Category Archives: Florence and The Machine

New Music Monday

The other day, this here recently re-launched blog had a grand total of 0 (zero!) hits. Do we get some kind of award? Even blogs about how to train your dog to juggle get some casual readership. We’re beginning to regret this decision of ours. As if to add insult to injury, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti did absolutely nothing and despite our best efforts, Giggs‘ peaked outside the Top 50 with ‘Look What The Cat Dragged In’ (if you follow him on Twitter, you’ll know that this will possibly lead to some kind of Twitter server meltdown). Christina Aguilera and The Drums both flattered to deceive, with the former entering at no. 1 with the lowest sales for a chart-topper since Doves in 2002 and the latter entering at no. 17 with sales of less than 10,000. Perhaps we’re being a bit harsh on the fey foursome, but considering the acres of press and a Florence & The Machine support slot it’s hardly enough to keep Island happy. Anyway, let’s celebrate the new…

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Body Talk pt 1 by Robyn


Yes, we mention her every week, what of it? Body Talk pt 1 is the first of a trilogy of albums to come out in 2010, with these eight songs being chosen because they were the first ones to be completed. Seriously, it’s that simple. Opening with the caustic, minimal Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do and ending with a Swedish traditional song first performed by Robyn during a Tsunami benefit concert, pt 1 does feel slightly thrown together at the last minute, but there are a clutch of perfect pop gems that form its core. Dancing On My Own you already know about, Fembot is amazing, Cry When You Get Older is a lovely sigh of a song, Dancehall Queen just about steers clear of pastiche and None Of Dem is bratty but brilliant. Oh, and Hang With Me makes us cry, but that’s because we’re incredibly lonely.

TELL US WHAT IT’S LIKE

Thank Me Later by Drake


We don’t know what this album sounds like because when we visited our local independent music shop this afternoon, they didn’t have any. So, er, we’re sure it’s very good and we urge you to buy it should you be able to find a copy. Here’s ‘Over’ to prove our point (which is what exactly?).

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‘Tenderoni’ by Kele


We were torn about which single to feature seeing as Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’ is out (we figured that would be too much), as well as Kylie‘s ‘All The Lovers’, which we only mention because at the weekend we “DJ”-ed at an ’80s-themed party and yet the only song bouncing round our collective memory bank come Sunday morning was Kylie’s. Odd. Anyway, we went with this four to the floor club banger from everyone’s favourite Bloc Party member, Kele Okereke (or just plain old Kele as he is now). Perhaps the band hiatus has been good to him because not only does he seem less of a twat now, he also makes music that actually reflects the stuff he always claimed to be listening to.

Marina & The Diamonds: In the name of Artois

The notion of selling out in 2010 is a bit of stupid one. Everyone’s trying to sell a few thousand extra copies of their album, not just to make some money but to also keep a record deal and stave off the impending cries of “ha, I knew he/she wouldn’t make it” that come with all the hype.

Marina & The Diamonds is one such case. Hyped to the hilt at the start of the year, her debut album may have entered the UK charts at number 5 but it’s since dropped quicker than Jordan’s knickers at a C-list celebrity wrestling match. But, in order to maintain a semblance of class whilst essentially selling a song to a massive company, Marina’s taken the Stella Artois route, one which Florence & The Machine took last year. Both videos transport the singers back to a different era thus creating a sense of timelessness, and both are shot in Black and White, which, as we all know, signifies class.

This is ‘I Am Not A Robot’ (The Stella Artois version):

In other Florence news, this is her contribution to the pretty stellar Twilight soundtrack. ‘Heavy In Your Arms’ is less immediate but no less epic than the majority of Lungs and should see her garnering attention across the pond (i.e. America, not Mrs Gilbert’s house at the end of my Nan’s garden. Mrs Gilbert fucking loves Florence already, obvs.)

