Santogold – L.E.S Artists

Santogold first came to my attention thanks to her appearance on Mark Ronson’s ‘Version’. Since then her name has popped up everywhere where hype lives. I thought the hype was undeserved due to first single Creator being a bit of an MIA bang-a-long, but now her 2nd single L.E.S. Artists is knocking about and it’s brilliant.


Gone is the carnival style and in it’s place a Karen O style singalong with an epic chorus and the stole stealing lyric ‘I can say I hope it will be worth what I give up’. With Diplo & Switch behind her on production duties throughout her album, this is going to be one of the hippest albums of the year.

And while we’re talking of hype, I need to reassert my belief that the Vampire Weekend album is extraordinary. I listened to it on the tube on my way to work today and nearly cried ! at it’s brilliance. A Punk is also just one of those songs that gets the Popstarz dancefloor going regardless of whether you know it or not. And today’s final excitement is that I’m off to see Sara Bareilles perform a showcase in London at lunchtime. Hooray.

Shady Lady

You may or may not know that this year I have been randomly thrust in front of the microphone as Capital Radio’s Eurovision ‘expert’ on Lucio’s evening show. I know so little compared to Adrian so am using him to feed me information. Ha!

Anyway every country has now selected and this is the stand out pop song. An exploding mirrorball?? Ukraine for the win baby!

September Comes Early

When we went to Ibiza a few years ago and hired a car, the radio was full of a song that sounded a little bit like the mighty Tamparer. Back home we discovered it was Satellites by a Swedish (obv!) dance outfit called September.

Since then, they seem to have done quite well in America and are now getting a release on Hard 2 Beat Records. This is the label whose first release was Basshunter and 2nd H ‘two’ O so they have a pretty good record so far. If you like Cascada, if you like raving it up on a Blackpool dancefloor… you’ll like this. But it’s somewhat a classier proposition and the album In Orbit is full of great dance tracks.

A new video has been recorded for the UK market which is much more colourful and brash than the original. Do the two very different videos change your perception of the song?

European video


UK video


Sara Bareilles – Love Song

Sara Bareilles is a new American singer-songwriter who had a massive hit in her homeland with Love Song. It’s not jaw-droppingly amazing but it’s really cute and has a sweet video. I think it’s getting a UK release sometime soon and I’m sure if it does it will be filling radio playlists up and down the country.

I love girls with pianos at the moment. I don’t think I ever used to, maybe I listened to a couple of Fiona Apple albums, but last year I saw Regina Spektor play a really private gig at West London Synagogue which was just unbelievable. Then Kate Nash came along and although I know she’s a very marmity character, I just love her music. Her storytelling can run from true to heart to otherworldly within seconds and I love how natural she is. I’m so pleased she won Best Female at The BRITs last week.

Sam Sparro

Sam Sparro2008 is looking like a very odd year musically so far. The biggest selling single of the year so far is a eurotrashy trance track and bassline looks like it’s set to conquor all. Now just creeping through a small gap comes the resurgance of disco, seemingly led on the underground by the majestic ‘Blind’ from Hercules and Love Affair.

One of the mainstream big hopes for disco is Sam Sparro. Signed to Island Records and getting a big push, his first single ‘Black and Gold’ is due on March 31. Musically it’s ‘black’ – a dark brooding affair, filled with the sound of the 80s and a heavy swaggering groove. Then his smooth voice is the ‘gold’, dripping a layer of sultry funk across the beats. Serious electrosoul which makes me sob at the lack of success the mighty Unklejam got. Did they arrive a year too early?

Listen to ‘Black and Gold’ at Sam’s myspace.

Eurovision 2008: The Beginning

esc_belgrade_2008.png

I am proud to say I love Eurovision. Last year I went and now we’re in the middle of countries selecting their songs for the 2008 contest. I am not sure I will be as successful as last year in getting eurovision songs national radio plays though 🙂

I’ve just had a listen to everything that’s been selected so far, and to be honest – it’s sounding pretty pants. Here are my ‘first listen’ thoughts… (I am rubbish at judging ballads)

Albania: Ballad, starts very quietly, then builds with some proper eurovision monk chanting. Sounds quite influenced by last year’s winner. Big, strong – pretty boring to watch – but there’s passion. Give her a big dress and it could be a contender.

Andorra: Silly euro-trashy song – the type of thing that doesn’t really win anymore. But it will probably have a big performance with glitter streams, can-can dancing and hot pink.

Azerbejiaian: A man in some wings screams. This is interesting. Then it goes into a rubbish, growling version of “Vampires Are Alive” but without any tune or fun.

