I'm torn between being repelled and drawn in by the indie pop singer Rachel Goodrich. Take her song "Lightbulb": with ukulele, banjo and jolly vocals, it's almost unbearably kooky.
Yet, equally, it's damn catchy and a whole lot of fun. Perhaps it depends on your mood. The track comes from the Miami-based singer's self-titled and self-released second album due in February. It can also be found on a four-track EP teaser for the full album, available free on her Bandcamp page – ind.pn/ i4Mf8R.
Jónsi goes live
In April, the Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi released his debut solo album Go to much adoration. Now, just in time to remind everyone of his endeavours as they sit down to compile their end of year best-ofs, he returns with a live companion culled from his extensive touring since the LP's release.
Called Go Live, it's a joint concert album and film, which can be ordered exclusively from jonsi.com. Alongside the live renderings of the album tracks are performances of four new songs. One of them, the aptly titled "New Piano Song" is available as a free download to Facebook users, if they go to ind.pn/ eRabWQ and click on the little Facebook "like" logo. They won't be disappointed – the song is pretty stunning.
PJ Harvey is still great shakes
P J Harvey's eighth solo studio album, Let England Shake, is released in February. This week a track arrived from it online, and it sounds a world away from the sparse piano arrangements of her last solo record, 2007's White Chalk. The song, "Written on the Forehead", can be found at ind.pn/pk86m. With lots of echoing electronic sounds and rumbling instrumentals, it's an intriguing sliver of what's to come on the new record.
Her vocals sound rather ethereal – veering towards the Björk and Glasser end of things. Though the song's refrain, "let it burn, let it burn", is suitably Harvey-esque.
Jamie Smith re-mixes Scott-Heron
Alongside Goodrich and Harvey, another record arriving next February, is "We're New Here", a reworking of Gil Scott-Heron's last album, I'm New Here (released last February). The latter record, Scott-Heron's first in 13 years, was one of the surprise triumphs of 2010, given the creator's troubles with drugs and prison. It will be interesting to see what can be done with this new version, which has been remixed by Jamie Smith of the xx. Ahead of its release the first track, "NY Is Killing Me", is streaming at werenewhere.com. With a dubstep bounce that recalls Skream, Smith gives the song a rather more airy treatment than Scott-Heron's stark and doom-laden original.