London popstrel Florrie is back with a new single called Begging Me. Like her last few, this was done with Xenomania (and Fred Falke). It has the lush midtempo sound of my favorite Xenomania classics like Girls Aloud'sCall The Shotsand The Loving Kind,and Pet Shop Boys' wistful The Way It Used To Be(nsfw). I like 'em a little mournful and emotionally on edge.
That Florrie is a part of the Xenomania family is notable. After years of pop domination, it appeared that the "empire" was tumbling. This music has all the hallmarks of what made Xeno quality stuff or, at the very least, worth a listen.
Florrie, who knows her way around a red lipstick tube, has even done a video...
And that brilliant moment – a reference to her classic Black Box Recorder track, Andrew Ridgeley– markedSarah Nixey's debut on Twitterlast week. Why now? Sarah is about to release her second solo album, Brave Tin Soldiers, on May 9.This record is different to anything she has produced before. While Sing. Memory, her debut, was lush and contemplative, Brave Tin Soldiers offers a different take on that. It is organic, not electronic, and softer, quieter. This should be not be translated as stripped down or folkie; many of the songs are full bodied, immaculately arranged. The album's showstopper is one of her finest songs to date, The Burial Of Love. Sarah calls it "the saddest song I've ever written. It's all cry your heart out lyrics and strings."
More on the album soon. Here now is a slinky, retro remix of the first single, Brave Tin Soldier, this one called Brave Tin Lovers. You can download it now.
I was introduced to this newLucie Silvassong by another brilliant songwriter, Judie Tzuke (read this).If Lucie's name seems familiar, it's because she's written a lot of songs for other British artists, most notably the heartbreakingWho Am Iby Will Young.
Roots begins like an old spiritual, or perhaps a Paul Simon/Graceland moment, but the choir drops to a simple guitar and one voice singing about letting go (or not). She carries the roots theme throughout... "I could pull them up, but they're all that's left. And I'm not ready to lose you yet."A sad, sad song.
This is the kind of music I loved so much in the 90's, when we had folk/pop artists like Shawn Colvin topping the charts. Can you imagine that now? Roots gradually builds into a big, emotional mid-tempo and, like all great songs, the middle eight is beautiful. You can and should download Roots, which isfree for a short time. Do it.
I Wanna Be Your Scooter Scooters In The Temple I Would Scoot 4 U Little Red Scooter Scooter Control Nothing Compares 2 Scoot The Most Beautiful Scooter In The World Scooters Can Be So Nice Gett Off (My Scooter) Why You Wanna Scoot Me So Bad
and the best...
Sex Scooter Thanks to Keith Caulfield and Sean Hannan. What did we forget?
Florence And The Machine are working on their second album in London. Thank God. She is my favorite pop star/musician right now. In the video below, you see Flo and (the bodacious!) Isabella Summers, her songwriting collaborator, in their writing space.
Florence is looking great, isn't she? Killer outfit.
That's the cover of CocknBullKid'sMay 23rd debut album, Adulthood. A few weeks back, I wrote about how her new single, Asthma Attack, is the best yet (could it be the "London, I love you" chorus?). There's a level of calm and restraint in CocknBullKid's work that I really admire right now... not every artist needs to be creating overly dense tunes layered in pretension. This is like "Obamapop" and Anita Blay is the cool emissary.
Here is a FREE, legit MP3 of the excellent Wawa Mix, which gives the song some extra bounce but doesn't kill the melody or emotion of the original. Download it now...
It is not enough that a Spence girl posed for the photo above? It is not enough to constantly wear ugly gladiator shoes? It is not enough that... Lady Macbeth!... married genial, scrawny Brit Chris Martin? It is not enough that she now appears to be cheating on him with Matthew Morrison? It is not enough that she thinks she is an expert on hiphop and rap? It is not enough that she tried to steal a performance from Cee Lo and The Muppets? It is not enough that she dared to sing Landslide on Glee? It is not enough that next week she will destroy Adele's Turning Tables?
Now this skinny white bitch has CROSSED THE LINE. Gwynth Paltrow has covered* Kate Bush's classic This Woman's Work.
Thirteen years into his multi-faceted career, 37-year-oldRufus Wainwright will take the curious step (on July 18) of releasing a 19 - yes, NINETEEN! - disc boxed set called House of Rufus. I'm honestly not sure I understand this move. No doubt fans will want it, but it's unclear at this stage how much of the material will be unheard to hardcore Rufus followers.
Insanely talented, wicked funny, maddeningly self-absorbed and one of the best lyricist of modern pop, Rufus always challenges his audience with a twist. I just did not expect him to look back so soon. He is trying to raise funding to make a documentary about his late mom, the folk singer Kate McGarrigal, so that may be the impetus for this project.
The box, likely to cost about 250 US dollars, will contain:
4 additional CDs:Disc 1 features previously unreleased songs and rarities. Disc 2 contains many of the songs Rufus has recorded for soundtracks including, "Hallelujah" from the film Shrek. Disc 3 is drawn from Rufus' collaborations with friends and family members such as Leonard Cohen, Teddy Thompson, Loudon Wainwright III, Martha Wainwright, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, The Pet Shop Boys, and Burt Bacharach. Disc 4 is made up of the demos from the tape which secured Rufus his first record deal.
