September 30, 2007

The winner announced!

The winner of my Annie Lennox contest is the lovely...


I don't know Michael, but he must be a wonderful person for liking Annie. We had 10 entrants, just like last time. For those who did not win, please repeat this with a smile: "It was an honor just to be nominated." For my friends who continue to enter, please do not stop talking to me.

The answer to the question was video director Sophie Muller, who worked early on with Eurythmics and Annie and recently has done mucho work with Gwen Stefani/No Doubt and Sophie Ellis Bextor.

Side note: Check out Annie in HX for her comments on remixes, drugs and even a joke about non-specific STDs (hellow urethritis!).

2007 "Q3"

Kanye West's absurd home office

In alphabetical order, the Top 20 songs of the third quarter of 2007. Summer! Rules: Do not have to be singles, but one song by each artist only* and the songs must be officially released (or released to me as a promo). The colored link will take you to a place you can hear/see the song...

Antigone Life Without You
Aqualung Garden Of Love
Tom Baxter Better
Cherry Ghost False Alarm
Justin Currie
No Surrender
Dragonette Take It Like A Man
Girls Aloud
Sexy! No, No, No…
Ari Gold
Transport Me
Richard Hawley
The Sun Refused To Shine
Darren Hayes Casey
Darren Hayes Conversation With God *sorry, 2 by Darren!
Amy MacDonald
Footballer’s Wife
Roisin Murphy Let Me Know
Kate Nash Foundations
Passenger Wicked Man’s Rest
The Revelations I’m A Lover

Rihanna Don't Stop The Music
Rilo Kiley Dreamworld
Suzanne Vega Pornographer’s Dream

Kanye West The Good Life

Special Award for Worst Leaked Music: Madonna's The Beat Goes On and Candy Shop. I deleted them from my iPod. This is major because I am a nutty Madonna fan. I doubt they will end up on the CD, but if they do, I'm takin' a break from Mrs. Ritchie.

Worthy albums, July to September: Tom Baxter (digital), Sara Bareilles, Darren Hayes, Richard Hawley, Amy MacDonald, Kate Nash and Suzanne Vega.

What's coming in Q4: Justin Currie (ex Del Amitri), Dragonette, Gabrielle, David Gahan, Annie Lennox, Alison Moyet, Kylie Minogue, Sugababes, Roisin Murphy, Girls Aloud, Mary J. Blige, Joni Mitchell, Seal and Duran Duran.

See my Q1 and Q2 lists or click on the tag below.

September 29, 2007

He read it in a book

Professor (PILF?) Hayes knows that librarians give us power. This is a shot from his just-launched tour. Anyone know which song he's doing?

Duranie press release

Some big news from Duran Duran:

They'll be playing for 2 weeks on Broadway at the Barrymore Theatre, November 1 – 12, 2007! To launch Red Carpet Massacre, Simon et al will perform the complete new album, plus hits. They promise "magnificent production values." Hmmm...

Tickets are $150, $125 or $75 and go on sale on Saturday, October 6 at 9 am EST through Telecharge (1-800-432-7250) or via Telecharge online.

Crikey! What should I do? I have never seen them.

Pic from

September 27, 2007

Annie Lennox Contest

Since my contest was so successful last, I thought, Whyyyyy whhyyyyy yyyyy not do another?

The Prizes: 1) A signed photo of Annie (signed by me! Heh heh, no. Signed by her) 2) A copy of her new album Songs Of Mass Destruction. Note: You must have a US mailing address. Sorry int'l peeps... this is not my rule.

The Question: Tricky for some, easy for others: A famous current video director started his/her career working with Annie in Eurythmics. This person was responsible for most of the videos from the Savage album (see below) and later Annie's epic Little Bird video, and my favorite Annie video/song, Money Can't Buy It (see below). Since that time, the director has gone on to have a lengthy association with muse Gwen Stefani and in 2007 directed a few videos for Sophie Ellis Bextor.

