Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Bamboo Lounge: Girls & Guitars

One of the main progressions in my music taste last year was when changes started to occur in my life, and more than once I found myself lying wide awake in the middle of the night, staring at the ceiling, lost in the state I was in. As I told myself that I must have the right kind of music for these moments, along the way I discovered so many great music from a genre I had usually overlooked before. And now every day, some soothing, chillout, cozy, downtempo music can always my cup of hot coffee. Could be electronic, could be trip-hop, could be ambient, could be folk. All the categorization, it doesn't matter. What matters is that these tracks soothe your ears, calm your body, and ease your mind after a tiresome long day.

So that's how I've got the idea to launch this new feature. I'd like to call it The Bamboo Lounge (sounds silly, I know). Each mini mix will consist of five songs. So next time if you need some comfort music to make you feel alright, look no further. Take a seat in The Bamboo Lounge...

For the first ever mix, the theme is Girls & Guitars. It's quite self-explanatory itself, so I'm just gonna leave you with the music. Hope you'll enjoy this new feature.

1.Saint Etienne - Side Streets (from Tales From The Turnpike House)
2.Feist - Gatekeeper (One Room One Hour Remix) (from Open Season)
3.Emiliana Torrini - Sunny Road (from Fisherman's Woman)
4.Holly Brook - Saturdays (from Like Blood Like Honey)
5.Skye - Solitary (from Mind How You Go)

Whatchathinkboutit? Leave a comment, feedback is welcome.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The OC Farewell Mix

The OC (2003-2007)

February 22. The series finale's supposed to air tonight. I'm quite curious about which song they choose for the final scene.
Just to make it clear from the get-go, I'm not a big OC fan. I have only finished season 1 so far. I was two seasons behind when I started watching the pilot, and didn't have time to catch up with the rest. Now that it's over, I'll probably sit down and have a marathon watch, some day. I already knew most of the twists of the plots, though. I think it started out as a good show, but the writers didn't know how to keep it standing out so it all went downhill. The music did more than compensating, though. Yeah, I confess: beside Mischa Barton, I watch it for the music. I think The OC played a significant part in the move of bringing indie music to the forefronts. Though its music director is the same woman behind the music picks for Grey's Anatomy, The OC is more about the obscure while the latter is more mainstream (Snow Patrol, The Fray).
The show has introduced me to great deal of bands I might not have heard much of before (i.e. Rooney, Beulah, etc.). I know some naysayers got this idea that when an indie band clears a song for a popular tv show, they sell out, which is just crap. Because 1. It brings food on their plates 2. It gains them more exposure, help book them more gigs, help sell records...which brings us back to no. 1. It wouldn't do them any harm.
As I love all the OC mix cds, and most of the songs heard on the show from first season to present, it's so hard for me to shortlist them to a mix. Some of them really cement the memorable moments. So finally, I decided to go with 16 songs. To say that these songs are good is an understatement. They're all incredibly great in their own rights, and if you haven't heard any ones of them, do so.
We'll see if there'll be a show that can fill in The OC's shoes, musically. We'll see.

Phantom Planet - California 2005
Rooney - I'm Shakin'
Death Cab For Cutie - A Lack Of Color
Death Cab For Cutie - A Movie Script Ending
Death Cab For Cutie - Soul Meets Body
Finley Quaye feat. Beth Orton & William Orbit - Dice
Beulah - Popular Mechanics For Lovers
Nada Surf - If You Leave
Jem - Maybe I'm Amazed
Keane - Walnut Tree
Of Montreal - Requiem for O.M.M.2
Pinback - Fortress
The Subways - Rock & Roll Queen
Imogen Heap - Speeding Cars
Belle And Sebastian - Song For Sunshine
Zero 7 - The Pageant Of The Bizarre
Youth Group - Daisychains

Buy cds from 'Music From The OC' series here

Update: Here's the last song ever heard on The OC.
Patrick Park - Life Is A Song

And here's a previous post on The OC's cover project

California here we come, right back where we started from...

What Keeps Me Tuning In...

