February 28, 2008

Let it begin!



I personally don't like this photo. You can't really see her face. It's blurry, strangely lit and poorly cut out over the lettering. AND it looks just like everything Steven Klein does.

And what about that Hard Candy? Read this. UPDATE: 2 rumors, one that Steven Meisel is the photographer for her Vanity Fair cover and two, that Candy Store is identical to the craptastic leak from 2007.

February 27, 2008

American Idolatry

Every year I say I won't watch American Idol until the final 12 and then I end up glued to the TV. Which is just as well, because my mother likes to discuss it and has been known to call my house at the end of a good performance: "The pressure on these kids!" she says each time.

This year my favorite contestants are:

Brooke White: Carly Simon meets Tori. Really pretty, talented and not trashy
Carly (Hennessey!) Smythson: Give her a break, she can sing and they will send her through the Idol machine to clean up her look
David Archuleta: Terminally happy, is he for real? Will be the teen idol
Michael Johns: Says he lives in "Buckhead GA" which means he is rich
Jason Castro: The pretty-boy stoner guitarist who probably enjoys slow sex

I want that Danny "I-Am-Jessica-Alba" Noriega buttslut off now. What's with all the tedious blond girls with names like "Kady" (oy)? Robbie Carrico's hair: is it a blond wig? What is going on there? Every year there is an "old" (29!) handsome dude like Luke Menard who will end up doing musical theater or soaps. Skunk-haired "Rocker Chick" Amanda is already working my last nerve with her raspy Janis-isms. And some lady has the last name Lushington. My Gawd. Small blessings: there is no Sanjay this year.

Like pebbles on a beach



Grizzled rockpop daddy-o Paul Weller, a longtime favorite of mine, is preparing to release his 9th CD in June. It's a double record set called 22 Dreams. The album is said to be his most eclectic since The Style Council days. Weller, soon to turn 50, says it has "soul, rock'n'roll, folky moments... avant free form, a classical piece and a spoken word piece about God." Huh?! I did not like his 2005 CD, As Is Now, so he has something to prove to me.

Read what I said about Paul last January when I saw him in New York.

My Top Ten Plus One Paul Weller songs:

You Do Something To Me
Broken Stones

Out Of The Sinking
It's A Very Deep Sea
The Paris Match
Wildwood
Speak Like A Child
Changing Of The Guard
Shout To The Top!
The Changingman
My Ever Changing Moods

photo via Wellerworld

Her data my dahhta



Run don't walk to the Róisín Murphy Blog (by the Hopeless Optimist!) to check out video of Róisín's incredible busking moment outside St Paul's on 2/25. She performed newly arranged versions of new single You Know Me Better and Overpowered (among others) to brilliant effect. I love how there's a guy with a stroller in the background of one clip. That is one hip bambino.

RM continues to thrill me with her foxy style and fearlessness. And while I'm on it, the upcoming single has one new b-side, a collab with Seji called Keep It Loose. It's out March 31- we've been waiting for this video almost as long as we've been waiting for that damned Madonna song!

pic via some Russian site I could not read!

February 25, 2008

Mixtape: I've given all I can



Rather than post a pic of the new Madonna, I thought I'd post the first image I liked of her. I had a foldout 7" Borderline single with that photo and I put it in my locker in 7th grade. Borderline b/w Think Of Me.

Still no new Duran Duran single in sight. I keep checking their website. I will be suprised if their label gives up so early.

Death Cab for Cutie has a new CD called Narrow Stairs, out on May 13. What happened to The Postal Service album? Booyoudeathcabwhores. The new single is called I Will Possess Your Heart. If you don't know Death Cab, try 2 songs: Transatlanticism and Marching Bands Of Manhattan. There must be a plane of existence where this band is as big as U2... they are a f*ck of a lot better than Coldplay.

I still love the
Design Scene blog. He recently put up a link to the wicked Stevein Klein Studio site. I do wish Madgedonna would move on from Mr. Klein though.

Sam Sparro: There's been some tiresome reaction to him on PopJustice that I find deeply disappointing. If it isn't anti-gay, it's gay obsessed. Like this pearl: "Good HEAVENS did they dehomosexualize him for the new video. I am impressed." Yes, the first video was tacky tacky, but that wasn't anything to do with the artist's sexuality. Another poster called him a "vile queen". To quote Morrissey (ironically), the world is full of crashing bores.

