March 31, 2007
In alphabetical order, the Top 20 songs of the first quarter of 2007. A few rules: Do not have to be singles, but one song by each artist only (or else it would have been dominated by like 4 people) and songs must be officially released. The colored link will take you to a place you can hear the song... now's your chance to hear it!
Bloc Party I Still Remember
Boy George / Amanda Ghost Time Machine
Sophie Ellis-Bextor Catch You
Feist My Moon My Man
Fergie Glamorous shhhh
Ghosts Stay The Night
The Hours Ali In The Jungle
Just Jack Disco Friends
Klaxons Golden Skans
Damien Leith Night of My Life
Lucky Soul The Great Unwanted MP3
Katherine McPhee Everywhere You Go Kat wants u 2 buy it
Mika My Interpretation
Sarah Nixey Endless Circles
Pleasure Out Of Love
The Revelations If I Called You On The Telephone
Mark Ronson Stop Me
Tracey Thorn It's All True
WinterKids Who Am I Kidding
Patrick Wolf Augustine
Worthy albums thus far: Tracey Thorn, The Hours, Sarah Nixey, Mr. Hudson And The Library, Lucky Soul, Patrick Wolf
What's coming: Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Ghosts, The Revealtions, Siobhan Donaghy, Feist, Bjork, Rufus Wainwright, Tori Amos, Mark Ronson, The Rosebuds
photo by Hedi Slimane
Our man Rufus is determined to lead a lederhosen revolution. He told the New York Times in January that his album will have a lederhosen spread and the picture above is the first peek. He says, "I went [to Berlin] and started wearing lederhosen and going to visit baroque palaces."
This fashion mountain was apparently climbed after an evening spent with Francesca von Habsburg (the Archduchess of Austria)... you know her: only a direct descendant of Marie Antoinette. He looks pretty good, really! If the shirt were white, the effect would be pastiche, but the tight green top works.
There are obvious risks for Rufus as he goes on the road: mainly the potential for a male camel-toe effect that Robert Plant would be proud of. It also requires good legs. My knobby knees would poke out in an unsightly way. I wonder, do plastic surgeons now have knee filler?
March 30, 2007
March 29, 2007
It takes a real man to wear that sweater. But what really matters is that this picture represents the end of the red hair. It is gone and Patrick Wolf is back to black. Pics soon!
The quote of the week is from Attitude Magazine's piece on Patrick Wolf, in which the writer (?) describes Patty's music this way:
Feral child howls at the moon while self-harming and masturbating as a ukulele plays.
Be sure to check out Patrique's interview with Peter Robinson, the man behind the Popjustice curtain. Peter gets the exclusive information that PW does not wear underwear, which makes me wonder [M5!]about the short shorts he wears on stage...
Patty's going to be in New York for 3 shows next week, but I just cannot deal with one week's notice, so no xolove for him this time.
Finally, a hidden jewel: a new mix of The Magic Position courtesy of the Brooklyn Vegan. It's slightly shorter, stompier, more percussiony.
March 28, 2007
Pop music has a new creamy smooth pop goddess, she is 23 and her name is Siobhán Donaghy. A 2001 refugee of Sugababes, she has been toiling for about 3 years on her second album, Ghosts. Clearly, Siobhán has spent long hours lying on her floor listening to Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, and Tori Amos on her big headphones. The record has a really wide scope, from the Kate-ish backwards trilling on the title track to the "swaying" pop of So You Say. Medevac swoops and pounds while our lass wails about being "strung out." My current favorite is the glistening folk/orchestral ballad There's A Place. This album is a pleasing combination of glorious pop laced with bits of Anglo weirdness.
She's in good company: Her main collaborator is James Sanger, who has worked with Keane, U2 and Brian Eno. Marius Devries also had a hand in the music. The album photos were done by Floria Sigismondi, best known for her work with Marilyn Manson. The video for first single Don't Give It Up was shot in Morocco by Sophie Muller. Money is clearly being dropped on this project.
I'll probably do a bigger review closer to the album release in June, but keep your eyes and ears open for the latest ginger superstar.
PS: My Beloved Mutya Buena better bring it.
March 27, 2007
Tracey Thorn's CD finally came out in America and she was slightly mobbed at a disco in Miami last week! Good for mom to get a night out. My review is coming soon. She looks amazing in the piccie above... that haircut looks expensive.
