like an excitable friend getting you to dance faster than you can say “shiny gold hotpants”. "Aphrodite" is a piece of crafted pop wizardry that drips pure bliss into your eardrums. Rihanna and Lady Gaga make notes. "Aphrodite" has fallen from Mount Olympus to scintillate us at last. Welcome back Kylie is all I can say.

Check out the video for "Get Outta My Way" below and also show Kylie some love, download or buy her latest album, join the facebook/myspace/twitter groups and get listening my little owl fledglings.