Music For Men
It was a pleasant surprise to come upon this three piece band from Washington, USA. Formed way back in 1999 this trio of Beth Ditto, Brace Paine and Hannah Billie, vocals, guitars and drums respectively, have been consistent with their touring, although they have released only four albums in the past 10 years. They have a punchy pop sound that is instantly likeable. Beth’s sharp yet powerful voice is an asset to the songwriting and forms the identity of the music.
The thought here is to have sharp choruses that carry the verses through in a seamless way, which very often doesn’t happen, but much success is achieved in songs like, Dimestore Diamond, Pop Goes The World, Four Letter Word and Love Long Distance. This is an act to discover and also look out for. They have already managed to sell a million copies worldwide, not bad for an obscure act in this day and age. The buzz has begun.
This Is Happening
Here is another (relatively) obscure band who became a moderate success in 2005 with a flurry of hit singles from their eponymous debut album. Cut to five years later, founder and producer James Murphy has returned with this third and supposedly final album of tremendous quality. James is a man on a mission, not wanting to fall into the DJ Dance/club space, yet make music that is so eminently danceable you cant help but getting down.
This is a dance-pop album of epic proportions, the opening track, Dance Yourself Clean clocks in at almost nine minutes! And it’s not even one of those ‘extended’ remixes. And apart from the magnificent, Drunk Girls most other tracks go way beyond the radio friendly 3:40 runtime. This is an album of astounding creativity and is up there as one of my favourite dance-pop albums of this year so far.
Mom & Pop Records
Electro-pop is the flavour of the season and I think it’s going to be a trend for a while. As the name belies, this has got nothing to do with Christmas or anything even remote. This Brooklyn based duo of Derek Miller (programming) and Alexis Krauss (vocals) bring a rocky edge to quirky pop melodies and vocal arrangements. And in many ways this is what the future of music will probably become.
With most music and its organic elements available on computer software, which can be then arranged and performed without too much onstage gear. So here we have a laptop providing the backing arrangements with only guitars and vocals being played live. And going by the buzz Sleigh Bells are generating, it looks like they’re in on one hell of a ride. Check out, Tell ‘em, Riot Rhythm and Infinity Guitars
Sex And The City 2 Ost
Alicia Keys, Dido, Cyndi Lauper, Erykah badu, Jennifer Hudson, Leona Lewis, Ricki Lee and Liza Minelli are all brought together for this second outing of the four most famous single women in the world. Not single anymore in the sequel (except for Samantha), the music plays out at various sequences in the film, none of it memorable, sadly.
One of the highlights is the performance of Beyonce’s Single Ladies by the great Liza Minelli. And while it’s always a pleasure to see and hear Liza perform, age has not been kind and one often cringes when one hears this version. The same goes for the other selections, Dido’s Everything to lose is boring as hell.
And the obvious inclusion of Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind is overkill. But I found myself pleasantly surprised at the selection of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors a hit for her way back in 1986. It’s a great song and lands a good poignancy when it appears in the film. But overall a sad waste of some stellar talent.