Dolly Parton: Tricky saw her in London and his post is a hilarious must-read! Sadly, he did not meet her, which is unusual for him...
Maroon 5: I have never been a fan, but I quite like the single Makes Me Wonder. The chorus has a vaguely Max Martin quality. Can anyone else hear that? Wongie has album deets because he's been chatting with Adam et al.
Tori Amos: Disappointed in Tori's single choice and album cover, assuming we have seen the actual cover. Zeon, I concur.
The Lady Sarah Nixey is finishing a new video and it's quite droll. See Sarah's disembodied head hanging upside down! See Sarah crawling around in a bathing suit! Coming soon to your computer.
Pleasure: Popjustice interviewed Fred Ball, who utters this gem about Bertine Zetlitz: "She's just had a child. I'm going to meet it in Norway next week."
Rufus Wainwright: I have heard his new abum and it's very, very good. Will post on it as soon as I feel its kosher. Between My Legs is a masterpiece and, suffice it to say, fans will soon be imitating a certain 70-year-old Welsh actress.
Gwen Stefani forgot her lipstick on American Idol. How strange. She looka lika ol lady. Melinda tore it up with Heaven Knows btw. Just give her the contract now.
Pet Shop Boys are releasing their concert DVD, Cubism, and Euphoric has the details. I hope some fine chap will make me MP3s of the live versions of Home And Dry and Flamboyant. My review of the show is here.
Bjork: Note that mysterious comment says that the cover is not the one I posted. So, is the actual cover better?
Amy Winehouse: Wongie is on it this week and reminds us that Amy did a Carole King cover for the Bridget Jones 2 soundtrack.
Last note, thank you to everyone who comments on this blog!
March 24, 2007
Last year I got all swoony for The Upper Room's unrequited love song Black And White. This year that honor goes to this gorgeous new pop song by Bloc Party. I have been obsessing over this track for weeks, but never shared it until now. It is EPIC. "You should have asked me for it, how could I say no?" Le sigh. Read the full lyrics and then buy it!
Thanks for your note, Ms. Client Kate. Your new single is quite the e-stim (electro stimulation) treat and the video is a decent version of what can be done with green screen. Note that Client feature's legendary Dubstar (watch this) vocalist Sarah. Also check out Lights Go Out
Bo Pepper Buses:
The video is clever - puppets in where, Blackpool? - but don't let the novelty thing block you from hearing the tune. Bo Pepper are a fun UK band with good song and a fantastic female vocalist. Buses is my fave track so far. Somebody sign them and make them stars! While we were apart, I was a sock puppet too...
March 22, 2007
I am back after needing a few days to live my actual real life. That picture above was the final touch to this post: Pete Doherty and Kate Moss' little girl swanning around the Cotswolds (or is that actually Kate, finally shrunken from lack of food?). Whatever, that's some surreal shit.... but don't those flowers look lovely? I need some tea and a scone right now. Onward...
Little Man Tate fulfills my need for a big, thick... British accent. But I only like the one song, This Must Be Love. I am still excited about Ghosts and have ordered their fizzy single Stay The Night, which I still do not have an MP3 for! Could care less about the new song by Arctic Monkeys. They're just too garage for me, that's all. Good lyrics though.
Yes, Wongie, Calvin Harris is overrated. That manchild has one song out (which I don't like), his album is 8 versions of said song and yet he has been declared a new genius. It's premature.
The Modern Music is a very interesting blog- the musical taste is broad and the broken English is endearing.
The new Yoko Ono project is fascinating. Seriously! The new version of Every Man Every Woman is something most pop fans would dig.
Madonna overtook Hong Kong (and now the world) like some huge movie monster. I love Hong Kong. I was lucky to go there briefly on two occasions and I wish more people could easily visit. It is beyond fabulous and great mashup of east and west.
Jam and Jerusalem is called Clatterford in America because we have crazy ass fundamentalists who would blow up BBC offices or something if the word Jerusalem was in a show title. It's the new Jennifer Saunders series and, so far, it is absolute shit. I hate hate hate how they've used Dawn French and Joanna Lumley, who seem to be performing in a crazy F&S skit, while Sue Johnston is actually doing subtle comedic acting. The show is decent in her scenes only.
