August 31, 2005

I know we're cool



After my depressing post earlier, I thought I'd go into denial and post a picture of Bitchin' Gwen's new single.

WOW. Katrina.

I have been listening to NPR all afternoon at work and all I can say is "What the fuck?" What is happening in Mississippi and Louisiana is beyond my comprehension. They are saying the whole city of New Orleans may be shut down for 3 months! How does that work?

There are a zillion questions: I keep thinking about the various schools in New Orleans being shut down indefinitely- what happens there to those students? When can people get their stuff out of their houses? What must it be like if you left your pet thinking you would be right back? How will the US feel the effects economically? How will the rebuild in a way that makes it safe to live there?

There is an urge to look at the people who stayed as ignorant fools. Well, ignorant maybe, but how can we know what it is like to have to leave your home? On 9/11 all I wanted to do was get home and I live down the street from the Pentagon. Think about the people in your city slums who you just know never leave the city limits - some for their whole lives. It must be so devastating. I will say that I have no udnerstanding of people who say "We'll rebuild right here" - that's like walking at night down a street on which you were raped one evening. I don't care if it's home - sometimes home is not safe and we have to move on!

And the looters! Well, you know, the US shits all over the poor and so does God apparently. Part of the problem in New Orleans is due to overdevelopment - greed has screwed up the ecosystem. Plus, we live in a culture of "Oh you're poor? Well, sorry each man for himself. Not my problem!" Now we're seeing the other side of that, from the poor man's viewpoint. Each man for himself. It sucks though...America's foundation of community is a real house of cards.

This is beyond the scope of anything that has happened here in America, isn't it? People are very scared and angry. It must be so isolating to be stuck down there. I mean, everything is calm now with the weather, but all those people are still in peril under sunny skies. They must feel like they have been abandoned.

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!



Sit down trolls, the news is better than we ever imagined:

Single: "King Of The Mountain" (out Oct 24)
Album: Aerial (a double album, out Nov 7/8)


Source: NME

August 30, 2005

I'm like a dog to get you...



I am loving Supernature - especially since I got the actual high quality CD. It is a major pop masterpiece, but I cannot seem to figure out what to say about it in words that are worthy. Stay tuned, trolls. And PS to Jason: did you notice the cocks in the curtains (on the art, I mean)?

Where are the burning crosses?



Turquoise Days is hosting Marc Almond's crazy, OTT Carnival Cruisey version of Madonna's "Like A Prayer" - check it out fast!

Blogboy






blogkid

Coming Soon: Ryan Adams new CD



Love the cover! It's due on September 27 and has 15 songs, plus there will be a free 20-minute DVD in the package with footage of the band recording the album. He performed 6 of the new songs in a row at the
great show I saw in May - the new CD is said to be more country than Cold Roses. The DVD will also have 2 audio bonus tracks (umm, how do I get them on my iPod?). The setlist below, with the songs I have heard live starred...

01 A Kiss Before I Go *
02 The End *
03 What Sin Replaces Love *
04 Hard Way to Fall
05 Dear John (with Norah Jones!)
06 The Hardest Part
07 Games *
08 Silver Bullets
09 Peaceful Valley *
10 September *
11 My Heart Is Broken
12 Trains
13 Pa
14 Withering Heights
15 Don't Fail Me Now

I've been playing the Cold Roses record a lot lately and rediscovering songs like "Meadowlake Street" and "Let It Ride" - classics! There is still one new album due out soon called 29. Do you think that we can combine the best tracks from each to make one truly perfect, 5 star record? If you only know Ryan from his drunken asshole antics, be aware that there is not only a master songwriter lurking in there, but one of the finest singers recording today. Give him a shot...

Get the new single The Hardest Part at iTunes now

New music: Daniel Powter



The Wyckoff Correspondent (recently of Edinburgh), and I had a conversation about Daniel Potwer, a new Canadian singer that is huge is Europe and the UK. He's so big there that he even played Germany's Live 8. I am obsessed with his song "Bad Day". This is sort of Gavin DeGraw / John Mayer territory we're in here, but I like the music that I have heard.

