January 31, 2011

Bim tease brand new single, Scream

Bim have just announce a new single, Scream. Totally new, not on their great 2010 CD, Scatterheart.

They've also released a beautiful acoustic video for album track Raindrops.

For more Bim, click here or follow them on Twitter. If you're in London, they'll be playing Water Rats in Kings Cross on Friday, February 18th. Here's the invite.

January 29, 2011

I know that I'll hold you someday

but I hope you're not a corpse.

That's the image for Hurts new single, the Killers-esque Sunday (a good choice, as it's one of the few "jaunty" songs on the record). The group have consistently nailed the imagery for their album campaign.

Sunday is out February 28th. A new b-side is expected in the digital format.

January 28, 2011

Richard X vs. Patrick Wolf

Dream moment: Richard X has remixed Patrick Wolf's new single The City and it's blazing! Download it now...

Patrick Wolf - The City (Richard X Remix) by Your Army

The City
is out March 14 on Hideout. The video, directed by Kinga Burza in California, is out too:

It's a little bit of Chet Baker, Katy Perry, James Dean, Cherish (Madonna), Bruce Weber by way of Abercrombie & Fitch, Santa Monica and a very happy Patrick Wolf.

It's like you hit me with lightning

Ellie Goulding has a new cover image for the American released of Lights. The March issue of Instinct will feature my review of this album - I gave it a rare 5 stars. The US release, out March 8, is the same as the original Brit release, adding 3 tracks: Your Song, Animal and Lights, the latter of which opens the album.

The new video for Lights represents Ellie's transformation in one year from terrified waif (see Jools Holland) to popstrel diva. The opening shots in this video, in silhouette, make that clear.

Much has been made of the choice of the UK singles from the album. Her first indie single is her best song, Under The Sheets, but her first official big label single was Starry Eyed. She followed that with Guns And Horses, The Writer and Your Song. Vinny Vero and I wax on this endlessly, agreeing that the first major single should have been Under The Sheets and that This Love (Will Be Your Downfall) is a lost hit. I might also have chosen Your Biggest Mistake, her collaboration with Fraser T Smith. Whatever, Lights, a bonus track on the original LP, is pretty damn sleek.

What do you think?

January 27, 2011

She found her place amongst the trees

Gypsy & The Cat are about to launch their excellent 2010 album, Gilgamesh, in the UK, fresh with a new performance clip of their single, Jona Vark (geddit? Joan Of Arc?). Though they are Australian and live in London, the sound is pure California, in the most chilled sense. Music for driving through Laurel Canyon in your T-top Camaro.

And their names are
flash: Xavier Bacash and Lionel Towers

The ubiquitous Starsmith has remixed Jona Vark. As usual, he doesn't undo the beauty of the source tune, but gives it an electropop twist:

Gypsy and The Cat - Jona Vark (Starsmith Remix)
by Starsmith

The remix Mp3 is free for download at Neon Gold. Follow the band on Twitter. My fave G&TC song is Sight Of A Tear. Lush.

January 24, 2011

10 Musical Thoughts on Adele's 21

How any record will top Adele's second album, I'll never know. Let's hope someone is up to the task... 21 is one of the finest albums in years. Here are ten favorite moments on ten solid songs, in no order:

Rolling In The Deep
, literally the best first single from an album in many a year, is spiked by wicked Ikette-ish backing vocals. There was a rumor, since debunked, that the voice is Roisin Murphy. This is not insane: it really does sound like Roisin, though I presume it's actually Adele. I always sing along with those bits. Handclaps (2:30ish) never hurt.

Rumour Has It, which sounds like a Paul Epworth production (those drums!), but is actually a Ryan Tedder track, is perhaps the most sophisticated thing he's ever twizzled. Like a play within a play, Rumour has a song within a song. The middle eight (2:13) is sweeping and grand. The Patsy Cline moment when her voice cracks - "people say cra-azy things" - is sublime.

Turning Tables is perhaps the song that leads into this album from Adele's debut, 19. The bridge to the chorus ("I can't keep up with your turning tables...") is instantly classic - a perfect arrangement of notes. The final moments of the song are a quiet, foreboding piece of drama.