Send me an
email with the answer and I'll draw a winner on Sunday evening. The answer to this question can be found on this blog and in the Wikipedia.

Before I close, stream a sample of the new b-side, perhaps better than the album version:

Annie Lennox Dark Road (acoustic version) sample

Eurythmics I Love To Listen To Beethoven:

Annie Lennox Money Can't Buy It:

Warning: You may want to place a bathroom towel on your head after watching this.

September 26, 2007

RED ALERT: Stream Annie now!

For those who can listen to music in their office or wherever, click here to stream the new Annie Lennox album Songs Of Mass Destruction. I hope you love it. And hey, you can even use my review as a guide! Coming late this week, an Annie contest...

Photo thanks to ethrill

September 25, 2007

This is our last dance

Keane are back on October 29 with a brand new single. The a-side is called The Night Sky and is a benefit for War Child, which helps children in war zones. The b-side is their cover of Queen & Bowie's Under Pressure, which Tom Chaplin certainly has the vocal chops for. They recorded that for the Radio 1 album out on October 1.

If I'd heard these tracks, I might tell you that Under Pressure is quite faithful - note by note almost - but sounds a lot like ELO. The Night Sky is short and mid-tempo, classic Keane, which means poppy and pretty. If I'd heard them, I'd say that!

The tracklist:

The Night Sky
Under Pressure
Put It Behind You Now (Ffrisco Mix)

The photo above is new for the single - Tom is almost unrecognizable!

September 24, 2007

One of these days, maybe your magic won't affect me

Rihanna and Ne-Yo have just released their video for Hate That I Love You. I LOVE IT. The filters that alter the color and the whole early 60's style. She looks beautiful. She must've had a book of Diahann Carroll photographs - see what I mean here. Watch the video now...

Even the little twist at the end is clever. I love how these two kids have obliterated the played-out Beyonce and Usher. Those stars are overexposed, more "corporation" than human. I mean, Beyonce's only good song last year was written by Ne-Yo! Don't get me started on the message of outlandish wealth and ostentation. It corrupts pop culture and is anti-inspirational.

So along come hungry Rihanna and Ne-Yo, who have worked their asses off. Every move Rihanna has made this year has been pitch perfect. The relentless high quality videos (4 now), the great singles, strong album and killer mixes, and clever live performances. Who knew!?

If you have not heard the monolithic K-Klassic remix of Hate That I Love You, you might find it here.

Both have done all of this with something more than the usual sex-grinding bullshit (well, aside from Shut Up And Drive...). What next? I think Rihanna needs to go right back into the studio and record another album for next summer. When the sun shines, it shines forever!

This post was inspired by Perez I must admit!

Drum roll please

Oh my stars! The winner of The Pipettes contest is...

Adam S.
of Boston!

Congratulations and thanks to all who entered my wee contest! Thanks also to Torr at Filter for setting this up. Adam reports that he is a true Pipettes fan, so it's nice that he won.

The answers are: 1) Gwenno is from Cardiff, where Torchwood is set and 2) the girls' backing band is known as The Cassettes.

Cover Story: Is this forever and ever?

wooh... wooh!
Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand?

September 23, 2007

You never know what you will find

An image from the Kylie calendar!

Be sure to read my Annie Lennox review in the post below...

Scandipop Dept: I do not like BWO anymore. I just have to be honest. I think they must record a song each day in some closet and the new CD sounds like it. Sounds cheap! I also am not loving the September album Dancing Shoes, but Sad Song is great. There is a kneejerk thing each time one of these artists releases a song: It's brilliant! Sometimes true, but not always. Good enough is not good enough for me.

Should I be paying attention to Leona Lewis? Seems like a Mariah clone (circa 1989) to me.

Barry Manilow has covered Sailing. Just sayin' in case you might be a secret, closeted Barry junkie... not that I am. Really.

Natasha Bedingfeld's version of Ray Of Light is a shiteous mess, while Darren Hayes' version is sublime. My beloved-if-sullied-by-her-meh-solo-record Mutya Buena does a lovely Fast Car though. All for Radio 1.

