July 31, 2006

Discovering... Captain

Apparently British groups really do pose falling out of red phone booths. A week ago they didn't exist and now, ta-dah, there is Captain, a new five-piece band. First "tipped" by Paul, Torr and Kulpop (hey, I am a happy sheep these days), Captain's brilliant 5-starr debut album is called This is Hazelville. Out 8/14, it was produced by the esteemed Trevor Horn, in the afterglow of his Pet Shop Boys success (and, before that, a sparkly Belle And Sebastian CD). That Horn took this unknown group on borad - see what I did there!? - should tell you something about the quality of the songwriting.

Formed in Cambridge just over a year ago, Captain is highly melodic British pop, with layers of instrumentation (similar to the sound used on the title track of Camera Obscura's 2006 album) and energetic vocal harmonies. They've been compared to Prefab Sprout, but there is a large dose of Deacon Blue - if louder - and even some XTC vocalisms in the lead singer. I'd describe the whole sound as orchestrated rather than played.

There's a great history of British groups with male lead singers backed by a chiming female voice, in this case songwriter Rik Flynn volleying with Clare Szembek. Think of the aforementioned Prefab and Deacon, along with The Beautiful South and current groups like Stars and The Modern.

Their 11-track album is preceded by a new single, out this week, called "Glorious" and it is. It's backed by an amazing track called "Spring Park Hotel" (link below) because Captain are one of those prolific bands like Keane that throw away brilliant tracks on b-sides.

In the meantime, you can watch previous single "Broke" below (note their very 80's troubadour look!). That track has the classic Trevor Horn trick of saving most of its goodies for the final minute -it really explodes at 2:17, just after the bridge.

Download "Broke" MP3 and "Spring Park Hotel" MP3 expired

Hear additional tracks, including Glorious on their myspace

July 29, 2006

Hold onto your kite

A chance to hear and see some of the artists/songs I have promoted on this blog in the past 8 months...

The Divine Comedy "To Die A Virgin"on Jools Holland, 2006

Lily Allen "Smile" T4 Pop Beach, 2006

The Kooks "Naive" T In The Park, 2006

Razorlight "In The Morning" Top Of The Pops, 2006

The Pipettes "Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me" Album Chart Show, 2006
After 15 ass-clenching minutes -thwarted by a serious Explorer fuckup - I finally got okay seats (well, I am forever a last row whore) to Pet Shop Boys, a visitation I consider close to the Second Coming. Thank you Firefox for saving my life. On October 15, DC will be Ground Zero for all things poptastic.

Bring. it. NOW. Ta-dah!

I bumped this up and put Ta-dah in the title field because youjustknow it will lure in more people!

Bertine Zetlitz primer

Bertine's music is hard for Los Americanos to get. Owning the CDs requires jumping through hoops of fire with large wads of cash. Her webpages are not in English, so that's tricky and she is a bit ghostly on blogs/"f" networks. You really have to desire Bertine to find her. Here are some videos and songs from this 31 year old Oslo girl...

Video: Girl Like You

From 2003's Sweet Injections. Notice visual elements of Madonna's Sorry and PSB's Minimal in this video done by Bertine 3 years ago. Umm-hmmm. Probably her best song, though not her best video.

Song: Girl Like You exp
From 2003's Sweet Injections. Recorded in London, the music is more ambient and ethereal than her recent work. The legendary [cough! hack!] Richard X produced this tune, which sounds like Enya doing electropop.

Video: Ah Ah

A short slice of ice, this 2005 video is Madonna-quality, at least when The Lady didn't do "party" videos. It's beautiful to look at and the snow bits remind me of Salmonberries. Not sure who the black guy is, but he adds a nice visual element. Notable as Jessica at Dirrrtypop's fave Bertine song. Jessica is also a longtime Bertine fan and a friend to all blonds from snowy places.

Song: Wicked Wonderboys exp
Rollerskating was a more staccato, funk-inspired affair. Produced by Fred Ball in a studio on Portbello Rd. it seems to be most people's favorite, though I am not so sure about it. This song is a bit more subdued than most of the CD.

Video: Fake Your Beauty

You can't help but think of Björk when you see this woods/nymph video. Bertine looks great in the black dress at the end. Also from Rollerskating.

Song: Beautiful So Far exp
Pretty midtempo title track from her 2000 album. Ambient and lush, as I say everything is. "I want the tigers to ignore you and then follow me" It should be noted that this more organic album was produced by Tore Johansson of The Cardigans.

Before you go do something more mundane, you should read Brittle's 2004 Annie vs. Bertine throwdown. Guess who won? Extra points to Brittle for noting the use of the conditional tense on one of B's songs and for this sentence: here Bertine completely makes the baby Jesus cry. Brilliant! I want to print out all his blogs and publish them as a book on pop music (hint hint).

July 28, 2006

As promised...

