What’s Up Down Under: The Naked and Famous

The Naked and Famous are a five-piece band from New Zealand. Their single Young Blood is featured as the Free Single of the Week in the U.S. iTunes store this week. The song was released in June 2010, and debuted at #1 on the New Zealand charts. The first artist to do so in over three years. Their album Passive Me, Aggressive You followed in September.

Young Blood picked up the Silver Scroll for Song of the Year in the 2010 APRA Awards. Previous winners of this prestigious award include Missy Higgins (who I mentioned in my last post), Kasey Chambers, Ben Lee, Alex Lloyd and Powderfinger.

The Naked and Famous – Young Blood (2010)

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The song has been featured in a number of television series, including Covert Affairs, Chuck, Gossip Girl and The Almighty Johnsons, not to mention as a promo for the UK series Skins. Oh, I almost forgot; and in the trailer for the Disney movie Prom. Another of their singles, Punching in a Dream, was recently featured in The Vampire Diaries.

The video, directed by Joel Kefali & Campbell Hooper, has “the quintet leaping into water, skating, running, dancing around sparklers, and beating up cars in a display of deliberately youthful, nostalgic imagery with front-woman Alisa Xayalith wailing longingly over melancholy, bass-driven synth pop.” If you love the FREE single, BUY the album.

The Naked and Famous – Passive Me, Aggressive You (2010)

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iTunes Free Single of the Week: My Body by Young the Giant

youngt-youngt.jpgThe iTunes Free Single of the Week is My Body by California alternative rock band Young the Giant. The single is from their debut self-titled album (right), which is scheduled to be released on CD by Roadrunner on January 25, 2011. The album is currently available as a digital download on iTunes and Amazon.com. The band was formerly known as The Jakes.

The cover art for both the single and the album employ a bright, collage-style illustration. I was not able to find a credit for the artist or art director for the project.

As regular readers know, I like to see artwork for an album and the associated singles that look as if they are part of the same project. I think it makes it easier for consumers to identify an item when they are shopping.

The cover for the My Body single is not a detail of the album cover. However, it is obvious that it is related to the album. This is particularly important for the first single from an album.

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iTunes Free Single of the Week: Christmas This Year by tobyMac

For the past few weeks, iTunes has been featuring holiday songs as the iTunes Free Single of the Week. This week, the single is Christmas This Year by contemporary Christian music artist tobyMac. The upbeat Christmas song also features Leigh Nash.

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Meanwhile, the UK iTunes store is offering the single All I Want for Christmas is New Years Day by the electronic music duo Hurts.

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iTunes Free Single of the Week: Wish List by Neon Trees

For the last couple of weeks, iTunes has been offering holiday music as their Free Single of the Week. This week’s single is Wish List by Neon Trees.

The cover for the single features Christmas ornaments decorated with images of the band. It is an interesting concept that works well for a holiday song.

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iTunes Free Single of the Week: All I Want by A Day to Remember

daytor-whatse_03.jpgThe artwork for the iTunes Free Single of the Week is actually worth writing about this time. The single All I Want is from What Separates Me from You (right), the latest album from American rock band A Day to Remember. The album was released yesterday by Victory Records.

The cover art for the single (below) ties in with the the image of a man trapped in an hourglass that appears on the album. I really like it when this kind of attention to detail can be seen in a project.

The cover for All I Want is a continuation of the story told in the illustration on the album. It appears that the man trapped in the hourglass has managed to break out of the trap, but the results are not good. His seemingly lifeless hand lies in a pile of sand and broken glass. I guess he should have stayed inside.

The art direction for the album is credited to the band’s lead vocalist, Jeremy McKinnon. Two illustrators are credited, Mike Cordata and Rob Dobie. I am sorry I do not have the time to do more research.

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iTunes Free Single of the Week: Pretty Girl Rock by Keri Hilson

hilson_promo.jpgThe iTunes Free Single of the Week is Pretty Girl Rock by R&B singer-songwriter Keri Hilson. It is the second single to be released from Hilson’s forthcoming album No Boys Allowed. The album is scheduled to be released on December 21, 2010.

The artwork for the single is the photograph that has been used for the promotional image for the album (right). The photo shows Hilson sulking in a graffiti-covered alley wearing clothes that look like they came out of a Goodwill grab bag. Her hair and make up are horrible. It takes a lot of ineptitude to make a gorgeous woman like Keri Hilson look so bad. The hunched pose and the styling are as terrible as the tacky location.

Maybe it is just me, but I think a single called “Pretty Girl Rock” should feature a girl looking pretty on the cover. Instead, we get more of Hilson’s armpits than we really need to see and very little of her pretty eyes. I guess this is an attempt to make Hilson look more “hood” than high fashion. However, at 27 she’s a bit past being able to pull off the street kid look.

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iTunes Free Single of the Week: Sing Me to Sleep by Fran Healy

fhealy-wrecko_03.jpgThe iTunes Free Single of the Week is Sing Me to Sleep by Fran Healy and featuring Neko Case. The song is from Healy’s current album Wreckorder (right).

The photograph for the album cover is credited to Tim Barber. I do not have a credit for the photograph that appears on the cover of the single. However, it looks as if the photo could be from the same session.

Both covers have a unified look and there is no question that they are part of the same project.

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iTunes Free Single of the Week: Unexpected by Lylit

The iTunes Free Single of the Week is Unexpected by Austrian soul singer Lylit. That’s right. Lylit is an Austrian R&B and soul singer.

The cover art for the single features and portrait of the young, blond recording artist. When you listen to her sing, you will probably agree that the title of the single is quite appropriate. Lylit’s voice is unexpected. She really does have soul.

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iTunes Free Single of the Week: My Heart Skips a Beat by The Secret Sisters

secret-secret_07.jpgThe iTunes Free Single of the Week is My Heart Skips a Beat by country duo The Secret Sisters. The single is from The Secret Sisters’ self-titled album (right) that was released last week.

The photographs for both the covers of the album and the single were taken by popular music photographer Autumn de Wilde. The photographs do an excellent job of communicating the retro country sound of the duo. 

De Wilde photographed the cover of Beck’s album Sea Change. Her numerous subjects include Eels, Death Cab for Cutie, Willie Nelson, Tegan and Sara, and Fiona Apple.

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iTunes Free Single of the Week: Don’t Look Now by Far East Movement

fareas-freewi_07.jpgDon’t Look Now by Far East Movement featuring Keri Hilson sounds a lot like Livvi Franc’s Now I’m That Bitch. The single is from the group’s current album Free Wired (right).

Like the Livvi Franc song, Don’t Look Now is a story about a romantic relationship. It just doesn’t have the unhappy ending or the same quality of vocals. Auto-Tune has been stretched to its irritating limit.

I like the cover art that has been created for this project. There are a few different versions of the album cover floating around the Internet. They all feature strong neon type effects and a photograph of the group.

The cover for the single also features a photograph of the group. It is a good choice for an iTunes Free Single of the Week. It will give millions of people who are not familiar with Far East Movement an idea of who they are and what they look like.

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