Tag Archives: alternative

Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey

31 Jan
Surprisingly chipper for this particular post.

Surprisingly chipper for this particular post.

I start off this week, as ever in my life, with an apology. Sorry for the lack of 10 Things I Love About Pop on Saturday. I went out on Friday night and well, that’s enough of an explanation. I did, however meet some awesome people so all’s not lost? Worst apology ever. After a productive team meeting, we’re now established a rota to which I’ll be sticking ruthlessly. For two weeks. Anyway, this week I thought I’d be nice and methodical (because, sometimes I have to be) and blog a few tracks of Lana Del Rey’s debut album. We’re on the backlash to the backlash of her original backlash, which a ride that would give anyone whiplash. And look, I was pretty disappointed after reading Stereogum’s review but the good news is that I bear no such feelings shared by that author. The Times called it a tour de force which, albeit hyperbolic, is closer to how I actually feel. Actual review and no tangential information after the jump:

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Golden Blood – Friends Electric

16 Nov

I’ve been meaning to post about this one for a while. Friends Electric have really impressed me lately, and this number in particular has really grabbed my attention as well as a place on the iPod playlist to end all iPod playlists: my “Journey to School” playlist. You can rest easy when you’ve made it into that one.

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Heartbeat – The Fray

12 Oct

The Fray are a band that I really love. I thought their first album, How To Save A Life, is just about as good as a debut can get. If that weren’t enough, their sophomore effort, The Fray, was just as good if not better. Personally I just cannot get enough of Isaac Slade’s voice, and I am a firm believer that he can write a melodic hook as good as anyone. Take a listen to The Fray’s latest single, Heartbeat:

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Knees – Peter and Kerry

6 Oct

Blown away when I heard this. Honestly, something this thoughtful and beautiful hasn’t come my way in a long time. Kerry Leatham and Peter Lyons (both signed to Tape Club Records) have decided to team up and produce a collaborative EP entitled Clothes, Friends,Photos. Knees is a hauntingly calm piano and string driven work of genius that will fill up your room in the small hours of the morning. The two’s voices just compliment each other so perfectly, it’s unreal. Take a listen:

Lammicken – Braids

21 Sep

Here’s the latest and greatest from Quebec based quartet Braids. Experimental pop hits a high point in Lammicken, a slowly building track from Braids’ sophomore album Native Speaker. Honestly, this one is worth putting on when you’re in the mood to be psychadelic. Don’t you have those moods? Oh, maybe it’s just me.

Alrighty then. That should have you sorted out for this super uninteresting it’s-kind-of-almost-the-weekend-but-not-really Wednesday. Just in case you’re appetite has been well and truly whet, and you’re still hungry for more, you can check out the video of this song below and gawk at the colours.

What The Water Gave Me – Florence + the Machine

7 Sep

Florence + the Machine: Ophelia meets Lady of Shalott

So it’s Autumn and there’s suddenly plenty of female artists to talk about. Yeah I know we’ve all been mad with Adele fever for the last few months (and quite rightly so), but now perhaps its time to just start loosening our grip on the CD case of 21 (CDs being very retro by this stage). Once we’ve managed this feat, metaphorically for many most likely, we might be able to turn our attention to Florence + the Machine and others who are here to sing out the end of 2011. It is perhaps far too crude to call  the red-head the music equivalent of Marmite, a title which doesn’t quite take into account the singer’s abilities and influence in the past few years. She has quickly risen to become one of the most prominent of our female cohort, and Beyoncé recently said that the London singer was the inspiration for her album 4. All this on the back of just one album, albeit a stunning and almost flawless album of which every song was pitched at single release material level. So what is her secret? More to the point: will she destroy everything she has built with her second album release? Well hopefully this will calm your fears. No. When an artist approaches a new album it is has to be in some small way, adapt or die. That is to say you have to show some sort of movement forward towards introducing a texture to your music which makes it just as exciting and groundbreaking as the last. This has to be achieved while remaining recognizably you in the DNA of the tune, in short it’s not an easy thing to do well. A few humbly offered examples might include the Arctic Monkeys and Coldplay, who have both evolved their sound into something different and exciting with each release.