Seal's first song with Stuart Price, called Amazing, has leaked. So far my impression is that it's a makeshift hook dressed up in a good production. The lyric is timely, yet cringe-inducing: "Everyone says you're amazing now that you're clean."

Today I bought Natalie Imbruglia's White Lilies Island for a dollar (you know where I got this Brittle Lemon). What are the best songs?

Did anyone notice that Kylie X contains a Freemasons production? Praise Be To God.

Sophie Ellis Bextor's label is rushing a Christmastime Greatest Hits CD for which she is currently producing new songs. A serious disappointment for an album released only about 5 months ago that has like 10 potential singles. Why not update Love Is Here as a duet with Dan Gillespie Sells and do a kickin' video? Hello hit music! Booyoulabelwhores.

The Feeling have finished their album and are in LA mixing it with Spike Stent (isn't everyone mixing with Spike Stent?). Does not look to be a 2007 release though.

The Alicia Keys album cover is a disaster. I mean, when is the album released? November 1977?

Meanwhile, I hope this is not Alison Moyet's album cover. It's no better.

PopMuse has a post on how you can downland Dan Savage's Savage Love Podcast! Do non-Americans know about Dan Savage? He's a sex advice columnist who is hilarious and incredibly right-on with his answers.

September 21, 2007

Review: Annie Lennox's Mass Destruction

On October 2, Annie Lennox releases her 4th solo record, the whimsically titled Songs Of Mass Destruction. It's actually only her third album of original solo material in 15 years, but it's her best since 1992's Diva.

In order to get this posted, I've decided to do a track-by-track commentary. I've heard the album several times, but not been able to actually play it on my ipod yet and, as any Annie fan knows, her music often sounds even better when it's right up in your ear...

Dark Road is the somber album-opener that you already know (video). As I've said before, this song - in the Why tradition - has a Mercedes of a melody. Really beautiful. My only complaint is that I find the heyyeyeyeyey middle eight a bit jarring. The b-side of the single, out Monday the 24th, is an acoustic version, so I'll be eager to hear how that version handles the middle eight.

Love Is Blind is a keyboard-driven stomper that quickly changes the mood. Her voice is pleasingly deep here and she takes it to the speakeasy with her intro: "Oh sugar, when you gonna come." Hooky, hooky, hooky, the song is a progression, 22 years on, from the new-soul of Be Yourself Tonight. The wordy, fast middle eight is fantastic, but it's the "Oh lover, make me yours again" sentiments that make this song so bumpin'!

Smithereens opens with a pretty piano. The verses are really lush and the chorus picks up the tempo. I can't compare it to any earlier songs, but for me it's like Elton John from the 70s; this will end up being a major track for Annie. It's shimmering and emotional. At 5:17, it's also the longest song on SOMD.

Ghosts In My Machine (as in "haunted by the ..") is notable for a sort of chanted "I [x] too much" vocal hook which changes with each line (seen, feel, drank, etc). Another rock/soul song, harkening back to Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves era ,she may have to break out that tight black cocktail dress and heels for the video. Following on a theme here, the song has a great middle eight that's slightly more lush than the rest of the tune.

Womankind, a classic Annie song title, is notable for some little whirlygig vocal noises I cannot make myself. This one starts like another soul anthem, but the chorus provides a twist and there is a subtle carousel effect on the backing synths. The song's theme seems to be "I need to change this circumstance" and the middle eight is a rap, but it's unclear to me who it is. It could be Annie slowed down a bit? Listen close, too, at the outro for a Wonder-esque harmonica. Womankind reminds me a bit of the kind of music Neneh Cherry used to make: feminist, worldwise and urban.

Through The Glass Darkly slows things down after the rousers. It has a sort of bobbing tempo with some interesting floaty synth effects. It's not one that leaps out initially, but the singing is very strong and I love the line "Blue songs on my radio..."
At 3:30, Glass is the shortest track on SOMD.

