Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Has Coldplay gone bonkers?

Let's get this out of the way first. I was a nutty Coldplay fan. That's a pretty well-documented fact. "Trouble", my first proper introduction to the band, came out at just the right time, I remembered watching the video for the first time on MTV and being completely blown away and moved by it. Life-changing, even. Coldplay paved the way for me to invest further in the alternative world. 'X&Y' was my solid album of the year it came out.
These days I barely listen to their music on a regular basis anymore. I couldn't explain whether I've grown out of it or the lack of new materials from them led me to prefer other artists.
I just feel a bit guilty that I don't feel as excited as I think I should be. The whole album campaign so far, from the tedious artwork (boobies visible, "oh gosh") to the 'quirky' track titles, just has this sense of 'Ooh we've sold truckloads of records now we can do whatever we want mwhahahaha". They earned that spot fair and square, and now no matter what they do, people will still eat it all up. Today, my reactions towards the lead single 'Violet Hill' premiere proved that their theory partially correct. Here's what going on inside my head the last few hours. I was pretty much camping next to my notebook, waiting for the track to unleash on their site.

"Oh it's now 1PM in London. Refresh. Woot. Email address required? I just entered a fake one then, haha sucker. This is painfully slow. Oh damnit they're supposed to send a link to my email! Blerb. Back back. Oh come on, move along. Finally. I bet it's shimmering in my inbox by now. Weird. Wait a couple more, I guess. Maybe it's the spam filter. Nope. Last time it didn't take this long for Radiohead. Are they playing tricks on us? Still no reply. Aaargh WTF? Stupid techonology. Time for another Veronica Mars episode...One hour later: it just popped up, at last! How exciting! Downloaded, unzipped, voila! Ready for a lifetime experience. And. Press. Play."

Well, that was...okay. Different for them. I bet it's a grower. I like the title, though - that I'm sure of. Maybe it'd sound better on 7" vinyl. I'll go take a look at the fridge.

And in case you can't access their official site, here's a mirror. I keep it up here for a week - if it stays that long. What's your reaction on the track? Does Chris Martin finally lose it? Would love to hear them.

Coldplay - Violet Hill

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Ting Tings: "You gotta love the BPM".

"They call me quiet girl, but I'm a riot." Well, a riot, indeed! In an unexpected turn of events, it looks like The Ting Tings will blow up in a big way this week. Their track "Shut Up And Let Me Go" has just been used in a new iPod commercial, and 'Great DJ' is scheduled to be the next free Single Of The Week for the US iTunes store. A tremendous push from Apple, and to think that 'That's Not My Name' is not even out in their homeland yet! This is really exciting news, as I LOVE both 'Great DJ' and 'That's Not My Name'. They're like a reverse pop version of The White Stripes - albeit for a hipper demographic. They make insanely infectious pop that's full of energy and fun. It takes a few listen to get used to the sounds, but once it grows, it's pretty hard to shake if off. Their debut album, "We Started Nothing", is out in May 20 in the UK. It'd be real cool if they got an overnight breakthrough in the US market, too.

The Ting Tings - Great DJ
I can do the 'the drums' bit quite well, I tell you. I always look like an idiot when I play this while walking on the streets.
The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
This is an early version from their 7" single before Columbia snatched them, so the album version may differ a bit.

And here comes the quasi-exclusive part. Most of you have probably seen this video for "That's Not My Name" that looks a bit cheap. You may not know that there exists a Sophie-Muller-directed version that cost 6 times of that! Apparently, the band found the Sophie one 'nondescript', so the label commissioned a reshoot - but it's out of the bag now - and you can watch it below. This version's definitely an improvement, in my opinion. If anything, it succeeds in shedding their pop sheen a bit and giving them a more authentic, serious proper-band look - not that they need that.

Oh, fuck it's gone. Fuck Youtube.

You probably don't need me to point this out, but yes - Katie White is Hot! And I'm shallow.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Covers For The Weekend

I'm still mourning over the departure of Riotbecki & Rosay from The Pipettes. Funny how two of my top artists in '06 both resurfaced in the news this week, one leaked 2 brilliant demos on her MySpace, and one announced the most unexpected lineup change. On the bright side, a new Pipettes album is in the works, and I have two more solo outputs to look out for. It's gonna take me a while to get used to The Pipettes version 3.0, though, sigh.

