February 28, 2010

London Conversations

As I prepare for London, I've been watching - thanks to @burtnoutcar - Saint Etienne's little promo clips for their London Conversations collection last year. Here are a few...

Sheena Mackey:



"I love rain. If we haven't had rain for awhile, I just get really edgy."

Andy Hackett:



"Sometimes they do have a tendency to throw stones at you."

Nick Sanderson:



"Drink until you make a complete dick of yourself"

Julian Opie:



"I remember... almost physically London if there was somewhere I could live."

February 25, 2010

Jónsi's big leap into POP



Amazing.
Go Quiet is a full length DVD of Jónsi performing the his new album acoustically. It was filmed "at home in Reykjavík, Iceland over new year 2010" and appears to have a proper storyline set to music.

Go Quiet is a part of the special edition version of the Go album, out April 5th (April 6th in North America). This is potentially one of the best albums of 2010- and certainly one of the most distinct sounding, with string arrangements by Nico Muhly. Here is the tracklisting:

Go Do video
Animal Arithmetic
Tornado
Boy Lilikoi
Sinking Friendships
Kolniður
Grow Till Tall
Around Us
Hengilás

The preview of the stage show is equally exciting. While Bjork remains sequestered (where?), new musicians seem to leap from the inspiration she built up over 15 years.

And can I just express a little irritation at the world focusing on self-obsessed Johnny Weir as some sort of millennial Gay Icon when there are artists like Jónsi and Nico Muhly doing amazing work that extends well beyond a tired cliche of a queen with a Louis Vuitton bag. Weir is, of course, talented, but in the lunchroom of life, I am taking my tray to Jónsi's table.

February 24, 2010

Lost Classic: Ben Watt and Estelle, together

Ben Watt and Estelle Pop A Cap In Yo Ass:



Circa 2005, this was the first time I'd heard Estelle. I was tweeting about this song tonight after seeing a preview of Estelle's forthcoming track with David Guetta, Freak. She's so big time now, but in '05 she hooked with with Mr. Tracey Thorn for Cap, a spoken monologue about a girl in love with the absolute wrong boy. I've commented before about how this song is like an edgy Stephen Frears drama set to electronic music

"Must feel good with his chops and his Shox, no longer just another kid from the blocks."

...and here is Estelle on the set of her new video, Freak:



Note it has an interpolation of Soul II Soul's Back To Life!

February 22, 2010

Sade vs Wanda


Sade on The Wanda Sykes Show

This video will be everywhere, but I cannot resist. I love Wanda Sykes and I love Sade. Together they are perfect. Stick with it, the bit about buying the album is hilarious.

February 21, 2010

Lucky Soul: Free new track, A Coming Of Age



That's the new album cover from Lucky Soul's second disc, A Coming Of Age, out on April 5. Previously we've heard two "stonkers" from this album: Whoa Billy! and White Russian Doll. Now they're giving away the title song (scroll down) and the tracklist:

1 Woah Billy!
2 White Russian Doll
3 Up In Flames
4 Love3
5 Upon Hilly Fields
6 A Coming Of Age
7 Warm Water
8 Ain’t Nothin’ Like A Shame (To Bring It All Back Home)
9 That’s When Trouble Begins
10 Southern Melancholy
11 Our Heart
12 Could Be I Don’t Belong Anywhere

Lucky Soul A Coming Of Age FREE MP3 with email signup

The band have a good blog and you can also click here to read what I've said about them in the past. Unlike so much of what I write about, most of their fine music is on iTunes US. They also twitter and must be forgiven for thinking that Damon Albarn is hot.

Here is the band's most recent video, White Russian Doll:

February 20, 2010

Lost classic: Allison Moorer's No Next Time



A great song can be found in any dark corner, in any blacktop, on any highway. In the effort to categorize what we hear, we sometimes ignore music we think may not be our thing. Here is one you might have missed:

This amazing song is by
Allison Moorer, the sister of equally talented Shelby Lynne. It has a classic "I'm done with you" lyric, with the verses sung by the female "protagonist." A male vocalist, Lonesome Bob, leads the chorus as the deceitful lover the woman is leaving for the final time.

