New Music Mix: Interview with Simon Curtis, Yelle in Concert and “Born This Way” at Last


So summer is just around the
corner and the concert season is heating up! Within just these past three weeks
since our latest New Music Mix, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to catch
Yelle otherwise known as the French
equation to Robyn, British musical
prodigy James Blake with Active Child, and Swedish indie singer Lykke Li live in concert. All were
equally awesome in their own right.

I have not had quite as much fun
at a show (probably since first seeing Robyn in concert) as I did when I saw
Yelle. Going into Yelle’s show I was only familiar with a few of her songs. The
TEPR remix of “A Cause des Garcons” was
posted on a few years ago and I knew that this gal had
something special, especially after the video went so viral.

Her latest hit “Safari Disco Club” is one
of my favorite pop songs this year. And even though I don’t quite understand a
word of what she is saying (and I took 8 years of French), I don’t feel like
you need to in order to enjoy her music. I thoroughly enjoyed her show start to
finish, not really having familiarity with any of the songs, and that doesn’t
often happen for me. I typically like what I know.

Yelle in concert

The energy at her show is what
is just so remarkable. She has the “It factor,” star power, she commands her
audience. Not to diss on Robyn, but I feel like comparing one to the other,
Yelle makes more of a lasting presence in her shows than the Swedish pop star
does. When Yelle walks on stage she owns the room, she owns the audience, and
after her show I wanted to own everything she has ever made. And I will see her
again very soon trust me. Keep your eye out for future Yelle dates.

Active Child

Next I got to check out the sold
out show of UK producer, composer and much buzzed about musician James Blake with opener Active Child. Many of you I’m sure are
not that familiar with Active Child,
but it’s the latest project of Philadelphia choirboy turned indie pop musician Pat Grossi. While he relies on a harp
as a major component of his show, Grossi’s voice is the finest instrument on display. His show was nothing short of spiritual and hymnal and

The best performance of the entire evening was hands down Active Child’s “When
Your Love is Safe
.” Check out the original here

James Blake

James Blake has been garnering
praise from every music critic on the planet. He is the breakout star in a new
wave of post-dubstep influenced musicians and he has single-handedly defined his own genre which
relies heavily on silence accompanied by dubstep beats. His cover of Feist’s “Limit
to Your Love
” is his finest piece and that which got me hooked on the man’s
style, while “The
Wilhelm Scream
” made me a fan.

The live versions of both these
songs are just not quite as enjoyable as the recorded ones though. Like a high
school kid with a new subwoofer in his car, he jams up the bass way too high
and it actually made for an unenjoyable, unendurable experience at times;
however, despite this I have never seen an audience be so respectfully silent
during a show. Which was a neat sight.

Check out the video for Blake’s
latest single “Lindesfarne
I & II
” and future James Blake Tour Dates

Lykke Li
Lykke Li

Just last night I caught Lykke Li’s performance at Chicago’s The Metro. On a recent episode of Glee Tina Cohen-Chang perfectly described the budding artist: “she’s Bjork meets Florence + the Machine and a promising new talent.” Lykke Li’s sophomore album Wounded Rhymes just so happened to be released the exact same week as Adele’s 21 and after giving both a listen, I left enjoying Wounded Rhymes a considerable amount more. Which could be fighting words, but I honestly believe it’s that good.

For those of you unfamiliar with Ms Li’s works, her earlier experimental sounds with hits like “A Little Bit” and “I’m Good, I’m Gone” off her album debut Youth Novels made her an indie darling at her onset. Her latest album has shifted her sound noticeably into a more pop direction while still maintaining the uniqueness that brought her appeal. Her single “I Follow Rivers” is a perfect example. Her show last night was magestic and beautiful and well worth catching if you have the chance. Check out Lykke Li’s Tour Dates

Now this
is disappointing. While I’m not even a fan yet of Tyler, The Creator’s music, he is already alienating an entire
audience by his disrespectful response to Tegan
& Sara
regarding the homophobic subject matter in his lyrical content.
I got into a “which came first the chicken or the egg-style” debate earlier in
the week regarding whether or not music with homophobic content does in fact
shape the listener. I of course leaned towards the side that it does. I think
that those who have the power to influence others should use that power towards
positive change, and Tyler, The Creator’s homophobic jargon needs to be
discontinued if he really wants an outstanding career in the music marketplace.
Let’s hope this interaction leads to some change in this budding artist.

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