We check out the tunes that are set to shape our summer and the events we can't wait for
Calvin Harris Ready For The Weekend
Out August 24 Young Calv’s been busy of late, producing for Kylie, putting out two UK number-one singles and remixing everyone from Primal Scream to Groove Armada. It’s a wonder he’s had the time to make Ready For The Weekend, a full-on ‘stadium dance’ album mixing grandiose piano house chords with mainstream electro-pop. Harris’s ability to create simple, infectious choruses means that we’re expecting nothing less than wonderfully naff gold.
Recommended remix: Single ‘Ready For The Weekend’ remixed by High Contrast
Fink Sort Of Revolution
Out now He’s never been a fan of heaviness, but on this self-produced fourth album Fink’s music is stripped back and laid bare. Describing it as down-tempo chill-out may make Sort Of Revolution sound like bargain-basement compilation fodder, but its gorgeous, meandering acoustic folk and the breathy vocals are warm summer treacle. Recommended remix: Fink’s own remix of Nina Simone’s ‘Chilly Winds’
La Roux La Roux
Out now La Roux’s mission to breathe new life into ’80s electronica is picking up speed. Joyful and bleepy, La Roux conjure up images of a simpler time, when music videos were just people singing in front of shifting blocks of colour and big hair wasn’t a fashion but a lifestyle. As smart and gifted as their forebears, La Roux have a touch of Yazoo and Annie Lennox that makes us welcome them with nostalgically open arms. Recommended remix: ‘In For The Kill’ remixed by Skream
Gossip Music For Men
Out now Rock legend Rick Rubin produced Gossip’s live album last year and now he’s behind the buttons for this, their fourth studio album. And, as you may have heard on the first single, ‘Heavy Cross’, he’s funked things up with a darker, vampier electro-soul feel. The very first warble from singer Beth Ditto will raise the hairs, twitch the fingers and move the feet of anyone with a soul. Music For Men? This is music for everyone. Recommended remix: ‘Listen Up’ remixed by Mstrkrft
Dirty Projectors Bitte Orca
Out now You can tell how cool someone is this summer by asking them who Dirty Projectors are. All hip cats know the answer: a New York, alt-rock collective that brings multi-instrumentalist David Longstreth’s varied and complex musical imaginings to life. Six months into 2009 and Bitte Orca has already been labelled album of the year by several, while the band’s growing profile has led to collaborations with the likes of Björk and David Byrne.
Recommended remix: ‘Stillness Is The Move’ remixed by Lucky Dragons
The XX Title TBC
Out September Representing the precocious teen contingent are South London’s The XX. Comprising three guitars, a drum machine and four teenagers who would look more at home at a Linkin Park gig, The XX are this year’s most pleasant surprise. Teenage angst has been replaced with downtrodden disappointment. Boy-girl harmonies, atmospheric guitars and gentle drum loops will entrance. Rough, raw and engaging, these are the ones to watch.
Out now Jack Peñate has broken, Hulk-like, out of his dowdy singer-songwriter exterior and embraced his nuclear-fuelled pop soul with the help of Bloc Party producer Paul Epworth. With Paul’s help, Jack is ahead of the game once more, no longer depressingly ‘Torn On The Platform’, but camping it up with a smidgen of The Scissor Sisters in recent single ‘Be The One’. With a touch of dark disco, Peñate plays proper pop for grown ups.
Remix you should own: ‘Have I Been A Fool’ remixed by Toddla T
Kasabian West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Out now This might be Kasabian’s third LP but it sees (hears?) them really hit their stride. This is lad rock done well, my son. Debut single ‘Fire’ is a rolling, Doors-esque slur that descends into a wobbly, Mariachi-band-style refrain that wouldn’t be out of place in a post-modern Wild West film. Sound bizarre? That’s because it is, but it’s fun, too. Written with the help of producer Dan The Automator, this concept album will have you bouncing around rather than scratching your head.
Recommended remix: ‘Empire’ remixed by Jagz Kooner
Florence And The Machine Lungs
Out July 6 Another Paul Epworth protégé, Florence is this summer’s poster girl for indie electronica. The latest in a line of London art college dropouts and host to a Kate Bush-esque vocal range, Florence is a force to be reckoned with, as are the harpist, keyboarder and drummer that comprise ‘The Machine’. With kooky lyrics, ethereal vocals, complicated arrangements and arty credentials, she’s an intelligent antidote to X-Factor rubbish.
Recommended remix: ‘Rabbit Hearts’ remixed by Switch
Regina Spektor Far
Out now Anti-folk guitarist/pianist and critical darling Regina Spektor serves up autobiographical morsels taken from her Russian childhood and New York upbringing via a tasty mix of haunting piano schemes and unusual beat patterns. If Keane have put you off the idea of piano-led music, let Regina renew your faith in the old ebonies and ivories. Recommended remix: ‘Fidelity’ remixed by Morgan Page