there’s always more with autoKratz…

Some bands make it seem too easy.  autoKratz are one of those bands.  The London duo has been making waves and making friends in the electronic/dance circuit in the last couple of years which has resulted in a deal with the Kitsune label and a major buzz. One listen to a song like Always More and it’s really not hard to see why. Minimal electronic dance pop at its finest. Everything is clean, everything is crystal. A tried and true dance progression and the lead…the lead…the not-quite dissonant lead. I just need to say how much I love the lead. For me, it makes the song. Add in the smooth vocals by singer/guitarist David Cox and you’ve got yourself a brilliant dance-pop track.

Their debut record Animal is out 3 March here in the States. Let’s hope they come out here for some shows because rumour has it, the duo absolutely kill it live.

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“Always More” by autoKratz, from the forthcoming Kitsune release, “Animal”

something is most definitely NOT rotten in denmark…

“You’re undercover
My secret lover
You’re what I need
My bullet’s in the gun”

With everyone having 80s fever these days, you knew it was only a matter of time before we would start hearing the return of the 80s urban sound to the fold. What wasn’t expected was that it would come from a certain trio from Denmark of all places? With a sound that brings to mind the blue-eyed soul of Scritti Politti and an ultra-slick video replete with beautiful video that would make George Michael stand and applaud, May I bring you Private!

My Secret Lover was originally released in 2007 through the Swedish label, Labrador and was given heaps of praise throughout Scandinavia. The band was also being championed by esteemed blogger, Arjan Writes for what seemed like forever. It seemed the band either couldn’t get the proper backing or the greater public simply wasn’t ready for this Danish band but luckily it appears they’ve gotten a new lease on life. The band is ready to give the second chance this time with the help of Relentless/Virgin and hopefully My Secret Lover will find the audience it truly deserves.

It’s a hard song not to fall heads over heels for.  Perfect for clubs where you sit at booths to ogle and be ogled at. It’s pretty much the kind of song that Green Gartside of Scritti Politti would have sounded great singing himself with a kick in the pants and an even slicker sound backing him. These guys are good…

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“My Secret Lover” by Private.

on a lazy sunday, look into the clouds…

Just a lazy, rainy Sunday here in Brooklyn… While I’m bored, I figured I’d try to brighten the day a little  bit for myself and share it with you. Here’s a recent single from The Sound Of Arrows called Into The Clouds.  Just further proof that no one uses the arpeggiator quite like the Swedes. Enjoy…

these new puritans ain’t your daddy’s pop music…

Look, I won’t lie to you. This is the new single We Want War by These New Puritans, taken from their forthcoming second record called Hidden out 18 January 2010 via Angular/Domino. The song is about seven and a half minutes long. If your attention span is the size of a pebble than I doubt you made it very far through the video. It’s a shame because the song is actually very good when you listen to it, not as a pop song, but as an actual piece of music.

Yeah, I know. Billy! This is a pop music blog. I come here for poptastic tune-age and not to be subjected to a music lecture. Music is to be enjoyed and not studied. Yes, I get that but every once in a while, it’s nice to get the navel-gazing going and listen to a track that shows depth and tries to push the boundaries of modern music.  We Want War makes a valiant attempt to do just that.  TNPS, to me, have always sounded like a band who took their cues from the likes of Cabaret Voltaire but flipped the script by adding hip-hop percussion to reveal a potential Massive Attack influence in there somewhere. To me, it’s all good and very different from what we’ve been hearing these days.

Booming drums with what sounds like a dance-hall prgression, meancing synths and chanted vocals courtesy of Jack Barnett that almost remind of Karl Hyde from Underworld intersperse throughout.  A symphony is in here somewhere just looking for room to breathe amidst the cacophony until 3.41 when we are treated to a chorus of angelic female voices to add a very interesting counterpoint.  All in all, it works and serves to illustrate the imagination the band seems to have in spades.  Me likey.

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“We Want War” by These New Puritans. Taken from the forthcoming Angular/Domino release “Hidden”

the kinder, gentler kelis…

“Before you,
My whole life was acapella!
Now a symphony’s
The only song to sing
Before you,
My whole life was acapella!
Now a symphony’s
The only song to sing”


When we last saw Kelis, she was involved in a highly publicised divorce from her husband, the influential New York hip-hop icon, Nas. Two middling and transparent attempts to bother the pop charts in her native US and we find our heroine come to her senses and return to the margins where she seemed to draw his musical strength from and in turn present her best work. Her best work being found on her first two records, 1999’s Kaleidoscope and 2001’s Wanderland.

2010 will bring with it the arrival of a revived Kelis. A new label (Will.I.Am Music Group/Geffen), a new lease on the single life and now a new single. A very pretty and thumping single entitled Acapella. The song, produced by techno DJ/producer extraordinaire David Guetta, finds Kelis extolling the virtues that motherhood has brought to her life. Behind the pulsating drums and the minimalist synths, Kelis sings with such joy and contentment in a way I don’t think I’ve ever heard from her before.

It’s quite possible neither this single nor anything else off her forthcoming record will reach the charts quite like Milkshake or Bossy did but it’s good to see an artist back where she belongs and doing her thing. Welcome back, Ms. Rogers.

Kelis on MySpace
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“Acapella” by Kelis. Taken from the forthcoming Will.I.Am Music/Geffen release

all that’s left for you is doubt…

Not long ago, I featured a purely ferocious band out of Manchester called Delphic and their single Counterpoint with its beautiful arpeggios, bleeps and blips. It’s great to see that they’ve been getting a lot of attention recently. They’ve scored a pretty sweet gig as openers for fellow Mancunians, Doves, on their UK tour and now comes a brand spankin new single simply called Doubt.

Doubt is Delphic’s signature pop moment to date. Booming drums, an absolutely ridiculous bassline and a bangin’ chorus. One listen and you’d think you just heard a New Order track with a more melodic Kele Okereke from Bloc Party on vocals. The promotional film accompanying the single also further demonstrates Delphic’s run of striking videos. This is a band that truly understands the importance of the entire package. Sparkling electronic pop coupled with videos that are worth watching is quite the combination.

These guys are going places…

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“Doubt” by Delphic. Taken from the forthcoming Polydor release, “Acolyte”

omg! omd’s back…

With all the brilliance of the new electronic pop bands coming to the fore and the second wind we’ve seen this year by the likes of Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys, the time is right for another giant to return to the fold. Yes, friends, let’s rejoice for the band known as Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark is back! I don’t think it’s necessary to go through the band’s voluminous CV. You know the songs, you know the hits. Electricity. Enola Gay. Tesla Girls. If You Leave. The list goes on and on and on. The band had a run like very few of their contemporaries did in the eighties and even after the band splintered towards the end of the decade with singer/bassist Andy McCluskey carrying the torch for a few more records and adding a few more hits to the OMD canon before ending it for good.

Here we are thirteen years from the last release, 1996’s Universal, to discover the news of a new record The History of Modern will soon be upon us in the new year.  With this news comes a bit of a tease for fans ol and hopefully new. It’s a demo of what may very well be the new single called Sister Marie Says. Upon the first couple of listens, the song begins with a choral sample before opening wide into yummy electro-pop. Very reminiscent of OMD circa Sugar Tax/Liberator. Welcome back Andy and Paul!



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“Sister Marie Says” by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, taken from the forthcoming release, “The History Of Modern”