Bertine Zetlitz. The amazing new single and video,"500"

"You know I have been sweet on you forever, that's why I have been stealing all your stuff" MP3

I know darklings, I am late to this party. Thanks to Tremble Clef (who has championed Bertine since, like, the birth of blogs) and Homo Eclectic (also tuned in early). Watch this space for more Bertine videos and MP3s this weekend. I am stormin' toward the zeitgeist!

Love me, love me, love me, say you do...

A MUST: Said The Gramophone has a post about the song "Wild Is The Wind" - both Nina Simone and David Bowie have done amazing versions of this song - loved 'em both for years. The MP3s are there and I urge you to download them and live with them a bit. They're very different but equally moving. Be sure to read some of the comments...

Champers and nibbly bits.

George Michael gets angry on the Beeb and plans to sue everybody in his path...Pitchfork (typically) slams the new Razorlight, which I love (though they hated the first CD too)...Time Magazine critics ponder Madonna's relevance in 2006 (and end up feeling okay with her)...Cokemachineglow does nice reviews of Lily Allen and The Pipettes...Streisand becomes an old lady - it had to happen eventually...IntoTheGroove posts the new Robyn / Basement Jaxx collab called "Hey You"...Perez Hilton gets wry on the tiresome subject of Lance Bass...xtuna looks decent for the first time in years...REM's new IRS best-of has a good tracklist, due 9/11/06...I am a bit meh on The Killers new album cover, posted at Chart Rigger, while MTV reviews the CD and calls it grandiose...Kofi's Hat has the new Edie Brickell track. Time stands still for Mrs. Paul Simon, but the track is not bad!...I agree that Midlake's easy-yet-dark new song "Roscoe" sounds like an outtake from Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. Just listen to the opening guitar line. This band is the Parker Posey of music blogs and Yellow Stereo has some more tracks...I have a treat for you pop whores tomorrow - my newest obsession whose new single is one of this year's pop masterpieces. Hints: she is very very blond and foreign... Brittle Lemon can probably guess who she is.

July 25, 2006

Tremble Clef has done it again.
He adds another post to his canon of brilliant writing. In the excitement /anxiety of my trip to Boulder, I failed to mention that I had the opportunity to lunch with Mr. Tremble Clef / Brittle Lemon and we had a very nice time. It's sadly rare to find a kindred music-obsessed person. One that you know would happily separate from you upon entering Virgin Megastore and agree to meet 2 hours later for a quick check-in. Lucky for me, Mr. Tremble Clef (who lives on the other side of the, like, planet!) comes to DC every so often, so I am eager to meet up again and give him a more decent amount of my attention. If you don't read his
blog, do, it really is like no other!

Lost classics: Lamya, the "Lone Bohemian"

I've decided to do some posts about some records I liked that tanked in a major way, but are still worthy of your time and precious dinero... to repeat a phrase I've uttered oh-so-much in my lifetime, watch out, this is a long one...

The first is the sad case of hippie chick diva Lamya. I first became aware of the African chantuese, raised in Sheffield, when she sang backup for Duran Duran on their excellent 1994 Unplugged. She caught my ear when she did a mindmelting solo on the beautiful ballad Come Undone. I never forgot her and hunted high and low for that song for years.

In July of 2002, she suddenly reappeared as a solo artist (or maybe solo will o'the wisp?) with some very big money behind her thanks to Clive Davis and his newly formed J Records. Her debut album, Learning From Falling, was produced by no less than Nellee Hooper (famous for his work with Bjork and Massive Attack), Mark Ronson, and David Kahne, among others. Clive even hired Jean Baptiste Mondino to shoot her album cover (see pics on this post). Though imperfect, Learning should have sold much more than it did and quickly careened into cutout bins.

Among the highlights were opener Empires, a sonic boom of a song with nutty lyrics about wanting "men to match my mountains." Tittyfuck ode or metaphorical delight? Doesn't matter, because you gotta love a song that has such awesome rolling timpani. Never Enough is a great fuck-you pop/rock track with a cutting lyric about living with an addict: "Well, that's my life / That you're throwing / Down the back of your throat / Hey, and those are my dreams / Heading for an overdose."

The record was incredibly polished for a first album, as if she had been planning it her whole life. Black Mona Lisa is my favorite: a granola-feminista anthem, especially in its remixed form at the end of the CD. Referencing the Nat King Cole classic in the chorus, there was a bit that leapt out at me each time I listened: "I used to be a connoisseur / Of hate, self hate, paternal hate." Diva's been in therapy! I love it when she sings,
"I am an island / A little freak of melancholy."

Never's Such a Long Time is a beautiful midtempo with a lyric that appears to be sung to suddenly dead rock star she was fucking. Hmmm. You know these background girls. Who was it!? I love the geeky lyric: "Why didn't I just call one day / To just to say / Hey, I think you're such a legend?" Yeah, why not Lamya? She even had the cajones to cover Nick Drake's Pink Moon without slaughtering it.

