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Friday, June 18, 2010

Foxy Shazam - I'm In Love With A Boy (+ extra performances)

Our love makes too much noise"

In lieu of a normal post today, I'm going to highlight a link to my favorite new discovery of 2010. As you all know, I've been obsessing over Foxy Shazam ever since their album landed in my hands in mid-April. The band recently sat down with SPIN for an acapella/acoustic performance of three songs, including a new one (the very promising sounding I'm In Love With A Boy). The strange performance highlights the band's undeniable freewheeling spirit as well as Eric's amazing vocals. I think they should be the biggest band on the planet, and I'm more than willing to do my (admittedly small) part in getting them there. Please watch the performance (I love the "dinner plans" breakdown in the middle of Evil Thoughts), and if for some reason you haven't seen the video for the epic Oh Lord, I've embedded it below. They're shooting a new music video soon, hopefully for the next single.

Watch the SPIN performance

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kevin Rudolf - I Belong To You (Lany)

"I'll follow you to the end of the road"

Kevin Rudolf is inches away from being a bonafide pop star. Unfortunately, he (or his label) insists on catering to the masses and chucking a few weak Lil' Wayne (or other hip-hop) collaborations on his albums. Luckily, his new release focuses more on the pop end of things, and when it does it's really fantastic stuff. Rudolf has a unique sound. There's a bit of 80's in the electronic elements, but it's mixed with aggressive guitar that gives his music a huge, layered sheen. This track (the "Lany" in the title refers to Los Angeles and New York), is one of a trio of blazing pop songs that make up the core of the album. And while I'd pick the Flo-Rida (groan...) collabo You Make the Rain Fall for single number two (the hook is insanely catchy), I prefer the more classic sound of this one. It's straightforward, but straightforward's okay if the melody and beat are this good. If you've never given Kevin's music a chance, check this out. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Kevin Rudolf - I Belong To You (Lany) by alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Scissor Sisters - Something Like This

"I just need to hear that song again"

In April of last year, I mentioned that Scissor Sisters' eventual comeback single should sound something like Filthy Dukes'/Tommy Sparks' Messages -- an 80's inspired electro jam. Turns out that their comeback sounded nothing like that (though it ended up brilliant anyways), but there is a track on their new album that's begging to fill the second single slot and eerily matches the exact wishes I wrote about in that 2009 post. It's as if I was in the studio telling them what to do! Ha ha... well, probably not quite that extreme. Surprisingly, Something Like This didn't stand out for me at first, but as I've lived with it for awhile now, it's become one of my favorite tracks on the album. The robo-hook is as simple as it gets, and the rest of the song follows suit. But dance tracks this taut and elastic are a lot harder to produce than they'd seem (see Christina A's craptacular new "electro" album). The trick is making them sound simple and effortless, and this song does that brilliantly. The result is a galvanizing burst of modern dance-pop that's completely irresistible and a bit different for the band.

Scissor Sisters - Something Like This by alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Preorder the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Track-by-Track: Scissor Sisters - Night Work

Scissor Sisters have been away for four years. That's like a lifetime for pop groups. Turns out, it took them that long to create what could be their masterpiece. In a career of strong albums, Night Work easily eclipses their last effort and gives their debut a run for its money. Blazingly energetic and, most importantly, consistent, it's the rare pop album that works all the way through. Pop is well and truly back!

1. Night Work - Kicks off the album with a blast. Full-on 80's dance guitars and a propulsive beat combine with wistful vocals about a life lived after the sun goes down. One of the strongest, most instant tracks. It reminds me, in parts, of Prince's 80's output. 10/10

2. Whole New Way - Jake uses his distinctive Laura vocals on this funky midtempo. And speaking of Prince, this vocal style reminds me of his Sign o' the Times era alter-ego Camille. The middle-eight here is wonderfully dramatic. 9/10

3. Fire With Fire - The album's big anthem, and the closest to approaching the Elton-esque pop of their last album. It's also the closest the album gets to a ballad, though the chugging euro-beat keeps things moving. A brilliant, soaring single. 10/10

4. Any Which Way - A huge disco track with stabbing strings, a dramatic siren opening and a welcome, campy spoken interlude from Ana. It's got everything a Scissor Sisters track should have. The Filthy/Gorgeous of this album, though not quite as classic. 9/10

5. Harder You Get - A hard-rock, 80's pastiche with smutty, spoken verses and a stick-in-your-head (or somewhere else...) hook. The blazing guitar solo towards the end is a new (and thrilling) diversion for the band. 9/10

6. Running Out - Probably the most 80's inspired track, it reminds me of album-producer Trevor Horn's work with his band the Buggles. It works wonderful as a duet, and the herky-jerky chorus is completely addicting. Jake sounds like John Cameron Mitchell at points. One of my favorites. 10/10

7. Something Like This - Another highlight, though it's completely different from the last track. The band do robo-electro-funk surprisingly well. The lyrics are throwaway, yet somehow quite stirring in their simplicity. It demands to be a single. 10/10

8. Skin This Cat - This took me the longest to come around to. Now I look at it more as an interlude, segueing between the earlier tracks and the epic string of songs that end the album. It's got an icy electro thump to it, though Ana's vocals aren't quite enough to support the entire song. Still, a grower. 8/10

9. Skin Tight - An anthem, like Fire With Fire, with the melody up front. The bridge is exhilarating, leading into a powerful, singalong chorus. Jake sounds world-conquering, and it segues perfectly into the next track. 10/10

10. Sex And Violence - A dark, electronic opus with a flawless melody and even better production. Jake's vocal performance, subtler and more mysterious here, deserves more praise than it'll probably get. And those seesaw synths throughout are PERFECTION. 10/10

11. Night Life - Ridiculously catchy, like the energy of a rave smashed into a pop song. The percolating verses are Ana at her best and the Jake-fronted chorus compliments them perfectly. You will be singing this one. 10/10

12. Invisible Light - What can I say about this that hasn't been said before? The last two minutes, with the Ian McKellen vocals and the instrumental climax, are among the best work the band has ever done. This is an instant classic. A massive achievement. 10/10

Album Grade: 9.6/10

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Delays - Unsung

"We're on a mission for your smile"

Delays have a new album coming out next week and, having heard clips, I'm really on the fence about it. I've come around to the fact that the band will never top 2006's You See Colours (one of the best pop albums ever), and that's not entirely a bad thing. I mean, being responsible for an album that perfect is a feat unto itself. Luckily for us, their new single Unsung could have fit on YSC quite nicely. From what I've heard, the new material is a lot darker than previous stuff, though I haven't heard the album in its entirety so I don't want to make any blanket statements. This single, though, stands out as a bright, uptempo pop track that deserves much more recognition that it seems to be getting at the moment. It's out today worldwide (yes, you can actually buy the mp3 in America!), so be sure to pick it up on itunes or amazon. I'll have a track-by-track review of the album when I hear it, and tomorrow... Scissor Sisters' new one!

Delays - Unsung by alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Preorder the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.