October 31, 2010

Ten + 1 Musical Thoughts: Grumpy Man edition


I saw Sharon Osbourne today at Jon Stewart's Rally To Restore Sanity. Ozzy had just gotten in the car on the other side.

The lack of thoughtful music parallels the state of the world right now. Really bad music being foisted on buyers, especially in England.
It's made me so cranky! Here's my honest thoughts on some recent releases...

1 Pet Shop Boys new single Together just doesn't connect with me. I get the conceit of writing a track that sounds like a love song, but is really quite dysfunctional. It's just not going to hold up against the other songs on the new hits disc. It's cold. That said, the new Ultimate collection does have a good DVD...

2 Cheryl Cole's new LP reminds me of what happened when greed tore apart The Spice Girls. Diminishing returns with cheap music pushed out for maximum fast cash. The only song I can really tolerate is Yeah Yeah, which was - I believe - produced by Starsmith. Even that one has a pointless "feature" by professional ex-boyfriend Travie McCoy.

3 The clips of Girl Aloud's prodigal daughter Nadine Coyle horrid new Tesco-only solo album sound equally demode. What's happened to pop music? This is supposed to be the "post Gaga" golden age.

4 Against all odds, I quite like Frankmusik's collaboration with Far East Movement, Fighting For Air. It catchy "as fuck all" thought I'm not sure I would have known it was Vince Frank singing the chorus has I not been told. Fortunately, we DO have his new single, The Fear Inside, to look forward to in the next few weeks.

5 I Blame Coco's The Constant album has not stuck with me . It has some good songs (the title track, for instance) and she has a superb voice. At the end of the day, after 4 videos and singles, she has absolutely no star presence. No X factor.

6 The new Wolfgang single, Lions in Cages, is superb, if I've not said it yet. Totally anthemic, with an elegant piano outro. I'm excited for his debut album, though it may not be out until 2011. Warning, if you listen to this on ear buds, you'll keep thinking your phone is ringing.

7 Little Joe McElderry was almost torn to shreds by horny twink mongers at his G-A-Y show. Poor thing had to be carried out of the building. The album is predictable but Ambitions is Glee-tastic and Someone Wake Me Up should be a second single. Which means it won't be.

8 Americans should be aware that Prefab Sprout's excellent 2009 album Let's Change The World With Music (the album title is the only flaw), was released this week on iTunes US and CD. If you want to "taste" a few songs, try Ride, Music Is A Princess and Let There Be Music.

9 Julian Perretta
has a second single, Stitch Me Up. The last one was dire, but the new track is made better only by Julian's lips in the video, shot in Marina's "Hollywood" house.

10 Rumer's debut album, the tritely titled Seasons of My Soul, turns out to be primarily one mood: 70's AM pop, with little that puts it in the now. It also has a cover of one the worst songs ever written, Goodbye Girl. Dreck! If it seems like I've turned on her, I have. Initially I really like her voice, but I latched onto her too soon. If you like this style, go back to the source, Laura Nyro, and these songs: I Never Meant To Hurt You, Wedding Bell Blues, Stoned Soul Picnic, and New York Tendaberry.

11
Bryan Ferry's new record sounds just like... every Bryan Ferry album, quelle surprise. But Me Oh My is a standout, though it's kind of a long aimless jam. Sadly, I find the Scissor Sisters collab, Heartache By Numbers literally unbearable. I hope I never hear it again.

If you like certain songs on records I've criticized above, let me know and I'll try those.

Sophie Ellis Bextor's new look



La Bex has had a radical makeover for her new album, due out in December... 2016.

Happy Halloween, Hos!

via Holy Moly

October 27, 2010

The Gadsdens draw a crowd

2011 will be The Gadsdens year, mark my words. If you don't own the studio version of The Sailor Song, (on iTunes in most territories), your music collection is lacking a crucial element of passion. On October 21st, the band performed the song live in St. Pancras Station - one of the most amazing buildings in London, IMO - for The Station Sessions. The band is recording their debut album next month with a big-time producer (who is being kept hush hush for now), so an album is finally upon us...



More on The Gadsdens here. You can also follow Jody on Twitter.

