April 30, 2006

I do not understand


...the British legal system. How is Pete Doherty continuously either released on bail and / 0r avoiding real jail time? Last week he wiggled out of his umpteenth arrest with a slap on the wrist and was promptly arrested for drugs later that day. And that's not the first time something like that has happened. He was arrested TWICE in one day this year! Anyway, soon after the latest arrest, photos were released of Pete shooting up what looks like an unconcious girl (and injecting himself as well). Should he not be forced into some version of rehab that is also a house arrest? Or do the British authorities just know the inevitable road this will travel?

I don't really understand the attraction to him in the first place. Do two albums make a legend? Can most music fans name one of his songs? I think his social ills are what have propelled his career. The glamorous new Sid Vicious? Hooking up with Kate Moss guaranteed that. But does Pete have a mother who loves him? Does he have anyone at this point who will do what is necessary to save his life? Sometimes I wonder if there are cynical forces at play who know, rightly so, that a dead Pete Doherty will
make them more money than the junkie we see now? He will be canonized if he goes down.

April 29, 2006

Esther's new CD/DVD combo



Did you trolls know that Madonna is releasing a live album on June 13? This will come with the DVD of her I'm Going To Tell You A Secret documentary. Here is the tracklist:

01 - The Beast Within
02 - Vogue
03 - Nobody Knows Me
04 - American Life
05 - I Love New York (Rock Demo Version)
06 - Hollywood (Remix)
07 - Die Another Day
08 - Lament
09 - Like A Prayer
10 - Mother And Father
11 - Susan MacLeod/Into The Groove Medley*
12 - Music
13 - Holiday
14 - Imagine

*The Into The Groove thing: Susan MacLeod is an Irish jig of some sort. From what I remember of the show, the best ones here are Nobody Knows Me, Mother And Father, and Holiday. Her Lennon cover is horrifying; I wish she'd included Crazy For You instead.

April 28, 2006

Swag for u.

Arjan has the clever new Imogen Heap video (and some other Immi-related links) for "Goodnight And Go." She looks beautiful in it. Meanwhile, M3online has some of the new Immi MP3s. Buy them too in legit high quality (they're on iTunes now and on CD May 8).

You Ain't No Picasso has Rufus Wainwright doing one of my favorite standards, the oh-so-sad-used-in-the-finale-of-Cheers "What'll I Do." Note that his mother and aunt sound like singing mice on this rendition.

An Aquarium Drunkard has one of the most perfect ballads of the jangly alt 80's: REM's "Perfect Circle." If any of you tweeters is too young to know this song, download it and see what you think. And no, no one can really tell what they lyrics are, but it's a weepy classic.

I got tons of hits for my PSB "Minimal" post below, so I hope I gained some new readers!

April 27, 2006

PSB Spoiler: M-I-N-I-M-A-L

Point blank: Minimal is a masterpiece - surely in the Top 10 PSB songs ever.

- The beauty of the vocals on this track actually remind me a bit of Rachel Stevens "I Will Be There" chorus. Layers of pure voice, in this case Neil Tennant, whispery and delicate.
- The spelled out chorus (vocodered) is really catchy and not as dull as the idea of it is. There is a kind of melancholy, autumnal quality to the song, as if it represents the end of something rather than the beginning.
- Lyrically, what stands out on Minimal are a series of images: "An empty box, an open space, a single thought leaves a trace"
- The song has some wee phoned-in spoken bits that are very Chris Lowe, though I can't tell if it's really him.
- What does the bridge remind me of? Something I cannot pin down..
- The ending, holy shit! Not only do you get New Order-ish guitar at 3:25, but you also get some mountain-top-twirling strings. They start under the guitar with a backbone of rising horns, which serve as a base on which lighter strings flutter upward into the song's Papa Don't Preachy final moments.
- PSB has been a master of the song finale since the complex final minute of What Have I Done... and this song is as good as that, without a doubt.

Big gushy sigh.This reminds me of my reaction to hearing Miracles for the first time. These guys are so fucking underrated. They really define pop music for the last 20 years.

UPDATE: I just read a fan comment on PSB forum that made a good point. Basically, they were saying - and I'm adding to this - that you live with a band's music for years and years (in this case about 21 years) and you just assume they will never really make another song as perfect as they did when you first heard them, back in the day. Then they surprise you. This person's example was "Precious" by Depeche Mode, which came out in 2005. Within a few listens to that song, I felt they had absolutely nailed it once again. It's very gratifying for fans to hear a group do that, even if it's just one song on a record. This fan thinks "Minimal" has a similar effect and I agree.

