Dig These Discs :: Lana Del Rey, Foxes, Hercules & Love Affair, Deluka, Brooke Candy
Hercvles and Love Affair team up with a wide assortment of artists for their 10-track album. Lana Del Rey sings sadly in "Ultraviolence." Brooke Candy shovels out the fun and filthy rap cuts in her new album, "Opulence." Deluka relocates to L.A. and finds their bliss. And Southampton singer Foxes drops her promising debut album.
"The Feast of the Broken Heart" (Hercvles and Love Affair)
It’s no-holds-barred with Hercvles and Love Affair’s new album, a collection of 10 tracks, each with a different featured artist. They give the old Moog a workout with their intro, "Hercules Theme 2014," and it sounds straight out of "Beverly Hills Cop." Krystle Warren adds a disco patina to "My Offence," a funky dance cut, with the refrain, "I’ve come too far from the girl I used to be for you to make a bitch outta me." Damn, that’s badass! She adds mystery later, when she sings in "The Light," singing how she knew a change was in the air, but "what that change would look like, I could not entertain." John Grant waits patiently for his love to come to him in "I Try To Talk To You," a darker song that has him sounding as depressed as Morrissey. He lends his voice again in the trance-dance track, "Liberty," with its dubstep break. Gustaph brings the funk to "That’s Not Me," singing, "don’t go down for that rebound." It’s one of the best on the album. He’s back for "Do You Feel the Same?" a popping tune with a strong bass line, clap tracks reminiscent of a ’70s dance floor, and a liturgy of feats that love would do for you. The beats are memorable in "Think" with Rouge Mary warning you to "find the devil you know." Always good advice. She also chimes in on "5.43 to Freedom," another catchy tune fueled by beats, with a lot of vocal samples and the inspiring refrain, "be yourself." And she helps close the album with "The Key," an inspired track with rocking horns. From first to last, this album will truly satisfy you.
"Opulence" (Brooke Candy)
American rapper/singer Brooke Candy first caught our attention co-starring in the music video for Grimes’ hit single "Genesis," and went on to release several hot videos, including "I Wanna Fuck Right Now." This is hardly a surprise; the pink cornrowed, metallic bikini-wearing Candy is the daughter of the Hustler Magazine CFO and Hustler Casino CEO. Candy raps about getting jewels at Tiffany’s in "Opulence," a prom queen, doing the wrong things in this electronic dancefloor cut. You better recognize her opulence as she pulls up in her whip! Her cut "Pop Rock" has an island beat like Rihanna puts in her tracks as she promises to "put ya in my mouth, pop you like a pop rock." Suggestive? You bet! She literally says "I’m a make you come come." The springs are squeaking in the fast-rap cut, "Bed Squeak." "I can’t make it any clearer come nearer I’ll make your head freak/Lose your inhibitions, get strippin’ and make the bed squeak," Candy sings. Cory Enemy chimes in on "Feel Yourself (Alcohol)," a pulsing, quick-moving song with prominent keyboards about imbibing a bit too much. She tacks the Nicki Minaj tack in the fast-rapping, cash-focused "Godzillionaire." This EP will leave you wondering what Candy has next for her fans.
British indie rock aand new Wave group Deluka is back with "Bonds," a five-song EP of their newest work, a tapestry of pop, electro and rock. Lead singer Ellie Innocenti has brought her team of producer/guitarist Kris Kovacs, bass player Robbie G. and drummer Stevie J. Palmer to Los Angeles from Brooklyn to "peel back the clutter and agitation of the city" and focus their sound. This new EP, "Bonds" features only five songs, but it’s enough to make you happy that they’ve stuck with it. The soft, spacey rock is synthesizer heavy, and mild enough to showcase Innocenti’s talented pipes. "Your energy danced around me, keeps me warm keeps me alive/ and you feel like a place to sleep when its late somewhere I can close my eyes," she sings in the first track, "Home," as she begs to return to her city. She brings the indie wave sound hard in "Dead of Night," a story about a rocky relationship, a "battle between love and hate." Innocenti rocks out in one of the best cuts on the album, "American Skies," with the chorus, "you need a lesson in love," and the chorus of ladies counting down. Her cut "The Only Ones" is a bit more predictable in its anthemic sound, and "Blackout" is a rock ballad that we can all get behind, with its girl-band sound and clap track. If you’re on the West Coast, catch Deluka at your local nightclub.
English singer/songwriter Louisa Rose Allen, aka Foxes, drops her debut album this week. She flexes her voice from the first track, "Count the Saints," singing high with a chorus of voices backing her. The effect is like Tori Amos with a bit less angst -- especially in slow, high soprano tracks like "Night Glo." She adds the swinging drum beat of a pop track to "Echo" singing the refrain, "you got the beat inside." Allen slows things down with the ballad "Glorious," with refrains of percussion adding interesting layers. Her voice moves up and down the scales in "Holding Onto Heaven," a sentimental ditty released as a free single on iTunes last December. A piano intro pairs with clap tracks in the slow-building cut "Let Go For Tonight." Allen said she views her songs as a "form of therapy," calling the "extremely personal" debut an example of "me talking to myself." She seems to negotiate this battle well, as seen in tracks like "Night Owls Early Birds," a song that is both fast and slow, ballad and fast-moving pop tune. "Talking to Ghosts" will pull at your heartstrings, and "Count the Saints" will thrill with the refrain, "Love isn’t always fair, but that’s no reason to be so cruel to me." She includes "In Her Arms" and "White Coats," two cuts from her first EP "Warrior." Foxes is just back from a tour of England, Scotland and Ireland; pick up her new release today.
"Ultraviolence" (Lana Del Rey)
Lana Del Rey, aka Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, made a dubious first impression during an early performance on "Saturday Night Live," with critics eviscerating her after several missteps, and fans crying foul after finding out about her alter-ego Lizzy Grant and the millionaire daddy who bankrolled her career. Although she went on to sell a lot of albums and find fans along the way, she’s still a polarizing force. Rey’s voice is a soporific contralto that is sometimes clear, as in "Sad Girl," and sometimes muffled, as if she’s singing through a mouth full of cotton. She describes herself as "a self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra," and her indie sound is aptly named "Hollywood sadcore." In "Cruel World," she sings, "with my little red party dress on, everyone knows I’m a mess, I’m crazy." She whispers her way through the title song "Ultraviolence," pausing for a spoken-word break toward the end, saying, "He hit me and it felt like a kiss." It seems that Del Rey has a penchant for making something ugly seem beautiful. In songs like "Shades of Cool" you can see how her work is sometimes characterized as reminiscent of the score for a James Bond film. The instrumentals have lots of reverb and a surf guitar sound, with a twinge of jazz in there -- "Brooklyn Baby" is a good example of this, as she sings, "and my boyfriend’s in a band, he plays guitar while he sings Lou Reed/ I’ve got feathers in my hair, I get high on hydroponic weed." Her lyrics are a balance between the girl band sound of the ’50s and Lady Gaga, as she sings tunes like, "I Fucked My Way Up to the Top," a song that critics say finds Del Rey taking on her young competitor, Lorde. The album’s first single, "West Coast," catalogs the push-pull relationship she has with a lover, vacillating between love and hate just as the tempo of the song moves between the verses and the chorus. It’s among the best tracks on the album. Her soprano chops are shown off in "Money Power Glory," a song about what Del Rey wants, with lyrics like, "I’m gonna take them for all that they got." With the plethora of "Girls" fans running around town, Del Rey has certainly found a market for self-deprecating, emotionally depressed stories about the awful men in her life. Let’s just hope she doesn’t fall into the deep, dark pit she’s dug for herself.