It’s time for more amazing, stirring, captivating music!
And this week we have chosen from a range of established artists and some artists just beginning to make their presence felt, and they’re all, naturally enough, iPod-worthy and then some!
So slip on the headphones, power up the listening device of your choice, and sit back and enjoy.
“Idiot Proof” by Natasha Kmeto
Natasha Kmeto is a startlingly original artist.
Drawing on influences as diverse as dance, pop and R’n’B, and utilising well a voice that is languorous, rich and nuanced, the talented Portland-based singer/songwriter/vocalist creates songs that aren’t easily pigeonholed into a particular genre.
And that is no doubt why I have found her music and in particular her latest track, “Idiot Proof”, which is the forerunner to her second LP Crisis due on 18 June, such a delight.
One of my all time favourite music blogs PigeonsandPlanes described this sensuous song best when they wrote:
“… the track builds from a gyroscopic synth base, slowly adding a skittery synth jolt and then floods her jazzy, thick vocals over the top.”
It is utterly unique, the sort of song that you don’t forget easily.
And if you’re anything like I am with new songs I adore, one you don’t stop playing in a hurry either.
“Actors” by Still Parade
There is a certain sense of enigma to this band which I find refreshing.
While I am the first one to admit that I love finding out about the artist behind the music and digging up anything and everything I can read about them, it’s also oddly compelling when not a lot is known about a group of musicians beyond the fact that they produce sublimely beautiful music.
Quite why they have chosen to be so oblique in an age of information overload is uncertain although it does lend them a sort of mysterious cachet lacking with the usual-over exposed PR style so beloved of many artists today.
And that might be just what sets them apart, quote apart from superlative songs like “Actors” which apparently was inspired by this Oscar Wilde quote:
“Actors are so fortunate. They can choose whether they will appear in tragedy or in comedy, whether they will suffer or make merry, laugh or shed tears.” — Oscar Wilde (source: Pigeonsandplanes.com)
The song builds slowly but surely through from the softly strumming folk guitar of the opening bars through to the warm, perfectly balanced harmonies of the three band members, with a wispy alt-country vibe percolating gently throughout.
It is chilled, laid back and the most divine musical accompaniment to the flickering embers of 3am fireplace musings.
“Falling” by Little Children
Unless you have been trapped under the crushing weight of an IKEA flack pack of late, you will know about my great and abiding predilection for Scandinavian pop in all its many pleasing forms.
One country in particular that I have along and abiding fascination with is Sweden which most famously gave the world ABBA but has since produced inspiring artists of the calibre of Lykke Li, Robyn, Swedish House Mafia, Andreas Lundstedt and last year’s Eurovision winner, Loreen.
You can now add Little Children, a band led by 29 year old Linus Lutti, to that illustrious, and woefully incomplete list.
With a sound reminiscent of Bon Iver and Loney Dear, the Stockholm-based artist’s music, and “Falling” in particular, which is the lead single off their upcoming EP of the same name due out 4 June, is lushly melodic, a pleasing meld of burbling folk and pop overlaid by Lutti’s remote, otherworldly vocals that nonetheless lend the song a warm accessibility.
There is a playful joy to the music that sits quite comfortably alongside the darker threads of melancholy, all of which come together to produce music that works just as well as the soundtrack to tranquil ruminations on life as it does as music to explore the world by.
“Brittle Pieces” by Zemmy
Oh my lord there is emotion in Zemmy’s music.
Gloriously good, deep, soulful expressions of emotions that give her songs, and “Brittle Pieces” especially, a raw immediacy that you simply can’t fake.
Bare-your-soul honesty seems to be London-based singer/ songwriter Zemmy’s very much welcome stock in trade, a sign that she is not an artist who is simply going to write songs for the sake of writing them or tickling someone’s ears.
No, her songs are authentic outpourings of who she is and how she sees life.
And how thankful am I that she is willing to wear her heart on her sleeve, and squeeze every last drop of soul-scarred emotional honesty into her trembling but assured husky voice and world-weary but accepting lyrics.
And pair them with music as frail and yet robust and beautifully melodic as that which graces “Brittle Pieces”.
You could just float away from the world on this song, hopefully to a new and better place.
“Daddy’s Groove” by Röyksopp
The boys from Tromsø, Norway are back!
Included as a song of new music on their curation of the latest in the UK Late Night Tales mix tape compilations that asks bands to draw together all the songs that they love or that have inspired them, “Daddy’s Groove” possesses that languid melodiousness and removed electronically-caressed voices that have become the Norwegian electronica band’s trademarks.
I have been listening to it on almost endless repeat for a couple of days, and in a sign of the song’s strength and Röyksopp’s undeniable talent, I have yet to tire of it.
This quietly happy song bubbles along taking you with it, not in any great hurry to get anywhere which is fine with me because it’s the sort of song you just want to soak all the happiness up from for as long as you can.
+ special mention: “Skirt” by Kylie Minogue
You have to love it when it’s someone’s birthday and they’re the one giving out the presents.
Businesses of course do it all the time on TV, replete with cheesy adverts and booming announcers voices, but everyone else? Not so much.
But this week, evergreen pop princess Kylie Minogue, who marked 25 years in the music biz last year, decided that she would be the one giving out the gifts on her 45th birthday.
Well sort of.
Chris Lake, was the one who actually dropped Kylie’s new track “Skirt”, which is all jangly dubstep, sighs and moans, during a set he performed at Pacha Ibiza, but it quickly went viral, notching up thousands of plays on Soundcloud.com within hours of its release.
While the song, produced by Scottish dance wunderkind Nom De Strip, and written with The-Dream, the hit-making factory who have crafted pop gems for Beyonce and Rihanna, hasn’t been confirmed as an actual single, or even a track on Kylie’s new album due later this year, it is nonetheless a look into the new musical direction Kylie promised she would be taking as part of her deal Roc Nation (the management company helmed by Jay-Z).
And what an exciting look it is.
Bold, experimental and compelling, it has a lush melody running throughout, coupled with Kylie’s breathy vocals, and promises, regardless of the form it eventually takes, to be a standout song in Kylie’s already considerable repertoire.