Sunday, September 30, 2007

Weekend Special: Feist - Collaborations

Feist has always been insanely prolific. Over the years, she has lent her voice to many of her friends' tracks, and she might have the Midas touch, as pretty much everything she appeared in turned to gold. Here are just some of my favorites.

Kings Of Convenience - Know How (Feat. Feist)
The best collaboration she's done. Erlend Oye and Feist are like musical soulmates. Just when I thought the song couldn't get any better, Feist's voice stepped out from the dark and took this beautifully calm song to a whole new level of audio bliss.
Mocky - Fighting Away The Tears (Feat. Feist)
My second fave collab. Mocky should have gotten more recognition, same for this bossa-nova-tinged song. Feist's sweet vocals combined with Mocky's somewhat geeky, white-boy hushed rap, together, are just lovely. She made an appearance in the music video. She performed it quite often on tour, too.
Jane Birkin feat. Feist - The Simple Story
The meeting of two goddesses. Simply amazing.
Arthur H - La Chanson De Satie (feat. Feist)
I guess Arthur H is pretty popular in France, but I don't know much about him. What I did learn was that Feist still sounds just as sexy in French.
Gonzales, Feist and Dani - Boomerang 2005 (Comme un Boomerang)
A tribute to Serge Gainsbourg, from the 2005 release 'Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited'.
The World Provider - Valentine (feat. Feist)
Feist gone electro. She also guest starred on a track called 'Give 'Er' with her ex-roommate Peaches. How much talent does it cost you to be her friend, anyway?

And if you head over to the MySpace of Peacefrog Records right now, you can download her collaboration with Readymade FC, 'Snow Lion', from his wonderful album 'Babilonia', for free, it's up for a limited time only.

To conclude this post, all I have to say is that: Feist, how about a duet with Emily Haines? How awesome would that be? Someone should start a campaign.

Weekend Special: Feist - Remixes

If you are a frequent flyer (and even if you're not), chances are you already know all you should know about her. Canadian indie songstress who crossed over to the mainstream this year by a couple of ridiculously joyful song-and-dance music videos? She's the center stage of this weekend special. First, here are some nice remixes of The Reminder era, all of which you may have heard already. So if you just want to take one track from this post, make it the delightful Audience Honey remix of 'Inside And Out'. I was a bit pissed off when I realized they didn't include any remixes for her better-than-the-original Bee Gees cover on 'Open Season', and then I found this one, which was beyond my expectations. It's a classy, groovy one. Enjoy your weekend.


Feist - 1234 (VanShe Technologic Remix)
Feist - Sealion (Chromeo Remix)
Feist - Gatekeeper (Pocketknife's Faded Beach Towel Remix)
Feist - Inside And Out (The Audience Honey Remix)



The Reminder (ha ha): one day left and the giveaway for a copy of The Crystal Method's 10-year-anniversary Deluxe Edition of 'Vegas' is over. If you haven't entered, do it real soon!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Vanessa Paradis - Divineidylle

Nowadays Vanessa Paradis is more universally known as Johnny Depp's wife than as a chanteuse. I still remember watching the video for that song 'Joe Le Taxi' on TV when I was really really little. Anyhow, her fifth studio album 'Divineidylle' has just scored her another number one in France, and in my opinion, it is a quite good album - authentic, well-crafted French pop. I gave it a 3.25/5. The lead single, also the title track, is by far the most immediate on the album. It is fun, catchy, head-bopping, and contains those infectious 'doo doo doos'. Very nice, indeed. A weekend special on some good French contemporary music is in the works, so look out for that. For now, here's what I'm talking about:


Vanessa Paradis - Divine Idylle


You can also watch the Jean-Baptiste-Mondino-directed video (man, she doesn't age at all, does she?)