Buy this CD cheap from Amazon. You have nothing to lose! There's something slightly kitschy about this record, but she really is quite accomplished - I wish she'd do more music. If you run into sweet Lamya on the streets of London, give her a kiss for me.

thanks to Paul Soychak for the Duran WMA file!

1985: I feel I've been had and I'm boiling mad

Alison Moyet "Invisible"

MP3 One of my favorite songs from the 80's from her perfect pop album Alf. Do all you trolls own this? If not, get it now! Note that Alison is still around and still great. Watch a cute bit on Graham Norton and a recent TV appearance singing an oldie...

July 24, 2006


Full details are out on the forthcoming Depeche Mode DVD/CD set called Touring The Angel: Live in Milan. It's due out September 25th. Watch a trailer now.

DVD: A Pain That I'm Used To / John The Revelator / A Question of Time / Policy of Truth / Precious / Walking In My Shoes / Suffer Well / Macro / Home / I Want It All / The Sinner In Me / I Feel You / Behind The Wheel / World In My Eyes/ Personal Jesus / Enjoy The Silence / Shake The Disease / Just Can't Get Enough / Everything Counts / Never Let Me Down Again / Goodnight Lovers / A Question of Lust / Damaged People

CD: A Pain That I'm Used To / John The Revelator / Precious / Suffer Well/ Macro/ I Want It All / The Sinner In Me / Damaged People

Watch this rip from the DVD... Precious

News courtesy of press release at DepecheMode.com

July 23, 2006

Patrick Wolf release news!!

Patrick Wolf (in a new picure at left) will release his latest single "Accident And Emergency" - the first from The Magic Position album - on Oct. 9th. Now you can go back to sleep...

He, She or It?

So I finally found the Popjustice reference to me and it's sort of strange!

:: Blog Of The Week

We've not spoken about Lorraine much in a good long while. We've left it to others to pick up that particular baton.

Such as this 'person'.

Thankfully, they are making a very good job of it, and like a lot more than just Lorraine. (Phew, et-cetera.)


Well yes, thanks, I am actually a 'person'! You don't even need quotes around that one...but thanks for the shout-out nonetheless. I also noticed I have a -6 in my "rating"!!

XO's Neopolitan Sundae Mix

This is the short summer mix I've been playing on my iPod. My "cover star" above is Willam Belli, androgyne minx extraordinaire (and actor). Some of you trolls know him as dick-cut-off-Cherry on Nip/Tuck. Read his not-for-children-or-Republicans blog...it's pretty fucking funny.

"The Songs That We Sing" MP3 / Charlotte Gainsbourg:
Produced by Nigel Godrich and Air. There is nobody cooler than Charlotte. Have I told you that before? She's perfected the French chanteuse vocal on this song, which has a nice circular string thing happening. Can't wait for the CD, out in late August.

"When You Were Young" stream it / Killers:
"We're burning down the highway skyline / On the back of a hurricane that started turning / When you were young." Keane dropped the ball on their important follow-up single and Killers pick it right back up. Bruce-isms abound, especially on the quiet middle eight (1:55). Note that you can find Mp3s of this via Hype Machine.

"Till The Wheels Fall Off" MP3 / Kelis:
Classic Kelis (see her naked!) mixes r'n'b, pop and rock music. This track is more groove than song, but I dig it. From her upcoming Kelis Was Here. The name is pronounced Keh-lease, pronunciation trolls.

"The Stars Are Blind (Tracy Does Paris Mixhow)" MP3 / Paris Hilton:
The (busted) cherry on my sundae. I know what you're thinking, but this shimmery remix is perfect for July. It's air conditioned music.

"Caught Up In You" MP3 / .38 Special:
Southern fried rock from my Georgia youth. Tacky as fuck and really quite goooood!

July 22, 2006

Catching up with George: A night in the gay garden

An easier affair indeed. According to the oh-so-reputable News Of The World George Michael has been up to his old tricks (literally if you read the report) in Hampstead Heath! Cruising at night!

Love their first paragraph:

News of the World investigators caught the singer red-handed and red-faced as he emerged from the bushes (above) after cavorting with a pot-bellied, 58-year-old, jobless van driver (below).

But wait! There is so much more! Here are more choice excerpts…

…he ignored all the risks and dangers to pull seedy Norman Kirtland. The pair kissed and groped each other before going even further.

…his new buddy Kirtland crept from the undergrowth looking sheepish and rushed to his Ford Transit van. As he opened the door a grubby, stained mattress was clearly visible in the back.

…Looking gross and dishevelled, Kirtland answered the door naked — pulling on grimy shorts as he invited us in…Kirtland's dingy place just off Brighton seafront, was littered with rubbish, dirty crockery and filthy laundry. His only companion is a 20-year-old cat.

…”He looked kind of brown so I said to him, ‘You're not totally English, are you?'

…"He did it very well. That was one of his major points. Then it was fondling and mutual pleasuring. It wasn't full sex but it was fantastic."

…When confronted by our team, a shaken George desperately tried to justify his sordid secret quest for cheap, risky thrills…In a sweat, the ashen-faced singer declared: "Are you gay? No? Then f*** off! This is my culture!"

