Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Those Dancing Days - Hitten  

The Swedish Pipettes by way of Camera Obscura and the Sugababes? Sounds like a recipe for success and the results don't disappoint. Those Dancing Days are five trendy school-girls from Stockholm, and the real life versions are just as cute as the cartoon, but I couldn't find a photo of them all together and I can never help posting cute cartoons. Every band should have one. The girls have posted up four songs for download on their MySpace, my favourite being Hitten, closely followed by self-titled Those Dancing Days, Tasty Boy and Discho... OK, I'll just say I love all of them! Hitten is the least electro-sounding of the MySpace songs, but the beginning of it is so Pull Shapes-esque I just can't resist.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Måns Zelmerlöw - Cara Mia  

The Ark now have a strong challenger for my Melodifestivalen 2007 support, as Måns has followed them in gaining a place in the final, which takes place on 10th March. His chances don't seem too strong as his competitors include the hugely popular Sebastian Karlsson, who came second in the series of Idol where Måns placed fifth and enters MF with his best song yet, a certain crowd-pleaser, but Måns also has an excellent entry. Cara Mia is a dance-pop song, quite similar in style to last year's Eurovision entry Tornero by Mihai Traistariu, but lighter and poppier and with an amazingly catchy chorus. It's extremely uplifting, it's not left my head since I first heard it on Saturday, and I have hardly stopped playing it. I also must take a moment to mourn the loss from MF 2007 of Magnus Carlsson, which not only means that for the first time in my following the contest there will be no Alexander Bard protegée in the final, but also that an amazing song has lost out, as Magnus' entry was a masterpiece in the vein of the brilliant Swedish singer Bosson, also harking back (perhaps too much, even) to Take On Me by A-Ha. It's up for download here, and hopefully it will go on to be a big hit outside of the competition - I'll be very surprised if I don't hear it many a time on my beloved Rix FM in the coming months.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Sophie Ellis-Bextor - If You Go  

If this track is anything to go by, we should stop waiting for the next Rachel Stevens album - it's here in the form of Trip The Light Fantastic by Sophie Ellis Bextor. Her distinct vocals put some people off, but here she simply adds character to a wonderful pop song. If you liked Rachel's Negotiate With Love and Every Little Thing (and really, what true pop fan couldn't love those songs?) then you must hear this right away. I can't wait for the album - sadly we've still got nearly 3 more months to go!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

WinterKids - Somebody Else's Clothes  

This is such a moving sad song, it's really lovely. Its realness makes it special. The male and female singers are both great, showing emotion delicately and earnestly. I love how it builds up and a phrase like 'Meet me next to fahrenheit', which doesn't really make sense, somehow sounds really profound! The simplicity make the song, and even though I'm not entirely sure what they're on about, I can feel all the indeterminable emotions. I guess you can take it to be whatever emotion you want to feel. The WinterKids are great songwriters, definitely a band to watch out for, more for their greatness than bigness, though I have little doubt that they will be big. They haven't released an album yet but when they do it's sure to be worth buying. Their other songs are more jolly and bouncy and have super-catchy choruses, particularly their amazingly ace previous single Tape It which you can download here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cosmo4 - What's Your Name  

I've never liked anything by Cosmo4 before, but this is turning out to be one of my favourite entries of Melodifestivalen 2007. Sadly it's already fallen out of the competition, but it did share a round with The Ark, Jimmy Jansson and Jessica Andersson. It sounds like Mambo by Helena Paparizou as done by Ch!pz, so it's ultra-cheesy and great. It's pure catchy pop that you'll be singing for weeks, whether you like it or not. As much as I love the sophisticated, carefully-composed pop music of Xenomania and Richard X, sometimes you just need the simple, silly stuff and this fits the slot perfectly.

Monday, February 12, 2007

CSS - One Way Or Another  

If you're anything like me you will have completely exhausted your copy of CSS's shiny and fabulous latest album, and be desperate to hear something new from the super-cool Brazilians. Well, this cover version is neither new in the sense of originality or of being made recently, but I hadn't heard it until yesterday and I do think it's a pretty good version. CSS have a very distinctive and unique style so it's interesting to see how that translates onto another group's song. Listen out for a surprise insertion of another famous pop-rock classic part way through as well.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dima Bilan - Lady Flame  

Dima Bilan doesn't release many songs in English (it's pretty much a yearly event), but when he does they are always completely brilliant. I am hoping that his next album will be simply made up of great pop songs like this, Never Let You Go and It's Not That Simple - if it is, it could be the best album of 2007. I'm sure you already know and love NLYG and INTS, and Lady Flame (which was a b-side to NLYG in Sweden, but has a video so presumably was a single in Eastern Europe) is similar to the former but faster, poppier, cheesier, more of a disco-pop sound, and extremely catchy. Bizarrely, I saw an advert for a ringtone of this on a music channel the other day, suggesting it may be released as a single here. It doesn't stand a chance of being a hit but I'll certainly be picking up a copy if I can find one. I only wonder why he didn't save this for Eurovision, it would be perfect, although perhaps too much of a conventional pop song to be a winner. Amusing Dima fact: His first single was called 'Bum'!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Hush Sound - Lions Roar  

Knowing that this band were friends of Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco, I couldn't believe my ears when I heard their single Wine Red last July. It was not emo or even rock at all, but a lovely and unusual acoustic-pop song. I listened to it often, but not until today did I dare to seek out any more of their work, expecting Wine Red to be their one-off good song. And yes, they do have some quite rubbish ones which make my ears ache, but they also have some really interesting pop songs on their album, including this one which is nothing but fun. It's a bit cabaret, musical-esque, with hints of ska and swing. It's bouncy, melodramatic and silly, and although you can hear similarities in the boy's way of singing to those emo bores, he makes that sound into something completely different and highly enjoyable.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Howling Bells - Low Happening  

I'd heard a few things by the Howling Bells before and been utterly bored, so I was very surprised to stumble on the video for this new single on a music channel, and find it was them and it was a rather good song. It sounds like the rockist answer to Flashdance by Deep Dish, but it's really pretty poptastic and ace. Sultry vocals and hypnotic lyrics mesh with jerky guitars. It's no Girls Aloud but you will be bopping in your seat and singing this for hours after you hear it. Even if they never do any other good songs, it will be worth the band's existence just for this single.

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