No Next Time, written by Allison and Doyle Primm, could be called a country song, but it transcends any categorization with such a passionate, balls-out 7-minute arrangement. Stick with it for the payoff: the electric guitar and orchestral duel that seizes the song at 4:50. Ten years on, this still gives me chills, especially when I hear the "stabbing" strings at 6:08.

No Next Time is from Allison Moorer's 2000 album, The Hardest Part (which, by the way, has a stunning cover image).

Anne Doss, this post is for you. xo

February 17, 2010

Ellie Goulding widget




Lights on presale for the UK via 7Digital

RED ALERT: Tracey Thorn is back!



Out May 13. Nice font on that cover. Font whores rejoice!

01 Oh, the Divorces! (a piano/chamber music piece - free MP3 at traceythorn.com)
02 Long White Dress
03 Hormones
04 Kentish Town
05 Why Does the Wind?
06 You Are A Lover (Unbending Trees cover)
07 Singles Bar
08 Come on Home to Me (w/Jens Lekman, a Lee Hazlewood cover)
09 Late in the Afternoon
10 Swimming

Follow Tracey on Twitter - she has a great, dry sense of humor.

February 16, 2010

MUSIC WINS



Florence and the Machine has just won British Album of The Year at the Brits. Lungs has heart and soul and passion. There is a Goddess after all. Dance around the fire and drink wine! Paul Epworth who I chose for Producer of the Year won the same award at the Brits for his work on several albums including Lungs.

New Penguin Prison single out in March


Penguin Prison recording in London

Penguin Prison - known as Chris Glover on the street - is one of the most exciting acts of 2010. He's releasing a new 7" single, The Worse It Gets, on March 22 via the brilliant Neon Gold label. I love these vinyl releases - they make me wish he'd breaks his upcoming album into an old school Side A and B, even on the CD.

Chris told me in December that The Worse It Gets "a bit of Hall & Oates / Doobie Brothers but somehow cool, if that makes sense." Of what turned out to be the new flip side, he said Something I'm Not "is like Kanye West's 808 type songs mixed with Talking Heads and Radiohead mixed with Michael Jackson."

Get the B-side MP3, Something I'm Not for free at Neon Gold now and the A-side, The Worse It Gets, is streaming in full at myspace. You can also read a few more teasers about the album here.

February 15, 2010

Picture of a beauty queen

Recently there have been all sorts of baaaaaaaad "unretouched" Madonna images circling the Interwebs. On that tip, I noticed something this week that makes a point about the power of photographs. Madonna, who is in Rio for a Jesus Luz nookie run/Mardi Gras, was photographed at Carnival...

Looking like 25 years old:



and, the same day, looking like 50 years old (in a good way):



While I was pondering Her, I thought of two things to tweet...

1 My three choices to produce a new and GOOD Madonna album @starsmiff @paulepworth and @FredFalke. [ And @shaveosphere too ]

and

2 NO MORE Steven Klein (that's a tweet for hardcore Madge people)

End of Madonna post #350ish

February 13, 2010

Mixtape: Babyfaced sex tykes, absurd eyewear and diamonds


Basement view, Snowpocalypse v2.0, 2010

SO. I have been asked to review Sugababes' dire new album Sweet 7 for the mag I contribute to. I feel like I too often review stuff I like, so this will be my chance to finally show a little edge. Sweet 7, to my ears, is the final nail in the 'Babes self-built coffin.

Better are the clips from Ellie Goulding's Lights, one of my most anticipated albums of 2010. This Love Will Be Your Downfall still sounds like it should be a single. My favorite song by Ellie, Swimming Pool, has been renamed I'll Hold My Breath. Note that some of the songs we know, like Under The Sheets and Wish I Stayed, seem to have new mixes.

Jonsi's
new video Go Do. Lovely and amazing. Strangely there is a moment in this song that reminds me of Simon And Garfunkel, late in the chorus.

Kate Nash is teasing her new album with a repetitive, screechy rock chant called I Just Love You More which you can get as a .wma file (?!) by signing up here. As I said on PopJustice, I feel like one cannot waste time these days releasing turds. Come out with a big perfect song to wow the kids. The margin of error is slim. This track has taken away three minutes of my life and I want them back.

Speaking of teasers, you can download Our Love Was Saved By Spacemen from the new Pipettes album, Earth Vs Pipettes. It's available via their website and here is the somewhat lousy video. Again, what is the point when the actual single, Stop The Music, is so blindingly good?

