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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

[HOT HOT HOT] Rover - Aqualast


La révélation de la rentrée s'appelle Rover. Ou plutôt Timothée, si l'on choisit de considérer l'homme à la tête du trio scénique. 
Il a suffit de quelques titres interprétés d'une voix puissante et envoûtante, qui ont mis tout le monde d'accord à la soirée de son label (Cinq7) au début de l'été, pour que toute la salle bruisse d'excitation pour cet artiste qui a tout pour séduire un plus large public dans les mois à venir.
Le premier EP du groupe sort le 3 octobre, et il s'agit là d'un des meilleurs projets qu'il m'ait été donné d'écouter cette année. En seulement quatre titres, Rover pose les bases d'un style assuré et de titres qui flirtent avec la perfection. On adore Aqualast (en écoute ci-dessus), une merveille qui rappelle Radiohead et Tonight, très coldwave, dont la rythmique secoue intelligemment l'EP. Birds et Joy sont elles aussi des réussites totales, l'une plutôt rock et dotée d'une montée explosive, l'autre une courte ballade acoustique qui conclue parfaitement ce court avant-goût d'un album (très) attendu pour 2012.

D'ici là procurez vous ce splendide EP, et n'hésitez pas à aller voir le groupe sur scène (dates ici)

Une interview de Rover, dans ce reportage sur la soirée Cinq7 (et même que vous pourrez me voir me débattre avec un Nili de Lily Wood en "grande forme", et des Naive New Beaters plutôt... sympa!)



Une vidéo de Rover en live aux Francofolies de la Rochelle :


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Guys, I don't often praise French acts, but this one has to be one my favorite new artists. Rover is in fact singer Timothée, flanked by Dider and Arnaud on stage. Their debut EP is out on October 3rd and is all sorts of amazing. First single Aqualast is a haunting electric ballad that is reminiscent of non-boring Radiohead songs, while Tonight is a much more up-tempo and cold-wavy track that hits all the right buttons. 
You can watch and listen to some stuff above, and even catch me interviewing some bands in the first video... 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Florence And The Machine is back with new sex-like track "What The Water Gave Me". (JOY)


I've been lucky enough to be given an early access to the new Florence And The Machine song What The Water Gave Me, and I guess it's faire to say I haven't been listening to anything else lately. 


The fact Florence is back just one day after Marina premiered her new single, right after Will Young released his new album and I got an e-mail telling me I would get a promo copy of Nicola's album probably makes this week the best one in pop of the whole year. 

Florence's debut album Lungs was such an impressive record it was always going to be hard to topple it. It's probably the most difficult thing to do for a singer: to try and equal the success of a smash debut. Well I guess Cheryl Cole never had this problem... 
Lungs was an intense journey in the world of Florence Welch that gave us proper superstar status in less than a few months.

Now she is quite surprisingly back with a new song (single? buzz track?) called What The Water Gave Me, a songs fans already know because she sung it during her tour. I didn't. I was ill the day she performed in Paris, let's not talk about it please. Whereas Marina surprised everybody with a rather unexpected dancey sound, we're in familiar Flo-territory here, as the track has an immediate feel of this unique artist. The vocals are as powerful and subtle as ever, the song progresses into an epic drumming-heavy affair that climaxes with the last chorus before coming to an end with a lighter piano-driven melody. This song is pretty much like sex actually. 

I'm told the album is coming our way very soon (I heard November). The single will be available tomorrow (Wednesday Aug 24) to download from iTunes, Amazon and all.  

Et voilà!

Update : new album out November 7!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Marina is following her own path. Way ahead of the competition.


Continuing on the brilliance of the first part of Fear & Loathing, Marina kind of surprisingly dropped a new proper single today. Radioactive is a dancey, synthy and totally brilliant because it sounds like an acceptable evolution of Marina And The Diamonds, and not an opportunistic stab at trying to sound relevant. 

Sure, those who liked her for being an popstar in disguise and who considered her a quality guilty pleasure will be disappointed and even angry at her for pulling the dance card. To those people I'd say she is still building her universe and making it evolve along with her, and however "current" this song may sound, it's still totally Marina and quite undeniably a return in top form. 