Belarus: He is no Koldun. This is a terrible, boring performance. He looks like he’s thinking about his shopping list. The song, however, is good – the bells make it. Go Belarus!! Again. WOO WOO.

Czech Republic: An intersting idea that fails to work because taking off clothes should always signal an amazing change in the song. Instead this goes a bit Israeli when the coat comes off. Obviously anything going a bit Israeli is quite nice for me but this is all a bit cabaret.

Denmark – There is nothing wrong with this. It is a not unattractive man, wearing a hat, singing a song. It is just non -descript and contains a very cheesy chorus. Yeah let’s all hold hands and love one another dudes!!

Estonia – Rubbish. Not even good rubbish.

Lituania – I don’t care how it sounds, ‘Nomads in the night’ is the best song title ever. It’s a bit Lloyd Webber, but also A BIT PITCHY. If he pulls off a good performance this could do very well.

Malta – They’ve gone mental and ditched their traditional podgy women singing ballads. Instead it’s a slightly scary woman singing mid 90s dance. No discerning hook but it might sound good when it’s done well as it has a mental thing going on on the backing track that might work in a slightly ‘comedy’ way. The Maltese audience look terrified.

Moldova – Oddly going for a French theme, this is a little bit Nouvelle Vague. It looks boring though and will be forgotten. It started well but got kinda bad.

Norway – I am rubbish at judging ballads as I can get easily bored. This is essentially a woman singing an Enrique Iglasias song. It sounds ‘expensive’. Will either win or be mid-board. Yes!

Slovenia – midtempo. Non English. It’s a bit messy. The breakdown could have made it but doesn’t. Also it looks like a 90s mess and has a random woman air splitting at the end.
**UPDATE**: the studio version makes it much better. I now like it and would dance to it at a gay club. However she needs to sing it in English.

Switzerland: Now we have a latino Brian Dowling doing an epic ballad. If you like Westlife, you will like this. The piano is nice and then suddenly when you’re bored, up goes the tempo and out come some crazy women throwing some clothes about. Unfortunately it is not as exciting as that last sentence makes it sound but still. Westlife ahoy!

RESULT
Slovenia, Norway, Belarus, Lithuania and Albania are the best so far.

**END RESULT**
None of them are as good as ‘Ding A Dong’

Little Boots – Stuck On Repeat

victoriaPlanning to be a ‘futuristic version of Kate Bush’, one of my favourite new pop singers is launching a solo career under the name of Little Boots. Writing with Greg Kurstin in LA, Victoria has (temporarily?) ditched the indie pop and become a glittering disco princess. Her debut solo single is produced by Joe Goddard from Hot Chip and oozes Giorgio Moroder vibes with an undulating, almost creepy disco beat. It’s destined for a low key white label release pretty soon and I can’t wait to hear it on big club speakers with lots of room to do some epic space dancing, as I think my iMac speakers possibly(!) don’t do it justice.

Little Boots – Stuck on Repeat

I’m really into disco at the moment and am annoyed the only place there really is to dance to it is Horsemeat Disco in Vauxhall. I think I spend too much time on the gay scene with DJing that I’m trying to cut back socially or a spinster life with bags and cats awaits me. There’s also Disco Bloodbath in Hackney which I really need to try. Anyone know of any others.

The Drums! The Drums! The Drums!

ting

Mid last year, a slightly shouty girl and boy called The Ting Tings bounced out of their recording studio in Manchester, and into my playlists. Debut single ‘That’s Not My Name’ somehow managed to be both stompy, handclapping “Hey Mickey” for the naughties; and a laid back, swaggering groove.

Part of the new generation of bands who know that’s it’s cool to call themselves pop, their next single ‘Great DJ’ has just landed on my desk and is another perfect indie dancefloor filler. The constant mute picking of the guitar immediately sets the tone, and when the chorus kicks in, Katie’s elongated ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ and the ‘drrrrrummms’ fire up the girl power within this song.

But don’t get me wrong, as much as I like them, as much as they’re tipped by all the right people for success this year & have just been added to the R1 Upfront playlist, I don’t see how they can be marketed to great crossover success. Not that that’s an issue, it’s just a bit irritating how everyone is talking about them as if they are going to be the biggest popstars in the world.

Saying that beg, steal or do whatever you can to get a ticket to see them at Hoxton Bar & Grill next week. It might be London’s worst gig venue and it’ll certainly be full of posing hipsters, but the show and the music should be fantastic. It’s pop, fun and it rulezzzzz!