What The Water Gave Me is only an early release from an album expected in November, so this might come as slightly premature but I think we can all relax. To reduce it to a simple check list would be crass… but I’m going to do it anyway:

Emotionally aware and image filled lyrics (Check)

Distinctive space-filling vocals (Check)

Fantastic multifaceted tune (Check)

Harp (Check)

So what’s new? What’s the progression? Well the inspiration for this particular tune is meant to be about capturing the feeling of being overwhelmed (with water in this case). Welch said she thought about people dying while trying to save loved ones. For me one of the images to come to mind is the opening scene from The Hours in which a woman walks into a river, her dressing gown pockets full of stones while the water reflects the honey sun. But it is sure to say that these lyrics once again return to Welch’s exploration of death and life, and the balance and juxtaposition between the two. The tune though feels more gritty and more rough textured, and with the welcome addition of what sounds like a rock organ, there is this balance between control and chaos. So early signs indicate that this is both going to be a truly recognisable Florence and the Machine album and also a progression to a sound which is perhaps more complex than her previous work. You’ll have to wait for the rest of the album but this early release is definitely worth a listen and if only for perhaps the preparation of Florence Fever in a few months. Personally I cannot wait.

To Build A Home – The Cinematic Orchestra

15 Aug

Urgh, Monday morning. Sorry people, the weekend’s over. I wish I could tell you that we had a track for you today that would get you up and running again, and ready to face the world and the challenges it holds. I apologize, but today it’s time for soft reflection. The Cinematic Orchestra is a British jazz and electronic group, and while the band members come and go, the quality of the music remains unquestionably high. Take a listen to To Build A Home:

This track is gorgeous. It slowly builds and builds before climaxing with beautiful melodies and instrumentals. Not one to party to by any means, but definitely still worth having in your music library. Incidentally, this song has appeared in a handful of TV Shows and movies, so there’s a good chance you’ll recognize it. Check this performance out:

Young Blood – The Naked And Famous

11 Aug

Today I have a great song for you that I’m really excited about. The Naked And Famous’ Young Blood has begun to generate a buzz, and once you listen to this uplifting tune, you’ll know exactly why. Released from the New Zealand bands debut album Passive Me, Aggressive You, the song debuted on the New Zealand charts at number one, making it the first track produced by a kiwi band to do so in three years! Enjoy this one!

See? I told you it was great. What I love about this song is the way that it seems to so effortlessly blend aspects of the Passion Pit and MGMT type of electronic, with the assets of classic rock that we’re so used to hearing. Did you hear that electric guitar? Did it sound great? I thought so. You can check out the music video here, and a live performance of the song here.

Blood – The Middle East

8 Aug

Although the title of this post might seem like an ominous headline in a newspaper, I can promise you that today’s song is as beautiful as they come. The Middle East, a ten-person band originating from Queensland have stormed onto the radar after releasing their first full album I Want That You Are Always Happy in April of 2011. A friend had told me about them, but they had slipped my mind until I went to see Steve Carell’s new movie, and guess what song played during the film?

This song is gorgeous. The lead singer’s falsetto works beautifully with the backing track, which in case you hadn’t noticed, is full of whistles and wind chimes. These actually go really well with the song, and add to its overall tone. I also love the harmonies in the chorus, and the eventual crescendo. Really, there’s just so much in here. Their album is gold also, you should most definitely download it, and make sure to watch the music video below:

Believer – John Maus

22 Jul

American composer John Maus has a huge repertoire of underground releases from the beginning of his career in music. However, I’d like to focus on the closing track from his latest LP, entitled We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves. Quite a mouthful, I know, but just sit back, relax, and let Believer charm your ears.

I dare you to find chiming more sugary than that. The synths in this are gorgeous, and when they’re paired with a constant, punchy bassline and echoing vocals such as these, you just really hit the jackpot. The video that goes with it is pretty cool also. It’s very… colorful.