In BritPop News:

Captain's new album is called Distraction and is due out in the summer (date TBA). The first single is not the tepid Animal, but (say the band) "the rather wonderful and obscenely catchy" Keep An Open Mind, out on April 14.

NME has some covers CD coming out which includes the Manic Street Preachers doing Umbrella. Dangerous move, boys.

Supergrass has a new album called, pleasingly, Diamond Hoo Ha - check out Obscure Sound's write-up of the band. My favorite Supergrass tunes are Alright, Moving (epic!), Kiss Of Life and Low C. Of the new tunes I've heard, I quite like When I Needed You, which is available at the link above.

Quiz: Does anyone know the strange, complex connection between Supergrass and the Rossdale/Stefanis?

Did you hear that Mutya Buena was dropped from her label? No crying, chavs'n'cholas, pencilbrow deserved it. Never has there been a more disastrous solo album from someone so talented.

That new song Century by The Long Blondes is shockingly bad. I downloaded it after reading all this great stuff and the vocals are painful.


Barack. Barack. Barack. Barack!

Resurrected! Revelations!



D'luv emailed me today that The Revelations appear to be having a resurgence via Eurovision. The group is managed by Alan McGee of Creation Records/Oasis fame. In January '07 they were tipped on the same lists that made instant stars of Adele and Duffy, but alas - despite a killer single in If I Called You On The Telephone - the girls did not take off. In fact, they never got a physical release for their album, which is on iTunes.

Their Eurovision Song Contest entry is a new tune called It's You and sound remains 60's girl-groupish a la The Pipettes. The look has evolved: they are sexing it up more now, though I still think they need a better stylist. Did they walk onto Kylie's empty In Your Arms photoshoot set up there?


If you want to buy a few tunes, I recommend the aforementioned Telephone, which was on my top songs list last year, along with You're The Loser and I'm A Lover.

February 24, 2008

Review: Goldfrapp's Seventh Tree



Alison Goldfrapp has shaken the glitter out of her hair and discarded the disco/glam poses of 2005’s breakthrough Supernature. On Seventh Tree, her fourth album with collaborator Will Gregory, Goldfrapp chills out with a collection of songs inspired by early 70's English folkies like Nick Drake, Sandy Denny and Californian Linda Perhacs. Most of the songs are rooted in acoustic guitar, with other instrumentation layered on top. Folky though its roots may be, this is still very much a Goldfrapp album, awash with electronic swooshes, strings and pop melodies.

Pastoral opener Clowns is a clever trick… and a shocking leap into the “new” Goldfrapp sound. Perhaps the most hardcore folk song on the album, the lyrics are actually a diatribe against vacuous, tanned models of the Jordan ilk, whose fake “titties… live on and on and on.” Alison’s vocals are heavily muted, so you can’t really tell what she is singing and the final effect is soothing and naive.

Seventh Tree is a warm, loving record, but its overwhelming mood is melancholy. First single A&E is one of Goldfrapp’s finest moments. It takes a few listens to understand that the “backless dress” in A&E isn’t, for instance, a Galliano: it’s a hospital gown and the protagonist is jacked up on meds as she recalls a night gone wrong. It’s the most accessible feeling – of wanting someone to be something they are not. There’s a sad, recognizable moment when Alison sings, “I’m amazed at you / The things you say that you don’t do / Why don’t you ring?”

At the album’s heart is a trio of three midtempo tracks. Some People is a Rufus Wainwright-esque empowerment tune: “What you thought you lost was just mislaid / All the poems written in your skin.” Eat Yourself, also heavy in the English folk influences, is heartbreakingly pretty, with the odd lyric “If you don’t eat yourself / No doubt the pain will instead.”

Road To Somewhere is perhaps the most sentimental song Goldfrapp has ever written: “Listening to the radio like a friend that guides me / Playing out every song we used to know.” The song is sort of jet-propelled by frequent synths that open up into choral voices. Like most aspects of Seventh Tree, the effect is subtle and elegant.

