lørdag 30. november 2013

Todd Terje - Spiral

House? Disco? "Blue Monday"? No matter what it is, you can stake your life on Norwegian DJ/producer Todd Terje revving things up for a party. His new 10 minute plus "Spiral" is a stunner, bound to make you move your feet and then some. Enjoy!



Broken Bells - Holding On For Life

"Holding On For Life" is the first single off the forthcoming second Broken Bells album, the project of artist-producer Danger Mouse (Brian Benton) and The Shins lead singer and guitarist James Mercer. A fabulous soul/R&B song with a pop twist and a decidedly 80's synth-flavour with a semi-psychedelic break reminiscent of The Beatles circa Revolver, it bodes very well for the album After The Disco to be released in mid-January. As a matter of fact, this song is simply awesome!

Watch and listen


Daughter - Youth

If You Leave, the debut album of London-based trio Daughter, is one of this year's most accomplished releases of the more atmospheric kind. Once again, we have to refer to the xx, who's singlehandedly created a "new" sound, in large part based upon the musical framework of The Cure circa 1980 and 1981. Daughter take their cue from this, and has recorded a beautiful debut album, from which "Youth" is among the more immediate songs. In a curious aside I should mention that the song also has been used to promote the Norwegian airline Widerøe in a television commercial.

Watch and listen


The Beatles - She Loves You

With the recent release of the wonderful On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2, once again I have been a bit excessive about playing The Beatles. In my opinion it's the best band in the universe, and there will most probably never be a band that can match what they did, the way they shaped and changed pop music in only nine years. "She Loves You" is of course an early treat, a 1963 single that was not on any of their albums, which became the best-selling single in the UK both of the year and of The Beatles' entire career. Just over two minutes of pure pop heaven!

Watch and listen


fredag 29. november 2013

Depeche Mode - Should Be Higher

"Should Be Higher" is Depeche Mode's current single, lifted from this year's Delta Machine, their best album in many years. This is one of the songs written by singer Dave Gahan (a co-write with the Swiss programmer/producer Kap10Kurt) which is suitably dark, moody and atmospheric. Not the most immediate of songs, it's still very good, with an exciting production featuring lots of interesting small details and background noise. Great stuff!

Watch and listen


Nick Lowe - 12-Step Program (To Quit You Babe)

I guess the fact that Nick Lowe has just released this year's best new Christmas albums, Quality Street, means we should pick up his old records too. "12-Step Program (To Quit You Babe)" is a fantastic JJ Cale-style blues-rock number off his 1994 album The Impossible Bird, here in a live clip from British TV show Later... With Jools Holland. Awesome!

Watch and listen


torsdag 28. november 2013

Sigur Rós - Brennisteinn

Oh joy! Tonight I'll be seeing my favourite Icelandic band Sigur Rós live for the first time when they play here in Oslo. This is a concert I'm really looking forward to, as their big, hypnotic, mesmerizing music is sure to make a huge impact in a live setting. What I've seen of live clips from these guys is fantastic, and I only have the highest expectations for tonight's concert. Here's the first single "Brennisteinn" from this year's Kveikur album, a return to the brutal sound of their early records, but still beautiful in a way that make me consider Sigur Rós to be otherworldly.

Watch and listen


onsdag 27. november 2013

U2 - New Year's Day

New year's is still a long way off, but for some reason I wanted to hear U2's classic 1983 single "New Year's Day", the first single off War, the album that lifted them up to some kind of semi-superstardom if there is such a thing. The real deal came four years later of course, with the release of The Joshua Tree. But to me, "New Year's Day" is the real deal, maybe my all-time favourite U2 song, perfect in every way. The video is pretty cool too.

Watch and listen


Nick Lowe - Christmas At The Aiport

Nick Lowe has released what is most probably the best Christmas record of 2013, Quality Street. It's a blend of old and new in Lowe's laidback musical style, with diverse and at the same time classic songs like "Silent Night" and "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" alongside newly written songs such as the Lowe/Ry Cooder co-write "A Dollar Short Of Happy" and Lowe's "Christmas At The Airport". The latter has got its own animated music video featuring an elf on his way to the North Pole who gets stranded at the airport on Christmas Eve. Great song, great video, and do check out the album. It's wonderful.

