Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tennis Court - Lorde

Tennis Court is the title track from a new E.P. by the New Zealand singer and songwriter Lorde. It has already gotten to number one in the New Zealand singles charts and to date has reached number 35 in the Australian singles charts. The other three tracks on the Tennis Court E.P. are Swingin' Party, Biting Down and Bravado.
Lorde is the stage name of Ella Yelich-O'Connor and Tennis Court is her second E.P. Her first was The Love Club which was released in March of this year and it's lead single Royals was also a number one hit in the New Zealand singles charts. As always some of today's best pop music today is coming from New Zealand and Australia and Tennis Court is definitely one of the best and most confident songs that I've heard this year. 

Lorde's Tennis Court E.P. is due to be released in the U.K. on July 22nd.

Lorde's website is here and follow her on Twitter @LordeMusic

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Changing Faces - Clare Maguire

In 2011 I got to see several of my favourite music stars for the first time in concert including George Michael, Janet Jackson, Sade and Erasure and while they were all wonderful one of the best concerts that I went to that year was Clare Maguire's concert in the The Sugar Club here in Dublin. There is a review that I wrote of that concert here

Clare's cover version of Anthony and the Johnsons Hope There's Someone was one of the songs that I featured on my 100 Cover Versions list of songs last year. You can listen to it here

While chatting to one of my colleagues in work the other day I found out that Clare has recorded some new songs and here is one of them.

This is the very beautiful Changing Faces.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Imagine It Was Us - Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware is one of many new music artists who deserves much more success in the UK singles charts than she has had to date. Her most well known song Wildest Moments got to number 46 in the UK charts and the re-release of If You're Never Gonna Move got to number 41. Devotion is one of my most favourite albums of the past few years, all of the singles released from it have been wonderful. The Gold edition of that album was released this month and her newest single Imagine It Was Us is a perfect and elegant summer pop dance song.

Here is the video for Imagine It Was Us.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Same Love - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Each week I look at the Irish singles charts to see if there is any song that stands out from other international charts. Over it's history many songs have sometimes done better in Ireland than other countries. One song that stood out on this week's Irish singles chart is Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis which is at number 97 but it is still a song that has been downloaded here in Ireland as a separate song from their The Heist album and that is important. It was a number one song in Australia last year and got to number 89 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
I would call Same Love an ally song as it is about LGBT equal rights and questions religion, language, hip hop and other things in relation to LGBT rights. This week it just made me think how many people in Ireland both LGBT and straight have connected with this song by two international number one best selling music artists.

There has to be more songs like this.

By now in 2013 we are well used to female pop stars such as Madonna, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Cyndi Lauper and P!nk all standing side by side on the issue of equal rights. Out male stars like Holly Johnson, Boy George, George Michael and Andy Bell do this on a daily basis through social media but we don't always hear positive LGBT themed songs or messages by other male stars and bands. There are of course many straight male allies but I do think some of today's singers and stars are gay themselves but go just so far by saying they support equal rights and remain in the closet which for me is irony. Same Love is written from a personal perspective, Macklemore's own sexuality is mapped out early in the song but I love how his uncle was a positive influence on him and how he has become part of the song's story. The verse lyrics are sung by Macklemore but the chorus is sung by Mary Lambert and in doing so the lyrics also acknowledge same sex love between women and that is equally as important. 

Here is the music video directed by Ryan Lewis and Jon Jon Augustavo which features many positive images. It has been viewed over 22 million times since October 2012.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Only Love Survives - Ryan Dolan

Only Love Survives by Ryan Dolan is the official Irish entry for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. Ryan both sounds and looks like a pop star and I know he will represent Ireland well in Sweden as he competes in the first semi final on May 14th for a place in the final on the 18th. Ryan is currently doing lots of publicity for the song here in Ireland. 

Ryan's website is here and he is on Twitter at @RyanDolanMusic

Five pop music parody videos by Joanna Ryde

One of my most favourite celebrities here in Ireland is Joanna Ryde. Joanna is based in Waterford where she has shows at Dignity every week. She is also a reporter for the radio station Beat 102-103 and some of her podcasts are here
Her parody videos of pop songs and other pop culture moments are always so witty and clever. I can never hear the original song again without thinking of Joanna's fab versions. 

Joanna's website is here and her Youtube page which features all her parody videos is here.