Watch Gavin's new video starring Samaire Armstrong and listen to full songs on his website. I should note that while the CD is not available in the US until October, you can get it in full on iTunes ($8.91), where "Bad Day" was a free download for a week recently. I suspect there will be big money pushing this album.

August 29, 2005

Video #1: Esther Ritchie Robot

That's a picture from Madonna's bitchin' performance of Nobody Knows Me on her Re-invention Tour. This was the second song performed in the show - one I had never liked until that night. Madonna performed it alone on stage on a conveyor belt and it rocked. She can hold an audience just moving around like a robot. Now you can watch a bit of this performance (7 MB Windows Media file) on this website: MadonnaTV. And no, the whole show was not vocodered or lip synced, though I suspect this bit was lip synced.



This is a teaser for her upcoming DVD documentary (no theaters?) called I'm Going To Tell You A Secret. I already know the secret: buy some $10 kabbalah water and a $25 red string and your life will be perfect too.

It's no good when you're misunderstood -
But why should I care
What the world thinks of me?
Won't let a stranger
Give me a social disease.

Video #2: Paul Weller's next single

"Come On Let's Go" is the name of Paul's new single from As Is Now. He looks great in the video, if the hair is a little weird and has an old-lady grey-dyed-blonde effect. Watch it here (look for it on the list) .



Thanks to the Correspondent From Edinburgh Ne Wyckoff for this information...

August 28, 2005

God bless Ruth Fisher

This is a random post. Was thinking about Six Feet Under again and the performance throughout the series by Frances Conroy as Ruth. I loved her crazy outbursts in the kitchen. She was so repressed and then this stuff would come out of her mouth at full force. She will go down in history for these lines, which would be perfect for a gym t-shirt (Ruth said this indignantly to freaky Arthur):

"I know you sent us the feces box and the feces gift basket!"

I should note that Frances Conroy is a Georgian (!) and she is married to an actor who, strangely, never appeared on SFU.

August 27, 2005

Review: Craig David's self delusion



This album is a mess. If Craig David had not become a pop star at the tender age of 17 who knows what would have become of him? Soft-spoken hairdresser maybe? Instead he is releasing his third album - and his second dud -after such a promising debut (read my
earlier comments). The Story Goes that Craig wants to be Usher now, worrying about who stole his "Range" from "da club" where the girls have a "vibe so hypnotic." But wait! No! Craig wants to be Vanessa Williams too, loading his record with 8 sloppy, kissy, weepy ballads that all blend together.

You could argue that Usher and Craig steal from one another, but at least we believe that Usher really is a shallow, bling-obsessed player who, despite a dogface, manages to lure in bodacious women nightly at "da club" before he cheats on them with some ho and makes a hit single about it. Song after song on this record is set in clubs and Craig doesn't shy away from phrases like "wit u" - who is he kidding? I wince.

This album is a bit closer to the acoustic pop / r'n'b sound of his brilliant Born To Do It than the last, but it's still a yawner. Occasionally he produces a track that would have sat well on that huge debut. Johnny is a midtempo about a boy who's bullied and can't get his parents to help him deal with it. The single All The Way seems dull at first, but is actually a creamy slice of Craig- everything he does best encapsulated in one song. A great summer tune. The closing ballad is a sweet our-granny-is-dead track (ummmmm hmmmm!) called Let Her Go that's built around a pretty falsetto chorus.

The disasters are pungent. Take 'Em Off is more Urkel than Usher - a total embarrassment. The groaner title Just Chillin' is but one clue to the horrors within: he steals so much from Beyonce that it even starts with that "uh-oh uh-oh uh-oh" bit from "Crazy In Love."

My advice to mama's boy Craig: be yourself. Does anyone believe you are the ladykiller you see in the mirror? Decide on an audience and stick with them - and that's spelled w-i-t-h!


Accept yourself, Craigey, or this story will be ovah.

Bad album art: Paul Weller '05


What a godawful album cover. He has always done such a good job until now. He looks like an aging mafia don, especially the way the suit makes his torso look fat. He tends to be quite lean and wirey in person. Did he get a beer gut?

