Monthly Archives: June 2011

Noisettes

Noisettes are an indie-rock group from London. My friend Monique first turned me on them not too long ago and we both looove them! The band originally formed in 1996 when the guitarist – Dan Smith – and singer – Shingai Soniwa were attending the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology in Croydon, both of whom had previously been in the band Sonarfly. The drummer – Jamie Morrison – was recruited by Smith after a performance on the UK TV show “Later…with Jools Holland”. Apparently the band quickly got quite the reputation as one London’s rowdiest acts.

Feedback about the band was largely positive right from the beginning. Entertainment Weekly placed the band on its November 2005 list of “Six Indie Brit Bands on the Cusp,” and said the band “sound[s] like high-drama, heavily syncopated swagger-and-sway rock, spearheaded by incandescent frontwoman Shingai Shoniwa.”

2 albums have been released so far: What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf? in 2007 and Wild Young Heart in 2009. I only have the latter and it is a CD that Monique and I constantly are listening to in the car when we adventure! It’s single “Don’t Upset the Rhythm” peaked #2 on the UK charts, and the album itself at #7. Essence magazine remarked that the album “has a 1960’s-tinged soulful rock sound that stays firmly etched in your mind.” I absolutely adore Shoniwa’s vocals! She is soulful, sassy, and powerful! And the energy on the entire album is just incredible. I don’t even think I could tell you which tracks are my favourite because the whole thing is so great!

They are currently working on a new album that is supposed to be released some time this year and I am super excited!!! Right now there are on tour (so wish I could see them!!!!) Check out their site: Noisettes I think “Never Forget You” is definitely one of Monique’s and my favourite tracks. “What you drinking? Rum or whiskey???”


Disintegration

The Cure’s Disintegration is another on my list of absolute top-5 favourite albums. I cannot even begin to express the profound affect this album has had on me. I remember one time I told one of my best friends Kelsey that she needed to hear this album. I put it on in her kitchen (we were eating something) and the CD player was on repeat. The next thing I knew we had gone through the album 3 and a half times. We didn’t speak to each other, we didn’t move. While I have a lot of CDs that I absolutely loooove, Disintigration is the only one to have such an affect on me physically. If ever I listen to this in the car (as I was today) I seem to get to my destination without really remember all of the journey. I just become completely absorbed in the music. It sounds completely stupid but I feel like I feel feelings I didn’t know I had when I listen to this album!!! (I feel so angsty!)


I don’t know exactly what it is. The music itself creates a very unique sound world, filled with vibrant sounds from the 80s and just perfect percussion. Robert Smith’s voice is incredibly haunting and trance inducing. And it may sound a little ridiculous but sometimes when I listen to Disintegration I feel like I never want to hear another album aside from it.

It was the 8th studio album of The Cure, and the band’s best selling to date. It marked a return for the group to a gloomy gothic rock they had established earlier on in the decade. The album was number 326 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (although for me it is much higher!!!)

Wikipedia describes the music on the album perfectly: “Disintegration is epitomised by a significant usage of synthesizers and keyboards, slow, “droning” guitar progressions and Smith’s introspective vocals. “Plainsong”, the album’s opener, “set the mood for Disintegration perfectly,” according to journalist Jeff Apter, by “unravelling ever so slowly in a shower of synths and guitars, before Smith steps up to the mic, uttering snatches of lyrics (‘I’m so cold’) as if he were reading from something as sacred as the Dead Sea Scroll.” Smith felt the song was a perfect opener for the record, describing it as “very lush, very orchestral”. The album’s third track, “Closedown”, contains layers of keyboard texture complemented with a slow, gloomy guitar line. The track was written by Smith as a means to list his physical and artistic shortcomings. Despite the dark mood present throughout Disintegration, “Lovesong” was an upbeat track that became a hit in the United States. Ned Raggett of Allmusic noted the difference from other songs: “the Simon Gallup/ Boris Williams rhythm section create a tight, serviceable dance groove, while Smith and Porl Thompson add further guitar fills and filigrees as well, adding just enough extra bite to the song. Smith himself delivers the lyric softly, with gentle passion.”

The lyrics are incredible, the music is other worldly and I just can’t describe how into this album I get as I’m listening to it. I love every second of this album and songs like “Pictures of You”, “Lovesong”, and “Disintigration” are just unreal.

And who doesn’t adore “Friday I’m In Love”? It comes on almost every night on the radio when I go to sleep and I get so happy everytime I hear it. I was in Bed Bath & Beyond a few weeks ago with two of my best friends when it came on the radio and we were all like, “wow, I really love this song.”


Vanilla Ninja

Vanilla Ninja is an Estonian girl band which has been pretty popular in many European countries. They are particularly popular in central Europe. The group has also entered to represent their country in Eurovision both in 2003 and 2007 but failed to do so. They did however represent Switzerland in 2005 with their song “Cool Vibes” and finished 8th in the contest that year. They are so popular in Estonia that they have a brand of ice cream and kohuke named after them.

Vanilla Ninja has had four albums in various countries across Europe (all topping the charts at #1 in their native Estonia!): Vanilla Ninja was released in 2003, Traces of Sadness in 2004, and Blue Tattoo in 2005. The group’s fourth album, Love is War, was released in May 2006. The band was originally a four-piece group consisting of Maarja Kivi, Lenna Kuurmaa, Katrin Siska and Piret Järvis. Maarja Kivi left the group in 2004 and was replaced by Triinu Kivilaan. In December 2005 she also left the group to start a solo career and finish school, and the band have decided to continue as a three-piece act.