6 DVDs:Live at Fillmore, Rufus Does Judy at the London Palladium, Milwaukee at Last!!!, Release The Stars album commentary and live performance and two feature length documentaries, All I Want and Prima Donna: The Making of An Opera.
All the discs will be packaged in a beautiful red velvet encased, 90-page hardback book containing rare and unseen photos, Rufus' early hand-drawn tour posters, handwritten lyrics, four art prints and other memorabilia, extensive sleeve notes featuring interviews with Neil Tennant, Martha Wainwright, Linda Thompson and Lenny Waronker and an introduction by Rufus.
Xolondon's Top Ten Plus One Rufus Wainwright Songs
I Don't Know What It Is my favorite The Tower Of Learning Poses Grey Gardens Waiting For A Dream This Love Affair Pretty Things Dinner At Eight 11:11 Between My Legs He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother* *that last one is a cover that will likely be on the boxed set. It was the song I played constantly during the 9/11 period. Not sure if it would be clear to anyone, but I was right in the middle of that drama. ________________________________________________
Here is the second of three new recordings from Sade's new hits album. This one, Love Is Found, has a trick introduction before it becomes a martial hiphop track, like a cheap cousin of Soldier Of Love. Not my favorite.
I've spent years looking for the next Neneh Cherry. A fool's game. Katy B is not Neneh, who was far more buffalo zeitgeisty, but she shares Cherry's ability to create effortless urban dance drama. There is nothing too too about On A Mission. Katy's edgy, but she's also not afraid to pop, as she does on the Deee-Lite-esque (minus the kitsch) throwdown Power On Me. Likewise, new single Broken Record (watch the video) is massive. Throughout the album, the vocals, from an 21-year-old redheaded white girl are astonishing. Soul divas are on notice.
Jamie Woon Mirrorwriting
Another of theBBC's Sound of 2011, it's hard not to hold Woon in contrast to moody boy-hipster James Blake. The latter's debut album was a serious case of the emperor's new clothes: A red herring single (Limit To Your Love) written by a superior artist, a series of ambient loops with single phrases for lyrics and only one lasting masterpiece, Wilhelm Scream. But this is about Woon, whomassages dubstep to beautiful melodies and soul vocals. Standouts include the Night Air (watch the video) and the emotional Spiral, with its finger-snap beat, is vocally reminiscent of long lost master Terence Trent D'Arby. The percolating loop on Shoulda counters the regret of its lyric ("I walked when I shoulda run...") with a measure of hope - it's my favorite song. Street is emblematic of this album's mix of steely elegance (those synth stabs on the chorus!) and the choirboy lushness of Woon's voice gliding over these night beats.
Duran Duran All You Need Is Now*
Is it wrong to start a Duran Duran review by lingering on the blazing foxiness of bassist John Taylor? No. Especially when their 13th album is the best music they’ve recorded in 17 years. Girl Panic!is emblematic of essential Duran: tribal percussion, a fizzy rhythm section and synth lines as exhilarating as anything on their classic, Rio. This Mark Ronson-produced album is drenched in fine details: Kelis supplies guest vocals on the silvery The Man Who Stole A Leopard (an offspring of The Chauffeur), Safe revives the cowbell and Simon Le Bon’s operatic la-la-la closes Being Followed. Of the new tracks added to the CD version, Too Bad You're So Beautiful is the gem, reminiscent again of the champagne drenched Rio. Whether you “heart” John Taylor or not, Duran Duran are not 80’s relics. All You Need Is Now is a lush return to form for a still-relevant pop group.
*An alternate version of this review appeared in the Feb 2011 issue of Instinct.
I did not think this was possible, so one would assume Courtney Love is getting her shit together. Maybe. That's the imperial incarnation of Hole, above, reunited last week in New York for the Hit So Hardpremier. Eric Erlandson (who looks great), Patty Schemel (the film is the story of her life), Courtney and Melissa Auf der Maur. Spin covered the event late last week, where there was some tension, but peace was maintained.
Amazing. This brings back many memories of when Hole was golden.
Here is a clip of the post-screening Q&A:
and Love, working her current British Lady style...
Remember Blackroom? Back in the early days of this blog I fell in love with Norwegian act Lorraine, who eventually morphed into Blackroom - or was it Black Room then? - and released a great debut album called Pop Noir. I even interviewed them at the time. That album title was fitting, with strongly melodic tunes from both the light and dark sides of pop. It has mysteriously disappeared from iTunes US, but is worth seeking out.
Since that time, they've been recording and What Is That You Want is the first result. Not too much has changed, fortunately, especially their calling card, lead singer Ole's rich voice.
Can you guess why I think CocknBullKid's swirling new single, Asthma Attack, is her best yet? Hmmm?
I love CocknBullKid's demeanor, which is totally chilled. In an age of popstrels pounding us over the head with their team-created personas, Anita never tries too hard. She presents - or appears to anyway - who she really is. And her outfit in this clip rocks.
If you dig the video, which was shot in Broadway Market, here is a behind the scenes "featurette." CocknBullKid's debut album, Adult Education, is out on May 23. The single is on iTunes UK NOW.