06 December, 2007

Chilled Tunes for Xmas

Exams, other writing commitments and a sheer lack of inspiration has meant that the popregister has been a little neglected over the past few weeks. Xmas is also a busy time for me, hitting up the USA West Coast hot spots, so updates will be scarce. So here's a nice one to keep ya going.

I've never really been a big fan of singer songwriters. I don't even know my Rufus Wainwright from my Willy Mason. To sound a little cliched, the whole solo acoustic/piano ballad is just a bit samey. There's only so much you can do with a voice and one of two instruments. That said, people like Patrick Wolf are really tearing up the genre, mixing electronica effects, multiple instruments and lots of editing. But there's a few artists proving that the down-to-the-bones recipe can still work. The following three maintain a simple sound but manage to stand apart. Expect big things from all of them in 2008.

Adele has the soulful tone of Amy Winehouse, the cockney twang of Kate Nash and choruses so powerful you'd think she was singing about the apocalypse. She's signed to XL records, home to popregister faves Cajun Dance Party and Jack Penate. Her first single "Hometown Glory" received a hearty amount of air time on BBC Radio 1 and her latest single "Chasing Pavements", released next month is likely to take the same route. Adele's sound is rooted in her voice. There's nothing wrong with her sound sonically, but the drums and piano or guitar really just provide the foundations for Adele to let rip with their careering vocals. She must have some hearty lungs because her voice is big.

[mp3] Adele - Chasing Pavements (link removed)
[mp3] Adele - Hometown Glory

Soko is the innocent girl down your street who actually isn't that sweet. With her French accent and playful acoustic guitar work she seems as pure as can be. But her songs are or of bitterness, revenge and even murder. There's a lot of depth to the little voice. Her tunes are wonderfully simple and poppy. You just want to look after her.

[mp3] Soko - It's Raining Outside
[mp3] Soko - I'll Kill Her

Lightspeed Champion is probably the oddest looking guy in the world. He doesn't do himself any favors with his Victorian Englishman dress and chunky framed glasses either. But appearance aside, his sound is quite refined. Simple acoustic scores, the odd violin and a bit of backing represent the Lightspeed construct. Think black version of Patrick Wolf, minus the electronica. I think his "Midnight Surprise" is the only song over 9 minutes to ever break into my top25 most played.

[mp3] Lightspeed Champion - The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine in)


I also have to say. The new Wu-Tang Record is immense. Have a listen.

[mp3] Wu-Tang Clan - Rushing Elephants