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Friday, October 23, 2009

"Just let the music play"

I will have my thoughts on Alphabeat's new album The Spell next week, since I haven't really had time to digest it yet, and their debut was one of my favorites of the decade. Their sound has certainly changed this time around, swapping much of the duet format and kitschy 80's pop sound in favor of a more polished 90's dance style. But is it as good? That remains to be seen. One song, however, that is certainly up to snuff is the second track, DJ. Not only does it have Anders and Stine trading off vocals (as they should), but it features one of the most instant, catchy choruses on the album. And the verses... by far the best that the The Spell has to offer. It may not quite be the aural sequel to Touch Me, Touching You that I was hoping for, but it's still damn good.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Preorder the album here. Follow me on twitter at nickajames)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Through the waving curtain wall the sun is streaming"

Swedish duo Kite have now officially released their long-delayed second EP, titled (what else?) II. It is even stranger than their debut, with five tracks--including their poppiest yet (Cannonballs) and their strangest (Hills = celt-ronica?). They've also included their cover of the Weeping Willow's I Give You The Morning, which is quite nice. There's something very unique about these guys, something that would catch my ear even if one of my favorite singers in the world wasn't the vocalist. With this track, they've turned a subtle folksy ballad into an electronic masterpiece. I'm not sure if they'll ever release a full-length album, but if they keep releasing EPs of this quality, I will be very happy indeed.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the EP here. Follow me on twitter at nickajames)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

November 23rd, 2009: A Day of Pop History?

I think we need to declare an unofficial holiday.
Several days before Thanksgiving (in the States), three of the most anticipated albums of the year are released: Adam Lambert's For Your Entertainment, Lady Gaga's Fame Monster and Rihanna's Rated R. I can't think of a single date since I first started buying albums with this many huge releases. And now that we've heard tasters (well, sorta) from each of them, my excitement is only growing.

Adam Lambert - Time For Miracles: Though this isn't on the album--and apparently doesn't represent the sound, either--this 2012 -featured track highlights the vocals and bombast I am most looking forward to. We haven't had a cinematic "movie" song like this in ages, and it's just fantastic. I'm counting down the seconds until the proper first single premieres.

Lady Gaga - Bad Romance: The finished version of this single just premiered, and it's totally epic. I feel like this is the first track where all of her weirdness truly came together, and leads me to believe that the new album will be artier and more dramatic. Brilliant leaked track Alejandro supports this theory.

Rihanna - Russian Roulette: Not what anyone was expecting, this dark, haunting ballad may mark a real turning point. At the very least, it promises a more interesting, edgy album to come (rumored to be two discs?). It's not as immediate as the other artists' releases, but I love it already.

Monday, October 19, 2009

"How could I lose control?"

Norwegian sensation Donkeyboy finally release their first album today after months of having a gazillion tracks floating around the upper reaches of the charts. Stereolife opens the album, and it's one of only a handful of uptempo tracks. The band have such a sparkly, classic sound and a real gift for subtle melody that works its way slowly into your head. Stereolife is pretty instant, and utilizes that soaring falsetto to full effect. I've only had the chance to listen to the album once so far, but it's absolutely gorgeous. Maybe not the most instant, catchy thing of 2009, but definitely beautiful. And the singles, Ambitions and Sometimes, remain two of the year's best.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter at nickajames)