Here are five of my most favourite of her parody videos.

Pot Noodle:  M's Pop Muzik.

Bleeding Crazy - Carly's Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe

Aldi Vodka - Lady Gaga's Alejandro

Katy Perry's Last Friday Night (TGIF)

and one of her most recent parodies Horse Inside - The Rubberbandits Horse Outside

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Dead Heavys play The Village, Dublin on Friday 22nd February.

Everybody in the Nite by The Dead Heavys was one of my most favourite songs of 2012. It is one of those songs that was made for radio sounding retro and new at the same time. 
I'm delighted to hear that they play their showcase Dublin gig at The Village music venue in Wexford Street, Dublin on Friday 22nd February. Support is by The Casanova Wave and Yachtrock. There is always a great atmosphere at that venue especially with new bands and there is more information on the gig  here.

The Dead Heavys website is here and they are on Twitter @theDeadHeavys

Here is Everybody in the Nite.

and also a live performance of Talk Me Down.

The Long Way EP - Paradigms

Paradigms are Lee Ditcher and Steve J Beck who are based in Poole & Bournemouth in England. Their four track E.P. is called The Long Way and features the songs On My Mind, Hey Hey, They Said Tomorrow's Gonna be A Sunny Day and the title track The Long Way.  I think all four tracks are very strong with The Long Way being my favourite. 

Paradigms are on Twitter @Paradigmsband

Links to all four tracks are below and physical copies of the E.P. on CD can be purchased here

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sisters - Avan Lava

Here is another song by New York based music artists Avan Lava. Their song Sisters is absolutely smooth and beautiful dance music. The video is by Dan Gutt and the cinematography is by A Clint Litton and the two lead characters are played by Crystal Gwyn and Jessie Joe Monge Murphy. In just a day Avan Lava have become one of my favourite new music artists. I love TC's vocals and the flow of the production in this track.


All I Need- John Gibbons & Scimon Tist Featuring Rebecca Creighton

All I Need is the new single by Irish dance music artists John Gibbons & Scimon Tist. The vocalist is Rebecca Creighton who featured in X Factor in 2010 when she was a member of the girl group Belle Amie and has since last year been a solo recording artist.

All I Need was released at the end of January here in Ireland and has been a radio hit reaching number one on nightly radio chart updates. There is a great mix of music genres in Ireland these days and it's always great to hear new pop or dance music Irish music artists. I think All I Need is as strong as any dance song in the UK charts at the moment.

All I Need is available to download on ITunes here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Adele / Chris Issak / Felix / Madonna : Gamefall - Robin Skouteris Vs Consoul Trainin

Gamefall is the new mash up by Robin Skouteris Vs Consoul Trainin. It mixes Wicked Game by Chris Issak with Skyfall by Adele. It also features the Consoul Trainin Venue Mix of Skyfall, both the original and the Dirty South remix of Feels Like Home by Meek featuring Dino and Die Another Day by Madonna. The blend of the two Bond themes is so elegant and masterful. Robin really goes from strength to strength with each new mix and/or collaboration and this one with Consoul Trainin is one of his best yet.

Robin is on Twitter @RobinSkouteris and Consoul Trainin is @ConsoulTrainin

Here is a link to download Gamefall from Robin's Soundcloud page.

Cut Copy Me - Petula Clark

Cut Copy Me is the new single by Petula Clark. It is such a beautiful song. I heard it on Popmusic today and they gave it a lovely review, mentioning the fragility of it and that is so true. It is almost like a song that you would associate with Kate Bush. Petula was 80 years old in November, her first single Put Your Shoes on Lucy was released in 1949 and in 1964 her most iconic song Downtown reached number 2 in the UK and Irish charts. It is one of those eternally perfect pop songs. That year Petula recorded versions of Downtown in French and Italian which were number ones in France and Italy. In 2011 she recorded Downtown with the Irish band The Sawdoctors and it once again reached number 2 in the Irish singles charts almost 50 years after it was first released.

Here is Cut Copy Me. It features on Petula's new album Lost in You which is released in February.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Love and War - Tamar Braxton

Tamar Braxton has just released the music video for her single Love and War which was released in the U.S. in December and has to date reached number 56 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It has also reached the top 10 in both the U.S. and U.K. R'n'B charts. It would be wonderful if an elegant R'n'B song like this was a hit worldwide. Tamar was one of five sisters who over the years were the group The Braxtons. Her voice on Love and War is as beautiful and strong as any of her sister Toni's songs.