I actually feel sorry for George. He is clearly 1) not the happiest bean in the pod and 2) just not cut out for fame anymore. This whole story is likely bullshit, but people will want to believe it because it's so kooky. And losers like me will repeat it! Poor Whore-hay.

Meet Paolo Nutini

Paul turned me onto Paolo Nutini, the lippy 19 yr. old pictured above. Actually he is lips, emo hair and old voice.

When I heard the single, the Carole-King-meets-Van Morrison-esque "Last Request" (watch him on TOTP), I dismissed him as a corporate clone in the wake of James Blunt, who does not thrill me at all. My first reaction may very well be true, but Paul guided me to the title track of Nutini's debut album These Streets and all was well. I mean, it even namechecks streets - a surefire way for me to like a song.

After some investigation, I decided that Paolo's quite good. Don't be fooled by the name: he is from Paisley, Scotland. The sound is soul troubadour. Articles and reviews cite influences from the cliched (Ray Charles) to the worthy (David Gray) to the inspired (John Martyn). He's been the only opener for several Stones shows at 19 (see pic below)! I hope he survives it - Lily Allen seems to be melting down in public and she is older.

For my upload, I chose this burnished track...well, all of them are burnished...

Paolo Nutini "White Lies"

Paolo links:
mypsace page / Guardian live show review / indieLondon album review / Gigwise album review

A few readers who might like him:
Joanna and The Wyckoff Correspondent, in particular.

Moz in Barcelonely

Morrissey has written a
nice letter on his fansite. Here are a few choice excerpts...

I wanted to thank everyone who had turned up - or turned out - for the Ringleader tour; very appreciated by all of us... I'm sorry the sound wasn't quite anchored for the first London Palladium or the first Dublin Olympia. I am only a spout.

...Thanks to everyone who bought Ringleader of the Tormentors; I'm sorry it remains classically ignored by radio, not to mention those delightful awards events...it has the demeanor of distinction and pleases me more than anything else I've done. It's the Scottish terrier I'll never have.

...I'm sorry that the press is frozen in time; open at the bottom but jammed at the top. It is an eternal conundrum. God forbid the world ever moves on!...It's annoying how each interview bounds its way into print emerging as, in fact, a Smiths piece. I wish this wasn't so, but there it is. It's doubly annoying because, if the Smiths reformed tomorrow, the loudest yawn would come from the press.

...I thought it was very lazy of Warners not to commemorate the 20th year of The Queen Is Dead without a special edition CD - or boxed CD, or tea towel - or something! We can only assume that those highly paid and magnetically talented people at Warners are far too busy rolling their own tampons to allow art and creativity to take them away from their work. As always for the Smiths, another poignant moment wasted.

...I have heard that the CDs Viva Hate, Kill Uncle, Your Arsenal and Vauxhall and I are to be re-presented/re-mastered/re-whatevered. I have no involvement with this project, and whatever I learn about it is via the delightful gossip chain.

...When Warners in London sent me the final proof of the Very Best of the Smiths I wearily pointed out to them that there were 18 typo errors on their artwork and that, in any case, they shouldn't release the CD in such an awful sleeve. They completely ignored me, of course, but they corrected the 18 errors. Typical!

...I am writing this in the city of Barcelona where, many years ago, I discovered the American writer James Baldwin sitting alone and somewhat lost in the darkened lobby of one of the city's oldest hotels. Surprised at being inches away from such a great man, I froze in sheepish clumsiness, circled him eleven times, before I realized that he could not possibly have any interest in being approached by someone who had spent all 25 years of their life locked in an attic because too awful to look at. So, I did nothing, walked on, and shortly thereafter he was dead. Yet another lesson.

...I recently had a film offer to appear for roughly 20 minutes in an American film starring Alec Baldwin wherein I'd play the part of a potty music teacher. It's ideal casting, of course, but hampered by the slightly minor detail that I cannot actually act. I couldn't even convincingly play the part of a dead person even if I were actually dead. So that, sadly, is that. The world is spared.

...Here's to the future when all's ..... well?

I love how he signs it...

Barcelonely, July 2006.

nice piccie (recent!) courtesy of

July 21, 2006

Commercials used to be better...

Rather than an 80's video tonight, I thought I'd post a great commercial. It's Joey Heatherton for Serta...

Review: Madonna, NYC, Madison Square Garden, 7/18/06

Madonna is the ultimate star. If you have the chance to see her Confessions Tour, you’ll come away with the realization that there is no one like her, nor will there ever be again. I’ve seen her live 4 times and I‘ve never seen her work this hard. Singing, dancing, playing guitar. She really does pour everything she has physically, mentally and artistically into her shows.

“Future Lovers” is a suitably intense opening, working the audience to a screeching pitch. Following up the amazing “Beast Within” video on her last tour, this one has freaky images of Madonna-as-horse. The real Madonna emerged from a disco ball in Gaultier riding apparel with a long ponytail sticking out of her hat. It was a thumping mix of Donna Summer (literally, with “I Feel Love” worked in) and Goldfrappish horse galloping / trot choreography.

The most popular songs of the night, from my view, were the “Hung Up” finale (which was beautiful to look at, but dragged on a bit) and “Sorry” which she did against a backdrop of oil – it also had the cage battle from the video. My personal favorite was the John Travolta-SNF inspired “Music Inferno.” This one is Madonna’s version of a fan’s mashup of “Music” and “Disco Inferno.” The dancing was phenomenal and I still can’t believe the roller-skaters didn’t roll right of the stage. If you’d like to watch a good (full) video of it, click below! The dancing at about 1:40 is brilliant!

Madonna donned glam rockware and played electric guitar on “I Love New York,” which was performed on a pleasingly white stage with cool background animation of the Manhattan skyline. Watch it below (with a few wonky dark spots in the vid).

She also played guitar on a pretty version of “Paradise” that featured a beautiful cherry blossom background. The Wyckoff Correspondent was most enthused by a simple version of “Drowned World” that she sung sitting on the stage steps.

“Forbidden Love” featured some of the strangest modern dance I have ever seen, which you could dub arm dancing. The two men never really moved their bodies, but they intertwined their arms in all these intricate snakey moves, as if they were double jointed. At the end of the song Madonna inserted herself into this human puzzle. I wonder how long it took them to get that choreography mastered? Watch a segment of it below...

Musically, besides the brilliance of “Music Inferno,” there is also an elegant version of “Erotica” that mixes in an unreleased track called “You Thrill Me” to very nice effect. The couples dancing during the song was very slinky 70’s, performed with much… looking for the word… élan!

The whole look of the show was beautiful. Different moods for each song conveyed with lighting and videos on huge screens. I should also note that the somewhat lame tour programme comes with stickers, which my companions figured were Lourdes' contribution to the show: “Mom! You totally need to give them some stickers!”

If I had to pick a piece of the show I didn’t like, I would just say that “La Isla Bonita” was a mistake, especially since it was done to such beautiful effect on the Drowned World Tour. She should have done something rare like “Borderline” or “Gambler” instead! I also used to like how she made her background singers such a big part of the show. It was an hour before I even saw Donna Delory onstage and the singers only had really had one real moment, during the James Brown shtick that started
“Lucky Star.”

The other commanding presence onstage besides Madonna is background dancer
Cloud, who Madonna has said inspired much of this show. It was his own abuse story that started “Live To Tell” and his energy seemed to guide the other dancers throughout the night. For those who don’t know him, Cloud was on the last tour and is the one she gives the guitar to in the “Secret” documentary.

I sat in the last row, literally, and I’d say that this show is probably worth paying more for good seats. Many of the seats had very close-up access to Madonna since there were three catwalks. Much of it was performed with Madonna out in the middle of the arena floor. NBC is going to air “Confessions” during November sweeps, so everyone will be able to get a look at this amazing show. For all those who say she is too old and should hang it up, fuck off bitches! It is a testament to her increasingly strong performance skills that she is able to captivate an arena totally alone onstage (see below...).

Varant: Very happy to finally meet you! Next time we'll get together (see what I did there?) properly!

Back from InWhySee: Nibbly Bits

First: Madonna live: EPIC. Review coming... Second, I did not create that Bouncey/Marge image above - some clever poster on the Velvet Rope did it. That real album cover is steaming shit... Apparently I was Blogger Of The Week in the Popjustice Newsletter while I was gone, so all the people who clicked for the first time saw an old post or posts about Boulder which they could care less about!...Read an interview with Roddy Woomble, who one wicked fan thinks looks like a "piss-soaked Edinburgh homeless person"...Morrissey is getting the remaster treatment before the year's end, so that's more $ gone from my shallow pocket...Have you seen all these We Are The 80's hits albums? Odd...Two very good places to eat in NYC (both on the UWS): Sarabeth's and Isabella's. Take an Xolondon Vacation...Badly Drawn Boy, who has seriously disappointed me after his perfect About A Boy soundtack, will release a new album on October 23 called Born in the UK...Playlouder reviews Lily Allen and The Pipettes...You can watch a video interview with quirky cute Imogen Heap, who talks about being arrested for stealing cookies...For the oldies, my belurved Lloyd Cole finally finished his album. He's been working on it for 2 years! At 40 mins (with 11 songs), tracks include "The Young Idealists" "How Wrong Can You Be?" and "Rolodex Incident." It's out this fall!..Be sure to read Torr's short piece on Cerys from Catatonia. A Welsh girl talking about living in Tennessee. Excellent stuff...When the fock is that new Scissor Sisters song giong to leaky leaky? It can't come quickly enough (umm, see what I did there?!)...

July 18, 2006

The Lady: Jesus Christ will you look at me?

I will be offline until Thursday pm, when I return with news of NYC...