I've said it countless times already, but Marina is one of the very few major popstars of our time. Her journey so far has been very exciting and I can't wait to see what she's got in store for her second album.

PS: I love the fact that she gives her first label Neon Gold (whose blogis one of the best things on the internet) a shout-out during the middle eight. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August 16: Bow down to the Queen




Happy 53rd birthday, Madonna. 


Queen of pop, icon and inspiration.
Now have a piece of cake and go back to recording that new album of yours. 


What are my 3 favorite Madonna songs, you're asking? 

Well probably those:


Ray Of Light







Vogue




Express Yourself / Nothing Really Matters






Friday, August 12, 2011

Nicola Roberts, I love you in more ways than you can ever imagine.



The video for Nicola Roberts' second single Lucky Day (Out Sept 18th).

- One of the very best pop tunes of the year according to a very serious survey conducted by me on a population composed of me. 
- It was written by none other than one of the best pop bands ever : Dragonette (according to the same survey, and proved by this and that).
- It features various effects that look "so 2001" they make the whole thing totally amazing.
- There's a presence of sperms at some point. Why? Why not?
- Nicola isn't wearing any pants. Why would she, she's a fucking major popstar.
- Her album Cinderella's Eyes is shaping up to be a milestone in 2011 pop. Suck it Cheryl Cole. 


Wanna play a game? Spot the differences between this version of the video and the raw edit of it I posted 2 weeks ago.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wanna open for Nerina Pallot in London?

Well you might. Nerina Pallot, the artist responsible for one of my favorite albums of the year is offering the support slot at her Shepherds Bush Empire concert in London on October 6th.

You want to try? All you need to do is cover Nerina's new single Turn Me On Again (out Aug 22), as a response to the video below:


Then send it to Nerina via her YouTube account (as a response to the video or through a message). It can be with a band, solo, instrumental or acapella, pretty much any which way you want to as Scissor Sisters would say. You need to be older than 18 yo and be able to play a 20-minute slot. 

Sounds amazing, right?

In other news, Nerina just tweeted the following: 
AZ is her label in France : "have you heard the french versions of "Turn Me On Again" and "Put Your Hands Up"?

As I was surprised by the news, i asked her about it, to which she replied:
"Yes, they were translated by Sophie Delila, who's fantastic. PYHU is now "Essaie Encore" (Try Again) and TMOA is now "Comme Ca" (Like this)
How amazing is that? In case you're wondering who Sophie Delila is, here's some info.

So, in a nutshell:

1) Nerina Pallot is amazing
2) You could end up on stage at one of London's most iconic venues to open for her
3) We'll soon hear her tracks in French (I'm working on that!)
4) Sophie Delila sounds good

--

Si vous ne connaissez pas encore Nerina Pallot, ce sera bientôt chose faite, puisque son label français (AZ) semble décidé à la lancer sur le marché hexagonal avec son 4ème album studio Year Of The Wolf. Pour l'occasion l'artiste anglaise a ré-enregistré les deux premiers singles de l'album en français, aidée à l'écriture par Sophie Delila. A noter que le français de Nerina est parfait! 

Par ailleurs l'artiste propose un concours pour le moins intéressant pour les musiciens amateurs ou confirmés. L'idée? Enregistrer une cover du titre Turn Me On Again (voir vidéo ci-dessus) puis la poster sur la page YouTube de Nerina. Le gagnant aura l'honneur de faire la première partie de l'artiste sur la scène mythique du Shepherd's Bush Empire de Londres le 6 octobre prochain. Seules conditions: être majeur et capable d'assurer 20 minutes sur scène. Solo, en groupe, acapella, ou instrumental, vous êtes libre d'interprêter le titre comme bon vous semble! Vous avez jusqu'au 16 Septembre pour participer. On se voit là-bas ?

Monday, August 08, 2011

Marina & The Diamonds, no Electra Heart, well not really, is back. Sort of.


Musical philosopher and largely underrated pop singer Marina Diamandis, better known as Marina and the Diamonds warned her Twitter followers earlier today that something would be happening at 4pm UK time.  "What could it be?" I wondered, quite excited. A new single? A free track? An album announcement? A wedding proposal (to me, obviously)? 

