Sparkadia – Mary

When Sparkadia released their 2008 album Postcards, they were a duo making punchy guitar music. Soon after the album release the band fell apart, but singer Alex Burnett decided to keep the name and (amazing quote from the press release) move to East London with wild ideas! Sound the Dalston klaxon.

Thankfully the music hasn’t gone day-glo but it’s certainly gone a little more pop, a little more musical theatre and has had the echo cranked up. ‘Mary’ is the first single from the new project and as PaulyG said, it’s almost on the verge of going into a ‘Muse-style wig-out’ at any moment as it builds from a grumpy wallow to a dramatic, unable to cope, facepalm via a rather good keychange. Released on Feb 14 via the new label from Hoxton clubnight Gold Dust, you can download ‘Mary’ free below.

p.s. Don’t be alarmed by the words Dalston or Hoxton. It’s more Welwyn Garden City.



This cute disco track almost makes the fact that I am going to Bowlie 2 and missing one of the greatest weekends ever in London acceptable.

The greatest weekend includes at least:

  • The Human League at Royal Festival Hall
  • Paloma Faith doing something mad at the Barbican
  • Boring 10

Anyone near Weston Super Mare with a TV better watch out.



Obviously everyone bleated on about this last week. I’m late, and I don’t really care about the video. It’s the sleeve (and the song) that does it for me. But seriously, sleeve design of the year? of the decade? OF LIFE?

I can’t believe this is on AATW. That little Northern house label in Blackburn I once applied for work experience at. Amazing? Huge big ups to AATW for their continual growth.

Let’s thank the mighty Boney M for the hard work though, yeah? I’m not sure they had enough dry ice.


EDIT: Actually, it seems we should actually be saying thank you to Nighttrain for 1973’s ‘Hallo Bimmelbahn’ instead. WHO KNEW?




In a world where Leona Lewis and Pixie Lott appear to be our biggest pop stars, it’s a joy to listen to someone who sounds quite menacing. Meet Hannah Yadi, or just YADI to give her her ‘stage name’. Touring with Marina and the Diamonds later this year, Yari is a 23 year singer who up until a couple of months ago was part of Annie Mac tipped duo (and very Jewishly named) Hella Cholla.

Here she was then sounding quite chirpy.


And here’s her new solo sound on buzz track ‘Guillotine.’ Vocally she has an ice-queen confident swagger about her as she sings

“I don’t need blue blood running through my blood,
because like a queen I can make you say you love me.”

Couple this with a spooky, menacing drumbeat and an eerie piano line and I think you’ve got a hit that when produced up could sound massive.


Yadi signed to Warner Bros at the end of August so expect her in 2011. In the meantime there’s more on her myspace.

Katy B


20 year old Katy B is suddenly becoming an iconic British musician for the sound of 2010. It feels like she’s blown up onto the Radio 1 A-List from nowhere, but in fact she’s been a-toiling via a Brit school education for a few years and having teamed up with Rinse FM and their label, has been working with the likes of Zinc and Benga on her new tracks.

‘Katy on a Mission’ is her first single proper out August 20th, but I’m much more about in love with ‘Louder’. I like a popstar who can enunciate, and here her warm yet scratchy tones couple with wobbly dubstep basslines (which I think I’ll always find a bit amusing’) on this tale of an unwillingness to stop the party.

‘I’ve been awake for a day now, 24 hours, yet still I want it louder’


Love her.

Also I mention DJ Zinc like I have an idea who he is. I don’t, but Ed just sent me this other production from him. Total party anthem.


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?


Lana Del Ray

Homemade videos need to have that special something to make you filter them out from your everyday norm. Hurts had the eyebrow raising dancing lady on their first £20 video and now Lana Del Ray weaves together old movies, bottles of drink and herself wearing a movie star wig in black & white.

The movie star image is what Lana’s rocking. Her real name is plain old Lizzy Grant and according to her press release she’s been roaming the musical world for a little while. Who hasn’t though? Here’s an old interview with plain old Lizzy from a couple of years ago. Now though she’s in London and spending time songwriting with pop legend Biffco. There’s a slight hint of Paloma in her voice, but an altogether much darker, sometimes sulkier, sometimes realer sound. ‘Kinda Outta Luck’ sounds like it belongs straight on a Tarantino soundtrack and the sinister elements to her voice remind me a lot of The Pierces. This one could go anywhere from chilling, sexy acoustic to sultry pop. Exciting.

Download Lana Del Ray – Diet MTN Dew for free.

I Need Air


I don’t know a huge amount, in fact not even a tiny amount, about dubstep. I know when I hear it, I tend to like it and I know that Skream’s remix of La Roux’s ‘In For The Kill’ was a bit of a tipping point last summer. I’d not paid much attention though to the news of a ‘dubstep supergroup’ coming out of Columbia records.

Magnetic Man consist of Skream, Benga and Artwork (no idea) and you’d probably expect them to make full on raving it up noise. Their first real attack on the mainstream however is instead a twinkly electronic pop song. It’s probably total disgusting to their old school, hardcore fans, but as far as I go it’s almost perfectly tailored.

I Need Air by pigeonsandplanes

The vocals (and presumably top-line) come from American singer-songwriter Angela Hunte who not only sounds delightfully robotic and cold here, but, FACT FANS, is the writer behind ‘Empire State of Mind’, ‘Do Somethin” and best of all, various Mis-Teeq album tracks.

‘I Need Air’ is out on July 26.

New from Xenomania – Florrie

It’s no secret that I like a girl in a band. I like it even more if they’re the only girl, and even, even, even more if they’re the drummer. Although role of favourite girl drummer in the world falls to Cherisse Osei, there’s a new challenger in the form of Florrie.

Florrie is a songwriter and part of JFK, the in-house band over at Xenomania towers. I saw her perform as the backing band to all the artists at the brilliant Xenofest showcase the production ‘outfit’ held over the summer but now she’s just released her first piece of music via youtube. Complete with a trademark Xenomania style rap and the gorgeous swooshing club beats of a Fred Falke remix, it reveals her to be perhaps an unexpected new pop starlet for this year. That’s if they don’t insist she hands it over to Mini Viva to release instead.

Prepare to make this dreary Wednesday morning feel like Friday night.

[youtube] [/youtube]

p.s. what the hell has happened to Jessie Malakouti, please Xenomania?

Momma’s Place

In my mind I’ve dramatically taken against Roisin Murphy for getting pregnant and having a baby. It just seemed like a weird thing to do at this time, but whatevs. Who cares when it’s made her throw out this banging new track. Previous leak ‘Orally Fixated’ was a bit rubbish but this is a full out dancefloor stomp complete with eurorave piano and drums from 1992. It’s so good probably because it’s just a big massive tune, the lyrics might be fancy but sonically it’s not trying to be cold and arty. It just likes going bang, bang, bang. BANG.

Listen on loop for an hour. Cry at being unable to scrobble it.