The Hotness: Masha Qrella

Masha Qrella AnalogiesBerlin-based solo artist, Masha Qrella’s latest album, Analogies reminds me of The Cardigans on a vacation – and that’s a good thing.

Masha’s been a music making machine for years, but I’m just discovering her; better late than never, I suppose? She’s been a member of two bands and has already released 3 solo albums – I feel so out of the loop. Her voice reminds me a tad of Nina Persson’s (The Cardigans), but way less sugary sweet and with a little bit more edge to it than Nina’s; and also a little bit of Aimee Mann’s when she sings in her lower register.

I’ve been sitting on her new record for a few months waiting for the right moment to write about it, and today’s lazy hazy day by the beach seems like the perfect time. Her new album, Analogies, is a very nice collection of musically diverse, summery songs that it’s impossible not to want to give a few spins to. Each song has a laid back, happy vibe, regardless of the longing nature of some of the lyrics.

Definitely a nice discovery and someone I’ll be looking forward to hearing more from in the future. Check out my favorite songs from Analogies, Bluebottle and Fishing Buddies (which has a “Brokeback Version” as well), below.

*Masha Qrella’s 5th solo album, Analogies, is out now via Morr Music.

http://mashaqrella.de/

 

Masha Qrella “Bluebottle”

 

Masha Qrella “Fishing Buddies”

The Hotness: Sucré

Sucré A Minor Bird When We Were YoungSucré is a magical pop trio comprised of lead singer, Stacy King, Darren King, and Jeremy Larson from Tyler, Texas. No, seriously – they’re from Texas.

It’s no secret that, generally speaking, my favorite artists tend not to be American. Maybe it’s because I’m half English or maybe it’s because I grew up listening to a steady diet of Beatles-esque British Invasion type music (courtesy of my wonderful mother). But the bottom line is that my favorite bands and artists of all-time just aren’t American; which is why I’m pretty excited to be discovering new artists, such as Sucré, of late.

Sucré’s sound is extremely romantic and brings out the daydreamer in me big time. Stacy’s vocals remind me at times of everyone from Emiliana Torrini to Nina Persson (The Cardigans) and someone else that I totally can’t think of right now. Fuck. Who is it? Maybe a not-annoying version of Leigh Nash (Sixpence None The Richer)? Anyway, the point is she’s got a sweet girlish voice which perfectly fits the beautiful orchestral production throughout Sucre’s debut album, A Minor Bird.

The album clocks in at just under 40 minutes; therefore you have no excuse not to give it a chance and listen to the whole thing. It’s really good. My favorite track is either Chemical Reaction or the romantic lead single, When We Were Young; which you can watch the video to below.

Side note: To the writer at Variety who compared their music to Leona Lewis…..are you fucking high or just not listening?

*Sucré’s debut album, A Minor Bird, is out now via Red Velvet.

http://sucreofficial.com/

 

Sucré “When We Were Young”

VIDEO PREMIERE: Saint Etienne “Tonight”

Saint Etienne Words and Music by Saint Etienne Saint Etienne is a UK-based indie dance trio consisting of Sarah Cracknell, Bob Stanley, and Pete Wiggs.

Having spent every summer of my youth in England with my family, I grew up listening to Saint Etienne’s music and they’ve always held a very special place in my heart. For me, they’ve tended to be more of a ‘singles’ band than an album band, though they’ve certainly released more than a few classic records over the years.

“Too Young To Die” was the name of Saint Etienne’s first collection of singles, which came out in 1995. Their sound has always reminded me of a lovechild between The Cardigans and Kylie Minogue, though Sarah’s voice is way lower than that of both Nina Persson and Kylie.

It’s been 7 years since Saint Etienne last released an album – which is mind boggling to me considering I remember the day one of my friends told me about having just purchased 2005’s Tales From Turnpike House as if it were yesterday. But they’re getting ready to release their 8th studio album, Words and Music by Saint Etienne, in May. The first offering from that release comes in the form of “Tonight” – which has Kylie written all over it. In fact, it’s probably one of the best singles they’ve released in over a decade.