Watch and listen


Talking Heads - Crosseyed And Painless

For me, Talking Heads eclipsed on the 1980 album Remain In Light. The songs - "Once In A Lifetime", "The Listening Wind", "Crosseyed And Painless" and more - were truly exciting, mindblowingly produced by Brian Eno, and the band was augmented by people such as Adrien Belew, Nona Hendryx and Jon Hassell, turning the record into a musicians' feast. But it was also David Byrne's vocal delivery that made the album stand out. He had never been as good as here, and the rhytmic experiments that were pretty much started on the predecessor Fear Of Music the year before blossomed in full on Remain In Light. Now, a lot can be said for 1984 live album and film Stop Making Sense. It's among my favourite live albums of all time, and it features a fantastic version of "Crosseyed And Painless". The very best version however can be found on the 1981 live album The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads. I couldn't find that on YouTube (but check it out elsewhere), so I put up the studio version with its accompanying music video instead. It never became a hit, but in my ears the Afro-funk sound of "Crosseyed And Painless" is the sound of a band who could do no better. This is a true peak performance.

Watch and listen


tirsdag 26. november 2013

Janove Ottesen - Go Tell Her

Janove Ottesen was (is?) the singer in Kaizers Orchestra, one of the biggest rock bands in Norway that has now put their career on what I guess is an indefinite hiatus. In 2004 he did something I guess he's thinking of repeating, doing a solo album. It was called Francis' Lonely Nights, and although I didn't exactly fall head over heels in love with it, the single "Go Tell Her" still sounds absolutely magnificent, a slow-building, atmospheric pop song with epic qualities. The mood of the song reminds me a bit of The Stereophonics' wonderful "Maybe Tomorrow". This is just crazy good.

Watch and listen


Barbara Pittman - I Need A Man

"...first-wave rock 'n' roll was fast-moving, fun, disposable and defiantly youthful, no time for cliché. There is more rock 'n' roll in the three minutes of passionate dishevelment in Barbara Pittman's "I Need A Man" than the combined catalogues of Aerosmith and Mötley Crüe."

The quote is lifted from Bob Stanley's recently released brick of a book, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story Of Modern Pop, from the chapter on Bill Haley and rock 'n' roll in its infancy in the years 1954 and 1955. He sure has got a point. Pittman was one of very few female recording artists in the Sun Records roster, but the rawness of her voice over a fabulous backing band (featuring an incredible guitar solo by Buddy Holobaugh and Smokey Joe Baugh's similarly impressive piano playing) far exceeds your average metal monkey. Although I enjoy a bit of Aerosmith from time to time, I see Stanley's point which is excellent. "I Need A Man" was recorded and released in 1956, as Sun 253.



Daniel Norgren - Moonshine Got Me/Highbird

Swedish blues artist, singer and songwriter Daniel Norgren, has got a guitar playing style that pretty much marks him as old like the hills of the American south, sounding like it's lifted out of a Daniel Woodrell or Larry Brown novel. "Moonshine Got Me" is of course just the song title to match it, and appears on this year's album Bunk. His partner in crime on upright bass is one Anders Grahn, and how the pair of them makes this sound so good and the sound so rich is beyond me, simple soul that I am. For your added pleasure, there's another song here too called "Highbird" from 2010's Horrifying Deatheating Bloodspider (!) album, also very good.

Watch and listen


R.E.M. - Losing My Religion

R.E.M. went from being big to huge with the 1991 single "Losing My Religion" off the Out Of Time album, which is one of their very best. It was a big hit in several countries around the world, and reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, their best chart position ever in the US. This song is as classic as it gets, really, just fantastic!

Watch and listen


Aṣa - Jailer

Aṣa (pronounced Asha, meaning "hawk" in the Yoruba language) is a Nigerian French singer/songwriter, known as Bukola Elemide to her parents, with two albums behind her so far. "Jailer" is the opening track on her first, eponymous album (2008), and with its beautiful, lilting melody comes out as the perfect blend of sweet soul music, old school reggae and West African pop music. The entire album Aṣa is very good, and I'm pretty sure the same can be said for the follow-up Beautiful Imperfection although I haven't heard it yet. But I will, and soon.