Lost is an airy piano ballad. For some reason, it reminds me of a merging of the sound of Bare and Into The West. The chorus has a very strange layering of vocals that's almost dissonant and there are effects that make her voice sound like an instrument. The song never develops and eventually sort of dissipates amid Annie's humming.

Coloured Bedspread is MAJOR. It opens with an electropop synth and a wailing ooooh from Annie. A surefire single, this is a real diversion from the rest of the record's rock/soul. It's like an elegant nightime dance track – it'll sound great in a fast car. Reminiscent of a jumped-up Love Is A Stranger, the chorus is very 80's. In fact, I don't think Annie has ever done a song so similar to Touch-era Eurythmics. It's also one of her sexiest lyrics: the title refers to "things we do on my coloured bedspread" You'll soon know what I mean when I say it's like sugar melting in my mouth.

Sing is still a mystery. It really does open with a women calling for international aid and then Annie comes in with the hook that carries the song. It's got a nice rolling piano and sort of chant-like quality. There is apparently an 8-minute version with more individual performances from the 23 female guests, but the only other truly prominent vocal on the CD version comes from Madonna. And a strange appearance it is: The Lady Ritchie sounds quite subdued next to Annie, like she isn't even going to attempt to match her. There's something about that is
almost like 80s Madonna. Regardless, the song is anthemic and the dance beat pushes up in the final minute of the song – there could be a major remix for this one. The final moments seem to have an African folk song grafted onto the end.

Big Sky, also the name of a Kate Bush song, is built on a tinkly piano and twilight synths, but it slowly grows into something appropriately massive for its title. One of my favorites, it's a slow burner; when you first hear it, you won't know where its going. I'm not sure it ever quite gets there, but vocally it's very bravura, with Annie's voice in falsetto. This acts as a strong lead up to the final track on the CD…

Fingernail Moon is a piano w/orchestra ballad built on a gorgeous melody. It's highly cinematic, like the theme to a movie that doesn't exist yet. The lyric is gorgeous – something about it reminds me of Rufus Wainwright's writing: "There's no need to be shy, there's no need to be scared." A classic album closer.

Songs of Mass Destruction is the most feminist piece of work Annie has ever done (and she's been a sexy suffragette for years now). Of any Annie Lennox album, this is also the one that sounds the most like Eurythmics. If it has a flaw, it's only that I could use one more spare ballad or electro number. The album is hopelessly catchy – the kind of CD you'll play straight through with no problem. The big tracks added to her "canon" are Dark Road, Coloured Bedspread, Love Is Blind, Smithereens and Fingernail Moon. Annie's also given us the first great autumn record; hearing it is like drinking a like a cup of something warm.

Róisín: Moloko 101

Some kind fanperson posted this "best of" video mix of Moloko's live concert DVD, 11,000 Clicks, so you can get a sense of their sound. This is the music that led Róisín Murphy up to where she is now, with her upcoming brilliant Overpowered album.

Anyway, the video above includes bits of these songs, with the purple ones being my favorites and ones you might like. They appear in this order: Familiar Feeling, I Want You, Absent Minded Friend (major song!), Come On, Fun For Me, Where Is The What If The What Is In Why, Cannot Contain This, Pure Pleasure Seeker, Time Is Now, Statues, 100%, Forever More, Sing It Back, Being Is Bewildering, and Indigo. You can buy MP3's of some of these live songs on iTunes as part of their Best Of package, Catalogue.

Watch what Róisín does when she's given a dozen roses at around minute 6! She also stage dives at the end...

I also can recommend one wonderful song from the esoteric Ruby Blue, Róisín's first solo record. It's the album finale, The Closing Of The Doors, and it's like a melding of Carole King and Laura Nyro. Very unexpected 70's balladry. It's on most versions of iTunes.

Finally, here is the complete live video for Familiar Feeling.

September 19, 2007

US Pipettes Contest. With Prizes!

