VV Brown, “Samson & Delilah”
For those familiar with VV and her modest “Shark In The Water” hit from her 2009 debut, brace yourselves for an entirely new sounding woman, one that has Kate Bush and Grace Jones in her sights. Eschewing the obvious pop sounds of her past work, she is digging much deeper here, and experimenting with more varied sonic textures and almost operatic vocals. And it’s one hell of a fabulous 180-turn. She kicks it off with the elegant “Substitute For Love,” which reveals its darker underbelly with lyrics like ‘I’ll be your heroin/Put me inside your veins and let me in.’ Its pensive persuasion and slow foreboding beats make for a perfect opening missive. First single “Samson” is more swarthy, tribal beats set to her throaty delivery, and “The Apple” (a should-be radio and club hit) is where her biggest nod to Grace Jones arises; not only in the future funk beats but her femme fatale ‘Don’t patronize me, I’m not your clown’ lyrics. Elsewhere, “I Can Give You More” is a dancefloor mix of New Order meets Robert Miles, and “Faith” is another mid-tempo and understated club track. If you need more convincing, imagine if Lorde, Goldfrapp, Bjork and The Knife kidnapped your iPod and had a digital orgy. This avant-garde but beautifully cohesive collection of ravishing, dramatic tracks deserves to occupy your headphones.
Sia feat. The Weekend & Diplo, “Elastic Heart”
Featured on the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack, Sia continues to prove that her middle name is Midas when it comes to crafting extraordinary, emotionally connective songs. She and The Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye deliver goosebump-inducing vocals, and Diplo shows production restraint in the understated yet gritty beats. Look for Sia’s new disc in early 2014.
The Neighbourhood, “Sweater Weather” (DJ Mike D remix)
These Orange County, CA boys and this infectious song are still ubiquitous on alternative radio, but it needed a little something-something to spice it up for the dance floor. And DJ Mike D does just that with a four on the floor update.
Miley Cyrus vs. Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares To Wrecking Ball”
You can count on the interwebs for two things: flame wars and those who take to YouTube or Soundcloud to put said battles to video or music. Within hours of Sinead and Miley’s well-publicized Twitter kerfuffle, Robin Skouteris whipped up this cogently consummate blend of the two. Peep at the video version here.
SOUND AND VISION:
Mary Lambert, “She Keeps Me Warm”
You can spank me and take away my Gay Card™ for not posting this sooner, but better late than never. As the heartfelt anchor of Macklemore and Lewis’ “Same Love,” Lambert interpolates her stunning melody and brutally honest lyrics as a whole new song. No one would blink if this was a sweet boy-meets-girl video, but this girl-meets-girl version makes feel all gooey-ooey good inside. And admit it, boys: y’all have a crush on that hot lesbian barista too, right?
DJ Paul V. has been offering up his alternative/electro beats on dance floors since 1982, most notably at LA’s Dragstrip 66. He’s also an accomplished blogger and author of Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay.