onsdag 31. juli 2013

Justin Timberlake - Take Back The Night (now with added video)

What a fantastic song Justin Timberlake's new single is! "Take Back The Night" is the first single off his forthcoming album The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2, this year's second new album from Timberlake who prior to this hadn't released an album since 2006. If the first of these was danceable, then the new one should be even more so to judge from "Take Back The Night". A blantantly unapologetic go at Michael Jackson/Quincy Jones around the time of Off The Wall, this is a triumph of a dance record from Timberlake and his cohort Timbaland. It simply sounds like the best single not to be released from Off The Wall, a kind of time travel which sounds modern all the same. Yesterday the video was released, and yes, it features dancing. A lot of it. In the streets, on stage and in a club, and it's pretty hard to sit still while watching it. Put on your dancing shoes and try some moves!

Watch and listen


Naughty Boy feat. Emeli Sandé - Lifted

Naughty Boy is the guy behind one of this summer's best singles, the lovely "La La La", sung by golden-voiced Sam Smith. Naughty Boy (or Shahid Khan as he's known by his parents) is currently preparing his debut album Hotel Cabana for its August 26 release, and "Lifted" (sung by Scottish singer/songwriter Emeli Sandé) is the new single. Sandé was also guest singer on Naughty's debut single "Wonder" which is featured on the album as well. "Lifted" is a fabulous, upbeat song, if not as immediate as "La La La". It should still become a hit, and the album is apparently well worth waiting for.

Watch and listen


Jonathan Wilson - Dear Friend

The wonderful singer/songwriter Jonathan Wilson is seemingly born at the wrong time, sounding like he should be part of the Laurel Canyon scene at the turn of the 1970's, hanging out with people such as Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne, Buffalo Springfield, Love and others. Although he released an early album in 2007, the 2011 album Gentle Spirit is considered his proper debut, featuring a score of atmospheric, dreamlike songs, augmented by Wilson's signature guitar playing and a bit of psychedelic overtones. These elements are also present on "Dear Friend", the first song to be released from his forthcoming album Fanfare (October 14th). It's more than seven minutes of pure beauty, a showcase for proper musicianship in a time and age where actual playing abilities seem to matter less than it used to. Listening to "Dear Friend", I can't wait to hear the album!



HIT ALERT! Mayer Hawthorne feat. Kendrick Lamar - Crime

American neo-soul phenomenon Mayer Hawthorne released his brand new album Where Does This Door Go a few weeks ago, and one of the best tracks on what is simply a brilliant record is "Crime". It's a dead catchy song about a party being broken up by police, featuring a break by rapper Kendrick Lamar. Without being too serious it's a humerous song with a clear feelgood vibe. "We just wanna party, we don't mean no harm..."



tirsdag 30. juli 2013

The Silver Seas - I'm The One

American pop band The Silver Seas have more success in the UK than at home although it doesn't really amount to a lot. Which is a shame, as it's a great, great band. Their last record was called Chateau Revenge and was recorded in two versions, one electric, one acoustic, and their new record is what singer/songwriter Daniel Tashian dubs their "country record". If so, it's a country record in the vein of Josh Rouse or Pernice Brothers, which is to say guitar pop with a country feeling. "I'm The One" is the first single from their brand new Alaska album, a sweet little ditty with a big heart and a bigger melody. I can't help but love this.

Watch and listen


Eurythmics - Thorn In My Side

"Thorn In My Side" is a single off Eurythmics' fifth album, the 1986 release Revenge. It's a straightforward pop song but a very good one at that. I don't really have a lot else to say about this, it's just a song that appeals to me.

Watch and listen


Kate Bush at 55 - the ultimate playlist

Happy birthday to the one and only Kate Bush who turns 55 today. She's one of my all-time favourite artists, a songwriter of rare skill and artistic intergrity. I have compiled a playlist for streaming service WiMP, featuring 28 songs, including the eight part song cycle called An Endless Sky Of Honey, which takes up the entire disc 2 of her 2005 album Aerial. Enjoy, and please raise a glass for Kate Bush today. She's earned it.



Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers - Shirin & Farhad

"Shirin & Farhad" is an old Persian tragic romance about two lovers who can't have each other. It was written by Nizami Ganjavi and based upon the true story of the love of the Sassanian king Khosrow II for the Aramean princess Shirin who becomes his queen. Unfortunately Shirin is in love with the sculptor Farhad, and the story does not end well. American singer/songwriter Jonathan Richman wrote a song about the tragedy that first appeared as a B-side to his 1985 12-inch single "I'm Just Beginning To Live", and then on his 1986 album It's Time For Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers. It's a stunningly charming retelling of the story. The chorus goes "Shirin, pretty Shirin, had a real McCoy lover in her young Farhad", very typical of Richman.



Pet Shop Boys - Go West

Village People's "Go West" was released in 1979, hot on the heels of gay anthems "Y.M.C.A." and "In The Navy". It was pure and wonderful late 70's disco music, commercial as all hell, and in 1992 Pet Shop Boys made their Hi-NRG version incorporating elements from the Soviet anthem, and also enhancing the basis of the original's chord progression in Pachelbel's Canon, turning it once again into a worldwide smash hit. The animated music video was nominated for a Grammy and is definitely worth watching. Fabulous Pet Shop Boys, you just gotta love them!

Watch and listen


mandag 29. juli 2013

New Order - Blue Monday

The biggest-selling 12 inch single of all time, New Order's "Blue Monday", is 30 years old now. It was first released in March 1983 and became hugely successful almost overnight and even more influential over time. It also marked a change in direction for the band as such, once and for all letting go of the ghost of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis whose suicide led to the transformation to New Order. "Blue Monday" was remixed in 1988 and 1995 for no good reason, as the original seven minute plus version is the definitive one. That's of course the version you get here.



Dire Straits - Tunnel Of Love

The long outro to "Tunnel Of Love" may just be Mark Knopfler's finest moment. The lenghty, two minute guitar solo is a melodic feast, a tour de force who once and for all established Knopfler's reputation as a guitar hero upon its release in 1980 when it opened Dire Straits' third album Making Movies. Also it has to be noted, the song features the wonderful piano playing of E Street Band's Roy Bittan, and it remains one of Dire Straits' most popular and well-loved songs.

Watch and listen


søndag 28. juli 2013

Tears For Fears - Pale Shelter

Ah, "Pale Shelter"... what a great song. This was Tears For Fears' second single, originally released in 1982, but not a hit until its re-release the following year. It's a wonderful, melancholy pop song that appeared as one of the stand-out tracks on the duo's debut album The Hurting.

Watch and listen


Simple Minds - Someone Somewhere In Summertime

New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) is among my all-time favourite albums. It was released in 1982 and is without a shadow of a doubt Simple Minds' finest moment. The nine songs form a brilliant whole, and its opening track, "Someone Somewhere In Summertime", is pure bliss. Both "Promised You A Miracle" and "Glittering Prize" were released as singles before the album came out, more than hinting at greatness, but when New Gold Dream eventually was released in September and the opening synth riffs of "Someone..." came waltzing out of the loudspeakers, they clinched the whole deal. My life as a music lover has not been the same since. In November of 1982 "Someone..." was released as the third and final single from the album.



The Supremes - You Keep Me Hangin' On

Not too long ago a Norwegian "journalist" whose name eludes me, wrote that Kim Wilde's version of The Supremes' classic "You Keep Me Hangin' On" was superior to the original. That may be the stupidest thing I've ever heard (or at least close to it), although I actually like Kim Wilde's overblown Stock Aitken Waterman-produced version. Here though, in all its Motown glory, written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland, is the original Supremes version from 1966. Knock-out stuff!

Watch and listen


Bo Kaspers Orkester - Semester

"Semester" er Bo Kaspers Orkesters geniale sommerlåt fra 1998-platen I centrum. "Vi har ett eget hus på landet, dit ingen telefon kan nå"... Slik var det før i tiden, og det hender jo avgjort at man lengter tilbake til den slags. Og låta? En sløy og slepen liten jazzshuffle der du faktisk kan høre at humla suser. Ikke dårlig!

