Single of the Week: Cornelia “Stormy Weather”

Scandinavia excels at the independent, and songstress Robyn epitomises everything that is right about going it alone. Having suffered many a setback as she was initially launched as a teenie popstrel by a major label, she has succesfully reinvented herself as an indie electro icon. So, to receive praise, acclaim and advice directly from such a respected figure is no small feat for an upcoming starlet. Swedish electro pop songstress, Cornelia, who oozes Robyn’s influence yet still sounds fully fledged and cutting edge, is without any doubt a superstar in the making. “Stormy Weather” is an epic anthem that will have you hooked for all the rights reasons-the smoky vocal, the twisting beat and haunting tempo.

ALBUM REVIEW:Amanda Mair “Amanda Mair”

Amanda Mair has an unfair advantage. She is a teenage popstar from Sweden, two distinct advantages that set her apart from the crowd. Sweden has produced everyone from ABBA through to the A*Teens, Robyn through to Loreen – all acts who have used pop to conquer the world and it’s dancefloors. Throw into the mix her tender years and popstar good looks, qualities which saw Tiffany, JT, Britney and Christina to the top, and initial success is  inevitable. However, Amanda Mair manages to supersede both these advantages in one foul swoop on her eponymous debut.

Amanda Mair may be Swedish and a teenager but her album is much more aligned to the work of Kate Bush than it is to Louise. Mair boasts a vocal that fuses Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush in one effortless breath, which lifts her well constructed, radio friendly ditties into a divine territory.

Kicking off proceedings with the Orient inspired “Said And Done” is an inspired move. Sweeping instrumentation compliments Mair’s delicate vocal and “Said And Done” sets the bar high, a bar which Mair constantly surpasses. Single “Doubt” follows, perhaps encompassing exactly what the album stands for. A haunting display of pretty vocals and no punches pulled instrumentation makes Mair a hypnotic affair.

With no skip ahead moment, it could be said that Mair’s debut is the epitome of the pop record. With a diversity in her sonic approach, each song feels like it would suffer without her presence. While there are no lowlights, there are certainly highlights. The piano-centric “House” gets the spine tingling, while the poppier “Sense” oozes the innocent charm of Eurovision winner Lena-which is no bad thing. However it is the stripped back “Skinnarviksberget” really showcases Mair’s vocal capabilities, and can only be described as lush.

Amanda Mair is so much more than a pop puppet. She is the epitome of what pop can be. Her is an honest, open affair that uses no trickery or foolery to enhance the experience. If there is any justice in the world, Amanda Mair will be rewarded for her refreshing approach.

Rating 5/5
Reviewer:Jeremy Williams

The Kaje talks creative growth to Manna

Finnish songstress Manna first registered on The Kaje‘s register when she unleashed the beyond brilliant “Songs Of Hope And Desire” back in 2010. With “Truth Song” and “Holy Dirty Game” constantly sung around the office, we were majorly thrilled to hear that Manna was back with album number 3, “Shackles”, and if the stunningly stirring title track is anything to go by, it will be just a blinding and brilliant as its predecessors. With two years to catch up on, The Kaje jumped at the chance to talk creative growth with the lady herself…

“Shackles” is album number 3-how have you grown as an artist over the course of 3 records?

I’m always interested in trying out new things and making my sound evolve by it. I get bored so easily! Creating music with real emotion is my goal but I tend to change the approach production wise and sound wise with every album.
Is your approach to your career the same now as it was at the outset?
You live and you learn! I’m more hands on with all the details now at every stage from composing to production.
What would you say is your defining goal?
Being able to release and tour all over the world. Hopefully one day it’ll be possible.
How would you describe your sound?
On “Shackles”, I would say: moody, rough and dark but with a lot of melodies. Emotional also. I love creating landscapes with music, I aim to make the sound tell a story also, not just the lyrics.
Critics often pull comparisons with PJ Harvey, Courtney Love and Alanis Morissette out of the bag-do you agree with these?
Hmm, I can surely appreciate all of them, so I take it as great compliment. Though Alanis I haven’t listened to.  I guess there aren’t that many women making guitar driven rock´n´roll after  all!
If you were forced to state your own comparisons, who would you say you sound like?
So far I’ve been happy to have comparisation with only musicians I admire, hopefully it’ll stay that way!  I’m just in the process of demoing new songs with gospel and old blues influences so we’ll see who they compare me too with the next album. Although very flattered about comparisations, in the end I of course hope to sound like myself !
What are the overriding themes involved with “Shackles”?
Breaking all “Shackles” that keeps one from evolving, mostly fear.. In the end it’s about the aim for real freedom.
“Battleships” and “Shackles” have already been released from the record-how do you select your singles?
The one’s that are ready the first! Just kidding. I listen to the songs and pick the singles with intuition. The ones I’m keen at the moment of choosing usually!
What other songs should we keep our ears open for?
“Wishing Well” and “Soul To Keep” are very dear to me. So I can give you those two, but I do recommend listening all of the album as it’s thought out as a whole really.
The album sees you teaming up with Mark Lanegan-how did the collaboration come about?
He was recording his solo album with the same producer as I were, so coming by the studio Alain ( the producer) played him some tracks we were working on and to my happiness he liked them. He even wrote his own lines to my song “Wishing Well” which made me so proud as I have tremendous respect for him, I remember listening to his recordings with Kurt Cobain and the the Screaming Trees (his first band) already as a little girl.
Who else do you have ambitions to collaborate with?
Hmm, there are so many I admire!  Karen Dalton or Nina Simone if they were alive, but from the one’s that are still here, I would have to say Bob Dylan or Patti Smith as they are both hero’s of mine. M.I.A and Robyn are geniuses in my books, so let’s add them to the list. I used to love Oasis as teenager so for old times sake I have to say Noel Gallagher also. Eclectic bunch there as I’ve always loved all sort of music. As long as it feels real, has soul and emotion and a good melody – you got me. I’m easy like that..
Interview and Photographs by Jeremy Williams

VIDEO: K Anderson & Kal Lavelle “Indestructible”

It has been a while since we have been invited into K Anderson’s bedroom, but it appears that he has new bed sheets! But aside from the colourful linen, he also has one of our favourite singers of the moment Kal Lavelle beside him. Combined they take on Swedish songstress Robyn’s “Indestructible” and do a pretty good job of it really!

VIDEO: K Anderson & Kal Lavelle “Dancing On My Own”

The early nineties saw Madonna invite you into her bed, and the late Paula Yates could be seen in bed with someone every morning on The Big Breakfast and so why should DIY artist K Anderson break the mould? Every fortnight K Anderson will exploring the arts world and to celebrate his launch he has teamed up with our old favourite Kal Lavelle for a stunning rendition of Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own”…

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