Set Fire To The Rain sounds the most like 2011. A Fraser T Smith production (he is hot hot hot right now), it's slick but the melody is gorgeous. All of Adele's songs could be stripped bare and revealed to be more beautiful. Like the last song, I think it's the bridge to the chorus that pleases me most: (:44) "There's a side to you that I never knew, never knew..."

He Won't Go, rightfully declared the Mary J Blige Moment by, well, everybody. You know what makes this? The bass. Or is it actually a keyboard on the chorus that steps. right. up. like a bass? Musicians, what is it? I also love how the song rolls open on the middle eight.

Take It All is an Elton in the 70's homage. This is all about the voice. The pièce de résistance moment for me is at 3:16 the way she drawls out the word all on the line "just take it all with my love."

I'll Be Waiting is kind of Laura Nyro, for those old and New Yorky enough to get the reference. Laura Nyro meets... Carole King. The middle eight is sublime, but its great moment comes at 3:19, when "I left you speechlesssssss" lifts the song up onto its platform heels. And then it marches away.

One And Only passed me by the first time I played it. It's like another Elton John song, if bluesier. But then I had a cathartic pop moment when I recognized the hair-raising middle eight at 3:24, with the truest words on the album: "I know it ain't easy giving up your heart... Nobody's perfect, trust me I've learned it." The choir sends it right over into a crying scene. Me, not Adele. She holds it together. Note: this is my favorite moment on 21

Lovesong is a brilliant way to follow the previous song. Why write a love song when the definitive one exists? Adele strips it down and maintains the undercurrent of melancholy. Love isn't easy. She really emphasizes the intimacy on the repeated line "Whenever I'm alone with you." Grown up love.

Someone Like You, for me, all comes down to one stanza she repeats a few times during the song: "I hate to turn up out of the blue invited / But I couldn't stay way, I couldn't fight it / I had hoped you'd see my face / And that you'd be reminded that, for me, it isn't over." The way that she tips that last word over at 2:32 is perfect. Beauty. Sadness. The whole lot.

21 is out now in most places except the USA, where it's out Feb 22. Insanity.

January 23, 2011

Josh Groban finally makes it to MY BLOG!

God bless whoever wrote this skit... Josh Groban Sings Kanye West Tweets

Thank to
Mariela for turning me on to this!

January 21, 2011

I am a tiptop starlet! French & Saunders recite Madonna

French and Saunders read a poorly translated Hungarian interview with Madonna, allegedly re-retranslated for USA Today.

You will HOWL out loud, I promise.
Some quotable lines....
Are you a bold hussy woman that feasts on men who are tops?
I have been too busy to try the goulash that makes your country one for the record books.
I am a woman, not a test mouse
Did you know he was heaven sent right off the stick?
I am working like a canine all the way around the clock

January 19, 2011

Mixtape: Nothing comes close to the golden coast

Above, a candid photo of Madonna and Tony Ward from 1989 by Herb Ritts. Never seen this before! And check her out here, back when she was STILL older than Lady Gaga!

First great album title of 2011? Iron And Wine's Kiss Each Other Clean

So, wait. Universal and Sony did research to realize now - WOW - that releasing singles six weeks after they are sent to radio is, indeed, too late in the digital age? And then PopJustice mused on it some more.

I have to admit, I am not overwhelmed by the new work of Human League. I was one of the few to dislike the recent single Night People and the next one, Never Let Me Go is equally repetitive, this time with a layer of autounes. Another truly uninspired track called Electric Shock has leaked as well.

Have you ever read Sleevage.com? Love it. Here's an example: their take on Morrissey's Years Of Refusal. They use the word chiaroscuro, so look it up now, children.

In terms of current music, this week was all about the new Adele CD, 21. Not only is it better than her debut, it will surely be one of the best albums of 2011. Favorite songs of mune? One And Only, Rumour Has It, Turning Tables, and Someone Like You.

Hearing new Adele music makes me realize how the great Mary J Blige has not been served well by her collaborators. Send her to London! The last Mary song I really loved was Come To Me (Peace) in 2008.

Duran Duran did a good interview on Sirius XM this week with original MTV veejay Mark Goodman. Meanwhile, Duran has wisely recorded some "night versions' of some of their new tracks. t sounds like Girl Panic! is (wisely) the next single and the forthcoming CD will have 14 songs (versus the download's 10). If you are not following Simon Le Bon and John Taylor, do it! Simon, in particular, gives good tweet.

Chase & Status are releasing an album on January 31st in the UK. The samples that leap out to me are Midnight Caller with Clare Maguire and both tracks with Plan B. The Cee Lo collab is a bit rowdy.

My favorite Ricky Gervais moment in the Golden Globes: "You wanna go see Cher? No! Why not? Cuz it's not 1975"

Tidbit: The new cocknbullkid single, Hold On To Your Misery, was co-written by longtime Feist collaborator Chilly Gonzalez.

Nile Rodgers has announced he has cancer. That blog post is quite moving.

Where is the Starsmith album? Ellie Goulding is about to take on America. The US version of Lights has a new cover and adds the songs Lights, Your Song and Animal. The March issue of Instinct Mag (out around Valentines Day) will have my review - 5 stars! - of that album and the new Hercules & Love Affair.

As everyone may have heard, there has been a wildfire rumor about new Kate Bush music. It's amazing how many media sites picked up an unsubstantiated rumor. I am not saying wotyougot's source was bad, but it's legit media's responsibility to report verified facts. Anyway, my theory is that it will be a Greatest Hits, that should look something like THIS.

Best Tweet This Week: via heyitsurban.

I am on LastFm if you want to friend me. I love snooping into people's playlists

Finally, the cute-faced Bruno Mars did a beautiful cover of Katy Pussy's California Gurls this week on Radio 1... look out Cali, I will be up and down the state in June!

Prince Charming is back

Adam Ant plays the 100 Club in London on January 26 and 27. He's back in public, bless him, and doing shows all over The Old Smoke... he calls them The Good, The Mad and The Lovely. And he's on twitter. Isn't that weird? Who's next? Siouxsie?

January 17, 2011

The one where Adele makes me cry

3 tweets on a Monday night:

JEEEEBUS the middle eight on Adele's new song One And Only will make tears shoot out of your eyes. And then what does she do? She covers Lovesong by The Cure

To quote Anne Sexton, "Darling the composer has stepped into the fire. "

Double XOvision

Two new videos you may or may not have seen. Clare was on the Beeb's Sound of 2011 list, and Wolf Gang should have been.

Wolf Gang Lions In Cages

I have no idea what is happening in this video. It's a bit enigmatic. Is it just me or Wolf Gang himself (Max McElligott) a bit Kurt from Glee? I am sure he will hate that - it's just a slight similarity. His next single, the guitary (and anthemic) Dancing With The Devil, is out in February, with the album on May 30.

Clare Maguire The Last Dance

Clare Maguire's expensive-looking new video is loaded with subtle references to Michael Jackson, who inspired the song. Check out the very brief flashes of it at 0:59 and 2:50. My only complaint is the clip could use a bit more energy and movement from Clare. Toward the end she seems to be dancing, but the images are too fleeting. I think it would have been great if the final bit was her in motion. I should direct, clearly, or at least inflict my opinion on people when it actually matters. !

January 16, 2011

Stories from the city, stories from the sea

photo by Kelsey Heng

The image above is from the set of Patrick Wolf's Teenage Dreamy-looking new video, The City. The superb photos were shot by Kelsey Heng and you can see more on her site. Out March 14, The City is pure pop, a horn-laden stomper, built on the premise of true romance. Won't let this city destroy our love.

And it has a saxophone! Is the sax making a renaissance or is this another Katy Perry connection (she has a sax solo on her album too)?

Here The City now on Soundcloud

To celebrate the single, he'll do dates in the UK before the album is finally released in May...

21-Mar Dublin Sugar Club
23-Mar Glasgow Oran Mor
24-Mar Nottingham Rescue Rooms
25-Mar Birmingham Academy
26-Mar Manchester Club Academy
28-Mar Bristol Thekla
29-Mar London Koko

Read more about the new album on Patty's site.

January 13, 2011

Blame it on my wild heart

My not-secret love for Stevie Nicks will become an unbridled passion in 2011 when she releases her new album, In Your Dreams (not a Stevie worthy title, frankly) on May 3. The first single, which you can get if you pre-oder the album now, is called Secret Love. It's not entirely new, as you'll hear further down this post.