Here is the video for Love and War which is the lead single from Tamar's album of the same name which is released in February.

and as a reminder of just how fabulous Tamar and her sisters were in The Braxton here is their powerhouse cover version of Diana Ross's The Boss.

and as great dance songs should be heard here also is the Masters at Work remix of The Boss.

4th and Vine - The new single by Sinead O'Connor

4th and Vine is the new single by Sinead O'Connor and is released on February 18th. It is the second single taken from her latest album How About I Be Me (And You Be You?)

4th and Vine is such a great and positive song. I remember liking it as soon as I heard it last year.
Here are two performances of the song.

The first is the brand new music video which was directed by Kathryn Ferguson.

and the second is Sinead's performance of 4th and Vine on Later With Jools Holland show from last November.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lose You Tonight - Kristina Train

Kristina Train released her second studio album Dark Black in November of last year. It's title track was one of those songs that I think will be a hit at some time, it is too good a song not to be a hit single. Her new single from that album is also very elegant and it is called Lose You Tonight.

If (the Kaytranada & Brothers in Rhythm remixes) - Janet Jackson

If by Janet Jackson was one of her big hit singles from her 1993 Janet album when it got to number 4 in the Billboard Hot 100, number one on the U.S. Hot Dance chart and got to number 14 in the UK.
The Brothers in Rhythm remix of If is one of my favourite remixes of all time, it will always remind me of a time and a place, going out to late night gay clubs in Dublin and hearing that song played loud and just forgetting every worry you had.

My brother Mike recommended me another remix of If which is the Kaytranada remix which is very different but also v good.

Here are both remixes. The Kaytranada remix.

and the Brothers in Rhythm remix.

Max Barskih covers Diamonds by Rihanna

Since he made his debut on the Ukrainian television talent show Sabrika Sirok 2 (Star Factory 2) in 2008 singer Max Barskih has released 15 singles and 3 studio albums. 

Here's a great cover version he recorded of Rihanna's Diamonds.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

100 Cover Versions: #100: Nick Kelly covers 'When Doves Cry' by Prince & the Revolution

Last year I started a series of 100 cover versions by different music artists. It was very enjoyable to do and by doing it I discovered many cover versions of songs that I had never heard before. Soon after posting one of the first cover versions the singer Nick Kelly sent me a link to a cover that he did of When Doves Cry by Prince & the Revolution. I knew that when I heard Nick's cover of When Doves Cry that it was the ideal song to close the 100 songs that I choose to highlight.

When Doves Cry has been one of my favourite songs since I first heard almost 30 years ago. I still have the Purple Rain soundtrack album that I bought in 1984. I never saw Purple Rain until around 10 years ago and when you see the film you realise that every song on the soundtrack is perfect for the film. In 1984 it seemed that Prince was at the height of his creative brilliance and then he made Parade and Sign 'O The Times albums and well that what makes a legend.

Any cover of a song like When Doves Cry has to be good, it has to capture the atmosphere of the language of the song and it can not be a carbon copy, I think Nick Kelly's version really honours a great song. It is a tribute that is also it's own special version. 

Here is a link to Nick's version of When Doves Cry. I've been writing my blog for almost 7 years now and to be sent a version of a song that I love and respect by a singer such as Nick is something I will always remember and be thankful for. 

Here also is a link to Nick's website which features information on all his music including the songs he recorded with the great Irish band The Fat Lady Sings.

Thank you to everyone who read my posts over the past year.

Kemosabe - Everything Everything

I do love my chart music but listening to the chart update on Radio 1 today and hearing that the top three best selling singles in the UK were by 50 Cent, Eminem, Adam Levine, Will.I.Am, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z it really made me think that what the pop charts in 2013 really needs more than ever is new music by new music artists. 

One of the more interesting songs on release this week in the UK is presently just outside the top 40 singles charts. It's Kemosabe by Everything Everything. It is the newest single from their album Arc which is also released this week. It includes their excellent single Cough Cough which got to number 37 in the UK charts last year.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's opening duologue at the Golden Globes

There were lots of highlights at last night's Golden Globe Awards which is always more fun than the Oscars or many other Awards shows. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were perfect hosts at the show as they are such great friends in real life and when working together they have such perfect comic timing. They make good comedy seem effortless.