“Tough Enough” was released as a single in 2003-2004 in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and helped launch their career in German speaking Europe:

Vanilla Ninja‘s  site (Estonian)


Zaho

One thing that happens from time to time when I have so much music is that I forget about artists who are great. But I do love the feeling of rediscovering something wonderful! This happened to me today when I was browsing my music and played Zaho. Zaho is an Algerian R&B singer who lives in Quebec. With my love of French R&B you can imagine how exciting it is to find something new (even if I already had it!!) Her only album so far, Dima was released in 2008. It peaked #20 on the French charts, and it had 5 singles.”C’est Chelou” was the second single from her debut album:

“La Roue Tourne” was the third single from the album and features Tunisiano

Zaho has also been featured in many French songs, including the French version of Sean Paul’s “Hold My Hand”.  The album has some great tracks, and just reinforces my love of French R&B. She has a great voice and I just love her songs! You should definitely youtube more of her videos! “Hey Papi!” is the first single from Dima:

Zaho‘s website =)


Yoav

Yoav is a singer-songwriter of Israeli-Romanian descent who was raised in South Africa.  Since Yoav’s critically acclaimed debut album, Charmed and Strange (2008) he has had many sold-out headline shows in Canada, the U.S., and Europe. While on a North American tour with Tori Amos saw Yoav sold almost 9,000 discs off stage in just 3 months. He’s had a #1 song in Russia, where he also received a special RAMP award (Rock Alternative Music Prize) in recognition of his achievements. After only one radio session in Denmark Charmed and Strange climbed to number one on that country’s iTunes album chart within 24 hours.

The music of Charmed and Strange is very chill, and could even fall into the category of trip-hop. Some of my favourtie tracks are “Club Thing”, “Beautiful Lie”, and “”Yeah, The End” – the latter two being singles of the album. Many of the tracks feature him on the acoustic guitar, which he uses to mimic a lot of electronic dance sounds and they are wonderfully blended with electronic elements as well. It’s a really neat effect that I definitely haven’t seen too much before. Check out the site: Yoav


Najoua Belyzel

Najoua Belyzel is a French pop rock/electronic singer. I remember I found her song “Comme Toi” a while back and absolutely had to have it! I couldn’t find the song anywhere on the Internet so it was the first CD I had to import! She has had two CDs to date: Entre deux mondes (2006 – which is the one I bought), and Au fémininEntre deux mondes peaked at #7 on the French charts. Her biggest single has been “Gabriel” (also from Entre deux mondes) which peaked #3 on the French charts and #1 in Quebec and Belgium.

I wish I knew more about her but you can check out her website:  Najoua Belyzel (en Francais). I haven’t been able to get a hold of her second album yet, but j’adore Entre deux mondes! The music is just fun and you know I love some fun dancy electronica! I think her voice is perfect for the style she is going for =) Another great French pop artist!


Linda Lampenius

Linda Lampenius (also known as Linda Brava) is a Finnish violinist, who has released classical and classical-fusion albums. Lampenius started violin at an early age and became a soloist for Helsinki Strings (one of the best youth-orchestras in the world) at age 7, and performed as soloist for the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Finland at 11. She studied at the Sibelius Academy in Finland from 1985-1997. Linda plays on a 1781 Gagliano violin, worth around €200,000, and with it she has played for many heads of states and royal family members, including the president of Finland, Prince of Monaco, and the royal family of Sweden. She has also played numerous benefit concerts around the world.

But what really brought Linda to my attention was her debut pop album, Linda Lampenius, which was all classical-fusion. Classical-fusion is probably my favourite genre of music, so I’m always hunting for new artists who play in this style, and that’s what led me to Linda. The violin playing is obviously exquisite, but I love how many of the tracks have fun dance beats behind them. And of course what electric-violinist has not played a remix of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue? – a great show of classical technique and fun!

Brava has also enjoyed a career as a model. Over the years she has in many magazines, including Café, Elle, Esquire, GQ, Hello!, Maxim and Playboy; as well as some minor roles in Finnish/Swedish movies and television.  Check out her website: Linda Lampenius


The Sound of Dubstep

The Ministry of Sound London (MoS) is a nightclub in London and an associated record company. In 2010 it was ranked 6th in DJ Magazine top 100 clubs poll. There is also a club based in Malaysia and in Egypt. The London club was an idea that came from DJ Justin Berkmann who wanted a club that was devoted to the American House Music scene of New York City and Detroit. Sound first, lights second, design third. The club held the UK’s first 24-hour dance license.

The record label has released many dance collections of music, and I first happened to grab one of these, Chilled 1991-2008 when I was stuck in Heathrow airport in London overnight on my way back from Barcelona. I’ve recently been delving deep into dubstep again and I happened upon the Ministry’s 2 2-disc collections of The Sound of Dubstep. They are absolutely great collections. Most of the songs are good dubstep remixes of popular songs, though I often prefer dubstep that is a little dirtier. But I highly recommend listening to these collections if you are one who is into dubstep!

Here’s a dubstep remix of Audio Bullys’  “Only Man” from the collection.


Bass Down Low

So I’m at the gym the other night, when this song comes on. Even though its been out for a while yet, I haven’t heard it (I only listen to the radio at night when I sleep and its on an “alternative” station) and my friend Tervel remarks that even though he hates this song, it would probably be amazing with some serious bass. So I come home, find this video and crank my sub-woofer. All I can say is this song and this video is soooo stank. It has definitely become my stank jam. That being the said, I hope anyone who sees this video is inspired to develop their stank selves. ‘Cause this is real.