Florence and Hadise

Quick health update: My eye is still wonky. I can see a little better out of it, but it’s still not right. My ophthalmologist is erring on the side of caution so I’ve had a second MRI, and am awaiting an appointment with a neurologist. So I’m sort of playing the waiting game at the moment. I’m kinda nervous, but very optimistic that things will turn out OK. :)

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Florence Welch

I haven’t felt up to reviewing since this started, but I’ve got to write about two albums that I’ve absolutely adored recently:
Florence And The Machine‘s new album Lungs, released on July 6 (and on July 7 here in the US), is really, really good. I had first taken notice of Florence on XO’s Middle Eight, when the video of “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” was posted. I think I had listened to a track or two of Florence’s before, but whatever I listened to didn’t really make much of an impression on me. The lush, ornate “Rabbit Heart,” however, did. Even so, I still didn’t pay a great deal of attention to Florence And The Machine after that exposure to “Rabbit Heart.” I have no idea why; I guess I just wanted to wait until I heard the actual album until I decided if I loved Florence’s music or not.

It turns out that Lungs is exquisite. Florence has a powerful, booming voice, a beautiful voice that invites comparisons to other strong vocalists like Grace Slick but holds a tone and quality that belongs solely to Florence. Her regal yet somehow raw sound finds its inspiration in Kate Bush’s darker moments, Stevie Nicks’ most ethereal turns, and in the folk-rock of the 1970s. I may be off the mark here, but I think there’s also a slight Enya influence, at least in the layering of the vocals – and especially in that delicious “aaah-ah” right before the chorus in “Rabbit Heart.” Florence’s lyrics range from the epic (“Howl”) to the domestic (“Kiss With A Fist”) and everything in between. I love how it feels like you’re paging through a great big dusty old leather-bound book of fairytales when you listen to the album.

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Hadise

And now on to Eurovision hopeful Hadise, who released an OK album (titled Hadise) with some awesome singles last year (“My Man and the Devil on His Shoulder” in particular). This year, after giving us the addictive Eurovision entry “Dum Tek Tek,” Hadise came out with what I think is my favorite pop album of the year so far, Fast Life. The electro/urban-inflected pop songs are all worthy of being released as singles but work together as an album, too. A testament to how good music can make you feel better even in the weirdest times: on my way to my first MRI two weeks ago, something I’d never had done before and was nervous about, I listened to Fast Life on a whim and found myself loving it in spite of my anxious self!

Like I said, every song could be a hit single, but my favorites are “On Top,” a fierce attack on a girl trying to get with Hadise’s guy (how very dare she!), “Hero,” a lovely downtempo track about how “being sad made me strong,” and the wonderfully catchy “Supernatural Love.”

Proper reviews of Lungs and Fast Life are coming, but I just wanted to share my thoughts on these albums and update this poor blog! :)

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N!

I’ll be heading off on Monday with the family for our annual vacation in oh-so-glamorous Wildwood, New Jersey! :)

Sorry for the recent lack of posts, but this past week was a little nuts – the vision in my left eye went weird and I had to get an MRI. Not fun! I’ve been listening to a lot of music that I want to write about, though, so I have plenty to review after the beach. :)

Summer Tunage!

It’s time now to post what’s on my Songs of Summer 2009 playlist so far!

First, though:

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The Minogue sisters!
  • I’ve been listening to Dannii Minogue non-stop for the last few days. I just got in the mood to listen to her and simply couldn’t stop! Dannii, please come out with some new music sometime! :) I’ve particularly been enjoying listening to some of my old favorites like “Hide & Seek,” which next to “I Begin To Wonder” is my favorite Dannii ditty.
  • I also went on a Kylie Minogue binge about a week ago. She’s only about 200 songs away from topping Kate Bush on my last.fm charts!! :O Never thought I’d see that happen. Anyways, I really enjoyed listening to Impossible Princess again. Despite this being my favorite Kylie album ever and placing in my Top 5 fave albums of all time, I don’t listen to IP as often as you’d think. To put it simply, it tends to get me down because it reminds me so much of a bittersweet time in my teen years. Bitter, because I had just dealt with my first round of OCD badness; and sweet, because I have good memories of school and friends from that time. Hearing the darkness of “Too Far” and the frantic “Limbo” again remind me of how far I’ve come since I first heard the album at 16.

