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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Pikko - Electric Body Design
Release Date: June 14th 2007

In the mood for a touch of oddball pop music? Hopefully, the answer’s yes, because on the majority of the self-released Electric Body Design, Pikko resembles Yoko Ono covering the arty electropop of fellow Swedes The Knife.

This is in no way a bad thing. In fact, it’s a powerful asset. This professional dancer turned recording artist from the very north of Sweden does not sound or act like anybody else out there. Her stage shows are a strange and wonderful combination of film, dancing, and chirpy electropop. Marry this uniqueness to a batch of effortlessly cool and catchy tracks and you’ve got an album to celebrate. The frantic Murder In My Heart kicks things off with a bang, backing Pikko’s trademark “ice pick” vocals with a dramatic multitracked male choir of one. The energy doesn’t let up as flawless first single Kill With A Dance and the playful Itch Of A Bitch round out Electric Body Design’s perfect first half. From there on, things become a bit more experimental, such as on the guitar-assisted duet Bad Intentions and the subdued Theme For A Funeral Birthday, but no less fascinating and fun. Thief In The Night finishes the album in grand style, with vocals in the grandiose chorus bordering on operatic.

Pikko, and her album, probably won’t appeal to everyone. She’s too left-field for that. But, that’s exactly what’s so magical about her. Electric Body Design sounds like it was created on a different planet, while still adhering to the timeless elements that make pop music so fantastic. A-

Key Tracks: Kill With A Dance, Murder In My Heart, Itch Of A Bitch
Vivek Shraya - If We’re Not Talking
Release Date: May 15th 2007
Label: Skinsongs

At the core of If We’re Not Talking, the new release from Toronto-based Vivek Shraya, is an electro fireball about ready to explode. Perched in a position that borrows the mainstream experimentation of Justin Timberlake and the independent sensibilities of the underground electro scene, Shraya has crafted an album that wastes no time introducing him as a star for the modern age.

Unlike Timberlake, Shraya’s music is uncluttered by trends and catchphrases. Instead of trying to fit into the mainstream, he shows us why he should already be a part of it. Opener I Won’t Envy forgoes elaborate production for a simple, hook-driven melody. Things only get better from there. Your Name (featuring backing vocals by the latter half of fellow Canadians Tegan & Sara) melds rock and electronica in the perfect summertime recipe, while tracks like Chemistry and Scratch offer edgy dance grooves and playful, charismatic vocals. They’re songs so heated that you can practically feel the sweat dripping off of them. When Shraya slows down, as on the achingly beautiful closer SOS, he shows off both the stunning tone of his voice and his gorgeous, simple melodies.

A perfect record for the heat of the summer, If We’re Not Talking shows exceptional promise and deserves acclaim not only from indie circles, but also the mainstream, where Shraya is undoubtedly capable of heading. People may not be talking about it so much yet, but I doubt whether that will last much longer. B+

Key Tracks: Your Name, SOS, Fevered

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ping Pong Bitches - Roc Ya Body

"The body looked so hot I couldn't keep my cool"

The band name and the song title both sound a bit dire. And, despite being a very fun electropop romp, Roc Ya Body isn't the clever satire that it at first appears to be. Instead, it's an excellent, edgy slice of dance music. In fact, it almost sounds like it could be a b-side from Dragonette's forthcoming debut, Galore. But, this London based foursome is far better than a bunch of b-sides. Mixing electro, hip hop, disco, and punk with a generous helping of humor, they've got an effortless sense of cool and, in many ways, could be the anti Girls Aloud while still appealing to fans of that group.

Ping Pong Bitches - Roc Ya Body (mp3) (zshare)

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the album here!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hello Lobster - Haircut City

"It's a city where there's nothing to do but get haircuts"

As the temperature threatens to break 100 degrees today, I've been listening to so much synth-laced, summer music and pretending that I'm at the beach. Hello Lobster's Haircut City is one such track. I'm usually not a fan of novelty type tracks, but this song is just so stupid and catchy that I can't resist it. If the lyrics weren't so intentionally ridiculous, it'd be a fantastic mainstream pop song. As it stands, it's more like Hellogoodbye mixing it up with the Village People. The camp, multi-tracked vocals are perfect... sort of like a distant cousin to Pet Shop Boy's version of Go West.

Hello Lobster - Haircut City (mp3) (zshare)

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Download more for free here!)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hotel Motel - Sleep (Italo Remix)

"Oh yeah, it's okay... you're gonna sleep tonight"

Today I'm introducing you to a latecomer to my Young Guns project. I've been following the UK's Hotel Motel for months and months now, but have been biding my time until something became available that I could post. Now, the band have provided the public with a remix (done by The Hearts Of Black Science) of their song Sleep. It's a bit dancier than their other stuff, but most definitely a worthy effort and one of the better tracks I've heard this year. The biggest asset to Hotel Motel's sound is definitely lead singer Marika's flawless, gorgeous voice. It'll transport you back to the 80's in the best possible way. I am expecting big things for these guys and I'm excited to watch them bloom into the conquering band that I know they can be. Sleep gives some indication of their potential, but, to be fully introduced to Hotel Motel, you MUST click over to their myspace and listen to Long Distance. This is an Alienhits order, because that track is one of the best songs that has been released this year, if not the best. It is simply perfect and should single handedly launch their career if released.

Hotel Motel - Sleep (Italo Remix) (mp3) (zshare)

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! No album to buy yet, but again, listen to Long Distance here!)

Video Premiere: Hotel Motel - Sucker Man

While not being my favorite song by this group (nor one that seems to be very representative of their overall sound), the new video for Sucker Man does give a great indication of just how cool and stylish Hotel Motel are. Lead singer Marika is simply destined for stardom.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Similou - Weather Girl

Just a heads up here. For this week only you can now download the second part of the Similou's new double a-side single for free. Weather Girl is just as good (if not better) as Clouds, mostly because of its enormous chorus. With this double round of brilliance, I am almost dangerously excited for their next full length. So, guys, when's it coming?

Download the single here

Video Premiere: Napoleon - Cleopatra

I'm so happy that this is starting to make some waves on Swedish radio. It's a perfect, jolly song for the summer and the new video is equally as good. I love these kind of laid back performances where you really get to see the band at their best.

Lukas Kasha - Love Abuse

"Oh why should I come back to you when you treat me this way?"

I'm back from the UK and basking in the sunshine of the unusually sunny and warm Pacific Northwest. But, just because I've left Europe doesn't mean I'm going to stop posting music from Europe. Today's band comes from Norway, and plays a wonderfully boisterous brand of new wave pop. They are called Lukas Kasha, and Love Abuse was the first single from their new album, Animated People's Republic. It's an enormous song, which doesn't waste anytime and instead rockets right into glorious guitar stabbing verses that, in turn, explode into a massive chorus. I loved it the moment I heard it. I'm betting you will too.

Lukas Kasha - Love Abuse (mp3) (zshare)

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the album here!)