Thursday, 10 April 2014

Jamie Scott - Just

Joe writes: Jamie Scott is currently one of the world's hottest songwriters, having co-written Story Of My Life by One Direction. Jamie's debut single Just came out in 2004, charting at no. 29 in the UK. It was all downhill from there until he started writing songs for other people, but Just still sounds good - Jamiroquai was so huge, yet there has been so little music of that ilk since. Also, Jamie is a big fan of Joni Mitchell's Blue so he's alright by me, although he may be the only person who can see a connection between Blue and Story Of My Life.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Todd Terje, are you reading?

Joe writes: I've previously blogged about Todd Terje, and about Johnny & Mary by Robert Palmer, and now Todd has covered said song. So Todd must be inspired by this blog right? Anyway, his cover of Johnny & Mary has Bryan Ferry on vocals and is wonderfully brooding while staying true to the song. Well done Todd.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Pharrell - Happy (Woodkid Sad Remix)

Joe writes: This "sad" remix of the song of the moment is really enjoyable, and not just because of the image on the YouTube video:

Monday, 10 March 2014

Roy Vedas - Fragments Of Life

Joe writes: On August 17th 1998*, an act called Roy Vedas released a single on Mercury Records to no acclaim except perhaps mine. Such a weird but infectious lyric, sound, and concept. Even the name of the act is weird. On October 26th 1998, Believe by Cher was released in the UK? Did Cher's producers get the idea for the "Cher Effect" overuse of Autotune from Roy Vedas? No - there would barely have been time.

The account I heard is that producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling acquired Autotune on the advice of David Foster, who'd told Cher it suited her voice. Mark was experimenting with, and learning how to use, the software when he happened across the effect by accident. Brian and Mark liked it and nervously played it to Cher and her then-label boss Rob Dickins. Rob started to say "It's too much, it's distracting, take it out...", or words to that effect, before Cher said "It comes out... [dramatic pause] over my dead body". Good call Cher.

In celebration of International Women's Day, Believe has just been announced as the biggest selling single by a female artist ever in the UK. Meanwhile Fragments Of Life continues to languish in obscurity, but still sounds great to me.



* In case anyone wants to update Wikipedia, I got the Roy Vedas release date from a PDF of music industry publication The Tip Sheet, which I have on my computer.

Låpsley and other women doing interesting things with their voices

Joe writes: Been meaning to post this Låpsley track for a while. A real moment, perfectly judged with loads of space but plenty of hooks too, and she is still a teenager. The "male voice" is actually her pitched down.



That got me thinking about other records which stopped people in their tracks through their use of effects on a female voice.

Hide & Seek by Imogen Heap:



I thought O Superman by Laurie Anderson had something to do with calling her mum's answerphone after she had passed away, but Wikipedia informs me it is more of a political song about America's Iran hostage crisis. Either way it is genuinely haunting:



And finally, who could forget Believe by Cher? I remember where I was the first time I heard this - in the shower, which made the deliberate overuse of Autotune (by producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling) even more confusing.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

A Great Big World and PS22 Chorus - Say Something

Phil writes: I was hesitating about posting this instant classic of a song because I thought most people will already have heard it.  Then I came across this great performance which also introduced me to the amazing PS22 chorus:

 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Kill J - Bullet

Joe writes: I know nothing about this except they're from the lovely city of Copenhagen, it's on the lovely Chess Club label, and I really like it.


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Sage The Gemini feat. IamSu - Gas Pedal

Joe writes: Massive and interestingly minimal hip hop party tune (albeit with some objectionable lyrics).

HitchHike - Travel Girl

Joe writes: I just discovered this gem from Greece thanks to the excellent This Must Be Pop blog. Strange and enjoyable.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

"I know you're tired of loving with nobody to love"

Joe writes: Sigma did a great bootleg mix of Bound 2 by Kanye West and now it's getting an official release under the title Nobody To Love. Huge.



I'd love to know who wrote the hook that Sigma has used - maybe Charlie Wilson and/or John Legend? Here's the track that was sampled as the basis of the Bound 2 backing track, Aeroplane (Reprise) by Wee:

Sway Clarke II - I Don't Need Much

Joe writes: Great tune, production, lyric... This is an anthem.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Joshua Kadison - Jessie

Phil writes:  Have heard this on the radio several times recently.  I thought it must be a track from the Sixties that I'd somehow missed.  In fact, I was three decades out.  Anyway, like some other songs that feature phone calls (almost up there with 'Diamonds and Rust') it immediately grabs, and keeps, your attention:


Friday, 7 February 2014

Peter Broderick - I Tried

Joe writes: Erased Tapes is the niche label of the moment and this is the best and most accessible track I've heard from them yet. Ambitious, melodic and quite unlike anything else I've heard recently.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

R.I.P. Pete Seeger

Phil writes: This is his 94th birthday celebration.  By now his voice had more or less gone, in terms of singing, but the audience participation, which he always encouraged, helps to make this very moving.  He wrote the music and the words were adapted, by others, from the Book of Ecclesiastes:


Sunday, 26 January 2014

Kiesza - Hideaway

Joe writes: Big dance pop tune from Canada via New York, but heavily influenced by the sound of UK right now

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Ages and Ages - Divisionary (Do the Right Thing)

Joe writes: Ages and Ages come from Portland, Oregon which is where I should be living according to Buzzfeed. I heard this track on the Guardian's New Band of the Day column (could I be anymore Portland?). Anyway, it's a great tune that builds and builds, and I like the message - I have a friend whose personal motto was "still trying to do the right thing".

Jakwob feat. Tiffani Juno - Somebody New

Joe writes: Full disclosure: I know Jakwob. But when I heard this on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show, I knew that I knew it, couldn't think what it is, but thought it sounded massive, which it does.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Orwells - Who Needs You

Joe writes: I enjoyed this controversial Letterman performance and I really like this song:

Friday, 17 January 2014

Everly Brothers - All I Have To Do Is Dream

Phil writes: I meant to post this to mark Phil Everly's death.  For me it is their greatest track, with a memorable melody and the timeless harmonies for which they were noted:



One of my all-time gig highlights, was when Simon and Garfunkel, on their last reunion tour, acknowledged the debt they owed to the Everlys and then (this was a total surprise to me) introduced them:

Sunday, 12 January 2014

You Ain't Alone by Alabama Shakes as featured on the Dallas Buyers Club trailer

Joe writes: When you hear the whole track, you start to suspect the appeal is more the performance and the sound than the underlying song, but it works brilliantly on the end of the Dallas Buyers Club trailer.



If you want underlying song and all the rest as well, how about Stay With Me Baby by Lorraine Ellison. I first heard this as the closing song to a British TV drama about a self-loathing comedian. It played as he committed suicide at the end by driving down a mountain on a motorbike. I wish I could remember more about it.