Monday, 28 October 2013

Earwormin'

Phew. Today the whole country of Denmark (and the rest of Northern Europe) has been torn apart by the hurricane-force storm that has been called the worst storm in this country in a decade. Trees have been ripped up by the vicious winds and people have lost electricity and internet connections (the latter happened to me as well, so now I'm writing this post with my mobile internet. Being the faithful and dedicated blogger that I am.) Quite some madness. Apparently, the very same storm has caused massive damage - including losses of human lives - in England where more than 200,000 homes have been left without power. In France, the same number is around 75,000. What a hefty storm.

Anyway, the whole incident with hurricane-force winds and all the trees being torn down and ripped up does remind me of a certain song that has consequently been my earworm du jour. That would obviously be the title track of Grace Jones's 2008 album Hurricane. (Have you already read my review of it?) And how on earth would it not come to mind, with lyrics such as "And I'll be a hurricane! / Ripping up trees / Ripping up, lifting up / Tearing down trees". So if you feel like soundtracking your very own storm experience (provided that you still have your connections up and running), look no further. Take care and stay safe!


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Lou Reed dead at 71



Sad news: Lou Reed, the massively influential frontman of The Velvet Underground has passed away today, as reported by Rolling Stone. Cause of death is yet to be released but the legendary singer had been known to suffer from health problems lately and he underwent a liver transplant in May. He was reported to be recovering from the life-saving operation, but while he was back to working already, his wife doubted he'd ever recover completely. 

This is truly a sad day for the music world as it has now lost one of its most remarkable pioneers of alternative rock. His legacy will live on, however, in form of his career with The Velvet Underground and his extensive solo material, the most well-known example of which would probably be "Take A Walk On The Wild Side". I've chosen another amazing song of his to share with you, the astonishing "Perfect Day". Rest in peace, and thank you for the music.


Friday, 25 October 2013

One For The Weekend: 'Song 4 Mutya (Out Of Control)' by Groove Armada ft. Mutya Buena



Once again, the weekend's here again, with one more week of hard work behind us. And you now what that means: time to take it easy. So go put on your dancing shoes and get loose! And in case you're looking for some new music to add to your Friday night playlist (and even if you're not), here's my contribution to your weekend: it's Groove Armada's excellent 2007 single "Song 4 Mutya" that, as the title might suggest, features the ex-Sugababe, now MKS-member Mutya Buena in the vocals. The result is a highly enjoyable 4-minute piece of electropop bliss. The whole album Soundboy Rock is a great pop record so expect a proper review some time in the future as well. Meanwhile, enjoy your weekend - you've deserved it!


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Watch Porcelain Raft perform 'Cluster' in a live session

Do you still remember Porcelain Raft, the wonderful indie artist whose albums Strange Weekend and Permanent Signal I've previously reviewed in my blog? Well, if you liked what you heard then here's a special treat for you: Porcelain Raft (or actually, the record label Secretly Canadian) published today a live session from Minneapolis where the band performed "Cluster" from his latest album Permanent Signal. They sound great live which makes me even more enthusiastic about their upcoming Copenhagen gig next week - which I'm obviously attending and most likely reviewing as well. So stay tuned for more Porcelain Raft related posts and meanwhile, enjoy this clip!





Edit: now there are also two other songs online from the same session, "Think Of The Ocean" and "It Ain't Over". Here you go!






Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Review: 'Bitter Rivals' by Sleigh Bells



Yesterday I was feeling like listening to some Sleigh Bells so I logged into Spotify and lo and behold, the new album was already available! I had completely forgotten about it, even though I previously wrote a bit about the forthcoming album and the lead single "Bitter Rivals". Whaddya know.

So, the Brooklyn-based noise pop duo are back with their sophomore record. Musically it combines the bubblegumminess of their debut album Treats and the underlying melancholia of their second LP Reign of Terror. In some sense it can even be regarded as a return to their roots. It's got the trademark Sleigh Bells sound with Derek Miller's loud, bursting guitars and beats combined with Alexis Krauss's saccharine vocals. Bitter Rivals, their third record, might not see the band exploring any radically different musical directions but it does showcase their more playful side that was relatively absent on Reign of Terror.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Could've seen Morrissey in Gothenburg, didn't though

Popheaval's back in business, invigorated and full of energy! I had a wonderful time travelling with a friend, exploring new cities and obviously going out a lot. Too bad no musical experiences or mind blowings occurred as we didn't find any especially interesting gigs to go to. There was however a moment of surprise when I was going through some music news and found out that Morrissey was announced to be doing a one-off book signing in Gothenburg (of all the places!) in order to promote his recently published autobiography. The very city we were visiting at that moment! 