The show's back and it's getting creepier than ever. For instance, the chill-inducing brainwash scene (if you play it backwards, you will hear a voice whispering these words:'Only fools are enslaved by space and time', view YouTube here). I wonder if the brainwashing music's actually an actual, commercially available track, well they might as well include it in a new volume of the soundtrack series anyway. And last week's episode when the scary-looking old lady told Desmond about how he do not have free will, and when Desmond revealed to Charlie that he's destined to die. I like how the show keeps switching from scientific and godlike perspectives and keeps us bewildered. I know some find it too much of a mindfucker to handle, some think it has jumped the shark but not me, I will keep tuning in. So many questions need answering. My only complaint is why the hell they cast that 'Married to the Kellys' girl and that 'Love Actually' guy? They're not involved in anything interesting so far, we can barely see them around. Oh, new episode already? Better go catch it! And get LOST in it! Sorry, can't help it.

I so want to give up on this show now. They keep introducing new characters, and there's too much going on now I can hardly keep track. The whole "Peter's gonna explode New York' thing is getting ridiculously annoying now, like the character himself. Will Hiro get it over with and get the freaking sword already? Plus they keep killing off my favorite characters. First, Eden. Oh, Eden. Rachel-Bilson-lookalike Eden. And now Simone. Great. Please, not Simone! I still remember how adorably she delivered this line: 'This world's insane. I'm not gonna keep fightin' it.' I kept rewinding to that part when I was watching it on my iPod.

Hands down the best new show! I can't get enough of this shit. It was the authenticity of her name that peeked my curiousity and so far the three aired episodes got me laughing my ass off. It's hilarious, in such an offensive, twisted, controversial, ironic fashion. We've all seen this kind of innocent, whimsical deliverance of 'adult' comic materials, but Sarah just makes it so watchable and enjoyable. And damn, she can sing! I know it's not for everyone. But I'll keep watching, for sure.

Is it just me, or the recent episodes were quite close to the old standards (except the Christmas one, one of the worst)? Yup, I'm still watching. I'm fanatically addicted to it that way. Anyway, have you watched the new trailer for 'The Simpsons Movie'? It looks phenomenal. This is going to be the best movie of 2007. No kidding. I just know.

Series finale today, huh? Does this mean I have to start watching Grey's Anatomy now, as a new source of indie music? Sigh, I'll post a farewell mix later on.

Okay, to keep things music relevant, here's a sweet little song, 'Eyes', from Rogue Wave. You might recall hearing it in the first two episodes of 'Heroes', and it's also the only song featured on the show so far apart from incidental music.

Rogue Wave - Eyes (as heard on Heroes)

Update: Oh hey, I found an mp3 of that freaky, The-Knife-ish brainwashing electrodance piece of music from LOST. Let's just call it Karl's Brainwashing Song. Now you can brainwash anyone you want, muhaha! [credits to]

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


A bunch of remixes that's been on rotation in my iPod lately. All equally ace.

Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape (Konvict Remix)
This is how the song might have sounded if Pharrell were to produce it. It's got a bouncy, commercial, typical hip-hop beat and a new verse for both Akon & Gwen. Apparently, her next single will be '4 In The Morning'. Wise gal.

Beyonce - Irreplaceable (STA Remix)
A new remix for a ubiquituous song. It actually brings something new to it, with snappy, lean-with-it beats. Basically like the original version, but more upbeat and danceable. Quite like it.

The Sounds - Tony The Beat (Rex The Dog Mix)
If I hadn't heard the original version, I'd assume this is just a nice banging electropop single. One made for clubs, clocking in over 6 minutes. Rex The Dog's so hot right now, isn't he?

Zero 7 - You're My Flame (Justus Köhncke Remix)
A vinyl rip. I actually find this more interesting than the original version (which was a weird choice for a single, there's plenty of better songs on the album). A 7-minute dance remix, but it doesn't feel overtime. I seldom like club remixes, but this one's an exception. One of those random, yet deserving downloads I stumple upon every now and then.

Peter Bjorn And John - Let's Call It Off (Girl Talk Remix)
Yay. Girl Talk remixed Peter Bjorn And John. Which turned out just cool. Strong follow-up single, but can't say the same about half of the album, which is mostly like underproduced, substandard b-sides.

Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars (Hey Team Remix)
This actually adds something to such a bland 'breakthrough' single. With soothing electronic details, it's one for a chillout night. Not exactly new, but I still like it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Upcoming Release: Sounds Eclectic: The Cover Project

KCRW and Starbucks Entertainment will team up to co-release a cover compilation called Sounds Eclectic: The Covers Project on March 13, at select Starbucks locations (Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, San Diego, Austin, Boston, and Washington, D.C.), and online (at this website)

All acoustic performances were originally recorded live in the KCRW studio for Nic Harcourt's "Morning Becomes Eclectic" program, except for The Flaming Lips, who took on Radiohead's "Knives Out" in their tour bus on the way to the studio.

Proceeds from album sales will assist the station in digitizing its huge (60,000+ albums) music library. So it's all for a good cause.

Since Starbucks is involved, no surprise looking at the tracklist, where they try to jam in as many big names as they can, names whom the average Starbucks customer would recognize. And the overall mood is, of course, coffee-house-friendly.

A neat collection, though. Tracklist below.

01 Girls in Hawaii: "Out on the Weekend" (Neil Young)
02 Sia: "I Go to Sleep" (the Kinks)
03 The Magic Numbers: "Crazy in Love" (Beyoncé)
04 Damien Rice: "Creep" (Radiohead)
05 Nikka Costa: "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl" (Nina Simone)
06 Dido: "Fire and Rain" (James Taylor)
07 Paul Weller: "Wishing on a Star" (Rose Royce)
08 Rufus Wainwright and Chris Stills: "Harvest" (Neil Young)
09 R.E.M.: "Gentle on My Mind" (John Hartford)
10 Gary Jules: "Mad World" (Tears for Fears)
11 The Flaming Lips: "Knives Out" (Radiohead)
12 Robert Plant: "Black Dog" (Led Zeppelin)
13 Missy Higgins: "Moses" (Patty Griffin)
14 M. Ward: "Let's Dance" (David Bowie)
15 K.D. Lang: "Hallelujah" (Leonard Cohen)

And here are a few choice cuts for previewing. If you like what you hear, pick up a copy the next time you stop by the local Starbucks. After all, it's a cool radio station you'd be helping here.

Sia - I Go To Sleep (The Kinks Cover)
Dido - Fire and Rain (James Taylor Cover)
Paul Weller - Wishing On A Star (Rose Royce Cover)
Rufus Wainwright & Chris Stills - Harvest (Neil Young Cover)
Missy Higgins - Moses (Patty Griffin Cover)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sights & Sounds #1

You know what, beside being a music geek, I also have a soft spot for ace music videos. Not so much for that kind of TRL flashy promo videos. But also for those experimental, lo-fi, obscure ones that you can only see thanks to the miracles of the internet since no music channels would give them airtime. So I decided to unleash more of that side here. Every week, you can 'tune in' here for 'Sights & Sounds', a new feature in which I share my raves and rants about recently released music videos. Most of them will have downloadable high quality Quicktime mov files if available, and sometimes I might throw in an mp3 or two. Okay, let's do this..thing!

Snow Patrol - Open Your Eyes (dir: Robert Hales)

The first ace music video of Snow Patrol since 'Chocolate'. It's an alt. version, and a 'homage' to a cult-classic short film made in Paris in 1976 called 'C'était un Rendezvous'. The concept is simple: a evening drive around the streets of Paris with the view from behind the windscreen, all shot beautifully in just one take. Sounds boring on paper, but actually it fits perfectly with the song, and I love how all the doves start to flap their wings off the ground as the song builds up to its climax. Unoriginally awesome.

Download the music video:Snow Patrol - Open Your Eyes (the links I provide will always be MOV)

The Bird And The Bee - Again & Again (dir: Autumn De Wilde)

The very first video from my new favorite group, directed by their photographer Autumn, who did Jenny Lewis' 'Rise Up With Fists' last year. It's quite adorable, sweet and chic, a suitable visual companion to the song, and it takes the song title quite literally. Plus I never notice that the song can be this upbeat before, and now it's stuck in my head all over again, and again, and again, and again...
I know I never really did a proper post about them, but seriously, I'm so head over heels in love with this duo (vocalist Inara George & producer Greg Kurstin, whose name you will see a lot this year), and their sugary '60s indie pop confection. Here, preview the song, highly recommended!

