Category Archives: Marina and The Diamonds

Albums of 2010: 30 – 21

21. Odd Blood – Yeasayer

 

 

 

 

Best track: ‘O.N.E’

22. The Fool – Warpaint


 

 

 

Best track: ‘Undertow’

23. Love King – The-Dream

 

 

 

 

Best track: ‘Yamaha’

24. The Family Jewels – Marina & The Diamonds

 

 

 

 

Best track: ‘Obsessions’

25. Without Why – Rose Elinor Dougall

 

 

 

 

Best track: ‘Find Me Out’

26. Maximum Balloon – Maximum Balloon

 

 

 

 

Best track: ‘Groove Me’ feat. Theophilus London

27. Learning – Perfume Genius

 

 

 

 

Best track: ‘Learning’

28. Hidden – These New Puritans

 

 

 

 

Best track: ‘Attack Music’

29. IRM – Charlotte Gainsbourg

 

 

 

Best track: ‘Heaven Can Wait’

30. The Drums – The Drums

 

 

 

 

Best track: ‘Best Friend’

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Shampain in the neck?

So, for all the press and general pre-empting of imminent success, Marina & The Diamonds debut album, The Family Jewels, has yet to really capture the imagination of the general public. All in all, this is a bit of a shame because when it works, it’s a fairly spectacular debut album packed with huge-mongous choruses and melodies that practically fight their way to the forefront to be heard. When it doesn’t work, it’s a bit too jazz hands at ten paces even for these ears.

But, it’s not in Marina’s nature to give up, so here’s the video for another single, ‘Shampain’, and it’s basically an M&S underwear ad filmed using alcoholic models with a Michael Jackson fetish. Or something.

TRUE FACT: Marina is dating Theo from Hurts. Like, for serious.

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.)

New Musick Monday

We’ve noticed that our daily numbers have been dwindling quite dramatically so more and more this all feels slightly fruitless, but at the moment we’re still enjoying it, so for now New Musick Monday returns to fight another week. This weeks edition isn’t quite the bells and whistles bumper edition of last week, but it does feature a TRIPLE album. But, first, let’s deal with the relative successes and failures of the past seven days. LoneLady, Toro Y Moi and Brigadier Ambrose all missed the top 75, but they’re all amazing and the latter actually sold out in most of the HMV shops that stocked it, so music is the winner. Marina & The Diamonds album crashed in at number 5 and was looking good for the number 1 slot at the midweek point. Giggs, despite all the twittering, landed outside the top 60. It seems a lot of listeners literally didn’t go there…THIS IS WHY NO ONE READS THIS!!

BUY THIS

Have One On Me by Joanna Newsom

A confession; we haven’t heard this yet. It’s waiting for us when we get home, but for now, our ears have not been lightly grazed by Newsom’s latest three CD extravaganza. We’re urging you to buy this on the fact that her last album was a masterpiece, every review of this has been glowing and because even if it isn’t something you’d normally listen to, it still means you have three extra coasters in your house should you be silly enough not to love it. Plus, it comes in a box and has a lyric sheet as long as the Bible (but better). THIS IS WHY NO CHRISTIANS READ THIS!!

CHERRY PICK SOME OF THIS

Lights by Ellie Goulding

We reviewed this album for another website and you can read it here. It kind of sums up our feelings towards what is a solid pop album, but one that feels a bit emotionless and is in no way the future of music. But we knew that already.

DOWNLOAD THIS

‘Mr Peterson’ by Perfume Genius

Perfume Genius, aka Mike Genius (may not be his real surname), makes fragile, haunting piano ballads that make Antony Hegarty seem like H from Steps. His lyrics are so stark that they sometimes border on the hilarious in that did-he-just-suggest-his-teacher-was-sexually-attracted-to-him kind of way. In fact, it’s exactly that storyline that runs through ‘Mr Peterson’ and the song ends with the titular character killing himself. Yay, Spring is here. THIS IS WHY NO ONE READS THIS!!

You can download this single and the b-side from here.