While Tree is a generally calm affair with no blazing dance tracks, the massive, anthemic Caravan Girl could easily be the Song Of Summer 2008. It’s the aural equivalent of a hippie Siena Miller skipping nude down a beach. The band also unexpectedly channels The Beatles on Happiness. Only Cologne Cerrone Houdini would’ve musically fit into the nightlife scenarios of Supernature. Readopting her stern Dietrich vocal, the track is sharp as a blade, but the lyrical imagery is pure California, albeit again wounded: “See, I’m in your car, but not your life.”

The album concludes with a beautiful, straightforward song about “the folly of a monster love.” The choruses are vaguely 60’s psychedelic, but Monster Love's verses are very spare. There’s a chill-inducing moment at 2:00 where tinkling acoustic guitars come in (“I never thought I would return / To be consumed by you again / But I know a paper moon.”). It’s a typical Goldfrapp effect: little details that take time to emerge, but go right to your soul.

If Supernature represented a night in an underground nightclub, Goldfrapp’s new album is a walk in the woods. There is little “makeup” on the lyrics – they are clear and honest. Glamour wouldn’t be glamorous if we lived it 24/7. Seventh Tree is their finest moment, a gorgeous and necessary comedown.
Goldfrapp A&E streaming audio
______________________________

Play Seventh Tree at Goldfrapp’s myspace. Scan via Goldfrapp.free.fr
Be sure to hunt down the Gui Boratto remix of A&E. Amazing version.

February 23, 2008

I wanna be next to you



Click on the image to watch the very good new Sam Sparro video for Black And Gold. Much, much better. The single is out on March 31 (download available March 24), and his debut album hits on April 21. PJ is onto Sam, as everyone will be soon... this song is major.

Looking for clues...



Nate "Danja" Hills just gave an interview to Rhapsody's Play Blog in which he spills some info on Madonna's new album:

Madonna is finished. Me and Tim did four or five (songs) together. He also did three more with a new producer, Hannon, out of Virginia. Then Pharrell did the rest. So it’s like a Virginia-produced album. I’m actually kind of proud of that. Even though me and Tim and Pharrell didn’t work together, just for us to completely conquer an artist such as Madonna....I’m good. Either way, whether we got a single or (Pharrell) got a single, Virginia got a (Madonna) single.
Who is Hannon? Hannon Lane, also out of Newport News, VA. His productions are hardcore hiphop. Basically, if you are in Timbaland's 5th grade class picture, you are now a millionaire record producer.

We know these song titles: 4 Minutes To Save The World, Candy Store, Give It To Me, Heartbeat, Miles Away and possibly The Devil Wouldn't Recognize You.

Quote from Rhapsody via Madonnalicious.

February 22, 2008

Why is Alison Goldfrapp smiling?



Because she knows what the lyrics to Clowns really are. You thought the speculation on "Only clowns that play with dull balloons" was odd? I refer you to the real lyrics below - which are barking mad! - as transcribed from the CD booklet by the lovely Countpopula. An ode to glamour models perhaps?

Only clowns would play with those balloons
What'd ya wanna look like Barbie for?
Dear oh Lord, it's easy


Roasting, roasting, roast indeed, mahogany
Titties that live on on and on, on and on

Only clowns would play with those balloons
What'd ya wanna look like Barbie for?
Passive when I'm in record day & night
I'm watching you
_______________________________

Photo courtesy of Goldfrapp.free.fr

Bonus: Get the MP3 of the T4 performance (see a few posts down) here.

February 21, 2008

Cover story, v. whatever


Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. is a Brit band with a name like one of those bands that end up on Stereogum and every other indie blog (which is thus not so indie since everybody is covering the same thing). Actually, they're not bad (try Find The Time) and this is an artful cover image worthy of a vinyl album cover. The band built the sculpture with found objects supplied by their fans. Meanwhile, font whores are fizzing...

REM doing REM. They've been using that logo for awhile now in varying guises. This reminds me of doing those print thingies where you dig out the negative space and leave a raised part that you dip in ink and press on paper. What are those called? I did them in 7th grade and clearly Mr. Stipe does them now.

Duffy has a nice black and white campaign going for her debut album and all it took was wanderin' around seaside spots in Wales (or Cymru, bitches!) with a camera and a comb to tease her bouffant. You can look at these photos and hear the gulls.



Ooh, gorgeous, Man Ray-like solarization things happening here. Lykke Li is wicked cool. Tis a pity her CD is not worth buying for the art...

