Everyone Loves A Round-Up…

‘A guide to what is fresh, newly released and available to buy this week and what in general you should absolutely be listening to! Buckle up, you’re in for an audible treat…

Texas – ‘The Conversation’

Texas are back! Following a six year hiatus, which were punctuated with a couple of solo albums from lead singer Sharleen Spiteri, the Scottish rockers have regrouped and will release a brand new album entitled ‘The Conversation’ on 20th May, their first new material since 2005’s magnificent album ‘Red Book’.

The lead single also entitled ‘The Conversation’ it is a bluesy, country sounding wobbly guitar driven number with thudding drumbeat. It exudes class and sheer brilliance – it is the perfect example of how to craft a song as it has all the right ingredients which ultimately makes it an irresistible listen. Sharleen’s effortless vocals sound seductive yet urgent thus matching the lyrical theme of needing to know the fate of a relationship… “you’ve always been afraid of love, it’s time to have a conversation”.

The single can be downloaded from iTunes here, whilst the album is available to pre-order from the band’s website here. The band will also play two live shows, one in Glasgow on 10th May and the other in London on 13th May. Venues are to be confirmed and a registration process for tickets is currently in operation here.

Naughty Boy Feat. Sam Smith – ‘La La La’

Producer extraorinare Naughty Boy is best known for his work with Emeli Sandé, Leona Lewis, Wiley and Chipmunk. The musician will release his debut solo album ‘Hotel Cabana’ later this year. It already features the hit single ‘Wonder’ with Emeli Sandé as well as collaborations with the stunningly amazing Gabrielle alongside Tinie Tempah and Professor Green.

The second single is ‘La La La’ and features vocals from Sam Smith. The intense atmospheric, drum loops of the introduction create a soundscape that is reminiscent of old school garage with dynamic breaking beats and catchy hooks – it’s almost like a danceable ballad and it sounds new, fresh and effortlessly cool. Sam Smith’s vocal is impressive – it swoops from a sultry lower register and soars with his magnificent falsetto – gorgeousness.

Shola Ama – ‘Boyfriend’

We LOVE UK female R&B vocalists and still have nothing but LOVE for Shola Ama. For a time in the late 90’s Shola ruled the music scene with her stunning vocals, heartfelt but cool sound and gorgeous looks. At 18 years of age, Shola released her debut album ‘Much Love’, which spawned five hit singles, including the mighty ‘You’re The One I Love’. Her second album ‘In Return’ embraced a more American R&B sound due to the working relationships with the likes of Babyface, Rodney Jerkins and Angie Stone. In 2002, a third album, entitled ‘Supersonic’ was released exclusively in Japan, (and is now available to download from iTunes). Since that point Shola has continued making and releasing music and has most recently collaborated with and featured on several tracks by Toddla T.

It is with great anticipation and excitement that Shola has unveiled a new track, ‘Boyfriend’. The song is supreme goodness… the quiet storm slow jam showcases the full range of Shola’s inimtiable vocal stylings – the brooding, intense instrumental introduction gives rise to Shola’s full bodied seductive voice before giving way to a softer almost forlorn whispher during the choruses – on the whole it is a very fine vocal materclass. Lyrically Shola, reminds herself to be true in the face of temptation “Sho, don’t fuck this up, I got a boyfriend.” Exquisitely brilliant.

Fall Out Boy – ‘The Phoenix’

Following a hiatus of four years, everyone’s favourite alternative power pop punk band Fall Out Boy are back after secretly reuniting to record their first studio album since 2008’s ‘Folie a Deux’. During their time apart Patrick Stump issued the mighty fine solo record ‘Soul Punk’ and Pete Wentz formed Black Cards as a side project. The lead single from Fall Out Boy’s new album ‘My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)’ was unveiled last month, another release became available this week when pre-ordering opened through iTunes.

‘The Phoenix’ is another slice of stabbing high octane pop, with incredible vocals from Patrick Stump. The lyrics perhaps centre around recapturing those fans who have wained during their absence “So we can take the world back from the heart-attacked, one maniac at a time we will take it back”. Whilst, the video begins where ‘My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)’ ended with the band explaining the reason for this on their website…

FOB

Fall Out Boy’s fifth studio album entitled ‘Save Rock And Roll’ features guest appearances from Foxes, Courtney Love and Elton John and is scheduled for a UK release on 15th April.

India.Arie – Cocoa Butter

India.Arie is a divine, heavenly goddess – ever since her debut ‘Acoustic Soul’ in 2001, her musical offerings have continued to heal and affect changes within the listener – each of her four studio albums to date offering different strands of truth and wisdom that is uplifting and motivating. In late 2012, India’s scrapped her fifth studio album for various reasons and started again, and last week provided an update on Twitter…

India.Arie

‘Cocoa Butter’ is delicious, sensuous and sublime, a song that lyrically pays its due to that special someone. India’s usual thoughtful observations begin “my heart was bruised, that’s what happens when you use it” before the vocal which drips in gloriousness declares “your kiss is like cocoa butter on my heart” during the chorus – sheer indulgent perfection.

Eve Feat. Gabe Saporta – Make It Out This Town

In 2007, Eve released what was her finest single to date, ‘Tambourine’, which was to serve as the lead single from her fourth studio album. Another single with Sean Paul was issued but the album failed to materialise due to conflicts with the label. After several false starts in releasing the album, confounded by her success within the acting world, Eve is finally preparing the release of her fourth record, what is now known as ‘Lip Lock’.

Having issued ‘She Bad Bad’ a buzz track last year, the first official single from the album is released in the UK this week. ‘Make It Out This Town’ is an infectiously positive and upbeat motivational track that is both touching and inspiring without being self-indulgent or worthy. Eve’s flow strikes the right balance between sentiment and wisdom, as such the lyrics reads like a manifesto “Yeah, never forget this is your life. Your path, your dream, this is your fight. Victory you’ll see, you’ll be alright. Get through the darkness, on the other end is pure light.” Eve sounds invigorated and galvanised on the track which is rousing and uplifting. The hook performed by Gabe Saporta from Cobra Starship is too, polished and elevating.

Phoenix – ‘Entertainment’ (Blood Orange Remix)

French rockers Phoenix are currently preparing to release their fifth collection entitled ‘Bankrupt!’, which is available from 22nd April. The lead single ‘Entertainment’ is an infectiously fizzy euphoric slice of 80’s inspired electro pop and is rather brilliant too.

Last week, producer Dev Hynes unveiled a recording of Mutya Keisha and Siobhan (or MKS) reworking a track by Kendrick Lamar. Whilst remixing the single for Phoenix, Dev used MKS to sing an alternate hook for use on his re-imagining of ‘Entertainment’. Working under the monkier Blood Orange for the remix, Dev adds an interesting twist replacing the upbeat tempo with a slower pace, funk like bassline and wild guitar solos – it appears downbeat and over the top yet sad by comparison to the original. Vocals by MKS are incredible, the harmonies blend in unity and as they sing “I’d rather be alone” it sounds overwhelmingly devastating.

Dido – ‘End Of Night’

‘End Of Night’ is the second single to be taken from Dido’s recently released and magnificent fourth studio album ‘Girl Who Got Away‘. Produced by the wondrous Greg Kurstin, ‘End Of Night’ is an upbeat, direct, no nonsesne electro number that twinkles under the delicate synth beats, whilst lyrically it is the ultimate screw you track “come over here, so you can see me walk away, and celebrate, the end of night.” Dido’s monochrome vocal here adds to the somewhat cutting sentiment perfectly.

Whilst available already, the track will be released officially on 5th May.