Official Website

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Postmarks


The Postmarks are Christopher Moll, Jon Wilkins and Tim Yehezkely, the vocalist. This Miami band's self-titled debut received innumerable raves of music bloggers everywhere in the first quarter of 2007, so I thought a post from me wasn't really necessary. But now it is autumn, and their music has returned to soundtrack my chilly rainy days lately, so yeah, another post wouldn't hurt.
The Postmarks make sophisticated, melodic dream-pop, endearing and introspective . Their songs sound timeless, like they've been doing it for years. Tim's soft, hushed vocals is the heart of the band, and even the cover sleeve, with her wistfully looking out of the window from what seems to be a coffee house, depicts the ideal occasion for the music. One of the best bands to grace the indie pop scene this year, and they're definitely here to stay.
(fun fact: they were discovered by Andy Chase of Ivy, which is another all-time favorite band of mine)
There's a line in 'Let Go' that rings so true to me these days: 'Sometimes good things happen to us disguising as bad'.
So, for those who don't read Pitchfork and Perez Hilton on a daily basis, say hi to The Postmarks.


The Postmarks - Let Go
The Postmarks - Goodbye
The Postmarks - Weather The Weather
The Postmarks - You Drift Away (The Saturday Club Remix)

Unreleased stuff:
The Postmarks - Dreamer (Astrud Gilberto Cover)
The Postmarks - My Little Heart (unreleased)


MySpace/Buy

Check out their website for more mp3s of festive unreleased covers and lovely remixes!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sondre Lerche


My first encounter with Sondre Lerche's music was his 2006 album, 'Duper Sessions'. It was a one-off, Chet-Baker-inspired contemporary jazz album. But what makes it different is that he wrote most of the tracks by himself, and quite effortlessly. It was a well-made, well-executed album, delicate and detailed, perfect dining music. The first time I heard the track below, 'Minor Detail', I even thought it was a standard. His laidback, easy-breezy voice makes crooning no hard work for him.

Sondre Lerche - Minor Detail

His most recent album (and his fourth), 'Phantom Punch' was released in February this year and for me, it's another strong long-player for him. This time he went for a 'primitive rock' sound (his words), but the catchy melodies are still there. Whereas his English is flawed and awkward sometimes, his great songwriting skills are more than enough to compensate for. 'Say It All' is a fine example, a pop song with twists you don't expect. Did I mention he's Norwegian?

Sondre Lerche - Say It All

Apparently, he just finished writing the entire soundtrack for a new comedy called 'Dan In Real Life' starring Steve Carrell and Juliette Binoche, and the cd should be out soon this fall. The movie I'm not interested in, but I will definitely check out its soundtrack, as Sondre is quite a guarantee.

MySpace

Monday, September 24, 2007

Giveaway: The Crystal Method - Vegas (Deluxe Edition)

***CONTEST NOW CLOSED.

The Crystal Method just released the two-disc Deluxe Edition of their debut album 'Vegas' to celebrate its ten-year anniversary last week, and I've got one copy to give away to you guys. The first disc consists of all the original tracks remastered, and the second features new remixes by Paul Oakenfold, MSTRKRFT..., along with rare & live recordings. A collector's item for fans of the duo or fans of the nineties mainstream electronic scene in general.

If you fancy a copy, all you have to do is send me your email address in the comments section or via an email to zeonmusic at gmail dot com (if you prefer privacy). Deadline: October 1. The day after, I will pick one lucky winner at random, and personally email that person to ask for a mailing address. Easy as that. Good luck, everybody. Here's the tracklisting:


DISC ONE:
TRIP LIKE I DO
BUSY CHILD
CHERRY TWIST
HIGH ROLLER
COMIN' BACK
KEEP HOPE ALIVE
VAPOR TRAIL
SHE'S MY PUSHER
JADED
BAD STONE

DISC TWO:
BUSY CHILD (Sta Remix)
TRIP LIKE I DO (Tom Real vs The Rogue Element Remix)
KEEP HOPE ALIVE (MSTRKRFT Remix)
COMIN' BACK (Koma and Bones Remix)
BUSY CHILD (Hyper Remix)
CHERRY TWIST (Deadmau5 Remix)
BUSY CHILD (Paul Oakenfold Remix)
HIGH ROLLER (Myagi Remix)
COMIN' BACK ('93 Demo)
VAPOR TRAIL (Live)
VIDEOS:
BUSY CHILD
COMIN' BACK


And here are two tracks to keep you busy while waiting for the results:

Garbage - I Think I'm Paranoid (Crystal Method Remix)
The Crystal Method - Glass Breaker (from London Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Visit their MySpace

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend Special: Ladies Sing The Blues

Four ladies, with their haunting, melancholy voices, determined to fill your sleepless nights with beguiling lullabies.