Sorry for getting depressing there! OK, now onto the Songs of Summer 2009. :)

  • “Who Do You Love Now (Bart Claessen FM Edit)” by Riva, featuring Dannii Minogue, is a 2009 reworking of the classic club stomper. This remix is not as epic as the original – but it’s still a good, trance-y mix with lots of blazing synths. There’s also a rejigged version of the video to match – check it out here!
  • Sophie Ellis-Bextor‘s distinctive vocals can be heard on Freemasons‘ “Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer),” a stonkingly great dancefloor anthem. (I’m not even sure if “stonkingly” is a word, but that’s just how good this song is – it makes you invent new words!) The video edit has an awesome breakdown and buildup with some lovely strings. Well worth a listen!
  • I had listened to “When Love Takes Over,” by David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland, a couple of months ago but it didn’t really make a dent with me then. After reading an entry singing the praises of the song over on Pop Trash Addicts, I thought I should give the song another listen. Now it has earned a place on my Songs of Summer 2009 playlist! The keyboard in the song reminds me of great big dance tracks of the 90s, which is a very good thing. :)
  • I have been absolutely adoring “Berlin” by French singer Christophe Willem. The album it comes from, Caféine, features Christophe singing with Kylie (or singing with her recording, whatev!) on a new version of “Sensitized,” which prompted me to give the album a try. Now I adore Caféine too! Caféine is perfect electro-pop and I’ll probably review it soon! :)
  • The Black Eyed Peas are back and I quite like their new single, “Boom Boom Pow.” It’s pretty minimal electro-hip-hop, but it’s highly addictive! :)
  • In-Grid, another fine French singer, has a song called “Le Dragueur” out right now that I really love. The accordion or whatever works so well with the beats, and the “yeah yeah yeah”s of the chorus are cool too.
  • Dragonette are back with a new single! “Fixin’ To Thrill” is full of awesome deep bass, synths, guitars, and fierce vocals from the lead singer. Can’t wait for their new album!
  • I’m really liking Pop Levi‘s new glam grunge single, “Terrifying.” Different in that it’s not nearly as upbeat as last year’s Never Never Love singles were, it’s still awfully catchy! I actually prefer it to the other single he’s got out now, “Police $ign.”
  • BWO has a new single out, titled “Right Here Right Now.” All the usual BWO bits are here: light but infectious beats, pretty synths, and and anthemic chorus. A fine slice of pop, perfect for the summer!
  • I’m kind of on the fence about Niels Van Gogh‘s revamp of Livin’ Joy’s 90s hit “Dreamer.” The extended remixes are great, but the only radio edit of the song I can find is the Denis Koyu & Micha Moor Radio Mix (for my summer playlist, the songs have got to be short and sweet!) – a good mix, yes, but a little long at 4:30. Otherwise, it’s a dancefloor-ready tune!
  • Speaking of the dancefloor – Cascada has a new song out called “Evacuate The Dancefloor.” It’s kind of a carbon copy of Lady GaGa’s “Just Dance,” but it’s got a charm all its own. The Wideboys Radio Mix really takes the song to the club, and has found a space on my summer playlist. :)
  • Last but not least is “The Wind Blows (DiscoTech Remix)” by The All-American Rejects. I’m not a big fan of them but I seem to always like their singles. I really would have liked a big club mix of this track but this electro mix is good too; the deep synths and fat beats beef up the ballad-like original.

Polly Scattergood – Polly Scattergood (2009)