The 9-song album was produced by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, who last produced Annie Lennox's superb Songs Of Mass Destruction. Aside from Secret Love, known song titles are For What It’s Worth, Everybody Loves You, In Your Dreams, Wild Sargasso Sea, and Italian Summer, an epic ballad. Stevie has also recorded a ballad, Cheaper Than Free, for Dave Stewart's own new country rock album, The Blackbird Diaries.

To hear the complete new version of Secret Love, visit Pop In Stereo.

Secret Love demo, circa 1980:

Grab your tambourine, shawl, and some boots you can wear... [pause]... all summer long.

Xolondon's Top Ten Plus One Stevie Nicks Solo Songs (in no order)

The Wild Heart
Bella Donna
Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You
Planets Of The Universe
Edge Of Seventeen (the first Stevie track I ever loved)
Beauty And The Beast
If Anyone Falls
If I Were You
Outside The Rain
Stand Back

If you don't own Bella Donna or The Wild Heart, they are perfect albums. The latter, along with Rock A Little, is probably the poppiest of her releases.

January 11, 2011

Up in '11: Jamie Woon

Despite all the hullabaloo surrounding the BBC's Sound of 2011, with particular attention paid to Clare Maguire and James Blake, there is a more subtle artist on the shortlist who has gone relatively unnoticed. When I watch Jamie Woon's new video, Night Air, I think


Wow, that film is a wonder - Majiker calls it "grasshopper porn," but we might also say insect erotica. And the music... it's in no hurry, it's sensual. I love when the choral effect comes in during the second verse. Then the song sort of unravels and takes twists, but the choir remains. Jamie's soulful voice is at the heart of this.

Woon, who is 27 and from England, has his own record label. Of his music, he says,
At the heart of what I do is R&B, it's groove-based vocal-led music, and I try to sing about things that are close to my heart and that matter to me.
Jamie's album, Mirrorwriting, is due on April 4 in the UK. Another great track, Spiral, can be streamed at Soulbounce and you can download a free song, Blue Truth, here.

Thank you Majiker!

January 10, 2011

Kylie Plays America. SOON.

Aphrodite – Live 2011 North American Tour Dates

This is sort of like The Pope coming or something. Not that I am into The Pope.
He's no showgirl.

April 28 Montreal Bell Centre
April 29 Boston Agganis Arena at Boston University
April 30 Washington DC GMU Patriot Center
May 2 NYC Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom
May 3 NYC Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom
May 6 Atlanta Fox Theatre
May 7 Fort Lauderdale BankAtlantic Center
May 8 Orlando Hard Rock Live Orlando
May 10 Houston Verizon Wireless Theatre
May 12 Mexico City Sports Palace
May 14 Guadalajara Auditorio Telmex
May 16 Monterrey, Mexico Arena
May 18 Dallas Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
May 20 Los Angeles Hollywood Bowl
May 21 San Francisco Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
May 22 Las Vegas Colosseum at Caesars Palace

Who is going?
Kylie Minogue Tour US

January 9, 2011

Long Live Frankmusik

Frankmusik is giving it away. And he's also sharing a FREE EP! Go to http://freefrankmusik.com/ to download the four tracks as a zipped file.

Hurt You Again
Our Discovery (Tribute to Daft Punk)
Hate Your Love (feat. Digiraatii)

At least the first two tracks are expected on his new CD, Do It In The AM, which is out this spring. My favorite of these four is, by far, the piano ballad Warrior, which reminds me of how rich his voice is. While I don't love the album's teaser single, The Fear Inside, I highly recommend his collaboration with The Far East Movement, called Fighting For Air.

January 7, 2011

Marina's medicine

Marina Diamandis gave an interview this week in which she was quite blunt in her assessment of 2010:
I feel more like a failure than a success," she said. "I haven’t done anything I want to do. For someone who wants to be one of the best artists of her generation, I've done fuck all.
She goes on to say, "The (American) label haven't really promoted me at all." To be honest, I am not sure how Marina ever would have succeeded in the US. While everything about her screams POP STAR to me, I think she'd best focus on developing a cult following here. For myself, I guess I wanted an album that had the depth and richness of Obsessions, rather than the abundance of up-tempos that filled the record. The US label inexplicably took Rootless, one of the more subtle songs, off the American pressing of the CD.