TRESPASSERS WILLIAM

Trespassers William - my current obsession. Anna-Lynne Williams, the lead singer, has an emotive, unique voice that easily draws comparisons to Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. Their music is for those nights when you just want to turn all the lights off and lie awake in your bed, staring still at the ceiling while thoughts unravel in your head. These days they spend time in the studio working on new materials - which is great news for fans like me. Below are 3 notable tracks from their 2004 album, 'Different Stars'.

Trespassers William - Lie In The Sound
Trespassers William - Different Stars
Trespassers William - Alone


SUSANNA & THE MAGICAL ORCHESTRA

Susanna is the Norwegian singer Carolina Wallumrød, and her Magical Orchestra is just one man, Morten Qvenild. In 2006, they did a cover album entitled 'Melody Mountain'. With barely-there arrangements, Susanna's deep, lulling voice feels like the strongest instrument of emotion. She was able to bring something new to songs that has been covered by almost every artist on the planet, like 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' of Joy Division, or 'Hallelujah' of Leonard Cohen. I imagine this would be the kind of album that Lanette (of Desperate Housewives) listens to in the kitchen at night, when her husband and sons are all asleep upstairs (where that thought comes from, I don't know). Anyway, Susanna's solo album, "Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos", just came out in Scandinavia, by Grammofon (she's by far the most accessible artist on this label), and after listening to a sneak peek on Pitchfork, I believe this one will be quite magical, too.

Susanna & The Magic Orchestra - Love Will Tear Us Apart
Susanna & The Magic Orchestra - Hallelujah
Susanna - Home Recording


ESSIE JAIN

Essie Jain is a folk singer/songwriter in NYC, whose debut album 'We Made It Ourselves' was released earlier this year by Ba Da Bing, Beirut's label, and will make its way to Europe soon in January 2008, thanks to UK's Leaf Label. 'Glory' was the first song I heard from her, and so captivating it was that I immediately searched for her MySpace to learn more about her. Fans of My Brightest Diamond will love her for sure, if they're not a fan already. Quiet, lo-fi, sad chamber music for the lonely souls.

Essie Jain - Glory


THE INNOCENCE MISSION

The Innocence Mission is a band I just discovered this year, but one that made me wish I was a few years older, so that I could be old enough to live in the moment. They make music like it's still the nineties, which is definitely a positive thing. Karen Peris, the singer, has that bittersweet little-girl voice that might be able to move you to tears. I'm digging for more from their back catalogue, so a separate, more detailed post should surface soon. For now, enjoy her take on three classics, from the 2004 charity album 'Now The Day Is Over', featuring covers as lullbabies for little children. Nostalgic.

The Innocence Mission - Moon River
The Innocence Mission - What A Wonderful World
The Innocence Mission - Over The Rainbow

Friday, September 21, 2007

Go Ms. Remi Nicole


She's being touted by the British press to be the next 'It' girl in the vein of Lily Allen and Kate Nash. In my opinion, she has more in common with KT Tunstall, though. Her first official, 'Go Mr. Sunshine', is a bright lovely number that should have arrived earlier in time for the summer, and 'Fed Up' has more of an acoustic singer/songwriter vibe. Having a look at her MySpace pictures, I was lead to believe that she's a sassy, fun-loving young girl. She's already signed to Island, and off to great start, but she needs to take it slow and not rush things off. See what happened to Kate Nash, her debut could have been a lot better than that. Anyhow, she's one to keep an eye on, at least until another fresh-faced British girl comes and steals her thunder. (cynical, I know, but that's just the way it is these days)

Remi Nicole - Go Mr. Sunshine
Remi Nicole - Fed Up

MySpace

Athlete - Remix & Covers


I used to like Athlete quite a lot. They've got a couple of great singles, 'Wires' and 'Half Light', and other decent tracks. However, I was very disappointed upon first listen of their new single 'Hurricane'. It was unimpressive, dull, and lacks a real chorus. 'Beyond The Neighborhood', their third studio album, is now out in the UK, and since I haven't heard it yet, I can't add anything, but it seems to me they're verging closer towards the arena rock territory à la Coldplay and Snow Patrol - which can now be quite boring.
However, this dancey Camp America remix was able to upgrade the original to something much more listenable.