Kissing you is not what I had planned



Be sure to check out Fervox - I'm From the 80's for a post on one of the great guilty pleasure songs of the 80's by Frisco Jones... I mean Jack Wagner. Do the British know who this is? He is a longtime famous soap star in America who was a huge heartthrob when I was like 13.

For you I was a flame



Bette Midler was on TV last night saying she wants to smack Amy Winehouse. Then she explained that everyone knows how amazing Amy is except for the girl herself. I watched her youtube performace of the lyrically-relevant Valerie with Mark Ronson (watch below) this morning and got a bit teary. She also did a good version of the beautiful Love Is A Losing Game. Amy is such a treasure.

And of course she uttered that hilarious and quotable dedication at the Grammy's: "To my Blake. My Blake incarcerated."



More news on the Brits via The Times.

February 20, 2008

It may be pills at work



Goldfrapp A&E (Live on T4)



Goldfrapp Clowns (Super 8 video)

It's less than a week until the release of Goldfrapp's new album, which will be in this year's top 10, no doubt. I welcome any challengers to knock A&E off the Song Of The Year spot it now holds. I believe this is one of those rare songs I will play for the rest of my life. It's also one of the more emotional pieces of music they have done. It's been a long while since I've done a proper album review, but look for one on Seventh Tree very soon.

Just a little divine intervention



80's new wave blog Retro Wonderland continues to thrill with some of my favorite 12" singles available as high quality MP3s. Among the recent original remix finds: Berlin's Sex (I'm A...), Bananarama's Cruel Summer, Eurythmics' Here Comes The Rain Again, Human League's Love Action, plus Cocteau Twins, Depeche Mode, and more obscure stuff like Visage and Real Life. They even have the Love Injected Mix of Alison Moyet's Love Resurrection!

If you are old enough to remember this stuff, you'll have that feeling of combing through vinyl singles. I suspect the title of this post is not lost on you lot. If you are younger, consider it a Learning Moment...

Note that Born Again 80's and The Lost Turntable are also superb 80's remix sites. Any other suggestions? Song-wise, I recommend a major Frankie Goes To Hollywood mix of The Power Of Love that I got from The Lost Turntable.

February 18, 2008

Mixtape: Hollywood's Not America



I'll start with Scarlett Johansson so I can post the picture of her above. Pity she's not a pretty girl, eh? Rolling Stone has a piece on her new Tom Waits covers album. It has the eyebrow raising title Anywhere I Lay My Head and features David "60-going-on-25 Bowie" on guest vocals. That's what happens when you are are ScarJo: music icons beg to sing backup for you. Funnily enough, I know none of the songs on the CD, so it will seem all shiny and new. Unlike ScarJo herself, who seems to get around Hollywood, if ya know what I mean.

Does anyone else find the irony in Mariah Scarey calling her album E=MC Squared? Really. She's not exactly Marie Curie, clutching her minidog, tottering around in hotpants, badonkadonak and tatas thrust out. The new single is tediously autotuned. What producer sees the need for Carey's vocals to be cleaned up?

Dark secret #1: I am having trouble caring about the new kd lang CD. There are some strong tunes (Sunday, Close Your Eyes), but several songs just lay there with predictably MOR arrangements. It may be a grower.

Dark Secret #2: The new REM song is phoned-in. The lyric isn't terrible but the song itself is really Supernatural Superserious Superdull. Watch it now.

Dark Secret #3: Athens G-A has a problemo because I also don't like the new B-52's song. I know, I know.... but I love tomatoes and black-capped chickadees!

Keane's new CD is out July 7 according to play.com. I'll believe it when I hear it from them.

I recently caught up on my music links to the right. The newest blog is MuuMuse. Brad is wee bit obsessed with Titney, but I am focusing on his willingness to actually review new songs. I also like Mine For Life for retro stuff from the 80's and 90's.

I have a review of Goldfrapp in the March Instinct. I also did a wee newsy bit on Temposhark, in which I get the singer to comment on whether Not That Big, his duet with Imogen Heap, is meant to be dirty. See the mag to find out...

Heat recently took a Who's more annoying? poll. Joss Stone or Natasha Bedingfeld? Obviously Joss "Fuckin'-for-tracks" Stone! Which reminds me that I love the blog called The National Society For The Prevention of Joss Stone.

