by Hadrian Miguel, Lifestyle & Beauty Director
Here’s some music that’s in heavy rotation at Tangerine Living, these artists have a dominance on our music players and threaten to blow out the speakers because we like to listen out loud and proud!
Helen Folasade Adu better known as Sade is back in the limelight with a new studio album Soldier of Love after a 10 year hiatus.
The first two tracks, “The Moon and The Sky” and the album title track “Soldier of Love” marks her triumphant return with a vengeance and lets everyone know she is back with smooth grooves, and smoky vibes, and why quite frankly she is the Queen of the torch song, the warrior of love.
Sade’s voice and sound are in classic form, timeless and familiar, always honeyed and inviting, yet moody and cool too. It’s the arrangements, instrumentations, storytelling, and lyrics that keeps her and the band at the top of their game with layers of imagery and emotion. This is evident on my favorite tracks “Skin” as Sade croons “Now as I begin to wash you off my skin, I’m gonna peel you away, ’cause you’re not right within”, on “Bring Me Home” she laments, “Put me on a plate with petals and a fire, And send me out to sea. Turn my angry sword against my heart, And let me free” and lovingly admits “My heart has been a lonely warrior who’s been to war, so you can be sure. In my heart, your love has found, the safest hiding place” in“The Safest Place”.
Listen to a sneak peek from Sade’s “Skin”
and “Bring Me Home”
Tracks like “Babyfather” sung from many points of view showcases additional singers woven with Sade’s soothing tone, let’s you know you can feel good about yourself no matter who you are, as a child, as a parent. With “Long Hard Road” the strumming guitar and melancholic vocals somehow assures us that on a long hard road ahead, when the big old world is closing in, know “it’s gonna be alright.”
I am stuck on repeat with this one, as I can always rely on Sade to remind me of the joy, sorrow, pain, and the unmitigated excitement and glow of love, the good, bad, and sexy…the haunting, hope, and horror of it. Just the way I like it, Sade sets my heart on fire time and time again with rays of sunshine often mixed with confusion and despair.
State of Decay
The twosome behind Australian band Parralox, Amii and John Von Ahlen are right on track with keeping the electro vibe alive in 2010. The group was created in 2008 from the love of all things synthetic, science fiction, and surreal.
Their sophomore album has pop sounds reminiscent to 80′s dance artists like Yaz, Heaven 17, Pet Shop Boys, and Stacey Q.
The opening tracks “Beautiful World” and “Universe, I Love You” are a good place to start with uplifting electro gems, but it’s the lead off single, “Hotter” that is one of my favorite tracks with music that’s sexy and melodic…and lyrics that are catchy, ironic, and playful, “You’re just what I’m looking for, I just wish you looked a little bit hotter, we could be so perfect together, what a shame you weren’t a little bit hotter.”
Other standouts are “In the Night” and “Isn’t It Strange” which has John sharing the vocals and adding additional textures and layers to Amii’s expressions.
Parralox down shifts into a lower gear with “Be Careful What You Wish For”, “Time” and the closer “Hold Me Now” are tunes that have moody, atmospheric undertones of an esoteric film score.
With State Of Decay, Parralox has a very lush outing from beginning to end with fun, introspective, and danceable music that is sophisticated and so different from the current crop of mainstream pop tarts.
Check out the sultry first single “Hotter” from Parralox
The debut release by red-hot Manchester-based band Delphic is loaded with resonant, well-tuned songs with stellar chords, keyboards. The band includes Richard Boardman, Matt Cocksedge, James Cook, and Dan Hadley and their sound is very reminiscent of a very early Human League, and New Order in their heyday.
On “Doubt”, one of my favorite tracks, and “Counterpart” synthesizers, guitars, and vocals harmonize together in fast, dance rhythms and beats. “Submission” my other favorite track has fine Duran Duran-like moments while “Red Lights” is an infectious rush of euphoria laced with melancholy. “This Momentary” and “Halcyon” repeats the dance formula with modern touches.
Much more than 80′s revivalists, Delphic starts the new year with very listenable, fun, and thoughtful music that helps to solidify them as a versatile, modern indie dance band.
Here’s the “DOUBT” music vid from Delphic
Marina & the Diamonds is Marina Diamandis, a Greek/Welsh singer and songwriter. Marina’s hope for the album is for it to be enjoyed and consumed as a story and theory that encourages people to question themselves because it’s a body of work largely inspired by the seduction of commercialism, modern social values, family and female sexuality.
Marina is a new type of pop vixen. She is sort of refreshing in today’s pop climate. With a big voice, experimental songs, and more piano & keyboard-based music, she is more of a Kate Bush-y, Tori Amos-ish, and Lady GaGa-esque chanteuse with more shrieks, snarls and prowls.
“Hollywood” is most radio-friendly with its smoldering vocals, and a super sexy music vid. The song is a cautionary tale about how Hollywood can change you and get you all caught up in all the wrong things. The obsession with celebrity culture is really unhealthy and Marina didn’t want to live life like that, not wanting to be a typical tabloid-fodder pop star. “Shampain” is another standout that has good potential for radio with its hints of 80′s new wave synthesizers.
Other highlights includes the quirky gems of “I Am Not A Robot”, “Numb”, “Seventeen” and “Obsessions” all of which are some of the best songs Marina has to offer. I hope to see many electro-inspired remixes in her future to make her brand of musical uniqueness more dance-ready, ultimately thrusting her into the stratosphere.
Here is the video for Marina’s second single, “Hollywood”
Wonderful Life [EP]
Major Label Records
Last and most definitely not least, the band HURTS is a UK synth-pop duo hailing from Manchester and made up of Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson. The future seems blindingly bright with the launch of their EP, Wonderful Life.
Their EP contains 5 great songs, including the title track “Wonderful Life” and also a special remix by Arthur Baker. The song is based on two extremes: the first being a man who wants to kill himself and the second being love at first sight. The man’s standing on the bridge about to jump and he’s suddenly stopped by a woman. They see each other and fall in love. The woman basically saves him and says it’s going to be okay. The song only offers a moment of someone’s life, so we don’really know what the outcome is.
HURTS’ music has a mix of disco lento (Italian slow disco), a touch of gloom and doom, excellent melodies and songwriting, an industrious and meticulous attention to sonics and atmosphere, and you have a HURTS brand of well-crafted synth-pop. This winning formula is also apparent on “Blood, Tears and Gold” and “Unspoken” and will most definitely hold me over until they finishing recording their full-length debut album launching this summer.
Take a listen here to “Unspoken”
Here’s HURTS “Wonderful Life” and see what all the buzz is about:
Thanks for stopping by and checking out our top music choices for Winter and keep it locked here when next month we preview hot new music that’s blooming for Spring!