Love love love love love.

Check out the video below.

*Saint Etienne’s 8th album, Words and Music by Saint Etienne, is out 21 May.

http://www.saintetienne.com/

 

Saint Etienne “Tonight”

The Hotness: Eight Bit Tiger, Team Me, HandS

The Hotness is your daily look at 3 new songs that are amazing, essential, and are sure to make you horny. Ok, the last part isn’t necessarily true. But if you don’t like at least one of these three songs, you need to check 1) Your testosterone levels 2) Your estrogen levels 3) Your hearing.

Eight Bit Tiger is a Chicago-based dance pop duo consisting of two very attractive Swedish brothers, Erik and Kent Widman. I’ve been near obsessed with their just-released debut album, Parallel Synchronized Randomness, since it found its way into my email box a few weeks back. It’s taken me a while to write about these cats mostly because I’ve had a difficult time figuring out what I was going to say in my piece about them. Well, a  few weeks later and I still have no fucking clue what to say except that Eight Bit Tiger take the best elements of everyone from 80s Lionel Ritchie, Prince and a little Michael Jackson, and blend them into tight new wave-y dance tunes which recall the best production from songs by Roisin Murphy and even The Cardigans. I know that’s a ton of references, but if imagining all of those artists in a room making music doesn’t give you a musical boner, then you’re fucked – and not in a good way. The first single off Parallel Syncronized Randomness is called “Numbers” but I’ve decided to post “Our World” in order to back up my Cardigans reference. Check it out below.

*Eight Bit Tiger’s debut album, Parallel Synchronized Randomness, is out now via The Musik Group.

http://www.eightbittiger.com/

 

Eight Bit Tiger “Our World”

 

Team Me is a great Norwegian band comprised of singer Marius and backed by keyboardist Synne, guitarist Simen, bassist Uno, drummer Bjarne and bassist Simen. 2011 has been a year full of many amazing musical discoveries for me, and Team Me are right up there with one of the best of the year. Their sound is rooted in folk, but full of all sorts of fun instruments, plenty of pop hooks and a nice assortment of clever lyrics – most notably within the chugging pop of their song “Patrick Wolf & Daniel Johns”. Comparison-wise, Team Me reminds me of a more jingly version of New Pornographers if sung by the lead singer of Wheatus. While listening to their excellent debut album “To The Treetops!” I can’t help but imagine Team Me’s music being turned into a Broadway musical one day – what with their perfectly-over-produced tunes (yes, that can be a good thing, too), happy harmonizing and penchant for storytelling. My favorite track on an album of many great ones is called “Show Me” and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t put a smile on your face. Listen to it below.

*Team Me’s new album, To The Treetops!, is out now in Norway via Propeller Recordings. (I’ll keep you posted on a US release)

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Me/323216760280

 

Team Me “Show Me”

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HandS is a sexy Norwegian duo comprised of Håkon Njøten and Sofie Storaas, who are making their 2nd appearance on The Hotness with their latest jam, “So Surreal”. You may or may not remember that I wrote about HandS a couple of weeks ago when I featured their Abba-meets-Roxette-via New Order-ish debut single “Romance”. Though I liked Romance, I love that they’ve done a 180 with (b-side) “So Surreal” – a midtempo pop song which is truly a collaborative effort between Hakon and Sofie’s vocals. At times the song reminds me of some of my favorite Things-To-Make-And-Do-era Moloko tracks, but much smoother and with far fewer acrobatics than anything Moloko ever did. Clocking in at just under 4 minutes, “So Surreal” is one of those perfect slices of pop music that may not grab you at first, but will certainly reward with repeated listens. Good stuff. Check it out below.

*HandS’s new single, Gold, will be out in a few weeks via Cosmos Music.

http://www.hands-music.com/

 

HandS “So Surreal”

 

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