First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar
Lets start this one with a bit of musical algebra:
I would describe First Aid Kit as a modern folk band, however after being brought up around country and western thanks to my Grandad's love of it, I can definitely hear elements of that genre in this LP.
In the first track, of the same title as the LP it is almost unbelievable that this is a Swedish group as the vocals sound like they are fully fledged southern Americans. The second track on the album 'Emmylou' is a story of love, one of the more uplifting and less melancholic tracks that feature, Pitchfork cite this as the stand out track of 'The Lion's Roar', however for me it is very much a case of save the best till last. The finale sees the sisters joined by a male voice (Conor Oberst) for 'King of the World' which is quite an uptempo track complete with trumpets and accordion, sees the girls and Oberst finish the song singing in perfect harmony, leaving you sad that the album is only eleven tracks long. A solid 8/10 album if ever there was one.
If you like this check out Warpaint's debut EP Exquisite Corpse.
M.I.A. - Bad Girls
If there was a category for video of Jan/Feb I would be handing it to M.I.A. too, in this her first single from her fourth album which is expected to drop this summer she (with the help of Danja on production) takes to the popular around 140bpm territory that has delivered the goods for Jay-Z and Kanye West on Niggas in Paris and Chris Brown ft. Busta Rhymes (Look At Me Now) in recent times. It is more of a return to her Diplo produced roots as opposed to the majority of her previous - and rather disappointing - album 'MAYA' dancefloor friendly beats and a catchy hook. A thorough return to form.
The Wonderful World of Roses Gabor
Roses Gabor delivered the stand out track on my favourite Dance album of 2011 Pharaohs for SBTRKT's self titled long player and also worked with Redlight on the club smash Luvsick to devastating effect. Both of these tracks feature on this mixtape, which is extremely well mixed by Martelo. After the initial introductions Roses comes in with her heavenly voice over Mac Band's 80s track Roses Are Red, before Dizzee Rascal's Fix Up Look Sharp is thrown into the blender for her to deliver the goods over. The mixtape works to this nature for the full 45 minutes, Roses voice working in perfect harmony with Martelo's blends. Other highlights include Roses' vocals over the euphoric almost trance like riffs of Hudson Mohawke and when Roses is joined by Kaigama for the grimey See Me Inna. After hearing this I am eagerly anticipating hearing more of Roses' work, with the amount of UK music alumni popping up on this mixtape to offer their accreditations; Kano and Dizzee to name just two it certainly gives credence to a few potentially tasty collaborations in the future!
Amy Winehouse - Rehab (Federico Regesta Reggae Remix)
A fun remix to end the feature, some people may not be into this but it certainly raised a smile when I heard it and I am sure I will give it a play at The Lovely Job one night this year.
I hope you enjoy my recommendations, let me know what you think over on Twitter @therealmikael and if you would like to hear any of these tracks with a beer in your hand and either side of some good quality live music I will be sure to play some of them at The Lovely Job @ The Zanzibar, Liverpool on March 2nd.