Se og hør


Henning Kvitnes - Sånne som oss

Henning Kvitnes er i mine ører en av Norges fremste låtskrivere og artister, med en etter hvert skummelt bra katalog på samvittigheten. Til tross for det kjører vi her en coverlåt, Hennings versjon av sin danske venn Poul Krebs' "Sådan nogen som os", på norsk direkte oversatt til "Sånne som oss". Den var åpningslåt og singel fra 2007-albumet Stemmer i gresset, og er simpelthen en nydelig liten kjærlighetsvise i et vidunderlig countryaktig arrangement. "Sånne som oss, vi har bruk for en kjæreste, og den kjæresten har jeg tenkt sku' være deg" - det er godt sagt, spør du meg.

Se og hør


Marius Müller - Ikk tru et ord

Marius Müller ble bare 40 år, men kjernekaren og supergitaristen blir ikke glemt. Her er, ikke for første gang, hans fantastiske cover av Thin Lizzy-klassikeren "Don't Believe A Word", der han har oversatt teksten og senket tempoet betraktelig, og ikke minst spiller den nydeligste gitarsolo som tenkes kan. "Ikke tru et ord" er hentet fra hans andre album, 1982-utgivelsen Er'e så nøye 'a. Vakkert!



lørdag 27. juli 2013

Deacon Blue - I Was Right And You Were Wrong

"I Was Right And You Were Wrong" was recorded as one of three new tracks for the first Deacon Blue compilation Our Town - The Greatest Hits in 1994. It's a dark and moody piece of pop music with a slight techno vibe that goes well with the perfect pop antics of singer/songwriter Ricky Ross. It was a minor UK hit, reaching number 32 on the singles chart.

Watch and listen


R.I.P. JJ Cale - After Midnight

JJ Cale died yesterday from a heart attack, 74 years old. He was a highly influential musician and songwriter, and among his most ardent fans was Eric Clapton who recorded many of his songs, most notably his 1976 hit "Cocaine" that Clapton also had a hit with the following year. Here, in a 1971 live clip, is the fantastic "After Midnight", that was first recorded by Clapton in 1970, and appeared on Cale's 1972 debut album Naturally. May he rest in peace.

Watch and listen


New Order - I Told You So

2005 Waiting For The Sirens' Call is the last New Order album, so far. I think the band is working on a new album, but that will of course be without estranged bassplayer Peter Hook. Waiting For The Sirens' Call was an uneven affair, but has a few really good songs, among them "I Told You So", a fabulous dance tune with a pumping, repetitive rhythm. Love this one!



Pet Shop Boys feat. Dusty Springfield - What Have I Done To Deserve This

Two days ago I bought my first record player in many years. My old vinyl albums have gathered dust for 20 years or more, so imagine how nice it is to finally get around to playing them. Just now I picked out my signed copy of Pet Shop Boys' 1987 masterpiece Actually, and got around to track two when "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" were flowing out from the loudspeakers. So here you go, classic Pet Shop Boys, with the added pleasure of guest singer Dusty Springfield.

Watch and listen

The Lemonheads - The Outdoor Type

"The Outdoor Type" is my favourite song by "alternative" American rock band The Lemonheads. It appeared on their last album for Atlantic Records, 1996's Car Button Cloth, and was written by Tom Morgan who wrote or co-wrote several songs for the band, even though singer Evan Dando was the main songwriter. On this countryfied tune the slacker in Evan Dando comes out in full, admitting he's not an "outdoor type", that he's "never set foot inside a tent, can't build a fire to save my life". It's a very funny song, but it's also a great pop song disguised as a country ditty with a short burst of an electric guitar solo thrown in for good measure. Fantastic!



Van Morrison - No Religion

Van Morrison is one of my favourite singers. Actually, I have this theory: Either he's put on Earth by God to entertain us, being God's own toy if you will, or, on the other hand, that Van Morrison really is God. I find his voice so fantastic that's it pretty much otherworldly. On a more serious note, here's "No Religion", a song off his 1995 album Days Like This where he speculates in what the world would look like without religion, if you just had to rely on the facts. I guess it goes to show that Van Morrison has a natural curiosity, even though he's certainly a spiritual man.