And with that, I'm off for a walk on a sun dappled lane...
On the decline of the real New York as the whole city gentrifies...
What makes me really sick is how New York now looks like a bad imitation of Sex and the City. Meatpacking [District] is a good example of just how fucked up it is. You can’t have a city that’s interesting where the only people living in it are rich. When I came here as a kid, as a young adult, you could get lost—many different worlds collided. You cannot say that today.
- Chris Noth in New York Magazine
The inspiration for this post came from Varant's excellent post at Gravity And Fusion about one of his favorite Village record stores closing. I chose that pic because, like downtown NYC, Carrie became gentrified at the end of SATC, when the show abandoned any remaining city girl spunk for extreme wealth and icy internationalism. Mix-n-match, crazyass clothes were traded in for Mr. Valentino. [Note: sometimes I talk about Carrie as if she is real.]
March 20, 2007
In the next Pitchfork installment:
...he went off and did the Justin [Timberlake] album and I think Nelly Furtado. So he sort of didn't have time to attend the aftermath, really, which turned out to be a blessing, because it meant I could noodle with the results for a year, and edit the fuck out of them...Early review here. No strings, lotsa brass and beats.
That's an older picture above, by the way.
March 19, 2007
amazing album art. No one does it as well as she does. See the title?
March 18, 2007
Twenty years have passed since one of the greatest rock albums of all time was released: U2's The Joshua Tree. I am pretty sure I got it on my birthday, one week later (you know, I was a very hip...errr.. 3 yr old). As overplayed as it was, I still love it. I won't do a big review here; most of you know this record. Here are a few facts:
1. The working title of the album was The Two Americas
2. Red Hill Mining Town- Bono doesn't sing it live because he can't hit the notes!
3. Some people think it was supposed to be a double CD, but this is not mentioned in U2 By U2. Here is a website called Restore The Joshua Tree.
4. Here is a 7-min. video with the band and Eno talking about Where The Streets Have No Name. The album opens with that epic track and the video below, from the 1987 tour, proves that it's their most grand concert opener. Below is the first scene of the Rattle And Hum movie:
I tend to go back a lot to the album tracks that were not singles, like the gorgeous One Tree Hill (written for a friend who dies) and the ominous Exit, below. Film director Phil Joanou made the latter song an incredibly intense experience for the big screen. The yin yang is the heart of this tune: soft verses juxtaposed with angry choruses. And it's Bono at his best...
The question I ask now is why why why have U2 not seized this moment between albums to rerelease The Joshua Tree in a re-mastered special edition? The album had 7 b-sides, all high in quality: Spanish Eyes, Deep in the Heart, Luminous Times (Hold on to Love), Walk to the Water, Sweetest Thing (later redone), Silver and Gold and Race Against Time.
One Tree Hill, below, is a video outtake from Rattle And Hum movie. Bono was like a cat live, slinking across the stage. Or... undulating. He's kind of beyond the sexy now.
Finally, watch a very cool 4 year old singing U2 songs with a mic.
The Travis cover I posted last week turned out to be a fake. Above is the real - and better - cover. I've heard over half this album and the jury is in deliberation. It may be a grower.
The new single from Franny and Co. in many a year is Closer. Sweet song. Watching Fran in this reminds me of a few years ago when a former student came into the library and said to me, "Oh! You've filled out!" I will swallow the word that came to mind when she said that, but you can guess. Anyway, there is a cameo appearance from American "movie star" that I cannot tolerate. I liked him when he was young, but 15 years on, it's the same old schtick.
March 15, 2007
Rufus Wainwright is streaming a new song on his myspace called Another Believer. It's from a new Disney movie, not the new album, but it's classic Wainwright, with a wailing choir of Rufus's in the background - quite lovely and a nice pacifier for those chewing their tongues in anticipation of the new record (I know who you are!). And yes, that is a new press photo. Bring on the stars...
I don't need to explain why I posted this - I suspect that many of you have not seen the movie or the scene. Watch through to the end and you'll get it. I saw this film in London in 1996 - it's good, but incredibly menacing and pervy. Like me.
Just a reminder that Charlotte Gainsbourg's phenomenally cool album 5:55 is due out in America on April 24 with two new songs: Set Yourself On Fire (recently featured on this blog) and Somewhere Between Waking And Sleeping, a gorgeous track that's also on Air's new album with Neil Hannon doing the vocal.
