Carmen Smith presents buzz track ‘Polaroid’

The name rings a bell, you say. Well, you’d probably recognise this wild-haired siren as Guy Sebastian‘s star backing vocalist who got dismissed from The Voice Australia after she bagged a prominent feature role on his single ‘Gold’, which was strategically launched just as the show transcended into its public voting heat.

Given how cut throat the competition got week by week, it’s hard to say how Carmen Smith would’ve fared if she remained anyway. But the good news is that, she’s now making the most of her exposure with a new buzz track and official single to follow next month.

‘Polaroid’ is a deeply personal, organic acoustic track Carmen wrote after her father passed away, which you can grab as a free download from her website.

Watch Carmen perform ‘Polaroid’:



What’s been interesting about this process of poking around her website and Soundcloud page is that I have fallen like a lumbering bear cub into a trap loosely covered with leaves, which we shall for the purpose of this exercise call Carmen Smith, her rather delightful 2007 debut album.

I reckon if this is all new to you then it makes sense to do a bit of homework on who Carmen is, because her potential wasn’t completely realised on The Voice. If this confident fusion of soul and blues she’s been peddling is a signifier of what’s to come, then I think the girl is set to ‘wow’ a lot of people.

Footnotes:

Stay tuned for Carmen Smith‘s new single, which will be out end of August.

Wynter Gordon “Human Condition: Pt. 1 Doleo” EP review

Nobody ever says it to my face but I’m sure among friends I am often quietly referred to as the Wynter Whisperer. My manic love, appreciation and unwavering support for the New York-born singer/songwriter has earned me the much coveted status of premier Wynter Gordon stan in Australia*.

However, I have to admit that even in my infinite faith, I wasn’t sure if Wynter’s experimental departure from dance pop would be something I can handle. I was worried that there might be some throat singing and communicating with whales a la Björk’s Medúlla. To exacerbate my reasons for concern, I had heard some dodgy live recording of Gordon performing the then-unnamed project’s lead single ‘Stimela’ months ago and I immediately furrowed my brows.

The great news about Human Condition: Pt. 1 Doleo – and, in fact, ‘Stimela’ too – is that this is the beginning of what’s possibly the most exciting anthology pop music gazers will experience this year.

The ‘Dirty Talk’ singer is wisely expanding her musical identity and fan base by setting off on an independently-released, four-part series of free download EPs titled Human Condition – all of which will explore a different emotion.

Part one – Doleo – propels her fans to a new soundscape, traversing organic musical textures and honest lyrical landmarks that complements the tone set by ‘Still Getting Younger’ and ‘Back to You’, two personal tracks on her debut LP With The Music I Die.

The word “doleo” means pain in Latin and that should really be your first hint of the kinda “well of inspiration” Gordon will be drawing from.

The project’s key track ‘Stimela’ marries atmospheric synths with crisp African percussion that resonate well with its passionate chorus, sung in Zulu. The track stems from Hugh Masekela‘s anti-apartheid song of the same name and it is absolutely bewitching to the ears right from the very first listen.

I distinctly recall downloading the track the day before I flew out to London and I literally had it on repeat for three hours straight in jaw-dropping awe of Gordon’s vocal performance and ability to immerse herself in a genre that seemed so distant from the kind she made her name with.

Watch the stunning video for ‘Stimela’, which was directed by Wynter herself:



Doleo also unveils some spectacular essences of vintage Phil Collins, Kate Bush and even a little Red Hot Chilli Peppers – again, do a double take if you were just guzzling alcopop to her stroblit hit ‘Dirty Talk’. You can definitely trace the journey Wynter has been on in these compositions, especially noting that she’s now touring with a live band and has likewise grown into a different kind of artist and performer.

There are no rose coloured glasses worn on this record. The 26-year old singer packs a fuck load of brutal honesty on tracks like ‘Kids’, a song about someone she grew up admiring who lost his way and gave up on himself. “I learned to forgive, let go of the pain. But you’re holding on, holding on to the past. You give guilt trips like no other, left your kids without a mother. You know, you used to be my hero…”

Elsewhere, there are explorations of past guilts on ‘Bad Thing’. Here Wynter re-sets the scene over a layer of distortion and 8-bit drums, “It was July when I made a commitment, I was your world and then I got distant. I put up my fences, I said my goodbyes. I left you with questions, not many answers. I did a bad thing.”