Their opening duologue was a real highlight. What I love about the Golden Globes is because the stars are grouped so close to the stage at various tables it's easy to see an off guard moment such as when Adele won for best song and Taylor Swift looked like she may play Baby Jane one day. The moment where Amy mentions James Cameron was also great, you can see the stars in the audience who couldn't care less and laugh and also around them are the ones who are thinking 'I may have to work with him at some stage of my career'.

I also think that following Amy's rendition of I Dreamed a Dream it's chorus lyrics should be permanently changed to "I dreamed a dream of da da da and then I went to get a sandwich'. Classic! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Digging Shelter - Neil Halstead

Digging Shelter is a gorgeous song by Neil Halstead. There are so many singer songwriter songs today but this one stands out. The video for the song was directed by Scott Marvel. It's engaging throughout and shows how simplicity in a music video still works. I have to admit I was almost more focused on the video than the song but I think that's a sign that each compliments the other. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Nuclear - the brand new song by Destiny's Child

Nuclear is the brand new song by Destiny's Child and is the only new song that features on their forthcoming Love Songs album which is a collection of their ballads that featured on their studio and best of albums. It was produced by Parrell Williams and co-written by Michelle Williams. Their harmonies are still as lovely as ever though the base line sounds very old school R'n'B pop so it will be interesting to see how it does.

The full track listing for their Love Songs album is here.

PopLove 2012 - Robin Skouteris

At the beginning of each year it is always interesting to see which music artists and songs will dominate the year ahead in the worldwide singles charts. 2012 was absolutely a pop music year as various year end music mash up mixes and videos proved.
While there are several very talented mash up music producers one of the most inventive is still Robin Skouteris. Robin's mash up of the hit songs of 2012 is called PopLove 2012. The mix includes over 24 music artists and 30 different songs. It also features several songs from previous years including Love Today by Mika, Circus by Britney and Kiss by Prince. I always think Robin's mash ups sound like the various music artists were all in the studio together, the songs are always mixed together flawlessly. The video was also edited by Robin. I love how he features the audio of Lights by Ellie Goulding and uses just the visuals from her beautiful Anything is Possible video. 

Paperboy & Oh Brother - Two songs by Rebekka Karijord

Last June I discovered the song Paperboy by Rebekka Karijord. It was a song that I liked as soon as I heard it. The music video for Paperboy was a fan made one by Hannah Crofts and Amie Varney and I think it is a great tribute to the song.  Here it is again.

Next week Rebekka plays some concert dates in Ireland and the UK. Her concert dates and links for tickets are below.

Wednesday 16th: The Borderline in London.
Thursday 17th:  Ruby Lounge in Manchester.
Friday 18th:  Workman's Club here in Dublin.
Saturday 19th: King Tut's Wah Wah Club in Glasgow. 

Rebekka's second album is We Become Ourselves. Here is the song Oh Brother from that album which is by far the best song that I've heard recently.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Don't Save Me - Haim

Last week the Californian band Haim were named as BBC's Sound of 2013.

2012 was a great year for pop with female music artists dominating the chart especially in the first few months of the year. The end of the year seemed to be a return to male pop stars with Bruno Mars, Robbie Williams, PSY and James Arthur all having great chart success. 
However throughout 2012 there did seem to be two main categories of chart music female music artists. One group consisted of pop stars such as Rihanna, Katy Perry, Carly Rae, Cheryl, Nicki Minaj, Jessie J and many other pop dance music artists, even Florence Welch went dance (twice) to have a number one hit. The other female artist music genre had to be or sound like Adele and Emeli Sande. Pink, Paloma Faith and Ellie Goulding are somewhere in the middle of those two categories it has to be said too.
If Haim are the first of a new or a return to genre of music in 2013 that highlights female musicians then it will be a very welcome trend in the worldwide singles charts. There were several great new female groups such as Stealing Sheep and First Aid Kitwho deserved chart success in 2012 and hopefully 2013 will be their year. 

Haim's newest single Don't Save Me is a great pop song. It was released in 2012 and was Zane Lowe's 'Hottest Record' on his BBC Radio 1 show back in mid October but now in January it is finally becoming a hit.