Singles of the Week
As The Boo Radleys once said (almost), "Summer's Gone so check out the latest singles on The Music Fix".
From the London EP ‘Waiting Game’ is an underwhelming slice of atmospheric dance. Auto-tuned half to death, this isn’t horrible it’s just lacking any sort of charm.
The stats don't lie: 2 million+ YouTube views before release means 'Wings' is gonna uh ... fly. The 'Coldplay with a young, female voice' seems like such an obvious concept and yet no-one seems to have done it - until now.
L.A. band Fildlar are following nicely in the footstep of their West Coast garage/punk heritage with the nifty little 'Awkward'. Bathed in a lovely barrage of snarling guitars and Zac Carpe's teenage delinquent vocals the song cruises along like a snotty kid on a skateboard, the kind of tune that will really annoy your neighbours. Good stuff.
Gaga may be promising the evolution of popular music with her 'artpop' but she might feel a little sheepish after a listen to Janelle Monae's The Electric Lady. A guest spot on fun.'s 'We Are Young' brought her to mainstream attention last year, but Monae has been on the radar of everyone from Prince to Fritz Lang fans following her debut 2010 long-player The Archandroid, a concept album that established the singer's penchant for crafting ravishing suites combining the best elements of traditional R&B with, well, just about everything else. A psychedelic bric-a-brac of genres, astonishingly it worked - and Suites IV and V match it for consistent but controlled craziness.Following an inevitably grandiose overture, Monae's electric credentials are validated with the guitars on 'Givin Em What They Love', which also features Prince doing his thang on verse two. The album's top half boasts an enviable guest list: Erykah Badu adds even more sass to the girl-power funk of 'Q.U.E.E.N', Miguel slow jams on 'Primetime' and Solange joins in on the old-school groove of the title track, which is truly infectious and deserves triple props for featuring a rap that references Mia Farrow. Despite the flash guests though, this is Monae's show and that show is one that is forward-thinking but retro; sometimes a Spaghetti Western, sometimes a soundtrack to the Droid Rebel Alliance's uprising, sometimes something that harks back to the soul greats but with a futuristic twist. As with its predecessor, it's so brimming with ideas, creative energy and the joy of song that you may burn out before you can complete a first listen. But The Electric Lady will beckon you to listen again and again, until you're convinced that every track is a vital piece of the jigsaw and that Monae is something of a master - android or not.
Pop archandroid busts genres in style a second time.
Mike Oldfield’s eighth album in ten years both harked back to the layered orchestrations of his 1973 debut as well as signalling a growing shift to a more heavily synthetic sound. Aided by the bona fide smash that was ‘Moonlight Shadow’, it became his bestselling album since that seminal debut but whereas Tubular Bells played with variations on a theme throughout, Oldfield was now limiting his more exploratory work. Here, Oldfield sticks to his then preferred format – a single, extended piece on one side and five shorter tracks on the other. The 20 minute title track doesn’t quite grip like its equivalent ‘Taurus II’ from 1982’s Five Miles Out, but its euphoric beats and chiming synths, demonstrating his new-found love for the Fairlight CMI, sound vaguely current rather than 30 years old. You could do worse than introduce it to the Sigur Ros fan in your life.As with the Five Miles Out re-issue, the extras make upgrading essential. A handful of remixes and b-sides are fairly inconsequential, but it’s the addition of 80 minutes of newly uncovered material from the Crises tour that should sate the hardcore; the inclusion of both ‘Crises’ and the redoubtable ‘Taurus II’ the highlights.
Oldfield circa '83. Gary K finds much to admire.
An interesting track in its composition, it's as if Two Door Cinema Club went electronic - and that is in no way a bad thing. Fine song wrapped in good production makes a winning combination.
Debut effort from this London trio has a sleepy, Dinosaur Jnr. feel but probably doesn't batter down the door enough to qualify as a righteous calling card. Gets heavier towards the end for sure, but that might be too late for some.
A swirling underwater organ sound displaces you, what year is it? 1967? The chilled vocal delivery and catchy but slightly strange melody all add to the feeling of timelessness. Good omens for the album.
Single of the Week
Guess who’s back? But he’s not quite the same Slim Shady as last time out. More rocky and guitar led than before, but with the same Marshall Mathers vocal licks. This is a return to the clever, playful style of his more confident stuff, definitely his best material since The Eminem Show.