Alison can take it on the chin...








Goldfrapp cover The Ordinary Boys'

"Boys Will Be Boys"

New music: The Upper Room



This post is courtesy of Paul at Zappin' It To Ya! Paul introduced this band on his blog and I am expanding on his refined taste...

First though, what is it with British bands and the sublime art direction? Good logos, good fonts, fresh faces! In this case, a DOT THEME. The Upper Room
website requires you to drag dots all over the place (or cheat with the nav at the bottom). It's all very Put Me In The Zoo, no? They've even turned the whole website black and white in honor (honour!) of their upcoming single.

Regardless of how it all looks, it sounds great too. They have a very pure and verrrry English vocalist, decent lyrics, and the ability to move between crunchy and acoustic easily. Being of a certain era, I hear a lot of echoes in their music. Vocally there is a lot of Stephen Duffy (whose pop folky
The Lilac Time albums are due for rerelease in May). They even channel like Billy Bragg a bit on their excellent b-side Up In Smoke.

I worry that there will be a desire to label every band the new Arctic Monkeys, but The Upper Room take care to point out that they started recording this record in Dec. 2004. The upcoming single is
Black And White - due on May 8, with a video link on their news page. The album is due in summer.

The Britty booty is here: the acoustic version of
Black And White that got my balls rollling when Paul posted it. Also, the aforementioned b-side, Up In Smoke .

April 26, 2006

That's f-ing insane.

Everyone's talkin' about this video. It's an incredible piece of editing, splicing together the cultish "Attitudes" show from the late 1980's with new footage of Coldplay doing their REM-inspired song "The Hardest Part." Please note that while Gwynnie stole her "personal style" from Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, her husband is featuring an xolondon-inspired haircut (or non-haircut, as it were). At least that's what I think.

Popjustice reports that you can hear samples of the new Pet Shop Boys CD here. It sounds good, especially "Minimal." You can also sample one of my favorite moments from the aforementioned "Integral."

oops they're gone! WHY? silliness.

Cover story

I love looking at album art after all these years. Click on the pic for more info...









April 25, 2006

Keane update



I generally love their music, but God are they dull to look at. The new video for "Atlantic" is out in the UK, but the only way Americans can see it is via a stream here. It appears to be about a fat lady in a bathing suit drowning in the sea. The song itself is more Keane-like than the U2-lite single, but my initial response is tepid.

Doesn't matter anyway, since you can't buy the audio for "Atlantic" anywhere. You can only buy the video! Once again I am baffled by Keane's various labels inability to get this out video out on iTunes worldwide and in acceptible formats. I mean, it's available in fucking Poland, but not in their biggest market? Goldfrapp it much?

For Keane-freaks, here is a webpage with their new logos and banners.

New press pix courtesy of
Keans.at's piccie page.

April 24, 2006

PSB Spoiler: Thoughts about "Integral"



Integral is everything a Pet Shop Boys song should be. It's their most bombastic track since Left To My Own Devices - you can just hear Neil saying, "more strings! make 'em more massive!" A few bits I love:
  1. The political lyric about our suddenly Orwellian society and the fact that nothing is deemed private anymore.
  2. The way the strings actually SLAM on the opening of the second verse (just after the 1 min. mark). People's heads will surely explode a la "Scanners" when they hear this on a huge sound system.
  3. The slightly Eurodisco quality to the song.
  4. The spoken bits: Sterile. Immaculate. Rational. Perfect. (note: that's pronounced "ster-aisle" for the Americans)
  5. The last minute of the song is like a glorious, messy orgasm.
  6. How many takes did Neil do to get that final "puhfect"? It IS.

I would love to post this track, but fear I'd be totally shut down as it has yet to be released. While we wait, check out Tremble Clef for a song called "If Neil Tennant Was My Lover."

April 22, 2006

I love New York.



Got tickets, bitches! Paid for the cheap seats, so look for me at Madison Square Garden on July 18, my nose bleeding with all les miserables at the top of the arena. Celebrate!

"Sorry (Paul Oakenfeld Remix)" 9 MB

April 21, 2006

I'd like it if they'd like us but I don't think they like us.



One of the great unanswered questions of our time:

Why the fuck is Square Pegs not available on DVD?

You'd think that someone would've put it out when SJP became a huge star. For the love of God, someone help me!