Read my post about the new album here

August 26, 2005

Madonna #3: Vanity Fair, 1986

Single Of The Week: Mark Owen's "Believe In The Boogie"



My most relentlessly played song this week is by Mark Owen - a total unknown in America, but a sort of b-list star in the UK. He was once in the cheesiest, gayest boy band ever, Take That, along with Robbie Williams. For the past 6 years or so he has been trying to gain credibility as a solo artist, choosing decent collaborators like Radiohead producer John Leckie. People kind of ignored him until he won Celebrity Bg Brother in the UK a few years ago (that show is a much bigger thing over there and the whole nation watches).

His newest single Believe In The Boogie is classic British music hall pop. And it's pronounced boo-gie, not buh-gie like we'd say in America. Veddy Bridish. I got into this song on a tip from Torr, but it's hard to get in the States (find it any way you can, though the single is on Amazon UK and a sample is on the German site). I started paying attention to the lyrics, wondering if they are about Robbie Williams:

There´s a friend of mine / Who´s wasting all his money / Think he´s had his time / Think he´s lost his mind / Still a friend of mine / Could have had it all / From the Albert Hall to the Uni Ball / How the mighty fall

There are other clues in the lyrics. Wonder what Robbie will say? Doesn't matter, does it? Robbie is richer than God.

Anyway, just to give you an idea of how truly gay Take That were, in 1992 they embarked on a Safe Sex Tour and here is a promo photo. Can you imagine an American boy band getting away with this? Mark is the wee one in the middle.

August 25, 2005

God loves Dolly Parton and I do too



Dolly Parton has been touring the country doing old classic songs, including what could be termed anti-war songs like Blowin' in the Wind - she is not being overtly anti-war, but she is making her case for peace. Dolly wrote a song called Hello God after 9/11 and I want to quote it here:

This old world has gone to pieces
Can we fix it, is there time?
Hate and violence just increases
We're so selfish, cruel and blind
We fight and kill each other
In your name, defending you
Do you love some more than others?
We're so lost and confused …

Hello God, we beseech you
In the name of all that’s true
Hello God, please forgive us
For we know not what we do.
Go Dolly! Let me conclude by saying I have been appalled as usual at Donald Rumsfeld's public
commentary in a place he has no business - the Constitution of Iraq. Condi Rice must just tear her hair out everytime this witless asshole steps beyond his bounds. If foreign policy were in the hands of this man, we would all be dodging bombs daily.

August 23, 2005

New a-ha



The intrepid Torr has the new a-ha song. Check it out here. Does Morton have an old portrait disintegrating in an attic somewhere?

Off topic: The end of Six Feet Under (long live Claire!)

SPOILER ALERT!



So I barely slept last night after watching the final two episodes of Six Feet Under, a show I used to love, but one that had alienated me in a strong way this season. Believe the hype that the final episode was everything it should have been. It dredges up a lot of shit in viewers and I succumbed last night too! Life decisions, people who have died, blah blah blah.

I quit watching this year when Nate killed the bird at his birthday party. It was so nihilistic that I just said "No more!" There was time when Nate and Brenda were my favorite characters on TV. I really liked them, as if they were real people, even with the massive flaws and bad decisions they made. But poor Nate never evolved, never learned anything. Nothing ever kick started him to a higher level, as happened with the other characters. Not the death of his dad, not his own near-death, not his wife's death (nor the fact that his wife's death was a murder), not his second chance with Brenda, not his own child. NADA. And that bored the shit out of me. Nate is a "person" who would never be happy with what he had, ever. I wanted to beat HIM with a broom, so when they killed him, I was happy! (I loved that Brenda said as much - really spit it out! - in the last episode).

This show was always good with redemption: just when something / someone becomes unbearable, they pull it back and give you a little moment that softens the pain (e.g. Claire with David on the porch, after his carjacking last season). At some point Claire really became the heart of the show for me because she was ever-changing. Alan Ball gave Lauren Ambrose a fucking huge valentine with the final episode. Her acting in the last half hour is worth every award there is, but you just know they'll throw another one at Alison Janney (no offense to her).

A few other moments worth mentioning:

- Rachel Griffiths amazing acting in the very short scene at the kitchen table with Billy, where they are talking about life not getting easier and how hard it is to learn that. Wow.