Friday catch up: Videos with lights in them

There are rumours circulating that Swedish pop supremo Robyn‘s record label wanted her age to be kept out of interviews or at least played down, simply because she’s over…wait for it…30 years of age! Given this nugget of information, it must have been hard for Robyn to film this video for the mind-meltingly good ‘Dancing On My Own’, seeing as much of it takes place in a club with loads of young people getting off with each other and being all young and gross.

Whatever her age, the woman knows how to wring every drop of emotion out of a song, doesn’t she? Those violent gestures, that anguished face, the smoke machines! Watch it here:

Robyn ‘Dancing On My Own’ (Official Video) from Robyn on Vimeo.

Everyone’s current favourite British female songstress Florence & The Machine, is set to release her twentieth single. ‘Cosmic Love’ was always the song on the album that screamed “THIRD SINGLE”, and despite the delay, it’s still a genuinely beautiful love song. The video continues the visual theme of most of the videos from Lungs, i.e. Florence leaps about with gleeful abandon, flinging her hair around like a banshee and generally being spooky and ethereal. All of this is a good thing in a video by the way.

Carpet Byrne


David Byrne
is basically the coolest man on the planet. His work with Talking Heads and Brian Eno alone mean he has honorary entry into the Musick Hall of Fame (due to open sometime in 2012, dates pending), alongside such luminaries as Michael Jackson, Prince and Fine Young Cannibals.

He’s teamed up with, er, Fatboy Slim (minus points for that perhaps?) to create some kind of elaborate music project based around former Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos. Nephew say what!? The set comes in a fancy box with two CDs, lots of lovely pictures and a DVD, and features guest spots from Santigold, Tori Amos, Cyndi Lauper and myriad other people with voices.

The track below features the not inconsiderable voice of one Florence Welch, who may have left her Machine at home for this one. It’s called ‘Here Lies Love’ and it’s a six-minute long, lushly-orchestrated vignette that takes a while to get to the chorus, but when it does it’s quite something.

Intriguing.

Musick’s Top 20 albums: 4

Florence & The Machine – Lungs

Of all the acts hyped to the hilt come January 2009, Florence and her Machine seemed the least likely to finish the year with one of the biggest selling debuts. If early single Kiss With A Fist was all playful petulance, the newer songs on Lungs show that playful spirit had been channelled into gorgeously OTT epics that mixed strings, choirs, pounding drums, fluttering harps and, if you listen carefully, a kitchen sink solo. It is pop turned up to eleven, with everything pushed to the front to create a wall of sound so strong it often threatens to overwhelm the songs. It’s this tension that makes ‘Cosmic Love’ or ‘Howl’ so powerful, as if they’re about to implode at any minute. Riding the crest of the sonic wave is Florence herself, the owner of a voice so swollen with emotion it’s almost painful to listen to her dissect and rebuild relationships in each song. Credit must also go to producers Paul Epworth and James Ford who somehow manage to keep the various strands together, making sure the songs themselves remain the key ingredient. Lungs is momentous not just because it lives up to the hype, but because it has the feel of a timeless record, one that can’t be simply dismissed as ‘the sound of 2009’. It’s more than that.

Key track: ‘Drumming’

New Musick Monday

As the yuletide approaches, it’s getting harder and harder to find any music to recommend, unless the new Westlife album floats your boat, in which case the virtual door is that way. So, this may well be the final New Musick Monday of 2009 *stunned silence*. So, let’s, for one last time, do a little recap on last week, shall we? Brigadier Ambrose performed well given the fact the album is self-released and wasn’t available in shops (that happens in the new year), whilst Rihanna’s album somewhat under-performed by entering outside the top 10 (although the single made it to number 6, so what does that tell us? No, really, what does that tell us?). Lady GaGa was more successful, entering at number 7 and celebrating at least six songs in the top 75. Well done the GaGa.