Kiss me, please kiss me...



A must-see post for Jeff Buckley fans at Kwaya Na Kisser.
Definitely get "Forget Her" - the excellent Grace outtake and his version of "Calling You".

80's Weekend Mix


The Modern


The Modern "Sometimes" (Modern MySpace)
Clear Static "Make Up Sex" (Clear Static Site)
Belouis Some "Some People"
Thompson Twins "The Gap"

...Something new, something old, up for one week.

April 20, 2006

Is it any wonder I don't care?

Though I am still very meh about the new Zooropa-ish Keane single, I am excited for the CD. Read a review from Arjan and some info about the forthcoming "Atlantic" video...

MP3s of the Day: Sucking in the 70's



Check out this 70's Fantastique list of tracks up today at MyExBestFriend

Todd Rundgren - Hello It's Me
Paul Davis - I Go Crazy
Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
The Knack - My Sharona
K.C. & The Sunshine Band - (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty
England Dan & John Ford Coley - I'd Really Love To See You Tonight
Captain & Tennille - Love Will Keep Us Together
Robert John - The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Don McLean - American Pie
Edward Bear - Last Song
Harry Chapin - Cat's In The Cradle
The Village People - Y.M.C.A.
Seals & Crofts - Summer Breeze

April 19, 2006

I feel compelled to say



Katharine McPhee kicked mighty ass last night on American Idol. Although Elliot Yamin is my favorite singer (I'm a schmaltzy person!), Katharine is a total star. I practically shed a tear at how great she was last night - when those kids pull off a really great, honest performance it can be moving in an "I just won a Gold Medal" way, you know?


PS: If that ditzy plantinum blond wins, we'll know for sure there is no God.

April 18, 2006

90's Redux



PerezHilton.com, which is hilarious, posted this new photo of Billy Corgan (who I used to despise) and Courtney Love, taken in the past few weeks. Both are looking good, though I still think she needs to lay off Botox, etc. Billy and Courtney are in the studio again and I think he is good for her musically.

What I'm listening to now, April 18



1) "Stay Until Summer" Alexis Strum. That's Alexis above, doing her best Virginia Woolfe. I cannot get enough of this song, especially the beautiful middle eight. Thanks to Paul at
Zappin' It To Ya for giving me this one. Alexis, please release your fucking album, even if it is full of slow ballads, of which this is the finest. [MP3]

2) "Transatlantic Flight" Lorraine. When I first played this, all I could hear was PSB. Now it seems fully Lorrained. This is going to be a major album, though I fear a Rachel Stevens scenario for them (flop). I'd expect this one to end up as a single. [
hear it on myspace]

3) "Live With Me" Massive Attack with Terry Callier. I posted on this a few weeks ago. Passionate love song set against strings filled with menacing grandeur. My co-worker thinks its a crime of passion song, something to murder a lover to. [iTunes link]

4) I'm Not Dead - the Pink album. I kid you not bitches! I really love this record! It's the kind of CD you learn by playing it over and over in the car. It's insanely catchy and not too much of anything. If I had to pick one song to download from itunes, I'd choose "Who Knew." And by the way, Pink was rocking before Kelly C. [
iTunes link].

5) "Lazarus" Sophie Solomon with KT Tunstall. I have to admit I am not a KT fan, but I think this simple song she recorded with violinist Sophie Solomon (for Sophie's CD Poison Sweet Madeira) is really... exquisite. You don't hear songs like this on the radio. I've racked my brain over who it reminds me of and can't come up with anything. [
MP3]

Notice Keane, now a U2 clone, did not make the list. Grrrr.

April 17, 2006

Goldfrapp's Big Botch



When Goldfrapp released the Supernature CD last September, their US label delayed the American release so they could do better promotion here. Six months seemed extreme, but two people cannot be everywhere at once, so it seemed semi-plausible.

The first weird thing was the extent to which Mute (in the US) tried to prevent Americans from buying the CD. They did their best - and I have this from a reliable authority who knows a Mute rep - to make sure it was not available at brick'n'mortar stoes as an import. A shitty thing, considering you could get it on Amazon UK. Labels should be supporting brick'n'mortar retailers and I spit on those who do not. Regardless, US fans either bought the CD online or illegally downloaded it.

But now the story gets even stranger. The US release has been completely botched. Despite a nice special edition package out here in March, not only are Goldfrapp not touring America anytime soon, they are not touring at all! Shouldn't they be touring American clubs right now before hitting the summer festival circuit? Are they getting no financial backing or is there a problem with the band?