- David realizing that kids don't need to know every emotional detail - they won't get it - when he tells them he is going to a funeral director's convention. (I also liked the way Keith calmed David down by grabbing him earlier in the episode)

- The actress who played Rico's wife, Vanessa, always, in every scene, EVER, was terrific.

- Joanna Carson (Brenda's shrink mom) being so hilariously horrible about the stuffed animals with Maya and Ruth. A bitch on wheels to the last moment (though she was right when, in the hospital, she told Brenda to stop shitting all over any good news).

- Ruth talking to Maggie on the phone about David's last night and the realness of how unresolved the Maggie/ George story was.

- The scene in the picture above was lovely and as far from the usual psychodrama Fisher dinner party as it could be.

- Ted the Republican Boyfriend, who was so forgiving of Claire when she really went nuts in the last two eps. I loved the picture they had of him on her wall, one that she took in the episode, in the deathbed scene (2085!)

- The way Nate said to Claire that the picture she was taking was "already gone." I don't think I agree with that, given Claire's deathbed scene, surrounded by photos from her life. How nice to die that way (except for, gee, the cataracts!).

- Alan Ball letting it all loose with the politics, both humorous and serious. Done in a really human way that did not distract from the story, but was a part of it.

- The shocking Brenda Billy dream and the final humor of her dying while listening to him prattle on.

As for the Sia song at the end, "Breathe Me" - holy fuck!! How many people are driving around in their cars, listening to that, pretending to be Claire, finally getting away to her own life? Escape or "flight" stories are always my favorites and the final 10 minutes was amazingly edited between Claire driving in her little hybrid and the look into the future (a real gift to fans of the show, albeit with super bad makeup). Find the song at Stereogum, but get it fast.

By the way, before I close, my favorite scene in the whole series was when David meets Keith at their church some time after they have been apart (maybe season 3?) and Keith tells David that he is beautiful and kind and says, "Don't you know that, David?" and David just shakes his head a little bit. Jesus God! I cried and cried and cried! What TV show will I cry over now?

August 22, 2005

For what it's worth, I love them.



What a smokin' pic of The Cardigans! Here is the first official info on their CD, but still no titles except for the single.
Sorry about the huge Pugsly photo below. He is such a Michael Jackson wannabe, with all those kiddies in the vid. Ick. The song is catchy though.

Stuck in my head



Yeah, I'm thinkin' about my doorbell, when you gonna ring it, when you gonna ring it?

Watch the new video for "My Doorbell" (quicktime) by The White Stripes.

August 21, 2005

Scam alert - I almost fell for it!

I received an email from Amazon Payments telling me my account had been violated. Hmph! Looking back there were numerous alarms in the email, but I clicked on the link and it took me to a very real Amazon page that knew my wish list, etc (it was probably designed to link to that). Anyway, I stupidly gave it my password and then it asked me for credit card info. At that point I realized it was a scam, so I closed it and went into the real Amazon and changed my password. It makes me nervous because there were a few minutes that a sophisticated con could have snagged information. I sent the Amazon security people a forward of the email. The worst part is the my Amazon Marketplace info has my bank account number, though I am not sure there is a place to actually SEE that number omce you initially type it in. The curse of the modern world!

Right now there is a hairy biker in Fort Lee sitting on a couch with a beer, saying in MY voice, "Ohmigod I LOVE the new Goldfrapp!"

Red for STOP: Songs I have not liked recently

Tracey Thorn and Tiefshwarz's "Damage" - Sounds phoned in and is a major disappointment for her first track in 6 years. Perhaps it would have been better to return with actual musicians, versus remixers. It's droning and sounds like it was done in the 90's.

Sugababes "Push The Button" - A bland, safe choice for first single. Not popular on the pop boards. The followup, "Ugly," was accidentally played on Radio1, and it's much better.

Girls Aloud "Long Hot Summer" - another great girlpop group from the UK that phones in a droning, no-melody cash cow single. Lyrics are not bad though.

Franz Ferdinand "Do You Want To" - The jury is still out. Maybe it will grow on me? I am guessing that their new CD will represent no leap toward anything new. I could be wrong.

