September 30, 2008

Q3: We are Dancer



In no particular order, my Top Songs for the 3rd quarter of 2008. A few rules: These tunes do not have to be singles, but I allow only one song by each artist. I generally don't do leaks here either. The colored link will take you to a place you can hear/see the song.

The Killers
Human myspace
Ladyhawke My Delerium hype machine
Lorraine Tell It All myspace
Keane The Lovers Are Losing myspace
The Script Before The Worst myspace
Scott Simons The Start Of Something myspace
The Weepies Can't Go Back Now myspace
Uh Huh Her Not A Love Song youtube
Reuben Butchart Golden Boy player
The Gadsdens Heartbreaker
Oceanlab On A Good Day iTunes US
Alphabeat Boyfriend (Pete Hammond Mix) myspace
Love Is Dead Kerli video
So You Can Cry Ne-Yo video
Let It Go Will Young
We Gon' Fight Jennifer Hudson youtube
Bleeder Emiliana Torrini iTunes US
Grace Jones William's Blood youtube
Girls Aloud The Promise youtube
Solange (with Bilal) Cosmic Journey youtube

What were your favorites?
_____________________________

Worthy albums this term: Ladyhawke, The Script, Will Young, Solange Knowles, Uh Huh Her, Emiliana Torrini, Rueben Butchart, Oceanlab

What's coming: Keane, The Killers, Pink, Grace Jones, Girls Aloud, Sugababes, The Smiths 2CD Hits.

P
hoto of XO's Dancing Kid by Krissy

September 29, 2008

Womanized? Not really.



So here's the thing about me and Missspears. It's pretty obvious I don't have much time for her. I had a Titney moment in 2000, but after she released that despicable Madonna duet (a low point for both), I wrote her off. Some bloggers will find this a tedious comment, but I think it has to do partly with my age. I do not in any way identify with Britney. I grew up in the Circa Madonna. "MLVCPR," who was always changing, always interesting (to me, anyway) and always introducing her fans to interesting new influences (eg: Keith Haring, voguing culture, geisha or Frida Kahl0.) She is a woman of the world.

Part of Britney's charm is that she really is a small town hick. This can be endearing: non-druggie Britney seems to be sweet, if simple. At this year's MTV Awards she had that dorky "Awwww, you guys!" smile back. I believe that is the real Britney. That said, she's appears to be a person who has no desire to learn or grow. Her world seems very small. Some compare her to Marilyn Monroe in her weird mix of vulnerability and sexuality. Tosh! Monroe was a moth to the flame of intelligence. She she took pride in being around smart men (and women). She married and adored one of the greatest playwrights in American history, Arthur Miller. Britney married and adored Kevin Federline.

As for Womanizer, I find it unspecial, repetitive and predictably plain. Pre-album buzz for this new album and the last was couched in terms of "We're taking Britney back to the club with hawt bangers." Snooze. First, when did she ever leave the club? And isn't that part of her problem? Britney's days as a Rihanna hottie with a python slithering around her tits are over. She may get in back in shape, but she'll never be New. We've done her. To survive, she has to change.

Two questions some Britney fans may ask me: "1) Could Britney ever impress you? 2) If not, could you shut the hell up?" The answer to #1 is an absolute yes, the answer to #2 is exactly why I don't write about her. At the time of her last album, I said that the unreleased ballad State Of Grace was exactly the type single she should launch, reminding fans of her softer side. Britney has, for several years now, disappeared from her own songs. Her voice is either heavily autotuned or just a frog croak. She doesn't appear to actually sing at all anymore. Assuming she can carry a note, which some think is debatable, I believe her lack of voice is reflective of her lack of self-awareness. Her whole life she has been surrounded by people who tell her who she is. Can you imagine what it's like to be in the public eye, as she is, and have no sense of self or independence? Like a drug addict, Britney - and her whole family - is deeply in need of the thing (mass attention) that could ultimately undo her.

Do you know Kerli's song Love Is Dead (video)? THAT is the kind of song I'd have Britney release now. Something that would flip our image of her upside down and shove the critics out the door with a heeled boot. OR I'd send her back to Max Martin and do something in the style that Pink does now, a pop-rock/electro mashup with a video that has moments of humor and honesty. I just wish she'd seek out a true collaborator who has a vision beyond nightclubs and Escalades.

Guy Sigsworth is working with Britney on her Circus album. He's a musical genius, so there may be some hope. His previous work with her has been somewhat watered down (you cannot really tell he did it), but when Circus is released, I will give her a chance. I hope she surprises me and everyone else with something that moves beyond the expected to the transcendant.

September 28, 2008

Review: Will Young's Let It Go



HOLY SHIT! A POP EPIC.

proper review later this week.

Did you want to be loved?