New Musick Monday

Last week was a bit of a struggle, wasn’t it? We mean musically of course and not just because the grey skies and general malaise are making everyone look like death warmed up (only not that warm). Unbelievably, the Lightspeed Champion album managed to miss the Top 75 altogether, which is a real shame as it’s a definite grower and worthy of some ear time. The Glee soundtrack crashed in at number 1, which should be something to celebrate and yet we’re kind of depressed about it. Jedward proved us all wrong by climbing one spot to number 11 (those 5 extra CD singles clearly doing the trick). This week is a bit of a bumper, fuck the recession type affair, so hold onto your hats…

BUY THIS

Nerve Up by LoneLady

Perfect for the current climate, LoneLady’s debut album is all chilly, skeletal guitar figures and simple beats with Julie Campbell (for it is she) crooning mysteriously about “fading to white” and some other bleak things we’ve yet to really decipher. Despite it’s chilly exterior there’s a lot to love here and what can initially seem simple and slight soon becomes hypnotic. Weirdly, there are moments where she sounds a lot like Kylie does when she does that English speak-sing voice of hers. Ergo, if you’ve ever wondered what Kylie would sound like if she signed to Warp, then wonder no more.

TRUST US AND BUY THIS

Fuzzo by Brigadier Ambrose

We plugged this when it came out to download, but it’s out in the shops now (and still amazing) so here it is again. Read more about it here.

BUY THIS ONE TOO

Causers of This by Toro Y Moi

We did a very short thing on this guy just the other day and we were so taken by what we heard that we went out and brought the album (yep, we PAID for the music, in a shop and everything). Causers of This has been lumped in with all that chillwave, dream pop malarkey and though there are definite elements in there – none of the songs really race to get anywhere, there are some nice keyboard washes – the whole thing feels more intricate and closely produced then some of the stuff from Washed Out for example. Hell, Lissoms even sounds like a bit of a rave up in comparison to some of that other stuff. All in all, a lovely, dense album by a very talented individual.

THIS IS OUT TOO

The Family Jewels by Marina & The Diamonds

This has been picking up some very strange reviews which seem to range from ‘this is the future of pop music’ to ‘LOL her voice is funny’ to ‘how fucking irritating is this woman’. We did a thing on it here so we won’t write much else if it’s all the same to you.

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‘Don’t Go There’ by Giggs

We’ve chosen this one for two reasons; firstly, it’s a great song with a brilliant video and it has a strange nostalgic charm about it, what with all the early ’90s, Dre-inspired staccato strings and the loping beat. Secondly, Giggs is on twitter and won’t stop imploring people to buy it and his passion for the single to do well is infectious quite frankly. It’s nice to see someone making music that isn’t all ‘well, I make music for me and if anyone else likes it, well that’s a bonus’. Get a real job in that case.

New Musick Monday

When is a hit not a hit? Is it when an act who has received blanket coverage in the press and who finished second in the BBC Sound of 2010 poll ends up at no. 12 on the singles chart with their first ‘proper’ release? It’s not a bad show by any means, but Marina & The Diamonds‘ ‘Hollywood’ missing the top ten is a bit of a surprise, but perhaps she’s ‘doing a Florence’ (who also missed the top 10 with her first few singles) and will sell billions of albums. We’ll have to wait and see. The albums fared pretty well with Midlake breaking the top 20 and Hot Chip entering at no. 11 (which is kind of disappointing seeing as the album is really very good).

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Odd Blood by Yeasayer

This is a bit of a turn up for the books if you were expecting another ‘interesting’ but ‘noodling’ album from everyone’s second favourite ‘interesting’ but ‘noodling’ American alternative band (Animal Collective being number one, natch). Odd Blood injects Yeasayer’s percussive, gloriously off-kilter songs with a pop nous that was missing from most of All Hour Cymbals. ‘Ambling Alp’ is a clear highlight, with a chorus as glorious as any song about a failed boxer has the right to be, whilst tracks like ‘O.N.E’ and ‘Love Me Girl’ are stone cold anthems. It’s nice to see a band who understand that alienating just about everyone does not necessarily a good band make.

CARRY ON LISTENING TO THIS FOR FREE

I’m New Here by Gil Scott-Heron

This album is streaming for free to the right of this post so if you haven’t already then give it a listen. We’re not going to tell you about it seeing as you can do the work yourselves.

