Wednesday, January 11, 2012

MIXTAPE: In Homage To...with Florrie, Penguin Prison, Darren Hayes & Vanbot

One of my New Year's Resolutions, along with writing more period, is to be more invested in my little Blogger Community of Comrades, developed over the years through snarky @replies on Twitter and on blog posts as well as through friends of friends. This week's mixtape  highlights a few songs that I've started spinning completely ad naseum over the past few weeks, and it's all thanks to some folks I truly admire (and who should definitely grace your Bookmarks List). All of these were mentioned as among these blogger's faves for the Year of Our Pop 2011.

PENGUIN PRISON - "Don't F*ck With My Money"
Props To:
D'Luv @ ChartRigger
The artist Penguin Prison is actually one person -- Chris Glover -- who has been gaining momentum over the past few years for some truly ace remixes. I was already quite fond of his remixes of Ellie Goulding and Marina & The Diamonds. This led me to associate his moniker as a remixer only but boy, was I wrong (and when I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong). After his initial deal with Interscope went south, he signed up with the indie fabulousness that is Neon Gold here in NYC (which is also the US home to the two aforementioned ladies, amongst a myriad of others). He released his debut record, also titled Penguin Prison, last year, and my, is it listenable in a very wonky Mika meets Jamaroquai kind of way. "Don't F*ck With My Money" stands out for its sunny, 80's-esque bravado, coming complete with biting delivery...with a smile.
Other Notable Cuts: "A Funny Thing", "Something I'm Not", "Pinocchio" ...basically the entire record.

VANBOT - "Make Me, Break Me"
Props To:
Yuri @ Olga Loves Yuri
So here's something you should know about me. If someone who shares a similar musical taste to mine says there's an awesome pop artist out there who is 1) electro, 2) Swedish, 3) sounds somewhat similar to Robyn, I'm there. Period. No questions asked. In the case of Ms. Vanbot, that dalliance was extremely successful. The dark dance record that is her self-titled debut is somewhere between Body Talk!Robyn and Little Boots (especially in looks and choices of cover art). I was torn between highlighting the lyrical vision that is "Numb" or the more accessible "Make Me, Break Me" (and decided on the latter), but to be perfectly honest, my favorite from this record changes daily. With just over 11,000 hits on her "Make Me, Break Me" video, it's shame more people the world over aren't as aware of her awesomeness.
Other Notable Cuts: "Numb", "Ringing", "Bitter Is The Sweetest Part", "Bad Day (feat. Sebastian

DARREN HAYES - "Bloodstained Heart"
Props To:
Paul @ My Fizzy Pop
Confession Time. Me circa my middle school years, I was all about Savage Garden. To this day "To The Moon & Back" is one of my favorite songs of all time. Despite this (and the vast majority of my blog buddies suggestions), I've never really felt any desire to look into Darren Hays solo material. Until now. His fourth solo release, dubbed Secret Codes and Battleships, was released in October and is often noted for being his most commercial-accessible, which is perhaps why I fell in love at first listen. My entrance into the album came through "Bloodstained Heart" at Paul's suggestion, primarily used for promo in Australia. The song has a shimmering vulnerability to it that reminds me a lot of Savage Garden's A-Material, and that's a very good thing indeed. That and a lot of gorgeous falcetto (which is always a good thing).
Other Notable Cuts: "Talk Talk Talk", "Black Out the Sun" (originally written for Leona Lewis), "Cruel Cruel World", "Don't Give Up"

FLORRIE - "I Took A Little Something"
Props to:
Stephen @ XO's Middle Eight
Florrie is a little over a year younger than me, and already she has racked up a resume I'm beyond jealous of as a member of the Xenomania collective in the UK, playing drums for the legendary Girls Aloud amongst others. Thanks to her relation to the much revered Xenomania, her projects have gained a lot of hype around the blogosphere, and while the majority of her Introduction EP left me interested but not excited, her more recent EP, Experiments, did much more to stoke the fire. At the helm was "I Took A Little Something." Florrie is an interesting oddity to my words because she defies what I tend to classify as the "Xenomania Sound", but still sounds familiar in a good way. I will remain forever jealous of the UK's brand of witty dance-pop.
Other Notable Cuts: "Begging Me", "Speed of Light"

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