Their April diary consists of a whopping 2 TV appearances and their American "tour" in May is three West Coast shows and Letterman. What? And they want to sell this CD here? Sounds like a botch job to me. I would not be surprised if there is a split with Mute in the works.

As I type this post, I hear "Lovely 2 C U" on a BBC America show and Coke is running a commercial featuring "Ooh Lala." They deserve massive success - Supernature will go down as of the finest albums of the '00's - but it appears America is not on their radar.
For my trolls who know my obsession with Wolfgang Puck's Chinois Chicken Salad, now I can make it at home! It looks like a pain in the ass though...I just want them to re-open my beloved Wolfgang Puck Express. The quality of my life declined with its passing.

She'll grab your sweaty bollocks, then slowly raise her knee



I love the cover of The Beautiful South's new single "Manchester." In fact, I want a poster of it. I assume that their new artwork is all based on photos of old buses? They are clever that way, even if one can read a message of obsolescence into the imagery.

Not so clever have they recently been in the aural contents of their CDs. 2004's kicky covers CD notwithstanding, their records have been case of diminishing returns since 1996's Black Is The Colour, the follow-up to the double whammy of 199o's Choke and 1994's Miaow. When the caramel-voiced Jacqui Abbott left in 2001, they flailed, releasing the utter turd that was 2003's Gaze. TBS seem afflicted with Chris Isaak Syndrome: you know they have talent and you know they could expand upon it in some delicious ways, but they resolutely refuse, stubbornly sticking to what they know, that which is comfortable, even if it means failing. Or wait? Is that George W. Bush Syndrome? Hmmm.

It's a shame because Paul Heaton and his merry band of Hull pubgoers held up the mantle of British lit-pop in the early 1990's. They were particularly good at detailing the juxtaposition/incongruities of the sexes on various songs - they wrote some brilliant, barbed-tongue lyrics. Who can forget these lines from the truly perfect single, "Rotterdam"? "
The whole place is pickled / The people are pickled for sure / And no one knows if they've done more here / Than they ever would do in a jar."

As for the new single, it is depressingly weak. Mancunians won't buy it, they'll just sing along to it, drunk in pubs. One hopes that May 15's
Superbi album will better reflect the energy of their recent covers of songs like "Don't Fear The Reaper." I don't have high hopes, but I have not written them off.

I highly recommend any of their 3 Greatest Hits CDs, along with the aforementioned Choke or Miaow. Check out this
exhaustive discography for the deets.

Xolondon's Top Ten TBS Songs In No Order Are....

01 I Think The Answer’s Yes
02 Let Love Speak Up Itself
03 Hold On To What?
04 Prettiest Eyes
05 Rotterdam
06 Mirror
07 Don’t Marry Her (Fuck Me)
08 Dumb
09 Masculine Eclipse
10 A Little Time


For my peeps, a very special TBS rarity that is quite special...

"Let Love Speak Up Itself" (Jacqui Abbott version)

April 16, 2006

Links for your basket...

It's Easter, trolls! Do you have on your Easter bonnet? Are you looking for your eggs? Are you drinking a mimosa? Do you have a full basket?

Oxygen Chunks posts links to Rachel Stevens talking about each track from her masterwork Come And Get It (love seeing "masterwork" precede that crap title!). Watch a few and you'll get a sense of why some pop fans are so hard on her. She's not exactly Marie Curie... in fact, she is beyond inarticulate. But I love her so back off! Here for just 5 days is a freebie, the dippy b-side: "Waiting Game"

Kwaya Na Kisser, which is like an archive of rarities, posts some great Sujan Stevens rarities from recent days. The best is "Lord God Bird" - gorgeous song he wrote on commission for NPR. You can even download the story about it!

Finally, no music here, but you should keep your eye on Euphoric, a great PSB website, as they'll have the latest info in the final month before the release of Fundamental. Please also note that these are the final 2 weeks of The Dent, the world famous Tori Amos fansite. A notable recent link is to a new interview where Tori reveals that her next CD will be back to the old rage-tastic Tori. When this site goes, Tori Amos will find a huge part of her PR machine missing!

April 14, 2006



Gorgeous. Love it. Apparently Finnish folk art-inspired. The font is very po-mo flapper, ne c'est pas?

Memoirs of Xolondon, Chapter 1



As a child, I...