Keane Spiralling (live on Jonathan Ross)



Keane seem to be promoting this free song much more than the actual single, the equally Bowie-esque Lovers Are Losing. This clip reminds of how strong Tom is live - what a swoony voice! I particularly like how they handle the literally spiralling vocal at 3:30. Wicked. Note also that they are now a trio of 4, with Tommy on geetahrrrr and some new dude who looks like Tim.

Also check out the video for Spiralling. Two new interviews: one in
The Times and another on the website. Album out in three weeks!

September 27, 2008

Review: Jennifer Hudson



Whenever Jennifer Hudson came onscreen during the '04 season of American Idol, I'd screech, "Mrs. Sears!" (my surname). Her deep voice and the way she projected both self-respect and a rare measure of gravity was a welcome relief from the usual whorish Idol contestants. She listened to advice and modified her performance style as the show progressed. America booting off such a formidable, interesting talent was yet another example of mass stupidity.

We all know the rest of the story: Effie, Oscars, Andre Leon Talley, Carrie Bradshaw's hand-me-downs, etc. Jennifer's solo debut has taken forever and, while not a total disappointment, it does smack of large committees sat around a boardroom thinking about demographics and whatever hit radio potential is left in America.

Jennifer Hudson
is evenly mixed with songs suggesting an artist trying to build a long career and a few crass attempts to shoehorn her into current styles. T
he Ne-Yo written debut single Spotlight ably straddles those two goals. It's about as catchy a tune as you'll hear on radio this year and the lyric is a twist on her own absurd level of fame. But it's not the album's classic. That title's reserved for the unbelievable We Gon' Fight. Like Mary J. Blige's No More Drama, this hair-rising midtempo should take the world by storm once it's performed live. It's a Mercedes of a song. I love it when she sings, "Like gangsters we gon' strap up for this war." The song has a thrilling gospel edge and a hair-raising hook: "I'm gon' fight for you / You're gon' fight for me... that's how it's gonna be." Fierce.

Ne-Yo's second contribution, Can't Stop The Rain, is a great narrative song, just when the record needed one, built on acoustic guitar. Upcoming single If This Isn't Love highlights the dilemma Hudson faced in trying to make an album that would "move units." I'm unclear who wrote the song, but it sounds exactly like every Keri Hilson / MJB track, with syllable-crammed verses that reek of recent r'n'b recordings. It doesn't sound even like Jennifer singing. That said, it's absolutely lush and the extended middle eight is stunning, especially the "I know I ain't crazy" section at 2:30. Gorgeous.

Hudson is liked by just about everyone, so it seems that everyone tried to get a song onto her album. The overrated Robin Thick contributes a repetitive ballad (Giving Myself) that attempts to mine Whitney territory, but just seems trite. Missy Elliott is - surprisingly - more successful, with her "diva showdown" track I'm His Only Woman. It allows Hudson to show some sass: "I don't need no introduction. I am his woman and I am Jennifer Hudson" she snaps. Her voice works well against Fantasia's broken-up, cracklady vocals (I say that with love - I think Fantasia is charming and deserves her own success).

The album's disaster is What's Wrong, with a pandering, obligatory T Pain feature. Painful. This autotuned dreck has nothing to do with Hudson - it could be any shitty singer. If you're going for the usual suspects, why not have her duet with the superior Cee Lo Green?

The dreaded Timbaland contribution, Pocketbook, is actually a kick. The hook "Don't make me hit you wit my pocketbook" is hilarious. Ludacris's rap is painfully explicit at moments ("Before I make you too wet girl..."), though there's a great moment where she cuts him off. I appreciate that Jennifer, so stoic on Idol and in Dreamgirls, wants to show some sass, but Ludacris overdoes it on a song so jaunty that it could have appealed to the granny set.

So where do Mrs. Sears and I end up? I will actually purchase the record. A conglomerate she may be - can a clothing line at Lane Bryant be far behind? - but I'm gon' fight for her.

Click here to listen to Jennifer Hudson.

September 25, 2008

Girls Aloud: The Promise



Nadine is still my favorite, but she looks like as old as Nancy Sinatra in this video. I love how crazy Sarah ("here I ammmm!") wanders in front of the movie screen like a drugged up Edie Sedgwick. And what is she saying? Walking Primrose? Like, the hill?

Whatever. You can bet a tanked Franz Ferdinand are gathered in the back of a Glaswegian pub having a JO party.

September 24, 2008

Song of the year? Well, maybe...

Will Young Let It Go:



This song leaked yesterday and it's absolutely perfect. Only the coldest heart could not be moved by it.

Will Young in the studio:



recording You Don't Know.

Album out in less than a week.

Edit: This song will not beat Goldfrapp's A&E as song of the year, no way kittens.

September 23, 2008

Close your eyes, clear your heart


What an embarrassing picture. Brandon Petal is dewy though, yes.

