Music I'm looking forward to in 2008
For my final post as guest blogger, I thought I’d share with you some musicians I love, all of whom have new albums on the way in 2008. I just noticed the majority are female singers… but at least there’s one guy!
Emiliana Torrini - She’s in the midst of writing and recording her new album - VERY exciting. Her voice is so unique, it just makes me happy. Her last album ‘Fisherman’s Woman’ is a favourite on my iPod. We became friends in 2007 and my most lovely memory of her is from Los Angeles in June when she came to our Temposhark show and gave me a white rose as a gift, making my night even more special!
Sam Sparro – My producer Sean McGhee told me about Sam but I don’t know too much about him yet. I like the original version of his song ‘Black and Gold’ which you can hear on his MySpace page. He sounds a bit like D’Angelo meeting electro-era Goldfrapp in a dark alley.
Julianna Barwick (photo with this blog) - Guy Sigsworth introduced me to the beautiful music of this equally beautiful New York based singer. Her mini album Sanguine is made up of zillions of loops where Julianna’s short vocal phrases become a one-woman choir. Her live performance in London last October was just SOOOOO good! Her influences range from Björk and boy choirs to Panda Bear and Thom Yorke. If you like Animal Collective, you'll surely like Julianna too. Download a free live session she did for the cool radio podcast Má Fama - it's the show dated 13th November 2007.
Kate Havnevik – Kate’s album ‘Melankton’ spent a lot of time on my stereo in 2007, so I’m really excited she’s currently recording her second album in Norway, Poland and London. I believe she is producing this next record herself but as always, she’s collaborating with some super talents. Catch her video blogging from her studio over at YouTube.
Like An Icon - If you, like me, are intrigued to hear the new hip hop influenced Madonna album, then I recommend reading a new book all about her music written by Lucy O'Brien. This book stands out from previous Madonna biogs because its main focus is on her actual music rather than delving too much into her personal life. It has insightful behind-the-scenes interviews with musicians, producers, dancers and directors including one I did for the book when I was in New York with M’s old stylist Maripol, who was responsible for Madonna's early image and rubber crosses. She told me lots of cool stories about late 70s/early 80s Manhattan working alongside Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Blondie. You can pick it up now at a bookshop near you or Amazon UK and USA.
Laura Marling – Laura is a young British singer (she's only 17 I think) who recently signed to Virgin records. She was on Later with Jools Holland and I fell in love her song ‘New Romantic’. Her first album 'Alas I Cannot Swim' is released on 4th Feb in a unique Song Box format containing the CD album, exclusive concert ticket and set of album mementos. Gotta be good!
Map The Music - an indie documentary film following musicians around the USA on tour including Imogen Heap, Rachael Yamagata, Kate Havnevik, and even Temposhark. I haven’t seen any of the footage yet but I know we all had a lot of fun filming it. An early preview trailer is up now, while Sam Hale and her team finish editing the film.
Mirah - I've been a fan of Mirah for years now and am always surprised by what she does next. Her remix album from last year 'Joyride' was amazing. She has 5 albums, on the awesome K Records label, all of which are worth getting. She's a true indie artist with an amazing voice and lyrics. Hear some of her albums at iTunes or find her CDs (and cool Tshirts) at the KRecs.
Lastly, Zero 7 star Sia's new album is streaming at MySpace and she is about to tour in the USA. I like her new song with Beck called 'Academia', plus she's covered The Pretender's classic 'I Go To Sleep'. I also used to be mad about her song 'Fear' from her debut album 'Healing Is Difficult'.
Right that's it from me! A big thanks to Arjan for asking me to contribute, I’ve really enjoyed it… Happy new year, sending you much love for 2008.
Wikked Lil' Grrrl
Esthero wants to start a musical revolution because she is "so sick and tired of the shit on the radio." The brassy Canadian singer is going about making that change in her own unique way. On her remarkable second album "Wikked Lil' Grrrls" she seamlessly weaves samba, jazz, rock and hip hop to create a stylish, powerful sound that emphasizes both melody and message. Esthero, who previously was a guest vocalist with the Black Eyes Peas, co-wrote and produced all tracks on the album in collaboration with an impressive cast of people including Sean Lennon, Shakari Nite, Cee-Lo Green, Jemeni, Jelleestone and Andre3000 of Outkast. Esthero's greatest achievement is that she has been able to create her own story by using a myriad of styles ranging from Brazilian percussion to house rhythms and from soaring torch vocals to slamming hip-hop. High notes are the tender "Gone," the endearing "Everyday Is A Holiday" and the hooky title track.
Preview Casey Stratton EP
After terminating his record deal with Sony Music, Casey Stratton seems a whole lot happier. For the past year, I've been reading his blog on which the singer has written openly about his frustrations and disappointments being a major label artist who did not get the attention he deserved. Stratton decided to take matters in his own hands and is now working on an independent CD release.
tracks from a Stratton's forthcoming EP before it will be available on
iTunes. Once again, the singer proves that he a knack for writing
gorgeous piano-driven melodies that are both haunting and inspiring.
World Leader Pretend
Fantasticallyfunnysuperblogger Toby shows off his diverse musical taste this week by writing about Ashlee Simpson, Garbage and now World Leader Pretend, one of his favorite new indie bands. Check out the group's "Rubble-rousing Misspent Bouts" EP on iTunes. The New Orleans-based WLP combines their Cajun jam roots with spicy melodic hooks and the singer's emotive vocals.
I have been thinking about
asking Toby to be a guestwriter on arjanwrites.com and interview
Shirley Manson with me. What do you think, Toby? I know you're a fan.
I rarely receive PR pitches from music publicists that are truly original. Most often they are uninvolved broadcast emails that simply demand coverage on this blog (like Steve noted earlier). But yesterday I got a note from from an L.A. band called Your Horrible Smile that is so original and fun that it made me smile. Here it is verbatim:
Subject: Does it require astonishing style to be reviewed on your page?
We might not have Brandon Flowers impeccable grooming BUT we do have numerous other high "points'" We're Your Horrible Smile out of gritty Downtown LA. Our site at www.yourhorriblesmile.com will shed light on our mission and mantra. And our lack of Flowers-esque cha cha. (But, with our bi-friendly drummer sporting his Melrose chic suits in our new video perhaps we can ignite a spark with he scene?). Check out the site, listen to "Shot at the Title" and tell me you arent reminded of Chris Cornell wailing toward QOTSA's practice space with a penchant for post-grunge boogie.
My response: Killer or not, Melrose chic sure can go a long way.
Listen to "Shot at the Title" by Your Horrible Smile