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Friday, November 05, 2010

Tove Styrke - White Light Moment

"I want a perfect moment"

Tove Styrke was hands down the best thing about Swedish Idol last year (exhibit a, exhibit b, etc) and now she's set to release what could be one of the best albums of the year. I loved her first single, Million Pieces, more and more as the Summer went on. And this new one? Wow. This is super impressive, especially when you consider that this is her first album. It combines the best elements of Robyn-esque Swedish pop, though the vocal delivery is all Tove's. She's a born star, plain and simple... and not the sort that shows like Idol usually discover. The chorus is just massive. Strangely, the track is the last selection from the album (you can hear clips here). It's a pretty ballsy move, and a testament to how consistent the album's bound to be. It's a shame that she's not getting more attention outside of Sweden because an artist with this much potential doesn't come around too often. We throw around the word "x-factor" all the time. Tove's definitely got it.

Tove Styrke - White Light Moment 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.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Killabite - Follow Me Home

"You say you're the perfect guy"

I receive so many emails from bands and managers, yet 99% of the songs I'm sent do not mesh with the type of music I post on alienhits. I'm pretty strict about submissions. That's why it makes me so happy when I'm sent something that gets me excited. This band's so well-fitted to this blog that I'm posting their track a mere hour after I received it. Killabite are an electropop duo from L.A. (always nice to hear some new American acts) and their EP (posted on soundcloud) shows quite a bit of promise. My favorite track is the pulsing Follow Me Home, which alternates between computerized robotic vocals and Chau Phan's luscious voice (which reminds me of Lisa from the Lovemakers). There are hooks upon hooks here. It could almost be a Girls Aloud or Mini Viva track. It's got that big, bubblegum pop sound to it. Definitely a band to watch!

Follow me home by killabite

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


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Gravitonas - Not Gonna Be Dancing

"I'm just gonna be crying around you"

I love the way Sweden's Gravitonas are releasing music this year. A string of EPs isn't always the best choice for artists, but it's working very well for them. I've loved the stuff they've released so far, though I'm not sure everything would work as well as an album (the songs tend to get a bit samey back to back). The new EP, The Coliseum, is darker than past releases. I'm not sure I'm instantly as hooked as I was with past songs, but it's always great to hear new stuff from these guys. Not Gonna Be Dancing is the initial standout for me (and an interesting contrast to BWO's We Should Be Dancing, another Bard tune). It's not only the most uptempo track on the album (despite depressing lyrics), but it's also the most radio friendly. The pulsing melody isn't instantly identifiable as Alexander Bard's work, which is important because this project could easily become predictable. There's also some impressive string work here (that reminds me very much of the Wanted's recent hit, All Time Low).

Gravitonas - Not Gonna Be Dancing by alienhits

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


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Track-by-Track: Cheryl Cole - Messy Little Raindrops

Messy indeed. As part of one of the UK's most prolific and successful girl bands, Girls Aloud, Cheryl Cole created (ok, participated in) some of this past decade's most essential pop music. Last year, her first solo album did very well even though it was mostly filler. Is the follow-up any better? Not sure, but at least it's got more high points.

1. Promise This - One of her better singles, this uptempo dance track hinted at a more aggressive album. And while that didn't come to pass, it's still a great kick-off. 9/10

2. Yeah Yeah - A ravey dance track that marks a perfect shift in sound from the last album. It's increasingly euphoric as it plays out, and features the kind of subtle hooks that stick with you. 8/10

3. Live Tonight - A strummy track that's saved from being skipable by a breathy, wordless hook at the end of the chorus. It's pleasant stuff, and continues the streak of strong tracks at the head of the album. Too bad the quality doesn't keep up. 8/10

4. The Flood - It's the best solo ballad I've heard from her, though the vocals in the chorus are clearly not all her own. It's a big sounding track and an obvious choice for a single. In fact, it's the only ballad on the album worth listening to. 8/10

5. Amnesia - And thus begins the saggy, midtempo center of the album. This is a lightweight pop track that sounds a lot like the songs on her first album. The chorus is particularly repetitive, and not in a good way. 6/10

6. Everyone - I thought having Dizzee Rascal on this track would make it stand out, but neither the production (which sounds a lot like the last song) nor the melody really catches. Just as you think the promising verses are going to blast into something worthwhile, the forgettable bridge and lame chorus disappoints. 6/10

7. Raindrops - Insipid. From the opening lyrics, I started rolling my eyes. It's the song that gives the album it's title and I guess that's why it's included. The chorus of this ballad couldn't be any more cloying, though I do like the high bits in the verses. 5/10

8. Hummingbird - By this time I was pretty much numbed from the previous tracks, and this is no better. Where is the passion? This is so incredibly boring, from plodding production to repetitive melody. It's barely even a song! 5/10

9. Better To Lie - Oh god. And now we've reached the nadir. This is so lazy. It sounds like about a million other tracks and is oddly detached (even a little bouncy?) considering the subject matter. 3/10

10. Let's Get Down - Finally, some tempo. The lyrics here are some of the worst on the album, but (importantly) the hook and, especially, the production here are great. The beat is easily the best on the album. A pity that and Cole's ridiculous lyrics keep this from being better. 8/10

11. Happy Tears - Back to boring midtempos. It's hard for me to imagine what Cole sees in this material. It's so incredibly forgettable. This is actually one of the worst tracks on the album, salvaged only by being sandwiched between two of the better. 4/10

12. Waiting - Why this ends the album completely confuses me. In fact, it would make a great single. It's probably the best song on the album -- a straightforward dance track with an ingenious piano sample and simple, yet addictive, hook. This is what she should be doing! 10/10

Album Grade: 6.7/10

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Monday, November 01, 2010

The Wanted - Weakness

"I know what she's doing to me"

With boyband One Direction likely to make the X-Factor UK final this year (and rightfully so -- they may not be the best "singers," but they're certainly the most likely to succeed post show), and the Wanted riding high on the charts with Take That's big comeback waiting in the wings, it seems like the boyband has returned as a pop music staple. Normally this would not make me all that happy. There's just something inherently cheesy and manipulatory about these types of groups. This new breed isn't much different, but there's a slight change in aesthetic and sound that promises the potential of some interesting pop music. The Wanted's debut single was an excellent slice of string-laden 2010 radio pop. And while the follow-up was more in line with treacly boyband ballads of the past, the album as a whole is really quite good. The use of guitars on most of the tracks was a brilliant move. It's an unusually consistent listen. Take Weakness, a late album track that's unlikely to be a single but packs the punch of one. I picked this song to highlight because it reminds me very much of some of my favorite Swedish popstars (Sebastian Karlsson & Whyte Seeds in particular).

The Wanted - Weakness 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.