Watch and listen


mandag 25. november 2013

Bruce Springsteen - High Hopes

Bruce Springsteen's new single, his re-recorded version of the Tim Scott McConnell song "High Hopes", was released today, and as was predicted, news of a brand new album has also emerged. The album will also be titled High Hopes and is set for a January 14 release. It's a mixture of re-recorded songs, covers and new songs, including new versions of "The Ghost Of Tom Joad", and "American Skin (41 Shots)" that has previously only been available in a live version, and his takes on Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream" and The Saints' "Just Like Fire Would". Here is the full track list:

1. High Hopes
2. Harry's Place
3. American Skin (41 Shots)
4. Just Like Fire Would
5. Down In The Hole
6. Heaven's Wall
7. Frankie Fell In Love
8. This Is Your Sword
9. Hunter Of Invisible Game
10. The Ghost of Tom Joad
11.The Wall
12. Dream Baby Dream

Watch and listen

Here's a press release from Springsteen himself about the new record:
'I was working on a record of some of our best unreleased material from the past decade when Tom Morello (sitting in for Steve during the Australian leg of our tour) suggested we ought to add "High Hopes" to our live set. I had cut "High Hopes," a song by Tim Scott McConnell of the LA based Havalinas, in the 90's. We worked it up in our Aussie rehearsals and Tom then proceeded to burn the house down with it. We re-cut it mid tour at Studios 301 in Sydney along with "Just Like Fire Would," a song from one of my favorite early Australian punk bands, The Saints (check out "I'm Stranded"). Tom and his guitar became my muse, pushing the rest of this project to another level. Thanks for the inspiration Tom.
Some of these songs, "American Skin" and "Ghost of Tom Joad," you'll be familiar with from our live versions. I felt they were among the best of my writing and deserved a proper studio recording. "The Wall" is something I'd played on stage a few times and remains very close to my heart. The title and idea were Joe Grushecky's, then the song appeared after Patti and I made a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. It was inspired by my memories of Walter Cichon. Walter was one of the great early Jersey Shore rockers, who along with his brother Ray (one of my early guitar mentors) led the "Motifs". The Motifs were a local rock band who were always a head above everybody else. Raw, sexy and rebellious, they were the heroes you aspired to be. But these were heroes you could touch, speak to, and go to with your musical inquiries. Cool, but always accessible, they were an inspiration to me, and many young working musicians in 1960's central New Jersey. Though my character in "The Wall" is a Marine, Walter was actually in the Army, A Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Infantry. He was the first person I ever stood in the presence of who was filled with the mystique of the true rock star. Walter went missing in action in Vietnam in March 1968. He still performs somewhat regularly in my mind, the way he stood, dressed, held the tambourine, the casual cool, the freeness. The man who by his attitude, his walk said "you can defy all this, all of what's here, all of what you've been taught, taught to fear, to love and you'll still be alright." His was a terrible loss to us, his loved ones and the local music scene. I still miss him.
This is music I always felt needed to be released. From the gangsters of "Harry's Place," the ill-prepared roomies on "Frankie Fell In Love" (shades of Steve and I bumming together in our Asbury Park apartment) the travelers in the wasteland of "Hunter Of Invisible Game," to the soldier and his visiting friend in "The Wall", I felt they all deserved a home and a hearing. Hope you enjoy it'
Bruce Springsteen

søndag 24. november 2013

Sade - Smooth Operator

Sade's 1984 debut album Diamond Life is one of my all-time favourite albums. Strange perhaps, when it's crowded in a huge pile of Beatles, Clash and Springsteen albums to name a few, but the sheer elegance and beauty of Diamond Life overshadows quite a lot here in life. Singer Sade Adu's silky smooth voice, the band's excruciatingly delicate playing and the quality of the songs make this an album for the ages.

Watch and listen


The Byrds - Eight Miles High

Each time I hear The Byrds' classic single "Eight Miles High", two things strike me: How good it is, and why on earth I don't play it more or less constantly. The single was released in early 1966, which was a groundbreaking time in music. Imagine the records produced by acts like The Byrds, The Beatles and The Beach Boys, and a whole score of other exciting bands that saw the light of day around the mid-1960's. It's hard to imagine just how crazy this era was in terms of pushing the music forward, a little bit like Buzz Lightyear, "to infinity and beyond".