The lesson here is that it's out of everyone's control. Simple as that. You cannot really control what connects with the audience. It is very, very hard to make a star. Marina is entitled to feel upset, of course. She was touted as a huge upcoming talent and the sales did not match the dream. She has confidence in spades, so it's hard to hear talk in terms of failure. What she needs to remember - and usually she does - is that it's people that matter. People who love what she does and are inspired by it...

The PS22 Chorus doing Marina & The Diamonds I Am Not A Robot

I love how this version highlights the message of the lyrics:

It's okay to say you've got a weak spot
You don't always have to be on top
Better to be hated
Than loved, loved, loved for what you're not

Wise words. Note that Marina also gave a clue this week as to her next album's themes: "I
t's an abrasive pop record," she said, "about feminism and sex."

Also check out what Revolutions has to say about this topic...

January 4, 2011

Favorites 2010: THE LIST

Goodnight 2010...

Adele Rolling In The Deep

Christina Aguilera You Lost Me, I Am, All I Need
Badly Drawn Boy I Saw You Walk Away, This Electric
Bang Bang Club Under The Influence
Sara Bareilles Basket Case, Bluebird, Breathe Again
Bat For Lashes (with Beck) Let’s Get Lost
Bim Head Over Heels, Raindrops, The Magic Of Us
The Bird And The Bee Heard It On The Radio
James Blake Limit To Your Love
Boyzone Love Is A Hurricane
Toni Braxton If I Have To Wait, Hands Tied
Bright Light Bright Light Love Part II, Cry At Films
BT Every Other Way
Cherry Ghost We Sleep On Stones
Tony Christie Nobody In The World
Gabriella Cilmi Hearts Don’t Lie, On A Mission, Love Me Cos You Want To
Cocknbullkid One Eye Closed
Cheryl Cole Promise This
The Courteneers You Overdid It Doll
Crowded House Twice If You’re Lucky
Cut Copy Take Me Over
Justin Currie The Way That It Falls
Fyfe Dangerfield High On The Tide, Faster Than The Setting Sun, Barricades, Firebird, Don't Be Shy
Delays Unsung, Moment’s Gone, Lakes Can Be Lethal, Hold Fire
Delphic Remain
The Divine Comedy I Like
Donkeyboy Ambitions
Rose Ellinor Dougall Find Me Out
Dragonette Our Summer of Sex, Volcano, Get Your Titties Off My Things
Ed Drewett Champagne Lemonade, Parallels, Vital Signs, Keep Me in Mind, Better Days
Duran Duran Girl Panic!, Leave A Light On, Being Followed, Safe
Echoes Footprints, It Goes On
Sophie Ellis Bextor Not Giving Up On Love (long version)
Karen Elson The Ghost Who Walks
Erland and the Carnival My Name Is Carnival
Far East Movement (with Frankmusik) Fighting For Air
Fear Of Tigers I Can Make The Pain Disappear
Sky Ferreira One, Stand Back
Bryan Ferry Me Oh My
Fitz & The Tantrums Moneygrabber
William Fitzsimmons So This Is Goodbye
Florence And The Machine Heavy In Your Arms
Florrie Give Me Your Love, Call 911 (Fred Falke Mix)
Brandon Flowers Crossfire, Welcome To Beautiful Las Vegas
Ben Folds / Nick Hornby From Above, Picture Window, Belinda
Alex Gardner I'm Not Mad, There Goes My Heart, Heartbreak
Melody Gardot Our Love Is Easy, Undercover, Deep Within The Corners Of Your Mind, The Rain
Goldfrapp Rocket, Alive Again, Dreaming, Hunt, Head First, We Radiate
The Good Natured Your Body Is A Machine
Ellie Goulding Human, Animal, This Love (Will Be Your Downfall), Lights, The Writer, Starry Eyed (Russ Chimes Mix), Under The Sheets (Bright Light Bright Light Mix), Guns and Horses (Tonka Mix)
