Dionne Bromfield Grows Up

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85cyFeoAJ-E[/youtube]

It’s amazing what difference a year and a half can make. Remember Dionne Bromfield? Dionne is Amy Winehouse’s god-daughter and first appeared in summer 2009 signing to Amy’s own Island Records imprint Lioness Records. Back then she was a really cute little girl with a great soul voice, a covers album and a future promising great things.

That future has come quickly. Now 15, she’s just released the video for ‘Yeah Right’ the first single from her 2nd album. Newly confident and beaming with pop star qualities, Dionne looks classy and sounds great in this sassy girl-power anthem. Sounding like a Ronson production, the song has got quite a Duffy feel to it and is good, but not jaw-droppingly so. It’s enough though to suddenly totally reposition Dionne as an artist with serious potential. ‘Yeah Right’ also sees the UK debut of adorable US rap youngster Diggy Simmons – the son of Run DMC – and the pair look super cute together, even if they are bitching at each other!

Lauren Pritchard

Island Records seem to be having quite a tough time launching new artists over the last couple of years. They’ve managed to break Mumford & Sons and Florence & The Machine but they both sprung from a really natural indie scene growth. Their latest female popstar is 22 year old Tennessee born singer Lauren Pritchard. She’s cute, a former cast member of the original Spring Awakening line up on Broadway, has mastered the tortured soul routine and ticks many a box for the adult contemporary Radio 2 audience. The problem remains that though they seem totally different artists, the best moments of Lauren’s debut album ‘Wasted In Jackson’ just sound Amy-lite.

Four years (!!!) after its release “Back to Black” is still having a massive influence on the music scene in the UK. If you’re making indie music, no one cares. If you’re making electronic sounding r&b you’re doing great, but if you’re making anything with a slight tortured hint of retro or soul then it’s tough. Daniel Merriweather and Adele made it but great albums from the likes of Leon Jean Marie and The Rumble Strips (all involved Amy producer Mark Ronson) have made absolutely no impact and I think Lauren could be looking at the same outcome.

Her debut single (and most Amy) ‘Painkillers’ is a killer track that deserved to be huge but I think I’d prefer to hear it from Daniel Merriweather. Her new single ‘Not The Drinking’ is nice enough, but has a cute video which sees them make the most of the Broadway talent recessed in Lauren’s bones and go for the Feist 1234 effect.

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More from her showcase from Mr Discopop.

Zelda Ronson

If you’re hoping for more vintage soul from the new Mark Ronson album ‘Record Collector’ then you’re  in for a big disappointment. The most important thing you need to know is that there isn’t a horn or cover in earshot. Instead Mark, under his new act name ‘Mark Ronson & The Business’ has ditched the Stax sounds and intially put out a squelchy breakbeat of a track called ‘Circuit Breaker’ as a bubble track (I’m bored of the word buzz). Check out the very cute, geeky video which meets DJ Hero with old school Zelda synchronised to the music.

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From what I’ve gathered the actual first single features the curious combination of Boy George and the London Gay Men’s Choir on a track co-written by Jake Shears. Triple threat. Ex Pipette Rose Elinor Dougall is on four tracks and there’s contributions also from Miike Snow, Spank Rock, Q-Tip and Santigold. I would be excited about Rose had she not seemed so disinterested and blah about her music when I saw her at SXSW. It was enough to send us home early for the night with all our energy zapped. Hopefully though Mark will have brought back her pizzazz.

‘Circuit Breaker’ however just makes me expect Stuart Hall to appear with the news. This is what the theme tune to Northwest Tonight sounded like in the 80s, yes?

Review: Daniel Merriweather – Love And War

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With Robbie still out of action, and the charts being deluged by a wave of talented ladies, one thing we’re really missing is a great male singer.  James Morrison and Paulo Nutini might have had successes with their debut albums, but as their popularity falters Daniel Merriweather is ready to step in bringing his Aussie charm to our shores.

Originally introduced to us as the vocalist on Mark Ronson’s cover of Smiths classic ‘Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’, Daniel teams up again with the ubiquitous Ronson for the whole of his debut album ‘Love and War’.  Perfectly designed for a long, hot summer, it’s a combination of the kind of classic old school soul we’d expect from anything Ronson lays his magical fingers on and contemporary blues featuring a variety of modern day stars such as Wale.

While debut single ‘Change’ might have wooed us all with it’s hypnotic piano riff, even more popular follow-up ‘Red’ is where Merriweather bares his soul telling of a heartbreak, with vocals that drip with anguish. With his impassioned pleas, it’s the perfect break-up song, if such a thing can exist, that belies his 26 years.

Heartbreak is a key theme here. Although ‘Cigarettes’ might sound jaunty on first listen, it’s all about missing the smell of his lady on his clothes. Similarly the blisteringly brilliant ‘Water And A Flame’, featuring fellow husky voiced Ronson alumni Adele, is a duet basted in pain with tales of empty houses, busy dial tones and the long, sad ache of desertion.

Perhaps then, not the happiest of albums, but if you’re missing a loved one, an absolutely essential listen.

Originally written for Orange Music