August 20, 2005

Guest listening "station" #1: Princess Yum Yum



XO's pervy mom worries that the screen name Princess Yum Yum sounds porn-related, but it is sugar induced! She's just Princess From The Block and this is what she likes now:

"Okay mostly I listen to the Mighty Morning show and Jonesie's Jukebox and Rob Zombie on Monday nights (in LA), because my tape player is broken in my car, but here is what I listen to when I can..."

The Girl's Attractive - Diamond Nights
(Mucho Mambo) Sway - Shaft
Beverly Hills - Weezer
La Tortura - Shakira y Alejandro Sanz (PYY is learning Shakira's titty dance!)
Meltdown - Ash
New Slang - The Shins
Nasty Girl - Nitty
Time is Running Out - Muse
Country Basket - Green Day vs. Nelly mash-up
I Believe in You - Kylie Minogue


If you want to read about the life of a woman who spends much of her time driving in traffic to auditions, read PYY's actor blog Slate Your Name.

August 19, 2005

Goldfrapp is coming...

and so am I!



You can hear in full the new CD Supernature streaming from their site. Go here and find the link for Supernature. When you get to the Supernature page with the fab owl lady, find the link for Jukebox.

Red alert!

Kate Bush: New album on November 8!



UPDATE: I got the info from someone who went to NARM. Go to this site and look at The Crystal Ball link on the top. A PDF will pop up - she's under Columbia Records. I don't think there is any press release yet.

August 18, 2005

What I'm listening to...

Bob Mould: Days Of Rain (iTunes) Pretty guitar ballad with nice harmonies and strong vocals at the halfway point. Proves that Mould is neither history nor Cher! I love the line "I am fragile now, beat about the head."

Fiona Apple: O Sailor (
iTunes or hear it in full at her website) Leaked last year. This official release has been re-recorded, but retains the calliope music effect. It's vintage Apple on arrival. The harmony vocals at about 4:40 were a shock. Fave lines:

Everything good I deem too good to be true
Everything else is just a bore
Everything I have to look forward to
Has a pretty painful and very imposing before

Lyrics Born: I've Changed My Mind (Stereo MC's Mix) (iTunes) I believe this IS a Stereo MC's hit (Connected?) from the 90's, redone, and used the other night as the credits roller on Entourage. Craggly vocals with a complex, fast lyric - it's a song for players.

Death Cab For Cutie: Marching Bands Of Manhattan (
iTunes) Epic! The first song off their new CD Plans. This encapsulates everything good about this band. I like Ben Gibbard's voice best when it's surrounded by good instrumentation and this track is all about the bass for me. It has also a great chorus:

Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole
Just like a faucet that leaks
And there is comfort in the sound
But while you debate half empty or half full
It slowly rises
Your love is gonna drown

August 17, 2005

Three new CD covers







Andy Bell: A little intense, but stately! (read more at Arjan)
Depeche Mode: Hate it. What is that fuzzy feather thing?
Cardigans: Love it! She looks like a Barbie: look at her Barbie shoes!

Billy Bragg: Here to make it all okay with you



Great news! Billy Bragg is releasing remastered special editions of his classic records. The one to go with, IMO, is this one below Talking With The Taxman About Poetry. It includes some of his most amazing songs: Levi Stubbs Tears, Warmest Room, and Greetings To The New Brunette. All that's known at this point about the added disc is that it has 10 tracks (5 previously unreleased) including covers of Gram Parsons' Sin City and Smokey Robinson's Tracks of My Tears.

Billy has one of the
best websites around, so take a look at that and note that he is doing the smart move of selling concert performances online.



My Billy Bragg favorites?

A New England
Levi Stubb's Tears
St. Swithin's Day
The Boy Done Good
Sexuality
Warmest Room
Greetings To The New Brunette
You Woke Up My Neighborhood
Upfield

Esther fell and she couldn't get up



OWCH! Poor Madonna celebrated her birthday by breaking ribs, hand and collar bones. You'll notice in this report that Mrs. Ritchie travels via helicopter to and from hospital (in England they don't say THE hospital, you know, they leave off the article). That's okay as long as I get my Madonna record on time, beeyotch! So thoughtful am I...

Read Popjustice's typically
hilarious take on the incident.