MP3:The Bird and the Bee - Again And Again

Camera Obscura - If Looks Could Kill

It's amazing what a good editor what can do with a bunch of random touring footages. Trippy video for a fantastic song. This is their third single off 'Let's Get Out Of This Country', and it's their most danceable one yet. Sigh, yes, you heard it before on 'Grey's Anatomy'...Traceyanne Campbell's still got that cute I-smell-poos look on her face. Love these Glaswegians.

MP3:Camera Obscura - If Looks Could Kill

M.I.A. - Bird Flu

Oh look! She must have gone back to Sri Lanka to film this! Look at those kids! In tie-dye t-shirts! Breaking it down to the beats! They look so healthy and well-fed! Could it get any happier than this?
Musically, it's such a collage of different cultures that it sounds ace despite being quite tuneless. M.I.A. said she called it 'Bird Flu' because 'this beat's gon' kill everyone!'. Oh.

Download the music video:M.I.A. - Bird Flu

Klaxons - Golden Skans (dir: Saam Faramand)

Shame on me. I've had the song for quite a while, but just watched this last week. And wow, it's so, uhm, visually newrave! So many lights! It's a step up, since the last vid I saw from them, 'Magick', totally grossed me out!

The Killers - Read My Mind (dir: Diane Martel)

The first likeable single from 'Sam's Town', and also the most immediate track on it. This time, The Killers go 'Lost In Translation'. They do all kinds of things foreigners would do in Tokyo, like throwing dead leaves at local children, getting their face powdered up and donning geisha kimonos, and sleeping with a 'kawaii' green dinosaur. And not shaving a moustache.

Robyn - Konichiwa Bitches (dir: Johan Sandberg, Fredrik Skogkvist, Henrik Timonen)

It's so cheesy it's great! The first song from Robyn that I actually like! The vid takes the lyrics literally, and by that, we 've got a whole lot of costumes with karaoke subtitles! It sounds and looks like a 'poor man' version of a Missy Elliott song/video. Ba da boom boom.
Took 16 months to make from first meeting to post-production.

MP3:Robyn - Konichiwa Bitches (fun Swedish pop, y'all)
MOV:Robyn - Konichiwa Bitches
Bonus:Photos of all the costumes here!

Scissor Sisters - She's My Man

Could be the next viral video sensation, whatever that means. The treatment is fun though it has nothing to do with the song (and that's a good thing, the song's terrible). It's supposed to let you see the tricks, and what the hell is Ana Matronic wearing?

Justin Timberlake - What Goes Around...Comes Around (dir: Samuel Bayer)

Yawn. 9 minutes. Boring dialogue. An average song. The only thing interesting here is, ahem, Scarlett Johansson's boobs. Here's the plot [spoiler!]:girl meets boy. girl cheats boy. boy knows. girl crashes her car. girl's dead.
See, that's the message, cheat Justin and you're way dead.

Hilary Duff - With Love (dir: Matthew Rolston)

Is it just me that finds this quite disturbing? So Duff's all grown up, she wants to get her sexy on now, I get it. She spent all those years proving how nice and clean-cut she is, criticizing her famous peers in interviews and now she ends up doing just the same to sell records? Yeah. I was hoping that maybe the lyrics still have some Disney values (since that's what she's best at), but after watching this, it's clear she's singing about getting boned! I really do like this new catchy, refreshing electropop sound of her, but come on, why do it if you're gonna look so awkward doing it? It's like her publicist aims for 'anorexic cheap whore'. You know what's even more shameful than that fake orgasmic face of her in the elevator? That this whole thing is obviously just a cross-promotion for her crappy perfume. End of rant.
Besides, who the hell thinks they will have a good video by booking Matthew Rolston these days?


Here are a few more cool videos that are not new, but deserve a download if you want more than just blurry YouTube clips:

Sophie Ellis Bextor - Catch You
Mika - Grace Kelly
Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape
Jarvis Cocker - Don't Let It Go To Waste
Muse - Knights Of Cydonia

Now applaud yourself for making it to the end of the post.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Feist - My Moon My Man!

