Music Buzz Bits: Current Affairs

240x360_jessicasimpson
She’s having an “Affair.” And it sounds like Madonna.

Pop stars are having “Affairs” all over the place! Sort of… Jessica Simpson’s new single, “A Public Affair” is getting streamed all over. And folks are dishing about whether it’s a knock-off of Madonna’s “Holiday,” or a cutesy tribute. Either way it’s bouncy.

450x300_georgemichael0606
He’s having an “Affair,” too. And it’s a really gay one. Yahoo!

Meanwhile, George Michael is having “An Easier Affair” with his latest single (available on iTunes), which, is pretty solid. (The video debuts in the U.K. on Channel 4 at 11pm tonight, London time.) The tune is chill and mature, and boasts an nice groove and totally “out” lyrics, which seem to indicate, his couple of freaky driving/messy episodes of the last few months aside, that George is feeling pretty together these days. You can get a listen via ArjanWrites, and you’ll hear lyrics like “I told myself I was straight / But I shouldn’t have worried / Because my maker had a better plan for me / Now I’m dancing with the freaks now / I’m having so much fun…”

While you’re hanging with Arjan you can also check his fresh pics of the Killers (promo stuff for their forthcoming tunes this fall), and a throbbing new track from the London-based duo Formatic and their new single “State Of Play.” It’s electro-buzzy and makes you wanna jump around.

240x360_janetjackson01
This Janet pic dates from a few years back. Check the headgear!

Miss Jackson (yes, Janet) has a collaboration with Nelly out, too. “Call On Me” brings to mind the Nelly/Kelly Rowland confab “Dilemma” in its light and flirty vibe. Janet’s singing up in her high register, and I kind of prefer when she gets a little less breathy and gets more visceral in her tunes (“Black Cat” anyone? Meow!), but this tune could be perfect for a sunny summer drive. And I just always wanna see Janet do well… She was Penny on Good Times, after all. Show some love!

450x300_dashboardconfess
Sing out, Chris! You’ve got a new album out!

Dashboard Confessional and sensitive hottie Chris Carrabba is back with a new disc and single, out today. The album’s called Dusk and Summer, and its what you’d expect: A big epic, here’s-my-bleeding-heart-on-a-platter-for-you-to-chomp-on, summer-skies and howling emotions… It’s called “Don’t Wait” and it’s all that. Back in the day, I was the biggest fan of the Dashboard classics like “Screaming Infidelities” and “Hands Down.” Now, I’m a little more jaded, but if you’re a fan, you’ll find yourself happily, loyally shouting out these lyrics when you catch Chris and pals on their summer tour.

240x360_india2_normanjeanro

And the independent, brassy, brainy and infinitely soulful India.Arie is back with new tunes on Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationships, which is out today. It’s contemplative and beautifully melodic. The album opens with the poetically and sparse album opener “Intro: Loving,” then segues into a sultry, salty, rapturous groove, “These Eyes,” that wraps you in its articulate, plaintive lover’s lament. “I will accept nothing less than your complete respect / If you cannot give me that then maybe I should step,” says Arie. Trust! She goes on: “Truth is / Every relationship is a lesson / I saw it coming but it hurts anyway.” Yes, indeed. She even makes a cover of Don Henley’s “The Heart of the Matter,” breathe with a new authenticity and an uplifting soulfulness.

Blogonly_india_finalcover

The first single, “I Am Not My Hair,” is another empowering, positive, funky and upright tale of seizing one’s identity. “I am not my hair / I am not this skin / I am not your expectation.” Check out the remixes on Ms. Arie’s MySpace page. Sweet!

450x300_owenpallett
Owen Pallett, giving us Robin Hood meets Beyond Thunderdome. Pic by Davida Nemeroff.

And continuing on the intelligence-in-music tip, Final Fantasy is the project which features violinist Owen Pallett who combines his virtuoso musicianship with a gift for whacked out theatrics and primally buzzworthy rock/pop. Final Fantasy has a new release out called He Poos Clouds (For real! Ha!), and it’s initial single, “Many Lives 49 MP” is an arch and melodic concoction of official-sounding, clippy violin gorgeousness, looped over with rowdy shout-outs and testy vocals. Really cool stuff. Owen just did a gig in NYC this past weekend, which Brooklyn Vegan has pics and dish about it. This one’s worth seeking out. Owen (and Final Fantasy) are currently touring around the Midwest, then it’s off to Canada and Europe in mid-July. Catch him if you can.

Blogonly_brand

And fans of neo-soul and singin’ sister N’Dea Davenport will be happy to know that she’s reunited with her British pals, The Brand New Heavies, to turn out the vocals on their new disc, Get Used To It, which comes out today. The whole disc has a funky live jam quality to it, and their first single, “I Don’t Know Why (I Love You)” is a solid cover of the 1971 Stevie Wonder gem. The whole album is a like a foxy summer block party on the stoop. They’re touring all over the U.S. this summer, too. Or just bust out some tall boys (or some lemonade, if you prefer) in the back yard and groove!