August 16, 2005

Madonna #2

Madonna / Esther / Madge is 47 today. She seems to have celebrated by dying her hair Oompa Loompa orange, a tragic miscalculation for a woman of 47 I'd say. So no pics of that, but two of her rehearsing for the video of Material Girl in 1985 (and a shot from the video at the bottom).





August 15, 2005

Like spacedust on your tongue



An ecstatic Guardian review. Samples here. Give it to me NOW.

Updated above with correct link. I have now heard the CD and it is an 80's synthpop dream.

October 10: new Weller



That's a recent shot of Paul performing his new single on Top Of The Pops, looking mod/gruff hot. It's now been ten years since the amazing Stanley Road record, which everyone should own. The tracklist for Paul Weller's upcoming album As Is Now is (drumroll please):

‘Blink And You’ll Miss It’
‘Paper Smile’
‘Come On / Let’s Go’(second single, out 9/26)
‘Here’s The Good News’
‘The Start Of Forever’
‘Pan’
‘All On A Misty Morning ‘
‘From The Floorboards Up’ (fizzy first single, out now)
‘I Wanna Make It Alright’
‘Savages’
‘Fly Little Bird’
‘Roll Along Summer’
‘Bring Back The Funk (Pts 1 & 2)’
‘The Pebble And The Boy’


pic courtesy of Weller World UK


Paul Weller, performing with The Style Council, at Live Aid, 1985. Notice his tiny waist. Actually it's still probably pretty flab free!

Hot news on Fiona Apple

Achtung Baby has a major post on the new Fiona Apple work. Yes, NEW since the Extraordinary Machine debable. She's already shot a video for a new single called "Parting Gift" so can an album be far off? The producer of the new track, Mike Elizondo, is a Dr. Dre associate! I am actually in the minority that did not like the unreleased work, so we'll how this plays out...

Fiona Apple website

UPDATE: Todays NYT (8/15) has a piece on this. Here are some excerpts:

Fiona Apple... recorded new versions of its songs and plans to release the album on Oct. 4, according to people involved with the recording. The album, ''Extraordinary Machine,'' is the Grammy-winning artist's first studio CD in six years, and ...The 12-song CD includes nine new versions of material that had circulated on unlicensed Internet file-swapping networks, two previously leaked songs and one brand-new one, ''Parting Gift.''

The label is wasting little time in tapping fans' curiosity. Epic plans today to reveal a new version of Ms. Apple's Web site, on which fans can hear two of the album's songs, ''Parting Gift'' and the rerecorded ''O' Sailor.'' The latter will also be available for listening at myspace.com, the online social network. Tomorrow major online music services plan to begin selling ''O' Sailor'' as a single, and Apple's iTunes music service is expected to offer an exclusive bundle of the two songs for $1.98.

Mike Elizondo, the album's producer, said most of the songs sound ''radically different'' from the earlier, leaked renditions, which Ms. Apple had made with the producer Jon Brion. Mr. Elizondo said that he had listened to the earlier cuts, but ''once we headed off in our direction I didn't go back to reference them.''''Everything was done from scratch,'' he added.

August 13, 2005

Natalie Merchant: Collected Recordings Of Sister Bilious



To paraphrase Sandy Denny, who knows where the time goes? There was a period in my life, say 1987 - 1992, when I really idolized Natalie Merchant. I thought she was beautiful and had an amazing voice. I saw 10,000 Maniacs live numerous times and got all dressed up for the events in vintage clothing. But now? Blech. I grew out of collegiate snottiness and Nat did not. Numerous things went awry: 1) she comes across in the press like a self-righteous, impatient twat (hilarious example from '93 Rolling Stone), 2) her solo output is, for the most part, an exercise in meh and 3) she has well and truly lost her voice. If you have heard any of her recent folk recordings you'll know that she knows sings like a bleating calf. Or maybe a horse, wailing after it's been shot on a country road. Horrific. I know that several friends of taste and distinction would disagree with me about ye olde Natalie, but I am just telling my truth.

