Tracks From Another Planet
Hey, everyone! Nick here from music blog extraordinaire [url= http://alienhits.blogspot.com/]#1 Hits from Another Planet[/url]. I’m thrilled to contribute some of my thoughts on fantastic music each month here at Independent Clauses Magazine. Since you’ll be poring over my thoughts in a moment (and clutching them dear to your heart, I trust), I figure I should let you know a bit about my musical tastes before going any further since it pretty much dictates the type of music that I’m likely to be drawn to.
I’m an enormous believer in the pure pop melody. I’m not talking about any of that lame teen/tween/whatever stuff that was all over the place a few years ago. No, a classic melody can be found in any genre of music. Unfortunately, these days you’re more likely to find it anywhere but America. Much of the music I post on my blog is international. I have an affinity for all things Scandinavian, and England and Australia have also been churning out some fantastic stuff lately.
I invite anybody reading to visit my blog. I offer daily music posts and more in-depth reviews like the ones below. Until then, enjoy October’s finds!
Tracks to check out:
(all can be sampled on[url= http://alienhits.blogspot.com/]#1 Hits From Another Planet[/url])
Dolly Daggers – “Never Ending”
Remember Eve 6? They had that “Heart in a Blender” song that was so freaking catchy during the late nineties. Well, Dolly Daggers are like a more interesting version of them, with more keyboards and definitely more make-up. “Never Ending” is catchy and memorable from the start, with a good old fashioned guitar solo and a lot of appropriate punkish attitude. Plus, they are from Sweden- and, as we should all know, Sweden is music’s holy land. The lead singer is bringing the Billy Idol bleached blonde style back and the song is one of the best I’ve heard in the past month.
Alphabeat – “Fascination”
Get ready for perhaps the most energetic, happiest song I’ve heard all year. Denmark’s Alphabeat have yet to release an actual album yet but if “Fascination” is anything to go by, when they do it’s gonna be massive. It all starts with an addictive, Pippettes-ish hand clap beat and then rolls along on a bed of playful girl/boy vocals until it hits the chorus, which is where it all blows into the stratosphere. Then the boogie guitar comes in…freaking epic. I am eagerly awaiting further work from this group, though they have already set the bar extremely high for themselves.
Cute Phase – “Just a Moment”
This new L.A. trio specializes in goth-tinged synth pop with a commercial edge. Sounding a bit like a combo of The Upper Room and Elkland, it’s a successful, catchy sound. “Just a Moment” was the song that jumped out most immediately to me upon listening to their material. It’s a mid-tempo, sweeping (yet simple) synth-drenched track with a really memorable hook. Perfect for these dark autumn nights.
Mani Sphinx – “Last Night in America”
Denmark’s Mani Spinx creates the kind of experimental rock/folk/pop that artists like Beck have made famous. “Last Night in America” is a brooding throwback with a fantastic melody that manages to be a sing-along even though the song’s quite dark. Plus, Spinx describes his music as “Beatles on crack.” What could be better, really? It’s artists like these the world needs!
Tracks from Another Planet:
Tracks to check out:
(all can be sampled on #1 Hits From Another Planet)
Performance – It’s Bad and It’s Just Begun
Performance is a ridiculously fun guy/girl group from England. They’re very new, and their influences are evident (think a synthpop Franz Ferdinand with some chirpy female vocals popping up sporadically – or an even better Matinee Club). This is not their single (that’d be the equally excellent “Short Sharp Shock”), but it’s a standout of their work so far. Opening with a sprinkling of synth that’s quickly joined by a shimmering dance beat, the song easily retains its momentum through its nearly four minutes, the best part being when the female backing comes in.
The Rinse – Naughty
I’m continually amazed. Just as the whole dance-rock genre should be getting old, I find another band that brings something new to the music. “Naughty” will draw comparisons to Maroon 5 and The Feeling with an added electro edge. In other words, it is unstoppably good. Frontman Will Bates has lived in both the UK and America, and the dual influence is felt in the band’s music. If you like this song, which you will, I encourage you to stop by their website and download the rest of them they have up for free. They’re all just as good.