March 14, 2007
Earth Intruders is an industrial-tinged number, rife with video game-esque atmospherics and calypso tonalities — think Nine Inch Nails meets Devo. A rhythmic, marching sound runs throughout much of the track, which "portrays the emotions of impatience, urgency, and being very eager to communicate." In it, she sings, Here is turmoil out there/ Carnage rambling/ What is to do but dig/ Dig bones out of earth/ Mud, graves, timber/ Morbid trenches.
Before all this, Björk's cover of my #1 favorite Joni Mitchell song, The Boho Dance, is due out on April 24. More on that soon!
March 13, 2007
Bell Biv Devoe Gangsta
When we were young we thought of ourselves as badass. Which is ludicrous, if you could have seen me. Anyway, I'd be laying low in the backseat when Krissy drove through Haine's Point doing a chica Latina drive-by for all the gangsta thugs who'd hang outside their cars. Prince would boom outta the car: "Move your big ass 'round this way so I can work on that zippa baby!" And the song above was fucking hot...I love the sustained ahhh in the background. That alone gives it a sort of pop elegance. And the lyrics! "She has a gun / Just for fun / One day she'll shoot me / Girl, I'm not the one!
This track was re-released today on iTunes US.
A public "PS" to Krissy: Work it bitch! Hot in the 90's and smokin' hot in '07. Loved you then and I love you now. xosa
March 12, 2007
R.E.M. is inducted tonight into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. This is really the first of my generation's bands to be inducted. I know the kids won't believe me, but there was a time, 20 years ago, when R.E.M. was the hottest band in the world - challenging U2, even - and Michael Stipe was the prettiest of all rocker boys. They had a truly extraordinary imperial phase that lasted for 9 years ('83-'92) and 8 albums. If you are a fan, be sure to look at this Online Athens (GA) special website. You can also listen to an interview Rolling Stone did with them today.
Here are some official promo pics from over the years...
Fave Member: durr! Michael, followed by Bill Berry
Fave Album: Automatic For The People, then Life's Rich Pageant
Fave Single: Nightswimming (yes, it was a single), then Losing My Religion
Most Hated Single: Shiny Happy People
Fave Album Cut: Feeling Gravity's Pull watch it
Fave Rarity: their '89 live version of VU's After Hours
Fave Video: Losing My Religion
photo by Stephanie Chernikowski
1984, photo by Greg Allen
Losing My Religion
Feeling Gravity's Pull
Turn You Inside Out
Fall On Me
Imitation Of Life
March 11, 2007
Today I got someone who was looking for nekkid pics of Vanity (of Prince fame). Sigh. I did look to see where readers/cruisers have come from recently...
From the UK, we have Swinefleet (it exists!), Hackney, Cambridge (b/c I am... intellectual), Chesham, Essex, Exeter, Milton Keynes, Lambeth and London, Glasgow representing the Scots (who like to be their own people, much like Texans).
From the United States, It's all skewed toward the Iowans from Boise, Denmark and Des Moines (love them, but what about Ames?), LA, Hanover, Kanasas City (I was born there), Frisco (from the country of Texas), Villa Park, Madison (I am partial to Wisconsinites), Brooklyn, Metuchen (fancy way of saying Jersey), Long Beach, Charlotte, N'awlins, lots of Floridians, Fresno, Austin (been there, love it, want a margarita).
From the Middle East, we have Haifa (is it crass to say Israelis are hot?), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Dubai (someone on the 60th floor, no doubt).
From Europe, Zachodniopomorskie (Poland rocks), Athens, Hamburg, Vilniaus Apskritis (that's Lithuania!), Dresden (Dolls? Germany), Frederikssund (the Danes, there should be more of you) and Madrid.
From Asia, we have Hong Kong (Central, where are the Kowloon kids?), Singapore (I know you), Bali and Pontianak (Indonesia, the former is surely a celeb vacationing in a hotel that's on the water?), Quezon City (Philippines), and Johor (Malaysia).
Don't forget OZ with Melbourne and New South Wales or the Canadians. And just one South American in Sao Paolo (sexy fuckin' Brazilians!). No Africa, India, and no smokin' hawt Cubans.