So did you know that tonight I see The Lady Ritchie? Have I, like, mentioned it? When I was growing up I thought Madonna was the most beautiful woman on Earth. That was much of the attraction: how she looked and how she cared about that. As she's aged, she's gone through various good and bad looks. I think her appearance in the Confessions videos made her seem too thin, pinched and just... hard (don't get me started on that disco flip). Seeing this new picture makes me realize how so many women are much prettier when they don't really try. She's still beautiful. It's always her problem: she tries a bit too hard and letting go seems to be antithetical to her nature.

So I thought I'd post a song that goes with this picture - Intervention- a really pretty guitar ballad from the maligned American Life, an album that I think will be respected a bit more as time goes on. The lyrics on this song are fine - it's about her son Rocco - and the production verges on indie. I would love to hear some alternate mix of this album that produces all the songs in this more organic folk-rock vein. Madonna's family life seemed, for a time, to better her lyrics.

That leads me to post something new, a bootleg of the current live version of Live To Tell. This is the one she performs on a cross and will always be one of my favorite Madonna songs (I doubt I am alone on that?). It was the first song of her career on which she used her more natural lower range; up to that point she had been sucking on helium on a bit...

songs expired - sorry!

July 17, 2006

Looking back at Boulder

Boulder was a wonderful experience. The town is pretty small and has a nice pedestrian "high street." It's nestled at the foot of huge mountains, so the culture is very earthy and organic. Excellent restaurants and streetlife, especially in summer, when the town is not flooded with kids from UofC. Hippies abound everywhere with long blond beards and guitars. There is a store that sells clogs. Uber crunchy. Not my normal scene, but nicer than it sounds. The weather ranged from a very British 60 with rain/drizzle to a dry 85 degree heat.

Most of my time was spent in the company of others- at first all strangers- so I had to push well out of my comfort zone. Some friends know that I had really bad anxiety attacks before I went, which is strange because I can cobble together a conversation in most cases. I don't tend to freeze when confronted with people. For some reason this trip made me very nervous, but it all worked out brilliantly.

Twice I went to a place that will now enter my pantheon of favorite places on Earth: The Dushanbe Teahouse. From 1987 -1990, more than 40 artisans in Tajikistan created the decorative elements of the Teahouse, pictured in this post. I went twice, once for brunch and once for dinner and both times were delicious. I was in a good mood the night I went for dinner in that pretty room. I had the Persian cod and house blend Jade Spring green tea (pic above!) The light was coming in the room so nicely. I was happy in that moment and I knew it!

After dinner, I walked a fair distance along the path next to the creek, which was more like a river with rapids, since Boulder had so much rain that week. I made a phone call or two holding the phone up to the rushing water to prove I was actually IN nature. Then I walked up into a beautiful neighborhood with some amazing old houses (more on that later). Although I am a gregarious person, I have an introvert's need to recharge alone sometimes and this dinner/walk was the highlight of my trip.

My musical choice that night was 80's and 90's Joni Mitchell - specifically starting with one my all-time favorite songs, her duet with Peter Gabriel called My Secret Place (lyrics below). This song has had so much meaning for me over the years and I have taken many friends to my secret places (get your minds out of the gutter!).

It all falls right in place

My Secret Place by Joni Mitchell (1987)

I'm going to take you to
My special place
It's a place that you
Like no one else I know
Might appreciate
I don't go there with anyone, but
You're a special case
For my special place
For my secret place

People talk to tell you something
Or to take up space
Guess I'm only talking
To be talking to
Your pretty face
I don't talk much to anyone, but
You're a special case

I was born and raised
In New York City
I'm just getting used to Colorado
--Oh street bravado
Carry me
Why did you bring me to
A place so wild and pretty?
Are there pigeons in this park--
Muggers after dark--
In these golden trees--
In the secret place?

I'm going to take you to
My special place
It's a place no amount of hurt and anger
Can deface
I put things back together there
It all falls right in place--
In my special space
My special place

Once I saw a film
In New York City
That was shot in Colorado--
Girl meets desperado
In the trembling mountain trees
Out of all of the girls that you see
In bleachers and cafe windows
Sitting - flirting with someone
Looking to have some fun
Why did you pick me?
For the secret place

From Chalk Mark In A Rain Storm, 1987, Geffen Records.

July 16, 2006

Lorraine update

UPDATE: Lorraine's CD has indeed been "delayed" until 2007. Hmmm. Maybe they are just going to start over with the promotion? Not sure what they should do to capture people. I hope it really happens; looks like we will never see that Alexis Strum record...

The good news: click on the picture above for a brand new Lorraine song called Beautiful Thing. This is from a free sampler the band sent me! The bad news: things are not looking too good for Lorraine. Their CD single, the sublime Transatlantic Flight has strangely been canceled, with no album release yet announced. First The Modern, now Lorraine! Boo hiss...

Razorlight: It's got to be that way.