So I wrote a little about Polly Scattergood awhile back. I noted that “I’m this close to loving [her new album, Polly Scattergood], but I can’t quite commit to that feeling yet.” I’ve since decided that I do, in fact, love this album. Listening to Polly Scattergood gives me the same feeling I had listening to Siobhan Donaghy’s Ghosts in 2007: like I’m listening to something very, very special. Will it eclipse Bat For Lashes’ Two Suns as my favorite of the year so far? You know, it just might. At the very least, the two albums are tied for my fave at the moment. On to the album review! :)
pollycover“I Hate The Way” begins with barely-there ambient synths and beats. Polly delivers the first verse in a quavering, quiet voice. The first instance of the beautiful chorus is pretty dark, with some deep synthesizers creeping around under the mix. Polly’s voice gains strength as the songs progresses, as do the beats and instrumentation – the second time the chorus comes around, electric guitars join in as an incessant drumbeat pounds. Things blow up artfully around the halfway mark of the track, as a high-pitched synth whines and weaves its way around the production. Everything gets quiet and Polly adds in some angelic background vocals, but the intensity isn’t over. Organ-like synths and a delicate piano melody make an appearance towards the end of the track, right before what sounds kinda like a spaceship hovering into view sweeps through. Polly then recites a spoken-word thing over a shuffling drumbeat and odd noises floating all over the place, with cool echoing effects toward the closing of the song. I adore the lyrics of this piece: “I will hold you even though you’re slightly mad,” “my doctor said I’ve got to sing a happy tune,” and “girl you’ve got a million different faces, so why do you put on that disguise?” are some of my favorite lines. Polly’s almost stream-of-consciousness lyrics are a highlight of the album.

On to the next track! I can’t believe we’re only on to the second track – sorry for that mini-novel I wrote up there! I just really like “I Hate The Way.” :D All righty. The kicky beats and bright synths of “Other Too Endless” belie the song’s vulnerable lyrics, like “it can’t be real, no it can’t be real, if I close my eyes maybe I won’t feel this.” I love the strings that show up towards the end of the track – really great instrumental work here! Now we move on to “Untitled 27,” which starts out with a solo piano and synths for atmosphere, plus some ghostly vocals asking “where are you?” and saying “I’m lost.” Creepy! The lyrics here read like poetry – take the first verse, for instance:

Suicidal tendencies
Drain creativity
Auto-pilot
Numb the music
Sick

pollyyyyyyyDeep drumbeats, screeching synths and what sounds like a distorted background vocal wail combine with the lyrics to produce something haunting and beautiful. “Please Don’t Touch” is up next, all bouncing beats and guitars – quite a change from the darkness of the first three tracks! But don’t worry, there’s still something wonderfully “off” about this. :) The chorus is a simple, catchy melody, underscored by hand-claps and punchy piano. The synths and background vocals that come in near the end really give that something extra to the song. More nifty lyrics like “although I lost my mind sir, I think you lost yours quicker” come up here.

“I Am Strong” is quietly pretty, driven by piano and a simple drumbeat. It’s an atmospheric song too, with wafts of windy synths and wispy background vocals entering the mix every so often. It finishes, and the album moves on to “Unforgiving Arms.” It’s sort of sung/spoken, and Polly pulls this off. The chorus has a pop song feel, and is the most “normal” sounding bit on the album. I love the break in her voice at around the 2:30 mark, during a chorus – this adds to the feel of listening in on someone’s private thoughts. That’s a good way to describe the album, actually – it’s like you’re listening in on someone’s thoughts. Set to music. :)

Solo piano starts “Poem Song” off, as Polly sings about how “times takes many tears away.” Soft synths pop up occasionally, and a solo violin plays the melody right in the middle of the track. At a little over 6 minutes long, this song is deceptive – you hear that the song isn’t going to be full of big sounds like “I Hate The Way,” so you think it’ll get boring, being so long. But this isn’t the case: you find yourself wanting to listen to what Polly is singing, because her vocals and lyrics are so compelling.

polly-scattergood-image-2“Bunny Club” is like a more restrained club track. The song tells a story – I think it might be about a girl in a brothel. The bassline and drumbeat push the song along, and the deep synths and hi-hat that enter toward the end of the track really make you want to move! “Nitrogen Pink” is next. It’s full of buzzing synths and the feel of the song builds in intensity as it goes along – frantic drums and those synths beef up the sound as Polly becomes more and more vocally uninhibited. Not so much a song as a little snapshot of emotion.

Bird callings and piano introduce “Breathe In Breathe Out.” A delicate ballad, with a gorgeous chorus – just Polly’s voice, her piano and an atmospheric synth. It’s such a beautiful song, and the lyrics are sad but pretty: “saw a sparkle, felt a tremor…” When the song ends, you feel like you have just listened to a pretty special album.

The iTunes version (at least the US iTunes; not sure about elsewhere!) of this album comes with a digital booklet and 4 bonus videos, including a charming short video about Polly, and is a bargain at only $6.99. If your interest was piqued by my thoughts (I should be so lucky, lol!), I really encourage you to try this album out. :)

Deanna’s Summer Classics!