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‘Hurtful’ by Erik Hassle

This has been floating about for what seems like a musical lifetime but finally gets it’s UK release today. Having been deftly retwizzled by Starsmith, it’s now slightly less MOR but still a whole load OTT, Hassle sounding like he’s about to cry on every other line. It’s not rocket science, it’s not going to change the world, it’s not ‘cool’, but it is a very good example of a radio friendly rock(ish) ballad and manages to break the inexplicable monopoly Snow Patrol have had over that particular genre in recent years. You’ll either love it or hate, not like Marmite, because we like Marmite but we’re allergic to it and we’re not allergic to this…*METAPHOR FAIL*

Marina & The Diamonds: A first listen

When you’re as important as we are you get to hear music before you’re supposed to, and we don’t mean simply recording songs from a gig with our mobiles. So, we’ve managed to get our hands on The Family Jewels, the debut album by Marina & The Diamonds. Can it live up to the hype? Does she deserve all the plaudits and poll mentions? Can we get to the end without that voice grating on us? Let’s find out…

Are You Satisfied?
A musically upbeat (there’s a lot of musically upbeat tracks on this album) ode to signing her contract and wondering whether it’s worth the risk of stepping out in the music industry. As ever the chorus is the key here and once again it’s HUGE. Even if you sat with your arms folded and tried your hardest not to get involved you’d be tapping along by the end.
4/6

Shampain
Very similar to some of the stuff on Ladyhawke‘s debut, which is obviously not a bad thing. Lyrically it’s about drinking champagne and turns what is supposed to be this lavish celebration into something a bit sad; “drinking champagne, made up of angels tears of pain”. That makes it sound a bit drippy, but it’s not, it’s a robust, perky pop confection of the highest order.
5/6

I Am Not A Robot
An early single and still sounding as fresh as ever. All the early singles featured here sound better in context and this one has some lovely vocal effects, a nice piano melody and a sad lyric about, erm, not being a robot and stuff.
4.5/6

Girls
Marina in slagging off her sisters shocker! This is a bit patronising all things told. Seems to believe that men are more intelligent and interesting then a lot of women (or ‘girls’ as they are here). It’s also not that interesting musically, just trundling along on another jaunty melody with extra “nah, nah, nah, nahs”. It does have some nice accordion on it though.
3/6

Mowgli’s Road
Another early single and the one with that weird video. It should really be a massive mess – weird cuckoo sounds, jaunty piano, about three choruses – but the whole thing hangs together brilliantly.
5/6

Obsessions
A definite highlight and proof that when she tones some of the idiosyncrasies down a bit she can be just as effective. A tale about a difficult boyfriend (who may be violent, or just suffering from OCD), it builds towards a gorgeous chorus of “ohhs” and “ahhs” that are better then that description sounds.
6/6

Hollywood
The new single. You’ve probably heard it by now.
4.5/6

The Outsider
Another song that deals with how Marina sees herself, this time with some added Emo, especially in the lyrics. Musically, the song has a nice new wave-esque feel about it and trundles along nicely.
4/6

Hermit The Frog
Awful title aside, this is a brilliant example of what Marina’s about. Dramatic, sweeping and musically interesting, it also features some brilliant Kate Bush-esque vocals on the chorus, which mentions “glass balloons” a lot. Will probably be a future single if the record company have any sense.
5.5/6

Oh No!
Starts with some interesting beats before turning into another piano-based jaunt-a-thon (not a word). Once again it’s saved by an almighty chorus that will stick around your cranium for days afterwards. It’s also another song about Marina and what it’s like to be her and the negative influence of modern living, etc, etc.
4/6

Rootless
A really nice change of pace. A drip-feed ballad that works well due to the more subdued approach. Musically it has some nice touches, in particular a lovely, mournful horn solo that appears about half way through.
5/6

Numb
Ah, some jaunty piano, welcome back. On this occasion, however, the almighty climax that each song tends to rush towards fails to materialise and everything’s kept to a relative minimum. It works well, Marina’s sweet vocals merging with some sweeping strings.
5/6

Guilty
An odd finale as the pace picks up again. Guilty features some intricate wordplay and some lovely harpsichord but is a bit of a nothing end to an album that deserved better. Some nice jaunty piano though.
3.5/6

Overall verdict: 4.5/6

The Family Jewels is released on the 22 February.

New Musick Monday

We’re really hitting our stride now ladies and gentlemen. Another relatively big week of releases is upon us and last week’s runners and riders performed OK-ish, which is all we can ask really. Four Tet was the big success at no. 35, whilst Charlotte Gainsbourg peaked at no. 62. No sign of Beach House, which is a bit of tragedy seeing as it’s scientifically proven to be 1000 times better than Paolo Nutini’s album and that’s no. 1. The Lightspeed Champion single missed the Top 40 as well, so I think we can officially refer to that as a ‘minor hit’.

BUY THIS

One Life Stand by Hot Chip

We’ve always been fans of Hot Chip’s singles but their albums have always been dominated by one or two big tracks. They’re the Missy Elliott of the dance world, in other words. Only they’re not anymore. One Life Stand works because it’s an album and not a collection of amazing singles interspersed with tracks that show off how clever the band are but ultimately sound a bit dull. Sure, the title track (and first single) is all kinds of amazing, but there are at least six other tracks that are just as good and the whole thing flows perfectly. We really like it, basically.

