Thursday, 28 April 2011

Love Inks - E.S.P.

It may only be a couple of days since our preview of Love Inks' upcoming debut album E.S.P., but the review copy's just dropped into our mailbox and I'm pretty excited about this one, so I thought why wait?

Those of you who visit Popsiculture regularly will no doubt have seen or heard Blackeye by now. It was my first encounter with Love Inks, and the first minute or so of listening to it I was unconvinced. By the end of the song, little more than another minute later, I was ready to hit the loop button.

Each Love Inks song is along those same lines - a slightly odd opening followed by enough repetition to hammer the hook into your brain. Before you know it you're humming along - then singing along - then freestyling your own vocal remix of the lyrics to your favourite track.


The Sound of Arrows - Nova

Don't be fooled by the slightly 90s-looking start to this video. Nova is, as its name suggests, most definitely new. It's also the latest effort to come from Swedish duo The Sound of Arrows, who manage to combine electronic dance with an almost boy band sound. Nova's proper dance-floor fodder, which is a shame as it means the FX-filled video probably won't get seen as widely as it deserves.

Nova - Single - The Sound of Arrows

Speaking of dance-floor fillers, there's also a remix of Nova available, courtesy of Esben & The Witch. Check it out below and see which version you prefer.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Bachelorette - Bachelorette

Bachelorette is just a couple of weeks away - the release date for this one is May 16th. We've been lucky enough to have this one on our to-do list for a while now, and I've given it more than the obligatory listen-through, which is always a good sign.

I'm always a fan of a cohesive album, rather than just a thrown-together collection of different songs. I'm not actually sure whether it's true cohesion, or just Annabel Alpers' distinctive style that holds Bachelorette together, but there's a common thread that's definitely satisfying.

That level of consistency has the unusual effect of making Bachelorette sound quite a lot like the soundtrack to an independent movie. It's atmospheric and electronic, and would make the ideal backing to a montage. Stick it on your iPod and walk down the street, and you're halfway there.

Love Inks - E.S.P., out May 2nd

"You've got blackeye on your eye... you've got blackeye on your eye..." has to be one of the catchiest refrains of the spring so far. I've been singing it since we first previewed Love Inks' Blackeye back in January.

Now a few months have passed and it's time for the album, E.S.P., to hit Hell, Yes! records. Ahead of the May 2nd release date, Love Inks - vocalist Sherry LeBlanc, guitarist Adam Linnell and bassist Kevin Dehan - have released a video for Blackeye. If you didn't catch our preview at the start of the year, watch it below - but be warned, it'll stick in your head for ages.

Love Inks face a real test with the release of E.S.P. - Blackeye has been really well received, but the challenge will be to continue the catchiness without being accused of repetition - both within each song and across the full playlist. We'll be keeping an eye out for the response over the May Day weekend, and will keep you guys updated on how the album does.


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Elisabeth Sladen, 1946-2011

We don't really 'do' obituaries, but I'm a Doctor Who fan (as you may have noticed) and this week's excitement about the new series was cut sadly short by the death of Elisabeth Sladen, the Doctor's companion Sarah Jane Smith.

I wasn't even born when she was first in Doctor Who, back in 1973. In fact, the first time I can remember seeing her in the show would be her appearance with David Tennant, which really was not so long ago. But it's a tragic loss to two separate generations of fans - those who loved her in the 70s, and those who only came to know her through the recent appearances and her spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures.

So this weekend's series opener will be tinged with sadness - and presumedly some kind of on-screen tribute to Lis Sladen - and because I have a slightly loose grip on reality, I keep thinking "poor K-9".

Monday, 18 April 2011

George Michael - You and I

George Michael's gone slightly under the radar with this week's release of You and I, a cover of the Stevie Wonder song that he's recorded in honour of the upcoming marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Now, if you're still smarting from the agony of listening to his cover of True Faith for Comic Relief, don't worry. This time around it's more like a Disney theme than a glitchy, autotuned electronica overhaul of a much-loved tune. If you can bear to stare at Wills and Kate for nearly five minutes, have a listen below.

Even if that's too much to take, you can download the track for free at George Michael's website. All he asks in return is that you donate to The Prince William & Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund, the couple's alternative to a traditional wedding list that asks wellwishers to help out a worthy cause rather than buying them a toaster.

So, love it or hate it, this latest effort from George is again helping out needy charities - and I'm not going to criticise him for that. Make up your own minds on this one!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Trogons - Contina

Trogons' upcoming single Contina, out on April 25th, will have the audacious serial code XRAY001 as the first release on newly formed label X-Ray Recordings. On top of that, it's coming out in physical format as a limited-edition hand-numbered flexidisc. Combine that with its retrotastic catchiness and you've got a recipe that's hard to resist.

You'll have to choose, though, between the material delight of the two-track flexidisc version and the added artistic merit of the iTunes download bundle, which includes a third song. I've always been materialistic about these things, but the times, they are a-changing.

Pre-order now at Rough Trade

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Rumer - Goodbye Girl: Singles Round-Up

Rumer - Goodbye Girl
Bobble: Easily the best new song on this week's round-up, but that's not saying much. Rumer's a fine singer but Goodbye Girl sounds a little dated to me. Should still do well with all the promo work behind her.
» Rumer - Goodbye Girl on iTunes

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Songs for Japan

Songs for Japan is actually a fairly important release, by any standards. Ever since Band Aid, the music world has been closely associated with charitable causes - and particularly with a swift response to major disasters.

The events of recent weeks in northern Japan are a shocking reminder of how nature can change the face of a country in a matter of hours - and, in some cases, a matter of seconds. If you can't afford to just hand over cash to the relief effort, Songs for Japan is a perfect compromise. You get the instant benefit of a digitally downloaded album of great music, while also helping people who really, really need a helping hand right now.

Songs for Japan - Various Artists

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Mazes - Most Days: Singles Round-Up

Mazes - Most Days
Dan: Tantalisingly short of 2 minutes in length, Most Days is an absolutely joyful blast of punk-pop perfection from start to finish. A tribute to the carefree halcyon days of youth, complete with a brilliant animated video of skateboarding, tramp-pissing, drug-taking, and throwing up in the gutter, the only shame is that it isn't longer.
» Mazes on iTunes

Megamind, Harry Potter, The Tourist etc: April DVD & Blu-ray Round Up

April 4th

Megamind was a fun and frothy bit of comedy, that was a bit of a pleasant surprise when it came out in the cinemas. It benefits greatly from an impressive cast of voice actors headed by Will Ferrell, who is ably supported by Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross and Brad Pitt, who I always forget is a great comedy actor until I see (or in this case hear) him.

The central conceit of the film is that the eponymous Megamind (Ferrell) is a supervillain who has defeated his superhero Metro Man. After the initial glory of one of his fiendish plans finally working out for him, he finds that life isn't as much fun without a nemesis, so decides to create a new one. But then there's the other thing, despite seeing himself that way since childhood, Megamind isn't actually all that villainous at heart. So when his new 'Hero' Tighten (Titan, geddit?) turns into a threat to Metro City, he has to switch roles and play the hero for a change.