Yes, I am having a wee contest with some juicy prices. Swag! Answer these questions correctly and, if I get more than one correct entry, I will put your name in a hat (or something!) and pull one. There is a catch: You must have an American mailing address* (sorry to all my Peeps Internationale).

The Questions:

  1. Gwenno and Torchwood share a hometown in common? What is it?
  2. The Pipettes backing band has a name. What is it?

The answers to these questions have appeared on this blog before, or if you have any Google skills, you can figure these out. You don't have to be a fan, but you have to know how to search! I am, after all, a librarian. And librarians give you power.

Prizes: It's total madness. The Pipettes CD (US version) and EP, plus a deluxious (maybe?) hoodie from indie mag Ragged. You must participate!

Email me the answers.
I'll close the contest on Monday morning, so if you have a US address, have a go!

*Of course, then you'll have to give me your address, but being stalked by me IS one of the prizes.


It's all happening. New pic! Check out the purse.

Note: I'd still rather it was 6 new eps. A movie seems weird.

September 18, 2007

She loves to listen to Beethoven

A new magazine cover featuring Dame Lennox. Errr, isn't that the Savage character? Really, WTF?

UPDATE: My track by track review of Annie's new CD will be up by Friday. It's very good.

September 17, 2007

Money don't matter 2nite

Errr, yes, I am very angry with Prince! He has been sent to his purple room to have a think. But this Bruce Wagner piece from the New Yorker is more a commentary on American luxe culture than it is on the wee litiguous man. Do read it, petals... I peed a little, it's so funny.

A friend called to tell me that Prince was giving one of his chicly innovative, exclusive concerts on Friday night, at a venue yet to be disclosed. The cost: three hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars per ticket. Having recently come into an inheritance that dwarfed that amount, I mulled it over for about two seconds before deciding to splurge on this prestigious event, the likes of which hundreds of V.I.P.s have experienced in the past six months. I wanted to be one of them. the rest at the New Yorker

and while we're at it, check out Richard Godwin's funny review of Prince at the O2.

Patty Air

Please put your seatback in the up and locked position.

September 16, 2007

No, no, no. Not Perez Hilton...SHIMON Peres.

That's Esther Ritchie looking demure with President Shimon Peres in Israel. He gave her a Hebrew Bible (inscribed?) and she gave him a Zohar (Kaballa text), which you just know she was re-gifting!

I love this bit from the Jerusalem Post:
'The president and Madonna discussed how to advance the peace process, and conciliation and tolerance throughout the world,' said presidential spokeswoman Ayelet Frish. 'Madonna told the president she wants to promote those messages in her songs and books, and how important it was to educate children with those ideas.'
So I guess her new songs Candy Shop and Lala (the one in which the lyrics are different names for coffee) are a part of her global message of peace and love. Now I understand.

Bless her, I think she means all this. If she could just be a nicer person ona day-to-day basis, she'd almost be... Annie Lennox! Say what you want about Madonna's political/religious aspirations, Peres is long way up from the days of Dennis Rodman...

September 15, 2007

Her dark materials

First clip is funny- Tori Amos teaching Graham Norton to straddle a piano (this was broadcast in May 07):

And this clip is Tori's shameful commercial past:

September 14, 2007

Separated at birth

Roisin (and her nips):

Faye Dunaway as Bonnie:

I have SO MUCH love to give

Can you take it? If I give, can you receive?

Indeed. NB's new tune, written by Adam Levine. Superb song that would have been a summer single had it been released on Xolondon Records. BUT - and there's always a BUT, isn't there? - they removed Adam's vocals from the single. Oh my stars!* what are they thinking? His presence would have kicked this song right onto the charts.

(*sayeth Paul de Zappin!)

Cover story: Duran Duran

I'm actually now very interested in this album, which is out Nov. 12/13. Nite Runner is a classic Duran song. The album cover is very Roxy Music. Who is the chick? Simon's daughter, heh heh!?

