At the risk of making myself too available I’m gonna have to do another post this week. New music. La Roux. How do people feel about La Roux? Do people hate La Roux? I’m not sure why, but I always got that impression. I loved the self titled debut album and I think all of the singles have been part of my on-my-own-in-work-singing-in-falsetto repertoire (apparently that’s how you spell that, look at me learning and expanding my mind at all times like some sort of word wizard).
Anyway, La Roux were a band but are now an Elly Jackson, the other member got the boat off the island, and she has a new album called “Trouble in Paradise” and it’s one of the best albums I’ve heard. It’s poppy and summery, funky and interesting. It makes me want to go dancing but also be on my own at the same time. It’s a very cool combination of things and comes together as a very complete album. The quality is consistent throughout.
There’s a couple of very definite vibes going on. When I first listened to it, I thought it was what an album totally based on “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie would sound like. That’s not really true. There’s a real Bowie influence but there’s there’s lots of indie elements too, moments where it could be written by The Cribs. Then you’ve got “Paradise is You” which reminds me of that track that Bryan Adams and Mel C from the Spice Girls did, “When You’re Gone”. I fucking love that song. Major guilty pleasure. Towards the end of the album it takes a kinda power ballad/ 10cc- “I’m Not In Love“/ Phil Collins turn too. I like that there’s tonnes of influences that you can pick out through “Trouble in Paradise”. It’s like the bibliography of an album which is pretty cooooool if ya ask me.
The some of the song titles are probably the weakest point of the album. “Tropical Chancer” sounds like the world’s mildest racial slur. It’s still a great song. “Sexotheque” on the other hand is one of my favourite titles for anything ever.
If you need convincing that it’s a fucking awesome album the tracks to pick are proooooooobably “Uptight Downtown” for the dancey buzz and “Sexotheque” and “Tropical Chancer” for when you’ve had too much to drink, the evening is winding down and you want to cry/dance out the demons on your lonesome.
All in all, I’d give it 21 stars out of a possible 24,( that’s 87.5% if we’re gonna be like that, 24 is a fucking badass number though). I’m sure you can buy it in shops and shit or like on iTunes or whatever. It’s worth paying for. She’s playing The Academy in November and tickets a fairly cheap too so that should be bleedin massif.
Do remixes count as new music? Of course. Crimson is a sound dude and this is a cool remix. I love when remixed classic songs work and this does. It’s chilled and sexy. I think one of the most important elements of a quality remix is identifying what’s good about the original. That really works in this one. I can’t remember anything about the original apart for the one lyrical hook. Honestly, what did the rest of that song sound like? Crimson takes what’s good from the original and makes a totally different song out of it. Very cool.
He also appeared recently on a really interesting international project, “Trying to Find Love in a Parallel Universe”. It’s 26 tracks from 25 artists all over the world. Have a listen to Crimson’s effort here and check out his soundcloud for cool and freeeee tunes here. I met the man himself over in DCU last week while I was helping out long time friend of Kevinisabastard.com, Matt Moynihan, with his deck-nomination on DCU FM. The boys in DCU DJ Soc are running a Boiler Room inspired event tomorrow night which should definitely be worth a look, including sets from Crimson and Back Room Beat aka Matt Moyhihan. Check out the details here.
* Had some trouble embedding the soundcloud track so I’ve stuck a link to the track in instead
Super lazy, soz. Struggling to stay motivated to write or search for music. I might go back through some old finds and dig out some free mixtapes and stuff for y’all to keep the blog ticking over. In the mean time something kinda came up. “Pace” by Skizzy Mars. Skizzy has been one of my favourite rappers since I first heard “Douchebag“. So that’s been like two years. He’s been pretty consistent. I go through phases of being super into him. His last major tape, “Phases“, happened to come out at a time when I wasn’t feeling particularly hip hop so I never really got it. It took so long to come out and everything he released was so good that it just became so built up that it could never live up to the hype in my mind.
“Pace” has just appeared at a time when I needed something new to listen to and it’s really good. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to blog about it when it first appeared and I didn’t listen to it the day it came out. I gave it a few days. I honestly think it’s the most consistent thing he’s ever put out. I hate to say that music is “more mature” but I think Skizzy is more mature this time around. Like, he is younger that I am and I have total respect for all the stuff he’s put out, but there were times when he came across as a dick in his lyrics. There’s still plenty of drugs, plenty of women, but there is a developed character behind it. Now there’s women he wants but can’t be with and shit like that. It’s more human, I guess.
I think musically it’s better than anything he’s put out in a while too.The new stuff on “Phases” was a lot of similar sounds and the general vibe was too chilled for me. This time around he’s back to using great samples which was one of his best traits before. He was able to put out good all-round tunes. The highlights for me are “Summer 11” and “Too Ill”. The vocals are great as you’d expect but the tracks are class. Also check out how he says heart in “Mistakes”. Gas.
Anyway, download the full tape here and get the rest of his stuff here [all freeeeeeeeee].