Today is the first greatest day of 2007 so far...because Feist's new single 'My Moon My Man' has made its round on the internet!
I can't stress enough how 'highly recommended' this is. Come on, it's Leslie Feist!
Just brilliant. A basic bass line, and the rest you can leave it up to her. She just delivers it so effortlessly. This album's really shaping up to be one of the best of the year. And it will be. I predicted that with uber-confidence.

Feist - My Moon My Man

Here's a look at the official tracklist of 'The Reminder':

"So Sorry"
"I Feel It All"
"My Moon My Man"
"The Park"
"The Water"
"Sea Lion Woman"
"Past in Present"
"Limit to Your Love"
"1 2 3 4"
"Brandy Alexander"
"Honey Honey"
"How My Heart Behaves"

For now, you can listen to various live recordings of some of the new tracks at the ultimate Fiest fansite/blog All Things Feist.

The Comeback: Dolores O'Riordan

Behold, the return of Dolores O'Riordan! Not ringing any bells? The frontwoman of The Cranberries? Okay, 'Zombie'? I hope you know who I'm talking about.

Okay, so after releasing a best of compilation in 2003 (along with their final single 'Stars', which is also one of their best), The Cranberries announced the split and Dolores herself also went under the radar. The last 3 years, she had been working on various projects, including her solo debut, and also took the time to make a cameo appearance on Adam Sandler's movie 'Click'.
And now, it's all official. Her solo album entitled 'Are You Listening?' will be released in Europe in May 7, and May 8 in the US. The lead single, 'Ordinary Day', has already leaked and is gaining positive feedbacks from fans.
I've always been a fan of The Cranberries. Not like I follow their every move, but they definitely had a quality run of great punchy pop-rock singles, and don't you just love that kind of husky tone in her voice?
This single, it's quite a departure from her Cranberries days. It's a whole lot more pop-oriented, and carries a feel-good, positive, radio-friendly vibe about it. There are some obvious Irish musical influences. It won't win you over at the first listen, and will disappoint you if you're expecting something outstandingly epic coming from her. But after a few repeated listens, I think it's a quite good song and the album, well I'll be looking forward to it.

Dolores O'Riordan - Ordinary Day

Her Myspace (for now unofficial)

The Comeback: Avril Lavigne

"I know I'm probably the last blogger on Earth to comment about this, but I just notice this lying in the draft and can't help but post it for the sake of it"

Considered how Avril's now a married woman, we can see her going through a lot of changes lately. She learnt to curl her hair. She wore gowns to the red carpet. She even lent her voice to an animated character. Needless to say how thrilled I am to find out what new, pioneering directions she's taking her music to. She must sound, like, so mature now. So before I got the first listen to her comeback single 'Girlfriend', I thought to myself: 'Wow, this must be her profound musings on the joy of being someone's girlfriend or so'. Guess what, musically, she's really changed! Take a look at a few facts from my observation which I list below:

  • She starts the track with 'Hey hey you you!'
  • She claims herself a 'motherfvcking princess'
  • She sings about stealing someone's boyfriend.
  • An 8-year-old can easily understand all the lyrics.
  • The most sophisticated expression she used: 'No way!'

So yeah, she's changed. A lot.

Here are a few more facts about the song:

  • Hand claps.
  • It being quite cheerleading-ready.
  • Annoyingly catchy.
  • Pure punk pop.

Make that what you will.

Preview the song. 'The Best Damn Thing' drops in April.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day Mix

Happy Valentine's Day!
Hope you and your significant other's been enjoying the day cozy in each other's arms. Sweet kisses, chocolate, roses and all that. Every day could be Valentine's Day, though, if you want it to.

I'm feeling a little under the weather today, anyhow I managed to browse through my library and pick out these ten lovely love songs. It's a mixed bag as usual, some Swedish pop, some covers, some relatively new, and a really nice acoustic version of 'Lovefool'. I try not to let in any depressing, heartbreaking songs (if I did, it'd be so depressing it'd ruin your day). I know they're not the best choices, but I think they stick together quite well. Enjoy!