Here is a Duran Duran Player for you D2's.

September 13, 2007

Playlist: Summer's End

It's finally starting here - the change of seasons. Last night I sat an outdoor cafe that I love with my good friend and had a wonderful time. Seasonal affective disorder in reverse. Here are some songs I've been playing a lot in recent days... seek them out!

Passenger Four Horses Britpop
Their new album is a lullaby - really subtle and pretty. This soft track is part folk song, part spare-beat ballad. Do you think the line "Like a whisper in the dome of St. Paul" has something to do with my love of this song? Am I that transparent? Not out yet or here

Ari Gold Transport Me R'n'B Homopop
Ari's new CD is a celeberation of the sound of the 90's - and this song is very much an homage to the smooth mellow sound of Jam and Lewis ballads. The verses are very spare and the chorus opens into layers of hamrony a la Janet Jackson's Come Back To Me. Really subdued, which is not Gold's usual state. Despite some ill-placed spoken bits, the lyric is deeply personal - kind of a journey through self-love/self-hate. Arjan also loves the song, so read what he says. The whole thing wraps up with a drum'n'bassy coda punctuated by synth strings. Well played, Ari Gold. Get it at US iTunes or UK iTunes

Kanye West The Good Life Hip-pop
I knowwwww, bitches! I don't want to dig Kanye any more than I want to dig Fergie, but like her track Glamorous, this smug ode to wealth and fame makes me giddy. It has an unrecognizable Michael Jackson sample (PYT!) and a stupid Snakes On A Plane reference that makes me chuckle: Kanye, don't even try to tell us you are hung. Please, bitch! This shizzz is hot. Wear your sunglasses at night. Get it at US iTunes or UK iTunes.

The Jackson Five ABC (Freemasons Mix) Clubpop
That's how easy pop can be. Sounds like every Freemasons mix, but do we care? The original is a bubblegum classic with wee Michael at his most soulful (how old was he, like 10?). The slightly sped up vocals on this remix actually work. "I think I love you!" Thanks Toons!

Rilo Kiley Breaking Up Indie Soulpop
Ummmm, delish! It’s got clever lyrics (“It’s not as if New York City burnt down to the ground once you drove away.”) matched by a chunky bass, cheap Casio disco strings and the Waters Sisters providing backing vocals. It’s a real ass-shaker of a song; during the recent spate of swampy DC days, I boomed this song from my car stereo, driving around with my sunroof open. Get it at US iTunes or UK iTunes

Rilo Kiley (again!) Dreamworld California pop
Immediately, clearly an homage to 70’s Fleetwood Mac. This is like a rite of passage for guitar-based bands. Not only does the gauzy Dreamworld feature FM's chunky bass lines and trilling guitars, it also works Stevie Nick's lyrical trick of describing a relationship from an omniscient viewpoint (“she was the girl with... he was the boy who..." ). The vocals are lead by Blake Sennett doing a breathy (and quite sexy) Lindsey Buckingham imitation. Get it at US iTunes
or UK iTunes

Finally, be sure to catch the Autumn songs of Tremble Clef (gorge Coldcut doing Nat King Cole) and Babs on Dan US.

Meanwhile, did you hear that Delays have a new CD out this fall? Yessss. Also, please note that for those who cannot use UK or US iTunes, these songs are probably floating around on the web. Above photo by Hedi Slimane.

There is no picture on this post.

Prince remains deeply locked in the past. Some of His lawsuits have been absurd in the extreme (like suing people who created fansites or used his logo name without consent).

Now this: Prince has had all of His videos removed from Youtube. Why? So He can reap the millions of dollar people are spending buying them where? There a whole legion of young music fans growing up now who do not know When Doves Cry or I Would Die 4 U or 1999. And they won't, if he has anything to do about it.

Do not post any Prince videos or songs on your blogs, purple peoples. Prince will come fo his money. In fact, do not mention His name, use His image or talk about His umpteenth shitty album - the one He had to give away for free.

