Alex Winston may be the most promising pop chanteuse to emerge in 2011.
Since first garnering attention in early 2010 with buzz track “Animal Baby,” the Detroit native has distinguished herself from her contemporaries by releasing a series of well-curated covers, including songs by artists as diverse as Mumford & Sons, The Rolling Stones, and Teddybears.
Her original material, though, is even better â€” sometimes chipper, sometimes heartbreaking, but always unfailingly likable â€” and her resonance hasn’t gone unnoticed. Single “Choice Notes” is now featured prominently in a European car commercial, and Alex has been featured in outlets like Interview, Spin, and Pitchfork.
With the help of her frequent collaborators, super-hot producers The Knocks, as well as rising star Charlie Hugall (who produced Florence + the Machine‘s stunning cover of “You Got the Love”), Alex is quickly joining the ranks of Marina and Ellie as one of pop’s most distinctive and innovative voices.
She also recently signed a deal through the new publishing imprint Beyond Gold, a co-venture between the reliably amazing Neon Gold Records and Warner/Chappell Music â€” which should guarantee that her talents receive international attention.
I caught up with Alex to discuss her unique sound, label politics, and the real story behind polygamy anthem “Sister Wife.” Read on to find out more!
Thereâ€™s a lot to be excited about when it comes to Alex Winston.
The Detroit native first appeared on my radar in January 2010 when buzz track â€œAnimal Babyâ€ started making the rounds on several blogs I like. Like much of Winstonâ€™s work, â€œAnimal Babyâ€ has a summery cheer that masks a darker emotional current; the songâ€™s real subject is weary disillusionment with an indecisive ex-lover, but when a songâ€™s spunky nonchalance is this effective, youâ€™d never even guess.
Her first single, â€œChoice Notes,â€ is a fuzzy, Spectorific slice of plucky piano pop that was infectious enough to merit inclusion in a European car commercial, but its B-side, â€œMedicine,â€ might be better still: Itâ€™s sad and stubborn, with an irresistible singalong chorus. Both tracks feature production from dance-pop duo The Knocks, who perfectly complement Winstonâ€™s distinctive, haunting vocals with the kind of subtle, quirky faux-Motown instrumentation that Amy Winehouse and Duffy would rather beat you over the head with. Winstonâ€™s retro-pop always sounds modern, never regressive.
So Iâ€™m more excited than ever with the release of â€œSister Wife,â€ the first single off of Winstonâ€™s forthcoming mini-album of the same name. Only Winston could do a song with a polygamy narrative and produce something winsome and charming, rather than clumsy and precious; there are layers of vocal â€œooh-ooohâ€s and aerobic drums and a big belter of a chorus (â€œHey there sister wife, get the hell out, itâ€™s my night!â€). Having already been championed by The Guardian and NME, Winstonâ€™s path to success seems obvious.
Download â€œSister Wifeâ€ for free via the reliably amazing Neon Gold Records.
The Sister Wife EP will be released via HeavyRoc Records on February 11. (iTunes)
Having previously worked with Ellie Goulding, Marina & The Diamonds, Sky Ferreira, the White Tie Affair, and their latest protegees, Samuel and Alex Winston, NYC production duo The Knocks have just debuted their first single: “Blackout,” a hands-in-the-air party track.
Sung by one half of the duo (Mr. Jpatt), the song is nothing short of a rave happy celebration, combining shouty vocals with an indie-dance groove a la Passion Pit and The Black Kids.
Seriously, is there anything named “Blackout” that isn’t a smashing success?
The single will be released on iTunes on May 4, featuring remixes by Chiddy Bang, Samuel, Fear Of Tigers, Yes Giantess, and more. You can expect one of those remixes to premiere excluusively on MuuMuse in the coming weeks.