This is a playlist of my summertime favorites – songs that have heated up my summers through the years. Quite a few of the songs are those from recent years, but all in all it’s a playlist that is sure to make the heat rise! :)

So without further ado, here is: Deanna’s Summer Classics!

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01 Destination Calabria (Original Radio Edit) – Alex Gaudino feat. Crystal Waters
I first heard this in 2007 and it has become my favorite summer song. This is like my summer anthem! It makes me think of going to the beach. :)

02 Delius (Song Of Summer) – Kate Bush
I think I must have first listened to this song a few years ago. It’s got a wonderfully hazy, sleepy feeling, like you might feel on a summer evening.

03 Money To Burn – Richard Ashcroft
A feel-good sing-along kind of track! I love those horns that pop up every so often!

04 Summer Calling (Radio Edit) – Andain
This one makes me think of summer nights, full of fireflies and yummy smells from cookouts!

05 Anyway You Choose To Give It – The Black Ghosts
This is from last year, but it really made an impression on me! I remember listening to it at the beach last year and loving the fast-paced beats.

06 How Bizarre (Radio Mix) – OMC
A classic one-hit wonder! I loved this song back during a summer in the mid-90s and I always make sure to give it a spin during the summer to bring back memories of being young(er) (I was probably around 10 or 11!) and stupid(er)!

07 Chariots Of Fire (Credheadz Remix Radio Edit) – BWO
A couple of years ago I found myself listening to this at the beach on repeat. This remix takes the original pure pop track and beefs it up, making it into a rather epic kinda thing.

08 Everytime We Touch (Radio Mix) – Cascada
Cheesy old song it may be – but it makes me smile! :)

09 Closer to Your Heart – Clannad
A lot of Clannad songs remind of the summer, because I started listening to them many summers back. I chose this one because it’s fun and bouncy!

10 Makat Hom [i la dirla da da] – Dana International
I started listening to Dana a few summers back too, and this one is a lot of fun and very summery!

11 Sunrise – Dannii Minogue
I loved this track from The Hits & Beyond, and it reminds me of the summer it came out!

12 Hot Summer Night (Radio Edit) – David Tavare (Feat. 2 Eivissa)
A relatively new track with a great hook and breezy production.

13 Jesus Doesn’t Love Me – Dragonette
Not really summery, technically, but I always associate it with summer because that’s when I first heard it! A fun electro-pop ditty with sinfully good lyrics! ;)

14 Crickets Sing for Anamaria – Emma Bunton
A perfect song for “summertime, when all the crickets sing”!

15 Thnks Fr Th Mmrs (Lenny B Short Term Memory) – Fall Out Boy
I listened to this and the BWO track a lot during that summer, despite not being a Fall Out Boy fan. I am a big fan of remixes, though, and this mix really has a lot of attitude!

16 Trippin’ Me Up (1st Demo Version) – Kylie Minogue
It’s not an officially released song, but it easily could have been – it’s fantastic!

17 Summertime – Geri Halliwell
Rather sexy, actually, and beautifully put together. I really like the guitars.

18 The Way – Fastball
If you listen to the lyrics, it’s a sad song. But if you just focus on the cool chorus, you’ll turn that frown upside down!

19 Long Hot Summer – Girls Aloud
Not my favorite Girls Aloud song, but it specifically mentions summer and I just had to include the Girls in this playlist!

20 From Paris to Berlin – Infernal
Oh man, what a scorcher! I absolutely LOVED and still adore this track. Memory time: I was shocked a few summers ago to hear this song on the boardwalk as my family and I left the nut house in Cape May – Morrow’s Nut House, that is! :D I had no idea the Nut House was that hip!

21 Ray of Light – Madonna
A really great, hyperactive song!

22 Faster Kill Pussycat – Paul Oakenfold ft. Brittany Murphy
Listened to this a few years back and loved it. I can’t believe Brittany Murphy, who voices Luanne on King Of The Hill (great show, btw!), did the vocals on this!

23 Umbrella (The Lindbergh Palace Radio Edit) – Rihanna
You couldn’t get away from this song a few summers ago, and why would you want to? This remix brings the song fully into the pop realm.

24 Cry For You (Radio Mix) – September
Ah, what a cool song. That cry of “you’ll never see me again!” is positively anthemic!