The Carly Hennessey/Smithson controversy on American Idol kind of bores me. Here is the infamous 2005 Wall Street Journal piece on her - it captures the moment the music industry began to implode. Her Gregg Alexander-produced CD cost 2.2 million and sold like 400 copies (I have one!) But is that her fault? Not really. If she's a good singer, she's a good singer and it doesn't really matter if she's had an album out.

I love that:

1. The Ferras song on American Idol (title at top of this post) seems to actually be about a girl going to Hollywood to do porn. Exquisite irony. Show ponies: stop exploiting yourself and go home to the ones who love you.

2. Toons 'N Tunes is having a Laura Branigan (RIP!) Moment.

3. A Patrick Wolf fan on his livejournal page posted this question: "Hello, I was just wondering if anyone knows what Patrick is doing with his hair right now...is it blue? Is it red? Is it curled? Is it ever changing like Eternal Sunshine?" Bless fans.

4. Donna Summer's new single is called Stamp Your Feet, as reported by ElMarvelOso.

5. After a few weeks of my life seemingly going down the dumper, things are on the upswing now with big changes coming. More news soon...

February 17, 2008

xopromo?


click to enlarge

I made The Guide in the Guardian last week, as did Wongie and PopDose! I'm a little cheesed that the description makes me sound like an MP3 blog- I have never posted a full Adele song, for instance, just a sample. Am happy for the link though!

February 16, 2008

Cover story: Róisín Knows Me Better



IHOP caught it first, that Róisín Murphy is back with the perfect You Know Me Better on March 31. I believe that the mixes are by Andy Cato (who produced the original), Samim, Trevor Lovey, Guy Williams and Toddla T, whoever they are! No word on any new tracks.

Here is what I said about You Know Me Better in my review of Overpowered:
It's a chunky pop/dance song with fast heh heh heh breathing and a slap slap slap chorus [she likes threes?]. There is a moment at 2:43 - the middle eight - where the creamy vocal makes the lyric more poignant: "How many years can we keep going on this way? / Too afraid... too much at stake / I believe the friendship can surive / Or maybe it won't, if we do or we don't."

In a perfect world, this song would go to #1. It's just that great. I eagerly await the video - can she go for three in a row?

February 14, 2008

A kiss across the ocean



Boy George. Oh my, the Case Of Boy George. Here's the thing: He appeared right at the moment when I was really getting interested in pop music, in 1982. Strangely, I have never written about Culture Club here, but some of my happiest teen memories involved sitting in my room, drawing on a drafting board, and playing Colour By Numbers on my turntable. It's one of the greatest pop albums of my lifetime. There is a whole generation of pop music fans who know that Victims (watch the video) is one of the finest 80's ballads. You know who you are.

Can you imagine him being popular today? We blather on about how far we've come, but I find it hard to believe a persona like his could make it today. The business is far too mercenary and bottom-line oriented. It panders to conservative notions of what is acceptable. Violence and aggression are fine. Wit, confusing sexuality and subversiveness are not.

Boy George falls into the category of misunderstood. Due perhaps to a mix of appearance and instability, he has never secured his place in the pop canon as the great songwriter he is. Lyrically there is a certain kind of "Boy George song." He has a very defined way with words (see Unfinished Business below). Vocally, he was unparalleled in the 80's. Though his imperial phase only lasted two albums, he has consistently surprised over the years with hidden gems like Broken Spirit, the amazing I Specialize In Loneliness, and Innocence Is Lost. His longtime collaborator Jon Themis has always supplied strong arrangements for his best songs.


Over the past few years he seemed to be hiding under extreme makeup and unrecognizable vocals, either in the glam side project The Twin or on strangely worn guest vocal appearances such as his collaboration with disciple Antony Hegarty. Last year's fantastic Time Machine was evidence that the old George is still around.

People slam him, deservedly, for his forked tongue. He's a bitched out queen, no doubt. But really it's the flip side of his writing talent. I have many favorite Boy George lyrics, but one that never fails to amuse is from Unfinished Business, a song he wrote about Kirk Brandon, an 80's minor popstar who denies he and George were lovers. Boy had a habit of going for unavailable men. Can you imagine if someone you loved when you were young totally denied the relationship ever existed? Ouch. Anyway, the song is a delicate ballad with a wicked lyric. The best line is this one:

Now go tell your friends that I'm mad in my head
That I don't know what I mean
You walk like Jack and you love like Mary
And you're more
Than a bit
Of a queen

In 2007, it appeared that George had truly come undone at 46. For the past few years he's been in the same drug/arrest abyss that has swallowed up people like Britney. It's as if the internal wounds of a life in the spotlight finally erupted on the surface. Very cliche (on my part and his), but not surprising.