October 25, 2010

Don't give up



These are pretty dark times. Anger, pain, fear and deliberate misinformation constantly spinning in mass culture. I just want to take a moment to write about a beautiful song that may have slipped by. John Legend and Pink recently covered Peter Gabriel's Don't Give Up for Herbie Hancock's Imagine Project. The original was released in 1986 and featured Kate Bush as the consoling female counterpoint- or spirit, really - to Peter Gabriel's gravelly voice. Now Herbie Hancock has arranged a gorgeous, bass-heavy version - Legend and Pink do it justice.

Not a lot of contemporary female singers could deliver the line, "Don't give up now, we're proud of who you are" and have you believe it, but Pink
can. The message of the song is so resonant in the aftermath of the American teen suicides. It makes me sick that, in 2010, being gay is still something up for "debate." I wish music could provide solace for everyone the way it has for me. Don't Give Up will give you something deeper than virtually anything being released in these strange days... seek it out. #itgetsbetter



Don't give up
'cause you have friends.
Don't give up
you're not the only one.
Don't give up
no reason to be ashamed.
Don't give up
you still have us.
Don't give up now
we're proud of who you are.
Don't give up
you know it's never been easy.
Don't give up
'cause I believe there's the a place,
there's a place where we belong

October 18, 2010

Peter Robinson: The PJ Almighty Talks About Music



As these deals often go, Peter Robinson [this is him - impish!] is an enigma to a legion of diehard pop music fans and a total unknown to the rest of the world. Not only is he the founder of, arguably, the finest pop music website/forum in the world - Popjustice - he is also an award-winning music journalist. He's the type that gets called to be a media talking head on all issues POP, like the Pet Shop Boys documentary, appropriately titled A Life In Pop. His writing is equal measures of wit, enthusiasm, pop scholarship and ballsy snark. He's famous for his fearless questions in interviews - you think, "Did he really just ask that?" but it's often the question you wanted answered.

In Twitter terms, the man is Famous: he has over 47,000 followers. So he's taking that brand and doing what any bright pop obsessive wishes s/he could do: starting a label called Popjustice Hi-Fi. Launched with this charmer of a manifesto, PJ Hi-Fi has just released its first two singles: Rosanna's Waterfall and Bright Light Bright Light's Love Part II, with Japayork's Teenagers on the way soon.

It's the provenance of Popjustice Forum members to bitch about anything and everything, including the site itself. But it is certain that, if Popjustice ceased to exist, you'd have a zombie planet of frustrated music fans scratching to debate unsuspecting cabbies and train passengers about whether Lady Gaga is or is not the heir to Madonna's throne.

As a sort of "disclosure," I should say that I have met Peter and communicated on and off with him for years. He's always been supportive of bloggers, fans, the love/hate relationships they cultivate with each other and the characters that make up pop music at any given moment. To start this interview, I addressed an event so cataclysmic it threatened, for a hot minute, to tear apart the foundation of modern music: The awarding of the Popjustice Twenty Quid Music Prize to a group (Example) and song (Kickstarts) that a huge number of pop fans had never once heard...

XO/Steve: Example? EXAMPLE? I heard there was talk of genuine artists who write their own songs etc at the Twenty Quid. That's not very Popjustice. Going into it, did you have a guess as to what might win?


Peter Robinson: There was talk of 'writing your own music' during the judging, yes. I thought the Example vs Mini Viva round was really interesting. Does a song being performed by its writer make it somehow better? Not always but not never. I would be a bit of a hypocrite if as part of some sort of ludicrous agenda in which I fetishised the anti-organic I dismissed out of hand the idea of people writing their own music - Abba, Pet Shop Boys, Magnetic Fields and lots of my favourite acts all wrote or write their own music. Equally, of course, loads of my favourite songs have been sung by people who had nothing at all to do with the creative process. Example was an interesting case because Kickstarts (by coincidence - the two songs' names were picked out of a pint glass) and I Wish shared a certain poignant sentiment, a bit of a winsome factor which was a little bit sad and a bit optimistic, etc etc. A lot of people felt (and I shared their opinion) that the Example song was unusually romantic and thoughtful for a dance record (which some people thought it was) performed by a blokey sort of rapper/singer/whatever he is. So I suppose from that point of view the fact that this guy just had to somehow express himself was something people found affecting and for that reason the fact that he wrote this song himself was important.