March 10, 2007
The image Brett chose for his supposedly confessional -and ungood- solo debut does not suggest honesty, does it? Nor is it a new picture. It was taken for a magazine several years ago.
Another 90's baby. Much improved from her last look, but she looks severely constricted in that coat. Again, it suggests something other than a very personal record. I've heard the single - it sounds just like Cranberries music, with wonkily "earnest" lyrics.
Travis' new disc. Don't like it at all. Child in Iraqi sandstorm? Creepy like my banner! Pretty song Battleships is now streaming at their myspace. UPDATE: This is FAKE!
Viva La South. One woman gaily hopping on flowers. Another woman determined to fuck that bitch over. Ot maybe it's the same woman, fucking over herself.
This cover is not at all what I expected. I guess it's supposed to be like a movie poster, but the music is nothing like movie music.
Who ever heard of actual art on an album cover? Keane maybe. This is whimsical folk art. I'd like to think I could have done this myself with some scissors and construction paper.
March 9, 2007
The Revelations are about to pop, so to speak. If Bananarama were to go back to their earliest sound for their next CD, the new Revelations single might've worked for them. It's very post-Pipettes, though they've actually been on the Fierce Panda label since 2005. My only "issue" is that the look is a bit too...Wilson Phillips (see video below).
What you should know: Based in the UK, the 3 members are Swedish, English, and Portuguese. They host a Motown retro night at Notting Hill Arts Club in London that attracts much attention (and celebs). Their forthcoming album was produced by Ian Grimble, who's worked with everyone from Siouxise to Travis to Marc Almond. It was even mastered at Abbey Road. Does that give it cache?
The intrepid Talia of The Londonist tipped them 6 weeks ago. The cool -and very rare- bit is that you can buy the single on iTunes UK and US! How rare! Please watch the video right now...
The Revelations If I Called You On The Telephone:
March 8, 2007
Rufus Wainwright is talking more about his new album Release The Stars. He told Q Magazine that he's "going for the sound of cash registers,' with "accessible, poppy songs." Some album details are revealed:
Neil Tennant co-wrote Tiergarten and sings on I'm Not Ready To Love, while actress Sian Phillips "narrates" Between The Legs, whatever that might mean. 3/21 edit: I don't think Neil sings on Not Ready and the Sian P. bit is more of a spoken monologue (RW's term) - it's the highlight of a brilliant song (BML).
Do I Disappoint You? was inspired by Rufus' love life and Release The Stars (the song) is based on his reaction to his mother's illness last year.
There's a funny bit of irony in the inteview when Rufus says, "Neil does love the sound of his own voice." Right, Rufus! He goes on to say that "This album was made to be sold," so I hope it does, although that comment may have been in jest.
HMV reports that Rules And Regulations is "electro pop" - so how long will it take for some weasle to say he's imitating Mika? 3/21 edit: This song is not electropop.
March 7, 2007
Yes she comes from the Oleta Adams school (vs the Whitney or Mariah school), but I am a big Oleta fan. Tonight she surprised everyone with a kickass performance of I'm A Woman (is that it?) that had her strutting all over the stage. Bring it!
March 6, 2007
I dated The Upper Room and they dumped with me no warning. I fucked The Hours moments after we met and they never called again... And now we have Ghosts, who have previously flirted with Torr (thanks!), Hotstuff and Dirrrtypop. Their new single Stay The Night is pure heaven (especially that gorge my heart beats a little louder bit at 2:50). I love it and am clinging to the hope that this band lives up to its promise. For some reason, I get a sense they may have a shot at decent exposure. All will be revealed, kids, all will be revealed.
PS: In the analogy above, the overrated Field Music last as long as a handjob in a public restroom.
March 5, 2007
Quick note: Pitchfork has the first of its Bjork interviews up. Apparently the sound of Volta is marching, so maybe good for the dancers... tonight I will edit this post with an amazing new mix of Pagan Poetry that turns it into slamming dancepop.
There is a fantastic quote from Bjork that I so needed to hear, given the bullshit of recent news:
I mean, the human race, we are a tribe, let's face it, and let's stop all this religious bullshit. I think everybody, or at least a lot of my friends, are just so exhausted with this whole self-importance of religious people. Just drop it. We're all fucking animals, so let's just make some universal tribal beat. We're pagan. Let's just march.