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Lungs (Deluxe box set edition) by Florence & The Machine

Around this time, record labels decide it’s best to make money by releasing albums by talent show contestants, old boybands or re-packaging an existing album to guilt trip genuine fans into buying the album again. This re-release of the brilliant Lungs (look out for it in Musick’s rundown of the top 20 albums of 2009, coming, er, ahem, well, kind of soon-ish), adds three extra discs that encompass a live album, remixes, covers, demos and a DVD with all the videos and a live show. PLUS, you get expanded artwork and an essay by David Vann, who, as we all know, is a very talented author. Better than putting it in a slipcase and adding a couple of b-sides don’t you think?

LAUGH AT ALL OF THIS

Untitled by R Kelly

First of all, please click here to be mortified. That’s ‘Pregnant’, one of the many delicate ballads R Kelly has recorded for his new sex opus. This, let’s not forget, is the man currently battling charges for having sex with a minor. Here are some of the choice lyrics that Kelly uses to make the pre-teens swoon (ALLEGEDLY!!):
“Girl you make me wanna get you pregnant…Knock you up, pregnant, Knock you up”
“Shes more than a mistress enough to handle my business / Now put that girl in my kitchen”
“Now I ain’t got nothing to do tonight, I gotta wait for my crew / I just wanna put some in you”
A-MA-ZING.

‘Forest Green Oh Forest Green’ by Holly Miranda

OK, so this came out a few weeks ago but it’s so great we thought it best to try and get it a few more downloads. Produced by Dave Sitek and featuring members of TV On The Radio, this is the first single taken from Miranda’s forthcoming album, The Magician’s Private Library. It features some gorgeous vocals, some bells and indeed some brass. Here she is doing a gorgeous version of ‘Ex-Factor’ by Lauryn Hill:

All out of love?

This is the new video for Florence & The Machine‘s new single ‘You Got The Love’. It’s not a new song of course, but rather it’s what people call a cover version. It’s a bit of tough one really because on the one hand it’s going to be all over Radio 1 and will boost album sales, but on the other it’s not really the right choice for a single in terms of ‘pleasing your existing fans’. That would have been ‘Cosmic Love’ or ‘Hurricane Drunk’.

It also raises some very serious issues (please put on your serious issues face…done? Good, let’s continue…) about ‘female singers being a bit like strippers’. There’s a comment under the video from Mazumune that reads thusly:

Florence I love your music and everything about you but I really am worried where they are making you go.. lots of stripping and sexy dancing, i want to see more folksy storylines in your vids like dog days and rabbit heart, drumming was good in the cathedral but should of had more of a storyline.

and i say this as a genuine fan thats followed you since you were singing covers

Some very serious issues indeed. But what do you think? Too much cheek and leg on show? Or, are we thinking that perhaps she wanted to dress like that in the video that’s clearly paying homage to certain era of Studio 54 and disco, etc?

VERY SERIOUS ISSUES.

The Maccapeas

We’re well aware that this song was first aired way back in July (it’s October already!?), but we only heard it recently and can’t stop listening to it. Now, we all know that Jo Whiley is an unforgivable arse, but her ‘Live Lounge’ thing has produced some interesting cover versions. From little Will Young re-imaging ‘Hey Ya’ as a jazzy epic to Florence & The Machine tearing strips off of Beyoncé‘s ‘Halo’, there were moments when the artist really “made the songs their own”. For The Maccabees that song was ‘Boom Boom Pow’ by the Black Eyed Peas

Imagine if the Editors had tried this…awful, huh? The Maccabees don’t take it seriously, they have a bit of a giggle, but at the same time the beat and the guitar sounds are amazing and Orlando Weeks gives it his best, “Will.i.am drop the beat now”. The beat cover version since Robson & Jerome’s ‘Unchained Melody’ and we really mean that.

New Musick Monday

So, last week we predicted big things for Jay-Z (hardly putting our necks on the line – it entered at no. 4), Jazmine Sullivan (more of a risk seeing as the album was probably brought by anyone with an interest about a year ago – it was nowhere) and Florence & The Machine. The latter has had some pretty extensive coverage thanks to the Mercury nomination, but the single failed to dent to the top 40. Luckily, the album re-entered the top 10 and another track, ‘You’ve Got The Love, also started to climb the top 75. Imagine if that were to become the next single? IMAGINE.