Now, I'm not a big fan of Morrissey or the Smiths - as a matter of fact, I always felt they were a bit overrated - but there's no denying of the importance of his career. The guy is one of the most recognisable icons of alternative music. So of course I wouldn't have minded elbowing my way through a crowd of hysterical fanboys and -girls to catch a glimpse of the singer but unfortunately we were leaving for Malmö (both very nice Swedish cities, by the way) that night so I had to settle for reading about it online instead.

I wasn't going to buy the book anyway, so to me it was never about getting to personally meet him but rather just getting to see a renown pop icon with my own eyes. However, after having read about the contents of the book my disappointment was quickly replaced with indifference: among all other things, Morrissey was bashing Siouxsie in it! How very dare he. Seriously speaking, 'Moz' has always been known as a bit of a diva and not many have been spared from his bitching: earlier this year, for instance, he described Margaret Thatcher's funeral as "rubbing salt in wounds", even calling the Iron Lady "a terror" and "barbaric" immediately after her passing. Then again, that isn't really anything new of him as he once wrote a song about her titled "Margaret On The Guillotine" with him wondering in the lyrics "When will you die?" Subtle, as ever.

Apparently he isn't a big fan of women to begin with, (with the rare exception of The Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde) saying that the first 'woman' he fell in love with was The New York Dolls' Jerry Nolan, while also bad-mouthing Sarah, Duchess of York and her daughters (“A little bundle of orange crawling out of a frothy dress, the drone of Sloane blessed with two daughters of Queen Victoria pot-dog pudginess.”), ridiculing Nico (of The Velvet Underground fame) for her face showing signs of aging (“You feel certain that Nico is in there somewhere amongst the creases.”) and yeah, then there's Siouxsie whom he describes as "blancmange" before adding: “Within eight seconds she seems to have alienated everyone in the room…eyes roll ceilingwards each time Godzilla snaps out her stipulations". Other example of Morrissey's crusade against women is when he's talking about a former NME journalist Julie Burchill: “Julie Burchill is, of course, not loveable, and has pitifully late middle-aged legs.” Um, alright? “Her naked body probably kills off marine plankton in the North Sea." Ouch. How exactly she is supposed to slaughter microscopic aquatic organisms while unclothed is not further explored in my sources though, so I'm afraid you've just got to get the book to find out. Heaven knows I'm not doing that. But yeah, he's certainly living up to his fame as a whiny moaner filled with bitterness.

In other news, the book also provides an interesting insight to his life - well, it is an autobiography after all. Those of you who enjoy Morrissey's lyrics will undoubtedly enjoy his style of writing, and there are a lot of anecdotes about his experiences: did you know, for instance, that he was offered a cameo role in Friends, performing in Central Perk with Lisa Kudrow's character Phoebe, in addition to being offered roles in both Eastenders and Emmerdale? On the other hand, he also opens up about darker themes such as a kidnap attempt and his less-than-happy school years. One of the themes that will stir the most attention will probably still be his sexuality, which he finally, though vaguely confirms while describing his two-year relationship with another man: "for the first time in my life the eternal 'I' becomes 'we', as, finally, I can get on with someone."

Anyway, his falling out with Siouxsie dates back to 1994, when the two recorded a duet together. A music video was set to be filmed as well, but due to artistic disagreements (Morrissey wanted to use patriotic visual elements such as bulldogs, while Siouxsie reportedly insisted on a poodle, just to wind him up I'd believe) nothing came out of it, with the duo's relationship turning sour in the process. The song, a stunning cover of Timi Yuro's 1968 song of the same name, is an incredibly beautiful piece of music nevertheless, and since it's Sunday today (and you know who I associate this weekday with), it'll make a perfect addition to the soundtrack of your evening. Just listen to how well their voices blend together, it's a shame that a clash of their big egos ensued. Enjoy!


Friday, 11 October 2013

Popheaval's off to a vacation

Yeahhhh. I'm having an autumn break next week so I'm making the most of it and doing a bit of travelling now that there's plenty of time. I'm heading off to Copenhagen, then going around Southern Sweden. Unfortunately for the readers that means there'll be no updates in a while. So no, no matter how repeatedly you mash the refresh button, there will be no new postings magically appearing before the next weekend or so. There is, however, starting to be quite an archive by now so there's probably lot's of stuff you haven't read yet if you're interested.

Sweden, the destination of my trip, is renown for a variety of things, one of them obviously being Ikea. On the other hand, the Nordic countries are pretty famous for their black metal scene (no, I know absolutely nothing about it). In both cases the naming (be it band names or dining tables) can sometimes be rather vague, and confusion ensues. Of course, you're not very likely to find a coffee table named 'Diabolical Masquerade' in Ikea but what about Boholmen? Or Nortt? Or Skogaby? What are they? Not so easy anymore, is it. Well, I found a funny little quiz you can try while I'm gone - its name is promisingly 'IKEA or Death'. You try to guess 20 different names, whether they're pieces of furniture or groups of people screaming on stage while dressed up in peculiar clothes and heaps of face paint. I scored 15/20 so that's the score to beat - how many do you think you'll get right?

But of course I'm not going to leave you empty-handed or even with some viking metal since this ought to be an indie-oriented blog, right? So here's four minutes of quality Swedish indie pop instead. Artymove, a lovely little band I saw opening for Dragonette last December, makes some excellent electronic music so without further ado, here's "One Of These Days". Have a great weekend!


Review: 'When You're Done Here You Get To Go Home' by Soft Pipes



Remember when I mentioned Marmoset Music, the innovative music searching website? There you can filter the search results with a set of adjectives to describe you mood. I didn't want to make it easy for the search engine so I chose 'quirky', 'anthemic' and 'bouncy'. Two songs were left: the other one I forgot immediately (then again, the song was fittingly titled 'Whatever Etc.') The other one however had me instantly hooked - even though it was an instrumental version - so I looked it up on Spotify and fell in love straight away. The band reminded me a lot of the previously introduced Harlem Shakes and funnily enough, both bands have only released one LP so far whose artworks also bear a striking resemblance.




Right?

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Watch V V Brown perform 'The Apple' on Later... with Jools Holland

Yesterday, BBC published a video of V V Brown performing her latest single "The Apple" on Later... with Jools Holland. The song - along with her singing - sounds amazing live but what really strikes me about it is the remarkable development that has happened during her career. While her 2009 debut Travelling Like The Light was a fun retro-pop album and all, her new style is much deeper, more mature and artistically more ambitious. I mean, could you possibly imagine that the woman who sings this...





...used to make music like this?





Talk about evolution!

Review: 'Technicolor Health' by Harlem Shakes



Before you ask: no, the band wasn't named after the goddamn awful internet phenomenon that was Harlem Shake. Instead, they were an indie rock band from New York. Sadly the group disbanded in 2009 after recording only one full-length album, Technicolor Health. Such a shame, considering all the potential they showed on the album. But then again, nothing lasts forever.

Anyway. There are endless ways of discovering new music. You could use Last.fm which recommends you new artists based on the ones you've previously listened to. You could use TuneGlue which I introduced earlier and actually uses Last.fm's database. Even Spotify recommends you new music these days. And if you want to go completely outside the box, you could try Marmoset Music. (It's brilliant, I've only tried it once though but I discovered a band I fell in love head over heels with. The band actually reminded me a lot of Harlem Shakes. I might have to write about them as well.) Well, it was the autumn of 2009, I was bored and hungering for new music. I wasn't really listening to anything 'current' around that time (I had a bit of an eighties phase back then) so I logged on to Last.fm, opened the '2009' tag and started skimming through the albums released that year. Based on the album covers. What a horribly shallow way to try to find new stuff! I did, however, get lucky when this particular album cover with all its dilapidated buildings and bursting rainbows attracted my attention. To me the record also holds a special place in my heart as it essentially provided a soundtrack for the last summer I spent in the town where I was born and raised and that summer was filled with sunny, carefree days - quite like the album, actually!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Siouxsie Sunday: 'Wild Things' by The Creatures



It's Sunday again and surely by now you know what that means: it's Siouxsie time! This Sunday's also the first time that a non-Banshee album makes an appearance in this review series. That's correct: this time the review is instead of an album (or actually, an EP) by The Creatures who were a splinter group of the Banshees. During their Juju sessions Siouxsie and Budgie (the singer and the drummer, respectively) experimented on creating a track with only drums and vocals. The outcome was "But Not Them", which made occasional appearances in The Banshees' setlists (even despite being left out of the album) but more importantly, ignited a spark to create more material like that. The Creatures was born.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Listen to the new album of Sleigh Bells in advance