Santana - Europa (Earth's Cry, Heaven's Smile)

The instrumental "Europa (Earth's Cry, Heaven's Smile)" is among Carlos Santana's most endurable and well-loved songs. It's a wonderful showcase for his guitar-playing style, where his band lays down a gentle latin groove as a perfect companionship for what has become more or less a true signature performance for the great man. The song first appeared on the 1976 album Amigos, but the version you'll find here is the superior version from the 1977 live album Moonflower. Stunningly beautiful, nothing less.



fredag 26. juli 2013

Sham 69 - If The Kids Are United

Sham 69 was a successful punk band from the village Hersham in Surrey, and with "If The Kids Are United" enjoyed their first Top 10 hit in July 1978. It's a perfect punk song, with lyrics calling for unity among kids, basically stating that we are all pretty much the same and that by standing together we can achieve things. Simple-minded you may think, but also true. The clip below is from Top Of The Pops - incredible really to see a fullblown punk band there.

Watch and listen


Shack - Lend's Some Dough

Brothers Michael and John Head would have been pop stars in a perfect world. They first emerged in the mid-80's with the band The Pale Fountains, releasing two excellent albums. When success eluded them, they called it a day, but it didn't take them long to form a new band called Shack. Shack hasn't really fared a whole lot better, but 1999 album H.M.S. Fable reached a respectable number 25 on the UK albums chart. Here's my favourite song from that album, "Lend's Some Dough".



torsdag 25. juli 2013

Listen to Nick Lowe's brand new Christmas album for 24 hours only!

Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection For All The Family is the title of Nick Lowe's first ever Christmas album, to be released on October 29th. But for one day only, you can listen to it in its entirety due to the kindness of Lowe's American record label Yep Roc Records. The album is described as "a twinkling blend of traditional hymns, forgotten gems and Lowe originals", and now, let's have Christmas in July:



My perfect summer playlist

Just a reminder here. I've compiled a fab summer playlist for Norwegian streaming company WiMP, and the 30 songs on it are all (more or less) great. This is the soundtrack to the summer of 2013, led of course by Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines", and also included are songs by Daft Punk, Empire Of The Sun, Maya Jane Coles, Disclosure, Naughty Boy and many more. By following the link below you'll get snippets of each song, and if you subscribe to WiMP you get the songs in full. Enjoy!


Daft Punk

Maya Jane Coles

Robin Thicke and "friend"

Spandau Ballet - True

Say what you want, but there's no denying Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp can write a catchy song. The ballad "True" was a monster hit in 1983, and 30 years on it still sounds perfect. Tony Hadley sings it beautifully, and the laidback feel of the song, harmony vocals, Caribbean-style guitar and sax included, works like a charm. It was the title track of Spandau Ballet's third album and, unsurprisingly, their biggest hit by far.

Watch and listen


Psychedelic Furs - The Ghost In You

"The Ghost In You" by Psychedelic Furs is such a lovely song. Perfect pop music from an album full of it, the wonderful 1984 release Mirror Moves. 'Nuff said!

Watch and listen


Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell Williams - Blurred Lines (unrated version)

"Blurred Lines" is my definite favourite this summer, an unbelievably catchy pop song that struts and jumps all over the place. The video shows Robin Thicke and guests T.I. and Pharrell Williams performing the song and dancing with three good-looking models, and there is also an unrated version with the models dancing topless. Here it is, and no, it's not that racy.

Watch and listen


onsdag 24. juli 2013

Sam Smith - Safe With Me

Sam Smith is the voice of Naughty Boy's monster hit "La La La" and Disclosure's brilliant "Latch" as well as having released his own single "Lay Me Down" in February. Now he's readying his debut EP, and today posted the song "Safe With Me" on his Soundcloud page. It's kind of a grower, but Smith's beautiful voice is as beautiful as you'd expect. I like!



