30 December 2013

30 December 2013 - Charli XCX - Take My Hand

This is most likely my last post of 2013.  So I chose to feature an artist that's been on this blog no less than four times already (including once with Icona Pop).  And each time, you've reacted with zeal - all of them have gotten you reading, and three of them rank among our ten biggest posts of all time - including the top two.

Charlotte Aitchison took four years to write, record and release what would be her fantastic debut album (and my pick for 2013 album of the year), True Romance.  She released singles from the album as she recorded them, and made videos for many of them.  This was the sixth (and final) video from that album, commissioned by Urban Outfitters and released in the wake of "I Love It (I Don't Care)" (a personal finalist for 2013 single of the year, by the way).  

That's right.  You didn't think Charli XCX was her real name, did you?  Supposedly, the XCX came from an early signoff fo from her MySpace/YouTube releases - the X's are kisses, and the C is, well, Charli.  And it stuck.

The more you know.

In my opinion, this is the poppiest song from the album - and even it's a little dark.  Some people have compared it to Madonna's "Holiday" in energy level and subject matter. I agree - and I think this is the beginning of something big.

You might notice, if you are familiar with her other videos - specifically "What I Like" - some of the same background actors in this one.  They're Charli's friends, people.  She's only JUST 21.  Let's not forget how young she is and how accomplished.... and let's admire the fact that she's taking her mates along for the ride.

This is a live show from Philadelphia, recorded June 2, 2013.  Let's all be clear - this is someone who has not been top-billed on any pop hits.  The Icona Pop song doesn't count - because, let's be honest, most of the time "feat. Charli XCX" is dropped from that description (even though she wrote the song - but I'm not bitter) - so this is someone who doesn't have any American pop hits.

And yet the crowd is singing along.

This isn't a fluke.  This is from the very next night in Brooklyn.  June 3rd.  Even more energetic singing.

My point - watch for more Charli XCX in 2014.  Her new album is expected to be released in June.  Her time is coming.  And you can gloat and say that you heard her first.

23 December 2013

23 December 2013 - Sky Ferreira - Everything is Embarassing

Let's take a trip back in time.... way back to 2012.  A Calvin Klein model started writing songs.  She even recorded some of them for a future album (which would come in 2013 and be great).  Material that didn't work for the album... she could release on EPs and as singles.

And that's what she did.   This dark gem, which would be her breakthrough, was part of that result.   

Just in case you thought I was kidding about her working on that album.... This is a Swan7/Newtown Radio production from 2012, when "Everything is Embarrassing" was a new song.  Note that the second song was the first single from her new album, which we featured previously, and which would not be released for another year.  So, enjoy this!

20 December 2013

20 December 2013 - Kanye West - Black Skinhead

Sure, he's full of himself, and we all know it.  I don't even think HE can believe all that hype.  And I really don't want to like Kanye West.

However, Yeezus is an amazing album - full of  raw emotion and compelling performance, combined with accompaniment not seen in hip hop. This was not only the first single, but also a Motorola commercial.

As a bonus, here is Ye's performance of this song from SNL.  As strong and powerful as it was on the album, he someone manages to outdo that when performing it live.  Say what you want about the man, but he has stage presence down pat!

19 December 2013

19 December 2013 - Kellie Pickler - The Man With The Bag

I'll admit it. Last year we went way overboard with the Christmas music here at Wicked Guilty Pleasures (I think we did one for every weekday in December). So when Tony asked me if we were going to do Christmas videos again this year, I suggested that maybe we just post a couple. I could tell he was relieved by my response.

Anyway, seeing that this is likely my last WGP post before Christmas (I should probably do that whole spend time with the family thing on Christmas Eve), here's the wonderful Kellie Pickler singing The Man With The Bag from this year's CMA Country Christmas. Enjoy, and have a safe and happy holidays!

18 December 2013

18 December 2013 - Phantogram - Don't Move

I was at a complete loss for what I was going to post today.  So I started going through my Spotify playlists.....

..... and I found this.  And I was just feeling it.  So here it is. It's a dark, hypnotic song.   By the way, their new album drops February 18th.

And here they are, performing this song two weeks ago.

17 December 2013

17 December 2013 - Ellie Goulding - Burn

I was listening to the pop station a couple days ago in my truck when this "new" song by Ellie Goulding played. I didn't remember hearing it off her debut album Lights or last year's Halcyon. Excited for new music by Ellie, I went online when I got home and found out that it's on a recently released expanded version of Halcyon called Halcyon Days. Of course it is. Well, I probably won't shell out the dough to re-purchase the album for 8 additional songs, but I'll likely buy the single. Mission partially accomplished record label marketing department.

16 December 2013

16 December 2013 - The Toadies - Possum Kingdom

Mid 90's alternative music was a different breed. It was straight-ahead rock music, with different pacing and subject matter.

Take this song, for example.  The Toadies were a rock band.  They still are, in fact.  This song, their biggest hit by far, started quiet and slow-paced, with a guitar and rhythm track ping-ponging back and forth between left and right balance.  It made for a very rich sound, despite the streaght-ahead rock instruments they used.

And the song is about a romance between possums.  Now THAT'S subject matter not visited since "Muskrat Love".

13 December 2013

13 December 2013 - Kacey Musgraves - Follow Your Arrow

Do not adjust your TV.  This isn't a Scott post.

Kacey Musgraves' album Same Trailer, Different Park was showing up on a lot of "Best-of-2013" year-end lists.  A lot of them - NPR, Rolling Stone, SPIN...... the list goes on.  So, I decided to check it out. 