Athlete - Hurricane (Camp America Remix)

And while we're at it, here are some nice covers they have recorded live for BBC Radio over the past few years. Enjoy.

Athlete - If I Ain't Got You (Alicia Keys Cover)
Athlete - God Only Knows (Beach Boys Cover)
Athlete - Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Beatles Cover)

MySpace/Buy


  • As a sidenote, Zeon's Music Blog is now listed at The Hype Machine. Finally. Welcome on board, new readers!
  • It's been a long time since I ran a contest here, so there will be one for you guys next Monday.
  • Lastly, the MTVU Woodie Awards i.e. the hip, college version of VMAs is now open for voting. Apparently, they really try to keep up with the trends this year by going indie. No sight of My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy, which is always a good thing. Among the nomimees are Lily Allen, Peter Bjorn & John, Justice, The Shins, Spoon, and Amy Winehouse. If you're interested, just click on the link and vote for whoever you like. Don't let bands like Gym Class Heroes and The Academy Is grab all the awards. Lily Allen really needs to win something. You might as well skip the silly Good Woodie category. (who really wants to vote for the best charity-organization-founded artist anyway?)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Stretch Princess

It's been 4 years since the final episode and yet, amazingly, Buffy just keeps giving. Not just the ongoing season 8 on Dark Horse Comics (which is rad), or the forthcoming Angel season 6 comics series (at last, an answer to a 3-year-old cliffhanger), I'm talking about the music.
I was watching 'The Freshman' again, and I noticed a catchy song being played as Buffy was walking on her college's campus the first time. I rushed to Google afterwards and found out that the song in question was 'Universe' by Stretch Princess. I wasn't able to find that song anywhere then (and still not, if anyone has it, shoot me an email!), so I try to find other stuff by them. Turned out they're another decent British power pop band from the late nineties that nobody knows about.
Stretch Princess was a bit of a mystery. They only have 2 albums, one in 1998 and one in 2002. Their official web site has been dead for 4 years, their MySpace has 13 friends (it doesn't look official to me ), and I can't even find a proper medium-quality pic of them. It's quite likely that they're defunct now.
So this is the picture I paint in my head. 3 friends in college decide to form a band, start singing in frat parties, write a few great songs, and get picked up by a major label. Have a couple of albums out, achieve minor success, then dropped by label for poor sales. They give up, get on with their lives, find real jobs, start a family, and bring up the topic of 'the good old times' in email conversations or AIM every once in a while.
The thing is, this is straightforward, immediate, melodic pop with guitars we've got here. Out of the handful of songs I've heard, 'Freakshow' is the strongest, a post-break-up song that is cute and gets better with every listen. 'Sugar' is another great track in the same manner from the self-titled debut album. Since the lead singer has that kind of little-girl voice, and their music is indeed a little bit bubblegum (but in a credible way), they've been featured in soundtracks of such trashy teen movies with titles like 'Passport To Paris' (The Olsen twins...creepy) and Teaching Mrs. Tingle (Katie Holmes pre-brainwashed).
They just deserved better.
Souvenirs from the past that you found while cleaning up the attic, that brought back all the nostalgia. That's what it feels like.


