24 January 2009
20 January 2009
Today is the day that I do my first "introducing" segement of the year! Woo! Now, this is a band that I've been hearing a lot about but never really had the opporutnity to check out until now. Basically, Empire of the Sun, named after the JG Ballard novel of the same name, are Australia's answer to MGMT, producing blissed-out, chilled dance music with a semi-acoustic feel. But I mean look at these guys - instead of placing themselves in fields and wearing headbands like their American counterparts, they're dressed up like something out of a fantasy movie and are living in a futuristic city!
The first track I heard was "Walking On A Dream", which is also the title of their debut album. It is easy to say that the vocals are distinctly like those of Andy VanWyngarden, but the other elements borrow more from the likes of Air and Royksopp - in your head you know that the melody is danceable but there's this niggling feeling that maybe, just maybe, this is music to relax to rather than to move to. I know that the more I listen to them, the more I feel like I need to lie down and go into dream world instead of embracing reality.
Hmm.... there's quite a bit of good stuff coming out of Australia right now isn't there? And doesn't that guy with the bushy hair look like that guy who used to be in Wolfmother (sorry about the vagueness!)? Anyway, here's the video for "Walking On A Dream":
18 January 2009
You all know that I freak if I think that a little band that I love are going to go mainstream - you know I all like the feeling of listening to bands that no-one else but all of you have heard of.
Plus point though: they're in the studio. Yay!
On a personal level, "The Understanding" was one of the best dance albums for ages, even bettering Basement Jaxx's soul-infused "Kish Kash" by mixing their more upbeat moments with more understated songs like "Beautiful Day Without You" towards the end of the album. And it includes one of my favourite songs, "What Else Is There" - dreadful sounding with that woman at Glastonbury a few years bak but with the right singer it's a magical trip through despair and being lost. Hmm, I do go for the happy songs, don't I?
Anyway, I had to put the clip up - any excuse to put it up really!
12 January 2009
5. Mystery Jets - Two Doors Down
I think 80s pop was really making a comeback, and it's not set to change so sorry fo anyone who hates the revival. This was probably one of the most obvious examples of the comeback - right down to the video! It's amazing to see how far the Jets have come considering they were making much more avant-garde songs on their debut record. It must be something to do with losing the dad factor! Anyway, despite having my most hated musical instrument blaring away towards the end this was undoubtedly one of the catchiest, loveliest, most heart-warming songs of the year!
4. Camille - Money Note
The most danceable vocal performance ever? Maybe, but maybe you know better. But you've got to love her cheeky remarks against Mariah, Celine and every other pop star diva out there today. Even the video is bonkers as our Camille takes the mickey out of just about everything, from scantily clad women in videos, to ballad-style candles and odd acrobatics. And takes a hissy fit at the end when she doesn't get her own way the hula hoop. Crackers, but wonderful:
3. MGMT - Electric Feel
I'm obsessed by this song, mostly because it's so darned happy. I love the bass riffs, love the drum build up, that mystic bit at the beginning where it sets you up for a ride in the Amazon and... well, I pretty much love everything about this song. I can't explain, just like how I can't explain why the heck I can't embed the video on to my page! I'm super upset about it. I want everyone to hear this wonderful song. Just once. For me... sniff.... This version is okay-ish. But doesn't give the record justice...
2. The Kills - Cheap and Cheerful
Sassy, simple, short and seductive all at the same time. This is what The Kills do best. And this song is so evil that it had to be somewhere in my Top 3 for this year (you all know how I like evil songs!). They only needed 2 minutes to fit in all the malice they'd stored up and released it into, what is on the surface, one of their most upbeat songs to date. It's up-tempo but lying underneath there are the themes of madness, desire and money. All the ingredients for brilliance then. Besides, Alison Mossheart is like an American PJ Harvey which is always a bonus!
1. Friendly Fires - Jump In The Pool
Ah! We are at the end at last! At first I thought that the Kills would run away with this title when I heard "Cheap and Cheerful" towards the start of the year but then in the summer the more delicate vocals of Ed MacFarlane, the melotron and the samba-infused beats swept me off my feet, to a place where I couldn't look back with any sincerity to say that there was a better song than this in 2008. Disagree all you like - for me, this was the sweeping electro song we all needed. While most people in the genre went for brash, in-your-face drama, the Fires were creating an altogether different kind of melodrama with this terrific, memorable and somewhat emotive second single, which also opened their brilliant debut album. Bravo!