Several people have asked me what I think of the new Killers song, Human (hear it now). Here I cave to the demands of my public:

:05 I love how Brandon's voice is mixed right up in the mix. He's such a little boy (and married too young, if you get my drift).

:29 Love the reverb on the word heart. Producer Stuart Price did that.

:35 The hook is sublime and should be on billboards: Are we human or are we dancer? The latter of course. I don't quite get how your sign can be vital and then your hands can be cold. Discordant images, just sayin'.

1:02 Good songs often burst open like one of those highspeed films of a flower blossoming. Human does that too.

1:16 The one flaw: some bowel-moving lyrics. Pay my respects to grace and virtue / Send my condolences to good / Give my regards to soul and romance / They always did the best they could. Urgh. There needs to a caustic element here to blunt that sugar.

1:39 Wave goodbye, wish me well. Our Kid is sooo sentimental, is he not? So emotional. And by emotional, I mean gay. Kidding. not really kidding

2:23 Led in by a heart still beating line, the synth bed that comes in just after the bridge is nothing but elegant. (Takes elegance to hear elegance, I'm sure you'll agree.)

2:51 Galloping forward, the song has Stuart Price's stamp all over it. Can you imagine how heroic the remix will be?

3:10 Brandon is still on his knees, looking for the answer. Crawl over here, LaFleur, I can give it to you.

3:20 The last 45 seconds are heavily instrumental, tinkly gorgeousness. Eat your heart out Chris Martin-Paltrow. What The Killers have done here is create a subtle pop gem. It doesn't beat you over the head with overt hooks, it doesn't stray too far or repeat too much of their past.

Human is a lovely song with heart at a time when we need one. That's what I think.

Note to Robbie: This song reeks of you. I think you will fall in love with it soon.

September 21, 2008

The Lady in question...



It's all about the Lady... but not the one you think. My weekend began with me feeling "meh" about this artist and ended with that ecstacy you feel when you discover a new artist whose debut album fucking nails it. She is

Ladyhawke

Adem is right that her debut album is stunning and, coincidentally, very much in keeping with the LA pop I mentioned in my last (Jane Wiedlin) post.

A few fast facts:

1. Hello kiwi. She is from New Zealand, home of the Finn brothers (Split Enz, Crowded House), etc.

2. She has Asperger's Syndrome, a mild variant on autism. This shows how Asperger's can be transcended. I think there are actually a lot of famous / brilliant people with it. Ladyhawke dicusses it in The Guardian.

3. She cites people like Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, The Cars, Van Halen, and Blondie as favorites. She's also influenced by "video games, childhood memories, nostalgia, pining, lonliness, and depression." AND she is a cat lady! I count 3 of them on her album cover, but I bet there are more.

4.
The name comes from the 1985 fantasy film starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Mr. Matthew Jessica Parker.

5. Her two singles, Paris Is Burning (see it) and Dusk Till Dawn (see it) are not even close to the best choices for singles. Next up is better: My Delerium.

6. Her real name is Pip! (The Royal) We love girls named Pip. She seems to be very sweet, if you read her blog. Which is good, because I am worn out by women who call themselves "super bitches" (yes, that is a reference to another blond).

7. The artwork, all drawings, was done by her best friend Sarah Larnach.

8. Her haircut is just like early Stevie Nicks, when she first joined Fleetwood Mac.

9. She shares the same lexicon as Chartrigger, using the word rad.

10. Adem is right that when one of her songs starts to seem repetitive, it is pulled out by some other element, vocally or musically. His darlings Van She have remixed Back Of The Van into something totally beyond.

11. She has fans in Kylie Minogue, who Ladyhawke would love to work with and Courtney Love, who scares her!

12. You can hear many of the new songs at her myspazz, including my favorites Better Than Sunday, and the Benatar-esque Love Don't Live Here. My favorite so far is the surging Another Runaway. The rad (!) blog Cream Team pairs that one with Van Halen's Jump.

The album is release in most of the world on September 22, with a big EP release in the US on October 14. If you really can't wait to hear tracks, see below or try Hype Machine.

Ladyhawke Album Megamix via Anthem Mag.

1985: Why does it have to be such a blue kiss?



Jane Wiedlin's 1985 debut album is at Babakazoo. This one is hard to find online - iTunes has only 4 cuts. My favorites are Blue Kiss, A Hundred Years of Solitude, and My Traveling Heart. Jane is best known outside of the Gogo's for Rush Hour, but this was her finest music.

I love all this 80's LA pop, back in the days of The Motels, Missing Persons, The Bangles and Berlin...

Jane Wiedlin Blue Kiss:

September 20, 2008

Good gravy Marie!



