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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Chicas! Spanish Female Singers 1962-1974

Billed as an irresistible blend of ye-ye, rock n roll, twist, beat, garage, rhythm and blues, soul and latin, this is an entertaining and varied bunch of sixties inspired Spanish stormers. Beware however, this is the campest collection of songs outside of a camper van parked in a camp site in Campania (look it up geography fans). The highlights, and there are plenty, are as follows:

Note; there are no pictures of Margaret Sierra, possibly due to her untimely death, so you'll have to make do with generic sixties cha cha dancers.

Margaret Sierra – Cha Cha Twist
Super camp twisting fun with over the top latin vocals.

Marisa looking cool in the sixties.

Marisa Medina – No te acuerdas de mi
Great intro, twangy guitar and groovy flute action.

Sadly, it's this Sonia...

Sonia – Aqui en mi nube
Cover of the Stones’ ‘Get off my Cloud’ and much better than the original it is too. I doubt it’s the Scouse 80’s Sonia but who knows? (Everyone now - see below)

...not this one.

Alicia Granados – Batiendo Palmas
Top squeaky voice action.

Fresia Soto – Desencadena mi Corazon
The best song from the compilation and the only one that holds water outside of the camp world of Chicas! Proper Latin soul.

Encarnita Polo – Hava Naguila
My personal favourite as they’ve turned this traditional Jewish song into a sing-a-long classic. And the chorus also sounds like a football chant.

All things considered, an unusual and good value compilation. An ideal Christmas present in my opinion.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Nikki and the Dove - Mother's Protect (Goldroom Remix)

Pick of the Week 54 – Nikki and the Dove

Scandinavian action with indie meets electro combo Nikki and the Dove. They hail from Stockholm in Sweden and this is an infectious slice of vocal electronic music with slightly astringent vocals, but an overall intense feel good factor. They have released one album ‘Instinct’ that I will be checking out at some point this year. Not sure what the dove brings to the table as there's a distinct lack of cooing in evidence on the song.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Rokia Traore – Beautiful Africa

A quality album form Mali’s premier songstress. She’s strong, statuesque and possesses a voice so distinctive and powerful it has a timbre and frequency that can turn eggnog into Theakston’s Old Peculiar and change cloves into Opal Fruits. It’s a beautiful, rich and balanced sound that combines seamlessly with the mellow guitars on this album and lends itself perfectly to the afro-french atmosphere of this collection of songs.

Rokia has everything going for her. For starters her voice is nothing short of miraculous and she could put most western singers in their place if she felt the need to. She looks like a typical Amazonian woman, tall, proud and majestic. And she’s got a great name, she’s a multi-instrumentalist and she produces astonishing pieces of music. What’s not to like?

‘Beautiful Africa’ is a guitar soaked, chilled experience, possibly best enjoyed somewhere exotic with a cocktail, but works just as well in your back garden in Barnsley with a can of beer. All the tracks are crackers but worthy of special mentions are the pulsing ‘Sikey’, the passion of ‘Beautiful Africa,’ and the rolling waves of comfort that is ‘Lalla’. The outstanding track is the trance inducing calm of ‘Ka Moun Ke’ which comes as near to sing-a-long territory as the gulf in talent between myself and Rokia will allow.

A true global superstar and infinitely superior to all those singers we are led to believe are ‘great’ in the Western world. Robbie Williams springs to mind for some reason. A great album from a great performer.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Austra – Feel it Break

Another big disappointment.

Austra produced one of the favourite tracks on my Youtube playlist in the latter half of last year in the shape of ‘Beat and the Pulse.’ It’s a soaring synth driven classic with the added bonus of a live performance resplendent with a show stealing dancer at the front of the audience. They should get him in the band sharpish. The singer Katie Stelmanis is beautiful, charismatic and sings like a cross between Florence and the Machine and Emily Haines, which can only be a good thing. It sounds like a recipe for greatness, however…

There’s only a couple of decent tracks on the whole (double) album and none come anywhere near ‘Beat and the Pulse’. I wanted to like it so much and I gave it far longer to grow on me than most CD’s, but ultimately it just didn’t work for me. It ended up sounding not unlike a high pitched Florence or a low pitched Grimes and definitely not in a good way.

 There’s a lot of promise however in some of these songs and I honestly believe there’s a great album in this outfit. Hopefully it will be Olympia as I’ve purchased it already, but if not I’ll follow them until it arrives. There has to be a place for Canadian synthpop in this world.