Then, 10 minutes after 4pm UK time (that's 5pm Paris time) this happened: 


That's a tweet. It led to that: 


A VIDEO! Of Marina! Featuring a new song! The whole thing is entitled "Part 1: Fear And Loathing" and is the first one of a three-part project to be unveiled over the coming weeks. As Marina told Popjustice, it's not a single : 
It’s not a single, it’s just an album track. And basically Electra Heart is a story. I don’t even know if it’s going to take the form of an album yet, but it’s a really cinematic 70s Americana-type film and each part of the story comes in Part One, Part Two, Part Three. The song that’s going online today is Part One. It’s quite hard to explain because I think a lot of people will think Electra Heart is an alter ego or something but she’s not, it’s kind of basically a vehicle to portray part of the American dream, with elements of Greek tragedy and that’s all going to be coming out through the visuals. It’s hard to explain but I think you’ll see it when it all comes together.

You can read the whole (and very long) interview on Popjustice.com. Basically Marina is doing whatever she wants, and if you don't like it, f*** you. For the record, I like it, and I think Marina is the most interesting, complex and clever popstar we've had in ages. Apart from Heidi Range of course. 

[PLAYLIST] The It's Pop sound of Summer '11

Credit : FlickR cc Susan NYC
With a Summer weather as depressing as a Pitbull x Nicki Minaj x Mohombi x Will.I.Am x Cali collaboration (you KNOW it's going to happen at some point), I thought we might as well a) jet off to Mauritius b) kill ourselves with a party bucket from KFC, but I eventually figured it'd be better for me to give you a few ideas of what to load your ipods with in August. Some big names, some superstars in the making and some songs that will probably not get the success they deserve. Ready?


Will Young - Jealousy & The Way I See

1st Pop Idol winner is back on Aug 22nd with a new album Echoes, 10 years after his first audition on the show. Produced by Richard X, the record sounds very exciting judging from the lead single Jealousy, an awesome and emotional piece of electro pop, and The Way I See, a track that didn't make the album and that Will just chose to give away. Two of the best tracks of the year right here, right now.


Get The Way I See here :

***


Snow Patrol - Called Out In The Dark

While this new single might not be the band's most effective to date, I'm happy they're back and still experimenting with their trademark sound. Plus it's good to hear something else than crappy R&B. The singles is out on September 4th as part as a four-track EP. The album Fallen Empires will follow later.


***


Bright Light Bright Light - Disco Moment

My (virtual and musical) love story with Rod Thomas, aka amazing popstar in the making Bright Light Bright Light is going strong, as he continues to amaze with this fantastic piece of emotional disco. It will make you want to dance and cry at the same time, in pure Robyn style. Buy it on Itunes or Amazon now! (US/ UK/ Amazon France, only 0,89€)


***


Melanie C - Think About It

I was and still am a major Spice Girls fan, but I must admit I've never really been rewarded with their solo careers. Apart from one amazing Emma Bunton track (Maybe) and a few Geri Halliwell goodies, the only one that (almost) always delivered consistently good pop is Melanie C aka Sporty Spice. Think About It, her kinda Teenage Dream-esque new single, is no exception and I could see it become a mainstream hit, if only people were less stupid and didn't blame her for being a former Spice Girl. Her new album The Sea is out in September. Support her, you villains!


***


Oh My! - Kicking and Screaming

I told you about those two already, when they released a great (and free!) debut single a few months ago. Now they're back with a second, and even better one on which they collaborated with Example! Kicking and Screaming is just a great, super catchy and clever pop song, that deserves some proper exposure. Hopefully the girls will start releasing stuff for real, and not just as free buzz tracks. But for now, just enjoy!

Free download:


***


Beyoncé - End Of Time

Among the general snoozefest that is Beyoncé's fourth album "4" to me, lies this totally awesome jam called End Of Time, that saved me from drowning in an ocean of boring (but classy, you gotta give B that) ballads. This one shares some military drumming with the first anthemic single Run The World (Girls), and will have you off your seat in no time. That's exactly how I like Michelle and Kelly's best pal: up-tempo and jumpin' jumpin'


***


Wolfette - Different Story

What's so sad is the fact this single (and artist) are currently going by completely unnoticed despite being awesome. The track is great electro pop with perfect production, and Wolfette seems to have at least three great tracks under her belt, if her Soundcloud page is any indication (don't miss Vanilla, which is a free download). Can't wait to hear more from that lovely lady.