Rhino has seen fit to release, in September, a double disc collection of her solo work (from only 3 studio albums). Here is the tracklisting and more details:

Wonder, Carnival, Jealousy, San Andreas Fault, Kind & Generous (Jim Collins and Lisa know I think that song is the epitome of utter bullshit!), Break Your Heart, Life Is Sweet, The Living, Build a Levee, Not in This Life, Motherland, Owensboro and Sally Ann. Bonus tracks include: She Devil, Cowboy Romance, Children Go Where I Send Thee, Birds and Ships (with Billy Bragg), The Lowlands of Holland (with the Chieftans), One Fine Day, Photograph (with R.E.M.), Party of God (with Billy Bragg), Thick as Thieves (2005 Version), Bread and Circuses (with Billy Bragg), Because I Could Not Stop for Death (with Susan McKeown), Tell Yourself, But Not for Me, I Know How to Do It, Come Take a Trip in My Airship.

If I were you I would buy the Maniacs two finest records: Our Time In Eden (swoony gorgeous!) and In My Tribe (pop music in the imperative!), though all their CDs are quite good.

Andy Bell's new solo music!



Arjan covers the new Andy Bell solo single called "Crazy" - it's pretty good. Check out Andy's site too. The picture above is Andy shooting his new album cover. The CD, with the great title Electric Blue, is due out in early October. Please note that this record will contain duets with Jake Shears and, Varant take note, Claudia Brücken. Will this be the second killer pop record from Andy in one year? Sounds like it!

August 11, 2005

Madonna #1: Back in tha day


1990, with Steven Meisel (photographer), Tony Ward (boyfriend), and Debi Mazar (actress/human retro Barbie). Maria: Don't we have a picture like this, when we were young(er) and beautiful(ler)?

Countin' down to Milady's new CD, there have been all sorts of whack-ass fake tracklists and album covers all over the web. People are so gullible. Anway, I'll be posting some rare pics of her. Just for shit and giggles, as Jason says.

Off topic: Celebrity scrote-bags!



Jared Leto story as told on the excellent Lindsayism

Best bit: "Douche was holding forth before a giddy cabal of dreamy-eyed coeds." Also scroll up and read more horror stories.

I love how Jared is channeling Angelina Jolie in this pic. What is he thinking?



**Bonus scrotebag story: This one about straight-to-video-film-star Josh Hartnett, also from Lindsayism

August 10, 2005

DM 05: Pain And Suffering In Various Tempos?



The best Depeche fan site, Empty World, recently had an album bio posted for the new Playing The Angel CD, due on Oct 17. We've learned this info about the songs (in no order)...

Precious (the single)
The Sinner In Me
Suffer Well (Dave composition)
Macrovision (sung by Martin!)
John The Revelator
I Want It All (Dave composition)

Lillian
Introspectre (short instrumental)
A Pain That I'm Used To (this is the start of "side 2")
The Darkest Star (album title comes from this one)
Nothing's Impossible (Dave composition)

Damaged People (sung by Martin!)

August 9, 2005

Review: Saint Etienne's "Tales From Turnpike House"



First, thanks to Turquoise Days for turning me onto this album. Check for MP3s of 2 tracks here.

Released in the UK in June 2005, Tales From Turnpike House is the kind of record I eat up: A pop concept album about a row of flats in a working class suburb of London. XO London indeed! Really, how could you not be intrigued by an album with a song called "Milk Bottle Symphony"?

Saint Etienne have been around for 15 years and they're a collectors delight, releasing more than one album a year at times, not to mention lorry loads of singles with b-sides. I've danced around them without actually buying anything except their Travel Edition hits CD, which I didn't like and promptly sold after ripping just 4 tracks.

Now comes Turnpike House, a fully realized indie pop record. They keep the album varied in tempos and styles. The aforementioned "Milk Bottle Symphony" features Beach Boy harmonies, while "Slow Down at The Castle" builds and weaves around a pretty acoustic guitar intro. It even has a verrrry Kylie-esque dance pop song from Xenomania called "Stars Above Us" done with Xenomania. Throughout, no surprise, the lyrics are distinctly English and reference all sorts of pop culture curios that Americans might need to research to understand.

"Teenage Winter" is reminiscent of the excellent (and recently deceased) Black Box Recorder's spoken word tracks. It's a great story of the dispiriting changes that take away a community's identity over time, like when the bakery is replaced by a tanning salon and....

Mums with push-chairs outside Sainsbury’s, tears in their eyes
They’ll never buy a Gibb Brothers record again
Their old 45s gathering dust
With the birthday cards they couldn't face throwing away


Sounds like me in twenty years.