1) Enjoyed watering the patio. I am serious. I would go outside and proceed to hose down the patio. I think I liked watching the concrete go from light to dark. It would dry and I'd do it again.

2) Wanted to live and/or work in a Fotomat Booth. These were tiny enclosed huts in parking lots where you could drive up and drop off your film to be developed. They were big enough for one person, sort of like toll booths. I was - and am - obsessed with organizing small spaces to live in comfortably. I was the type that built forts out of sheets and cardtables...

3) Would imitate Sonny and Cher on my front lawn. What does a parent do with that? That (S&C) was my favorite TV show (I know, spare me the commentary), which I would always watch with a bowl of chocolate ice cream. Friends know that I can no longer stand chocolate ice cream, but I remain ever-faithful to Cher. Diss her and I will promptly crush your gonads and then run away in tears.

4) Would cry at the end of every episode of Lawrence Welk. That may be too obscure for most readers. He was a vaguely accented Polish bandleader who had a cheesy 70s variety show. They'd play waltzes and polkas, and women in dresses that looked like nightgowns would sing popular AM radio songs with pleasant orchestration. The closing song went, "Good night, sleep tight and pleasant dreams to you / Adios, au revoir..." This signaled bedtime, hence the tears.

5) Would steal candy from various spots my mom had hidden it. This behavior has impacted me to this day, as I have a serious sweet tooth. People hang out with me and gain weight because I'm like, "Hey, let's eat a cupcake! Have a donut now!" I also know where the best candy is throughout the world. In the UK, I love a Lion Bar and Italy has the amazing Big Frut.

T
hat is me circa 1976, with Heather, my Scottie.

Call the police there's a madman around



In anticipation of the new Pet Shop Boys album (which is getting sadly mixed reviews on fan boards), we have the West End Girls. When I first heard about them I thought, aww fuck cheeky girls singing bad version of "Rent" me no like. Truth is, I lurve PSB songs so much that I give anyone gold stars for covering them. WEG are 2 Swedish girls - aren't they all? - named Isabella and Rosanna. Their CD, Goes Petshopping, is due out ... I don't know. The new single is a cover of "Suburbia" out on May 17. The actual Pet Shop Boys have mentioned them on their own website, so clearly the boys are not hostile.


Butwaitheresmore! A PSB rarity:
"It's Alright (10" version)"

April 13, 2006

I can pick up the best from the party animal.



Step it up, Neil, I am getting impatient! Look for a post on Friday to tide us over...in the meantime check out Euphoric (thanks for the pic!) to see the new video for "I'm With Stupid."

update: I just noticed we're all posting the same stuff. This is happening more as there are more pop blogs. I will write something no one else can for the weekend! (April 14 - that post is up now, you can't miss it)

April 12, 2006

Kylie comes out into the sunshine

Kylie Minogue is much loved. I am not sure what it is about her, but people really love her in a way that transcends the usual fan adulation. Do you know what I mean? The fact that she has never gotten herself mired in any scandalous bullshit is part of it, but I think it's that she manages to project a genuineness that, honestly, the Lady Ritchie cannot. We all know the truth, that Madonna is an ice queen to most people except those close to her. Kylie appears to lack that insecurity gene. She seems truly humbled by her fans and projects happiness even when she may not be happy. She does not seem above anyone. I suppose it's unlikely we'll hear anything new from Kylie in '06, but she looks terrific and it's great to see her back , one year after her diagnosis. God bless Kylie Minogue!

Theme Post #1



Two brilliant songs that namecheck Heathrow Airport, my beloved gateway to heaven.

1) Suede "Europe Is Our Playground" One of the top 5 Suede tracks. Totally louche. From Heathrow to Hounslow, from the Eastern Bloc to France...

2) Hard-Fi "Move On Now" The Wyckoff Correspondent said this epic ballad reeks of me and he is right! Just get me on a plane. Now. Besides, I have been informally invited to (crash) the best wedding since Chardonnay married Kyle Pascoe.

On Monday I saw a beast



On my way to work Monday morning I was playing Madonna's Reinvention Tour version of "The Beast Within" and listening to these words (from Revelations 13): "I saw a beast rising out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads... and to it the dragon gave his power / And the whole earth followed the beast with wonder."

It dawned on me as I headed to see George Bush that he probably knows this verse backwards and forwards, as he seems to be leading us into what he hopes will be The Rapture. Today's speech bore out my opinion of him as a total fake. He doesn't understand much of what he says.

