Friday, 27 September 2013

One For The Weekend: 'Royal T' by Crookers feat Róisín Murphy

Once again the weekend's here and people's dancing feet are getting restless. So go out, go have fun! And if you're looking for catchy beats and infectious dance tunes, well, boy are you in for a treat! Here's "Royal T", a great tune from the 2010 debut album of the Italian electronic duo Crookers. Not only is it super awesome but it also features vocals from none other than the wonderful Róisín Murphy so what's not to love!





And if you've run out of flashy new moves, you can always look up the group routine choreographed to this song in So You Think You Can Dance for inspiration. I can guarantee, with moves like that you will stand out from the crowd. For better of for worse.

Anyway, have a great weekend!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Turkey leaves Eurovision Song Contest, starts new contest instead

Okay, not exactly 'indie' news or 'alternative' or anything but I think this is quite important nevertheless. That's right - Turkey has had enough of Eurovision. TRT, the Turkish national broadcaster, has deemed the Big 5 rule and the new changes in the voting system 'unfair' and thus has decided to leave the ESC completely. Originally withdrawing from the 2013 competition held in Malmö, it has now been announced that TRT will be hosting another song contest, titled Türkvision, as reported by SVT. The contest will be held in December, with two semifinals on 19th and 21st and then the final on 23rd. Sounding suspiciously familiar? How totally innovative and unheard of.

According to the Turkish newspaper Hüyrriet Daily News the contest brings together 20 countries and autonomic regions with Turkic populations. The Turkish Education Minister has denied that the new contest would in any way rival with Eurovision: "Turkvision does not need to be compared to Eurovision." (Well, what a great choice for the name of the contest, then.) "It will have its place in the Turkic world with its own brand value. Whether we participate or not in Eurovision, I hope that Turkvision will move forward in its own path, growing and expanding year-by-year."

I think it's fair to say that this is not just about the entertainment. Turkey has had several problems bubbling underneath the surface in the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring and has moved significantly to a more conservative direction - something that has upset the liberal segments. The conservative government has enraged the public - well, a certain part of it, at least - which has led to conflicts between them, such as the Taksim Square protests that are still fresh in our memory. Is the country's abandonment of the Eurovision Song Contest and its replacement with a Turkic equivalent also part of this manifestation of Turkey's recent introversion? Do they want to thus reduce Western influences in the country that seeks to turn more towards their conservative traditionalism? I don't know. I'm just a music blogger. However, I don't think it's coincidental that the country, often regarded as a model for secular democracy in the Middle East, is now emphasising its connection with other Turkic areas at the expense of its connections to the West while simultaneously struggling with internal problems regarding Westernisation and liberalisation.

I don't know about you guys but I refuse to think that music - even the mass produced, disposable dance pop that accounts for most Eurovision entries - is 'just music' or 'entertainment'. It's more. That's why I'm writing this blog after all - I believe in music. And I doubt it's really about the voting either: Turkey has been disqualified from the finals only once during their entire Eurovision history while having finished eight times in the top ten during the 2000s, once even winning the whole thing. So yeah, it's hardly just about the music.

Review: 'White Light' by Groove Armada



Now that I've done Black Light, it's time to review its remade version White Light. The concept for this album might initially sound a bit fishy: it's basically the same songs than on their previous album, only a little bit reworked. Re-recorded with slightly altered arrangements. So... what gives? Why bother listening to an album full of rehashed ideas let alone buy it? Well. As I said - and with the exception of "1980" - all the tracks here are songs that already appeared on Black Light. That's true. Were they that radically rewritten? Not really. But most importantly: is it any better? Oh yeah.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Feeling like discovering new artists?

Of course you do. And now there's yet another way to do it! So, here's TuneGlue. It uses data collected by Last.fm and Amazon and hence the recommendations seem to be quite identical to those of Last.fm, but here the information is shown in a visual representation which is always fun and flashy. Let me demonstrate how it works.

First you enter one band or artist that you really like. Last.fm, whose database TuneGlue uses, recommends its users artists that are similar to the ones they listen to. Similarly, you can search for new artists in TuneGlue by using your favourite artists. Let's say I'd want to find music similar to The Cure.




Next, click the black orb representing the band. Four options appear: Expand, Releases, Lock Pos[ition] and Delete. Choose Expand. 




Now, the site shows you six search results that are most similar to the artist you're searching with, according to Last.fm at least. In case of The Cure, the recommendations are New Order, Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy and The Glove, as you can see.




