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Posts Tagged ‘Christina Aguilera

Top tips for 2012, featuring First Aid Kit, L.P. and Various Cruelties @firstaidkitband @LPROCK @v_cruelties

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First Aid Kit is a Swedish folk duo, consisting of sisters Johanna and Klara Soderberg. The siblings formed their band and began writing in 2007, aged just 17 and 14 and have since gone on to release their debut album ‘The Big Black & The Blue’ (2010) and to support Fleet Foxes in Europe. They have a great deal in common with the aforementioned folk septet, particularly with regard to their tight vocal harmonies and earthy songwriting style. The band are set to release their second album ‘The Lion’s Roar’, on January 23rd, 2012, from which I have selected one of my favourite tracks, ‘Emmylou.’

L.P. or Laura Pergolizzi to the over-familiar amongst us, is a rock singer and songwriter from New York. Since signing to Warner Music Group, she has amassed considerable songwriting credits, including tracks penned for the likes of Christina Aguilera, Rihanna and… ahem, Heidi Montag. Currently working on her debut release for the major label; I have selected the track ‘Into The Wild’ to give you a taste of what’s to come from this fiesty rock frontrunner.

Various Cruelties are a four-piece band based in London, who make ‘Motown-influenced indie’ music. The band centres around songwriter and frontman Liam O’Donnell who, inspired by his Northern Soul roots in Leeds, moved to London to write about his experiences to date and stumbled across some bandmates along the way. Fast forward two years and O’Donnell and co are set to release their debut album in the Spring of 2012. They have found themselves on several ‘must watch’ lists and have enjoyed high praise from several notable TV performances, including Jools Holland at the back end of last year. I think this band have a great deal to look forward to in 2012, particularly with their USP (O’Donnell) at the helm. My favourite track to date would be ‘If It Wasn’t For You’ which I have loaded below. The band are currently touring the UK.


shelleyhanveywriter 🙂 / / /


Written by shelleyhanveywriter

January 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm

2011 in review…and Happy New Year!

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The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

January 3, 2012 at 9:08 am

New tracks I like from: Sea of Bees, Hurts, Katy Perry and Ladytron

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It’s somewhat of a pop-fest this week with my favourite chosen tracks; perhaps I’m still high on the sweet fumes of The Brits and Grammys. Saying that, I have to admit that I very much enjoyed the latter more than the former this year; I just don’t enjoy watching a man perform whilst covered in fake blood and surrounded by even faker scenes of violence and Police brutality…call me old-fashioned! I always prefer the more diverse and often slightly bizarre events that unfold stateside at the annual ceremony, organised by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. I’m honestly not intending to be unpatriotic here and I am very much in support of British musical talent, I just didn’t think that this year, apart from a few notable exceptions (Adele‘s performance, Laura Marling‘s win) was as memorable as others.

Moving on however; the first of my chosen four tracks this week, is Sea of Bees, ‘Wizbot.’ Julie Ann Baenziger (or Sea of Bees) released her debut album this month, entitled ‘Songs for the Ravens‘ on Heavenly Recordings. Even the name evokes a feeling of mystery and otherworldliness, which combined with Baenziger’s spine-tingling and at times awkwardly eerie vocals, is a surefire recipe for indie chart success. I find this artist very mesmerizing; I found it very difficult to take my eyes away from the screen whilst watching the video for this track, every contortion and expression seemed to send a million mixed messages. I think she would be fascinating to watch live, so I hope to see some dates released soon.

I have been a big fan of Hurts since their first single and subsequent debut album ‘Happiness, so the recent release of album trackSundaywas of great delight to me; not least because it also happens to be my favourite from the record. Closely followed byStayI have to add; to be fair though, I can’t really fault any of the tracks from this band to date. This song is classic ’80s electropop for those of us who missed it the first time round and I for one, am eternally grateful for the re-run. 

Now, I have a confession to make…I haven’t always been a huge fan of Katy Perry‘s music. I found ‘I Kissed A Girl‘ rather obvious and just trying that little bit too hard, consequently, also trying my patience; however, with the release of her second album ‘Teenage Dream‘ my opinion completely changed. I love this album and never tire of singing along to each sun-drenched and sassy single or potential; Max Martin and Dr Luke working their producing magic yet again on this one. Every track could be a chart-topping contender and I don’t think we’ve heard the best this has to offer yet. ‘E.T’ is every bit as hypnotising and magnetising as the lyrics convey and I expect to see a trademark seductive screen offering courtesy of Perry when this track is released shortly.

Ladytron are much admired and imitated by our electro-loving musical friends in the U.S; often cited as a major influence to the work of, amongst others, Christina Aguilera and Nine Inch Nails. ‘Ace of Hz‘ is taken from their upcoming album ‘Ladytron 00 – 10‘ and showcases precisely what they do best. A great introduction to the synthpop quartet for anyone who enjoys more than a dash of psychedelia sprinkled atop their electropop.  

That’s all for now 🙂

New tracks I like…Eliza Doolittle, Sia and Miike Snow

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I was having a browse at the UK singles chart yesterday and I have to say, I wasn’t all that keen on probably 80% of the tracks in the top 20. It’s personal opinion and taste obviously, but I wish there was more variety for our listening pleasure. I can’t really complain I suppose, as I don’t tend to download that many singles myself, preferring full albums of artists that I really like or am interested to hear more from.

I do like the following three tracks however, which are all released in the coming weeks.

First up, Eliza Doolittle with ‘Pack Up.’