However, it’s not all wall-to-wall raw confessional downtempos. There’s the uplifting ‘Waiting’, Wynter’s doe-eyed ode to clinging on a relationship that was built on time. Frankly, this track deserves a video and one that’s possibly some kind of sequel to ‘Still Getting Younger’?

Doleo expresses the breadth of Wynter’s songwriting abilities in a way we haven’t seen before. I believe Diana [I’ve actually never called her by her real name because that would be weird, like if she were to call me by mine] had always written songs in vastly different genres, only it was closeted from the world in a bid to fashion her into pop star.

Wynter has created a separate Soundcloud account and mini-website for this side project to distance herself from her official major label pop repertoire. In fact, her official website still flogs her With The Music I Die EP and the home page doesn’t feature any links to download Doleo, which kinda makes it look rather redundant right now.

Our girl still very much has her deal with Atlantic/Warner Music Australia, but the way I see it, this is a genius way to expand her fan base and honour her creative itch without spending her major label coupons.

I suppose when the time is right, she’ll utilise their resources to put out a commercial album or single, but this side project that’s happening right here right now is completely relevant and essential in building Wynter Gordon up as a vital artist for many more years to come.

Passion, depth, authenticity and growth – these, to me, feel like the cornerstones of why Doleo and the rest of the Human Condition EPs should be on your watch list. Regardless of where you’ve stepped in from, whether it was Wynter’s early R&B demos of ‘Surveillance’ and ‘What is Love?’ or through the sparkly pop portal of With The Music I Die, this talented young woman’s evolving artistry is just perking up to wildly exciting times.

I am incredibly optimistic about this new direction – just like I would with anything that honours an artist’s creativity and carries their heart. I do believe with this newfound liberation and brazen audacity, the best is still to come with Wynter Gordon.

Listen to Wynter’s Human Condition: Pt. 1 Doleo in full here:



Footnotes:

Grab your free download of the Doleo EP. The second Human Condition EP – Furor – will be out end of August and will feature an uptempo titled ‘TKO’. Brace yourselves.

* = If you care to challenge this fact, happy to discuss.

Misha B “Why Hello World” Mixtape Review

“Einstein. Einstein! I’m lookin’ for that Einstein.” Well stupid hoes, search no further because Britain’s most exciting, upcoming fresh professor is now ready to school you right.

Misha B was without question the most bright and promising young talent to emerge out of last year’s UK X Factor series. However, after a series of ill-advised song choices, the fierce child lost her way and voters kinda stopped believing.

The most important thing for Misha to get right now is that original British hip hop and soul swag she was dealing from the start – that’s where her fan base is at, patiently waiting. I’m pleased to say, children, that our prayers have been answered and the heavens damn well parted when we heard the girl’s debut mixtape Why Hello World.

“Why Hello World’ has become a catchphrase synonymous with the teen star ever since she used it to open her rap in ‘Rolling In The Deep’. The mixtape features cuts and covers of some artists that have inspired Misha, including her winning take on said Adele hit, and some originals she’s been cooking up in the studio.


The 15-minute mixtape menu reads:

1 – Why Hello World Misha B Intro
2 – Misha B – Big Dreaming
3 – Weeknd feat. Drake – Crew Love (Can’t You See Refix)
4 – TLC – Unpretty Original / Misha B Cover (Cut)
5 – Beyoncé – Run the World (Stylus Refix)
6 – Misha B – Last Forever
7 – Misha B – Home Run
8 – Adele – Rolling in the Deep (Classic Hip Hop Blend)/Misha B Cover
9 – Usher – Climax
10 – Lil Wayne feat. Bruno Mars – Mirror Original / Misha B Cover
11 – Outro

As much as we enjoy swerving and grooving to the familiar hits, what y’all really came for is to inspect Misha‘s originals and check where she’s headed musically.

‘Big Dreaming’ really needs to be her first single or, at least, a buzz single. The earnest and autobiographical hip hop track gives the world a proper introduction to Misha Bryan and her musical influences. The style is so remarkably reminiscent of early Estelle at her finest. I can sleep sound tonight knowing that this child is gonna do great things if this is the kind of music she’ll present to the world.

‘Last Forever’ is a completely different shine altogether. Here we have some summery island pop beats mixed with handclaps and house pianos, which is perfect for radios and UK music festivals in June. Following that, we got ‘Home Run’ pitching us a sassy, synth-driven dance pop with finger snaps which sounds like the kinda hit Rihanna would’ve sold her soul for circa A Girl Like Me.

What an utterly satisfying introductory mixtape. Child, shine on. Shine. On.

Footnotes:

Misha B‘s Why Hello World mixtape is up for free download. Go ahead and treat yo’ self.

Leak Report: Taryn Manning ‘Turn It Up’

The fierce kitty from the Boomkat klan is back with more ear candy.

Taryn Manning is gearing up to release her debut solo album later this year and here to fanfare the procession is the petulant first single from the fold: ‘Turn It Up’.

The track is reportedly produced by Michael Linney and DJ Ivan Corraliza (aka Ill Factor) – who have both worked with the likes of Ke$ha, Jason DeRulo and Roisin Murphy.

‘Turn It Up’ certainly harks back to the lo-fi underground sonics that made Boomkat‘s debut so defining. It’s very Taryn and it’s very much tailored to her scene.

Take a listen here and tell us what chu think:


 

Feed Limmy verdict: Bounce snap.

Mighty snap = this is a hit.
Bounce snap = instantly likeable.
Lightbulb snap = you will need a moment to get into this.
Nonchalant snap = need I say more?
No snap = please cease and decease.

Taryn is also on the cover of this month’s Playboy Music Issue – why do Elle‘s version and compete with Gwen Stefani when you could have this? – discussing her whirlpool of creative projects from her music and DJ gigs through to film projects.

Footnotes:

Grab your free download of ‘Turn It Up’ from Taryn’s website.

Junior Boys “It’s All True” Album Details and Tracklisting

I might not look it when I’m stomping around the house to Rupaul remixes but I really do dig Junior Boys music.

The Canadian indie electro band is stepping back with a brand new album – It’s All True – and it’s shaping up to be a bold affair.

Parts of the album were written and recorded in Shanghai, and we’re told that tracks like ‘Itchy Fingers’ sports an “exotic middle eight” featuring local musicians. 

But on the whole, It’s All True is said to be a very sonically varied collection of choons – going from sparse minimalistic electronica (‘Playtime’) through to pop stompers (‘You’ll Improve Me’ and ‘A Truly Happy Ending’) and finally finishing on a nine-minute epic (‘Banana Ripple’ – which serves as the LP’s first single).

The intriguing artwork is actually a snap taken by Jeremy Greenspan’s sister of the UK Pavilion in Shanghai. And with that, it almost immediately gives the record a more abstract and complex flavour.

We’ll just have to wait and hear, I guess.

In the meantime, check on the official album tracklisting here:

1 – Itchy Fingers
2 – Playtime
3 – You’ll Improve Me
4 – A Truly Happy Ending
5 – The Reservoir
6 – Second Chance
7 – Kick The Can
8 – ep
9 – Banana Ripple

Footnotes:

Junior Boys‘ It’s All True will be released in Australia on 17 June. ‘Banana Ripple’ will precede the LP release featuring remixes courtesy of The Field and Tom Moulton.

Grab your free download of the new album track ‘ep’ here via Domino.

Leak Report: M.I.A. ‘Zig Zag’

What’s the situation with M.I.A. these days?

After redeeming herself with the recent Vicki Leekx mixtape, I think it’s quite alright for us to put aside hard feelings we may have about Maya and start giving M.I.A. music a fair go again.

Here just skirting the edges of the interwebs is a track reportedly left off the rapper’s last studio album. ‘Zig Zag’ is what you might accept as hip swishing M.I.A. music with wobbly synths and more importantly, an interpolation of New Kids On The Block‘s classic ‘You’ve Got It (The Right Stuff)’.

Take a listen and do a wiggle if it pleases your pelvic region:


 

Feed Limmy verdict: Bounce snap.

Mighty snap = this is a hit.
Bounce snap = instantly likeable.
Lightbulb snap = you will need a moment to get into this.
Nonchalant snap = need I say more?
No snap = please cease and decease.

Footnotes:

Grab a free download of M.I.A.‘s ‘Internet Connection (Flux Pavilion Remix)’.

This mix has kinda taken over the internetz as a beast in its own right, I reckon. The original version was released as the fifth and final single from her Maya album in January.

 

The Strokes ‘Under The Cover of Darkness’ Single Details

They’re ready to let you have it.

American rockers The Strokes are back with their new single ‘Under The Cover of Darkness’. You can stream the track and download it for free over the next 48 hours from their website.

‘Under The Cover of Darkness’ is the first offering from the band’s forthcoming Angles album and critics/fans are steady throwing fits, hailing it as a return to form.

Footnotes:

‘Under The Cover of Darkness’ has been sent to Aussie radios today. The track is up for digital release on 15 February and the album is out in Australia on 18 March.