This Weeks Music Video with St. Vincent, Circa Waves, Ronya & Saint Agnes

Single Review and New Video – Ronya – Work Harder

Ronya is a British-Finnish artist described as alt-pop in her style and who is one of the leading prospects in her native Finland. Following on from her 2012 debut album The key is the Key she has since signed with independent Helsinki label Cocoa Music and has since unveiled singles such as ‘Flame’ in February and now ‘Work Harder'; a faithful piece of luscious and infectious 80’s pop with similarities to the likes of HAIM and Robyn. Speaking of the track she said that it’s a “reflection on my journey as an artist and an individual – but most importantly it’s a reminder to myself and to anyone working towards their goals and dreams: keep going no matter what – it’s only the beginning” The track certainly carries that optimistic message on a musical level too, with he light but purposeful vocal set around the neatly arranged riffs, synth chords, rumbling bass line and crisp percussion. This track is a seamless piece of stylish retro synth-pop that really sets a precedent for an upcoming second studio album next year.

Sunday Suggestion – Bat For Lashes – Daniel

Bat For Lashes or Natasha Khan has been a real driving force behind creative, innovative and darker pop music; taking away a lot of the stigma it had gathered after by the late 90’s and through into the 21st century. Her songs have always been known to have eerie or powerful feels and statements with lyrics that are far more captivating than a vast amount of ‘lazy’ pop music. ‘Daniel’ is a great example of it. From her 2009 album Two Suns, it is one of her most popular tracks from what was a year of great music. The track opens with wiry violins that evoke more natural and narrative tones that are offset by the snap of the electronic drum beat along with the lapping synths and guitars. Natasha’s vocals reverberate and echo around themselves in that wistful and airy fashion in the verses whilst having a slight peak of urgency and power which she can deliver with ease, but she just as easily lull the song back into it’s verses. The song is evocative of the lyrics of fear and needing someone there and this is enhanced further by her vocal performance. A pop song that has meaning and a profound reflection of a feeling or emotion, but still has that snapping rhythm and beat.

NEWS: Noel Gallagher attacks Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian and Bastille. Is there a problem with the music of our generation?

This man has had a lot to say today; he usually does, but today he attacked those who you wouldn’t think he’d go after. He claimed that bands such as Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian “are not inspiring more working class bands” and went on to say “can you name me the last great band that came out of this country? There’s not really been any great bands in the last 10 years.” He also goes on to explain the lack of pure musical talent and innovation in the charts including the success of the X Factor generation that we are, through the lack of inspiration produced by bands such as Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian and “Middle Class” music produced by them and artists such as Bastille. He also went on to say that “all those bands used to be in the Top Ten, like us, Manic, Pulp, The Verve, Suede and Blur” at the end of the 90’s have been “marginalised and side-lined”.

This certainly begs the question, Is there an obligation for these bands to inspire anyone or lead a generation. While this is always down to artistic choice, if you look at past British bands and artists you find the likes of The Clash, The Smiths, The Kinks, The Jam, Sex Pistols and of course the Britpop generation singing about life in Britain at that time and was to a lesser extent true for some of The Beatles catalogue albeit with a more globalised disenchantment replicated on the streets of the U.K at the time in calling for Peace and an end to the Vietnam war. British music has always thrived out of hardship and injustice, yet in a time of just that in the U.K no one seems to care. No one seems to be singing about it. Does this explain the lack of pure, refined and innovative music in the charts? Perhaps partly. It doesn’t automatically explain the lack of creativity and individuality in the mainstream of British music though. My problem is that the current situation these islands and the world finds itself in hasn’t produced any innovative or meaningful music in the U.K mainstream, whether they’re about these events or not, nor is past or current guitar music the answer nor even have to be the answer. For certain its James Dean Bradfield’s comments about “gap year musicians” that explains the situation better for me. The only certainty about Noel’s comments is that it will test the loyalties and biases of those in the NME office, but at least a high profile figure is asking questions; whether his reasons are correct or not, it’s about time a lot of mainstream British bands took a long hard look at themselves.

Single Review & FREE DOWNLOAD – Dum Dum Girls – On Christmas

One of California’s finest retro pop acts return with a free download this Christmas. It’s not much of a cheery, generic Christmas track, but more of a swooning and wistful track recorded by Dee Dee Penny in Brooklyn, New York. It’s a simple track lead by Penny’s slightly distorted and vocal residing just above the washed out, aged synth sounds and expansive, yet basic riffs. Not your traditional song for this time of year, but if you like your Christmases to come packaged in a late 1980’s pop theme, then this song will suit you.

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