Mixtape: On game / Not on game



In my younger days, I was mistaken for a whore. Actually that's a line from a new Lindsey Buckingham song Bel Air Rain. Now, I myself have not been mistaken for a whore, but that does not mean I won't end up on a street corner if America ends up in The Great Depression II. The only good thing about this week in the US economy was that it drew attention to the serious issues and made the Palin hooha seem trivial because SHE is trivial. It reveals a lot about the American Mind that many people think she is a feminist choice for McCain. Right. Janeane Garofalo knows the truth.

Like that Kylie calendar cover?

Robyn is releasing a new mix of the beautiful and substantial Dream On as her next single. It seems to have a new synth bed beneath it (and no male vocal). I love this song because I LOVE the message. It's a call to arms for the disenfranchised. Robyn radiates wisdom and integrity, two rare commodities in pop music. I'll probably do more on this when it comes out, but you can hear a snippet on her myspazz. When she finally does release a new album, I suspect it will be greeted as the New Hope.

My computer is home now, with freshly implanted RAM, so it's faster. I am still likely to move to Mac in the future, but I'm not sure when that will be.

Did you read Robbie's elegy for MTV's TRL, the show that spawned Justine Timberod and a certain blond singer girl (or 2)? Regarding the first comment on that post, every post Robbie does, there is some odious, bittter queen with a comment that contributes nothing. To which I say, "Suck it bitch."

An orchestral version of Madonna's Voices is floating around and I find it far superior to the original. The album version has that forwhomthebelltolls ending, which seems tacked on to give more weight to a meh song, like she had to match the great final moments of the Confessions album (the strummy beauty of Like It Or Not's ending). The new version flows better. While we're on it, which songs would I dump from Hard Candy? Incredible, Spanish Lessons, Candy Shop and (D'luv may disagree) Heartbeat. I would add b-side Ring My Bell and send The Lady back to the studio for new songs with someone other than a person whose name begins with Timb or Pharrell.

I was amused to see the pap photo of Lourdes Leon texting while visiting Gerusalemme Basilica in Rome with her mother, Hard Mandy. Secret: I don't text!

The Pretenders album is just utter, utter crap. What a crushing disappointment.

Oasis has a new album - I'm not "gaggin' for it" yet though. I think the single is "pants," but there is a nice Liam-rips-off-Lennon ballad called I'm Outta Time. I really wish that Noel would go solo and he's promised that for his next disk.

I just reviewed Scott Simons for Instinct Magazine. A short 80 word review that recommends his iTunes EP Start Of Something. Scott has a nice blog, but I'd love it if he broke the fourth wall and answered his own email.

I
also did a somewhat backhanded review of Xtuna's (Target, cough!) hits record. I'll try to post it before the end of the year... I was a bit mean to that floozy. I'm sorry, but I just cannot stand women who boast things like "I'm a superbitch!" Really? Is that what you want to be? Shallow bravadois not a trait I admire.

Marc Jacobs is an insufferable human being. He needs to stop doing press and stick to clothes.

Is Will Young going to save pop music? Sounds like his album may be his best yet. Paulie Z is doing a big "triptych" on Will, fyi.

Adem's interview with Antigone! I commented on his blog that he and Antigone should do a reality or talk show where they just muse on stuff. Anyway, I wish more people would play it (some may balk at the download) because it is good to hear from such a smart, yet down to Earth, pop singer. She’s the New Breed a la Roisin Murphy. Meaning she instinctively straddles the line between Pop Star and a girl you'd like to have a cup of tea with.

Adem himself has been on his game lately. I should note that he reports that pretty boys Van She are not gay... collectively anyway. But you know, everyone has a price and THAT my friends is the real New Breed.

Daniel Merriweather's album seems to have disappeared. Ronson is back in the studio with him, which is a good thing. That record has been in development for like 3 years, but I do think they need to get it right. He's potentially a huge star.

Did I mention I saw Vicky Christina Barcelona? I was mixed on it, but Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem were sublime (and very funny together). I just cannot stand how the other two actors occasionally lapsed into Woody-isms.

And did I also mention that my friend was on the new 90120? Playing the woman who turns (the anorexic) Silver away from the shelter with the immortal line "I know baby, but you gotta work it out."

Ladyhawke. I shall investigate. So far I am nonplussed, but youknowwho loves it.

El Marveloso, I am pretty sure, is getting married this week. Congratulations, sir!

September 17, 2008

She wanted to take it further



Forget that new Pink sleeve image, this is the rock chick cover of the year (in, err, 1980). Which reminds of the b-side lyric I dig so much:

"Oh, oh why did I ever go marry her"
I was a child
I'm holding the baby she's ran-tanning constantly
She saw me coming for miles
She saw me open wide
Open wide
Open wide

September 16, 2008

1988: Leads you here despite your destination




I wrote this post on May 31, but it slipped through the cracks...

