Favourite Song: Middle Kids ‘Your Love’ – oh, uncertainty

The Middle Kids are from Sydney Australia and are led by Hannah Joy and Tim Fitz. Tagging along, and because a band without a drummer is a band without someone to blame when someone farts on the tour bus, is Harry Day.

The band’s style is somehow inspired of a slightly melancholic country edge but without the twang. In fact, there is an 80s pop clarity that obviously caught my ear immediately and is the reason why their song “Your Love” ended up on this blog. I love that stuff.

I’d like to mention that this band’s use of vocals/backing vocals on record is fantastic (all, I suspect, sung and recorded by Hannah Joy on the EP). That voice is lovely because it can be incredibly tender but also could kick your ass if Hannah would want to.

Apparently, their song “Edge of Town” got quite a bit attention through radio and on Spotify. And it’s a lovely song but “Your Love” has this beautiful effortlessness, this lightness in its sound mingling with melancholy that reminds me of the late Tom Petty (also: the guitars). I also love it when country manages to sneak into indie and pop music because it usually turns out beautifully.

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On the Spot: This is the kit – lovely, warm, soft

These are hard times, people. They are rewarding times but it’s still stressful wondering what kind of horrible news will pile up on your timeline this week. Who of your faves is only slightly problematic and who is outright horrible? And everyone is having their list of good guys they hope will not turn into turds. It’s a hell of a time to live in.

Add daylight savings time to that and seasonal rain and grey skies and we all need something lovely to pick us up.

This is the Kit – an indie outfit from Bristol, helmed by Kate Stables and their new album “Moonshine Freeze” is exactly that. This album is beyond gorgeous. Apparently, Guy Garvey once dedicated a radio hour on This is the Kit and that makes all the sense because this band has this lovely attention to detail, soft flowing rhythm and genre-defying symbiosis of musical influences, use of instruments and Stables’ lovely voice. I also want to add, that this album has some absolutely amazing guitar/banjo work by Stables. Very subtle, nothing shredding through the air but just intricate picking that lightly taps at your window. That’s some expert playing, I tell you that.

Listening to the opener “Bullet Proof” is like entering a secret, magical garden. It’s the kind of warmth and beauty that we might need if we want to escape the harsh reality for a while. It’s an embrace, it’s a light.

Quickie: Jamila Woods “HEAVN”: love yourself, be yourself, love this woman

My boyfriend plays Jamila ca. 2000 times each week. He is obsessed with her music and because I am always grateful when he’s not playing pale Swedish jazz ladies or nostalgic rap tracks, I immediately was caught by this absolute lightness that Jamila has in her voice and her music.

With lightness I mean the actual feeling of floating in the clouds (not down here with red balloons, mind). Jamila’s voice alone is enough to just relax into a puddle of bliss but she also writes fantastic lyrics about empowerment and her own identity as a black woman AND she has moments of musical genius in pretty much every song.

This video is so great and that chorus will stay with you forever!

The album was released back in 2016 but is available in Germany since August this year, so excuse me for coming late to the party.

 

Pop Goes: Miley Cyrus ‘younger now’ album review – oh, what could have been …

Ok, so I felt like I should do this because I made such a big whoopy about “Younger Now” the single. So I listened to Miley Cyrus’ new album and I like it but I also have to say that it’s no “Lemonade”. But then again, there’s hardly any pop album by a major artist out there that had such an impressive tracklist and concept like “Lemonade”. I am talking about the big names like Lady Gaga, Adele, Katy Perry, etc. I own a few of their albums but I listened to pretty much all of them and there’s just something different to albums like Jamila Wood’s “HEAVN” and, in comparison, “21” (which I own and love, don’t get me wrong). I don’t know why but somehow the tracklisting usually contains some songs that just aren’t that strong or redundant and put the singles on a pedestal. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s lesser known singer/songwriters out there whose albums don’t require any skip-button at all. But with pop albums, there’s always a few songs I can live without.

Lemonade“, for me, was one of the first really big pop albums that managed to be an amazing listen without the need to skip a song (even though “Sandcastles” comes close).