Britt Love - one of the two women who make up Mini Viva - was a judge and didn't even vote for herself because.... well, she tweeted something to the effect that she felt uncomfortable with that, like it would be boastful.

What lost it, I think, for Mini Viva, was when I asked Britt what I Wish was about and she shrugged and said, "You'll have to ask Brian." I think at that point the idea that Mini Viva were remotely connected with the emotional essence of that song went out of the window. Things might have gone differently had she, for instance, replied, "Well as you know we didn't write the song but the moment I heard it I knew exactly what emotion it was about - it took me straight back to last Christmas when I found myself wondering if I would ever be able to love or whether I was destined to live a life of solitude," and I know Britt had her own take on the song. As the singer of someone else's song, it's easy to be on autopilot, but to really nail it - like an actor reading a playwright's words - you need to step inside the words, live inside them, find a way that they connect to your own emotions then communicate that connection to your audience'. Anyway the discussion over 'real artist' vs 'pop puppet' was one part of a lengthy dissection of the songs' relative merits. I didn't expect Kickstarts to win, but I'm pleased that it did. I would have been pleased for any of the songs to win, I suppose - hence them all being shortlisted!


A lot of people seem to think this new label, Popjustice Hi-Fi, should right all pop injustices. As if it is your job to release lost Betty Boo records or save Mini Viva (which I want you to do). What are you really trying to do with PJ Hi-Fi?

It would be great to do stuff for fun. And we will be doing stuff for fun. I am not sure if releasing the Mini Viva album - taking into account the administrative and financial complication associated with moving the recordings from a Universal label to an EMI label - would be fun. Does that sound like the sort of thing a 'suit' would say? Probably. But there are obstructions everywhere to things that from the outside seem fairly straightforward.

You've talked about this before, but this "ethics" question of pop-news-site-vs-record-label seems to linger. What exactly would be unethical if you promoted your own artists? The assumption is that you love them...

And that's the right assumption. I suppose I'm not necessarily worried about the ethics because I know I'm just carrying on regardless (although I'm happy for people to monitor my coverage of Virgin acts if they wish), I'm just concerned about smacking people around the head with release info all the time. I think there's a balance which I need to make sure I get right. But you're right, if there's stuff on the label it's stuff I like which means it should go on the site anyway as that, clearly, is the whole point.

Does the label pose a risk to the PJ brand? I think of Perez Hilton's label, which went nowhere. Is there a PJ brand?

Without knowing the details of Perez's label deal, it's hard to know how or whether to comment on Popjustice Hi-Fi as a comparable label. I suspect that if posting a photo of an underage girl's vagina on his blog doesn't damage his brand, he doesn't need to worry what people will say about the relative lack of success of Sliimy. There's definitely a Popjustice brand, perhaps defining it is best (or just as well) left to other people!

Okay, so what defines success for the first few singles? Is this a one-off deal or will you do albums for these artists?

I want Popjustice Hi-Fi to be able to release one-off singles and I know it is hard to release one single by an act because the perception is that if a second single doesn't come out something must be 'wrong'. Well, there wouldn't be something 'wrong', it would just be that it was a single deal! One-off singles are a bit of an odd one, it's not really what the media is set up to expect (they/we always want to know what the plot is, leading to an album release) but labels should be able to do one-off singles as a means of celebrating tracks and showing the world how amazing they are so that's what we're doing with some of our stuff.

How involved are you in the details, like artwork, videos, b-sides, etc?

So far I've been as involved as I think has been sensible, which is not too much and not too little. It would be hard (and in my view not positive or productive) to overrule or ignore everyone with this sort of thing. There are all sorts of parties who can (and often should) have a say in decisions. It's not just labels and artists, as it sometimes seems. There are managers, lawyers, publishers, live agents, producers, co-writers, all of whom will have things to say about what should and shouldn't happen. And often, of course, their individual wishes will contradict each other. Then of course there's feedback from press, online, radio, TV and the rest, which is all valuable whether positive or otherwise. But a lot of the people who are coming to Popjustice Hi-Fi with music or ideas are coming to us because they get what we're trying to do and are excited about being a part of it

I think you can seem quite mercenary in the name of modern music business practicality. I realize this is not 1983, but sometimes I don't know if you really want to give artists a chance to develop. Does this capitalism apply to your own Hi-Fi artists?