This week I must have played Under The Milky Way by The Church about 30 times. This soothing song has never worn out. It's now 20 years old. 20. It takes me back to the end of my freshman year in college, which was a very good time in my life.

Under The Milky Way is a song that stretches out and waits for you. Like a lover who doesn't ever bother trying to play "sexy"... that's what makes this sexy. I love the way the guitar sounds like a bagpipe. I love the way the bass comes in at the line "Lower the curtain down on Memphis." (:42 secs). And I relate to the wistfulness of the lyric, "Wish I knew what you looking for / Might've known what you would find."

I've been a bit pensive recently. It's not that I never thought about the future, but for some reason the future seems to have arrived this year and it's not what I'd hoped for. I've been reading about the Sex And The City film and how it's about the disappointments of life. Is it ever "too late" for something? At what point do you become resigned that certain things are likely not to happen? Because if you keep hoping for it, sadness is sure to follow. At what point does resignation actually become true self-defeat? I took for granted that many things would just "happen" and they didn't.

Fortunately, I don't think I'm too different from the 19-year-old me that played this song endlessly. I am a little wiser, even if I don't wear that too visibly. My best friends from that period are still my best friends, an achievement I don't take for granted. I'm not even sure there is anything I would go back and tell my younger self, except maybe, "It'll be okay, but you have to ignore fear." I sort of miss that version of myself and if I have any goal, it's to see the future as filled with potential, not regret or worry.


If you are too young to really know this song, I urge you to play it a few times. It's on iTunes worldwide.

September 15, 2008

Labelle: I ain't the floor you're walkin' on!



I am going to do the press release thing for one hot moment because this one is worth it. Because those in the NOW understand that God is actually a fierce black woman in 6 inch heels and She has seen fit to reunite Patti Labelle, Nona Hendrix and Sarah Dash as Labelle. The new album, Back To Now, was produced by Wyclef Jean, Lenny Kravitz and Gamble & Huff. It's due out on Verve on October 21st, right around the time Grace Jones sets her Hurricane free. It includes new tracks, at least one (Kravitz-produced System) that was intended for a never-recorded Labelle album in 1977 and two covers: Mother's Finest's Truth Will Set You Free (see the original) and Sylvester's You Make Me Feel Mighty Real (last recorded by Jimmy Somerville).

Some of you who go way back with this blog know that I had an obsession with Miss Patti back in 2005 when she had her TV show Livin' It Up With Patti Labelle. When I first played this new single, I was shocked by the auto-tuned intro, but don't worry, proper singin' takes place. This is a electro arm-waver with a little bit of feel-good gospel...

Labelle Roll Out streaming

M-dolla's Bratz transition close to complete



Is Lourdes her new stylist? Did she have some fresh filler in those cheeks? Meanwhile, Tricky Dickie loved the London Wembley show (put up a review Richard!), but apparently huge amounts of the audience walked out of the upper decks, the sound was so bad. Yikes. Can you imagine the limbs flying backstage? I would not want to make that woman mad.

September 14, 2008

Liveblogging Girls Aloud



New single The Promise debuted tonight in the UK on the Nick and Annie show.

1) The PopJustice thread(zilla) is out of hand, trolls. A page added like every minute.

2) GA fans are surely sat in their houses across the UK twilight, crying with anticipation, clutching their GA calendars and refreshing six different forums at once. My own desk chair has a seat that is about to fall through. The cat pulls his nails on it and it needs to be re-caned. [killing time here. tap tap tap]

3) Radio 1 DJs Nick and Annie are making listeners suffer through songs by Xtuna (can I say I hate women who sort of pride themselves on being a "superbitch") and some group with School in the title.

4) Everything seems to sound like 1977 tonight. The new Snow Patrol song (something about taking back the night) is like Gerry Rafferty meets Pablo Cruise. But not as good as Rafferty's Baker Street (one of the greatest songs of all time) or even Love Will Find A Way by PC.

5) They just did a 5 second teaser that sounded very big and retro (boom boom boom and a countdown) and then Annie said they'd play it just after 8, so I walked away.

6) They also played the new Razorlight track Wire To Wire. Starts with piano and a vulnerable vocal from Johnny, which I prefer to his louder vocals. Kettle drums, campfire group vocals... but it never fully takes off. I agreed with DJ Annie that it's got a duff line: "She lives on dissolution road" but I do like the hook: Love me wherever you are.

7) Who the hell is Sam Beeton? He has nothing to say whatsoever, except he claims to have a tail. Now his song is playing... if you can call that. Note to Sam: Sing through your mouth, not your nose. My cats are rolling on the flaw with their paws covering their ears, which means it could be a huge hit on the UK charts.

8) Lame news about TV shows no one gives a toss about. That sounds Bridish, no? Give a toss.

