Tuesday, 21 May 2013

She & Him - Volume 3

Yes! It's finally time for She & Him's third album, Volume 3, to hit the stands, and it couldn't come soon enough for us here.

Actually, Volume 3 was released last week, but we've only just had chance to review it. But as ever, it was worth waiting for.

Virals - Wax-Work

Picking up the pace slightly from our previous post, Wax-Work is another free download, this time from Virals, AKA Shaun Hencher.

As you can see from the SoundCloud waveform below, it's a noisy affair, with plenty of guitar and cymbals, so get ready to adjust your treble if you're not a fan of the hi-hat.

Hencher just got back from appearances in the US, and is scheduled for Field Day in Victoria Park, London this weekend, with a pre-party appearance at The Shacklewell Arms on Friday.

As far as we can tell, Wax-Work has been made available pretty much for the hell of it - there's no immediate album release coming up, although once Field Day is out of the way, Hencher's planning to start working on a full-length release, which we'll bring you more details about as we receive them.

Red Velvet Band - I'm Fine

As you may have noticed over the past couple of years, we're pretty big Katie Waissel fans at Popsiculture, and like many Waissel Warriors, we're hanging on every snatched glimpse of what to expect from Red Velvet Band, when they finally get around to releasing an album.

I'm Fine probably isn't typical of what to expect - a heartfelt ballad written and recorded by Katie herself, it's a moving demo recording* free from gimmicks, and free to download via the Red Velvet Band SoundCloud page.

There's a sense of real emotion - and of real pain - underpinning I'm Fine, which anyone who's followed Katie's life in recent months won't find surprising.

Her voice, though, is as distinctive as ever, and her natural delivery of her own heart-rending vocals comes almost as a whisper, a shared secret, a burden not unburdened, but perhaps at least eased through music.

I've always adored Katie's ballads, and allowing for the fact that this is, after all, a one-woman demo track, I think it stands up there with her best efforts from the past.

Truth be told, some fans are likely to be happy with any song that carries Katie's voice - and although I count myself among them, I feel truly blessed for that to be the case.

As always, more from Red Velvet as it becomes available.

*UPDATE: Katie uploaded an updated version of the track for download via the SoundCloud page after we published this review, which brings the track up to studio quality and offers a much richer sound in general.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Small Black - Limits of Desire

New this week, Limits of Desire is the new album from Small Black, and it's not easy to find the words to describe it, but I'll try.

If, like me, you're a fan of expansive soundscapes of music, of soaring synth, haunting vocals and pulse-like beats, Limits of Desire will transport your mind to a place it's likely never been to before.

Even if you're not so hooked on electronic instruments and 'big sound', there's enough here to drown out the world around you, if only for a while.

Who are Small Black?

Small Black have a distinctly northern European sound, but actually come from Brooklyn. You may have heard them several times over the years, with a self-titled EP released in 2009, studio album New Chain released in 2010, and their free mixtape download Moon Killer made available in 2011.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Little Mix ft. Missy Elliott - How Ya Doin'?

Good god this is bad. I can't imagine why Missy Elliott would put her name to this, unless she's secretly Jesy's mum or something.

I'm not gonna lie - I don't like Little Mix. I don't like the way they were forced on to an impressionable young voting audience on The X Factor.

I don't like that Jesy is continually treated as if she's the only one that matters, like some kind of propaganda bundle who exists purely to disguise any flaws in the group's musical capabilities by making it all about 'girl power' (this is not 1995, and Little Mix are definitely not The Spice Girls).

And I really don't like the ADHD-style video for How Ya Doin'?, which seems to work on the assumption that as long as everything keeps moving, and fast, nobody will notice that the song is terrible.

Really, it is - take a look:

I'm appalled. Then again, I've been appalled by everything else I've ever heard Little Mix produce, so there's little surprise there.

Thanks go to Sarah Linney for pointing out that How Ya Doin'? is actually a cover version of Curiosity Killed the Cat's 1989 hit Name and Number, which reached number 14 in the UK.

If curiosity really did kill the cat, then it must be turning in its grave at this abomination of a cover version.

I stand by my initial reply to Sarah on Twitter, that How Ya Doin'? is an "abysmal clatterbash of unnecessary noise", while Little Mix are "about as 'street' as an aqueduct".

Mixers, if you really feel the need to defend your idols on this one, comments are open below - anything unnecessarily abusive will be removed, but I'm definitely open to debate.

Torture yourself, if you must, by buying How Ya Doin'? on iTunes:

Or click the button below to educate yourself and check out some more Curiosity Killed the Cat: