Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Basia Bulat - Snakes And Ladders  

This song sounds like a mix of Bat For Lashes and Amy McDonald, which is a strange combination, but obviously a great one because this is fantastic! It's folky but fun, making me want to dance around my room. Or maybe skip! It is magnificently jolly and catchy to the point of addictiveness, and actually reminds me of Nelly Furtado during her best (yet least popular, unfairly) era, of her Folklore album and brilliant songs like Powerless and Try. It's kind of jerky and messy but this is what makes it better than someone like Amy McDonald or Terra Naomi - there's a huge a sense of excitement and lust for life. The lyrics "I love the way we come undone" sum up the song's charm perfectly: its beauty is in its imperfection. And in case you were wondering, the official word is she is not Michelle Williams under a pseudonym, just an extreme look-alike.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Bat For Lashes - Trophy  

I've been following Natasha Khan's career for several months now, but it's only since I saw her live at Latitude Festival that I became a huge fan of this beautiful, lovely and amazingly talented young lady. I love her style and personality (and her all-girl backing band are equally bringing the aceness) but most of all her music which is the kind that once you get into it you quickly fall completely in love with it. She's like a female Patrick Wolf and a British Feist and a Kate Bush for the 00s. She's my biggest obsession at the moment and although I'm pleased that she's getting more recognition through her Mercury Prize nomination, I will be sad to have to share her with more people. For her next single she will re-release Prescilla, which is probably her most instant and commercially viable single choice, so I've posted this one instead, probably the next most poptastic. The refrain of "Heaven is a feeling I get in your arms" simply grabs you by the heart and refuses to let go. I also recommend Horse & I, mainly because its clip-clop horse noises remind me of my favourite Aqua single, My Oh My! Someone called Josh T Pearson sings backing vocals on this track, who Google tells me is Texan and quite an interesting and elusive character with an utterly enormous beard.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lo-Fi-Fnk - City  

Lo-Fi-Fnk may not be one of my top favourite Swedish bands, but I have developed a soft spot for them since seeing the video for Wake Up, where they seem such adorably awkward, typical teenage boys, although they're actually 22. And yet they are electro popstars, who are gaining popularity all over the place, including the UK where they released this brilliant single last month. It wasn't quite the top 10 hit they deserved, but I wouldn't be surprised if they do eventually make their way into the upper echelons of our singles chart. Lo-Fi-Fnk fit in well with the kind of electro-pop that's currently getting indie kids out of their bedrooms and onto the dancefloor, but they also have a very distinct sound. It can be a bit abrasive on first listen, but it's that sudden feeling of slight unease they cause which I think makes them stand out, and makes the music even more enjoyable and fresh-sounding when you get into it. City is on their super-cutely titled Boylife album, which is very cheap on CDON.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Venke Knutson - Holiday  

After a disappointingly dull second album, Venke is back with perhaps her best single yet. Never has a song which touches on domestic violence been so jolly! It is a very uplifting girl power type of song, though, which excuses any possible insensitivity. Venke brings a new perspective on the 'getting over Mr Rubbish' song, as it's all about going off on holiday and having fun, as opposed to wasting time getting angry at said bloke. I love the tone of Venke's voice, it just sounds like joy in aural form to me. I really like Norwegian singing voices in general - with Annie, Margaret, Bertine, Erik Faber, Espen Lind, Lilyjets and Venke, they've produced some of the best. I'm afraid the MP3 is a bit fizzy in places (despite being the CD edit, supposedly) but it's still perfectly enjoyable, and if you want a clearer copy you can buy the single on CDON.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ali Love - Late Night Sessions  

I first wrote about Ali Love on Dirrrty Pop a few months ago, celebrating the aceness of this track and Secret Sunday Lover, the latter now being a Radio 1 staple and Ali himself being enthusiastically championed by Popjustice. He's released a few mediocre indie-bloke songs before this, but these two songs are absolutely brilliant summer party retro fun electro-pop. He has to release Late Night Sessions next, and record lots more songs like this for his album, which isn't scheduled to be released until November, so he is presumably still working on it. Plenty of time for a pop-themed revamp I think!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Laura Marling - New Romantic  

A year or so after Lily Allen bounced her way to no.1 with Smile, there is an explosion of very young British female singers creating quirky pop music. Kate Nash has found herself at no.2 in the charts with lovely Foundations (and she must release Birds, which I posted here a few months ago, as her next single), but it's yet to be seen if any of the others will provide a challenge to Miss Allen. While she's not as Lily-esque as Kate or Remi Nicole or Rosie Oddie, Laura Marling is possibly my favourite of the girls in this group as she brings a very endearing youthful shyness to her music. I saw her supporting Rufus Wainwright a few weeks ago and she sounded great but she definitely needs to work on her stage presence. Still, it's the music that counts and with experience her confidence will surely grow - Laura may be the one of these girls who'll last beyond the trend.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Danny - Play It For The Girls  

When I first heard this I wasn't at all convinced, but I've come to love it even more than Tokyo! It's perfect frivolous summer Europop, in the vein of BWO or Alcazar. I got his album a few days ago and I haven't listened to it much yet, but I hope all the tracks will grow on me as much as this and Tokyo both did, as I thought they were both quite cheap and unoriginal at first but now see their genius. Make sure to give them a fair chance, you won't regret it!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Soulsavers - Revival  

If you like the Arcade Fire, or you want to like them but find them inaccessible, then this group may be for you. I normally avoid Radio 1 in the evenings (Zane Lowe is evil, after all), but I turned the radio on today and stopped in my tracks when I heard this song being played. I love it because it's so big, with loads of voices and general warmth and upliftingness. You can't help but want to sway, or have some kind of religious epiphany, even if you're an unquestionable atheist. I hope I'll be hearing a lot more of this band in future, and excitingly I just spotted that they're playing a festival I'm attending next week - wooo! Shame they're such boring-looking blokes. The singer is Mark Lanegan, who will be well known to the indie kids among you. For the rest, he did an album with a girl out of Belle and Sebastian. They're apparently making music for film soundtracks, so it's no surprise that the video is very impressive.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Flamboyant Bella - Absolutely Wankered  

Considering this song expresses the attitude I hate most about Britain's youth (and the one that, according to many of the foreign students I know, is most off-putting and alienating for them), I am quite surprised how much I like it. There's just a general jolly vibe, it's very summery holiday-ish, and it reminds me of the ace boyband V! I don't think they'd ever release a song about getting "wankered" but if they did this is how it would sound. Flamboyant Bella are an unsigned band from Hitchin (near Cambridge) who I've just discovered on MySpace, and I'll definitely be following their progress as they've got some great pop songs.

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