9) Iglu & Hartley are AWFUL live. Like drunken fratboys doing karaoke to Fergie tunes. I hate how they sing "round heeeeerrr." Rednecks.

10) I love the PopJustice forum poster who typed: "How long is this dreadful show on for? Poirot is on at 9!"

11) "Nadine is on the line" but first payola requires the product placement of Kids by MGMT. Muchly bettah than Sam Beeton.

12) Nadine is ON. She was "gittin' nearvuss." I could seriously listen to her all day long. "When the alboom got poot toogaythurrrr...."

13) The song is ON. Teenagers' heads explode all over the world.

14) My first thoughts:

Horny horns.
Countdown.
Strange structure, of course.
oooh second part is brilliant.
Is this the chorus, or will there be 3 choruses? The promise I made started to break.
Yes, chorus.
And then we have Nadine crooning. Love herrrrr.
This song has a Burt Bacharach thing happening, very late 60's, but it doesn't sound like the current 60's trend (a la slag Duffy).
Who is it wailing "Here I am!"? [ed: Sarah]
On the webcast, the song doesn't sound too mixed. The vocals seem way up front.
Bridge is smooth... be with me in my arms.
And the wham bam, it's over with an echo. Huh?

I really like it on only one listen. We'll see how I feel in a few days, but it appears they've done it again.

W
HAT DO YOU THINK?

September 13, 2008

Ten (+1) Musical Thoughts v.2



My poor computer. You know what did such damage to it? I was downloading a "studio" version of one of Madgedonna's Sticky & Sweet songs. Slag. While I do have my PC back, it is still a bit troubled and I'm pondering switching to a Mac. When you don't have access to your iTunes, your musical development is severely inhibited. Le sigh. I've regrouped and managed a few musings this week:

I bought the Emiliana Torrini album (yep, the CD!). It has great, nervy songs with titles like Me and Armani Armini and Fishheads Fireheads. This album is solid, but very subtle: melodies don't necessarily leap out. If you think it's a pop record, it is, but it's just as much a folk record. So far, recommended tracks include Bleeder, Gun (on myspace now) and the aforementioned Fireheads.

I've also been listening to Irish folkie Jon Redfern, who looks like the lovechild of kd lang and Michelle Shocked. His last CD, May Be Some Time, is available on itunes throughout the world. I highly recommend I'm Still Young. A new album, What Else But Love, is conveniently due on Monday 9/15 - you can stream tracks at his myspace.

Aprapos of nothing, I want to tell you that your manner makes my animal kick! Yes, yes, we in a Girls Aloud season, with feverish, drooling anticipation for their new single, the cornily titled, The Promise. GA have become kind of legendary, no? They tend to cross the "cool line" and get mention on even the most arrogant indie blogs. But it's well earned: even when their first singles don't wow you immediately, in a years; time you will probably stamp CLASSIC on them. Recently I cannot stop playing Sexy No No No and Close To Love. Their album is one of the few pop Events this year.

I do like the Sugababes album title Catfights & Spotlights, even if it sounds more like a Girls Aloud song title (Deadlines and Diets, anyone?). To add to the confusion, Babes called their first single Girls (on the link above). It's much weaker than their last few, but the description of the album sounds great.

I heard a new Jennifer Hudson song called Pocketbook that I did not bother to finish playing, it made me so limp. Although I like Spotlight, I am expecting r'n'b pap from her. And what happened to Whitney Houston? Did the suckage of her Akon song send them back into the studio?

Ne-Yo (writer of Spotlight) has a brilliant new track called What's The Matter that sounds like a 70's Elton John or Billy Joel song. Really solid and very different for him.

The new Last Shadow Puppets single is out and it's gorgeous. My Mistakes Were Made For You is the title and here is the video. I feel like Shirley Bassey or Nancy Sinatra should go into a studio and recut the vocals - just steal the whole damned album! Isn't that a clever idea? I please myself, I really do.

Does anyone care about a new Beyonce record? Not me. Girlfriend is a crushing bore. She's become a jetsettin'/Kors-wearin'/island cruisin' conglomerate, but with just enough Celebrity Bitch to roll over her sister Solange and bandmate Michelle Williams with her two new singles. If they're good, I'll acknowledge it, but I am not expecting much.

Stars, the Canadian indiepop gods, have a new EP (Sad Robots) that is closer in spirit to their early work. Which means it's really good. I love 14 Forever. I love most every sound that comes out of Torquil Campbell's mouth. If you don't know Stars song Elevator Love Letter, it is one of most perfect pieces of pop music in this young century.

I also really like Acid Tongue, the swoony new countrypop song by Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley. You can preview the whole album on that myspazz link too. She is a fucking delight. Be sure to watch her HeeHew-esque video for Rise Up With Fists and also seek out the Rilo Kiley epic Portions For Foxes.