The bad news for me was that I got relegated (by luck) into the overflow area, outside the room, while my friends sat on the 5th row! I had to watch the whole performace on a TV screen. What a fucking thrill. At least the reaction from students around me was honest, with groaning and laughter. Here is a choice sample from the Q&A - this made me bury my face in my hands as it was happening:

STUDENT: Thank you, Mr. President... My question is in regards to private military contractors. Uniform Code of Military Justice does not apply to these contractors in Iraq. I asked your Secretary of Defense a couple months ago what law governs their actions.

THE PRESIDENT: I was going to ask him. Go ahead. (audience laughter.) Help. (audience laughter.)

STUDENT: I was hoping your answer might be a little more specific. (audience laughter) Mr. Rumsfeld answered that Iraq has its own domestic laws which he assumed applied to those private military contractors. However, Iraq is clearly not currently capable of enforcing its laws, much less against -- over our American military contractors. I would submit to you that in this case, this is one case that privatization is not a solution. And, Mr. President, how do you propose to bring private military contractors under a system of law?

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that very much. I wasn't kidding -- (audience laughter) I was going to -- I pick up the phone and say, Mr. Secretary, I've got an interesting question. (audience laughter). This is what delegation -- I don't mean to be dodging the question, although it's kind of convenient in this case, but never -- (audience laughter) I really will -- I'm going to call the Secretary and say you brought up a very valid question, and what are we doing about it? That's how I work. I'm -- thanks. (audience laughter)

Anyway, what can we do? He is (hell)bent on his apocalyptic vision for the planet. All we can do is battle the conservatives as ruthlessly as they battle us. Maybe we can reach this vision without all fire and brimstone?

[From Revelations 21]
"Behold the dwelling of God is with men...
And God himself will be with them
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes
And death shall be no more
Neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore
For these things will have passed away"

April 11, 2006

For immediate release

Xolondon has been elected Prime Minister of Italy and will resume blogging duties tomorrow, as soon as he picks his cabinet.

April 10, 2006

BAH!

back Tuesday sometime. had a shitty, cranky day on Monday. and oh yeah:

The Keane single is a major disappointment. It is shit the first time you hear it and sort of bland on repeated listens. It lacks their sparkle. Completely. I am almost gutted.

update: My roommate just made me a gingerbread cookie that looks like an Easter basket, decorated with icing. It was so fucking great that I am all better now.

April 9, 2006

Music for your Sunday drive in the hills

So tonight I have a hot date with Neko Case and Martha Wainwright, who will sing "Bloody Motherfucking Asshole" before I get my "audience" with Dubya early tomorrow morning. Neko is sold out, so I leave with this homework...

Zero 7's new single "Throw It All Away" is posted at I Guess I'm Floating. I've heard about 4 songs from this CD and several channel 70's AM radio in a big way. True here too.

Van Hunt, the sexy soul dude, has a new CD with the uber-cheeky title On The Jungle Floor. Always smooth Silence Is A Rhythm Too reviews it and previews two new songs. Lay down by the fire, babeee...

Sufjan Stevens is soon releasing a collection of tracks that didn't make it to his Illinois CD (too lazy to link!). "The Avalanche" is featured on our LA peep, Kofi's Hat.

One little news bit: N'Dea Davenport has rejoined Brand New Heavies and a new CD Get Used To It called is expected on June 27. Their last one was a total tanker.

Moz, Track 3: You Have Killed Me


Nice piccie isn't it? He looks so jaunty.

Visconti is me
Magnani you'll never be
I entered nothing and nothing entered me
Till you came...

Let me reiterate what I've said before: Tremendous single, but it's a grower. It elicits a bored "meh" the first few listens. I love the passionate chorus: "Yes I walk around somehow, but you have killed me, you have killed me." Love as an emotionally obliterating force; some of us protect ourselves, because we know that if we have a taste of love (and sex), we will desire them all the time. We'd rather. not. know.

Hear this via the great blog Kwaya Na Kisser

April 7, 2006

Let me play you (a song)



The music scene was so weak in the first quarter of 2006 that I kept going back to the Kubb CD. Somehow I missed this track the first time around. It's quite something. First the slutty "Wicked Soul" and this too. Harry Collier is a horndog. Watch the making of their latest video here. That abandoned Brighton Pier seems to disintegrate more and more each year. I wonder how many readers of this blog have been to Brighton (I have)?

