09/08/2015 The Weeknd - Can't Fell My Face **
A Disco stomper from The Weeknd - complete with their trademark studio treated vocals. Written by five people, this track is sure to be a big hit thanks to a very catchy chorus, but then again, I caught the flu the other week and that's fairly catchy too. Still, it's not all bad, there are genuine Michael Jackson sounds later on during the track which then ends very suddenly just as it's getting interesting. Not bad overall, certainly not offensive despite my earlier remarks but this modern trend for auto-tuned vocals isn't good.
09/08/2015 Little Mix - Black Magic ***
Four songwriters - none of them band members - collude to put together this latest effort from Little Mix. Dance-pop girlband standard stuff, albeit catchy in a strange sort of way as the production leaps 'heys' out at you. The vocals are clearly auto-tuned, which is a shame. We have mentions of a secret potion and a recepie as the girls sing of boys wanting more and girls doing things - the beats are designed to ensure this goes down okay on the dancefloor. Would work very well indeed featured in a rom-com movie and has sold upwards of 300,000 thousand copies combined in the UK and Australia alone.
09/08/2015 One Direction - Drag Me Down *
There is little discussion on the interweb about the boys latest record's musical merits. The discussion around, plentiful as it is, seems based entirely around a former band-member and celebrity status. One Direction get featured on the Today show on BBC Radio Four news - a presenter mocks anybody that cares to listen, reminding the entire audience that One Direction's success is comparable to The Beatles, and that One Direction are today's equivalent to The Beatles. The funny thing is, said presenter is entirely correct - they are today's Beatles, but that says more about today than about The Beatles. This heavily produced track lacks anything remotelty approaching musical merit or originality - it sports a modern pop chorus that has been done well enough, but the vocals are entirely anonymous.
09/08/2015 Prince - Stare **
Prince has given albums away for free in newspapers, has alternately hated and then embraced the internet and now seems to be hedging his bets. He has removed his entire album catalogue from all streaming sites except the apparently artist friendly Tidal, which pays artists higher royalty rates - but a higher rate of next to nothing - what's that worth? A little spiralling guitar line on the track is lifted from his own 'Kiss' from the 80s. The bass twists funkily but entirely unsurprisingly, away. Brass instruments briefly threaten to enliven things whilst Prince sings seemingly about very little. In summary, the song doesn't have a chorus and won't be a hit.
09/08/2015 New Order - Restless **
Let's get one thing straight first of all - this isn't New Order. This is Bernard Sumner and New Order's keyboardist (relegated to being just another keyboardist given all of the production) and the New Order drummer. Peter Hook, always the key to the New Order sound with his magnificent bass lines isn't in the group anymore. Still, around 90 seconds in a typically New Order guitar line comes through and it's good they have remembered to include guitar. The bass lines however are fairly anonymous whilst Bernard Sumner sings about not much at all - although the word 'Restless' appears frequently throughout the track rather than New Order bothering to include an actual chorus. Synthetic strings pop up and 1989 New Order comes to mind, except for the fact this song is best remembered for the drumming, which remains classy throughout.
13/07/2013 The Pixies - Bagboy *****
The Pixies are back for their first song without bassist Kim Deal but with their first new song since 'Bam Thwock' in 2004. At this rate, we might be able to enjoy a new Pixies album in about 2032. The song may have been worked up by the band whilst Kim was still around, hence the Kim-like bass and Kim-like backing vocals during the chorus parts. The sound of the record is noteworthy, definitely and unmistakably Pixies, yet without sounding like it's still 1991, the production all round is fantastic, actually. The song itself is a grower, it won't replicate the first time you heard 'Gigantic' or 'Debaser', but then, what possibly could? Course, Frank Black/Black Francis has released so much solo material, the possibility of The Pixies without Kim may seem pointless to some, but this track is fantastic and certainly several steps up from 'Bam Thwock'. The lyrics are glorious, 'cover your breath, polish your teeth - then the chorus 'BAG BOY!' whilst the guitars chrunch in classic Pixies fashion. You can download the song for free here
13/07/2013 Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know? ***
Stuck straight on itunes with no real notice or fanfare arrives a new track from the ever prolific Arctic Monkeys. 'Crawling back to you....' sings Alex Turner as the music crawls and creeps to match. The rhythm section play sparingly through the opening section, although the bass is in all the right places, whilst the song centers around a dirty sounding guitar riff and, on occasions, a drum sound that sounds exactly like a loud hand-clap, inviting crowd participation of course. It's a song that will delight fans of the more recent Arctic Monkeys material whilst not exactly screaming 'please come back' to those that tuned out after the first two records, but for the fans it is aimed at, this will no doubt please them no end - well, it please me well enough. Watch The Video
13/07/2013 Grumbling Fur - Protogenesis***
Daniel O'Sullivan and Alexander Tucker are electronic due, the wonderfully named 'Grumbling Fur' mixing modern dance with early 80s synth-pop to great effect on this preview of their forthcoming LP 'Glynnaestra'. We open with a synth line over programmed beats and faint, echoey, chanting vocals. It's the sort of track that renders the continued career of Depeche Mode redundant, in all honest - judge for yourselves though and take a listen.
25/05/2013 Alex Adams - Open Eyes ***
Some guy i've never heard of sends me a new song, and it's marvellous. Very modern production techniques, one for the dancefloor yet an actual song at the same time. He has a high-vocal range and a note on his youtube page that he has a voice that will distinguish him from the crowd. I agree, this is a strong voice, a modern track and very catchy. It deserves to be a big hit. His facebook page can be found here. Facebook Page
25/05/2013 City Light - Sweet Death***
I really like this, released on Mush Records, they sound like a more melodic Pavement crossed with California. The guitars are really nice, a bit soft Dinosaur Jr crossed with, well, I don't quite know, and I like that I don't know. City Light are the electronic-pop project of singer/songwriter Matt Shaw and producer Nick Andre. They first came to prominence in 2010 with the album, Burned Out Bright. Listen to Sweet Death
01/06/2013 Moon Boots - Love Strong ****
US Producer Moon Boots is back with 'Love Strong', a sunny, dance-floor number pitched somewhere between clubbing and laying on a beach with your back tanning nicely. A nice house flavor, vocal samples, melodic bass-lines that are just right, perfectly placed to ensure your head and feet move in time. So, beams of sunshine for this tune and a big thumbs up from adriandenning.co.uk Listen to Love Strong