Peter Bjorn And John - Young Folks
Belle & Sebastian - Funny Little Frog
The Cardigans - Lovefool (Puck Version)
Keri Noble - Talk To Me
Jem - Maybe I'm Amazed (Paul McCartney cover)
Acid House Kings - Say Yes If You Love Me
Jason Lytle - All You Need Is Love (the Beatles cover)
Mika - Love Today
The Album Leaf - Always For You
Lighthouse Family - Run

The 10th Anniversary Edition of Baz Luhrmann's 'Romeo + Juliet' soundtrack just drops in stores recently with 5 new bonus tracks. I have always wanted to see the movie as it came out at a time when I was still a kid, and actually I have caught it on cable tv for a few times now, but didn't have time to sit down and watch it in whole. Well, I should, someday. You know, it was because of being featured in this soundtrack that The Cardigans skyrocketed to the mainstream in the US (and then forever being mislabeled as a 'one hit wonder'). There are also plenty of other good tracks worth checking out from Garbage, Radiohead etc. Could be a nice, hip gift, no? You can visit its MySpace page to stream some tracks.

And I notice that all my files hosted on SnapDrive has all evaporated for no reason at all. Sorry, but this time around I can't reupload them again. Please bear with me.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Has Norah Jones become interesting?

That, above, is a capture from her new music video 'Sinkin' Soon', for which she has teamed up again with director Ace Norton (who also did 'Thinking About You'). It is her best music video to date.

You can take a look at a few more captures below, as this post is quite a capture frenzy one.

Lo-fi stop-motion animation: check. Playing dress-up: check. Over-the-top facial expressions: check. Dancing with a hollow suit: check. It's almost too indie for VH1.

Now when was the last time you saw a mainstream 'serious' multiple-Grammy-award-winning artist having so much fun making fun of herself like that?

This is a very refreshing image makeover. I don't care much about the song, but visually, I'm sold. We could see more of this playful side of her.

For now, you can watch it at her official site (Media->Videos) or download it in FLV format.

My Most Anticipating Record of 2007


The Reminder by Feist.

May 31 for US, and April 23 for others.

Love the cover.
I'm quite overwhelmed right now I really don't know what else to say, except that it's gonna be brilliant.

Thanks I Am Fuel, You Are Friends for the tips! Also get over there now, 'cause she just made available the entire rare debut album from Feist, 'Monarch' for download.

This obviously made my day.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Cover: Mika - Hips Don't Lie

First, let me just say that 'Grace Kelly' is a very addictive song. And 'Life In Cartoon Motion' is probably the first great pop album of 2007.

There you have it. Now, the main point of this post. To share a new Live Lounge cover that will peek your curiousity for sure. And traffic boost. Mostly the former one, though.

Here, clearly Mika doesn't take it seriously. He kept cracking up all the way throughout the take, he didn't care to memorize all the lyrics, and he was both Shakira and Wyclef Jean (low register at Wyclef's parts, and that sometime annoying falsetto at Shakira's). I'm not sure what to make out of this cover except that it's just fun to listen to. Like if you're, uhm, a big fan of the hit, you'll be terrorized by this version, otherwise, you will enjoy it and accept it as what it is.

This has been around for a while, but in case you haven't got it, here's your chance.

Mika - Hips Don't Lie (Shakira Cover)

Mika's MySpace

Something funny: I tried to google 'Mika' in Google Image search engine for a ready pic, and those are the results it came up with. I ended up cropping and uploading one myself.

Oh, oh deary me...

Okay, so I've been avoiding posting this since every single blog out there has probably got it covered. Try as I might, eventually I gave in because you simply can't avoid Lily Allen.

It's adorable in all the wrong ways.
It's times like these you say thanks to YouTube, a music video like that will have a hard time in the editing room and you know when it's aired on TV, it won't be as twistedly fun.

'Alfie', along with 'Shame On You' will be her next double-A-side single. I can see why her label chose 'Alfie', but why the latter one? It's good, but it's no singles material, so what's the point of a double-A-side single when one can't really complement the other? Where the hell is 'Knock 'Em Out' or 'Everything's Just Wonderful'? Those two is far superior compared to 'Shame On You'. This time around, she'll be going for her lowest chart position. Too bad this could probably the final single off such a brilliant album.