Persona non grata, that He is.

September 12, 2007

Wooooh! It's official

Here is the press blurb:

Kylie releases her brand new single 2 Hearts on Parlophone on November 12th, preceded by the digital release on November 5th. The single is the first taster from her new album, which will be released later in November. Further details of the album will follow. 2 Hearts was written and produced by London based electro 4-piece Kish Mauve.

Here is what I say:

2 Hearts in its original Kish Mauve incarnation is worthy of a #1 slot on the charts. By Christmas, the whole world will be sashaying down snowy streets singing "wooooh!" randomly as this tune chimes into their heads. It's a wee bit of glam stomp, though she may change it up Kylie-style. All will be revealed, all will be revealed...

The original just might be here if you're lucky lucky lucky.

September 11, 2007

Who is Torchwood?

This just premiered here on BBC America (Sat. 9 pm) and I love it! Torchwood is a Dr. Who a spinoff set in Cardiff. John Barrowman is sort of like Tom Cruise, if Tommy fessed up and had some fun.

Barrowman was on Charlotte Church in the Spring. He's pretty fokking lewd and she's right there with him. Remember that a few years ago there was a period where Char appeared headed down the same path Miss Spears has taken.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3: (the best bit!)

Wonder what Dans UK and US will have to say about my love of wood? Torchwood.

Lost Classic: Big Country's Fragile Thing

Most Americans probably don't realize that Big Country had a very fruitful career long beyond 1983's In A Big Country and 1984's Wonderland. They were a part of my early teen years and, much later, my late twenties.

I used to have my cousin, British Bridget, drag over a bundle of requested CDs for me when she'd visit from England. This was one she brought. I had not heard it, but it's a duet with Eddi Reader - the great Scottish folk/pop singer whom I love - so I had to own it. What a beautiful surprise that the song is wistful alt-country/pop. I am not sure how to explain this song, but I still play it a lot, especially to calm myself down.

Fragile Thing, released in 1999, now has a resonance that runs even deeper. Stuart Adamson, the lead singer of Big Country, killed himself just two years later. He put some great songs into the universe and that is his marker. Youtube comments are usually insane, but if you check out the comments for this video, it seems devoid of the usual crazies and illiterates. There are a great many people who miss his voice.

September 9, 2007

The boys were all electric

Do you know who this is? Looks like he's about to make the scene in London. Famous son creating a name for himself.

Update: Sorry it took me so long to tell you that this is Natt Weller, the son of Paul Weller and Dee C Lee (who he looks very much like).

These photos remind me of a lyric by David Bowie, from Sweet Thing...

It's safe in the city, to love in a doorway
To wrangle some screams from the dawn
And isn't it me, putting pain in a stranger?
Like a portrait in flesh, who trails on a leash

Will you see that I'm scared and I'm lonely?
So I'll break up my room, and yawn and I
Run to the centre of things
Where the knowing one says

Boys, boys, its a sweet thing
Boys, boys, its a sweet thing, sweet thing
If you want it, boys, get it here, thing

'Cause hope, boys, is a cheap thing, cheap thing

Yes, Gwen, we've got it.

Another picture perfect Rossdale Family photo, from her LAMB show. Bitchin' Gwen likes that look doesn't she? Black / white, retro, plantium, red lippy. Whatever. She needs to have another kid; though she'd probably name him Ganja or Ska or something hazy like that.

While I am on Gwen, as it were, her new video is also a redux. Seen it all before... in 1996! The song is something Pharrell shat out for her. The Sims version is cute though...

September 8, 2007

Let Me Know, The Video

Hot on the spiked heels of my previous post comes this grand moment in film:

Poor Roisin Murphy, even when she walks around with her own spotlight, nobody notices. Another clevuh video with RM bustin' some highly amusing dance moves. Really, this is the song to beat this year. Who can do it? Maybe me, "tripping the light fantastic" in a McDonalds or Olive Garden? Look out!