***


Creature - So High

I can't believe I forgot to post this absolute favorite of mine which sounds like a sonic fusion of Dragonette, Goldfrapp, Yeah Yeah Yeah's Zero and all other amazing poppers in between. No wonder I LOVE it more than 98% of the songs I've heard this year so far. Apart from that, this canadian band doesn't seem very exciting, but at least they're generous: you can get the track for free here. That's more than enough!


***


Robyn - Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall

Neverendingly flawless swedish pop queen Robyn recently visited BBC1's Live Lounge to promote her single Call Your Girlfriend. And as artists do when they play that show, she performed a cover of a current hit. She chose Coldplay's lastest single Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall. And you know what? She made it even better;, more emotional and epic. This woman can do no wrong. 


***


Lloyd - Dedication To My Ex feat. Andre 3000 & Lil Wayn

What's not to like about a song celebrating (well, sort of) lady parts? Not much, as this track from US rapper has got me groovin' far more than I would admit. Llyod is typically the kind of artist about whom I don't give a $*** what he's done before and what he'll do after, or even what other songs are on his album. This one's just great and fun (and a bit misogynous, too, sorry ladies) and quite frankly, we don't really need much more than that, do we? 


***

Foster The People - Pumped Up Kicks

Their debut album Torches is marvelously uplifting and summer-y and this singalong single is no different. Well the lyrics aren't exactly a Selena Gomez lovefest, but still, the chorus is catchy as hell! If you haven't already you should definitely check their album out and see them on stage. I did twice already  this year, and believe me those sexy ones definitely deserve some cheering...


***


The Saturdays - All Fired Up

Least-charismatic-but-often-musically-well-endowed band of all time The Saturdays are getting ready to release their new single All Fired Up. The track is a Xenomania-produced club banger with generic party/dancefloor/dance lyrics that follows the path of edgier and melody-less sound they launched with previous effort Notorious, but this time around it really works. I'm curious to see the video and performances of this one.

(I love the fact a "lyric video" was made, given the high quality of said lyrics. Sing, bitches!)

***


Kasabian - Switchblade Smiles

I was lucky enough to attend a listening party for Kasabian's forthcoming album Velociraptor! (out Sept 19th) a few weeks ago, and let me tell you there are some serious tunes on it. Switchblade Smiles is the lead single and gives a pretty good idea of what to expect: big melodies, more electro-rock fusion and a few surfire hits. For that matter, the album's title track is as huge as a dinosaur escape from Jurassic Park. 


***



The Sound Of Arrows - Magic

You know what? This track is still as amazing as when I first blogged it two-and-a-half years ago (read here). Now things are finally getting real for the band, who are about to announce the details of their album release. I saw them live at London's Lovebox festival in July (along with 15 other people under  heavy rain), and believe me, this record is going to be MAJOR. Plus they gave me chocolate. So frankly, they're my new favorite band.
PS: how cute is the video?


***


Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - The Death Of You And Me

While his brother Liam decided to go massively shit with his post-Oasis debacle project Beady Eye, Noel took some more time and is back with a great single called The Death Of You And Me, taken from his new band Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' album (out Oct 17). The song is a rather classic Oasis-sounding tune complete with brass and a super-catchy chorus. What's not to love here?


***


Kylie Minogue - Aphrodite

I'm well aware this track is more than a year old, but I've been listening to it an awful lot over the past few weeks. The Nerina Pallot-penned title-track from Kylie's latest album is one of the very best off Aphrodite and should undoubtedly have been released as a single. Now, with the campaign and tour being over, there's now way this will happen, so here it is in all its "Les Folies" glory. In case you weren't able to attend the campiest and most amazing show on Earth, you can still watch it on YouTube and buy the DVD which is rumoured to be released very soon. 


(Studio version)


That's all, folks!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

[ALBUM REVIEW] Nerina Pallot - Year Of The Wolf


You know what? This review should have been published WEEKS ago. The album was released in June, and here we are, in August, and it's still waiting for me to press the "publish" button at some point. But let's look at it this way: while I was keeping it in the oven for you to read eventually, some great news happened on the Nerina front:

- French fans: she was just signed to AZ/Universal, great purveyor of awesome pop in our country (Scissor Sisters, Sia, VV Brown...).