In January, George gave an
interview with The Daily Mail which is fascinating:

"I hate talking about me," he says. "I think people have a fixed idea of me now. They think my life is miserable. But that's not the case."

No, I venture, while most people retain a deep-seated affection for him, some regard George's lifestyle as, well, a bit on the seedy side.

Boy George could not look more wounded. He rocks back in his chair and reaches for a cigarette, a small but discernible tremor to his hand as he attempts to fire the lighter into action...

He's visibly upset. "I can't believe people would think that," he says.

It's a bit rich, isn't it? That George would not understand people think he's a mess? The end of the article - kudos to the writer - is kind of poignant, because he says hearing Amy Winehouse's Love Is A Losing Game really inspired him to sing again.
He started a new tour of England a few weeks back called Songs That Make You Dance And Cry. He's been playing a new song called Shadow Boxing that's pretty solid (watch it) and his vocals seem closer to form. I hope he can pull himself together, because he is a great talent.

My Top Ten Plus One Boy George songs:

Time (Clock Of The Heart)
Victims
Miss Me Blind
Same Thing In Reverse
Black Money
That's The Way
Bow Down Mister video
Generations Of Love video
The Crying Game
Strange Voodoo
Unfinished Business


This list was hard to edit and changes all the time. I didn't even mention Church Of The Poison Mind, Colour By Numbers (the song), Karma Chameleon, Do You Really Want To Hurt Me or After The Love.

Quote Of The Week: Joni Mitchell



From an interview with The Independent:

I always thought the women of song don't get along, and I don't know why that is. I had a hard time with Laura Nyro also, and Joan Baez would have broken my leg if she could, or at least that's the way it felt as a person coming out [on to the music scene]. I never felt that same sense of competition from men...[Joplin] was very competitive with me, very insecure. She was the queen of rock'n'roll one year and then Rolling Stone made me the queen of rock'n'roll and she hated me after that.
Oh yeah, I totally bet Madonna wants to break Mariah Carey's leg! And then Mariah wants to pull out Janet's weave. And can you imagine Bouncey's death fantasies about Rihanna?

On a side note, KT Tunstall recently talked to MLB.com (major league baseball! ?? Yes, you read that right!) about how inspired she was at 16 by Joni's album Blue. KT, a big fan of mixtapes, appears to not be a catty jealous bitch, which is quite nice, yes? Do you wonder if perhaps Joni just has an inferiority complex?

February 13, 2008

XOvision: Lykke versus Robyn



I'm Good, I'm Gone is 21-year-old Lykke Li's new single and this is a live performance of the song. The studio version is superior. I like her music, but it all sounds just like Young Folks by Peter, Bjorn & John (her producers). I love the name of her album, Youth Novels, and I'll be amazed if anyone can actually buy a copy.

Amusingly, if you try to figure out how to pronounce her name, you'll find these options on the web:

Lohkke Lee
Lu-key Loo
Luke-ee Loo

and my favorite:

Licky Lee

Any Swedes care to confirm?

Lady Ritchie, Keep Your Glasses On



Madonna has chicken cutlets jammed in over her cheekbones! It may be filler and botox, but she's kind of Cher-ish. She looks a little better without all the face paint in this pic, where she is channeling Deborah Harry.

Watch her weird face talk about her new movie here. Regarding Filth And Wisdom, I had no idea she co-wrote it. One hopes it's better than her Sex book prose! Interestingly, The Times likes it! They say, "Despite its many shortcomings... Madonna has done herself proud."
Just bring on the music.

A brief "respite"!

Life has kept me very busy these last few weeks, so things have slowed down a wee bit on the blog. Fear not, ye music freekz, I shall return soon. I've found that blogging actually helps me chill out...