Believe the hype. 

First of all, Kacey can sing.  She's got a smoky, genuine voice that works for country.  Second, and more important, her lyrics are not the typical subject matter you would expect from a country artist.  End to end, the album is interesting, every track pulling you in.

So, without further ado - 4-time Grammy nominee (including Best New Artist), and 2013 CMA winner for Best New Artist, Kacey Musgraves, with her latest single, an anthem for dancing to the beat of your own drum.

12 December 2013

12 December 2013 - The Band Perry - Don't Let Me Be Lonely

There's no guilt here. I really dig The Band Perry. Their self-titled debut was one of my favorite albums of 2010 and their latest, Pioneer, will likely be in my top 10 of 2014 based solely on its first two red-hot singles -- Better Dig Two and Done (Better Dig Two just might be one of my favorite songs of the year). Pioneer's third single, for the ballad Don't Let Me Be Lonely, is steadily climbing up the country charts. Here's the recently released video.

11 December 2013

11 December 2013 - Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rogers - Get Lucky

Pharrell Williams is having a good year as a guest star in 2013.  He's had two top 10 US hits, including today's feature hit - the other is "Blurred Lines", of course.  And both songs have a lot more in common than might be apparent on the surface. 

Both are clearly overtly sexual in nature, although they both approach their subject matter in different ways. 

Both are clearly derivative of classic artists from a previous era - "Blurred Lines" of Marvin Gaye, and "Get Lucky" of 70's super disco funk group Chic.  However, where Robin Thicke ran legally afoul of the Gaye estate, Daft Punk also recruited Nile Rogers, who was a member of Chic and the mastermind of their sound, thoroughly avoiding litigation.

And this song is funky and fun and an instant classic.  It would be a little out of place at Studio 54, because of the clear electronic slant of Daft Punk, but not terribly so out of place that Truman Capote would have to stop snorting blow.  In all seriousness, they have a lot of respect for the disco era, and it shows, clearly, in this song.

10 December 2013

10 December 2013 - Jesus Jones - Info Freako

OK. I'll admit it. There was a time back in high school (and a year or so in college) when I was into Jesus Jones. I even saw them in concert at the height of their popularity. This of course was years before Right Here, Right Now was WAY TOO over-played and the band themselves became an over-used punchline. Thankfully, Nickelback came along to steal that thunder. Anyway, here's the video for Jesus Jones' first single Info Freako. It may sound a bit dated in 2013, but in 1989 it was way ahead of its time with the buzzsaw guitars and electronic beats.

09 December 2013

9 December 2013 - LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out

Don't call it a comeback.

But, for reals, it was part of a comeback - more on that in a minute.  LL Cool J had dropped out of sight for years.  Gangsta rap was dominating the scene.  And LL was being dissed - DISSED - by other artists.    So, he did what any big hip hop star would do.

He whined to his grandma.

Who told him to "knock out" his critics and dissers.

So he wrote this and proceeded to dis Kool Moe Dee.  "How you like me now?!"

This was by no means LL Cool J's biggest hit - it actually was the single that preceded this one, "Around The Way Girl", which was the ACTUAL comeback - but it is one of his most bombastic and memorable songs. 

And yes, that's Grandma at the end, asking Tom to take out the garbage.

06 December 2013

6 December 2013 - Kitten - Like A Stranger

2014 will be the year for Kitten - really, Chloe Chaidez, the sole current member of the band.  Fresh off an opening stint with Charli XCX, here is their latest single.  It's a pop-rock L.A. sound, to be sure, a throwback to the 80's, but it's also fresh and new-sounding.  I urge you to check them out, and now.

05 December 2013

5 December 2013 - Nitzer Ebb - Hearts and Minds

I always liked Nitzer Ebb. Just abrasive enough to be cool, but melodic enough for the clubs. Not many electronic bands back in the 80s could say that. Here's the video for Hearts and Minds off their 1989 album Belief. They certainly don't make videos like this anymore. I'm not quite sure if that's a good thing or not.

04 December 2013

4 December 2013 - Tanya Donelly - Pretty Deep

After Belly, and before her career as a doula - I'm not joking about that, by the way - Tanya Donelly had a brief solo career.  It wasn't bad.  Enjoy her first single and biggest hit.

03 December 2013

3 December 2013 - Rachel Griffin - Over The Moon For You

Discovering new music is one of my favorite things about Twitter. One of the many simple rules I abide by is to always follow back musicians who follow me and then make an effort to check out their music (that last part sometimes takes a while, but I usually get around to it). My most recent "Twitter discovery," Rachel Griffin, is a fantastic singer/songwriter from Maine who now resides in New York City. She just released her first "official" video for the title track to her latest EP Over The Moon For You. When I first heard this song I was immediately reminded of the pop goodness of Kat Parsons (an artist who I discovered last year on Twitter and ended up making my Top 10 best of 2012 list). Will Rachel make my list for 2013? Only time will tell. I'm certainly enjoying the heck out of this song/video and plan on picking up the EP as soon as possible.

02 December 2013

2 December 2013 - Mala Rodríguez - 33

You know, American males do not have the market on angry cuss-filled hip-hop cornered. 

Mala Rodriguez is from Spain - Sevilla, in Andalucia, for those trying to identify the accent - and she's definitely not a male.  And those of you who understand Spanish know that she's using a LOT of swear words.  For those of you who don't understand a word she's saying - it's an angry, boastful song, with quite a bit of reference to having casual sex and talking an awful lot of mierda.

For the record, she's 34. I assume she was 33 when she wrote this.