Johnny Borrell, second from left, is one of the "Dalston set" of musicians who came up in London in the first half of this decade. He's a reformed smack addict who is now more than willing to work the crowd with a very grunge-lovely eek and a lovely riah. Pete Doherty hates him so much he headbutted him (a la Gidane!) at the Leeds Festival last summer!

The new Q Magazine gives the eponymous Razorlight CD 5 stars, as in "Q classic." It's due tomorrow in the UK. At 35 minutes, with 10 tracks, it is supposedly the "best guitar album since Defintely Maybe." Hmmmm! The new single "In The Morning" (
video here) sounds like a cross between RHCP, The Cars and Blondie. Johnny's delivery on the verses is almost "Rapture" like, while he channels Anthony Kiedis on the chorus.

For this post, I have chosen a more sensitive new song, "Los Angeles Waltz." Namechecking Mulholland Drive, Beck and Kings Of Leon, this song is pure Chateau Marmont balladry. Love how it goes soft in the middle eight and Johnny wails, "we own each otherrrrrr." The vamp in the final minute is stunning... it gives me chills!

I find it ridiculous that NME has a contest to win breakfast with the band. Really. Can you imagine? Hangovers, scouser-esque talk, bad breath and greasy hair? Not to mention Whiskey passed under the table at 9 am...

"Doctor Doctor" (new b-side)

Pretty, grimy London boys. I am buying this album.

More reading: Times Online July 14 article / Guardian album review (4 stars) / Independent Review (4 stars)

July 15, 2006

My pretty babies...

To celebrate the July 17 release of We Are The Pipettes, whch will surely be in my Top 10 Albums Of The Year, I am posting two poppin' b-sides from the white and yellow 7" of Pull Shapes. You know a group is good when they are thowing away songs that could have easily been on the album...

Magician Man expired
Sort of The Pipettes meets The Doors meets Judy Collins. The spoken narrative part is clever, but it's the strong folksinger vocals that tip this song to brilliance. I mean it: better than many of the album tracks.

Guess Who Ran Away With The Milkman expired
Another track worthy of Pipettes lore, this is very 1950's old school girl group. It amazes me that I like this stuff because I don't like those old Motown groups at all!

Order Pipettes now from Siren or

July 14, 2006

Nibbly bits

Last night I flew in on a cigarette at 1 am. When I say cigarette, I mean it. Like, El Tiparillo airlines! I had the window and aisle seat because there was just one. When I stood, my head hit the ceiling... Love the massive new Killers single, which had a middle eight that sounds like Springsteen (1:55: "the devil's water..."). It's so instantaneous it may not have legs. Looks to me that, by this time next year, Killers will be in Coldplay sales territory... I also love the beautiful new song by Charlotte Gainsbourg - more on that one soon...Adam Ant (above) is releasing an autobiography this fall...McAlmont and Butler are back for one song only, no physical release (I mean in the CD sense!). It's called Speed and you can hear it at their myspace. It's very them...Did you hear Jarvis Cocker's new song with the word cunt in the title? It's not bad...Whaddya bet that Beyonce is synergistically wearing her own clothing line in her schizo new fashion-shoot of a video? Bouncey sure is ugly, ain't she, and what's the deal with her putting her head in Jay's crotch in the video?...which reminds that Janet Jackson has made no impact at all with her new single. It might as well be a song by Rihanna. So the question is wot will she do to get our attention?...Kofi's Hat has all the deets on the upcoming Depeche Mode releases (DVD and hits)...Robbie Williams has a new Pet Shop Boys-produced song coming soon. It's called She's Madonna!...Alison Goldfrapp looked like shit at T In The Park.

July 13, 2006

Buh bye Boulderado

S'very late!

Just went out dancing to live reggae. It can be done (and it only took drinking half a mojito at this altitude).

All I have left to do here is survive being in a skit tomorrow morning; it requires me to have a fight in front of a lot of people and yell really loudly, "WHYYYY must you be so DRAMATIC?!" Normal behavior for me, so I should be able to do that.

I leave Denver tomorrow at 5'ish and I will miss lovely Boulder in summer. More about it soon. Peace out bitches.

July 11, 2006

Would you like to try?

Jim, Maria, Varant: one week! Pick out your clothes for the show.

Big house, little house

Downtown Boulder has some of the prettiest neighborhoods I've ever seen. I took a lot of pictures of these huge old historic homes that I'd love to live in. Below are my Big House choice and, more realistically (but still out of reach!) my Little House choice.

picture xo here

July 8, 2006

Destination Colorado

A picture I took in early morning on Pearl Street, the main drag in downtown Boulder.

Okay trolls, I am in Boulder, Colorado of all places. A mile high city! Took me a full day to get here, but pleasingly it does look very John Denver-y. The blog will be quiet until around Friday. If I can post something in between, I will. It's fucking quaint in the picture, isn't it?