She's really extraordinary. Just when you think she's arty and pretentious, out comes a statement like that. Here is something to get your legs in shape for all the martial beats, a rare (and killer) dance mix:
Bjork Pagan Poetry (JC Lemay Mix) sorry, mix expired
BTW, I assume the photo above is new? WHAT is that coat made of? It makes me queasy even if it is all just yarn.
March 4, 2007
We keep having teases of warm weather followed by cold. As Kat McPhee would say, I'm over it. Though I have nothing decent to wear, I am eager for the hormonal surge of Spring! Actually, maybe the latter implies no need for the former... Anyway [cough], some nibbly bits:
Tracey Thorn is in the Times Online - she says, "I’ve never been a miserable person. I can see there was melancholy in the songs, but it’s partly my tone of voice...I could sing the Teletubbies theme and it would be fairly mournful."
Patrick Wolf is in The Guardian and in Stylus in which he says he is , "a bit of a lady when it comes to going to the toilet—I like to sit down in a cubicle, I’m not a urinal person!”
Brett Anderson is also in the Times Online, where he utters this gem about his new single: “It’s about one’s place in the godless universe.”
Sarah Nixey's new video is The Black Hit Of Space and the word is it looks very Hammer House Of Horror. ooooh...
Hard Fi have finished their new CD and it's out early this summer. More disco rock please. And did you notice Ryan Adams has a new CD called Easy Tiger? Hmm...
Bjork's new album is called Volta, but you know this. How Bjorkian. What you may not know is that Pitchfork will have an interview with her about it on Monday.
The most bizarre Google search that someone did, which caused them to land on my blog: liz hurley getting her gorgeous cunt fucked. Oh dear.
Speaking of cunts, I can't let this one go: It's easy to dismiss Ann Coulter as the basest kind of naricisstic media slag, but her words about John Edwards are dangerous because they give the impression to people who don't think for themselves that it's acceptable to call a person a faggot in a room full of American leaders. I was a sad moment when that comment drew laughs/applause and no one stood up after to say, "No, that is not right." So, the problem is not really Ann, but the response - and that is serious.
My new lamp did not work out. The shade was ginoromus and would have blocked the view out the window it was going to be near. The search continues...
To follow up an earlier post, the Scissters show didn't happen for me. I tried! No biggie. It was a comedy of errors. Everything got fucked up.
Neeta Madahar's photo is called Falling - those are maple seeds.
March 3, 2007
NOTE: No Tori MP3's here. Try Google Blog to see if you can find the clips.
So yesterday two song snippets (2 mins ea) leaked from the hysterically anticipated Tori Amos record. It's not that Tori has been away very long, it's just that her last album really was not very great. Some nice songs, but it was a meandering mess of an actual album (read my review from the early days of this blog). Too midtempo - her balloon had deflated...
And now we have Big Wheel and Bouncing Off Clouds. They'll be everywhere this weekend. I saw Big Wheel described as "honky tonk" which is fair, but it worried me that it might sound like shitastic Hoochie Woman! No. The easier reference is to say you can easily imagine Scissor Sisters singing it...it's very 70's Honky Chateau Elton. There is indeed a point in it where Tori announces herself as a MILF. Does everyone get that? It's code for "mother I'd like to fuck." There is also a breakdown where Tori calls out for drum beats in a countdown (gimme five...). It sounds like the song was developed by playing it live, but I don't think she has ever done it for an audience.
Bouncing is more me. Lush pop and a little closer to old Tori, maybe Bliss era, as electric guitars feature heavily on what I guess is the middle eight. Potentially epic! It's got a tinkly piano, a lot of bass and the same kind of surging quality as Taxi Ride (though nothing can touch that song). The notable hook is "It's not as happy as it feels." She always brings a good lyrical hook.
15 years into the Tori story and people still see her album releases as an event. Pop press shit all over her for "kookiness", but she's pretty fucking fierce and we need to hear that again in the music. Both songs seem to have more energy than her recent work, which is all anyone is asking for. There is an argument to be made that Tori needs a strong guitarist as a foil. Like Steve Caton - if you look at her work, it starts to get softer when he leaves. Anyway, I'm hopeful.
Still loving that photo above. She manages to be creepy and hot at the same time, smart girl. See tag below for more Tori...