25 Kayitz (summer) – Ofra Haza
Hebrew for “summer,” “Kayitz” is a cute little ditty that you’ll love, even if, like me, you don’t speak Hebrew!

26 Tattva – Kula Shaker
Have yourself a psychedelic summer with this hippy-dippy tune!

27 Saturday Night Forever – Pet Shop Boys
An ode to the carefree joys of Saturday nights! Saturday nights in the summer are always worthy of celebration.

28 Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer – Nat King Cole
A absolute classic. It’s just not summer if I don’t listen to this! :D

I’ll be posting what I’ve got so far on my Summer 2009 playlist once I’ve got more songs than the few I have now! :)

Bat For Lashes – Two Suns (2009)

My first proper album review in a few months! :O I’m done with finals, yay! :D
bat-coverBat For Lashes, also known as Natasha Khan, came out with Two Suns in April. It leaked in March, however, and at that time I thought it may be my favorite album of the year so far. Now it’s May, and it’s still my fave of the year so far. This is a really beautiful album, full of unique songwriting and excellent production.

“Glass” starts the album off calmly enough, before thumping drums usher in an epic storm. Khan’s deliciously visual lyrics tell an adventurous love story replete with a “knight in crystal armor” and “two suns spinning at two different speeds.” That particular lyric, though only one line in a song full of regal imagery, is probably my favorite because the words, combined with Khan’s delivery and the music sweeping around, are full of motion and energy. Next, twangy guitars and deep bass get “Sleep Alone” going. Excellently detailed percussion pushes the verses along, and once you get to the chorus – ah! “Lonely, lonely, lonely,” Khan wails, supported by heavier production and some nice, warm synths. I love the ethereal “aah” that washes over the mix after the wonderful line, “they say for every high high, there must be a low, low, low, low, low.”

l_ee49b0ef34dc4138803481f9743e2b34A delicate piano ballad with lovely strings (or synths) for atmosphere, “Moon And Moon” features otherworldly echoes of each line in the second verse. I really like those mournful “ooh”s that make an appearance toward the end of the song. Sad lyrics about not seeing the one you love anymore might get you down, but fear not – “Daniel” will pick your spirits back up! You know that guitar lick that heralds the arrival of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)”? That’s what the almost trumpet-like synthesizers that set the mood for “Daniel” remind me of. What I love about “Daniel” is that the synths aren’t really trying to sound like real instruments (except, perhaps, for the string synths that pop up every once in awhile). It’s like this song takes place in another time – another world! Love the way Khan intones “just kids in the eye of the storm” – what a great line, and fab delivery! All that greatness, plus the song’s even danceable. You can’t get any better than that!

Foreboding synths and a jangly guitar start “Peace Of Mind” off. What makes this song awesome is the gospel chorus that repeats each line Khan sings. Khan’s vocal performance is particularly dramatic in this track. I loe the dark, country-tinged sound of this one – her delivery of “peace of mind” is more a threat than a chorus! “Siren Song” is up next. You can hear some nifty flute work in this! This is sort of the calm in the storm that “Glass” started, yet the choruses are full of a restless energy, heavy with drums and dark lyrics. We bop back to dancing percussion with “Pearl’s Dream.” “A star in me needs to be free,”Khan proclaims, before mentioning battles, kingdoms, and a thousand night in the chorus. It’s all underscored by infectious beats and handclaps. Again, the synth work, which is amazing throughout Two Suns, gives this song a unique sound. The “you know that it’s time to go up” melody almost sounds like it could have been on the radio in the 1960s. Cool stuff.

22354Organ takes the spotlight in “Good Love,” the name of a town Khan “passed… last night in a dream” (I absolutely love her lyrics!). “Good Love” drifts lazily along, but with purpose, and before you know it “Two Planets” swings into view. A solo spoken word intro and battle-ready drums begin this track. “I am one of two planets dancing” and other magical lyrics like it soar above ringing, jingling percussion. This is more like an experience than a song – you’ll want to listen to it over and over again to hear all the neat production touches (which is true of the whole album, really!). Creepy deep vocal swoop in near the end, and then we continue our journey through Two Suns with “Travelling Woman.” It’s a song of encouragement to a, well, “travelling woman,” to, among other things, “never fall in love with potential.” Piano and a leisurely drumbeat give this a timeless, ballad-y feel. Khan’s vocals and the instrumentation become a little more aggressive about half-way through the track. The track quietly but prettily ends on a fade-out.

