Earlier I declared my love for Jamie Cullum’s album ‘Catching Tales’. The sweet calmness of the sound can still get me to shut up and listen. Signs were that for his fifth album ‘Momentum’, Cullum was quite done with being ‘that jazzy guy with the piano’. The collaboration with Roots Manuva wasn’t overwhelming, but certainly showed another side of Jamie Cullum. This Monday, ‘Momentum’ was finally released. I’m not sure yet how many sides of Jamie we’re hearing.
The album starts of with pop. Everything You Didn’t Do and Edge of Something show some serious pop song quality, but don’t manage to catch my attention. When I Get Famous does, as a brass section is pulled out and Jamie Cullum’s got more swing than ever. Sadly enough, the momentum’s immediately lost by the following track Love For $ale, which is dark and slow. After that, Jamie reverts to his old recognizable jazz flavors, with outliers to pop song sounds we’ve heard too many of. With 15 tracks in total, Cullum seems to be lost in quantity. Every time the album starts establishing itself in a certain sound, it moves to another. Which is sad with a wonderful artist as Cullum: it could’ve been so much more.
Sometimes you discover artists that have been around for ages and you feel stupid for not having found out about them earlier. This happened to me with Michael Jackson. No, I’m kidding. But it happened to me with Lightning Dust today and by what I’ve heard so far it’s too bad I hadn’t found out earlier. On the other hand, I have lots of new music to listen to now. The song that made me discover Lightning Dust, a side-project of rock group Black Mountain, is Diamond, for which they released the video today, and I must say it’s my favourite song by the band up until now.
I find it hard to describe Lightning Dust’s music without getting into clichés with words like dreamy, soft-focus, new-wave, and I must say those are the words that describe their music best. So why not? Diamond is a 70’s inspired soft-pop tune that sounds like a more sweet and warm version of Beach House, with beautiful repeating synth riffs accompanied by simple drums and most importantly: Amber Webber’s beautiful vocals. The video is as good as the song is, with three women suddenly doing a synchronized swimming routine in a public pool: using art to overcome the regular.
London Grammar are often hailed as ‘the new xx’. I can imagine why people compare London Grammar with The xx, but there are as many differences as similarities. It’s probably the production that reminds people of The xx in a certain way; the guitar- and bass play show similarity, especially in Wasting My Young Years. One of the main differences though is the kind of classical sound London Grammar breathes. Actually,it is this classical and velvet sound that distinguish London Grammar from all the other upcoming artists.
Hannah Reid – the band’s singer – has a delicate but vulnerable singing voice; she sounds like she is a really schooled singer, and her higher tones touches the sound of opera. This singing is both a blessing and a curse; I can imagine that people really can’t stand this kind of singing in pop music. To me this singing is precisely the thing music desires; it needs distinctiveness and dare. Now their video for Wasting My Young Years appeared, and its stunning. It perfectly fits the music’s atmosphere; vulnerable, intangible and heavily loaded. It looks like a modern, 21st century tableau vivant without gravity.
Hooray, the Daft Punk album has leaked. Now it won’t take too long before everybody stops talking about it and we just go on as normal and write about new music, instead of getting hyped for weeks for an album that now can only disappoint. One of the new musics (no, music has no plural, I know) I was talking about is this one: Warm Water by BANKS, a song that has me feeling like warm water does during spring’s cold days. As said a thousand times before on this blog, to me, talented singers need futuristic producers and not some inhouse guy at the bigger labels. Luckily BANKS and the team behind the LA-based singer understood that the most interesting songs would come when she’d work with interesting and talented producers like Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.
As said the result of this collaboration is something brilliant, like a match made in heaven: TEED’s soothing and warm production topped by BANKS’s lush vocals that literally feel like being whispered in your ear. A combination that I hope will result in more material than just this one track, though I believe that both have the potential to stand out on their own too.
Sivu is one of those artist who caught our attention since he released his first single. His single Better Man Than He was gorgeous; it was keen and thoughtful, a release that every upcoming artist would wish for. An almost perfect pop song. Since Better Man Than He appeared, we constantly kept an eye on Sivu. Now his second single titled Bodies appeared, and Sivu doesn’t disappoint. The production is different in comparison to Better Man Than He; it’s a little more earnest and heavily layered but less catchy than his previous single.
The drums are subtle again, but when the beautiful chorus hits, the composition gets really bombastic and dramatic. Heavy and melancholic violins appear which get assisted by some church choirs. The thoughtful composition of the thus far released Sivu songs is really of an extraordinary level. Not only the way Sivu composes his songs is wonderful; his singing is also pleasuring. The melody’s are strong and his own backing vocals definitely complete the song. It sounds like Sivu is making music for years already; the songs sound so mature and complete. His EP will be released in June, and I’m determined that it will be absolutely pleasing.