"I Don't Mind" Kubb

I don't mind
You don't even wanna know my name
That's just fine
You don't even wanna know my name

You unfold
Scenes of you and me in bed
Your legs wrapped around my head
You don't even wanna know my name

I don't mind, if you don't mind
I'll do whatever you have in mind
You and me we invent this game
and you don't even wanna know my name

I don't mind if you're hungry for a bit of strange
That's alright if you're lookin' for a little change
Can I be bold, and turn you around instead
I wanna see the back of your head
I don't even wanna know your name
In very unexpected news, I will be in the audience at a speech Monday morning by George W. Bush. Odd at best, I know, but when history comes to your door, you really should answer it, right? I plan to be on my best behavior. Expect a full report. Too bad it's not a foreign policy speech by Rachel Stevens...

UPDATE: An unexpected conflict is that I will not be able to easily get Madonna tickets Monday morning! OH MA GAWWW!! I am afraid I need to be an adult for once and choose the fate of the world over The Lady Richie.

I've been thinking 'bout you baby



I am totally obsessed with the new Massive Attack / Terry Callier (above) collaboration called "Live With Me." I am assuming that the great composer/arranger Craig Armstrong had a guiding hand in this record. It's the kind of song that knocks you down the first time you hear it, thanks to Terry's vocals, which, when combined with moody strings, raise the hairs on my neck. The strange thing is that this song has been gathering dust for several years on a shelf somewhere. The Daily Growl has the MP3 or you can buy it from itunes. Expect this is in my Top 10 songs for 2006.

April 6, 2006

Moz, Track 4, The Youngest Was The Most Loved


The youngest was the most loved
The youngest was the sheilded...
The youngest was the cherub


2:59? Go Moz! I love how you hear the opening lines and think, "Oh, that's me!" until you realized the youngest becomes a serial killer! This song has received much attention for the children's choir singing "there is no such thing in life as normal," but my fave bit is the la-la-la stuff at the end. Upbeat and definite single material.

Sonorama also has this MP3

Rhett Miller: Jane Fonda's Love Child?


as for that purple suit, don't gild the lily Rhett

April 5, 2006

Moz, Track 2: Dear God, Please Help Me



Will you follow and know
Know me more than you do
Track me down
And try to win me?

The first time I heard this song, it was very early in the morning and I was not quite awake. I played it and literally had tears in my eyes. Maybe I was just overtired, but it is nonetheless one of the top 10 Morrissey tracks of all time. In my little book, at least.

Set on the streets of Rome, "Dear God" is about the way love and sex can bring a feeling of liberation. Of course, Morrissey expresses this as only he could do, with lines like "There are explosive kegs / between my legs" sung so delicately. The medley is the most accessible on the album and the arrangement, stretched to 6 minutes, lets the song really breathe. It's a triptych of sorts, with a spare opening, an organ based (heh!) middle and Ennio Morricone's awakening strings in the final third. The ending mantra is fucking chill inducing: "the heart feels free" he sings over and over until his voice disappears into the Roman crowd. Ringleader is worth its cost for this song alone.

Hear it via Aujourd'hui plus qu'hier...

Moz, Track 5: In The Future When All's Well



I thank you
I thank you with all of my heart
Please, please stand up and defend me
In the future when all's well
Confront what you are afraid of
In the future when all's well


Can those really be Moz lyrics? It's the most positive track he has ever recorded, from what I can tell. Love does its thing. The chorus lyrics above are positively joyous! Exclamation point! I think this will be a single and its certainly worthy. By the way, like the piccie? It's from the last tour...a bit of gut-sucking, but not bad really.

You can hear this song in full at Sonorama.net

Get the feeling of falling back in time

If any of you trolls have a copy of Transatlantic Flight by Lorraine, I wish I could hear it... :)

Two must-listens

1) Imogen Heap is streaming her new song "Speeding Cars" at gear4. One week only. It's the newly recorded bside to her next single. It's more tinkly than I expected, basically a ballad.

2)
Rush your asses over to Zappin' It To Ya to get the unreleased Alexis Strum song "Stay Until Summer" It's beautiful and a much better single choice than the meh "It Could Be You." Plus, it has one of the most glorious middle eights I have heard in a long, long time. Maybe if Alexis' CD never sees the light of day, Kylie can record this track as a moody comeback song. Thanks, Paul!

Who was that man?

I have never seen more destructive plastic surgery than I saw last night on the American Idol.