Stretch Princess - Freakshow

(Fun With Humans, 2002)
Stretch Princess - Sugar
(Stretch Princess, 1998)

Myspace/Buy it at Amazon

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Covered: Guilt By Association + New Found Glory


GUILT BY ASSOCIATION

Popular songs, stripped off from its production gloss, redone in indie style. That's the main statement of this compilation of covers that are deemed 'guilty pleasure'. It's a project 3 years in the making, in fact, The Concretes' version of Take That's US crossover only-hit 'Back For Good' still featured the vocals of Victoria Bergsman, pre-Young-Folks-and-Taken-By-Trees-fame. It's best to be listened to with a grain of salt. There's something for everyone here, and if you like the originals, you'll probably find these covers from passable to entertainingly enjoyable. The quasi-acappella cover of Journey's Don't Stop Believin' is by far the stunner here, however, there are plenty of other highlights, too, like a Mariah Carey fuck-you song to the industry turned into a synth ballad, a Spice Girls' ballad turned into troubadour folk, or a sickly sweet Disney anthem turned into standard indie rock (admit it, you'd like to try that one, if for the innocence lost after the x-rated skanky nude pics of an allegedly underage Vanessa Hudgens circulating in the past 2 weeks...yep, traffic's been slow, Google work your magic!).
Overall, a collection that cover fanatics shouldn't miss. View the tracklist below, and listen to some tunes.

1. Petra Haden ”Don't Stop Believin” (Journey)
2. Devendra Banhart ”Don't Look Back In Anger” (Oasis)
3. Mark Mulcahy ”From This Moment On” (Shania Twain)
4. Luna ”Straight Up” (Paula Abdul)
5. The Concretes ”Back For Good” (Take That)
6. Jim O'Rourke ”Viva Forever” (Spice Girls)
7. Goat ”Sugar We're Going Down” (Fall Out Boy)
8. Will Oldham/Bonnie "Prince" Billy ”Can't Take That Away” (Mariah Carey)
9. Woody Jackson Orchestra ft Money Mark
”Love's Theme (Love Unlimited Orchestra)”
10. Porter Block ”Breaking Free” (High School Musical)
11. Mooney Suzuki ”Just Like Jesse James” (Cher)
12. Geoff Farina ”Two Tickets To Paradise” (Eddie Money)
13. Casey Shea ”Chop Suey” (System of a Down)
14. Superchunk ”Say My Name” (Destiny's Child)
15. Mike Watt ”Burning For You” (Blue Oyster Cult)


MySpace/Buy it on Amazon


NEW FOUND GLORY - FROM THE SCREEN TO YOUR STEREO PART II
I'm not a fan of these guys, to be frank. But when I heard there's a cover album coming out this week, I just had to check it out. It's a full-length sequel to an EP of the same name. The mission: covering songs from movies, punk pop style. The idea's all but fresh now, but some of the covers are actually quite listenable. They even had Lisa Loeb to contribute background vocals to their cover of 'Stay'. Overall, if you're a fan of the first cd, then give it a listen, or you just want some novelty, nostalgic fun. Three choice cuts with tracklist attached.

1. Kiss Me originally by Sixpence None the Richer, from She's All That
2. It Ain't Me Babe (featuring Sherri Gilbert of Eisley) originally by Johnny Cash, from Walk the Line
3. The Promise (featuring Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional) originally by When In Rome, from Napolean Dynamite
4. King of Wishful Thinking (featuring Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy) originally by Go West, from Pretty Woman
5. Stay (featuring Lisa Loeb) originally by Lisa Loeb, from Reality Bites
6. Lovefool (featuring Adam Lazarra of Taking Back Sunday and Stacy Dupree of Eisley) originally by The Cardigans, from Romeo and Juliet
7. Iris (featuring Will Pugh of Cartel) originally by The Goo Goo Dolls, from City of Angels
8. Don't You Forget About Me orignally by Simple Minds, from The Breakfast Club
9. Intro (Amelie J'y Suis Jamais Alle) from Amelie
10. Crazy for You (featuring Max Bemis of Say Anything) originally by Madonna, from Vision Quest
11. Head Over Heals originally by Tears for Fears, from Donnie Darko


MySpace (you can stream the entire album)/Buy it on iTunes

May I have your attention, please?

Okay, are you listening...err, reading? Great. I mentioned this before in my last post but not many people seemed to bother so I will announce it again, loud and clear.
I just opened a brand new blog, called The Bamboo Orchestra.

