Lia Mice is an exceptionally peripatetic artist, both geographically and artistically. She started out her music career in punk and soul bands in Australia, relocated to Brooklyn’s noise scene, and finally settled in France, where she now makes music that combines adventurous electronic sounds with a distinctly Gallic brand of clever pop songwriting in the lineage of Serge Gainsbourg and the French yé-yé artists of yore. Her album I Love You comes out Nov. 4 on Old Flame Records, and it’s full of sing-alongable melodies and sonic textures that are easy to lose yourself in. Her latest single, “Our Heavy Heart,” steers the current dream pop revival toward the dance floor with help from a clanging, echo-laden cowbell that almost manages to steal the show from Mice’s shimmering vocals. Its video alternates between shots of her on the street searching for a lost snake and shots of her and the snake dancing together in presumably happier times
Tag: Pop (11-20 of 1134)
Aquarius, released this week, may be Tinashe’s first proper album, but she’s far from a rookie in the entertainment game. The 21-year-old singer got her start early as an actor, appearing in Robert Zemeckis’s CGI Christmas flick The Polar Express and the Bob Dylan-starring surrealist sci-fi project Masked and Anonymous before being recruited at age 14 to join a manufactured teen-pop group. That may not sound like a very auspicious start for a serious music career, but she says it was valuable nonetheless. “I think I learned a lot being in a situation where I wasn’t necessarily able to create music that was totally true to who I was or to present the person who I was,” she says over the phone from her home in Los Angeles.
If anything, her time in The Stunners helped give Tinashe a good idea of what she didn’t want to do when she struck out on her own. After the group split up in 2011 she started working on solo material in her home studio, sans record contract. “When you’re part a group,” she says, “it’s definitely a group effort, creatively. When I wasn’t signed to a record label I was free to make my own decisions. I definitely felt the need to create stuff on my own and just do things and make my own decisions and just put things out there. It was a really important step for me because it really opened the door so that now I have so much creative control in my art.”
In 2011 Kate Akhurst moved from Australia to Stockholm, Sweden in search of musical collaborators with more in common with her aesthetic vision than she could find at home. Producers Hampus Nordgren and Markus Dextegen seem to have fit the bill, bringing a quintessentially Swedish flavor to the electronic arrangements they bring to their group Kate Boy. “Open Fire,” from their upcoming debut LP, has all the sonic ambition of The Knife mixed with pop hooks worthy of Max Martin.
Michelle Chamuel’s best known for her second-place finish on season four of The Voice. But she was already a fairly well-established independent musician before the show, and she’s continued to work steadily after, releasing EDM under the name Reverb Junkie. Despite her sizable catalog of work, her upcoming Face the Fire (due out next February on The End Records) is Chamuel’s first official solo album to be released under her own name.
The titular lead single promises good things for the full-length—with its big hooks, eccentric sounds, and spark-throwing energy, it sits somewhere between Taylor Swift and Le Tigre.
Chamuel writes in an email, “‘Face the Fire’ is about the innate desire in you to go for it and follow your passion. It can be daunting—but at some point you just start going after what you burn for. That’s facing the fire.” The song will be available for purchase tomorrow, Oct. 7, but you can hear it here first.
Did One Direction recently spend some time at the School of Rock? It’s possible—if the School of Rock happens to be headed by Journey.
For the boy band’s latest single, “Steal My Girl,” One Direction takes things in a new, ’80s classic rock direction. More specifically, the opening of “Steal My Girl” is enough to give any Journey fan a bit of deja vu, as the song sounds something like One Direction’s version of Journey’s 1983 hit “Faithfully.” One Direction’s mid-song “na na na na na” even recalls Journey’s mid-song “woah oh oh oh.” It feels a lot like One Direction is trying to make a new name for itself—and it’s not terrible.
John Maclean got his start playing with the legendary (for the chaos they caused as much as the music they made) electropunk band Six Finger Satellite, but since the early aughts he’s been producing synth music under the name The Juan Maclean that incorporates abstract modern composition techniques alongside the heavy influence of early house and techno, resulting in recordings that are as good for producing a meditative mood as they are for dancing along to. Along the way he found a highly complementary partner in LCD Soundsytem vocalist Nancy Whang, who adds a human element to Maclean’s electronic compositions.
The pair just released In a Dream, their third LP together, on DFA Records that boasts a lead single, “A Simple Design,” that could be the catchiest thing they’ve ever made. The accompanying clip, directed by the Wilderness collective, gives the song an organic abstract paint job that’s as lush and satisfying as the song itself.
Scandinavia has had a strong presence on the pop charts this year, first with Norwegian duo Nico & Vinz’s out-of-nowhere smash “Am I Wrong,” followed by Tove Lo‘s “Habits (Stay High),” which spent the summer steadily climbing the Hot 100. Next up is Nabiha, a Danish artist who splits the difference between hip-hop, R&B, dance music, and straight-up pop. Considering how closely this combination of genres resembles the makeup of the American pop charts these days, it seems likely that she might be able to find more success here with her newly released EP Mind the Gap than her 2011 track “Never Played the Bass,” which made it to No. 37 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart despite the fact that it wasn’t officially promoted as a single.
Mind‘s second single could be the break she’s been looking for. “Animals” is a beast of a turn-up anthem, alternating between noisily minimal rap verses that sound like the hybrid offspring of Yeezus and Major Lazer’s “Pon Di Floor” and a sweeping, jumbo-sized melodic hook that probably has Rihanna biting her fist with envy. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself listening to it on repeat.
Tonight’s premiere of the new season of The Voice features two familiar faces and two newcomers. Adam Levine and Blake Shelton are back once again, but they’ll be joined by first-time coaches Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani. The latter two are both new to singing competitions, and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of personalities emerge as the blind auditions roll on.
But neither Stefani nor Williams should look to their left for advice, Shelton tells EW: “I didn’t tell them crap,” Shelton said, laughing. “That’s my competition. We do these interviews, and Adam will get mad at me because I won’t help them. This is a competition, and my job is to try to win this thing. When I started on this show, nobody helped me!”
There are two basic sorts of breakup records: the heartbroken, mopey kind, and the kind where the writer digs through the wreckage of their relationship to find whatever lesson it has to offer and uses it as an opportunity to grow as a person. Estelle’s upcoming fourth album, True Romance (out Nov. 4) is firmly of the latter type.
“Something Good,” the album’s second single behind the anthemic “Conqueror,” pairs lyrics about picking up the pieces after a split with a piano-heavy house beat that synchronizes nicely with the current revival of ’90s club pop.
“‘Something Good’ is a feel-good song,” Estelle writes in an email. “A reminder that you’re dope and have something wonderful to offer life and yourself and the world.”
Like serialized television and comic-book movies, R&B is in the midst of a golden age. As ambivalent as I am about Beyoncé’s work, her influence cannot be overstated, and her sequined coattails have been long enough to support an incredible wave of exceptionally provocative albums from next-in-line voices both female (Jhené Aiko, FKA Twigs, Tinashe) and male (Frank Ocean, Miguel, the Weeknd).
The roots of this form of modern R&B can be traced back to Janet Jackson’s landmark album Rhythm Nation 1814, which turns 25 years old today. Though it’s a quarter century old, Rhythm Nation has barely aged—it sounds as rich and vital as it did when it was first released, and stylistically as contemporary as anything on the Billboard charts. READ FULL STORY
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