Sonic Bliss #7: My favourite songs of the week

I may be squeezing every last musical drop out of Santigold’s fantastic new album, Master of My Make-Believe at the moment as it spins on high rotation like a runaway spinning top through my iPod but that doesn’t mean I don’t have time to listen and explore and find new morsels of musical perfection lying littered across the vast expanse of cyberspace.

So here are the tunes that are beguiling and enchanting me, and leading to the sweetest and most danceable of places, sometimes at the same time…

 “Blue Jeans” (Simms & Belle remix) – Lana Del Rey feat. Azealia Banks

 

While you could be forgiven for thinking that poor old Lana Del Rey spends her days drowning kittens and setting fire to orphanages so great is the hatred some in the music industry have for her, she actually makes quite good music. It may not as game-changing as some of the movers and shakers were expecting it to be but it is rich, soulful and imbued with an earthy sultriness that suggests love lost amongst the hot, languid days of a sweltering Southern American summer.

But what if you want to dance your way through all the pain and heat and work out your angst that way? Well now you can do just that! Lana Del Ray’s song “Blue Jeans” has been the rap and remix treatment by up and coming rapper, Azealia Banks, and the talented team of Simms and Belle (Mark Foster and Isom Innis of Foster The People), and it is very good.

“Blue Jeans” is now a pulsating, dare I even say, throbbing piece of dirty electronica where Lana Del Rey’s voice flits in and out with as much sultry strut as ever, joined by Azealia’s edgy rapping. These vocal room mates team up beautifully and with the pounding beats provided by Simms and Belle the song pounds along where before it sashayed with mint julep in hand.

This is catchy as hell and as good a reinvention of a song as I have heard in some time.

 

 

“Just a Touch” – AlunaGeorge

 

 

Bored with all the 80s revivalists? Feel like the decade that gave us Duran Duran and Human League deserves a nice rest in the sun with its feet up and a gin and tonic in hand?

Well fret not! For the 90s, upon which the ink is barely dry, are now mustering their considerable musical influence for an assault on the charts and one of the artists leading the way is AlunaGeorge, a duo whose name was formed by mashing together the first names of the two members.

The penchant for joining things together continues on this track which marries a stripped back minimalist 21st century edge with 90s influences for impressive effect. The song is a clever, complex melding of two decades’ sounds but it manages to be very much its own cohesive animal and Aluna’s supremely talented vocals are never threatened with being overwhelmed by its sassy slow yet strident melody.

Want to relive the past but still feel like you have more a very determined foot planted on today’s dance floor? Then AlunaGeorge is the band for you with this song being the perfect introduction to this talented pair.

 

 

“Celestine” – Spector

 

 

What an exhilarating song! I can’t stop grinning…

It’s a hands-in-the-air mobile phones aloft rock burner that thumps and pounds its way to delirium, and frankly I see no reason why we shouldn’t all just acquiesce and go along with the insistent beat. It is so demandingly catchy that it has captured the attention of a decidedly non-rock guy like me.

This five piece indie rock outfit from London had been making waves with their first four singles but this song is totally blowing the roof off everywhere it’s played. Frederick McPherson’s voice is manly, strong and matches the power and urgency of this song note for note.

Oh and they wear suits. Clearly they can do no wrong.

 

 

“Every Night I Say a Prayer” (Tensnake remix) – Little Boots

 

 

Little Boots made quite the impression on me when her debut album landed in my hot little hands way back in 2009. From the first song, it was obvious that Little Boots, or Victoria Christina Hesketh as she’s known to the tax department, and who plays just about every instrument known to man, was a rare talent.

Here was electropop that wasn’t a by-the-numbers exercise. Little Boots has a sound so distinctive that she makes many of her less talented colleagues seem like the generic wannabes that they are. It is so refreshing to hear someone who has taken a genre of music that is so in vogue now everyone seems to be doing it, and make it entirely her own.

And her ability to hold fast to what makes her wholly unique continues with “Every Night I Say a Prayer” which was released for world Record Store Day on April 21 – designed to encourage us to go to our bricks-and-mortars music outlets by issuing mountain-high numbers of limited edition singles just for the day – and is remixed here by German musical wunderkind, tensnake.

This is clever electronica that draws you in, gets you dancing and won’t let you go till it’s good and ready for you to leave… and why would you want to leave anyway? The song has sultry perfectly executed otherworldly vocals, a thumping bass beat, airy bright melodies, and  a vague-ish spiritual bent (that last element is tenuous at best but hey it’s alluded to in the title so I’ll go with it).

You know the volume control on your stereo? This song is why there is a MAXIMUM setting!

 

 

 “New Me” – Purple Crush

 

 

Quirky thy name is Purple Crush.

And we love thee for it. No I have no idea I felt compelled to use ye olde English other than the fact that this delightfully off kilter duo inspired it. The clip for their latest single,  “New Me”, lifted from the Welcome 2 the Underground EP they released last year, drew its visual inspiration from the 1982 fantasy movie, Dark Crystal, and is as trippy and colourful as you would expect given its much revered source.

The song itself is deliciously intense, with waves of dark swirling guitar-laced dub step breaking over you all the way through. It has an almost mystical anthemic quality to it, and you can help but believe lead vocalist Isla Cheadle (one half of the LA-based electro pop duo along with Jared Selter) when she emphatically assures you that this is “me brand new… I’m winning”. Her voice recalls the vocal intensity of one Ms Madonna Ciccone but Isla is no copy cat and the song benefits from her determined declaration of her new state of being.

It’s the sort of song that, dripping with a strident but positive attitude and a melodic strength that cannot be resisted if you have a pulse, is perfect for anyone wanting to strike out on their own, and make sure everyone knows to get the hell out of their way!

 

 

I’d love to know which song grabbed you by the aural short and curlies and wouldn’t let go!

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