Download 'Alfie' music video (Quicktime MOV format)

This one is also fresh off the boat...

Girls Aloud vs. Sugababes. Walk This Way. Aerosmith single. The best Comic Relief single so far. Nothing earthshaking, just a fun upbeat cover, that's it.

Such a pity the video's such a lousy, tacky, badly-edited, faux-gloss cheesefest. It could've been better.

Speaking of Comic Relief, this got me laughing out loud yesterday:


Sunday, February 04, 2007

One To Watch: Sally Shapiro

I was introduced to Sally Shapiro through a raving Pitchfork review, and I was initially a little hesitated to check out her music, mainly because 'italo disco' is a genre that I know nothing about, and from the sound of it I imagine it as those hardcore Eurotrash club music that is absolutely not my thing. Amazingly, the album turned out to be something I can enjoy.

To begin with, Sally Shapiro's not this girl's real name. She's so shy of the public that she never performs live, never gives real-life interviews, refuses to shoot a music video and not even lets her producer (Johan Agebjörn) be in the same room when she's recorded. That makes her a mystery, and a well-kept one at that (this kinda reminds me of The Knife? I guess it's a Swedish thing).
You would imagine her as the kind of girl who goes to nightclubs only to sit down quietly in a dark corner, away from all the flashy lights, sipping cocktail and looking at her own toes while everybody's dancing the night away. At first, she seems out of place, but then it shows that she's really just the other part of the crowd. That pretty much sums up how her music feels like.
With '80s strong beats and textural synths, the last thing I'd expect is an ethereal, shy-seeming voice breathing out melancholy melodies and bittersweet lyrics about love. The combination works like a charm, and the songs most of the time clock over 5 minutes, they don't feel repetitive at all. What gives them extra points is that the tunes are properly catchy enough to get stuck in your head, and after an amount of repeated listens, you may find yourself singing along, too.

She's definitely got a bright future ahead. A buzzworthy one.

Her label is kind enough to offer three best songs on the album as guilt-free mp3s ready for download, so I'd highly recommend you to give them a try and step back in time, if what I describe above (deep retro electro 'italo disco' synthpop!) sounds like what you could dig.

Sally Shapiro - I'll Be By Your Side
Sally Shapiro - I Know
Sally Shapiro - Anorak Christmas

You can check out either her MySpace, or the official site to sample more of her tracks.

Just give it to me give it to me...

It's official, this song has finally won me over. Like I didn't expect it to. It's only after listening to the instrumental version of 'Give It To Me' that I found out how hypnotic it still can be sans vocals. Those banging, in-your-face beats. That groovy sample on loop. Some fab, layered details that you wouldn't really notice in the vocal version. All those elements mashed up together, and we've got a unmistakably surefire hit even as a standalone instrumental. Advice: it sounds best when you crank it up on the stereo with the loudest volume as long as your eardrums don't explode. It's meant to be listened to that way.

Now I'm all excited for 'Shock Value'. And those collabs with Bjork, Fall Out Boy, The Hives...It's good to be powerful, isn't it?

Timbaland feat. Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake - Give It To Me (Instrumental)
Timbaland's MySpace

Friday, February 02, 2007

Have a look at this...

It's Joss Stone's new album cover. Quite mindblowing, no?

She'll possibly shred some clothing in her next music video, too, in order to appeal to a 'younger audience'.

Her comeback single's called 'Tell Me 'Bout It'.

And apparently, it's her weakest single to date.
It's not that bad, actually it's quite decent. A breezy, funky, upbeat soul-lite track, which has always been her territory. However, it sounds nothing new and doesn't put her vocal chops to full use. If her label honestly thought this is the best track on the album, I'd be worried.
Then again, each single circa 'Mind, Body & Soul' did surpass the previous one in quality, so hopefully there's more to offer. We'll just have to wait and see.

If it all went wrong, we'd always have Tom Cruise to blame.

Joss Stone - Tell Me 'Bout It (Radio Edit)

Edit: I saw that HotStuffFiles just did a similar post. I swear I had had this drafted before I took a look at the new post. Just to make it clear, though.