The Cure - The Figurehead

I know a lot of people hate The Cure and their gloomy, sinister-sounding music. I think it's beautiful though, and where many find Robert Smith's voice whining and irritating, I find it rather comforting. Not the gloomy type myself, I still like to bask in the dark and atmospheric landscapes Smith and his cohorts conjure. Their darkest hour is definitely the 1982 album Pornography, an angst-ridden, claustrophobic-sounding record that saw the light of day as an alternative to Smith "completely giving in" (i.e. committing suicide). "The Figurehead" is my favourite song from Pornography which only spawned one single, "The Hanging Garden". That was good, but not as good as "The Figurehead".



The Who's rock opera Tommy re-released as Super Deluxe Box Set

Here's a piece I've written about The Who's classic 1969 album Tommy for the record company Universal's Norwegian blog. Unfortunately for anyone who is not fluent in my language, you won't understand a lot. You can however, watch a few video clips and access a nice playlist.



The Motors - Airport

Who on earth remembers The Motors? And who cares? Well, I do. Their one big hit, 1978's "Airport", is one of the best pop songs ever written and recorded, credited to the band's keyboardist and bass player Andy McMaster. 35 years on, it may sound a bit dated, but you can't hold a great melody such as this down by time alone. Granted, this is the sound of the 70's, but in many cases, such as this, that is undeniably a good thing. "Airport" is simply put, a slice of pop heaven!

Watch and listen


Depeche Mode - Puppets

Depeche Mode's 1981 debut album Speak & Spell is in some ways their best. Although their ambition has been bigger and their abilities better over the years, there is a simplistic charm to their first album that they have never been anywhere near matching. That may of course be due to the fact that their songwriter Vince Clarke simply quit and left the rest of the boys to their own devices after one album, but whatever wonders Martin Gore has worked after he took over the songwriting duties Depeche Mode has never sounded as fresh as on Speak & Spell. It may not be a perfect album, but it is chock full of good songs, and "Puppets" is one of my favourites. Classic stuff!

Watch and listen


lørdag 23. november 2013

Alt-J - Something Good

I registered the Leeds band Alt-J's debut album An Awesome Wave upon its release in mid-2012, but when I tried to listen to it I didn't pay much attention and dismissed it without reflecting a lot upon it. Then, only four or five weeks ago, I was in a clothing store in London, waiting for my wife trying on some dresses, when I heard a song over the shop's speaker system. It grabbed me immediately, and lo and behold, when I shazamed it, it turned out to be "Something Good", one of the singles off the Alt-J album. Great song, a kind of mood piece with a repetitive rhythmic pattern that sends the listener off into outer space or wherever he or she wishes to go. Love it!

Watch and listen


Rolling Stones - She's So Cold

OK, so 1980's Emotional Rescue may not be Rolling Stones' crowning glory, but it has a few good songs on it, chief amongst them "She's So Cold" which was the second single to be released from it. It's got all the hallmarks of a great Stones track, fab Keith Richards riff, Jagger at his sneering best, and a band so tight you that you just know that nobody could do this any better. Also, it's sexy as hell.

Watch and listen


Howard Devoto - Rainy Season

Howard Devoto's voice is something all its own, instantly recognizable. He started his recording career in Buzzcocks, but soon left to form the post-punk outfit Magazine. When that adventure was over, he released his first (and only?) solo album Jerky Versions Of The Dream in 1983, from which the single "Rainy Season" was lifted. It's a beautiful, atmospheric pop song, with Devoto's fabulous voice doing its thing. 30 years on it's really a classic recording.

Watch and listen


Solomon Burke - The Other Side Of The Coin

One of soul music's greatest voices was celebrated duly when producer Joe Henry helmed the 2002 album Don't Give Up On Me, on which he asked sundry talented songwriters to contribute, such as Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits and others. "The Other Side Of The Coin" is written by Nick Lowe and eventually ended up on his 2007 album At My Age. But it's a song that's a perfect match for Burke's warm voice, and I'm pretty sure Lowe agrees that he couldn't better it.



Stephen Ackles - Melancholy Christmas

Stephen Ackles is a Norwegian singer working in the tradition of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and other Sun Studios recording artists of the 1950's. His brand new single "Melancholy Christmas" differs from what he usually sings in several ways, as it's pretty much a rock ballad with more of a 70's feel, a Christmas song to boot, and it's also far more sombre and moody than the kind of stuff that he's famous for doing. It's a wonderful song, and the video is a bit surprising, depiciting as it does some of the less fortunate Romani people who are traveling around Europe begging for spare change to make a living. It's not the kind of video you'd expect from Ackles or any other Norwegian performer, but as you see him walking the streets of Oslo watching these people it's cause for a bit of pondering about life in general. But first and foremost it's a very good song and maybe a future Christmas classic. Who knows?

