Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Real Girls Making Swell Retro Songs

Girls are dominating pop music like crazy right now. Female acts have absolute dominion of the charts and seem to hold the most swagger in the music industry. It’s a mad state of affairs because it has usually been blokes (most notably white guys with guitars) that have ruled the roost, but right now, it’s girls who are calling the shots.
One is sure that when the pop music historians examine and scrutinise this era they will distil the people with real power are actually middle-aged male executives. These executives, for example, have whitewashed Beyoncé’s ethnicity in order to make her a more exportable property (they did a similar thing with Whitney Huston in the ‘80s by making her don a blonde wig), and have seriously manipulated Adele’s style choices as to make her more palatable for image-conscience consumers uncomfortable with her larger female formation. It seems women are not allowed to be themselves if they want to succeed in the pop music game.

Therefore, It’s best to catch talented girls that can sing before the highly-paid stylists and image-makers turn them into something they’re not. All the songs featured in this post sound pleasantly retro, but are totally new. Luckily, they also haven’t got any misinformed music videos either that can skew our interpretations of what these women are all about.
Emily King’s Distance
A song given away as a free download can alter our judgement principally on the basis that we may give it an easy pass because it didn’t cost us anything. However, Emily King’s Distance is a classy number that echoes the spirit of Minnie Riperton’s 1970s Perfect Angel phase, and because of that, it sounds splendid. King was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album and is a protégé of Clive Davis, which means she’s probably not quite the neophyte I’m making her out to be.

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings’ Making Up and Breaking Up
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings are another of Daptone Records’ funk/ soul revivalist acts that make hipsters feel hipper than they actually are. The inclusion of Jones’ cover of Goldfinger in Martin Scorsese’s god-awful movie The Wolf of Wall Street tells you a lot about just how much hipsters like this group. In fact, Sharon Jones actually features in a wedding scene of the film and said in an interview with the BBC that Leonardo DiCaprio wouldn’t talk to her on set because he didn’t want to break character. That’s a shame as she could’ve talked him into optioning this song because at least that may have given the audience something to appreciate.

Tennis’ Mean Streets
Ironically, Martin Scorsese’s breakout movie was called Mean Streets and began with The Ronettes’ Be my Baby playing over the opening titles. One suspects that Denver-based husband and wife team, Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley (aka: Tennis), kind of were going for the whole 1970s cinematic retro thing when they recorded this track. The Wolf of Wall Street may have benefitted by including this song in its bloated soundtrack because it may have provided a glimmer of respite from the numbingly overbearing song choices they opted for. Oh, well.

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