Finally, let's talk about the shiteous mess that is Janet Jackson's look on her new tour. Those costumes make her fat when she really isn't! Check out the photo above, where Damita Ho appears to be melting like a drag queen at the close of a gay pride perfomance of Black Cat.

September 12, 2008

Beauty on the Beast



Annie Lennox on Sarah Palin:

This is deeply and dangerously worrying ... the lipstick wearing 'pitbull' hockey mom (her own words to describe herself) fundamentalist christian pro gun potential vice president, who has only ever made one trip out of North America in her life. The United States is staggering on it's knees in debt ... the US soldiers in Iraq are profoundly demoralised after a five year debacle where thousands of lives have been decimated ... for what? And this woman would consider sending US troops to Georgia!!!! GET A GRIP!!!!!"

via Annie's myspace. And PS: My computer is back... for now.

September 11, 2008

A tramp with a virus

All the Google Reader subscribers will assume this post is about Poor Amy Winehouse (Paw?) or maybe skanky Lady Gaga, with her control top unitard. No, it's me. My computer has a virus, or the remnants of one, so posting may be a bit slow this week.

In the meantime, read dis ding here and dat ding dere. Keep calm and carry on, slags!

Update: Computer still being healed. We have candles and crystals, crosses and baby lambs- it's got serious issues. I may not be back online in time for the new Girls Aloud single. Which reminds me: I've decided that Close To Love is one of the greatest - if not gayest - GA songs ever.

September 10, 2008

Siobhan'nana at 50



Siobhan Fahey turns 50 today. Siobhan is my favorite Bananarama girl and, for me, the group ceases to exist with her departure*. In fact, El Marveloso and I talked about how I only care about the first 3 'Nana albums. I don't even like Wow (scandalous, I know).

Some tidbits: In her bio, Siobhan says that Robert DeNiro's Waiting was originally called Al Pacino's Waiting. The girls were taken to dinner by DeNiro when he heard about the song. She also calls producer Pete Waterman "authoritarian and misogynistic." Be sure to check out the comments for this post - D'luv quotes Waterman on Siobhan.

Siobhan left Bananarama in 1987 and formed Shakespears Sister (sic), named after a Smiths song, with the amazing Marcella Detroit. Read about them here. They had several hits including Stay, and I Don't Care and the group remains a kind of indie pop classic. Be sure to check out French & Saunders take (Dickens' Daughters!) on the group, with Dawn French portraying Shuv. I should also note that current group Dresden Dolls ripped their look off of Shakespears Sister - the evidence is everywhere
.

In the late 80's, Siobhan befriended video director Sophie Muller. Both Siobhan and Annie Lennox were Gwem Stefani long before Gwen! In fact, Sophie had both Siobhan and Sade running around in wedding dresses befor
e Stefani did it.

I think Siobhan is more of a rocker at heart, both vocally and how she presents herself visually. I love how she looks in the 1996 video for I Can Drive. You have to love that she recorded a song called Opportunity Knockers for the final Sisters album, #3, which was released years late, in 2004. It sounds like Courtney Love doing pop.

Siobhan's most recent single, Bad Blood, was a bit ragged and punky and she's had an album in the works for a few years. Honestly, I'd rawwwther she reunite with Bananarama and do an album with, say, Xenomania, Stuart Price and maybe Lucky Soul, but that's beyond unlikely.

My Top Ten Plus One Bananarama Songs:

Cruel Summer
Robert DeNiro's Waiting
Trick of The Night
What A Shambles
my #1 favorite
Wild Life
Young At Heart
Rough Justice
T'aint What You Do, It's The Way That You Do It
Cairo
Cheers Then
...
and how about one Shakespears Sister song, 16th Apology

Previous Bananarama post. I highly recommend that Pipettes fans get their first album Deep Sea Skiving. The self titled second album is equally solid, if more mainstream pop.

And yes, yes, yes, Happy Birthday Joanna, who once shared a hairstyle with Siobhan! Here is XO and Joanna (post Shiv hair) at 17 and 18 respectively.

*I actually like Bananarama in its current Keren/Sarah incarnation. I'd just rather it be the full trio again.

September 9, 2008

Quote of the Week: Courtney Love


Jonas Brothers with Lady Gaga Xtuna Aguilera


Assholes with chastity rings - ya'll need some pussy and some cock and shut the hell up.
- Courtney Love commenting on The Jonas Brothers

September 5, 2008

Mixtape: A bad haircut that won't grow out


Agyness Deyn by Ryan McGinley, Pop Magazine

Paulie Z reviewed Annie's Don't Stop CD on his blog. I agree that is has some "ace" tunes, though it is far less indie than her last record. This should be a good thing, but I cannot help but think that, like Madonna, Annie is missing from some of the songs, especially My Love Is Better. Why doesn't Xenomania just save this one for the Aloud? Anyway, I would never gossip, but I've heard that Brian Xenomania Higgins is a bit of a cock (in the bad sense).