February 11, 2008

Our friends think we're opposites



Vh1 did an interview with Janet Jackson that was actually about her music. Not her weight, not her boyfriend/pet dog, not her cooch. Read it now. It goes deep (and it don't get no sleep?) into her catalog and here's the choice quote:
Question: Warmth (track from All For You) has always tripped me up because there’s a part of that song where it sounds like you’re singing with something in your mouth. That’s intentional, right?

Answer: Yeah. There was something in my mouth.

Love the picture, by the way.





February 10, 2008

Gathering Goldfrapp



Goldfrapp is featured in the new issue of Remix magazine. This 3-page article is for fans really interested in how an album is created. Tidbit: they left 10 songs either off the album or unfinished and yet no b-sides for the first single?

Alison also did a spikey interview with Pitchfork in which she sniffed of Kate Bush comparisons, "[witheringly] Really? Well, that's very nice, we're flattered. Good old Kate."

You can buy MP3s of the the A&E single and mixes via Mute as of Feb 11. I recommend the moody Gui Boratto Remix and the Hercules and Love Affair Remix.

Finally, Alison and Will appeared on Jo Whiley's Live Lounge this week. Alison got so nervous that she told Jo,"I'd rawther just go home." They stayed and did lovely versions of A&E and a Klaxons track called It's Not Over Yet. You can listen to the show here or get MP3's of the songs at Goldfrapp.fr - just scroll down to Feb 8 and the bit about Whiley show. Here also are some pics from the event... Alison's gone strawberry blond.

February 8, 2008

You got me begging you for mercy



Duffy has finally launched her website. There is a player where you can hear snippets of Serious, Rockferry, Mercy (you know those last two), Distant Dreamer (wow!), and Warwick Avenue.

While everyone crows about how great Duffy is, please also refer to Lucky Soul's stunning 2007 CD The Great Unwanted.

February 7, 2008

Dreamlit eyes.



A new photo book called Retrospective is being published by photographer Gered Mankowitz in the Fall. As you can see above, it includes the original cover image for Eurythmics' 1986 album Revenge. I'm not sure I've ever seen that photo or the very dewy fresh close-up below...



The Revenge album was released during their imperial phase, which lasted...well, their whole career!

February 5, 2008

Mixtape: Life's not complete 'til your heart's missed a beat


Prefab Sprout, 1989, UK TV, Goodbye Lucille #1

First, a note to be clear: this is not an MP3 blog. There was some recent suggestion of that in a newspaper and it is just not the case. Now, onward:

I have to begin by acknowledging Paul and The Zapping, which has brought me many laughs and a lot of great tunes over about 3 years. I'm bored without him. In fact, it may be worse than the end of Sex And The City! I think I have the distinction (thus far) of being the only American blogger to have actually had a coffee with Paul. Call me a namedropper...

PopDose has a big piece (does he?) on Prefab Sprout, one of my favorite 80's bands - in fact, I've been writing a post on them for two years. Paddy McAloon has a voice that never fails to comfort me. PopDose didn't put up my favorite song from The Gunman album (Blue Roses), but they do talk about the connection between Sprout and Cher! That's Paddy and Wendy in the video above, doing the wistful Goodbye Lucille #1 - the vocals around minute two send chills down my spine. I love him. LOVE. HIM.

Doesn't it seem like Girls Aloud and Sugababes have already cycled through their albums in a matter of months? It will be interesting to see what they do to generate buzz. I can't see where these groups can go next. Their CDs have some good songs, but the freshness is gone. GA, in particular, made a mistake by not including a ballad on the CD - at this point their uptempos are sort of worn out. They just cannot sustain the hype by going after the same audience on each release.

Rolling Stone
did a small piece on Goldfrapp that has a very scary picture of Alison G.

Meanwhile the Róisín Murphy blog has some great live photos by a person called Filip Galetic. I especially like this one.

One of the great, great bands of the 90's was Knoxville TN's The Judybats. Their song Wasting Time is one of my favorites of all time. Leader singer Jeff Heiskell has a solo record that includes a cover of Lindsey Buckingham's Trouble. Jeff is a sophisticated writer. He has a countryish side, but I think he has a shiny pop heart.

Swing Out Sister are back? In Japan, natch. Is she the same girl?

Worst album cover of the year proclaimed now: Erykah Badu! Better still, check out this insanity.

Word is that The Feeling's current dancier single is an aberration on the album - that the CD is really like Twelve More Stops. I'm still mighty disappointed in their lack of promotion.