But that's six possibilities to start listening to, isn't that quite time-consuming? Why, yes it is. But you can easily narrow down the options. Let's say you're also familiar with the music of Siouxsie and the Banshees (one of the recommended artists), and you really like them as well. So, you can click their orb, choose Expand, and now you have one chart of similar artists to The Cure and another to the Banshees. However, as the picture shows, some artists might be connected with both bands - a bit like in The L Word - so in this situation you should probably try either Bauhaus or The Sisters of Mercy as they are recommended to the listeners of both The Cure and the Banshees.





You can expand your recommendation charts as much as you like, as seen from the picture below. They can quickly become rather messy thanks to multiple cross-references, but you can delete unnecessary recommendations simply by clicking them and then selecting Delete, so you can clean up the view by doing that. 


You can click the pictures to enlarge them.

So there you have it, in all its simplicity. Have fun discovering new stuff!

Listen to new Anouk single 'Wigger'

That's correct - Anouk has released new material even though her previous album, the magnificent Sad Singalong Songs came out what, four months ago? Not that there is anything to complain what it comes to getting new stuff. The single, titled "Wigger", is musically a more 'traditional' Anouk song (compared to the previous album anyway) but has a banjo(?) riff played throughout the track. It's no "Birds" but it's quite interesting nevertheless. Lyrically it tells a story of a self-proclaimed "true blond proud wigger / born & raised in the suburbs". And before you go google it yourself: a 'wigger' is a white person who imitates typically 'black' culture (such as hip hop). The term itself is a portmanteau of white (or wannabe) + nigger. While the expression can be considered derogatory, Anouk wishes to challenge that kind of thinking - here's what she wrote about the song title on her Facebook page.




So there you have it. It's all bullshit.

On a different note, I find it amusing that all the artists are releasing 'lyric videos' these days. I guess they've become a thing lately.


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

M.I.A. shares new album cover (tracklist also revealed)




M.I.A., who's had a bit of trouble with her record label, has released the (apparently) official album artwork of her forthcoming LP Matangi. I guess she uses social media as a way to get back at her label: first she threatened on Twitter to leak the much-postponed album herself, which finally got the album a release date. Now she revealed the album cover on her Tumblr site. Here's also another version of the album cover on the left while the right one could be a possible back cover. Meanwhile, the album itself is being released on November 5th.




Update: According to my inside sources (alright, Pitchfork) the tracklist for the album has also been (unofficially) revealed. Well, that's music industry for ya - leaks after leaks after leaks. Here it is anyway:

"Karmageddon"
"MATANGI"
"Only 1 U"
"Warriors"
"Come Walk With Me"
"aTENTion"
"Exodus"
"Bad Girls"
"Boom Skit"
"Double Bubble Trouble"
"Y.a.l.a"
"Bring The Noize"
"Lights"
"Know It Ain't Right"
"Sexodus"

So it's 15 tracks altogether. Some of them have already been released earlier in some form or another (most notably the singles "Bring The Noize" and "Come Walk With Me" and especially the massive 2012 banger "Bad Girls"). The rest are still one month and a half away.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Siouxsie Sunday: 'Juju' by Siouxsie and the Banshees



Siouxsie and the Banshees were arguably one of the most important bands to emerge from the British punk scene, and I dare to say that no other LP of theirs was quite as influential as their 1981 album Juju. After the electronic-influenced Kaleidoscope the group re-embraced a more guitar-driven and rock-oriented sound (then again, Kaleidoscope was written mostly without a permanent guitarist to begin with). However, at the same time the album represents a radically new direction for them - while The Scream and Join Hands had some very unorthodox guitar playing by John McKay, their new guitarist (and another John) John McGeoch wasn't exactly conventional either. Another new element in the mix was Budgie's unique way of drumming. And the outcome, well, it's spectacular. 

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Four years of Bonkersness

Can you imagine - it's already over four years since Dizzee Rascal released his incredibly catchy hit single "Bonkers". Time sure flies. Subsequently the song made its way into his touring repertoire but no performance of it was quite as bonkers as the following one. It's taken from Dizzee's appearance on Jools Holland exactly four years ago. It has Dizzee going all yeehaw on a hillbillified (yes, it is a word - well, according to Urban Dictionary at least) version of the song. Hilariousness ensues. The backing vocalist, by the way, is Vula Malinga, most notable for her work with Basement Jaxx, just in case you're wondering (such as in "Oh My Gosh", the music video of which she also starred). Dizzee too has collaborated with Basement Jaxx in their 2003 single "Lucky Star". It's a small world, is it not.