GROW A BEARD, WEAR A CARDIGAN, LISTEN TO THIS

The Courage of Others by Midlake

We went to see these guys last night and though they look like six Texan homeless guys they actually make some really lovely music. Not that homeless people don’t, per se, have the ability to make beautiful music, but you know what we mean. The Courage of Others has clearly been made after a long time listening to English folk, which follows on from years listening to ’70s rock for their last album, The Trials of Van Occupanther. We’re hoping, and indeed praying, that they get into Beyoncé and Lady Gaga for their next album. Just imagine…awful, isn’t it?

DOWNLOAD THIS

‘Hollywood’ by Marina & The Diamonds

We like this song, don’t get us wrong (poet, didn’t know it) but there’s still something we’re not sure about when it comes to Marina & The Diamonds. She can sing, no doubt, she has a way with a melody, not in question, but perhaps the overly dramatic styling of the songs makes them less palatable? We don’t know. Maybe it’s enough that this is a good tune, with a fun video and a chorus that refuses to leave your brain despite almost surgical attempts to extract it. We’ve just ‘found’ the album, so expect an *exclusive* run down of that very soon.

Out on a limb: Our hopes for 2010

HAPPY 2010 MUSICK LOVERS!

Apologies for the time between posts, we spent the New Year in a drug-induced coma having stumbled upon a warehouse party in East London. Basically, all you need to know is the Police came, the guy will be out of hospital soon and yes, your inner most fears being played out on the inside of your eyelids like a movie for 48 hours is more terrifying than death itself. Ah, fun times.

So, let’s kick this new decade off with another list shall we? This time, let Musick guide you through the next twelve months by picking out five new acts to keep an eye on. Haven’t the BBC done something like this you say? And nearly every other respectable publication this side of the NME? Well, yes, but there ain’t no party like Musick party, right? Right.

Les Corps Mince de Francoise

Three Finnish beauties with a difficult French moniker, make childish, hyperactive dance-pop to make you smile.

Listen to: ‘Something Golden’

Francis and the Lights

Slick, Prince-inspired funk from idiosyncratic white soul boy. The dancing in the video below is not recommended to those with weak knees.

Listen to: ‘The Top’

The Drums

Obvious really, but no less valid. Their debut EP, Summertime, is one of the best things released in recent memory. Sun-kissed melodies + infinite sadness = The Drums.

Listen to: ‘I Felt Stupid’

Theophilus London

We’ve written about him before, but having seen him live recently we’re even more excited about his debut. Fusing vintage hip-hop with icy electro, expect Theophilus London to appear in a lot of magazines and sell very little, but still be amazing.

Listen to: ‘Humdrum Town’

Marina & The Diamonds

Born in Greece, raised in Wales and as feisty as pop stars are allowed to be these days, Marina makes opulent pop songs overflowing with piano, jaunty melodies and a clever, knowing centre.

Listen to: ‘Hollywood’

WARNING: OTHER POP STARS ARE AVAILABLE.

New stuff from old favourites

We’ve featured these two acts a couple of times of late, but they’re both back once again with the renegade master, which is nice. First up are Hot Chip who recently gave us this and have now come back with this, their first single from their new album of the same name:

Apologies for the static, it’s what Parlophone have determined appropriate for the visuals before the video is finished (they started filming it today, fact fans). It’s a rather wonderful single, no? It’s got all your favourite Hot Chip elements without being an obvious rip off of former glories. Plus, the sentiment is typically sweet, taking the idea of a one night stand and turning it into something that lasts a whole lifetime…oh God.

Next up, it’s Marina & The Diamonds who’s only just released this as a kind of ‘buzz’ single, so is now back with what will be her first single proper. We’re guessing this will come out at some point in January, perhaps just before the BRITS, where perhaps she might, possibly, who knows, win an award? Either way, it will be around the time of all those lovely lists proclaiming her and her ilk as the resurrection or something. This is ‘Hollywood’, which comes with it’s very own video:

As with most of Marina’s songs this takes a little while to sink in. It might be the jauntiness, or the faint whiff of Mika in the music and Paloma Faith in the ‘wackiness’. But we tend to think that Marina is better than that, and the bit where she puts on an American accent and says, “Oh my God you look just like Shakira, no no you’re Catherine Zeta, actually my name’s Marina”, proves it.