Watch and listen


fredag 22. november 2013

Jake Bugg - Slumville Sunrise

Say what you will about 19 year old Nottingham boy Jake Bugg, but his second album, despite its possible faults, is a great rock'n'roll record, expertly produced by none other than Rick Rubin. It's quite different from his first album, a lot more exciting, and all of a sudden Bugg has upped the ante and really become a name unto himself. "Slumville Sunrise" has got a rubbish video which is half-heartedly trying to tell a story, but the song is fantastic!

Watch and listen


Brand new U2 song: Ordinary Love

"Ordinary Love" is the brand new U2 single written specifically for the upcoming Nelson Mandela biopic Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. It's an absolutely stunning song, a kind of "U2 of old" as bassist Adam Clayton puts it, and I do agree. Wonderful, wonderful song, and the good news is that U2 are in the studio, hoping to wrap up their new album by the end of this month!

Watch and listen


torsdag 21. november 2013

Jason Isbell - Elephant

This song is shockingly good! "Elephant" is lifted off singer/songwriter Jason Isbell's astonishing new album Southeastern and tells the story of a couple who has to deal with the fact that she's got terminal cancer. The former Drive-By Truckers member Isbell has apparently cleaned up his act after years of alcohol abuse, and as he's noted, "This time I want to remember it all". Of all the songs on the album, "Elephant" is the one that has really hooked me, but there's not a bad song among the 12. It is definitenly one of the best albums of 2013, so you should really check it out. This guy knows how to write a song!



onsdag 20. november 2013

The Cure - Charlotte Sometimes

"Charlotte Sometimes" is a singles only release by The Cure, following in the wake of their third album Faith in 1981. I guess it was written as an afterthought to that album, as it's a similar type of production and song, that wouldn't have fitted on follow-up album Pornography with its decidedly harder and more brutal sound. "Charlotte Sometimes" is gloomy pop music at its best, a great song.

Watch and listen


tirsdag 19. november 2013

Aaron Neville - Goodnight, My Love

What a song this is! Songwriters George Motola and John Marascalco wrote "Goodnight, My Love" in 1956 when it was recorded, perfectly, by Jesse Belvin. In the years since it has been covered by many, by such diverse acts as Paula Abdul, Paul Anka, Alex Chilton, Los Lobos and Gladys Knight & The Pips, and many, many more. But this year Aaron Neville released it on his incredible My True Story album, and... well, who can sing any song better than Aaron Neville? He basically owns "Goodnight, My Love", and even though Belvin's original take may be definitive, Neville's comes very close.



Quarter Wolf - Too Much Lovin'

After a long wait Norwegian/Australian garage rock duo Quarter Wolf are finally about to release their debut album An Orgy Of Shocking Violence, in just two weeks' time. To shorten the wait, here's the frenetic "Too Much Lovin'", a killer hybrid of punk, rockabilly and garage, a no-nonsense song that pretty much sums up the band.

Watch and listen


mandag 18. november 2013

Introducing... Neonato

Neonato is a new instrumental band featuring four veteran musicians from the town of Arendal in the south of Norway. The members' previous experience is varied to say the least. Keyboardist Thomas Robsahm is a successful filmmaker, producer and writer as well as one half of the 80's goth duo White Lord Jesus who briefly returned in the mid-00's. Tom Rudi Torjussen has worked as a session musician for the past 20 years with people as diverse as Elvira Nikolaisen, Niko Valkeapää and Aggie Frost as well as being a part-time member of the band Jim Stärk. Guitarist Baard Torstensen is famous for being in the Norwegian/Swedish metal band Clawfinger, and Neonato's last member, bassist Geir Emanuelsen, has played with several different outfits, ranging from Go-Go Gorilla to The Beat Tornados.

Hopefully Neonato will release their debut album in early 2014, featuring a string of atmospheric instrumental tracks of a decidedly cinematic nature. The song "Neonato" is the first taste and it features its own film, as will be the case with all the songs on the forthcoming album, directed by Thomas Robsahm whose previous experience as film director includes the feature films Svarte pantere (Rebels With A Cause) and Folk flest bor i Kina (Most people live in China). Robsahm jokingly says that The The (Matt Johnson) made films for each track on the 1986 masterpiece Infected so he thinks Neonato should do the same. The "Neonato" film at least looks pretty good, satirizing modern consumerist living in a rich country like Norway, so there's hope for the rest as well.

Exciting stuff and some seriously hypnotic music that sounds like a cross between Brian Eno and David Byrne's groundbreaking 1981 album My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts and the Irish post-rock band God Is An Astronaut. Check this out!

Watch and listen


Indigo Girls - Jonas And Ezikial

"Jonas And Ezikial" is a song off the 1992 Indigo Girls album Rites Of Passage, one of their best. Emily Saliers and Amy Ray normally write and perform their own songs with the other one singing back-up and this is no exception. It was written by Ray, and the title refers to names that she saw on a tombstone in a slave cemetery. According to Ray herself, "it's a political song about people who put their faith in prophesy, who're walking toward disaster instead of doing anything about it." And very good it is.



søndag 17. november 2013

Indiana - Mess Around

Indiana (don't know what her real name is) is a new artist from Nottingham, England, who's released a handful of singles and EP's so far, the latest of which is the brilliant "Mess Around". It sounds a bit like the xx, but so many do these days, so I guess we can live comfortably with that. This is  nocturnal music, a bit spooky-sounding, but mesmerizing and very melodic. A name to watch, no doubt.

Watch and listen


Madness - Night Boat To Cairo

What a bunch of clowns. Madness a.k.a. "The Nutty Boys" have never taken themselves especially seriously. Have a look at the video for the excellent "Night Boat To Cairo" and you'll know what I mean. Great song too, lifted from their 1979 debut album One Step Beyond and the lead track on their Work Rest And Play EP.

Watch and listen


Kirsty MacColl - Halloween

OK, so I'm a bit late with this as Halloween was a couple of weeks ago, but you can safely play Kirsty MacColl's song of that name all year round. "Halloween" is one of the many perfect songs on her perfect third album, 1991's brilliantly titled Electric Landlady, co-written with Mark E. Nevin who used to be in Fairground Attraction with Eddi Reader. The melody is to die for and the arrangement is fantastic and actually quite original, fusing different genres into a surprising whole. Here are Latin horns and rhythms blended with a lonely Gallic fiddle, rockabilly-style guitar licks and some serious pop hooks. Awesome!



William Pitt - City Lights

William Pitt is an American model who moved to Paris in the mid-80's and was discovered by a local record producer named Pascal Pillet-Desjardins. A true one-hit wonder, William Pitt is remembered for the single "City Lights" which became a hit in a few European countries in 1987, and after that he just disappeared from sight. But what remains is one very good song, a nocturnal and atmospheric pop song about, you guessed it, the lights of the city.

Watch and listen


Aaron Neville - Tears On My Pillow

One of this year's best albums is Aaron Neville's My True Story, a collection of 12 doo-wop classics that he grew up with in the late 1950's. Among these great, great songs are "Tears On My Pillow", that was a hit for Little Anthony And The Imperials in 1958. Neville's version is absolutely gorgeous, his angelic voice singing the words beautifully. Below are two versions, the actual album version that is fully orchestrated and a version of Neville singing the song in one take, only accompanied by a piano. Both are, of course, stunning.

Studio version

One take version


lørdag 16. november 2013

Saint Etienne - Last Days Of Disco

It took them eight albums and more than 20 years to do it, but British pop trio Saint Etienne finally produced their masterpiece, Words And Music By Saint Etienne, in 2012. It's a record that includes 13 brilliant songs, with one thing in common, the love of pop music in its many different guises. "Last Days Of Disco" is sort of a disco song, but not quite. One thing it is though, is fantastic.



fredag 15. november 2013

T. Rex - Children Of The Revolution

"Children Of The Revolution", as good as it is, was the single to break T. Rex's run of number one singles on the UK singles chart. After four consecutive number ones, "Hot Love", "Get It On", "Telegram Sam" and "Metal Guru", "Children Of The Revolution" only reached number two. This was in 1972, and reflecting upon this, it strikes me that none of these fabulous glam rock singles would have been anywhere near the top of any chart today, so I guess a number two position really is quite good. Classic song it is!