Thursday, 19 September 2013

New details of Madonna's #secretproject

If you've been reading any music magazines lately you've probably already heard of Madonna's mysterious #secretproject, which is a collaboration with the American photographer Steven Klein. After three ambiguous trailers it's been revealed that the project will be in fact a 17-minute short film. Thematically it appears to be about freedom and equality and, according to Rolling Stone, Madonna's objective is to "show by the example of secretprojectrevolution my creative commitment to inspire change in the world through artistic expression." Fair enough. It will be released as a free download on September 24th at 2 pm EST via file sharing site BitTorrent. Five days to go, then.

Here are the three enigmatic trailers released so far:










Review: 'Black Light' by Groove Armada



Next I would like to take you to the wonderful electronic landscapes of the music of Groove Armada. They are a British electro-house duo whose music you have heard before, believe it or not: they've scored international hits with singles such as "My Friend", "I See You Baby" and especially their chill-out classic "At The River". (Ah, listening to these songs takes my back to my mid-teens. Good times.) The album I'm reviewing is their latest studio album of strictly new songs (I'll get to this later) and was actually released already three years ago, in 2010. (Goodness, has it been so long already?) Black Light sees the duo adopting a more rock-oriented sound à la their Lovebox era, at least compared to its predecessor, 2007's Soundboy Rock (which was a brilliant pop album that I might have to review some time), and also features heavy '80s influences. So, basically, it's a mixture of pop, electronica, house and rock. Interested? Keep reading then, will you.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Remixin' : Grace Jones vs Funkstar DeLuxe - Pull Up To The Bumper

In general, I mainly cringe when I see people hyping up remixes since I always tend to prefer the original versions, especially as most remixes seem to be nothing but 7-minute remakes with a repetitive loop and a 'danceable' beat but every now and then there is a remix that succeeds in igniting my enthusiasm. Here's one of those: it's Funkstar DeLuxe's updated make over of "Pull Up To The Bumper", the raunchy 1981 hit song by Grace Jones, already an '80s club classic itself. And I kind of like it.





May it bring joy and delight to your beginning of the week. Here's also the original version if you feel like comparing:


Monday, 16 September 2013

Siouxsie Sunday: 'Kaleidoscope' by Siouxsie and the Banshees



Once again it's that time of the week - time to talk about Siouxsie! Well, it's not technically Sunday anymore but I was a wee bit hungover so whatever. The Banshees' story continues: after the band split during the previous tour, the core duo Siouxsie and Severin finished the tour with a new drummer, Budgie (who would become a permanent member for the rest of the group's run), and a temporary guitarist, Robert Smith (of The Cure). While writing their third album the band found a new full-time guitarist, John McGeoch, who had previously played in post-punk groups Magazine and Visage. He remained a Banshee for a string of three excellent albums, and during his tenure the band would record some of their finest work. 1980's Kaleidoscope was the first one out of these.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Blog news!

Apparently, the blog has hit 1,000 pageviews since I started running a blog. Yay - first proper milestone achieved! It's great to know that there are people actually reading the blog, so thank you all, guys. You can also find Popheaval on Tumblr now, where you can see regular updates about new blog posts on your dashboard. Remember, if you like what you see, do share the word. Comment. Follow. Anything you like. But most importantly, enjoy discovering new music via this blog 'cause that's what it's all about.

And in order to find something new, why won't you try some Norwegian indie to lighten up your day? (No, it's not that awful fox song.) The band is from Bergen and has an odd name but the song is lovely, summery indie pop. I actually heard of them just the other day when I was in a bar and met someone who was really into this band and recommended it to me. And they sound quite nice, don't they?


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Listen to the new album by The Naked And Famous in advance

That's right, the "Young Blood" hitmakers have given Noisey an exclusive stream of their sophomore album In Rolling Waves. Want to hear it? Of course you do. It's here.

I only skimmed through the tracks but so far the album seems like a rather mellow one and also significantly less electronic than their 2010 debut Passive Me, Aggressive You. Is that a good thing? I'm not sure yet, but one thing I do believe to be good is the fact that they haven't stuck with the same pattern, repeating themselves with another album. Yes, their debut was excellent, but wouldn't it be rather boring if their new album sounded just like the previous one? Evolving of the sound is a natural development for any band so that's good. Expect a more in-depth review sometime in the future. Meanwhile, check out the album for yourself, will ya.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Yesterday was a good day for music.