The Stranglers - Skin Deep

The musical evolution of The Stranglers has certainly been an interesting one. Their many albums have been varied through the years, and they have left more than a few classic songs in their wake, from early punk-inspired singles like "Peaches" and "No More Heroes" to pop songs such as "Always The Sun" and "Skin Deep". The latter of these is my pick for today, a lovely little pop tune, performed by a bunch of musicians who look like they could... well, strangle you or worse, any minute. It's the first single from the fabulous 1984 album Aural Sculpture.

Watch and listen


Massive Attack - Splitting The Atom

"Splitting The Atom", released in 2009, is a fantastic single off Massive Attack's last album Heligoland (2010). It features guest vocals from Horace Andy and keyboards by Damon Albarn, the latter also having a co-write along with Massive Attack members Robert "3d" Del Naja and Grant "Daddy G" Marshall and producer Neil Davidge. It's a hypnotic piece of music, a pop song in disguise really, and absolutely stunning. Great video too!

Watch and listen


Associates - Breakfast

A show of hands for those who know Associates, please! Not many... Associates was a Scottish duo consisting of the extraordinarily gifted singer Billy Mackenzie and guitarist/keyboardist Alan Rankine. Associates was reduced to just being Mackenzie when Rankine left after the masterpiece Sulk (1982). Two years later Mackenzie released the follow-up album Perhaps, disappointing many hardcore fans, but pleasing some as well, like me. Perhaps is not as adventurous an album as Sulk, but has got some excellent songs on it. The ballad "Breakfast" was the third single to be released from it, and also the album's best song by far. Mackenzie's vocals reaches the heavens and beyond, making the listener marvel at how it can be done. A beautiful performance from a man who sadly died far too young, at 39, when he took his own life in 1997.

Watch and listen


Prefab Sprout returns with new album Crimson/Red

Prefab Sprout, one of my all-time favourite bands, finally returns with new music on October 7th. The 10 track album is called Crimson/Red and was posted on the band's Soundcloud page, then removed when it was discovered by fans. Some people did however download the album that was supposedly called The Devil Came A-Calling after one of its songs. Now all speculation may cease as it's officially declared that the album is being released as Crimson/Red. The songs are the same, but the running order is different:

The Uncut website posted this news item today: Read

The album is indeed great and worth looking forward to. Meanwhile, here is the excellent song called "Billy":


Emeli Sandé - My Kind Of Love

"My Kind Of Love" is an absolutely beautiful ballad from Scottish singer/songwriter Emeli Sandé's 2012 debut album Our Version Of Events. I have to admit I didn't hear the album upon its release, and that it's only now that I realise it's very good, having heard Sandé sing for acts like Naughty Boy and Rudimental. She's a great singer of great songs.

Watch and listen


Tom Pacheco - Angel

American singer/songwriter Tom Pacheco's "Angel", the true story of a war veteran friend of his, is one of my favourite songs. A deeply touching tale of a man and his demons, his humanity, and his (almost) inevitable demise. Sorry about the poor quality of the clip, but this is Tom alone and his guitar, and you can hear every word. Please listen carefully to the lyrics, as it's a great example of Pacheco's songwriting abilities as well as a story you should hear. It's actually quite important and gives the listener a few things to ponder. A perfect picture of empathy if ever there was one.

Watch and listen


Daft Punk - Lose Yourself To Dance

Daft Punk's Random Access Memories is most probably the best album of 2013, and a guaranteed future classic, a dance record that will become as influential as itself is influenced by others. Among its 13 brilliant songs, my favourite just might be "Lose Yourself To Dance". Like the first single "Get Lucky" it features Chic legend Nile Rodgers on guitar and Pharrell Williams on vocals, and like "Get Lucky" it's an absolutely fantastic song, a perfect dance/disco tune it's impossible to dislike. Below you'll find a fan-made video for "Lose Yourself To Dance", compiled by iconic clips from Soul Train, movies like Saturday Night Fever and Flashdance, and a lot more. Good fun. Also, see my review of Random Access Memories here.