The album closes with “The Big Sleep.” Wonderfully theatrical, this one, with lyrics about “spotlights coming down from heaven” and the acknowledgement that “it’s curtains-down time.” Khan’s lovely voice is joined by Scott Walker’s deep, dark vocals on this eerie and engaging closing track. The last half of the track features just a haunting solo piano, and ends with some kind of synthesized white noise pulses.

I mentioned in an earlier post that Bat For Lashes’ 2006 debut, Fur And Gold, failed to win me over. Two Suns, however, has got me positively Batty! Check this album out on iTunes or in stores. :D

Let’s try this again!

I said I was back… but that was in late March! School has been keeping me extra-busy, but I’m determined to keep this blog full of my rambling thoughts. ;)

Great new albums have been released or leaked recently. I’ll be writing proper reviews of my favorites soon, but for now, here are the albums that you should check out right quick! ;)

  • Bat For Lashes’ Two Suns, released April 7 in the US. Just beautiful. It’s on iTunes, on Amazon.com, pretty much everywhere, so you have no excuse to not listen to it! ;)
  • IAMX’s Kingdom of Welcome Addiction, to be released in May. It was well worth the wait – the album is full of IAMX’s lush, industrial-infused electronic rock and his idiosyncratic, dark-minded lyrics. Search Google for it, have a sneaky listen, and then buy it when it’s released! :)
  • Lal Meri, a trio that includes Nancy Kaye (formerly known as Rosey) and chill-out maestro Carmen Rizzo, have released their debut album titled Lal Meri. And what a gorgeous album it is! Download it from iTunes or Amazon or wherever and get lost in the beautiful grooves!
  • Sandra released her comeback album of sorts (a triumphant return after her divorce from Enigma mastermind Michael Cretu), Back To Life, in March. It’s characterized by bright, happy lyrics and fabulous music that matches – light years (Kylie reference intended!) from The Art Of Love, a darker album that had the potential to be an introspective, intimate sort of record, but fell short of that mark.
  • Polly Scattergood. Oh, Polly. After listening to her debut, self-titled album, I just wasn’t sure what to think. I’m still kind of in two minds about Polly Scattergood. I’m this close to loving it, but I can’t quite commit to that feeling yet. At first listen the songs sounded super minimal, with lyrics that could be interpreted as pretentious. But! I felt compelled to revisit the album a week or two after listening to it the first time. I found myself enchanted and haunted by the first track, “I Hate The Way,” and this feeling continued through the whole album. I really wanted to hear what else Polly was going to sing, what other melodies she was going to plink out on the keyboard, what other atmospherics she was going to weave. Are her lyrics pretentious? You know what, I don’t even care. They work. Polly Scattergood makes you care about what she sings. There’s something about this girl. Her stark musical illustrations are polarizing, I think, and she will definitely strike some listeners as rubbish. But those who give her a chance might just discover that she’s really something special.
  • Hande Yener, a fab Turkish pop star, came out with her newest album, Hayrola? (What’s Up?, I think is how it translates) last week. She’s definitely worth a listen – her ice-queen electro-pop sound is hypnotic (fittingly, her last album was titled Hipnoz!) and catchy at the same time.

Singles and such

You’d be forgiven if you thought I’d dropped off the face of the earth – it’s been eons since my last real update!

To start things off, here are some songs I’ve been adoring for… well, a good while. :)

