We all know you’re out there. Those cynics amongst us who approach the dreaded February 14th with a mixture of apathy and disgust. After all, it is a poorly disguised capitalist construction designed to tide over the greetings card industry between the twin peaks of Christmas and Easter. True too that it is more romantic to show your loved one that they really are ‘the one’ on any other day of the year when a spontaneous and unexpected romantic gesture might actually be…well…spontaneous and unexpected. Meanwhile the evening spent awkwardly chewing food in a restaurant infested with doe-eyed couples re-enacting Disney’s Lady & The Tramp with their Spaghetti whilst giggling childishly or crying hysterically would certainly not be as unpleasant on any other day of the year.
OK OK, we get it. You hate Valentines. But chill out, it’s not all bad. Here at LSRadio we spent the fourteenth day of the second month of the year with out favourite new infatuations (as well as a few ugly ducklings). So as the roses slowly disintegrate, the chocolates quickly disappear and the greetings cards are carefully placed in a box under your bed, ease yourself back into the real world with a healthy dose of whats hot and whats colder than a misjudged romantic gesture in new music this week…
Single of the Week
M83 // Midnight City
Midnight City is the lead track from M83’s 2011 Album and by God is it a statement of intent. Constructed out of pitched up yelps and siren synth string lines it begins as a howling mess of excitement before dropping into the low and dark voice of Anthony Gonzalez, who’s low key intonation presents an excellent counterpoint to the excitement of its main refrain. Then just as you think it’s slipped away into another chilled out electro song it breaks once more into the excitable mess of synth. It’s a wonderful piece of electro to dance away to; it’s filled with a kind of joy lacking in so many other supposed dancefloor fillers. The fact that it features a saxophone towards the end can only serve to show just how much fun M83 is having with the track, he throws everything into it and it works. (by Louis Van Kleef)
The Shins // Simple Song
The Shins are one of those bands that it’s easy to forget about. It’s been a good four years since their last offering and a whole 16 years since the band first formed, long enough for many bands to form, split, reform then split again with time spare for some bad tabloid press and a youtube viral in between. Still, it’s hard to hold that against Mercer and co when they come back with a single as charming as ‘Simple Song’. Sitting somewhere between Supergrass, classic Elbow and something altogether more theatrical, this track is a-wash with rising harmonies, powerful falsetto and twee piano hooks. Its not exactly groundbreaking. There’s no dubstep drop or guest rap from Azaelia Banks but thats not why we love these pop-rock stalwarts. Simple Song is exactly what it says on the tin, simple, unpretentious, indie rock. Makes a change eh? (by Chris Chadwick)
Scissor Sisters vs. Krystal Pepsy // Shady Love
Believe it or not it’s been nearly 6 years since Jake Shears, Ana Matronic, Baby Daddy and co got their only UK No.1 single (and their last UK top ten) with I Don’t Feel Like Dancing. Bringing it back to 2012, the flamboyant American pop group are back with the help of little known female lyricist-Krystal Pepsy, or as she’s otherwise known, Azealia Banks… ring a bell? Shady Love has everything that we have missed from the Scissor Sisters in recent years -cheeky charisma and endless energy. Tongue twisting rap may be a new direction but It is the chorus that Shears releases the typical ‘Scissor Sisters’ sing along exuberance. Not to mention the choice use of pantomime overdubs for the explicit lyrics. Scissir Sisters are back. Pop just got fun again. (by Rob Dewis)
Lost Prophets // Better Off Dead
Better Off Dead’ is surely a phrase now more than familiar to Lost Prophets front man Ian Watkins. The difficulties the band have had in penning this, their fifth studio offering, have been well documented in interviews and insider pages with whole albums scrapped, producers sacked and band relations undoubtedly strained. It’s no wonder then, that with an album entitled ‘Weapons’, the Welsh rockers have come out fighting with theIR first single. ‘Better Off Dead’ is a return to form for a band that seem to have struggled with a crisis of identity of late. Sounding more in line with debut album ‘The Fake Sound of Progress’ than the more conservative pop-rock they’ve churned out since, this is aggressive drums, raucous vocals and relentless guitar riffs. It’s desperate, clawing and oh so catchy. Despite its formidable sound its difficult to digest. Perhaps its because of the time and toll its taken to produce this record but ‘Better Off Dead’ falls short of feeling authentic. Audiences will want to believe this kind of music has fallen fully formed out of a garage, thrashed out by angry men with big ideas such that the reality that it was carefully crafted over several years and much thought by a band who have consistently tried to reinvent themselves is disappointing and disheartening. Lost Prophets may be back and fighting but only time will tell if it’s for a ‘lost’ cause. (by Chris Chadwick
Lana Del Rey // Born To Die
Under her given name, Lizzy Grant was unheard of. Reinvented under the moniker of Lana Del Rey and all traces of Grant erased, Del Rey is the topic of much controversy. It’s no secret that critics are pulling Del Rey apart as we speak and probably rightly so. Big things were expected from her following the early release of singles Video Games and Blue Jeans but her single Born To Die is a disappointment. As much as most people loathe jumping on the bandwagon, you can’t help but feel simply unimpressed after listening to this single. For a song that titles her recently released album, Born To Die was expected to be something magnificent and it fell short of those expectations.
The first minute and a half of the song is pretty captivating, filled with deep dark sounds, definitive beats and Del Rey’s signature murmur. This first ninety seconds seem to promise an atmospheric and enchanting song. But no, it reverts back to quiet, repetitive and somewhat boring for the next four minutes. Born To Die is on the brink of being something musically beautiful but it’s not quite hitting the spot.
Putting a finger on which genre this song fits into is a tough one. Del Rey begins on a classical note, moving to pop through to a combination of violins with trance-esque sounds floating around in the background, all of course accompanied by her male backing singer who crops up occasionally. But hey, maybe that’s the point. Maybe we aren’t supposed to be able to put our thumb on what sound Born To Die actually is. For some, that may add to the mystery of Del Rey but this side of the pond – just frustration. This single feels as though it could be something huge and it just isn’t. One cannot help but feel sheer dissatisfaction with Del Rey’s efforts this time around. (by Leanne Cook)
King Charles // Love Blood
King of Odd Indie, King Charles, is back with a bang. ‘Love Blood’ is a crunchy nuggest of sunshine pop complete with calypso rhythms and euphoric melodies. In places, the shimmering guitar and backing vocals on this track have more in common with reggae than with the ‘indie’ clique into which King Charles is often awkwardly packaged. It’s hardly suprising from a new artist who consistently defies expectations and refuses to be consistent, conservative and let’s face it…boring. Looks like the doctor has ordered a healthy dose of ‘Love Blood’ as a cure for those cold February blues. (by Chris Chadwick)
Caomhe // Untitled EP
Caomhe’s delicate form of acoustic music is refreshing and relaxing which makes the 5-track EP a success especially for an upcoming artist. First track, Second Best has a refreshing beat and rhythm accompanied by soft, emotive lyrics evoking positive emotions in the listener. The artists use of guitar with the backup instruments added colour to the EP which was a little bit on the sorrowful side. I had a doubt about her vocal prowess but my concerns were relieved on track 4, Streetlights where her voice is not drowned out by her magnificent, yet sometimes overpowering guitar trickery. The final track was a little bit risqué with the use of a touch of drums in the instrumental but it worked well overall. The EP was great overall, if a little on the sorrowful side. With a more positive outlook reflected in her lyrics this talented songstresses has real star potential. (by Akin Ogunsanya)