Frankmusik's looking pretty theses days. Actually, I love his gigantic glasses - if I could get away with this, I would.

Los Americanos Gayos, the new issue of Instinct magazine has my lil reviews of Editors new album and Lucas Mire's second disc. Apparently Lucas was quite pleased with the review. exhale...

Peoples with earthy tastes: Mumford And Sons are in The Guardian this week. Check it out. Their well titled fall 2009 album, Sigh No More, is tremendous.

Warner Bros is pulling its content off Spotify? Isn't Spotify considered a huge success in the UK? Is this yet another case of the record biz shooting its own feet?

Babyfaced sex tyke Alex Gardner's new video is out this coming week. The slurry, smooth I'm Not Mad. I've heard 4 of his tracks and they are quite good, especially Heartbreak with it's "#1 / #2" chorus. If you like Call The Shots by GA, this album will be worth a listen. He's at The Lexington in London on March 16th, my birthday, but I will be in... Paris. If you've not seen WHAT ALEX LOOKS LIKE, DIG IT NOW.

Sade has been all over American TV the last 48 hours. Her new album is superb, but one that takes repeated plays. Solider Of Love, the title song, is one of most edgy, effective songs she's ever recorded. The video is epic too. Take some time to read two great interviews with her: one from the NY Times and another from The Times (London).

For those who've heard, Marina And The Diamonds has NAILED IT with her (yes her) debut album. Really superb, if a wee bit overproduced in places. Initial standouts, aside from the earlier singles, are a beefed up Shampain, Rootless and Numb. The press seems to think she is going to be a huge star, but despite the quality of her music, I am not entirely convinced that average person will totally "get" her. That said, they got LaRoux, so who knows?

Speaking of which, LaRoux's East Coast US tour was completely derailed by Snowpocalypse. Her shows have been rescheduled for summer.

I just bought the perfect messenger bag for London. Did I mention I'm going in a month? Oh. I did? How many times?

Some tweets from the past week:

Great song alert: Eat Up It's Good For You by Two Door Cinema Club

Americans, check out the new NPR Music site.

Tales of John Mayer's sexual incompetence and immaturity do not interest me

Had a dream @elliegoulding was driving my taxi. She got out and I told old dude in front seat: "Our driver is a major rock star in England"

Duran Duran's March 29th album reissues are making 40 yr old women feel tingly in the nips.

I want this HURTS vinyl disc

Playing Operator Please while working. New song is Logic. I like the groove, but are they special?

If you are wondering, like me, about Google Buzz, watch this

Tracey Thorn tweeted this week that PopJustice can be funny. I responded with...



to which she tweeted back...



My work here is done.

A shirt everyone needs.



Yes, that is the word "shirt" - did your eyes deceive you? Anyway, I follow Marina on Twitter and she posted this piece of majesty this morning.

Meanwhile, also on twitter, Neon Gold recommends this review of Marina's excellent album The Family Jewels.

February 11, 2010

Jamie T: I LOVE THIS VIDEO

Jamie T Emily's Heart:



Proof that in this dire age someone is making good music videos. This is like a BBC TV film. It was shot in a seaside town I'd never heard of until now, Broadstairs. The tea room, Morelli's, is real... and very retro. My tweeps tell me Broadstairs is in cold Kent and it's where Dickens was inspired to write Bleak House.

Word is the video version is a new mix that adds the strings. The single is out March 14.

RIP



McQueen

February 10, 2010

Gallery: Everybody's starry eyed

I've been saving some new(ish) photos of pop stars du jour.



Wow. I say this with love, but that is some major photoshopping. Alison Goldfrapp is a pretty woman in real life, but she is not a 22 year old. When you achieve AG's level of success, you get Madonna's retouchers.



Now we know Sade can actually take her hair down and her face does not go with it. One of the few pop icons worthy of respect for being a real person with values that stretch beyond fame and art. Although maybe you can't see all that in this photo by Sophie Muller.



Not sure what this Gaga photo is from, but I am sure one of her "incredible fans, who I love sooooo much" could tell me.



Not quite new, but Courtney Love might want to keep wearing this burka/shroud/veil/bathroom curtain until the (unnecessary) facial fillers wear off. She is looking quite odd these days.



