This is what happens when three producers are allowed to look over a band’s shoulder. To describe the build of Coldplay’s new song “Paradise” as ‘formulaic’ is putting it mildly and politely. At the 35 second mark, the carefully measured introduction gives way to an urbanized synth bass line that functions as a supporting act for the sterilized and incredibly unimaginatively arranged strings. If any Coldplay devotees were disappointed by their previous single “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall”, they should count their blessings that it at least didn’t feel so very forced. “Paradise” is about a female who takes mental vacations, dreaming of para-para-paradise. What, you may ask, was making life so hard for her? “Life goes on, it gets so heavy / the wheel breaks the butterfly / every tear a waterfall.” Hey, now hold on just a minute there, guys!
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Earlier this year, PopMatters premiered Anika’s video for “I Go to Sleep” just as she set out on a number of Stateside DJ appearances. Now shes back to the States for a full tour in live performance mode. Her stops along both coasts include a visit to Toronto and a stop at this year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties event in Asbury Park, NJ.
To celebrate, we’re presenting a stream for her track “No One’s There” from her debut album along with a remix edit from Ratman and a bonus track “He Needs Me”. Check it out and catch her on tour soon.
During the heady days of the electro revival a few years back, Anita Blay—aka CocknBullKid—looked set to make her mark. I saw her in Sheffield in 2008, where she won over a fractious crowd with nervous charm and a distinctive brand of stomping, instantly catchy electro. An appearance on British music show Later… With Jools Holland happened at around the same time, along with several nods to her talent in end-of-year ‘ones to watch’ lists. Then - nothing.
Luckily for us, she’d gone nowhere. Taking time out to rethink her sound and sign to Moshi Moshi, she burst back on to the scene with an impressive debut album, Adulthood, in April this year. With her brutally honest, self-deprecating lyrics, quirky visual style and sense of fun, she’s a cut above the usual pop-electro hybrids. The video for single “One Eye Closed” says it all—brilliant and bonkers. Watch and love.
Like a cross between Vandaveer, the Decemberists and Sufjan Stevens, Brooklyn songwriter Argyle Johansen (a.k.a. John F. Wentz) hammers his way into your ears with the multi-layered textures from Inner Demo(n)s, his latest EP. Johansen argues that “a free man on earth ought to make his life worthwhile, and [my] music is an attempt at a means to that end.” Self-aggrandizing pretensions aside, the music’s actually quite solid. “You Try”, a live version of which you can hear in its entirety below, showcases his psychedelic folk sound in full force, a frenetic wheels-on-train-tracks percussive propulsion system atop which guitars, accordion and echoing vocals are layered. Fans of Vampire Weekend’s Contra will know the sound pretty well, and are likely to find plenty to enjoy here. Inner Demo(n)s has been available since 6 September, and though there hasn’t yet been a groundswell of mainstream acceptance, this is music which fits into the groove alongside the best of 2011’s folk-pop newcomers. You just haven’t heard it yet.
NOVI, aka Carolyne Neuman in real life, is an up-and-coming electro-pop artist originally from small town Oregon, but now based in the big city (Los Angeles). NOVI previously had a tune (“All the Way”) on the hit show One Tree Hill, which brought her some early visibility and now she is about to release her debut EP, Now I’m Here, this fall. “Blackbirds” is the lead-off single, which was mixed by Brian Malouf (Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince), who says, “When I first heard Novi’s music I was struck by the strong originality and the defining musicality. They are great and very original sounding songs and her voice soars! I love listening back to these tracks now—they really hold up.”