July 6, 2006

BritPop News Flash 1

On August 14, The Divine Comedy release the droll "To Die A Virgin" as their next single. It'll be available in the following formats:

CD 1: 1. To Die A Virgin 2. Pamplemousse
CD 2: 1. To Die A Virgin 2. Absolute Power 3. Our Mutual Friend (demo) 7": 1. To Die A Virgin 2. Long Slow Suicide

But wait! There's more! Neil has collaborated with Mrs. Xolondon, Charlotte Gainbourg, on her English language album 5:55. 'The Song That We Sing' will be the first single and the album, produced by Nigel Godrich, is released in France on August 28th. I fucking amour her. She has the most horny parents on Earth and a prominent role on one of Madonna's finest songs.

The Divine Comedy "To Die A Virgin"

courtesy TDC website and NME

the last male rock star?

INXS "Never Tear Us Apart"

MP3 - One of the great ballads of my youth. Filmed in moodily overcast Prague. My favorite part is just after the sax solo, when Michael crosses briskly across the screen. How cool. This was the look I never achieved! Michael was a male fashion star and he will always be [DOT DOT DOT] forever young.

News Flash 2... or tell me life is beautiful

The next Keane single, "Crystal Ball," is the most obvious hit on the album. A blazin' stadium singalong, its dodgy chorus lyrics are swallowed enough that you can't tell they are bad! The track has a moving middle eight (gold stars from this blog) and the final 1:10 is fucking massive, dude! The release date is August 21 and the b-sides are "Maybe I Can Change" and (lamely) "The Iron Sea (Magic Shop Version)."

Ta-dah! Some newsy bits...

oops just noticed Newlywed Paul beat me to this!

Sorry it's been so slowww here. I am gearing up for a few trips in the next two weeks, so posts will be sporadic... We like colors! That's a new Scissor Sisters promo shot above (thanks to Popjustice). Ana Matronic is one of those poeple who never looks the same twice! Until we have a new song, watch this to get revved up... hot link: hundreds of 80's bands, one song each, watch the videos...you know that your press is doing the right thing when idiot lawmakers condemn it...which reminds me- did you know that the federal minimum wage has not been raised from $5.15 since the 90's? That's $10,700 a year, almost $6,000 below the poverty line for a family of three. I made at least that in my first teen job in 1986!... Meanwhile Congress is concerned about a pro-religious movie getting a PG rating. Good God!...George Michael has a new video. NSFW...little Lily Allen blames Becks for the downfall of England in World Cup. And this is Lily on meeting Robbie Williams: "He was like 'Oh you would have loved it - Take That getting back together'. And I went 'Take That were before my time, mate. I was into Boyzone'. And his face just dropped!"...Roddy Woomble's wonky myspace page may or may not play his new song...Madonna's new H & M shots are really very dull- plus she features that space alien face/hair again... finally, be sure to get the Mish Mash track "Speechless" on Don't Stop The Pop. It's blazin'!

July 4, 2006

Hold onto your kite...


I practically cried when I heard how well she sings live. She is precious and tough and beautiful.

"Naive" (Lily's Kooks cover)

Thanks Paul - ask and ye shall receive.

July 3, 2006

Just when you think she's a hard...tit.

Madonna spends an afternoon in the park with her kids. Stars! They're just like us! Click here to watch a two-minute, officially sanctioned clip of "Live To Tell" that she released to the AIDS orphan charity Raising Malawi. I like the new arrangement.

The new Roddy Woomble song, "Every Line Of A Long Moment," is lovely. He looks unrecognizable with that beard, but maybe it fits his further push into folk with his solo record My Secret Is My Silence. This voice was meant to sing these songs - plus he's Scottish and they are all about the folk. Thanks to Torr for pointing out that the song can be heard in full on myspace*. update: Well it could until they deleted his page!

Woomble is the lead singer of the underrated Idlewild and, yes Americanos, he has a terric name! God bless his parents!

July 2, 2006

I rest my case with this...

It actually doesn't get specifically to yesterday until the final moments...

Susan Get Down are dirty sluts

..and so is Devian Starr! Mr. Starr, a Californy-ite, often posts on this blog and has developed a super trashy backroom persona for his latest musical endeavour. I mean, he loves Martha Wainwright and serious folky stuff, but now he is showing a new (ass)side on Susan Get Down's uber-electronic song "HotBoxx." It has hilarious, chanted lyrics: Put it in, put it in, put it my hotboxx. Kinky. I keep thinking of Divine stealing meat in Pink Flamingos. After "Babs" serves her family the steak she has shoplifted by hiding it under her dress, she says, "I warmed it up downtown today, in my own little oven."

Apparently SGD's Aural Sexx (Vol. 1) record will "make your asses shake, your cocks hard and your panties drop!" Well, okay then! There's another track called "High Fashion Passion" that has a sort of goth chorus that goes "Touch me under the table" and features a bathroom stall, mm'kay? The music is a good fit with all the indie electronic pop that is developing right now (Dangerous Muse, etc), but I think that Devian may actually be the secret white boy son of Grace Jones.

Hear both tracks at Susan Get Down's myspace page.