We may not be the first label an act is ever on and we may not be the last label an act is ever on but I think there's a good opportunity for Popjustice Hi-Fi to play an important role in an artist's - to employ X Factor parlance - journey. I wouldn't say it's capitalism as such, but it's hard as a journalist to keep banging on about an act when nobody is interested, because you end up becoming a laughing stock. In some circles, for example, Popjustice's support of Dragonette (in the face of fairly widespread indifference) is still seen as a negative. I wasn't very bothered about that and continued supporting them into their second album campaign.

It's a one-shot world now, in terms of chart position. I keep thinking of people like Preston or MPHO, where one single failed and it was suddenly, "Thank you, goodnight."

With Preston and MPHO, though, the wheels quickly fell off the whole thing and there wasn't really much left to support. I'd be happy to hear Preston's next stuff - probably more than MPHO's, as I suspect she'll go in a rather less commercial direction. It's interesting with those two actually because Preston and MPHO are two acts who completely failed to connect. They were given a massive push by their respective labels and couldn't get in the Top 40. I don't think it was necessarily down to quality or execution - they just didn't connect with an audience. The problem was that neither of those singles were tastemaker singles aimed at generating buzz - they were big first singles that were designed to be hits. Whether that approach was right or wrong is a different point, but if nobody is interested in an act, what does a label then do? Throw another £250K at it, knowing it won't work? I don't know the answer to that, really. What would you do?


I have no idea. Anyway, there is a criticism I have heard of you: that you're elusive, that you don't call people back, etc. Your interview with Paloma Faith was brilliant. I think she gets you and she cleverly flipped that tables right up front. Do you care what people think of you personally?

The Paloma interview was great and loads of fun, I wish more interviews were like that. I feel sick when I think about how many unanswered emails there are in my inbox, but I feel happy that I give as many emails as I can the attention they deserve.

What was the first music you really obsessed over ... what age were you? Not kid shit - real stuff.

I was in Kylie's fanclub when I was about 11, but when I was 12 I decided that The KLF were my favourite band. What I didn't really get, properly, at that point was that loads of their stuff was completely immersed in drugs - like all the original What Time Is Love and 3am Eternal releases were massive acid house rave anthems and Chill Out (it seems so obvious now) was, er, a chillout album. I used to write to and phone their PR and radio plugger and people like that and pester them. Sometimes they'd send me promos, and merchandise. I was basically their only teenage superfan - in his book 45, [KLF founder] Bill Drummond described the relationship as them being the older brothers I never had - and they would indulge me, so from time to time Bill would call me out of the blue for a chat. On one occasion they invited me to Top Of The Pops when they were performing on the show, and I hung out with them. I would listen to barely anyone else.

You are, at heart, a hardcore music fan. The whole thing hinges on that.

I think having had that sort of obsession for a couple of years (until they split when I was about 15) is something that it's important for me to remember when, for example, I think now about obsessive pop fans on, for example, the Popjustice forums. But what I think about most is the void that there seemed to be when The KLF split up. I'd obsessed about them so much that I hadn't really listened to much else for a period of about two years. Actually that's not true, I've always listened to Radio 1 and I was still buying other acts' music during that period, but The KLF certainly dominated my field of vision. And what I found when they disappeared was that I needed to redefine, quite quickly, what sort of music I was into. Anyway the KLF thing was a bridge to what I do now in that when they split up I put together a fanzine which led to bits of work experience but was also purchased by someone who, two years later, turned out to be the admissions tutor at the university I wanted to attend. She recognised my name from my application and gave me a place on the course which then led to other work stuff and now here I am.

In your interview with Robbie Williams last week, you said,
"Being a pop music fan, or a supposed fan, seems now to have become a blood sport in which small but significantly large groups of people, seem to hound artists down until they're just left there in a bloody pulp." Do you think the armchair analysis in PJ Forums hurts the process in some way, making the artists second guess themselves? I am thinking of someone like Sophie Ellis-Bextor. It's human nature, maybe. Is there a desire to watch people fail that fans subconsciously propel? "We love" Sophie so much that we will tear her down if she does not fulfill our dreams for her.