The dud tracks here are obvious and I won't comment except to say that there are really only 2 (one being an instrumental). More often, the songs are subtle, mature, with accessible melodies and lyrics. There is a second bonus disc, an EP of tracks for children - yes! As Turquoise Days indicated, "Let's Build A Zoo" ("and fill it with animals!") will take over your brain for days. You can sing it to your cats and wave your arms around: I did and they paid attention!

If you dig this sort of Brit kitchen sink drama, you'd best check out the greatest hits of Pulp, who glitter-glued the genre to a wall in the 90's with their epic Different Class album.

Sufjan post #1001



See and hear Sufjan Stevens talk about his music on MTV's Your Hear It First.

UPDATE: I am going to see Sufjan on September 27!

Horror show



She looks like shit! Is her face made of rubber? What is with the hair? Like an imitation of Xtina imitating Marilyn at 50.

August 8, 2005

Xolondon plays the victim

Trolls, this blog has been rudely attacked by one of those adware things that posts bullshit comments with links to ads. I am attempting to solve the problem by not allowing anonymous posts...we'll see if it works. You don't have to start a blog to comment, just sign up (here) and you can use fake infor for all I care! This started after I posted a link to a Death Cab MP3 (actually a link to site that had it). Hmmmm...


2 weeks to orgasm.



I am sorreeee but this Goldfrapp album is going to be fucking HOT! Go to this page and scroll down to Reportages near the bottom and watch the electronic press kit (EPK). It's... BANANAS! While you are there, take a mo' to watch the glamtastic "Ooh Lala" video.

Meanwhile they've relaunched their website - LOVE the naked lady with the owl head on the Supernature page - it's beeyooteefull

"You're breakin' my balls!"



While I was on vacation I saw Team America. Great movie! I especially liked all the scenes with Kim Jon Il. I want a Kim Jong Il doll! Anyway, for some reason, I was invited in my email to join Kim Jong Il's MySpace group! Yes, it's true!

Here are his details:

About me:
Why herro, so nice to see you. Ret me tell you a rittle bit about myself. I rike rong walks on the beach, enslaving western capitalists, and a bit of torture.


Who I'd like to meet:
Someone to keep my nuts snug.


Greetings, trolls!

I am back from my vacation. I did a whole lot of nothing and that was great! Watched TV in the blasting A/C, did little projects, went to the gym (and yet gained weight?), and saw lots of friends.

I am sorry to see this morning that Peter Jennings is dead. He was the only network anchor I ever really liked. Back in the winter, ABC defense reporter Martha Raddatz came here and did a lunchtime roundtable for the journalism club. I went and she told us that Peter Jennings IS ABC News. Everything that is said on air is cleared by him - all remote reports and news packages, everything. He was the one, she said, who was so committed to keeping international news a priority. It seems like he died really fast and that is just terrible.

I am happy to see the implosion of assholic Robert Novak. Hubris will bring him down - although no one likes him in DC anyway. He is a complete dick - who cares if you get the scoop when you are a horrible person at the same time? Sorry, heaven doesn't care about your column Bob. Now, if we can just witness the downfall of Karl Rove...

Music has been sucking shite while I have been away. Nothing good! I did make a few discoveries that I'll post about soon.

Xolondon approved summer TV: Footballers Wives (Sundays at 9 on BBC America), Entourage (Sundays at 10 on HBO), Rescue Me (Tuesdays at 10 on FX) , Midsomer Murders (Sunday afternoons and 6-8 on Biography) and Murder In Suburbia (Mondays at 8 on BBC America). This is really the only stuff I actively watch now. I admit to the odd reality show when I happen to catch one (yes, I have watch Bobby and Whitney!).

August 5, 2005

Girls Aloud new single suckage



In the teenybop pop category, it's been less than a year since Girls Aloud released their not-magnum-opus about the Neighbors - nothing on it lived up to the poporgasmic "The Show" - not even close. Perhaps sensing their shelf-life, their handlers are preparing a follow-up this Fall. The first single is total meh: "Long Hot Summer" Whatever: they still pose like they want to lick your lollipop.