(the voice is a little shaky at the beginning but I am constantly surprised how well Miley Cyrus does live – no backing singers trying to cover up her weak voice … I also really want that romper)

Ok, back to “Younger Now”. I think the first half of the album is stronger than the second. That might be because it’s all the singles plus the duet with Cyrus’ godmother and queen of country Dolly Parton. It also might be because the first songs all have an individual vibe whereas the latter tend to blend into each other now and then, interrupted by the occasional gem.

That’s a bummer because Miley has a voice that is unique and fantastic and can sing circles around some other dames, on record AND live. But somehow, the songwriting doesn’t always make use of it. With the exception of “Younger Now” and “Week without you” (which I love, even though it’s not necessarily fresh sounding), the country songs are better than the pop songs because you gotta have a voice to sing good country and Miley has it. She has a twang and personality and that translates well with heartbreak and yearning (staples of the good ole music of country).

(This song actually grew on me. I was a little disappointed because it felt like such a flashback to her Montana-days but it’s actually a lovely little road song)

“Miss you so much” is lovely, as is “She’s not him”. Along the way, though, I feel like the love songs overtake the album and somehow betray the album title and titular song. I really wanted other themes than the whole “Love you boo”-shtick because “Younger Now” is a great concept if it would have led to more songs in the like.

As a former child star and Disney darling turned femme fatale chaotic turned songwriter Miley has more to talk about than her relationship. “Younger Now” (the song) does exactly that. I wonder what would have happened, had the album tried to get more into the theme of change, reinvention and trying to come to terms with who you were and who you are now (and who you might be in the future). That’s such a rich well to draw from and it feels like a lost opportunity that in the end it’s just not as prominent a theme. Especially, since “Younger Now” (the single) also uses this theme musically (and in the music video). Gosh, I get a little sad thinking about the Miley Cyrus album that could have been.

I still like the album and might even buy it as the one big pop album I buy each year (2016 – Lemonade; 2015 – 21) but damn, I expect more because I know that there is more. Maybe next time.

Favorite Song: BC Camplight ‘You should’ve gone to school’ – beach boys for depressed people

Admit it, you love it when I dig out songs and bands who you know about since years just because I am so behind and don’t read Pitchfork reviews.

BC Camplight released his third album in 2015 with the cheery title “How to die in the North” with Bella Union. BC, also known as Brian Christinzio, has been making music since 2002 but hey, I am a busy lady and the internet doesn’t make it easier because it’s simply too much things to choose from.

Anyways, the song “you should’ve gone to school” is an amazingly throwback ditty with a weird Beach Boys vibe that now and then slips into the early 80s but only just so. His use of harmonies is lovely and he works with the slightly melancholic vibe of 60s pop music (songs like “Life isn’t anybody’s fault” have a lovely nod towards “Nights in White Satin” with freaky guitar-scream-interruptions). In another world, BC might have sang a beautiful duet with George Michaels at some point but alas, this is the world we live in and we have to deal with never hearing this match made in heaven.

BC’s lyrics are generally rather … dire which fits the music. My song of choice for this entry starts with a weird mention of monsters in Mexico, which totally reminds me of this indie horror movie that – now that I think of it – fits perfectly with this song and the album in general (but that’s just my opinion which is worth, like, an apple and an egg nothing).

Underrated: Joan Armatrading “Me Myself I” – 80s pop deluxe

So, I recently went to a hipster record store that had huge heaps of records for 5€ and I saw this cover of a beautiful black woman dressed to the 9s and thought: why not buy this and surprise myself later on, discover something new?

The first and titular song “Me Myself I” is the most amazing 80s pop song. This album was released 1980, so it’s not just amazing 80s pop but an 80s pop song that was way ahead quite a few other artists of that time.

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Favourite Songs: Sammus “Mighty Morphing” – that’s a rap!

Right now, Sammus might be the most fun rapper out there. Her music videos are creative low budget gems full of humor, charisma and lovely ideas. Her song “Mighty Morphing” hunts me down every single day because it’s so damn catchy.

Love the “Ironic”-reference in the style of the video but also the song itself. Rapping about how no one needs to be a certain thing to market themselves but can be everything is one of those things that sound so simple but are hardly communicated in pop songs.

Sammus is also one of the few rappers that do gaming themed songs. A thousand mushrooms for that!

You think this is a one-off? Nope, she’s REALLY into gaming. It’s fantastic. I mean, nerdy gamer girls get hardly any representation in Hip Hop, so this is like the holy grail.