I think fans do subconsciously love the drama of something going badly, of being the only one who 'really understands' their favourite artist, and of somehow seeing some 'truth' that record buyers, labels and artists themselves don't see. Obviously, journalists have been doing this for years. But I think what is different about fans doing it in this way is that fans can communicate with each other in a way they never could before and they can gather momentum in really exciting, but sometimes unhelpful ways. And, of course, they're doing all this in full view of the artist. And that's something popstars never had to contend with before. Nor did music journalists, of course - ten years ago there was no way of knocking what people thought of your article. These days you're ten seconds away from someone posting 'you're a twat and by the way you got the song title wrong' under a review. There are good things and bad things about that sort of response...

Random question, but in terms of fandom, who have you seen live the most times?

Pet Shop Boys must be the act I've seen most, and it's still exciting and amazing every time I see them.

Okay, so let's end this with Peter's Choice: If you had to pick one, which would you choose: 1) putting a chip in your brain that blocks you from ever hearing Bad Romance again OR 2) putting a chip in your brain that painfully tasers your penis every time you use the word AMAZING?

Clever question - after all, what use would there be for the word 'amazing' in a world without Bad Romance? Presuming option two imagines a world in which Bad Romance continues to exist I would be using the word 'amazing' to describe it fairly frequently... So for that reason I'm going for option one.

That was very satisfying. Thank you, Peter. Rock on...

It is not often I am told or invited to 'rock on.' But thank you.
___________________________________________

Popjustice hosts a CMJ showcase on Wednesday, October 20 at Bell House in Brooklyn. Here's the details - doors at 7:30.

Penguin Prison... No one can stop the golden train


Waving, not drowning in a wet white shirt... Chris Glover, aka Penguin Prison

Penguin Prison is about to release his new single, Golden Train, on November 22 via the UK Wall Of Sound label. It's the first official single from his debut album, out in late winter /early spring 2011. I particularly love the lyrics to this one and the way the track becomes so layered in the final minute. Fantastic. It was co-produced by Alex Frankel of the band Holy Ghost! Here's how Chris described it on this blog earlier this year:
Golden Train...is a straight disco song with a Michael Jackson type vocal on it and some really crazy sounding synths we made with a half broken Casio.
Penguin Prison: Golden Train (The Royal Palms remix) Free MP3

Penguin Prison is opening for Two Door Cinema's American dates right now (check myspace). Many of the shows are actually sold out, but he also has a fall UK tour planned:

Nov 17th | LONDON, Gold Dust @ Hoxton B+G
Nov 18th | LONDON, Bump @ The Den
Nov 19th | NOTTINGHAM,Bodega
Nov 20th | BRISTOL, Start The Bus*
Nov 25th | LONDON, Yo Yo @ NHAC
Nov 26th | MANCHESTER, Clique Club @ Mint Lounge^DJSET^
Nov 27th | EDINBURGH, SneakyFest @ Sneaky Petes
Dec 1st | BRIGHTON, Adventures In The Dark @ Coalition
Dec 3rd | LONDON, Mix-Mag Event

Penguin Prison on myspace and Twitter

October 14, 2010

This is HARDCORE



Is this the perfection that was Dancing On My Own or Hang With Me? Maybe not quite, but the acoustic version (further down) is so blinding that it's hard to top. Either way, it is one of her finest lyrics.

Indestructible (Edit) by robyn

And the string-laden acoustic from Body Talk Pt 2...

October 13, 2010

See the boy I once was...

Mark Ronson & The Business Intl have just released the video for Somebody To Love Me, sung by Boy George and Andrew Wyatt (of Miike Snow). This song is a great moment for George - it has soul and passion, while managing to be both slightly retro and totally current. Not an easy feat. Ronson knows what many forget now: that inside of the drugs and jail drama, is a brilliant singer/ songwriter / performer who is still driven to make good music.

The video is quite worthy, with a female actor doing a very good version of Boy, circa 1982. It has a healthy tinge of the kind of melancholy you can only get when reminiscing on youth.