Watch and listen


New Quarter Wolf single for download now - here's "Addicted"

Listening to a new song from Norwegian/Australian rock duo Quarter Wolf every month is a lot of fun. July's free song is ready for download now, and it's a great, punk-ish track called "Addicted" that is surprisingly long, clocking in at a respectable 3:47. Not exactly punk length, but what can you do? It's a fab song, full of energy, balls and attitude - as well as a little bit of sexiness. Download below.



tirsdag 23. juli 2013

Washed Out - Don't Give Up (now with video)

I posted the latest Washed Out single "Don't Give Up" a month ago, and today it was released with a proper video. It shows different sorts of animals, both in water and on ground, and is a beautiful little film that goes very well with Ernest Greene's atmospheric dream-pop.

Watch and listen


Icona Pop - All Night

Swedish pop duo Icona Pop have just announced that their debut album will be released on September 23rd, titled This Is... Icona Pop. It features among other tracks last year's smash hit "I Love It" and this year's "Girlfriend", as well as the brand new "All Night" that was posted online yesterday. Yet another great song from the pair behind the already immortal line "You're from the 70's, but I'm a 90's bitch". I mean, what's not to like?



Elvis Costello & The Roots - Walk Us UPTOWN

Finally, here's the first track to be posted online from the forthcoming Elvis Costello and The Roots project that has resulted in the album Wise Up Ghost. The release date is September 16th, and to judge from "Walk Us UPTOWN" we'll be in for a real treat. This is interesting stuff, combining Costello's biting and angry vocal delivery with the musicality of The Roots, heavy on samples, electronic beats and live instruments at the same time. Sounds like a marriage made in heaven if you ask me.

Watch and listen


Pet Shop Boys - Love Is a Bourgeois Construct

Today it was (unsurprisingly) announced that the next single from the new Pet Shop Boys album Electric will be "Love Is a Bourgeois Construct". The song is by far the most immediate on the album and also the most recognizable for old-time fans who still cling to the heyday of "It's A Sin". Like that classic 1988 single, the new one boasts a big, pompous sound, and it's partly based on a piece of classical music from Henry Purcell's 1691 opera King Arthur. Furthermore the song's title and subject matter was inspired by David Lodge's satirical 1988 novel Nice Work. Finally, what remains to be said, is that "Love Is a Bourgeois Construct" is a fabulous pop song of the kind only Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe can produce.



Echo & The Bunnymen - Rescue

Just a few days ago I posted the Echo & The Bunnymen song "Zimbo", and once you get started... well, there's no turning back. Here's "Rescue" off their immensely good 1980 debut album Crocodiles, one of their very best songs. When towards the end of the song Ian McCulloch repeatedly goes "Is this the blues I'm singing?" it transforms from simply being awesome into something bigger than life, especially live. Here though, is the original studio version, that should have made Echo & The Bunnymen bigger than U2 if the world was a just place. Sadly, it is not. "Rescue" become what you'd call a minor hit, reaching only number 62 on the UK singles chart.



Odd Børretzen og Lars Martin Myhre - Sommersang

Odd Børretzen døde sist november, men du verden for en kulturell arv denne kloke mannen etterlot seg! Av alle hans sanger og øvrige skriverier er det en sang som for meg skinner akkurat hakket sterkere enn alt annet, "Sommersang" fra den utmerkede platen Kelner! (2002). Til Lars Martin Myhre og det øvrige bandets nydelige akkompagnement hilser Børretzen sommeren og alt i den en hjertelig god dag, og det er knapt mulig ikke å la seg bevege. "Hver sommerdag er en gave, en gave fra Gud vet hvem", synger Børretzen innledningsvis og avslutter med den deilige verselinjen "God dag, humler og hester og bringebær, god dag, blomster og susende, eldgamle trær". Er ikke dette en perfekt sommerskildring, så vet ikke jeg.



The Lotus Eaters - The First Picture Of You

"The first picture of you, the first picture of summer, seeing the flowers scream their joy". You'll be hard pressed to find such a picture of summer as The Lotus Eaters conjure on their debut single anywhere. "The First Picture Of You" was recorded in 1982 and released as a single the following year, becoming a UK Top 20 hit. 30 years on it's still as good, both a perfect summer song and a perfect love song, with its intoxicating melody, jangly guitars and pastoral atmosphere. It's one of the songs that simply haunt me forever and ever.

Watch and listen