Every month, the OurStage community (that’s you) listens and ranks the songs competing on OurStage.com. Once those songs get to the Finals stage, five grand prize winners are selected. Those winners get featured on the ‘OurStage on Amazing Radio’ show, broadcast from the UK to hundreds of thousands of music fans, both on terrestrial radio in the UK and online around the world. Last month’s show is streaming now. Below are the top five that you’ll hear on this month’s show, but you can preview them now by clicking here for a playlist.
“Remember Your Strategies” by Silent Party
“Wide Open” by Brooks Maguire
“Angel” by Rezzonator
“Bet It All” By TAP TAP
“Driven You To Ground” by Phaedrum
Jordan Corey has just dropped her new single “Focus” via her Bandcamp page. It’s a complex and subtle pop song, with a heavy electronica influence. It marks a departure from some of the more vintage elements of her previous singles, with a thoroughly modern vibe. The propulsive beats and bass lines bubble underneath soothingly lush synth swells and Corey’s incredibly restrained but compellingly melodic vocal. Layered harmonies cut in and out to complement the synthesizer. Overall, it’s a beautiful relief from some of the aggressively uptempo and overwrought pop currently bombarding the airwaves.
A onetime OurStage ‘Artist of the Week,’ Corey recently played the infamous Electric Daisy Carnival EDM festival. She’s been teasing a video to accompany “Focus,” so we hope to have more from her soon.
It’s not easy to be a really hooky pop band while also being markedly original. But on their newest LP Golden Time, Late Cambrian have shed their more direct influences in favor of a unique take on the time-tested guitar/bass/drums/harmonies formula. Take for instance the song “Objects May Appear,” which just got the video treatment. Irresistible chord changes come in waves, sweeping over a syncopated beat and lead guitar line, and on top of it all are, yes, incredibly sweet melodies and harmonies. The video is a kind of perfect, zen experience that simply enhances your complete absorption into the song. I’m not saying they’re changing the face of music forever – it’s still guitar pop – but if you can listen to / watch this only once with no repeats, well, you’re a stronger person than I.
About a month ago, after One Direction dropped their latest release, Midnight Memories, most reviewers couldn’t help but point out the album’s shameless knock-offs of some of the biggest pop hits of the ’80s including “Jessie’s Girl,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” and pretty much any song by Asia, just to name a few. And, yes, while the songwriters behind the squeaky clean boy band’s smash singles make their musical points of reference pretty obvious to any listener older than 12, they also manage to pull off some patently ingenious lyrical references that slipped by most recaps of the album “ mostly because that was precisely what they were designed to do.
Upon a first listen, the first verse of “Better Than Words” sounds like pretty standard fare for a One Direction song: a just-generic-enough description of crazy, undeniable love that sweeps you up in its whirlwind of affection and excitement.
Better than words
But more than a feeling
Crazy in love
Dancing on the ceiling
But, if you haven’t noticed it already, each line is also a song in its own right. The second line. The third line. And, you guessed it. These aren’t just lyrics in a One Direction song, they’re built-in references to seminal pop hits. And they’re placed directly next to the title of the One Direction song, itself the very first line of the song.
Happy New Year’s Eve, music lovers! As a special treat for fans, Artist Vs Poet have released a new single called “Close To You,” which you can take a listen to below. The band will be touring Japan this February with William Beckett for shows in Osaka, Nagoya, and Tokyo, in support of their latest release, Keep Your Secrets.
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To be clear, this is not really about Beyoncé’s new album. It’s not about her incorporation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s feminist TED Talk on the track “Flawless.” It’s not about her anti-marketing strategy. And it’s definitely not about judging whether the music is overrated or not.
Because beyond any of the numerous aspects of the album’s production that Beyoncé had under her control “ the probably insane non-disclosure agreements regarding the album’s release, the video treatments, the feminist lyrics, the genre-spanning production “ what is just as fascinating about the new album are Beyoncé’s fans reactions to it, and the repeated hyperbole that they use when they talk about her, especially in contrast to their own lives.
It isn’t news to anybody that Beyoncé’s fans elevate her to the level of royalty, and, most of the time, to the level of a goddess. It’s become just as commonplace for the casual fan to refer to Beyoncé as “Queen Bey” as it has for some of the press’ most respected music critics. But if you comb through enough tweets and status updates about Beyoncé, you’ll see another interesting trend: that, in their veneration, her fans repeatedly tend to openly highlight their own supposed personal insignificance and lack of achievement to the pop queen’s grandiose accomplishments.
Here are some anonymous Beyoncé-related samples from the recent Twitter archives:
“I can barely make my bed in the morning. @beyonce is on a world tour and puts out an album and a shit ton of videos. what am i doing?”
“Beyoncé made more money in the past hour than I have in my whole life.”
“I don’t want to sound like a crazy stan, but listening to Beyonce’s new album is why we were put on this earth”
“Let it sink in that 2-year-old Blue Ivy Carter already has a verse on a Beyonce song, once again proving she is more powerful than us all.”
A recent Buzzfeed review of Beyonce’s new album takes a cursory stab at dissecting this phenomenon: Even casual fans approach her as a sort of deity, in large part because thinking of her as a superhuman being is part of what makes her music and performances so much fun.”
There’s nothing like a little Scottish synthpop to ease you into a Monday morning. Performing in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, Chvrches recently covered East 17‘s “Stay Another Day”” and covered it well. Maybe it’s the added female vocals, or the steady synth, but this tune carries the perfect winter vibes, bringing us right into the holiday season.
Chvrches will take off on a UK tour this March, hitting Dublin, Glasgow, and Leeds before ending in London. Check out their cover below.
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I really tried to give Lana Del Rey the benefit of the doubt on this one. I swear. I was hoping that her half-hour long short film Tropico, an epic tale based on the biblical story of sin and redemption, wasn’t going to be another poorly“conceived attempt at grand symbolism and “deep” meaning that would inevitably force me to question why I ever derived any satisfaction from her music in the first place and would once again make me come face to face with the full scope of her guileless superficiality and lack of insight. But you know what Mick Jagger says.
So, just for the sake of convenience, even though the biblical triptych of innocence, sin, and redemption is the central conceit of the video, I’m going to ignore the overwrought and overused religious parallels that Lana cuts and pastes with bowling ball-level subtlety and focus more on her decision to include voiceovers of her reading excerpts from Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg poems, which is exactly as pretentious as it sounds.