Not only did we get Arcade Fire's new, amazing single that also briefly features David Bowie in the backing vocals, but V V Brown's sophomore LP "Samson & Delilah" was also released yesterday! The reviews have been raving so far, even calling it one of the best albums of the year. I still haven't had a proper chance to get familiar with the album apart from the iTunes preview snippets but I think I'll wait until I get my hands on the actual record before drawing any conclusions. It does sound brilliant so far, however, and can be purchased and previewed here. Here are also the two singles that preceded the album:









The music video of "The Apple" seems to be continuation to that of "Samson", and together they tell a story of a man who's betrayed by a woman who cuts his hair - a reference to the biblical character of the same name - causing him to lose his strength and youth. Then, however, he seeks aid from another woman who rejuvenates him: the mysterious character is played by V V Brown herself. Slightly confused? I don't blame you. Perhaps there will be a third installment that'll serve as a conclusion to the saga and everything will make sense once and for all. I reckon that one would be about the man's quest for revenge against his betrayer. But we'll have to see about that.

The new Arcade Fire track is good.

Like, really good. "Reflektor" begins with a groovy intro before developing into a tune of classic Arcade Fire quality. It is also unusually long for a single release, clocking at 7 minutes and 42 seconds but it works surprisingly well and avoids sounding repetitive which you could imagine for a track that long. Here's the accompanying music video, it's wonderfully bizarre as one might expect.




Lo and behold, the rumours were actually true as reported by NME and David Bowie does indeed make an appearance in the song - the Thin White Duke's vocals can be heard starting at 4:54. Which obviously makes the song even more impressive.

"Fun" (and entirely unrelated) fact: the safety reflector, which the song might or might not (and probably doesn't even) refer to, is apparently a Finnish invention. So yay.

Alright, I can do better than that. An actually interesting fact: the music video is directed by the Dutch photographer/music video director Anton Corbijn, who's famously worked with everyone from Depeche Mode and U2 to Nirvana and Siouxsie Sioux. He used to photograph exclusively in black and white which is also the colour scheme for this video. So there you have it.

Monday, 9 September 2013

New Arcade Fire single released today

So, a new Arcade Fire single "Reflektor" leaked, has been taken down, and is finally officially released tonight at 9pm (Western European Time, I presume). It is also rumoured to feature backing vocals by no other than David Bowie himself. Rather impressive, is it not! So be prepared for potential awesomeness.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Siouxsie Sunday: 'Join Hands' by Siouxsie and the Banshees




Remember when I wrote about the hardships of creating a worthy follow-up to a brilliant debut? The so-called sophomore slump phenomenon? Well, not many bands have suffered from it quite as Siouxsie and the Banshees did. After recording the The Scream which became an instant classic, the band had some serious interpersonal issues during the Join Hands era which finally led to the band splitting during the promotion tour. Ouch. It wasn't the end for the Banshees, however, as they fortunately found a new drummer in Budgie who'd later stay for the rest of the band's career, and then recruited Robert Smith of The Cure to do the guitars for the rest of the tour. (Smith would later join the group again in 1982 but more on that later.)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Review: 'Permanent Signal' by Porcelain Raft


Do you guys still remember Porcelain Raft, the indie musician whose debut Strange Weekend I reviewed a little while ago? Did you like it? In case you did, well, have I got news for you: he's got a new record out! His sophomore album Permanent Signal was released a bit less than three weeks ago. The day it was released I had some trouble sleeping due anxiety, so I took my phone, opened Spotify, bought a raspberry ice cream and left for a nightly walk to check out the album. It turned out to be the perfect context for a first listen.

Lady Gaga's return at iTunes Festival

So, as you've probably heard by now, Lady Gaga performed at the iTunes Festival in London last Sunday unveiling a bunch of new tracks from her not-that-vaguely-named Artpop. It was also her proper return to the stage (considering the VMA performance only consisted of one song). The big question is, after all the media hype preceding the album release, was it any good? Here's my two cents about it.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Official audio for M.I.A.'s 'Come Walk With Me' released