It's like a little side project of mine, and it mostly focus on electronica/instrumental/experimental music. Downtempo, lounge, ambient, post-rock, IDM, folktronic, shoegaze...they all count. It's more of an acquired taste and may sound a bit more left-field/off-color compared to the stuff I normally post here, but I enjoy working on it, and plan to build a patch of heaven over there as much as I should here. If Zeon's Music Blog is Death Cab For Cutie, then The Bamboo Orchestra is like The Postal Service. It could be your place to go to when you're in the mood for late night music or just feel a bit stressed and overloaded. Daylight here, moonshine there. So why don't you come take a look, check out the few current posts and let me know what you think by adding a comment. Thanks. Hope it's bookmark-worthy.

Anyway, I sneakily told you about my birthday in the last post and no one noticed, on the contrary to last year. So I lost that many readers. Sad face.

Last but not least, in one more blatant attempt at self-promotion and staying hip/relevant (I have no shame), I just joined what's apperently 'the next big thing', Twitter. Basically, what you do is answer the question 'What are you doing?' in no more than 140 words without aiming it to any particular person. It's like a place to type out all your random thoughts, like mini-blogging. I might be a tad addicted to it already. If you happen to a member, visit my page and add me, won't ya? There's no 'Tom' over there.


Coming up: This week, the music featured is going to be more pop/rock-based, followed by a handful of ladies singing haunting sad songs for the special weekend post.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Aerial - The Space Between

Aerial was a well-kept secret of mine. They achieved moderate success in their homeland, New Zealand, but remained obscure in other parts of the world. They receive very little blog love as searches on both Hype Machine and Elbo.ws return no results. Their debut album, 'The Space Between', was released in June 2006, and I got the chance to listen to it in early 2007, but I owed them a proper post for fear of not doing them justice. Until now. Today, I'll give them the honor of being the sole exclusive post on my eighteenth birthday. I'm quite sure not any of you have ever heard of them before, which is, in this case, a good thing, because they're worthy of your attention.
Aerial are Michelle Crompton and Andre Upston (not to be mistaken with a Swedish indie band of the same name). They make floating, melancholy, calm, bittersweet indie pop that can be the essential soundtrack of a beachwalk on a lazy afternoon, when summer's about to be over. The first track that managed to pique my interest is 'Bittersweet', a serene and lovely gem, with beautiful vocals from Michelle and a chorus that feels like waves crashing to the shore. The song somehow reminded me of Ivy at their more subdued moments. After incessant rotation, it was clear that I need more from them, and I was glad to find out that the whole album is just as pleasant and easy to love. 'As I Fall' is another highlight of the album, if you like 'Sweetheart', then this one won't disappoint.
In the end, Aerial are just two people enjoy making music together, and being really good at that. Not everyone knows who they are, but once you do, you keep coming back and they therefore become your little sweet secrets, too.

If you have the time, be sure to watch the music video, which was how I first heard of them. It has a mix of live action and animation, and tells the story of a woman guarding a lighthouse, waiting every night for the news of her husband/lover to come home from war. It accompanies the music quite seamlessly.


And here are the tracks:
Aerial - Sweetheart (Single Version)
Aerial - As I Fall

Aerial's MySpace
Purchase the album

By the way, today marks the birth of a brand new blog of mine, The Bamboo Orchestra. Remember the short-lived mix series Bamboo Lounge? Well, this blog is an inevitable extension of it. It will solely focus on electronic/instrumental/experimental music, the kind that I really love these days, yet somehow too offbeat for this blog, so I figure I just have to make another one. Don't worry, I'm not going to abandon this one, just switching back and forth in between. I think those who read Zeon's Music Blog might like The Bamboo Orchestra, too. It's still a little rough on the edges, and I'm still working on the first post, but once it gets going, I promise it will be diverse and sonically eclectic. Be sure to bookmark it, if you'd like to.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Little Mix For A Sunday Morning


The title's pretty much self-explanatory. Enjoy your weekend while you can. College starts next week, so this is my final carefree Sunday before going back to school. Mix mood: relaxing/refreshing. All 5 tracks highly recommended.