Good news for all you Sleigh Bells fans (and listeners of noisy indie music): even though the album itself won't be released until October 8, you can stream Bitter Rivals via Rolling Stone. That's what I'm currently doing anyway. The album sounds like a return to the Treats era sound although it also retains some of Reign of Terror's edginess. The instantly catchy "Young Legends" is most likely going to be the next single. "You Don't Get Me Twice" sounds a bit like "Rill Rill" meets "Comeback Kid". Another highlight is "To Hell With You" which is pretty much as 'easy listening' as the band gets. It's all sounding very promising judging by the first listen, so do check it out yourself, too!

Friday, 4 October 2013

One For The Weekend: 'Animale' by Don Diablo feat Dragonette

The weekend's here again. Too bad I've caught a cold so no partying for me... the chilly Danish weather got the best of me, it seems. So hear me guys, remember to look after yourselves. Oranges, for example, are an excellent way to take care of those vitamin C levels - just make sure they're not that kind of oranges as seen in the 'Animale' music video.





'Animale', the 2010 single of the Dutch DJ Don Diablo (try to say that after a couple of drinks) is a killer tune with infectious synth riff that makes you want to go bananas with citrus fruits and dance like you're living in a Skins episode. And hey, any music video that promotes fruit consumption is good, right?

Of course the clip actually refers to Requiem for a Dream, the heart-breaking and disturbing drug drama, and the oranges are obviously a metaphor for something less innocent they're getting high with. Which you probably noticed yourself. Anyway, the brilliant track also features Martina Sorbara of Dragonette (of whom I recently wrote about) in the vocals, so there's one more reason to love the tune. So go ahead, knock yourselves out to this song and have a great weekend!

Fun fact: after discovering this clip I started to get enormous cravings for oranges whenever hungover.

Another fun fact: people have told me I bear a striking resemblance to the protagonist of the video. After that I haven't been able to unsee it and now watching my unfortunate doppelgänger's fruit-fuelled adventures feels a bit weird, I'm telling you.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Basement Jaxx's 'What A Difference Your Love Makes' EP is now out



Remember when I wrote about the new Basement Jaxx single "What A Difference Your Love Makes"? And then about the lovely latin-tinged b-side "Mermaid of Salinas"? Well, the EP (also titled What A Difference Your Love Makes) featuring both tracks and then three remixes of the former is now out! On their Facebook page the duo also encouraged their fans to spread the word:



Which is obviously exactly what I'm doing now. Not only the sharing part of it, but also the other thing: dear readers, oh "What a difference your love makes". It would be rather pointless to write a blog if I had no readers, wouldn't it. If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Similarly, if a blogger writes blog entries and no one reads them, does it make any difference? Well, with your love, it makes. So thanks again for reading the blog, and remember: if you like what you see, feel free to share with others as well.

Alright, enough with sappiness and on with it. The EP has three remixes of the title song. The first one, by Miguel Campbell, is a groovy disco version of the original that resembles Daft Punk's current music style-wise. The Huxley remix is much more urban in sound and sounds like something you could hear at an underground club in the middle of London. The third one is not a remix as such but rather an extended version of the original and is pretty much what you'd expect from an extended edit: it's essentially the same but in larger quantities, clocking at 6:00. Most importantly, it's a wonderful thing that the EP actually features also something else than just the standard remixes - b-sides are getting rarer and rarer these days! So yeah, that's about it, go to iTunes and enjoy! Now, if only we could get some news about the album itself...

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Review: 'Galore' by Dragonette



I've written about glorious debuts before - some bands just nail it straight away. That obviously comes at a price: it's hard if not downright impossible to write a follow-up to a flawless debut. Many of the groups whose debuts I'll review in this series have struggled to top their first albums, and Dragonette is no exception with their 2007's Galore. This is not because their latter albums wouldn't be excellent - they are - but because they went on and wrote a perfect pop album at the first attempt. 'Perfect' is a tricky word, I know, as it implies that nothing could be done better. However, the world we're living in isn't perfect and with an album this good and this close to pure pop perfection I dare to use it.