  • Pet Shop Boys are back with their new single “Love Etc.” from forthcoming album Yes (which I’m so so excited about!). It’s classic PSB, with plinking synths and a wonderful chorus.
  • Bat For Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) will be coming out with her new album Two Suns this April. The first single from the album, the beautifully layered “Daniel,” is out with a fabulously freaky video. I tried to get into her first album, 2006’s Fur and Gold, but sadly could only find myself enjoying the first few tracks. I’ll be giving it another try now, though, because I’ve had a sneaky listen to Two Suns and it has already gained a place on my “best of 2009” list (yeah, I keep track of my faves in list form in my head all year!).
  • Sandra, of 80s Europop classic “Maria Magdalena,” returns with a gospel-flavored feel-good song called “In A Heartbeat.” Her last album, The Art of Love, felt like it was all spoken – it seemed like only the choruses featured Sandra singing! “In A Heartbeat” is a fine return to form, beautifully produced, really really catchy – and no spoken/sung bits! ;)
  • I gave the new single – “Wild” – from Valeriya a try, despite never having heard of her before, but now I’m definitely looking forward to more music from her! Actually, I’m not even sure if this is her new single – her UK website says something about another song called “Back to Love” being released in April. So I’m not sure what’s going on with “Wild”… Anyways – great beats and cool guitars. :)
  • Anjulie is a new artist with a voice like Nelly Furtado, but her tone is a little sweeter. She will be releasing her debut album, Boom, sometime this year (it leaked early though – and via another sneaky listen, I can tell ya that it’s really cool!). She released an EP in late 2008 so I guess “Boom” is the lead single. It’s got this awesome deep guitar riff, and then when the chorus comes in – “boom, sha-la-ka…” – that’s it. You’re hooked! :)
  • Calvin Harris, that electro kid, has a new club-ready dance single out called “I’m Not Alone.” Love those shrieking synths!
  • I’m addicted to Dizzee Rascal‘s “Dance Wiv Me (Jason Nevins Radio Edit)”, which features Calvin Harris and Chrome. It’s club, rap, and rock all rolled into one fab package. I didn’t listen to the original in 2008 but I’m loving this 2009 attempt to bring it to the USA. :)
  • I’m not a big fan of the album version of Beyonce‘s “Diva,” but “Diva (Maurice Joshua Remix)” – now that’s good stuff. So danceable, and a bit funky too! :)
  • Lily Allen‘s back with “The Fear,” the lead single from her neat new album It’s Not Me, It’s You. “The Fear” is pure pop with excellent beats and clever lyrics like “I’m a weapon of massive consumption.”
  • A new trio of musicians, Lal Meri, is out with “Bad Things”, from their debut self-titled album. Lal Meri features the smoky, delicious vocals of Nancy Kaye, who has previously released two albums under the name Rosey. I love her voice and it really suits the lounge-y, psychedelic trip-hop of “Bad Things”. Definitely a new group to listen out for.
  • Marina And The Diamonds have a couple of songs out, and I’ve gotten hooked on “Obsessions.” It’s a beautiful song, and Marina has a distinctive voice, almost theatrical but not in an annoying way. Can’t wait for their album!
  • Patrick Wolf is due to release an album this year and his first single from it, “Vulture,” is absolutely addictive. I really hope that this deep, dark, and rather sexy sound carries over to the rest of the album. :) (The video in that link is a little NSFW, so wait till you get home to watch it!)
  • Last but not least is Chester French. “She Loves Everybody” is a single from their forthcoming album, and it’s just great pop/rock. Synths flourishes don’t sound out of place in the largely guitar-based instrumentation, and I’ve gotta mention the beats – I’m a sucker for a good beat. :)

A quick note

Hey all! I know I’ve been away for awhile, it seems, but I promise I haven’t given up bloggin’. ;) Actually, I’ve got some family stuff going on at the moment that has been keeping my mind off the music for about two weeks. I will definitely get back to writing (depending on your point of view, this may or may not be a good thing! ;) ) but I’m thinking it will be another couple of weeks before things settle down.

Hope everyone out there in blogland is doing well! :) (And Happy Valentine’s Day, by the way! I kept meaning to do a post of my favorite love songs, but I’ll do it some other time I suppose!) :D

O hay guys!

Hey, just wanted to post a quick note to assure anyone who was wondering that I am indeed still alive – it’s just that the spring semester started last Monday and I’ve already got a boatload of reading to get through! Reviews and such will definitely be coming up soon, though. :)

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But before I go and finish Moll Flanders and get started on reading my science textbook ;), I’ve got to rave a bit about capsule, a Japanese electro duo. Their latest album, More! More! More!, is absolutely awesome, and had I listened to it in 2008 (when it was released) it surely would have been on my “top albums of 2008” list. I particularly love the frantic, fierce rap in “the Time is Now” and the bright and shiny title track. Other cool songs to listen out for include “Phantom,” which sounds like some Daleks crashed the studio and demanded to be recorded, and “e.d.i.t.”, a non-stop energy rush.

So go give capsule a listen. They’re great! :)