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FKA twigs (FKA standing for ‘Formerly Known As’) released her debut studio album, LP1, this month. The album’s lead single ‘Two Weeks’ has been getting steady play in my gaff and I’m in love with it. The electro-r&b vibe combined with her ethereal voice lends a kind of Massive Attack feel to the track, and the lyrics (which you can read here) are sexy as hell and lot more interesting than your standard pop fare.
Tahliah Debrett Barnett is from the UK and she’s twenty-six years old. Known as Twigs because of the way her joints snap and crack, she had to add the ‘FKA’ when another artist called Twigs requested she change her name. She’s been lauded by the UK music industry since her debut EP in 2012 and she embarks on her first international tour in October. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like her tour hits Ireland at any point, but whenever she does eventually play here I’ll be in the audience!
Everyone knows the Sonny and Cher version of ‘The Beat Goes On’ written by Sonny Bono. I have an updated lounge version of the track by The All Seeing I, featuring a vocalist that I didn’t know and I sometimes play it at gigs. I bought a new Buddy Rich album recently (for more information on my obsession with Buddy Rich click here) and saw there was a version of ‘The Beat Goes On’. I listened to it and found out who the unknown singer is; it’s Cathy Rich, Buddy’s daughter.
What’s remarkable is that Cathy Rich was only twelve years old when this was recorded in 1967. She obviously inherited some of her dad’s considerable musical talent! This video isn’t the best quality but when the camera focusses on a close-up of her you can see how young she was.
For all the grammar sticklers, cunning linguists and word nerds out there, Weird Al Yankovic has written a song just for you (and me). It’s called “Word Crimes” and the melody is taken from “Blurred Lines”, however the lyrics are a million times better. He castigates those who spell words using numbers in text messages, those who say expresso instead of espresso, misuse of apostrophes and more. It’s well worth a listen.
Weird Al is taking the internet by storm recently having released eight videos in eight days, all from his new album Mandatory Fun, and Billboard are predicting that he might just nab the number one album spot later this week almost thirty years after “Eat It” made him a phenomenon.
Having been in the music industry for most of my working life, I have a lot of mates and family connected with the business. One of the great benefits of this is discovering new music. On recommendation I checked out IASCA Radio’s Spotify playlists and yesterday I found a track by Funzo called “Stalk This Way” which is great.
Some background: IASCA is the Irish Association of Songwriters, Composer and Authors and the work they’re doing for Irish bands is brilliant; Funzo is an Irish band founded by Liam McDermott in 2009, and as well as steadily releasing music, they’ve also played Oxegen, Electric Picnic and Hard Working Class Heroes.
“Stalk This Way” is taken from Funzo’s new album The Great Lonesome released in May of this year. The song is an astute comment on social media and it sounds like a hybrid of Danny Elfman and Arctic Monkeys…in a great way! I can’t find the tune on Youtube or Soundcloud – members of Funzo provide me with some embeddable media for the blog please?! – but you can buy it for just €0.99 on iTunes here. Check it out.
“Get Lucky” and “Happy” are very overplayed at this stage; I guess that’s what happens to really good pop tunes. Anyway looking for new tunes recently I came across this great mash-up of “Get Lucky”, “Happy” and “Lose Yourself To Dance” by Pomplamousse.
Pomplamousse are Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn from California, and they’re romantic and musical partners. They have lots of mash-ups and covers on their Youtube channel but I particularly like this one. It’s perfect for the summer with a light, fun feel, and I think they way they’ve combined and reinterpreted the songs is brilliantly original. I reckon it’ll go down well at DJ gigs.
Everybody everywhere mostly knows Lykke Li from her monster single “I Follow Rivers” taken from her 2011 album Wounded Rhymes. The Magician remix was a huge club hit but I preferred the Dave Sitek remix which I played at gigs for months.
“No Rest For The Wicked” is the lead single from Lykke Li’s new album I Never Learn. In an interview with Rolling Stone she described the album as a collection of “power ballads for the broken”. I really like this chilled out remix by Joris Voorn which is one of the three remixes on the single. The original track starts off slow and builds into a wall of sound with additional vocals by A$AP Rocky, and the remix is a great reinterpretation. I’ll be playing it at gigs for sure.
Jurassic 5 are back and they’ve released their first single “The Way We Do It”, which is available as a free download on their Soundcloud page. The track is classic J5 with an old-school feel, a bouncy White Stripes sample and production provided by the late Heavy D.
The band released their last album Feedback in 2006 and broke up a year later. Who knows why they’ve decided to reform but I’m glad they’re not just milking the back catalogue on tour. I’ve always been a huge fan and Chali 2na possesses one of my favourite voices in the world. “The Way We Do It” is hopefully a sign of lots of new material on the way.
J5 play Vicar Street on 16th and 17th of June. Yep, that’s next week! Tickets are €36 and it seems there are still some left, so get your asses over to Ticketmaster and get some! In the meantime download the tune and enjoy.
Love The Black Key’s new single “Fever” and the video above, directed by Theo Wenner, is a cheesy take on televangelism which really suits the sleazy seventies vibe.
Am very excited by the news that Dave Grohl has teamed up with HBO for a forthcoming TV series centred on famous recording studios. HBO must have taken notice of Sound City, the brilliant documentary that Grohl directed which I loved! The HBO series is set to premiere later this year in the US.
For anyone in need of hours upon hours of reading material, here’s Conor Friedersdorf’s picks for must-read nonfiction from 2013. Numbering over 100 pieces of first-rate journalism, it’s definitely worth bookmarking.
Classic scenes from literature made from Lego. Just click it.
Unhung Hero is one of the more random things I’ve watched on Netflix recently. The documentary stars Patrick Moote, star of a very embarrassing viral video, who embarks on a journey to find out if he has a small penis. Patrick lets it all hang out and the results are cringe-worthy, endearing and very funny.
I always love discovering new Irish bands to champion and The Minutes (consisting of Mark Austin, Tom Cosgrave and Shane Kinsella from Dublin) are my new favourite. I really liked “Gold” from their 2011 debut album Marcata which was a Black Crowes-esque rock number. The tune on rotation in my house at the moment is “Cherry Bomb” from their new album Live Well, Change Often; a seventies glam rock fest reminiscent of T. Rex.
The Minutes play Whelan’s this Friday 16th May. It’s a venue they have sold out in the past and it’s bound to be a packed gig again this time. The band have honed their act over the last three years, playing headline tours and support slots to the likes of The Strokes and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Tickets are €15.00 and you can get them online here.
When a song starts with a sample of a typewriter, my ears are bound to notice!
UK electronic act Metronomy’s fourth studio album Love Letters was released in March this year, giving the band their highest chart position in the UK to date. The second single was the title track and I’ve been playing the Soulwax remix a lot.
The original is a cheery lo-fi sixties-influenced pop song (check out the Michel Gondry directed video here) which in Soulwax’s hands becomes a darker, heavily percussive, dance track with a driving bass line. I love what Soulwax have done with this remix. Have a listen.