Maximum Balloon

I have very little idea who TV on the Radio are. I know they don’t make stonky electro-pop though, so it’s a bit of a woop woop to discover 1/3 of the band, David Sitek, has popped off to make just that with solo project Maximum Balloon.

The forthcoming album is 10 songs described as ‘thick, noisy and funky, with glam’ by Spin with each featuring vocals from different artists, including Little Dragon, Karen O and David Byrne.

Two tracks are out there so far: ‘Tiger’, whose funky afrobeat sound, you might have heard on the Daisy Lowe for Esquire pant moistening promo; and the Little Dragon featured ‘If You Return’ which combines a stuttering drumbeat with some chilly electronica. I’m really looking forward to the album, but for now here’s the pretty promo for ‘If You Return’. I’m assuming it’s a teaser rather than the whole thing?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5z85llbyN0[/youtube]

Marina & The Diamonds

Marina & The Diamonds

Landfill indie is dead (save those terrible Brit nominations) – 2009 is undoubtedly the year of the the leftfield pop girly and we’re already overwhelmed with possibilities for the success stories of the year.

Marina & The Diamonds somehow avoided being mentioned in the BBC Sound of 2009 list earlier this year. She has, however, just joined the winner of that poll, Little Boots on Atlantic Records subsidiary, 679, and looks set to be releasing her first big single before the summer is out. First though, comes Obsession a strictly limited release on the uber cool Neon Gold label, out on Valentines’ Day.

Despite the name, Marina is a solo artist, and to crudly compare her to someone else she sounds like Regina Spektor doing a dance of the seven veils with Kate Bush. Half Welsh, half Greek, I certainly think she’s going to crap all over Florence & her similarly mythical Machine’s expected party, never mind the concern it might cause Kate Nash’s forthcoming 2nd album.

Normally Marina’s banging on the piano, but her label have just sent out a gorgeously dreamy new remix of ‘Obsessions’ drenched in synths and creepy italo disco soaring which you can get for free right here

Download: Marina & The Diamonds – Obsessions (Pink Stallone Crush Remix) [Free MP3]

Review: Ladyhawke – Ladyhawke

Want to be the coolest kid on the block? Next time you get asked who you’re loving, Ladyhawke is the answer. Wobbling on that titchy kerb between underground and mainstream that the likes of MIA hover, twenty something New Zealander Pip Brown is the latest cool female chick to release some amazing pop music that will unfairly sell about 700 copies.

Signed to ultra hip label Modular, Ladyhawke has taken the best bits of the 80s and re-imagined them for 2008 with the likes of Stevie Nicks and Cyndi Lauper all in the mix. There’s a dance feel to most of the album with the Pascal Gabriel produced ‘Magic’ pounding it’s way into your brain –  it’s powerful chorus reminding us of Ladytron’s criminally ignored ‘Destroy Everything You Touch’. This and the similarly urgent sounding ‘My Delirium’ are stadium sized pieces of pop rock that make you want to hit the dancefloor and own it.

More intimately, the likes of former single ‘Back of the Van’ and the funky ‘Paris Is Burning’ show off Pip’s knack for writing instantly memorable lyrics.  ‘Dusk Till Dawn’ is like catching Peaches on a happy day, with it’s pulsating beats and bells oozing unnerving East Berlin vibes, while ‘Professional Suicide’ mashes CSS style guitars and drums with a hypnotic vocal.

Ladyhawke‘ is a rare case of the real thing living up to the hype. This shouldn’t be an album just for bloggers to swoon over, it’s good enough and mainstream enough to be huge.

Originally published at Orange Music

Uh Huh Her

Uh Hur Her are Leisha Hailey and Camilla Grey. They’ve just released their debut album ‘Common Reaction’ and it includes the brilliant ‘This Is Not A Love Song.’ Sounding just like it could be a cut from Goldfrapp’s ‘Supernature’, it’s a slice of electro pop goodness. I’ve not heard the full album yet, but nothing else so far lives up to this. They’ve got a massive gay following thanks to Leisha’s role in The L Word (and as a former gf of K D Lang) so I hope this goes down well at Miss-Shapes.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ9iPPfOMvM[/youtube]

They play a live date in the UK at Koko, London on November 18.

Edwin Van Cleef

Last year when I visited Berlin I had the pleasure of seeing French DJ Kavinsky play live. As well as being hilarious to watch, the music he played was great, and as a friend of the whole Daft Punk, Ed Banger crew I knew his album would probably be great. I wasn’t wrong. It was fun, 80s sounding electro with typical French filter house sounds but also some urgent, storming beats. Now the amusingly named Edwin Van Cleef has started appearing on blogs with some brilliant songs that aren’t far off Kavinsky’s sound. Hell even their artwork is pretty similar.

But this boy is home grown. Popping out of the Leeds music scene, he’s 21 and we think has a bright future ahead. Can’t you just hear Annie Mac hammering these?

Edwin Van Cleef – Paranoid [free MP3 provided by artist]
Edwin Van Cleef – Tracer [ditto]

Gwenno Goes Solo

When Gwenno Saunders joined The Pipettes, we were outraged. Who was this polished blonde stunner ruining the quirkiness of our new favourite girl group? Now she’s the only Pips v2.0 member left, and we love her.

Early on in the Pipettes days Gwenno began posting songs on her myspace page. The first was the uber cute ‘Lime Cordial’ but more recently she’s released a whole mini EP that’s been offered up for free download.

Perfectly described by the lady herself as ‘Ace of Base produced by The Postal Service’ with a hint of Hot Chip, the EP is a calm ride through some laid back electronic pop. Drum machines and programmed keys make up most of the music, and Gwenno’s sweet voice shines through.

Here’s my two favourite tracks:

She’s Got Me On Her Mind [MP3]
You & I [MP3]