The Presidential race here in America is nailbiting. I have no clue how it is going to turn out and I follow this stuff daily. It changes daily. It seems pretty clear that John McCain will win the Republican nomination, which should have happened in 2000. He's not a religious nut, so at least that is good, but it's well known in DC that he is a raging asshole and less well known that he has some skeletons waiting to emerge. As for Democrats (which I am, quelle surprise), I don't know. There is a theory that McCain can be beaten only by Barack Obama. All will be revealed on Tuesday when it may be more clear who will get the delegates.

The new REM single has a good title, Supernatural Superserious. I hope I can muster up the strength to care.

Will Madonna's little film suck? I would not best against that possibility. At this point it seems we can assume Esther Ritchie will not tour in 2008 - how could she release an album and be in tour rehearsals at the same time?

The whory old Oscar Noms are tediously dull! I love Cate Blanchett, but the trend of "give her a nom for everything she does" is beyond tiresome. Don't get me started on the Original Song category.

Are any of you fans of American Music Club? They have a new album called The Golden Age that is
apparently upbeat. Which is a miracle given the usual mood of Mark Eitzel. Hear some of it at their myspace. My last comment about Mark Eitzel is that when you see him live, don't sit in the front row or you will be covered in his spit. That's the truth, bless.

Brazen horn toot: D'luv 28, XO nipping his chunky heels at 35 here.

Wikio - Top of the Blogs - Music

Just the way that you dance



The new Kylie b-sides will be all you need to fix your X playlist. Expect ubergeek fan bloggers to post their new tracklists soon. In particular, Carried Away and Do It Again are... err... Minoguicent. Sorry

Hear samples NOW!

February 3, 2008

Strobe lights make everything sexier



This has been one of the crappiest weeks I've had in many years. As always, my little playlist has been getting me through it. Here are some thoughts on a few worthy new tunes:

Janet Jackson Rock With U
Written by NeYo and, shockingly, well produced by Jermaine Dupree, this song is what Janet fans have been waiting for. It signals that she is not a slave to the American r'n'b market; it's actually more "Europop." Once you hear the pretty, bubbling synth, you know this is not the Janet of 20YO. The breathy vocals disguise the fact that it's another one of her "baby making songs" and when that 90's house beat comes in at 1:08 - it reminds me of Jody Watley - the deal is sealed. You might as well get out your chunky heels. The only (minor) problem: Rock With U is more of a groove than a song. It moves in a rhythm, but never reaches climax. That's okay, because not every encounter should, or can, end with an explosion.

Sarah Brightman Symphony
Like Janet, Sarah's last proper album (Harem) didn't really capture what she does best. This song, the title track to her new album, does. It's an orchestral ballad equal to the best songs on her Eden album (that one highly recommended). Typically, she scales the vocal charts, but it is in English - a rarity! - and it's panoramic enough to have you running over hillsides. Symphony also has a very pretty final 25 seconds. Goddess is in the details.

Idina Menzel I Stand
Sticking with a bit of pleasing schmaltz, everyone needs a good empowerment song now and then. Thankfully I Stand - produced by Glen Ballard - never really topples too far into guitar power pop, a consistent problem for Idina's fellow chanteuese Celine. Be warned, inside the strong melody are self-help lines like "I stand for the power to change." I was in the right mood for it.

Joe Jackson Invisible Man
For those of you old enough to remember when Joe had hits like 1982's Steppin' Out or 1984's You Can't Get What You Want, this song (from his latest CD Rain) sounds like it could have come from his perfect Night And Day album. It is Joe at his best, complete with an intricate piano-based arrangement (Tori fans take note) and a really strong vocal. I particularly like the bit at 1:56:"I used to own this town / Now I'm watching you / Now it's my turn." Joe is 53 now, but his voice remains unaged. Note that this song is making the blog rounds now.

kd lang Sunday
From her new Watershed CD, Sunday is a change for kd. The arrangement is a fusion of mellow jazz and a sort of glowing 60's psychedelia (check out the keyboard trilling through it). Lyrically, it's a slow burn: "Sunday afternoon / Naked in your room / Love is all consumed." The definition of languid, Sunday is like an old photo shot with a pink filter, if you get the reference. "Let the world disappear." Indeed.