Anyways, as usual, here are 5 fantastic covers, for the weekend. Collect them all.

Grovesnor - With Every Heartbeat (Robyn Cover)
The Puppini Sisters - Crazy In Love (Beyoncé Cover - The Real Tuesday Weld Remix)
The Tough Alliance - Lucky (Lucky Twice Cover)
Beachwood Sparks - By Your Side (Sade Cover)
Ben Barnett & Ben Gibbard - Joga (Bjork Cover)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lykke Li has a new wicked video!


Seriously. Girlfriend can bust a move. So refreshing for the hopeless hipster in me.
Awesome song, too. Too much wickedness.
There's also a cool live acoustic performance of 'I'm Good I'm Gone' with a cameo from Robyn, so do watch that if you haven't.

I predict 2008 will be a big year for her. She's now signed with major label Atlantic for representation in the UK market. For those in America, do not worry, 'cause a 4-song EP, named after her breakthrough single 'Little Bit', will come out there in May 6, along with a string of North America tourdates. A track from the EP, 'Dance Dance Dance', is now available as a guilt-free download. Take a bite.

Lykke Li - Dance Dance Dance

Here is her MySpace. Hop on.

Monday, April 07, 2008


Chances are you already heard about that Stereogum Bjork tribute album? Well, as a blogger, I do appreciate them taking time and effort to gather artists and release the whole thing for free, which is a very noble gesture, however, as a cover enthusiast, there's only about 2-3 tracks that managed to convince me to import them to my library. If anything, this, along with the groundbreaking visual masterpiece that is 'Wanderlust' (seriously, don't watch it on YouTube - buy the dvd single when it comes out - best video of 2008 so far!), have inspired me to check the album tracks from Post, because to be fair, I'm no vivid fan of Bjork, as I'm only familiar with a majority of her singles only. Then I came across 'Hyperballad'. It didn't have much of an impact on me, until now. I then decided that it's one of Bjork's best songs, musically, lyrically, and visually. The next step is inevitable: me setting on a quest to find all cover versions of it. I harvested this lot, and ended up feeling a little more proud of my nimble fingers and my honed googling skills. The re-interpretations, below.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Hyperballad
(Live, 2004)
Evidence that Karen O can also sound pretty when she doesn't growl.

Blanket Music - Hyperballad
(Read: Interpreting Bjork, 2004)
Boy/girl vocals backed by a bossa nova beat. Shouldn't work, but it did. From a tribute album by the Portland-based Hush Records. There's a Ben Gibbard take on Joga on that album, FYI.

Big Heavy Stuff - Hyperballad

(Like A Version, 2005)
Whitley - Hyperballad
(No Man's Woman, 2007)
Two acoustic versions from down under. Both is sung by men, both involves a guitar, and both is available exclusively on cover compilations. What are the odds, huh? Which one is better, well that's up to you.

The Twilight Singers - Hyperballad
(She Loves You, 2004)
The band's a side-project of The Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli. They're also labelmates with Bjork.

Mocca - Hyperballad
(Colours, 2007)
A piano-based one by an Indonesian indie band which I've never heard of before "researching" for this post. To be honest, the same can be applied to all of the bands featured in this post (bar YYYs, of course). There is a nice bit of horns at the end, but this version is just too easy listening for a Bjork song.

For good measure, I conclude this post with a strings version of Hyperballad performed by the Icelandic herself. My favorites among the bunch are of YYYs, Blanket Music and Big Heavy Stuff, by the way. Enjoy.
Björk - Hyperballad (Brodsky Quartet Version)

Watch the Michel-Gondry-directed video

Learn more about the song

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Trip Like Me

I'm currently trapped in the middle of a midterm mayhem. 3 more to go, and I'm done for the week. Maybe after that I will actually get around to checking the 250+ emails piling up in my inbox, in which there must be some decent stuff I might not know about yet.
Anyways, in the meantime, I really could use some aural "chill pills". Here's another mix created strictly for the night-time. Enjoy. (Note: non-direct links this time)

Saint Etienne - Only Love Can Break Your Heart (A Mix Of Two Halves)
The Engine Room - A Perfect Lie (Gabriel & Dresden Remix)
Natalie Walker - Quicksand (Thievery Corporation Remix)
The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize (The Postal Service Remix)