Ellie Goulding, aka The Drew Barrymore of Pop, is one of the least photographed popstars. Seriously, she seems to have done very few photo shoots, so pictures from this one are the only nibbles we have.



Marina And The Diamonds (say it with me: "I am Marina and you are the diamonds"). You might recognize this as the source image for her new single cover. Marina is constantly photographed and has cleaned up quite well from her days warbling in a bedroom in Wales.



Little Boots is trying to launch her (still very good) album in America, which I think is one of the most pointless ventures in pop music today. She looks okay here. Enough said.



I argued awhile back on PopJustice forums that Ellie Jackson of LaRoux could be made quite Vogue with good makeup (no orange lipstick please), and here she is. She claims to have a new sound planned for their next album, so maybe she is moving through the decades to the nineties. All will be revealed.



Last we have the disenfranchised Vince Frank, who likes to "get his kit off" as the British say. He stares down his own snake. And in this photo he poses with a slithery zoo animal.

PS: I love Vince's awesome huge glasses

February 9, 2010

Dan Black's weird science


My what a big gun Dan has there.

What if Dan Black covered Madonna's Into The Groove and mashed it up with Kate Bush's Cloudbusting? It would sound like...

Dan Black Get Into Cloudbusting free MP3

I was pleasantly surprised by Dan's album ((Un)) last year and it's finally out here in the US. I gravitated towards album cuts like Life Slash Dreams, Cigarette Pack and the beautiful Let Go, which are a bit more organic than his electro singles.

US Tour Dates:

February 18 - Mercury Lounge - NYC (w/Free Blood)
February 19 - Foufounes - Montreal
February 20 - Wrong Bar - Toronto
February 22 - 91X/710 Beach Club - San Diego
February 23 - Dim Mak/Cinespace - Los Angeles
February 24 - KROQ/Spaceland - Los Angeles
February 25 - Popscene/330 Ritch - San Francisco (w/Free Energy)

www.myspace.com/danblacksound

February 7, 2010

Blog Interrupted: Snowpocalypse 2010

If you're in America, you might have heard that DC just had a historic storm. We got 2 feet of snow in 24 hours. It was quite SNOMG because it knocked out my satellite TV and, for 12 hours, knocked out my Internet. Tragique! Here are a few pics I took in the 'hood...



From my living room, the night the storm started. This tree has branches that have cracked but not fallen yet.



Down the street. Mega snow everywhere.



Can you see the car in this picture, hmmm?



You might know what this is... iconic looking in the snow. It's a pity that a bunch of whiny, smug fratboys and beleaguered women work inside it!

As for DC, it remains a mess and much of it will be shut down Monday too, with MORE SNOW due Tuesday. Good gravy Marie! I shall get back to blogging about music as soon as I can.

February 3, 2010

Cover Story: We Have Band 2010 v1.0



Bo. Ring. Is this seriously the best they could do? The music will save it. PopJustice had a hilarious piece (today) on this artwork.



Jónsi's a... wot? Rainbow warrior. His debut solo album is released the week of April 5th.



Love it. We Have Band are the new Delphic. That's how fast pop music travels these days. This image is like one of those pictures of spermatozoa rushing toward an egg, except the sperm are microphones. There must be a metaphor for cock rock in there.

February 2, 2010

Roaming suburban Boys


PSB, arriving for their performance in Twickenham

This is surely one the greatest promotional moments ever. Pet Shop Boys, The Greatest Pop Duo In History, in a promotion for the Brits (and in celebration of the CD/DVD release of their Pandemonium Tour), played a house in Twickenham, UK.

This reminds me of the over-the-top 80's MTV promotions in America, when people like John Mellencamp would show up to play in some "small town" backyard. The home owner,
Lorraine Sands, was a contest winner, but supposedly had no idea the Boys were showing up to perform in her living room, where they played All Over The World, It's A Sin, West End Girls and, naturally, Suburbia. Neil Tennant said, "The whole point of it was to recreate an arena production, or elements of it anyway, in the intimate environment of a living room.”

February 1, 2010

Rewind: Record Of The Year, Bee? Hmmm?



So. Beyonce won Song Of The Year for Single Ladies. Bouncey got up on stage and did her humble act, like she'd not already won like 14 Grammys. Please. The right and proper Song Of The Year shook the ground in Roma and made the waves undulate more sensually in Ibiza. Click on the image to watch love take over.