Watch and listen


Tracey Thorn - How Wild The Wind Blows

My God, this is beautiful! Tracey Thorn has the most incredible voice in pop music, a thing of great beauty and mysterious qualities far beyond the mundane. Now she has recorded a version of "How The Wind Blows", a stunning song written by Molly Drake, Nick Drake's mother. It's for a BBC Radio 4 documentary about Molly that will air next Thursday. Let's hope it's released in some form, as this is absolutely mindblowing stuff. Listening to Tracey sing this song makes me stop everything else I'm doing and I seem to keep playing it again and again. I should probably stop now. Oh hell, one more time!



Kirsty MacColl - Can't Stop Killing You

Pop genius, that's what Kirsty MacColl was. A brilliant songwriter with wry, funny lyrics, in every song of hers there was something just a little off, that set her apart from anyone else. She is sorely missed after her pointless death in December 2000, but her records and her songs live on. "Can't Stop Killing You" is a quirky little pop song of the kind she was so good at, a single and co-write with Johnny Marr, that featured on her 1993 album Titanic Days.

Watch and listen


Victor Manuelle - Tengo Ganas (salsa version)

It's party time when Puerto Rican singer Victor Manuelle enters the stage. Women seem to swoon when Manuelle croons and the music sounds absolutely fantastic. Manuelle is a huge star in Latin America, and a song such as "Tengo Ganas" (I have wanted) immediately makes you want to jump up and dance. It's effectively produced by Emilio Estefan who has co-written the song with Manuelle. It appeared on his 2004 album Travesia.

Watch and listen


Sam Smith x Nile Rodgers x Disclosure x Jimmy Napes - Together

What a dream team! Sam Smith is the wonderful singer on Naughty Boy's fabulous hit of this summer, "La La La", Nile Rodgers of Chic fame has of course been revitalised this year due to his appearence on the Daft Punk album, Disclosure is probably the most commercially successful club act in the world right now, and Jimmy Napes is also involved with Naughty Boy, Sam Smith and Disclosure as a writer and producer. These fabulous musicians/artists have gathered to make the song "Together", a two and a half minute funk jam that simply sounds fantastic. Think "Alphabet Street" era Prince and you're pretty close. My one question is, "Why isn't it longer?" - a shame!

Watch and listen


torsdag 14. november 2013

The Undertones - My Perfect Cousin

Oh, what the hell! Let's do one more Undertones song. They were so amazingly good at times and a true singles band. "My Perfect Cousin", a wry look at one of the band members' actual cousin, is fabulous power pop, released in 1980, and it still sounds fresh.

Watch and listen


Katy B - 5AM

Katy B's second album Little Red will be out in February, but she has already released two singles from it. "What Love Is Made Of" dropped in May, whereas the new single "5AM" appeared on YouTube in September and has only just been released commercially. It's a fabulous dance-pop track, immediate and catchy, and it shows Katy B a bit removed from the dubstep of her debut album. It's sounds a bit late 90's/early 00's, but in a very good way. This should work very well on any dancefloor.

Watch and listen


The Undertones - Teenage Kicks

The 1978 debut single from Belfast's The Undertones, "Teenage Kicks", was famous British radio DJ John Peel's favourite single, and it's a hard one to beat. The youthful swagger and exquisite pop melody, wrapped in a simple, punky arrangement, is brimfull of energy and works on every level. "I need exictement and I need it bad", sings Feargal Sharkey, referring to the all the girls he's dreaming about. Who can not relate to that?

Watch and listen


onsdag 13. november 2013

Nirvana - Pentecost Hotel

Now, this song is not by Kurt Cobain's Nirvana, but the British 60's band with the same name. The wonderful "Pentecost Hotel" is a big ballad from the Nirvana's 1967 debut, the concept album The Story Of Simon Simopath, about a boy in the future (in 1999) who dreams of having wings. He suffers a breakdown and unable to get proper help in a mental institution he instead gets aboard a rocket (why wouldn't you?) and meets a centaur that becomes his friend and the tiny goddess Magdalena who works at Pentecost Hotel and that he eventually marries. The song "Pentecost Hotel" was the album's lead single, but no hit, I'm afraid. No matter, even if the song may be a bit silly, it is great, very much of its time and musically, it's pure ear-candy.