- Her album will be available on French iTunes on August 15

- The video for the second single Turn Me On Again just arrived in my inbox (and on the Internet, for that matter). It's a perfect match to the song: fresh, sunny, summery and warm. Love it!


SO, that album review...

Albums are are a tricky business. It's difficult to give a full body of work some consistence and convey emotion throughout a 45 minute recording. That's probably why so many artists are releasing "EPs" theses days (that and the fact they're far less expensive and time-consuming to produce). So when you get to hear an album that offers as many amazing moments as Nerina Pallot's Year Of The Wolf you understand that the difficulty of being relevant for a full 11 songs doesn't seem to worry her.

After three mostly underrated and underperforming records full of insanely good moments, Nerina, now a mother of both a baby boy and two amazing tracks on Kylie's latest album Aphrodite (the awesome title track and Better Than Today), is back with her fourth LP. And boy does she deliver.

How the first single Put Your Hand Up wasn't a huge mainstream hit is beyond me, and total unfairness. Oh wait, people prefer crap featuring Pitbull and The Black Eyed Peas "singing" about going to the club. This song is the definition of effortlessly good pop with a strong melody and construction, and in this way it's a perfect peek of what's to come.


In fact every song on this record is a little world of its own, and Nerina's voice as well as the personality she's injecting in everyone of them make them important. Usually not keen on down tempo tracks, I found myself totally caught by some of the quieter songs on the record, with This Will Be Our Year being the most addictive. History Boys is heartbreakingly beautiful and its lyrics are just perfectly balanced between cleverness and raw emotion.

Next single Turn Me On Again (out Aug 22, artwork below) is a great choice because it shows a playful and uplifting side to the record that could probably convince more people to look into it further.

Year Of The Wolf is a real breeze of fresh air and a slice of real life that's at times overwhelming and at times sad. It creates moments of real emotion and gave me an impression that's perfectly summarized in a line of I Do Not Want What I Do Not Have : 'it's so good to be alive".


Monday, August 01, 2011

Sadly, you can now hear the new Sugababes single in full.


Remember when the Sugababes sounded like that : (Freak Like Me, 2002, Suga 2.0) ?

or like that (Hole In The Head, 2003, Suga 2.0) ?

or like that (Push The Button, 2005, Suga 2.0) ?

or like that (About You Now, 2007, Suga 3.0) ?

or even like that (Get Sexy -MAJOR guilty pleasure-, 2009, Suga 3.0/4.0) ?

Well, if you expected something in the lines of their previous hits for their comeback, you're in bad luck. Me too, for that matter. After some unnecessary teasing, some ridiculous endorsement for a phone company, a quite bad "debut performance" and some neverending tweeting, the fourth version of the band once known as Sugababes finally debuted their lacklustre new single Freedom.

Here it is:


Pretty disappointing, right? Bland, generic and not-so-anthemic, it is in no way the type of song the band needed to get back on track. All this is quite annoying because when you think about how amazing this multi-lineup band used to be, you can only regret how uninteresting and unexciting it has become.

I believe their reign as the UK's second best girlband of the century (if we don't consider the return of the Spice Girls in 2007), after Girls Aloud of course, ended after Keisha Buchanan left in 2009. Being the last remaining member of the original band, she was some sort of guarantee for the band to remain as credible as could be. That and their (i.e. their team's) choice to go more urban, r&b, less original and generally super-slutty, and to step away from their pop sound, which was a bad on,e and just set them as a bunch of Fergies. Yup, it's that sad.

Not that there's much competition on the girlband front at the moment (ok, The Saturdays can still accidentally release a good single), but Sugababes will need way better songs than that if they don't want to disappear. For good this time.

OH LOOK! A photo from the set of the Freedom video, that was just tweeted by social-networking sites philosopher and intellectual leader Jade Ewen. Stylish and classy, right? By the way, if you want to read tweets as fascinating as "I just had a great facial, I feel so good", don't forget to follow Heidi Range. Probably my favorite person on Twitter EVER.



OK the bridge + chorus will be stuck in my head all night. I guess that's some sort of victory for team Sugababes.