As I was watching that clip, I happened to be twittering - no shit - with Helen Terry, Culture Club's legendary background singer who wailed along with George on songs like That's The Way, Black Money and Church Of The Poison Mind and was present during the era depicted in the clip. Here is the exchange:

XO: Did you see this? Mark Ronson's "Somebody To Love Me" video. I think it's quite wonderful. This is your era! xo

Helen: I saw and and thought- hang on George would have never, ever gone to a party like THAT! We were nowhere near as perky back in the day.

Helen: Having said that it took me a minute to realise that it wasn't real.

XO: What would've been more realistic? Watching TV? Drinking? Do tell!

Helen: There were no hissy fits, crying, fights, pouting [in that video]. TV never featured at all - too busy going out pouting for that sort of thing.

If you know Helen's work and aren't following her on Twitter, you should. After leaving professional singing, she's gone on to produce documentaries, videos and, for many years, the Brit Awards. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she doesn't dwell much on the past, instead reserving her tweets to proclaim her love of current bands like Scissor Sisters and Hurts. She is currently working on a documentary about songwriting.

Watch Helen and George NAIL Black Money below, live in 1984ish. She is as key to this song as George. I used to play Colour By Numbers, the 1983 album from which this is culled, on my first stereo over and over and over. It is rare today to find radio pop this sophisticated...

A post that needs no text: Take That


source

October 12, 2010

Hurts video brief: You say goodbye in the pouring rain



Hurts have a new video for their third single, Stay. NOT MY CHOICE, this song, but I am not the boss of Theo/Adam Hurts, am I? In this video, which is filled with dour beauty shots of Theo, the Brothers Melodrama trade in their Robert Palmer girls for a bunch Carrie Underwood/Duffy lookalikes... an immediate fail in my book. And what is the symbolism of that craggy ocean rock? Is it phallic? That would... you guessed it... HURT.

Note this clip will probably be devoured by label suits. If so, try this.

October 10, 2010

Beth Ditto on the runway...



This week Beth Ditto of The Gossip walked the runway for the Jean Paul Gaultier show. She is about as cool and truly"rock-chick" as we have in pop music right now. And this is how The Washington Post's Robin Givhan described the appearance in today's paper:

As for Gaultier... it wasn't the clothes that were particularly subversive. Instead Gaultier's transgression was using the obese singer Beth Ditto to lead off his show and then sprinkling his runway with larger models.
Before I say anymore about the word "obese," know that I find Givhan increasingly loathsome. She's into "polemics," writing columns on how new Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan does not dress stylishly - should she have to? - and that Michelle Obama should never exit Air Force One in summer shorts. Blah blah blah. I don't even know if Givhan believes her own words... she clearly wants attention.

Ditto is low-hanging fruit for Givhan in that she is, I presume, technically obese. But that word has become synonymous with, well, death. Obese carries a load of judgment. It is understandable that one might look at Beth Ditto and think, "Is that weight good for your heart?" She manages to put on incredibly energetic shows that I could probably never do - clearly her blood and oxygen move quite well - but it gets harder and harder to sustain health with those pounds.

Don't be fooled by the fashion world's embrace of Beth Ditto. It's a smokescreen. They've taken an extreme case in Ditto - visually stunning / super talented / super large - and blown her up even bigger so that you'll think they are moving beyond anorexics. I don't doubt that Gaultier truly loves Beth Ditto - she's fucking awesome and JPG also used other large models - but it's a stretch to imagine most booking agents not saying "lose 5 pounds " to the emaciated girls who walk in shows. The underlying message: It's okay for Ditto, she fahhbulous, but it's not okay for you to be 20 pounds overweight.

Givhan herself may also feel snark toward Ditto because the latter has
a clothing line that has been frequently atrocious and unflattering to anyone, thin or plumptious. Her collection this year is better, but it's fair for the fashion world to roll their eyes at the idea of celebs, like the cast members of The Hills, smugly declaring themselves designers. Simon Doonan did a wicked piece on this for Slate.

I have no idea how to square this off with any sort of resolution. It's complicated. In my experience, 1) most of the world looks somewhere in between Beth Ditto and Kate Moss, but 2) obese is not a nice word. Don't use obese.

What I can also do close this post by honoring what Beth Ditto does brilliantly: music. Here is The Gossip's video for their new single, the wry Men In Love...



photo via tifdb

October 9, 2010

In the McElderry Spray Zone



Fans of Lil Joe McElderry should be careful when pulling each other's braids to get to the front row. As evidenced by the first few seconds of this acoustic Ambitions clip, he will spray his DNA all over them. And not in the good way.