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Tongue N’ Cheek by Dizzee Rascal

Tongue N’ Cheek!? Tongue ‘N Cheek!? Oh dearest Dizzee man, this really won’t do. If you’re using N’ then what you’re actually trying to say is Tongue AND Cheek, which just sounds like some grizzly meat order at some posh restaurant. Grammar issues aside, this is essentially Dizzee’s coming out album…not like that, but in terms of him embracing pop and deciding that he’s going to stop going on about knives and ‘beefs’ and concentrate more on going on holiday and dancing. It’s not just about the three (three!) number 1 singles though, with the ridiculous ‘Road Rage’ taking in grime, drum n bass, techno and probably some jazz.

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Celebration by Madonna

‘Hung Up’, ‘Music’, ‘Vogue’, ‘4 Minutes’, ‘Holiday’, ‘Like A Virgin’, ‘Into The Groove’, ‘Like A Prayer’, ‘Ray Of Light’, ‘Open Your Heart’, ‘Borderline’, ‘Secret’, ‘Justify My Love’, ‘La Isla Bonita’, ‘Papa Don’t Preach’, ‘Lucky Star’, ‘Crazy For You’, ‘Who’s That Girl’, ‘Frozen’, ‘Live To Tell’, ‘Beautiful Stranger’, ‘Don’t Tell Me’, ‘Cherish’. Just a few hits to choose from.

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‘FeelingPulledApartByHorses’ / ‘The Hollow Earth’ by Thom Yorke

Oh, we’re not going into all of this again. Just scroll down a bit for more info. Cheers.

New Musick Monday

As someone kindly commented last week, The Big Pink single seems to have been pushed back a week so is actually out today. Think of our premature recommendation as merely a form of preparation, a way of doubling the fun when you see what we’ve recommended this week. Elsewhere, the Taken By Trees album sold about ten copies, which is fine, and the Jamie T album entered at number 2, one place behind 92-year old singing sensation, Dame Vera Lynn. Her Timbaland-produced effort is something to behold. Expect a feature on her very soon.

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The Blueprint 3 by Jay-Z

OK, so he may not be able to scale the heights of his previous works – especially given the fact he’s the head of a massive corporation, sleeping with Beyoncé and friends with Obama – but The Blueprint 3 contains enough flashes of brilliance to keep the man at the top of the game. Featuring some stellar production from the American Dream-robbing Kanye West, Swizz Beats and Timbaland (as well as some perfunctory work from The Neptunes) and a guest list that includes Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Kid Cudi and Luke Steele, this is an album programmed to succeed. For the most part it does exactly that.

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Fearless by Jazmine Sullivan

The more eagle-eyed amongst you will realise that we mentioned this album about eight months ago, but it’s so good that we decided to mention it again. As if to aid us in this reckless decision, Columbia records have decided to re-release the album via iTunes with an extra track thus allowing it to appear here. Thanks for that. Fearless isn’t like most recent R&B albums for two reasons. 1). It isn’t just two killer singles and a load of filler and 2). It isn’t needlessly worthy or preachy (yes we mean you Alicia). It helps that Sullivan has an incredibly soulful voice, one that frays and cracks at all the right moments, like Lauryn Hill before she went nuts and shaved her head and moved to a Kibbutz.

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‘Drumming Song’ by Florence & The Machine

On our album, this is just called ‘Drumming’. Why add the word ‘song’? Are we to think that Florence’s label needed to make sure we were aware that it is indeed a song and that without it we were all stumped. “What is this thing? ‘Drumming’? It makes no sense. Ah, ‘Drumming Song’, I see”. Anyway, our is not to question why, and sure everyone’s probably bored of people prattling on about Florence and her machine, but you know what, the album’s amazing, this song’s amazing and in the video she dances like a gothic Beyoncé. Plus, this remix is very good too.