Kylie's track with Coldplay is being released on December 26 (Boxing Day). It's called Luna. Methinks we'll hear it sooner.

I
agree with D'luv that Jem's album is weak. She's like Dildo's Dido's twin.

I
read a piece on Grace Jones in the new Pop and it made me like her much more. I have this idea that Grace is just too big and scary and inhuman, but she seems very normal in the interview, talking about her mother and the long journey to complete her new album, Hurricane. The description of William's Blood, written with Wendy and Lisa, makes me fizzzzzzz with anticipation for this album.

The new issue of Pop also has an amazing photo shoot by Ryan McGinley with the It model Agyness Deyn. She's jumping out of windows throughout, frequently nude or with no panties, sometimes with nude men flying by her. It's quite something.

Speaking of Wendy And Lisa, El Marv reports on their forthcoming album. I love them. Love. Them.

Antigone's next single is called Promiscuity.

A birdy I know got this straight from the horse's hose (is that it?): There will be no new video for Roisin's Movie Star. That's a false rumor. I still don't love Slave To Love. Sorreee.

That said, I am frothing to hear what Pet Shop Boys are doing with Xenomania for their 2009 release. Worrapolava and PopJustice both had posts on that this week.

I don't want to discuss Sarah Fucking Palin. It's more important to consider how Kylie Minogue just took 10 ten years off her age by dying her hair a more natural color.

Did Cliff Richard suddenly* come out or not? *See what I did there?

As for Sugababes, the press release for the new album makes it sound jizzworthy. PopJustice blathered on about it. And one song is builds on sample from this song.

So where the hell is Lorraine? One just has to look heavenward and sigh. I appreciated that they answered some questions, but they are sort of beyond elusive.

I like a song by Will-W called My Life Story. Listen close for a bit of a tick tock thing. The thing is, can you imagine if he had Sugababes singing this tune? It would be massive. Anyway, Will is a bit of a flirty minx from what I can tell. He has an album out on 9/9 and his myspace page is full of pics of him with famous singers and a very fluffy dog.

This is not a problem for The Gadsdens, who have some strong new songs streaming on their myspace. In my universe, their debut album will be one of the best of 2009. I should note that somewhere on the Internets there is a photo of Jody "Gadsden" in babyblue hotpants, sitting in a pink tent... begging a campasarowoftents comment. He has a beautiful voice.

Meanwhile, Ronan Keating can easily cup his twig and berries in one hand. Photo evidence NSFW.

My Facebook page got some attention recently when my status read, "Stephen has a hairstylist who cuts his hair while HIGH. Not good." The end of this story is that my hair has looked like shit in the month since. It didn't grow out well, so I have broken up with my hairdresser of 10+ years (shhh, he doesn't know it) and have my first date with (mohawked) Camden on Sunday after breakfast. I do feel bad because I truly like my High Hairdresser, but at 39, I cannot waste time with Bad Hair.

Which ends us in 2005 with The Lady Alexis Strum... le sigh.

Off-topic: I don't need to say anything more on this topic



I'll let Jon Stewart do it for me.

September 3, 2008

Something big, hmmm?



Scott Simons' new song The Start Of Something has been on repeat on my iPod for days. I first heard him last year doing one of the better covers of Umbrella (the other good one was Mandy Moore's, believe it or not) and Arjan just did a new post on him. The first reference point that leaps to mind is Sara Bareilles. Like hers, Scott's music is built around the piano, highly accessible, melodic and very polished for an indie artist. Arjan still has the MP3 if you'd like to try it.

For the longest time, strangely, there was only one comment on Arjan's post and it came from me, wondering why there were no other comments about a song this solid.
While MP3 blogs slobber over mysterious nobodies with names like "Donnie Klang" (who? huh?) or corporate tweenie clap (Katy Perry), good music remains unheard. Don't let this one slip by you.

September 1, 2008

This time must be different



Boy George is back in a big way. I have a special place for George because his career runs parallel to my interest in music - I'm a geeky 80's pop deviant at heart. Yes We Can is a return to form and, obviously, the moment is right for it. I love note only the Obama speech samples, but also the way they jimmied his image in the video, which is pretty clever. Look also for T Rex, Bowie, poor Amy Winehouse (who BG sympathizes with) and even Marilyn. The theme of this song reminds me a bit of one of George's most beautiful songs, a recording from 1991 that not everyone knows...

Jesus Loves You Generations Of Love:


As a doggie bag for the BG trainspotters, here also are the videos for After The Love and Sweet Toxic Love, which I had never seen until today.