October 7, 2010

Mixtape: The good, the bad, the barren and the plush



If it seems like I've been missing lately, I have. For the past two months my job has been more demanding on every level -I don't do anything particularly hard, but it's wiped out my brain moreso this year than ever before. And this week I've been a sickie, so bear with me. At some point this blog will end, it's inevitable, but I am not quite ready yet. Here are some recent tidbits worth noting:

Cocknbullkid is finally releasing an album called Adulthood (in Feb '11). Her new single is called One Eye Open and it's very "big" - she did it with Joe Cross, who co-wrote the Hurts album (!). Of you go to her myspace also listen to the song Cocknullkid. Like Marina, she has her own blog that shows a bit of her personality. Thank you for that, Anita.

Es Devlin, the stage designer, talks about working with Lady Gaga.

Roisin Murphy is slowly reappearing. She talked to the Independent about her next single, Demon Lover.

Phil at Worrapolava has done a post on the superb Gypsy And The Cat, a great new Aussie band, that's like Empire Of The Sun minus the prog-rock pretense. I recommend three songs: Sight Of A Tear, the very Fleetwood Maccy Jona Vark and Time To Wander (see the video for that on Phil's blog).

Did you play Hundred In The Hand's churning Young Aren't Young yet? Do it. Their November single is Commotion, a bipolar track - verses are indie rock and the chorus is electropop.

Robyn was in The Guardian talking about favorite music from her life (example TLC's Creep! and Neneh Cherry's epic Raw Like Sushi - I can hear the influence of them both)

McFly like to talk about peen and sperm, but it isn't selling any albums. Selling dicks is not equal to selling discs?

Mark Savage has heard the new Nadine Coyle album. I literally never want to hear her song Insatiable ever again. Really dislike it. Meanwhile, Popjustice has heard some new Rihanna tracks and was quite disappointed. That's another song (Only Girl) I don't care for. I know I'm in the minority on that, but I find it really shrill.

Love, however, the new Pink song, Raise A Glass, the verses of which strangely remind me of Dream Academy's This World. This song soars, as per usual with Pink.

I've not heard a thing about the new Belle And Sebastian album. The website has a 30 minuted promo film about the record, of which The Guardian says: "It takes just under four minutes for Belle And Sebastian's eighth album to demand a place among the best of their career. " Wow!

For those of you into Britpop, Passenger, who did a lovely album a few years back, have returned with a much folkier second disc. I do heartily recommend the gorgeous track Rivers. You hear it on their Flight Of The Crow widget.

The scoop is that Chapel Club is going to be huge in 2011, but I don't find them terribly original. That said, I think they are working with the brilliant Paul Epworth, so maybe better songs are too come. You can hear them on Q's Track Of The Day.

Indigo Girls have a bluegrass Christmas album? I'll pass.

Randomly, I downloaded an 80's album I'd never heard before - Johnny Hates Jazz's debut. I love What Other Reason. But they sound nothing like Hurts. I am not sure where that comparison comes from - I think I had made it myself?

LaRoux is on Kanye West's new album. For realz, on one says.

A UK singer called Kate Walsh has recorded a shimmery cover of Prefab Sprout's When Love Breaks Down. Hear a short snippet. She's also done covers of EMF's Unbelievable (as a ballad!) and Blur's Beetlebum.

Alison Moyet is working on a new album with Frou Frou's Guy Sigsworth according to Vinny Vero. Amazing.

And herrrre is a teaser for Take That's new single, The Flood:


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This video above comes from Claude Friese-Greene's The Open Road. filmed in 1926 and now re-edited and digitally restored by the BFI National Archive. These clips fascinate me! The title of this post is actually a quote about London from - who else? - Morrissey.

October 3, 2010

Previewing Ou Est Le Swimming Pool's first and last LP

Ou Est Le Swimming Pool's album, The Golden Year, is released on time, on October 3. You may or may not know the lead singer, Charlie Haddon, tragically committed suicide on August 20. Here are a few previews of album tracks:



and a quieter one...



and, of course, the uplifting hit single...



Thanks much to Electronically Yours, who have a review up now.