Graffiti 6 Only You, Lay Me Down
John Grant TC And Honeybear
Cee Lo Green Fuck You, I Want You, Cry Baby, Bright Lights Big City, Wildflower
The Green Children Hear Me Now
Gypsy And The Cat Jona Vark, Sight Of A Tear, Time To Wander, Gilgamesh
Ed Harcourt Lustre, As I Say Not As I Do, Haywired
Darren Hayes Not Even Close
Keri Hilson Pretty Girl Rock
Hole Nobody’s Daughter, Pacific Coast Highway
Hoosiers Who Said Anything About Falling In Love?, Choices
Hundred In The Hands Young Aren’t Young, Commotion, Pigeons
Hurts Wonderful Life, Unspoken, The Water, Happiness, Sunday, Confide In Me, All I Want For Christmas Is New Years Day
I Blame Coco Caesar, The Constant, In Spirit Golden
Jamie T Emily’s Heart
Janet Jackson Nothing
Brendan James The Fall
Jonsi Boy Lillikoi, Tornado, Around Us, New Piano Song (live)
Keane Your Love, Looking Back
Kele Yesterdays’ Gone
Kelis Brave, Song For The Baby, Home, Acapella (Raw Man Mix), Spaceship (with Benny Bennasi)
Ke$ha Cannibal
Pete Lawrie All That We Keep
Loner Farewell My Friend
Lucky Soul White Russian Doll, Warm Water
Madonna Broken (I’m Sorry)
Clare Maguire You’re Electric
Marina And The Diamonds Hollywood, Shampain, Rootless, I Am Not A Robot (Clock Opera Mix)
Laura Marling Devil’s Spoke, Rambling Man, Goodbye England (Covered In Snow), Alpha Shallows
Steve Mason I Let Her In, Am I Just A Man
Joe McElderry Ambitions
Katharine McPhee Surrender
Medina You And I (Deadmau5 Mix)
Mini Viva One Touch
Kylie Minogue Aphrodite, Get Outta My Way, Put Your Hands Up, Too Much, Everything Is Beautiful, Can’t Beat The Feeling
Janelle Monae Cold War, BeBopBye Ya, Say You’ll Go
Monarchy We Were Young, Maybe I’m Crazy
Roisin Murphy Momma's Place, Momma's Place (Microfilm Mix)
The National Lemonhead
One Night Only Say You Don’t Want It
Passenger River (feat Lior)
Penguin Prison The Worse It Gets, The Worse It Gets (Starsmith Mix), Something I’m Not, Golden Train, Golden Train (Royal Palms Mix), Fair Warning, Multi Millionaire
Katy Perry California Gurls, Teenage Dream, Hummingbird Heartbeat
The Pipettes Stop The Music, I Need A Little Time, I Always Planned To Stay, Thank You
Pink Raise Your Glass, Fuckin’ Perfect
Plan B Love Goes Down, The Recluse, I Know A Song
Ra Ra Riot Too Dramatic, The Orchard
Rihanna What’s My Name?, Man Down, Fading
Robyn Dancing On My Own, Hang With Me, Indestructible (string version), In My Eyes, Call Your Girlfriend, U Should Know Better
Mark Ronson with Boy George Somebody To Love Me
Kelly Rowland Commander
Rumer Long Long Day
Sade Soldier Of Love, The Moon And The Sky, In Another Time, The Safest Place
Samuel Champagne Kisses, Still Here
Scissor Sisters Invisible Light, Fire With Fire, Any Which Way, Harder You Get, Sex And Violence
Seal Secret
Sia Clap Your Hands, Cloud, I’m In Here, My Love, The Co-Dependent
Stars Fixed, Dead Hearts, We Don’t Want Your Body, Wasted Daylight
Stornaway Fuel Up
Tove Styrke Four Elements, Chaos
Linda Sundblad Serotonin
Take That Kidz, Happy Now, Flowerbed, Eight Letters
Greg Thomas Vested
Tracey Thorn Kentish Town, ,Why Does The Wind, Hormones, Swimming, Sister Winter
Two Door Cinema
Club Eat Up, It’s Good For You
Bailey Tzuke Strong
Judie Tzuke If (When You Go), Leaning
Diana Vickers My Hip
Laura Viers July Flame
Rufus Wainwright Zebulon
We Have Band Honey Trap
Robbie Williams Heart And I, The Long Walk Home
Wolf Gang Lions In Cages
Yeasayer O.N.E.