Kenny Rogers before:


Kenny Rogers after:

April 4, 2006

The debonair sadist's MP3 picks

Today I got a spam email called Debonair Sadist. Nice named for a band isn't it? Anyway, I was so enveloped in Imogen Heap on my iPod this morning that I missed my train stop. I did not notice until I went through the turnstiles and thought, something is amiss. I had to pay another fare to get back in because the walk would have been too long, despite the beautiful weather (like 50 with blue sky and puffy clouds). Anyhoo, here are some MP3s to try:

Oxygen Chunks has Imogen Heap's new radio mix for "Goodnight and Go" (My Favorite Song of 2005... or maybe you knew that?). The changes will go unnoticed to the untrained ear, at least until the end when she kind of fucks up the glorious Jeff Beck solo with some dadada's.

Scatter o'Light features an epic love song. It's "She's A Mystery To Me" by Roy Orbison. This song was written for Roy by U2 and released in 1989. It captures all the vocal acrobatics Roy was known for and it's just beautiful. I used to play this on my wallkman over and over in college; I urge you to get it. Note also that there are nice piccies of Bono and the U2 version of the track.

You Ain't No Picasso posts a new song I've been waiting for: Camera Obscura's "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken". This song is a tribute to Lloyd Cole and the Commotions and the title comes from his amazing 1984 ballad "Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken." Note that the jaunty song sounds nothing like Lloyd, but it's cute nonetheless. [Shamma shamma Laurie!!]

OneLouder has a song all pop mavens should be familiar with. It's a seminal B52's track called "Legal Tender." This one has all the great elements of a B-52's song: kicky lyrics, a splice of new wave with a slight acoustic punk edge, surf guitar and girl group sing-along vocals. It also is notable for the fabulous bit you can sing along with: and heavy equipment! This one is circa 1983.

Today is Morrissey Day


Ringleader Of The Tormentors is out now! I think I will just review certain tracks. Stay tuned.

April 3, 2006

A true Florentine smell. Inhale, my trolls...



The Divine Comedy has announced their (his) new album will be called Victory For The Comic Muse. It's due on June 19th, with a single to precede it by a week. The title? Literate trolls (or those with mad Google skillz) will know it's a line uttered by the pickled Cecil in Forster's A Room With A View. Neil Hannon will appear naked on the cover, splashing in a pond, having a bath...

XO's Wayback Machine: March 31, 2004


For all the little pop tweeters who have recently started reading this blog, I thought I'd take you back in time, to around the time this blog started. You know, like Doctor Who.

Here is a personal favorite: my review of Janet Jackson's Damita Jo CD. As the collective we know now, the world agreed avec moi on this one. Let's hope for far better from Miss Jackson in 2006.

I have updated the post with color and a visual aid, since we didn't have those things back in tha day. Fuck, I had to walk 15 miles in snow drifts to even post something on the fucking Internets. xo

I really hate it when you shake your head like this ain't gonna work



Will Young's new single is called "Who Am I." It's really beautiful in a melancholy way and, I think, his most substantial song to date. I'd say this song launches him to another level, moving beyond pop into something a bit more artful. I love the lyrics and how your sympathies waffle between the "protagonist" and his lover. Which one is the asshole in this crumbling relationship?

According to Will's website, the video "is based on top (UK) children's show Blue Peter and cleverly superimposes Will into original footage so he can co-star with presenters like John Noakes, Peter Purves and Lesley Judd as well as feed a lion cub, judge competition entries and of course, create a model using sticky-backed plastic." It has absolutely nothing to do with the song, but I guess they felt the last video was heavy enough. It reminds me of Bridget Jones. He should certainly get an award for worst wigs.

"Who Am I""
(video via New Music Friday) "

No DC stop, Oldfrapp?



Click on picture. Presale tomorrow and most tickets on Monday the 10th. Full deets!

Roddy Frame is back


I may have mentioned recently that Roddy Frame is releasing his first new CD in 3 years. It's called Western Skies and it's due out in the UK on May 1. It has 11 songs and is slightly more fleshed-out than the all-acoustic Surf. That's the cover above, though Amazon UK has a slightly more surly picture on the cover.

You can hear a new track called "The Coast" on his label's MySpace page. This is sort of a moody, minor chord track. Or maybe it's not minor chord (Lucas?). Anyway, here also is a beautiful freebie...


I wrote about this song early last year, so you can read that post, which has a bit of the perfect lyric. It is an excellent introduction to what a brilliant lyricist he is, although my favorite song remains "Surf."