Right, I’m not going to even bother trying to sell this to people. Zoax have released “XIII”. I’m a mega fan boy. Up until yesterday I had more Zoax t-shirts than they had released songs. The more I write about it, the more I’ll seem like a geebag. So I’ll keep it short and simple. Five tracks. “High” is my favourite. I felt like the EP mixes things up nicely. The focus is spread around the band a bit more than in the previously released stuff. It really takes a lot to make me actually use iTunes and buy shit, but Zoax are a special case and it was well worth it. Fucking A.
Buy it here. And check out the video for “Burn It To The Ground” here
Justin Bieber. I understand. He’s a dick. He’s a monumental dick. Buuuuuuuuuuuuut, he’s actually put out some decent songs over his lifetime spanning career. “All Around the World” is a belter (well if we forget Ludacris) and if he didn’t say the word fondue I think I’d definitely enjoy “Boyfriend“. “Confident” is better than either. It’s better than lots of things actually. I’m a massive Chance the Rapper fan and in this one Bieber is actually pretty spot on. He reminds me of the Weeknd if the Weeknd was a nice boy. Just listen. Forget who it is. Don’t watch the official video. Pretend he’s speaking a different language. He’s got a great voice now that it’s not as high pitched and the track is classy and sexy. Chance is solid and has a little sing which I always enjoy. If it was Timberlake or somebody like that everyone would love it.
Obviously no matter what he does, Bieber is still Bieber. His lyrics are muck and mostly he just has one verse over and over or repeats one word. A lot of his output is still a load of balls. And then on top of it he’s acting the maggot at the minute. But if ya release enough music you’re bound to do something right eventually and this is one of those times.
I had a couple of blogs planned to write today but they kinda got blown outta the water. Heh. Christ. Zak Waters, genius. I first heard of him from Sunset in the Rearview, which is a super solid source for good tapes. He’s been one of the highlights. So then I followed my usual process of general creeping and downloaded all the free stuff he had on Facebook which was pretty consistently good. Anyway, that was a while ago and I’ve been a massive fan since.
So today was the release date for “Over You”, the latest single from “Lip Service”. It’s a bit more serious than some of the other tracks from the album which is fine by me. He is one of my favourite singers around at the minute. He’s doing a really poppy, electronic thing which could quite easily fit into a “chart music” kinda category but I think there’s something that little bit more interesting going on. I once had an argument with someone about whether disco was relevant anymore or still had a place in modern music. I think that Zak Waters is the progression of my ideas of what disco is. Like, Daft Punk have kinda revisited disco in the last year, but I think that Zak Waters is actually making modern disco. Rather than writing reworkings of disco/Motown/ blue-eyed soul or whatever else people are doing, “Lip Service” takes all these influences and makes it new. Zak Waters is keeping disco relevant.
I love “Over You” because you get a real confident vibe though the vocals without it seeming cocky. He has the voice to totally do a Christina Aguilera all over it and it works. Like, listen to that “Don’t wanna be lonely” -bit. That is serious singing. Part of the reason that he doesn’t come across as a dick is the way he’s played it. The videos are visually interesting and don’t focus solely on him. There’s none of the same ego as you see with some amazing singers. I like this song and the album as a whole because it covers a lot of bases. I would totally recommend it if you like anything from Hall & Oates, Chic, Stevie Wonder to Katy Perry or Mikey Mike or Pony Pony Run Run. He combines classic songwriting, a great voice and lots of really well put together, contemporary, electronic pop sounds.
I fucking love him. I sound like an obsessed idiot, but I mean it.
New music! yay! Starts First Kick. Two lovely lads from lovely Meath. Comprised of Robert and Gordon McAuley, Starts First Kick are a band for those who want high-octane, occasionally spacey rock with rich production. On the 1st of January, the boyrahs released their debut two track album, “You Hold On, I’ll Hold On To Mary”, and more is on the way over the course of the year if all goes to plan.
It ticks a lot of boxes in terms of what I like. We get to hear one instrumental track and one with vocals. Usually I’m not a massive fan of instrumental tracks. I think that bands often lose the run of themselves when writing them. I totally get it though, and I have been involved in writing instrumental songs. It’s easier than writing words and you can pretend you’re a rock god. I don’t think this is one of those cases, although there is plenty of space for rock god role play. “Everything Covered” is tight, energetic and knows where it’s going. It’s one for the lads, a headbanger with some lovely aggro exclamations. “Massive Momentum”, on the other hand, is what the band refer to as “for all of you pop divas out there”. There’s all ya could want there, bit of call and response, sing-a-long chorus and more guitar and drums general badass-ery.
I’m a big fan of the lads and I think they’re doing it right. There’s instrument swapping between the tracks and they’re both super involved in making music which is great to see. If you like the stuff ya can click here for more stuff by Rob and here for more stuff by Gordon. “You Hold On, I’ll Hold On To Mary” is a solid way to start the year in new music and I’ll be looking forward to what comes next from Starts First Kick.