Swedish for Beginners – This City Is Not for Me
If you’re not convinced by the rollicking classic rock-meets-electronic beat of this track, wait until the inescapable chorus. Like so many great rock/pop acts right now, it rekindles some magical energy from the past and twists it into something current. Swedish for Beginners (from Sweden, as if you hadn’t guessed) is primarily Johan Signert, who composes all of the music. Then he’s joined by up to eight people onstage for a true rock symphony. Sounds very cool.
Small Feral Token – A Girl’s Best Friend
Small Feral Token, in addition to having one of the stranger group names I’ve come across, are also eerily reminiscent at times of an electronically-backed Tori Amos split with (at times) Canada’s Tegan & Sara. The band consists of Lotta and Natalie, two young girls living in Stockholm. Their music is mostly downbeat in sound but very much alive lyrically. Best of all, like a few other bands from Sweden, their entire musical output is available for free on their website. Of the songs I’ve heard, “A Girl’s Best Friend” was the instant standout. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from the lyrics as to what exactly a girl’s best friend is. Hint: it’s not a rock.
– Nick James
Tracks From Another Planet: November
Digging myself out from a late November snowfall, I’ve got plenty of highlights from my #1 Hits From Another Planet home for you all this month. It’s been another great month for “unconventional conventional” pop and rock music and has (as always) given me hope that music hasn’t completely been obliterated by what I hear on the radio.
Speaking of… I’ve decided to stop scanning the Billboard charts with the hope that something interesting will pop up. This week (the last week of November), seven of the top ten singles are urban/hip-hop retread, while Hinder (return-of-rock-and-roll-my-ass) and the Fray/Snow Patrol with their Grey’s Anatomy sponsored singles round out this country’s choice (though that word is not altogether accurate in these Clear Channel times) top ten.
Am I the only one depressed by this? I can’t be. And, I hope I’m not.
Thank God for the internet. I now discover and buy the vast majority of my music over the web, assisted by countless bloggers and music fans like myself; people who know that there’s more out there than what we’re being fed. I urge you all, even if you only have a fleeting interest in music, to not only go out and discover the tunes that you love, but to share them with everyone you know. Really, it’s time for a music revolution here.
Tracks to check out:
(all can be sampled on #1 Hits From Another Planet)
Ella Rouge – “Eldorado High”
Ella Rouge are a new band from Sweden who seem to love the seventies. This is, of course, wonderful… as their music is carved from similar territory as England’s The Feeling. Lead singer Ludvig Andersson is the son of Abba’s Benny Anderson, but don’t expect the music to sound the same (though that definitely wouldn’t be a bad thing). “Eldorado High” (though strongly mimicking Robbie Williams’ “Jesus in a Camper Van” in the verses) is pure rock and roll nostalgia. With a soaring chorus and catchy piano refrain, it will linger with you for a long time.
Tally Hall – “Good Day”
“Good Day” is one of the most alive tracks I’ve heard in a long time. It would fit in no problem on Queen’s Night At The Opera. That’ll pretty much tell you all you need to know. Freddie Mercury would be proud, especially at the 2:20 mark, where the song completely changes in one of many stylistic shifts. At some times the singing actually sounds eerily like Mercury. Most importantly, it’s not like nothing else out there today, yet it’s a sound that I think a lot of bands are currently striving for. Insanely catchy and continually inventive…who knew music this good was still coming from the States?
Loto – “Cuckoo Plan” (ft. Peter Hook)
Loto come from Portugal and play a delicious blend of pop, rock and electro. “Cuckoo Plan” is the first single from their new album and features Peter Hook of New Order/Joy Division fame. The song itself sounds a lot like New Order, with a great beat and hook. Even more exciting, I hear their new album also features a track with guitar work by Scissor Sisters’ own Del Marquis! Any friend of Scissor Sisters is definitely a friend of mine. Plus, how many pop songs come out with “Cuckoo Plan” as the title? Not many, I’d guess.
Revl9n – “Walking Machine”
From only one look at Revl9n’s promo picture I knew I would love them. Despite occupying the all-but-dead electroclash genre, Revl9n bring fantastic pop smarts and a whole lot of attitude, which sets them easily apart from their peers. “Walking Machine” is an absolutely addictive confection. I’ve had it on repeat for a while now and I like it better with each listen. Couple an extremely catchy melody with a computer blip landscape that kind of sounds like Deep Forest on crack and you’ve got a major hit. If you like electropop groups like The Knife and Mylo (but with much more of a pop melody), I would especially recommend this group.