Saturday, September 07, 2013

MIXTAPE: VV Brown, Annie, Ariana, FBR, ZZ Ward & More...

What's currently cookin' on the ol' Melismatic Radio? I'm glad you hypothetically asked...
ANNIE - "Invisible"
Norwegian dance-popster Annie finally bridged the gap of her absence since 2009's Don't Stop with the stellar, 80's synth-inspired The A&R EP in late July. All five cuts are utterly fantastic and my favorite changes with the hour. Currently it's the downright Kylie Minogue-esque in "Invisible".

ARIANA GRANDE - "Honeymoon Avenue"
This album cut from Ariana's stellar debut, released this past week, is the perfect example of how well she pulls off this new school female crooner mindset and stands apart in a league of her own. Threads of "Honeymoon Avenue" are obviously 60's-based but the vast majority is grounded in 2013. I have my fingers crossed so hard for her -- it's highly possible she could be our new vocal go-to in a sea of AutoTuned female popstars (not hating, just saying).
VV BROWN - "The Apple"
We all were waiting for things to break wide open for British avant-garde soloist VV Brown after the lovely "Shark In The Water" back in 2009. With her second official release, VV did a total 180 and when single "Samson" finally surfaced back in May, we were all kind of left shaking our heads at her dark sound. "The Apple", released a few weeks back during the Gaga/Katy chart debate, calms all fears. It's still dark, but dark in a smokey-dance-club-at-midnight-with-a-discoball-spinning kind of way.

YYZ - "Lost In the Mix"
If you find yourself missing Robyn like I do, give "Lost In The Mix" a spin. Her vocals are incredibly reminiscent and it's got a hard, driving beat.
CIARA - "Overdose"
I know all the jokes about Ms. Ciara -- I might have even said a few myself. But "Overdose" is no joke. It's a straight up pop jam, released as a mere album track (blasphemy!) from her most recent album, Ciara, released back in July. She needs to send this to the clubs, stat. This is a genuine hit waiting to happen, so long as she's willing to give up this R&-wanna-B flygirl shtick.

CHER LLOYD - "I Wish" (feat. T.I.)
I never expected to be Team Cher Lloyd when we were first handed "Swagger Jagger" back in 2011, and yet here I am. Her latest, "I Wish", is a punchy little pop gem -- a little bit of a retread of "Want U Back", but more polished and with horns. It still has its cringy bits ("wish I woke up with a butt and a rack" in the chorus...uck), but overall, it's hard to diss it.
EMINEM - "Bezerk"
I could keep spinning this for the samples alone (Beastie Boys, Billy Squiers). It seems to be a return to the Eminem of old -- how I grew up remembering him. While I do prefer his more emotional pieces, "Bezerk" has glimmers of the silly-but-you-still-sing-it-anyway Em. Fitting, since it's the first single from the upcoming The Marshall Mathers LP 2, a sequel to his breakthrough debut. Produced by Rick Rubin, as well.
GOODIE MOB  - "Special Education (feat. Janelle Monae)"
Goodie Mob's latest album in Age Against The Machine (get it?) reminds me quite a bit of when the Black Eyed Peas were innovative and exciting mixed with the Gorillaz. It's all over the board -- dancey, quirky, cartoonish, a little bit off the wall. It also has Cee-Lo's now iconic, Cheshire Cat-like vocals running all through it. First single "Special Education" adds do-no-wrong Janelle Monae to the mix. Album cuts "Vallelujah" and disco jam "Ghost of Gloria Goodchild" are also worth some listening to.

ELLIE GOULDING - "You, My Everything"
Ellie's re-release of Halcyon (as Halcyon Days) is a worthy effort indeed -- the new tracks could easily stand on their own as a new EP and they are all beautiful. New single "Burn" was co-written with Ryan Tedder and Brent Kutzle of OneRepublic along with long-time collaborator Greg Kurstin (P!NK, Kelly Clarkson, Lily Allen). Other co-writes of the new material include "Goodness Gracious" with Nate Reuss of fun. and "Under Control" with Bonnie McKee.  "You, My Everything" is my favorite of the new cuts, co-written with Eg White (Duffy's "Warwick Avenue", Adele's "Chasing Pavements). It it's Ellie to her core -- shimmery, punchy, electronic background with a soulful delivery.

BASTILLE - "These Streets"
I've really warmed up to British pop/rock troupe Bastille. Their solid debut album, Bad Blood, finally hit shelves Stateside and it makes me very happy. It's hard to trump the hooky, anthematic "Pompeii", but "These Streets" is fun little ditty, if only for its xylophone-y bits alone.
ZZ WARD - "Put The Gun Down"
I'm a bit late to the ZZ party. Go with me on this -- imagine a country-fried, bluesy Adele, as if she joined the troupe over at Little Big Town and was hanging out with KT Tunstall near her "Black Horse and A Cherry Tree". ZZ (it's short for Zsuzsanna and if you don't think that is a fabulous name, you are LYING) has got herself a big voice and despite being country down to her core, she's got an ear for hooks that can really sink themselves into you deep. She's signed to Hollywood and is represented by pop gem extraordinaire Kidd Bogart. Her debut disc, Till the Casket Drops was released back in October (!) and features Kendrick Lamar amongst others. The fab "Put The Gun Down" was a bonafide hit on AAA (Adult Album Alternative) Radio. This could be something huge.

FRENCH HORN REBELLION - "Dancing Out (feat. Jody Watley & Young Empires)"
I'll be honest. Anything with Jody Watley's name attached to it (Best New Artist at the Grammy's the year I was born -- 1987), I'm gonna listen to it ("Looking For A New Love", anyone?). French Horn Rebellion (another epic name) are another one of those now dime-a-dozen intrinsically hipster electro groups but "Dancing Out" is so downright 80's that a featured tag with anyone but Jody Watley would feel inauthentic. Seriously. It's time travel back to the 80's that needs to be heard to be believed.

JOJO - "Anything (2013 Remix) (feat. Casey Veggies)"
As we sit tight and continue to wait for album #3, JoJo continues to be kind and drop along crumbs to us. She re-recorded her last major label single release -- the Toto's "Africa"-sampling "Anything" -- with a fresh rap by Casey Veggies, and it's available for free download so get on that ish.
ICONA POP - "In The Stars (Galaxy Mix)"
I lot of the material from my favorite Swedish twosome is starting to sound the same at this point but the sameness is all awesome, so I won't fault it. "In The Stars" breaks from the mold a little bit -- a little more ethereal and less petulant. It's is a great outro for summer. Enough said.

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