Eliza (real name Eliza Sophie Caird) is a British singer-songwriter with a soulful voice and a contemporary quirky pop sound. She releases her debut self-titled album of 13 tracks on July 12th 2010. I really like her voice and I think she sounds a lot older than her 22 years, which gives her vocals a mature and warm feel, whilst still keeping a cool, innocent edge to her performance. I think she’ll be well received at her upcoming festival dates. I’m looking forward to seeing her at V.

Secondly, Sia (full name Sia Furler) with ‘Clap Your Hands.’

Australian singer-songwriter Sia has recently collaborated with Christina Aguilera on some tracks for her new album ‘Bionic‘, which I think are really great. Sia has a soulful voice with jazz and pop influences, whilst also possessing a quirky creative edge. I do appreciate a quirky female frontwoman! Citing her influences as Cyndi Lauper and Madonna, Sia has said that her fourth studio album ‘We Are Born‘ (from which this track is taken) delivers a more upbeat sound than its predecessors. Upbeat or down, I think Sia’s vocals possess that much desired sparkle and edge to carry off either tone.

Finally, a band which I have been a fan of since their emergence on to the UK music scene in the spring of 2009. Miike Snow are a Swedish trio made up of Andrew Wyatt, and the producing duo Bloodshy & Avant (real names Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg) who have enjoyed considerable success, collaborating with artists such as Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Britney Spears. They have also remixed tracks by Passion Pit, Kings of Leon and Vampire Weekend. Their self-titled debut album features 11 tracks of an electro-pop/indie persuasion, and I think it’s amazing. I particularly like ‘Animal‘, ‘Burial‘ , ‘Silvia‘ and ‘Cult Logic.’ Their music videos are always brilliant too, full of colour, vibrancy and located in far-flung destinations most could only dream of visiting. Unless anyone wants to give me some money, then I need dream no more! I would urge anyone to get themselves a copy of this album; the trio are pure magic. ‘The Rabbit’ is a new single, to be included on a revamped, deluxe version of the album, to be released in July 2010.

Hope you find something you like.

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

June 19, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Christina Aguilera, ‘Bionic’ – album review

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Christina Aguilera, ‘Bionic’

This week saw the UK release of Christina Aguilera’s fourth English studio album, ‘Bionic.’  It’s been a wait of four years, but with a 23-strong track listing, I don’t think anyone could say she doesn’t deliver; after all, if something’s worth having, it’s worth waiting for.

I’ve been a fan of Christina since the early days of ‘Genie in a Bottle’ and ‘What a Girl Wants’, right through to the ‘Dirrrty’ dance floor numbers and the ‘Hurt’ . I consider her to be the best female vocalist of her generation, as well as an accomplished and multi-skilled songwriter.


Recently hailed by Rolling Stone as number fifty-three on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, Christina was featured as the youngest and only artist on the list under the age of thirty. My sister and I went to see her perform live in 2003 and I would have to say that her vocals were the only ones to rival another performer I have seen and that is Celine Dion…Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield, 1999, with support from Mike and the Mechanics, not a dry eye in the house…and that was in no way related to the increased awareness and consequent upsurge of glaucoma in the late ’90s (I was undoubtedly the youngest concert-goer there, aged 20). What can I say, I’ve always had an old head on young shoulders; which probably looks slightly strange…

Christina said prior to the release of the album, that she had been experimenting with a futuristic, electro-pop sound and that fans should expect something totally different; I would have to agree with this preview, as ‘Bionic’ features certain tracks that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with those hits that have gone before, but for me this is what I look forward to with a new record. There’s something to be said for “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but then when would we get a chance to hear an artist diversify and show what they can really do? Christina’s past albums have fused R&B with Jazz, Pop with Rock, so I don’t think her musicality or range will ever truly be in question.

Christina works with Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler and her collaborator/bassist Samuel Dixon on four songs for the album, and these for me are the stand out tracks. A couple are vintage Christina with intimate melodies, atmospheric keyboards and emotive vocals (‘All I Need’ and You Lost Me’), with the other two, whilst being just as heartfelt and delicate, feature more subtle vocals which allow the music and emotion to flow through (‘I Am’ and ‘Stronger Than Ever’.)



Christina works with Linda Perry again on this album, specifically on track ‘Lift Me Up’, which is another of my favourites. Perry wrote previous hit single ‘Hurt’ which I’ve included a link to above; I think the melody and vocals on this track are amazing, what I wouldn’t give to be able to sing like that! I really like Perry’s lyrics, she knows her audience and seems to deliver every time with all the emotion, regret and angst that we all secretly lap up.

Christina is a big fan of British electronic band Ladytron and asked them to work with her on this project and produce some songs. ‘Birds of Prey’ features on the second CD and the synthpop template is clearly evident from the outset. It would be fair to say that this record draws on numerous influences and experiments with various genres, indeed with most of Christina’s albums they feel more like a showcase than simply a thrown-together collection of same-old, same-old stuff.

For R&B and Dance fans there are also the up-tempo numbers ‘Bionic’ and ‘Not Myself Tonight’ and ‘Woohoo’, which provide those essential beats to kick-start your Friday night…or Monday morning, depending how wild you are. I love cheeky Christina who toys with the taboo, but a couple of the tracks were disposable in my opinion and didn’t need to be there, such as ‘Sex for Breakfast’ and ‘Vanity’, it can sometimes feel forced I think.

Overall, I would give ‘Bionic’ a 7.5 out of 10 which is mainly on the strength of the Sia Furler and Linda Perry tracks. Definitely an album I will listen to again and enjoy, pre wild night out or wild night in.

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

June 11, 2010 at 1:52 pm

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