I was looking back at the archives and it’s been almost two months since a take cover has been posted. Thank god Zola Jesus has come to end that tribute song drought. And with a Rihanna song? It must be Christmas.
Zola Jesus posted her cover of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” this week as “a small thank you to [her] friends and followers.” Rumor has it that she picked the song based on a fan’s suggestion via Twitter.
So, you know what that means, right? Start tweeting Zola Jesus immediately, demanding she cover Mariah Carey, Tiffani, and TLC right away. And don’t even try to lie and tell me that wouldn’t be amazing.
There’s a real resurgance of powerful female vocals in pop music going on right now. Robyn, Florence + the Machine, Charli XCX, Niki & the Dove. The list goes on and on.
Here’s another one to put on that list: English singer-songwriter Jessie Ware. Her debut album, Devotions, isn’t due out until August 20th (via PMR Records), but she’s already put out enough excellent tracks to garner her a steady buzz around the right parts of the Internet.
There’s a handful of women out there right now making really fantastic electro-pop music, and UK-based Charli XCX is one of them. Her songs are catchy enough to get your singing along on the first play, yet interesting enough to keep you playing it over and over.
You can hear her style on the newly released track “You’re The One” streaming below. I love how how the breathy, almost goth-y vocals of the verse segue into a more traditional pop sound at the chorus.
One of my favorite pasttimes used to be creating the perfect breakup mix. No, I wouldn’t make them when I had just broken up with someone. I would make them when I was single or in a relationship, in anticipation of some I figured that if I could make the absolute perfect breakup mix, then I could get over any breakup in less than 60 minutes.
Okay, maybe not so realistic. But I had a plan! I would start with the really desperate “I want you back” songs, then move on to the sappy “my life is over” songs, and finally into the triumphant “you’re a jerk and i’m better off without you” songs. And yeah, there might have been some Kelly Clarkson in there.
Anyway: all this is relevant because I just found the most fantastic to end any break-up mix. It’s a new track from Swedish pop due Icona Pop, and you need to clear out your schedule for the next 30 minutes, because this one’s going on repeat. Infectious doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Most music videos follow a fairly standard format. You’ve got shots of the band playing, and most likely some sort of story being told. It can range from straightforward to wacky to confusing, but the format largely remains the same..
But Kindness, the music project from Adam Bainbridge, takes a very different approach the video for his song “House.” Rather than tell a story, or , he opens with his thoughts on pop music (“It’s unlike any scene I think of in the history of music. It’s completely of, by, and for the kids.”), then teaches a young man how to play parts of the song on a drum machine & keyboard. It’s only after about 4 1/2 minutes that the song comes in.
A few weeks ago, I raved about British producer/musician kwes and his recently released EP, Meantime. This is not one of those tracks I blogged about, listened to it for a few days, and promptly forgot about it. Though it’s only a 4-song, 17-minute EP, I’ve had it on heavy rotation since I first got my hands on it. Right now, it’s my go-to listen when I’m in a terrible mood on my way to work. There’s pretty much no better endorsement than that.
Now, kwes released a video for “Bashful,” the second track on the EP. The video, directed by Ian Pons Jewell, shows different people acting, well, bashful, on an elevator while kwes daydreams about what might happen if they were more bold. I love the subtle way this video uses different visual cues – flicking lights, blinking eyes – to amplify the beat.
Twin Shadow, the electro-pop music project of George Lewis Jr., has released the first single from his upcoming album Confess. The album, which will be released July 9th (UK) and 10th (US) via 4AD, is a follow-up to his 2010 debut Forget. You can find out album details, including a track list and a few European tour dates, over at 4AD.
This track has a definite 80s new-wave tinge to it, and you can envision it providing the soundtrack to many a John Hughes movie montage. You can grab the track in exchange for your e-mail here, or stream it below.
Photo by Owen Richards
Do you have a good pair of headphones? You need to go get them. Because you absolutely cannot listen to this song through your tiny computer speakers. Got them? Okay, good. Here we go:
The new artist I am currently obsessing over is Kwes, a British producer and musician who creates beautiful pop songs that are simultaneously simple (lyrically) and complex (musically). He’ll be releasing his second EP, Meantime, on April 30th via Warp, but you can hear two of the tracks now, streaming via Youtube.
The track that first caught my ear was “lgoyh,” the fourth and final track on that EP. And here’s why you need your headphones. The first time I listened to this, I was at working, hearing it over my tiny computer speakers. I could hear the lyrics – a sweetly simple love song – and I knew there was a good hook, but the more complex sounds were totally fuzzed out. It wasn’t until I got home and listened to the song with headphones that I could really appreciate its beauty. Now, all I want to do is listen to it on repeat, while staring at my computer screen with a smile on my face.