Call Your Girlfriend

This is amazing

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nv644ipg2Ss[/youtube]

Pretty much everything about this makes me happy.

Dancing on her Own – wearing Spice Girl shoes – nicking a man and dishing out love advice.

I’m in the States this month and am so, so tempted to do an internal and go see the Katy Perry / Robyn show. The combination of the big release moments in ‘Dancing on my Own’ and ‘Firework’ would probably be so intense I’d explode or at very best throw up. Being made to throw up is exactly what pop music in 2011 should I think make you do. Awesome.

I Blame Coco

coco

I Blame Coco (dot coco dot coco dot com) is the daughter of Sting. She signed to Island Records around the same time as Tommy Sparks and VV Brown but save a few lo-fi reggae vibe-y tracks that have appeared on youtube, there’s been little heard of her. I thought the project had perhaps been abandoned. That is, until XO’s Middle Eight just found a clip of her new single ‘Caesar’ that’s been popped on her myspace page.

Not only does is it suddenly make her sound like a pop star, but Robyn is featured on the chorus, and ooh isn’t there something about that bassline that screams Teddybears. A quick google and yes it seems she’s been working with Klas and Joakim Ahlund from Teddybears who made one of my favourite albums of the naughties. As XO says, it’s also refreshing to hear a new female artist who, as much as I might love it, isn’t bringing out a banging electro-pop ditty. I want something new for 2010 instead of a continuation. And if it’s unpolished girls who hate wearing sequins, are a bit gruff and have some swagger about them – bring it on!

Consider my interest taken from not even worth a head-turn to manically excited (particularly thanks to this picture from her myspace).

New Teddybears!

Teddybears

A few years ago a Swedish band called Teddybears released an album called ‘Soft Machine’ which absolutely won my heart. I think I first came across them Annie did guest vocals on their song ‘Yours To Keep.’ There was some very complex online discussion about this particular song over whose version was the best at Paolo & Neneh Cherry both had their own. Then along came Robyn’s album and ‘Cobrastyle’ – a song which turned out to be theirs from several years ago. Klas Åhlund might be a name you’re familiar with because he produced Robyn’s album, wrote ‘Piece of Me’ for Britney, ‘Speakerphone’ for Kylie and was in The Caesars. In Sweden, he’s best known for being a Teddybear.

Anyway all this led me to finally pick up a copy of Teddybears’ first international album when I was in Montreal in 2007. It’s their 5th album overall and pulls together lots of songs from the past onto one big American edition. Punk Rocker with Iggy Pop on vocals and the original ‘Cobrastyle’ fast became part of my DJ sets and the whole album soundtracked a hell of a lot of journeys. In fact it’s only fault is that Elephant Man is the vocalist on the awesomely fun ‘Are You Feeling It’.

Anyway this whole babble is to introduce the fact that Teddybears are back! Hooray! They’ve just released a free download of ‘Get Mama A House’, a song that started life as a advertising jingle. Hopefully this means a new album soon. Grab it here.

ROBOT ROCK

robysopp

We’ve come to the conclusion recently that if you want to make a brilliant pop song it should somehow involve the word ‘robot’ in the title. Seriously, take a moment and have a think – is there one song involving shiny little mechanical men that doesn’t make you want to throw down your drink and pull shapes?

“I am sure there must be a bad song about robots,” ponders Torbjørn Brundtland when we confront him with our theory. “In 1982 when the average man on the street realised they could afford a vocoder there must have been hundreds of terrible songs called ‘Robotmuzik’ or something like that – but you know I just can’t think of one.” Tall, long haired and with a strange look in his eye, Torbjørn is half of unlikely pop duo Royksopp. Together for the last 10 years, they’ve recently released their latest and arguably best album ‘Junior’ after a four year hiatus spent “getting addicted to opium and showering together in the snow”.

It will come as no surprise then that their next single, heart-stoppingly entitled ‘The Girl and the Robot’ is their best yet. Pushing a spooky sounding cosmic choir together with agitating strings and an urgent throbbing bassline, it’s a tale of a obsessive and tragic girl which needed a killer vocal.  “We’d had a crush on her voice since we were teenagers and it’s been exciting to watch her grow and make some really interesting career choices.” Of course he’s talking about Robyn – Sweden’s fiercest pop musician and all round bittersweet pop siren. “Still I’m dying with every step I take” made us wail in ‘With Every Heartbeat’ and do not even get us started on her faltering scarf moment in ‘Be Mine’ or you’ll be here for hours listening to tales of woe about our one true love.

“I just love songs that make people dance but make them feel really sad while doing so,” squeaks Robyn excitedly when pressed on the traumatic issues. “Ultravox’s ‘Dancing With Tears In My Eyes’ sums it up perfectly!” Royksopp saw her love of all things melancholy and “hoped there was a slim chance she would come and work with two shabby guys from Norway”. Spending time at their studio in Bergen, Torbjørn can’t praise Robyn enough labelling her a ‘role model’ and a ‘down to earth lovely person.’  Together they captured the thoughts of depressive singletons or crazy obsessives everywhere with cheerful lyrics like ‘Fell asleep again in front of MTV’, ‘Rain starts falling & I just sit here by the phone’ and the full on panic of brilliant opening line ‘I go mental every time you go to work’. Weep.

Although ‘The Girl and the Robot’ is certainly ‘Junior’s most spectacular moment, ‘Tricky Tricky’ featuring Fever Ray / The Knife’s beaked lady Karin comes close. Appearing on stage with the band at their recent UK date at London’s Royal Festival Hall wearing an elaborate feathery headdress Grace Jones would kill for, her dark, gothic vocals are a world away from Robyn’s bursting emotions but just as staggering. Heavy album closer ‘It’s What I Want’ could pass quite happily as a Pet Shop Boys song while the euphoric ‘This Must Be It’ further strengthens the ‘Sopp’s regular collaborator Anneli Drecker as a voice not to be ignored. Long gone are the days when a Royksopp album could be thought of solely as the accompaniment to a middle class dinner party. While the retrospective sounding ‘Happy Up Here’ might trick you, Torbjørn emphasises that “Junior isn’t a full on dancefloor album but it’s certainly an invitation to party,” cheekily adding, “don’t listen to it every day though or you might go insane.”

Written for Attitude #180 but postponed till a later date which means this exact copy won’t ever really appear as it was written for the single release.

Kleerup Arrives

You might remember the name Kleerup from Robyn’s brilliant #1 ‘With Every Heartbeat’ – he was the producer behind the song and accompanied Robyn live on lots of early gig dates. Beardy and hairy he looked like an unlikely pop star but his self titled debut album managed to deliver one of most bittersweet pop albums of 2008 in Sweden. He’d had lots of practice before going solo though, as the former drummer in amazing Swedish band Teddybears STHLM.

Now ‘Kleerup’ is set to be released in the UK in April or May time thanks to Positiva Records. The album is filled with gorgeous soaring electro pop fronted on the whole by some of Sweden’s best vocalists including Neneh Cherry and Marit Bergman. Robyn described it to me very well as ‘songs to dance to with tears in your eyes’. To get the ball rolling, an EP named ‘Holla Holla’ will be out first with the disjointed ‘Until We Bleed’ featuring Lykke Li and bittersweet ‘Longing For Lullabies’ with Neneh’s younger sister Titiyo. Here’s the Swedish video for the latter:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luIBrGyFNq0[/youtube]

Most excitingly Kleerup will be live at Cargo on April 9, hopefully with lots of vocalists in tow.