As the release date of M.I.A.'s forthcoming album Matangi draws nearer, another song is released officially. The song - or more precisely, an unfinished snippet of it - originally debuted on Youtube more than a year ago in 2012 but now we've got the definitive version in our hands. M.I.A. once said that her album was postponed due to the album being "too positive" according to the label (which sounds a bit silly) and "Come Walk With Me" certainly sees M.I.A. at her cheeriest. But is it necessarily a bad thing? It's a very distinctive M.I.A. song - the only thing that bothers me is the excessive auto-tuning - that also samples the sound effect of Macbook's Photo Booth app and has an outro announcing she's "coming back with powah powah". Is she really, well, that still remains to be seen, but here's the song:


Sleigh Bells return with 'Bitter Rivals'

That's right, everyone's favourite Brooklyn-based noise pop duo are back with a brand new song "Bitter Rivals" which shares its name with the forthcoming album. The song basically sees Sleigh Bells re-embracing their Treats-era sound as opposed to their previous and more serious-sounding Reign of Terror. The next album will apparently be released on October 8th so just a bit more than a month left. It's rather nice but it doesn't really have the instant catchiness of their previous lead singles, "Tell 'Em" and "Comeback Kid". But it's new material and new material's always great so here it is:


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

It's scientific now: listening to music can indeed strengthen your heart

So, according to The Telegraph, listening to music can apparently both make your heart stronger and help you recover from a heart disease. Such good news, right? Now you can just listen to music with a whole new motivation. There's such no thing as 'healthier' or 'unhealthier' music, as reported by professor Delijanin Ilic from the University of Nis, Serbia: "When we listen to music we like then endorphins are released from the brain and this improves our vascular health. There is no 'best music' for everyone - what matters is what the person likes and makes them happy."

So you can basically listen to anything you please! And I obviously want to help you enhance your cardiac health since my readers' well-being is very close to my heart so to prove I have a heart of gold I made a heart-themed playlist, just for you my sweethearts! I'll also stop these idiotic wordplays to spare you from more distress. I'm really a good guy at heart.

Okay I'll stop for real. Here's the playlist anyway, don't worry - it's not all heartbreaks and tearjerkers, it's actually a quite broad selection of different kinds of songs! (I hope.)



Monday, 2 September 2013

Review: 'Out of Frequency' by The Asteroids Galaxy Tour



After arriving to Denmark I've had this record in heavy rotation, both in my head and in my music player. Therefore I though it'd be rather fitting to also write a review of it. I already wrote a little introduction piece about the band, which can be read here, but as you cans see, the introduction playlist I made largely features songs from their debut album Fruit. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour's first album was more instantly accessible, summery retro-pop. The second album Out of Frequency (2012) still has that distinctive psychedelic pop sound on it, but it also showcases the band as a much more ambitious project.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Siouxsie Sunday: 'The Scream' by Siouxsie and the Banshees




I'm sorry to have kept you waiting for the first actual Siouxsie Sunday but there has been a lot happening at the moment. I know how eager you have been for an update: my mailbox has been flooding with requests (no it hasn't) and I hear people have started online petitions for a proper kick-off for the article series in desperation (no they haven't). So let's get on with it.

1978's The Scream is not only a great album, it's also an exceptional debut album. To understand this record it doesn't harm to know a little about the group's history: Siouxsie and the Banshees originally started as an impromptu act to fill an empty slot at a punk festival held at London's 100 Club. Siouxsie and Steven Severin, two Sex Pistols followers and the only original Banshees to serve from start to finish, got Marco Pirroni (of latter Adam Ant fame) and Sid Vicious (yes, the future Sex Pistols member Sid Vicious) to join them on stage for an unrehearsed rendition of "The Lord's Prayer". It was all quite chaotic, reportedly, which isn't surprising. 

New music from Basement Jaxx

So, there's one more new track from the frenetic Brixton-based duo and it's called "Mermaid Of Salinas" (which is a place in California, just to spare your time from googling). This one is apparently going to be a b-side to the pair's latest single "What A Difference Your Love Makes". (Yay b-sides! Too often the "b-sides" are just extended versions, instrumentals and remixes of the original single.) The song is a classic example of the band going latin house on a track - Samba Magic comes to mind - and shows just how crazy they can get with their music. Then again, Basement Jaxx has always been a bit too left field to achieve real mainstream success. Sure, they've had a string of hit singles from "Where's Your Head At" and "Red Alert" to "Good Luck" and "Raindrops" but the band has always been so much more than just the singles. Which I, personally, very much appreciate in a band. Anyway, here's the tune itself - it's very summery and has that '90s Basement Jaxx feel to it so make the most of it before the summer's completely gone: