“Love’s a fucking bitch.”

“Rapt” by Karen O | Here it is: the first single off Karen O’s debut album, Crush Songs, which hits stores this September. “Rapt” is short and lovingly lo-fi and, well, quite biting still. Just what you’d expect from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs vocalist. Just a quick post, this one. On to you. Thoughts? Anyone? No? [NB]

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The whimsy of Option Musique

Thanks to the complicated nature of Swiss national identity, there are many public radio stations in Switzerland: six for the Germans, three for the Italians, one for the Romansh and four for the French. Option Musique falls in the latter category, and of all the French-language stations I’ve listened to, it’s definitely the most, uhh, quirky. And I say this as a listener to FIP, the eclectic radio station that plays Beethoven and Blur next to each other (and where I found some of the songs I’ve written about). Option Musique is filled with classic French pop, and some newer songs here and there, and the occasional English song (they had Tears for Fears when I listened) – but it’s built so that it sounds like you’re listening from an AM radio in your home in generic idyllic mountains. Like you’re in an idealized version of the 60s, completed with faded colors and grainy images. There’s a sense of whimsy throughout, from the French-speaking DJs, to the choice of songs (the melodic, familiar mix means you don’t have to understand French to get it), to the jingles themselves. Ah, yes, the jingles. Option Musique has the most adorable jingles I’ve ever heard. It’s, should I say, flower-y. [NB]

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“For a couple of hours, such a beautiful day!”

“Daydream” by Wallace Collection | It’s likely you’ve heard this song somewhere, sampled on a bunch of electronica tracks – or maybe it’s just me and my constant listening to British radio. I Monster’s track “Daydream In Blue” is the most popular track to sample this song (although they actually used a cover of it), going back to 1969. Wallace Collection may be a mostly forgotten band now, buried underneath all the wonder stories of the 60s music scene, but for a moment the Belgian band was a big deal, all because of this song. Wallace Collection – named after the London museum – tried to capitalize on its success, but despite a slew of hits in their home country, ended up parting ways in 1971. (They reunited in 2005.) Now you hear this song in a few places – I only chanced upon this after listening to a Swiss radio station, more of which I’ll talk about later – but there’s something about hearing the original. Such heft. [NB]

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“…but you know I love you too much.”

“Simple Science” by Zero 7 | British electronica duo Zero 7 are back and, if you’re expecting something chilled, you might be disappointed. To be fair to the guys, it’s been thirteen years since Simple Things, and they’ve been moving away from a strictly chilled sound – their last studio album, 2009′s Yeah Ghost, was less Balearic and more Bristolian. Their new single, “Simple Science”, still has that Zero 7 DNA though – there’s just this quality that makes it unmistakably them. This time, though, it’s got a dance-y vibe, not dissimilar to what Röyksopp has done before, so – and I’m flicking through YouTube comments here – why yearn stubbornly for another Simple Things? Clearly things are not as simple as that anymore. [NB]

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Review: The Voyager by Jenny Lewis

The Voyager by Jenny LewisFor all the warm fuzzies you get from Jenny Lewis’ third solo effort, there’s actually a lot of work (and emotion) coming into this. The Voyager took five years to write; in those years, her band Rilo Kiley broke up, and her father, who she was distant to for most of her life, passed away. (“You Can’t Outrun ‘Em”, a song about their reconnection, is inevitably one of the most poignant on the record.) But it’s not all strife and heartbreak on the album. One thing Jenny does well is add a dash of sugar to what would usually be a bitter pill, and The Voyager shows that quite well. The sound, too: it’s familiar and timeless indie pop, jangly with a hint of 70s growl here and there. Yeah, not out of place in a Rilo Kiley collection, but there’s something indescribable here – something that yells “Jenny Lewis solo record”. [NB] | 4/5

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