Category Archives: Pop

Christine and The Queens feat. Dâm-Funk – Damn, dis-moi (2018)

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A day for something francophile, something for the World Cup semi…’Damn, dis-moi’ was released in May by French singer Christine and the Queens. It features American funk musician Dâm-Funk and a very transatlantic sound. As a nod to Prince, the English version was called ‘Girlfriend’.

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Matty – Clear (2018)

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The song ‘Clear’ is from Matty’s debut solo LP Déjàvu. The Toronto-based Matthew A. Tavares asks why to the backdrop of psychedelic synths.

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Let’s Eat Grandma – Donnie Darko (2018)

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It’s a slice of wonderfully weird pop from from the fabulous Let’s Eat Grandma. I saw them at Rough Trade East on Friday night with a pal. I was so impressed. ‘Donnie Darko’ closes out their album I’m All Ears.

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Roxy Music – Avalon (1982)

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If I want a mellow, sophisticated sound without entering the minefield of smooth jazz, Bryan Ferry’s my go-to artist. The title track off Roxy Music’s 1982 album Avalon is lush, synthesized and seductive – this was new romanticism par excellence and by one of the originators.

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Plain White T’s – Hey There Delilah (2006)

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Power popsters Plain White T’s were never particularly cool. But get frontman Tom Higgenson thinking about track star Delilah DiCrescenzo and there is something magical in the air. ‘Hey There Delilah’ was released in May 2006 as the third single from their third studio album All That We Needed.

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Janelle Monáe – I Like That (2018)

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I listened to a lot of Janelle Monáe on release of her 2010 album The ArchAndroid. I had been drawn in by the Outkast-inspired single ‘Tightrope’ that she produced with Big Boi. This year, I am pleased to see she’s back again with something bigger and more critically acclaimed. Dirty Computer features a roll call of diverse stars – Brian Wilson, Pharrell Williams, Grimes – reflecting Monáe’s appeal. ‘I Like It’ is a standout song from the album.

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Jordan Rakei – Hiding Place (2018)

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Recently signed to Ninja Tune, Jordan Rakei has battled his demons and written the album Wallflower. It’s an exploration into the world of an introverted soul singer, which is what makes his metamorphosis even more remarkable. Jordan was enjoying a cult following in his hometown of Brisbane when he upped sticks and circumnavigated the planet to London. He has since been able to collaborate with a roll call of London talent. It helps that his voice is smoother than butter and he borrows from D’Angelo and the type of reggae that Sting would enjoy. The album finishes with ‘Hiding Place’ and the title track.

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Kali Uchis feat. Tyler, The Creator, Bootsy Collins – After the Storm (2018)

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Kali Uchis has been a familiar voice alongside the likes of Miguel, Daniel Caesar and Snoop Dogg. Some of her celebrated friends have been returning the favour. ‘After the Storm’ features Tyler, The Creator and Bootsy Collins. The result is a type of spacey R&B jam that Kevin Parker might have created if he’d had anything to do with the production. Have a great weekend.

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U.S. Girls – Rosebud (2018)

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‘Rosebud’ is a single from U.S. Girls’ latest long player In a Poem Unlimited. Co-written by dance producer Richard Morel, the song is a welcome dancefloor notch for the ever-changing direction of Meghan Remy’s musical enterprise.

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MorMor – Heaven’s Only Wishful (2018)

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“I’m just a poor boy, waiting for answers”, sings Seth Nyquist, aka MorMor. He first emerged on the Toronto music scene a couple of years back and is now serving up synth-pop just the way I like it. ‘Heaven’s Only Wishful’ is hopefully just the first of many.

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Nilüfer Yanya – Thanks 4 Nothing (2018)

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London-based singer-songwriter Nilüfer Yanya makes her version of soul jazz sound so delightfully easy. Not as deep as Sade, more relevant than Norah Jones and less fragile than Macy Gray, her sound feels alive. ‘Thanks 4 Nothing’ is off her recent EP Do You Like Pain? Have a great weekend.
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L’Impératrice – Vanille Fraise (2015)

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Et maintenant, du pop français pour le weekend. L’Impératrice’s ‘Vanille Fraise’ is a summery mix of French Touch, filter disco and chillout. If that’s not nostalgic enough, the use of a single looped sample (from the opening of Anita Ward’s ‘Spoiled by Your Love’) is like sprinkles on top. Have a great weekend.

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Andy Shauf – The Magician (2016)

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Saskatchewan-born singer-songwriter Andy Shauf does not hide how much Elliott Smith has influenced him. But to me, he gives off a much sunnier disposition. “Do-do-do-do” as he says a lot in the opening track ‘The Magician’ off his 2016 album The Party; and all to the slightly psychedelic instrumentation of late-1960s pop. The Sgt. Pepper-style video can be no coincidence; there are other influences at work here.

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Beck – Where It’s At (1996)

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It was 1996 and Beck released ‘Where It’s At’ as the lead single off his recently pressed album, Odelay. The song had all the hallmarks of its producers, the Dust Brothers. The sample of Mantronix’s ‘Needle to the Groove’ (“we’ve got two turntables and a microphone”) had echoes of their previous work with the Beastie Boys. I liked it a lot. The album would quickly become a classic. Have a great week.

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Superorganism – It’s All Good (2017)

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Superorganism’s self-titled debut album is great fun. Orono, Harry, Emily, Tucan, Robert Strange, Ruby, B and Soul are quirky with a capital Q. What would you expect from a London-based collective hailing from Lancashire, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. ‘It’s All Good’.

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