Amel Larrieux - Get Up
(Infinite Possibilities, 2001)
Sia - Sunday
(Colour The Small One, 2005)
Koop - Summer Sun
(Waltz For Koop, 2002)
Helicopter Girl - Angel City
(Voodoo Chic, 2005)
The Shortwave Set - Is It Any Wonder
(The Debt Collection, 2005)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Farrah - Cut Out & Keep

I might listen to too much new music. Way more than I should. The process of sorting out the good from the bad can sometimes be tiresome as most of the time, what I hear doesn't sound like what they're sold. But every now and then, something rewarding comes along the way and reminds me of the reason why I'm in this in the first place. One of those cases is Farrah.
Farrah have no desire of breaking any new grounds. They waste no time trying to be experimental, instead they're very good at crafting melodic power pop that's instantly reminiscent of Fountains Of Wayne. If you were disappointed with Fountains Of Wayne's latest offering, their new album 'Cut Out & Keep' might be just the right thing.
The first time I listened to their music, I was really impressed, mostly because I haven't heard music of this kind that's this good for a very long time. Bright, sunny, contagiously catchy pop with guitars, something that hooks you right in at first listen, leaves you wanting more, and a few repeats later, you can't help but singing along. It's harmless, pleasant, and easy to love. If only I had them discovered them a few years earlier, they could have become one of my favorite bands back then. I decided to do research on them, and found out that this British band has been making fine indie pop like this since 1999, and 'Cut Out & Keep' is in fact their third album to date. I must seek out their early materials when I have a chance to. They really should receive more blog love. There's no reason why you shouldn't check out these three following songs, as they're equally great. For now, the album's only available in the UK, Spain and Japan, but if you love what you hear (trust me you would), then go support them. Really nice stuff. They hardly makes music like this anymore.

Farrah - Fear Of Flying
Farrah - No Reason Why
Farrah - Do You Ever Think Of Me

Farrah's MySpace
Buy the album

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Covered: The Genuine Fakes Covers Beyoncé & Skye Covers Gorillaz

Okay, I am kinda in a hurry so I'll make it quick. Here are two excellent covers I've recently discovered.

The Genuine Fakes is a Stockholm-based trio that plays powerpop, according to their MySpace. They just did a cover of 'Irreplaceable' by Beyoncé, and if I can describe it effectively in just one word, that word is: jangly. Haven't checked out their own stuff, but what I just listened to is really nice. (Thanks to It's A Trap for the tips!)

The Genuine Fakes - Irreplaceable (Beyoncé Cover)

Visit The Genuine Fakes' MySpace


I posted a clip of Skye Edwards performing 'Feel Good Inc.' by Gorillaz acoustically for KCRW a while ago, but I wasn't aware that there's a new version available on her MySpace until yesterday. It sounds exactly like what one would expect from her: mellow and honeycoated, overall total ear candy. She's very lucky to possess such a pristine, enthereal voice. Morcheeba is just shit without her.

Skye - Feel Good Inc. (Gorillaz Cover)

Visit Skye's MySpace

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mercury Music Prize - My Picks

The prestigious Mercury Music Prize's winner announcement will be broadcast live on BBC4 today, at 9PM (London time), and as a blogger with much time to kill, I decided to do mini-reviews for some of the shortlisted albums, then picked my own personal favorite. If you haven't heard all of the acts nomimated, why not give them a few spins as the result's just literally a couple of hours away...


Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare

I will confess that if not for the sheer purpose of this post, this album will probably be put off from my ears for much longer. Arctic Monkeys is one of those bands that I just don't quite connect to. Their whole debut album is on my iPod, yet I hardly wanted to come back for it, maybe I mostly keep it there for some indie cred. I give them props for being very good at what they're doing, but unfortunately I can't find any occasion to put on their music willingly. Nevertheless, I was suprised to find myself enjoying 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' more than I expected. There's more variety here, more 'Mardy Bum' type of songs, and 'Fluorescent Adolescent' might be slowly growing on me. Based on first listen, I give it a 3.25/5, and I'm thinking of a possible re-evaluation in the near future...One thing you can't deny: their covers are all amazing.

Arctic Monkeys - Flourescent Adolescent
Arctic Monkeys - Diamonds Are Forever (Shirley Bassey Live Cover)


Klaxons - Myths Of The Near Future (winner)
Another album I've just listened to recently. I quickly wrote them off as a 'one-hit-wonder' since I heard about 4 songs and nothing surpassed the brilliance of 'Golden Skans'. However, the album turned out to be yet another pleasant surprise, a lot poppier than I thought it'd be. 'Gravity's Rainbow' is now my second fave Klaxons song. It's a 3.5/5.

Klaxons - Gravity's Rainbow

New Young Pony Club - Fantastic Playroom

Being a band touted as 'nu-rave', they must think they're oh-so-cool. I do love the metaphor-ridden 'Ice Cream', but found the rest of the album lackluster. It doesn't really make me want to get up and dance, in fact it's a little boring and lifeless. I just don't see myself wanting to give the record another go. 3.25/5, I'm afraid.

New Young Pony Club - Ice Cream
New Young Pony Club - The Bomb

Maps - We Can Create
Not that I'm bragging, but I've heard of Maps (one-man-band of James Chapman) since he wasn't signed to Mute, so it's nice to see how he's gone a long way to this. I heard he actually recorded the album on a 16-track recorder instead of a proper laptop, and single-handedly cut and spliced sounds together. I listened to 'We Can Create' on a cool cool night, after the rain just stopped outside, and it was the perfect set-up to help me dive in its dreamy, icy soundscapes. His music is part shoegaze, part electronica, and part space-pop. This may sound silly, but imagine Sigur Ros meets M83 - and it would sound like this. 'You Don't Know Her Name' is the best track on the album, pure aural bliss, with a slightly creepy but suitable video to go with. A 3.5/5.

Maps - You Don't Know Her Name
Maps - It Will Find You
Maps - Elouise

Bat For Lashes - Fur And Gold
My personal favorite. I just adore Natasha Khan. She's quite avant-garde, yet her music is both experimental and acessible at the same time. There are traces of Kate Bush, Bjork and Cat Power as her influences. 'Fur And Gold' is one of the few albums that I can say I enjoy from start to finish this year, with a stunning chill-inducing closer 'I Saw A Light'. Among my fave tracks are 'Prescilla' (a little tribal), and the wonderful trip-hoppish Shangri-Las-esque 'What's A Girl To Do' (if this is a music video competition, then the video for this song would kick all the other video's asses. Bicycle tricks, animal masks, dark void roads - surreal). But of course, it's all about the music here, and she rightfully earned my 3.75/5.

Bat For Lashes - Prescilla
Bat For Lashes - What's A Girl To Do?
Bat For Lashes - Horse & I



The only artist that I never heard of pre-shortlist is Basquiat Strings. I tracked down a couple of their tracks and found out that they're 'jazz', but not the kind of jazz I would be into, so I didn't bother for more.

The following albums are those I chose not to listen to, not really my stuff:

Dizzee Rascal - Maths and English
Fionn Regan - The End of History
Jamie T - Panic Prevention
The View - Hats Off to the Buskers
The Young Knives - Voices of Animals and Men

Both Arctic Monkeys and Dizzee have won before so I don't think they will make history by winning for the second time this year.
The only album I've worn out is Amy Winehouse's 'Back To Black' (by the way, happy birthday Mark Ronson!). Sure it's outstanding, but not necessarily in need of winning an award.
So in conclusion, I'm rooting for Bat For Lashes. Maps came close at second.

That's a wrap. Enjoy, everyone. I can now go to sleep.

Oh, I almost forgot that the Popjustice Music Prize will be announced today, too. As long as Girls Aloud doesn't win again, then I'm good.

*UPDATE:
Klaxons won the Mercury Music Prize 2007! Oh well, fair enough, they were my third choice. Nu-rave is now authentic etc.
On the other side, Amy Winehouse's 'Rehab' got the PopJustice 20 quid Music Prize. I'm not sure how to feel about this, I was secretly rooting for 'Overpowered' though.