What's not to love? The Faye Dunaway-as-Bonnie look (hat, wig, nipples), a wicked cape, sparkler, lasers, wind machine, robot moves. It works on a deeper level as well: who didn't daydream as a child about their life suddenly becoming a big dance number? (ed: maybe not everyone had that dream)

In my world, Let Me Know, with it's step step step hook would go to number one for weeks. Pretty girl, pretty song.

September 7, 2007

You know what to expect

Team Róisín is doing a bang-up job building anticipation for her upcoming album. Today a new song snippet leaked in this short promo of Róisín shooting her album cover in the Parma Cafe. The cafe is very old school - maybe my British friends can shed some light on it? It looks like what Americans would call a greasy spoon. It's apparently near Lambeth, which is sort of across the river from Pimlico... where I once rented a TINY flat on Aylesford St. (for a visit, not to live, sadly). Sorry, I digress - the blog is called I Love London* trolls!

The song you hear above is called You Know Me Better and it's track 2 from her CD. Recently Calvin Harris said that one of the songs he'd written for Róisín with Cathy Dennis has been redone by Jimmy Douglass. Don't you think it might be this one? It sounds great. She looks sort of like Nicole Kidman when she isn't dressed in the Bjorky dress.

If you missed it in July, below is a behind-the-scenes look at the shooting of the cheeky Overpowered video. In it,you can her her say her name, which is pronounced Rosheen, though it sounds a little stranger when she says it.

videos from Róisín's youtube site.

* well, not quite, but you get my point

September 6, 2007

When Madonna met Bloc Party

A story so incredible it is hard to believe... a reporter speaking to Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke:

What surprised you most about playing at Live Earth 2007?

Madonna coming into our dressing room because she's a super-huge fan. Our tour manager is this guy from Scotland that doesn't know much about popular culture and popular music. So when she came in, he alerted security and security dragged her out. They had her head in a headlock, and they were putting her out of the dressing room. It was really surreal, and everyone stopped speaking. And the only thing we could hear is Madonna cursing and saying she's gonna kill these guys.

Did you say Madonna was in a headlock?

Yeah. She's really tough because of all that pilates that she does. She [got out] of the headlock quite easily. And some of her people came along and told the security guards off, but she was so pissed off at that point that [when] I went to tell her that I was a huge fan of hers she completely freaked out and told me to get the hell away from her. And that was all in the space of like 10 minutes backstage at Live Earth.

Maybe you should dress up as her on stage to make things right.

You know, if she asks. I'm pretty sure if she didn't ask she'd be completely pissed off, and she'd completely freak out. I've already seen that she has a temper on her. To be honest, I don't feel like putting myself in the situation because I'm quite a skinny guy compared to the two security guards.

Okay, this story does not jive with me. I mean, your own manager pushes Madonna out of your dressing room and has her put in a "headlock"? [Note: Is Bloc Party that famous? To need that level of security? Does their man attack all unknown female interlopers who are 5'2" and 95 lbs?] Anyway, don't you run out and scream for him to stop: "She's Madonna!" No, apparently you go all quiet and watch! And then what do you do, if you're Kele Okerodookey? Become a fanboy and tell her she is great!

And all this takes 10 long minutes to transpire. Hmmm. Somebody's embellishing.

Courtesy of Metromix Chicago via Madonnalicious

For some simpler, pre-Anglo-Madonna, check out the PopMuse post on Jose & Luis.

Kiss her for me

Dan Cairns of The Times (London) just did a
great piece on Siouxsie Sioux who turned 50 in May.

Here is a snippet about her solo album Mantaray, out on Monday:

On her wonderful new album, Siouxsie does just that: raging against adversity one minute, calming herself down the next, drifting off into fantasy on Sea of Tranquility (a song she describes as a “sci-fi murder mystery”), bathing in Bernard Hermann-like strings on Loveless. Here Comes That Day is so brassy, it sounds as if it’s auditioning for the next Bond film, while fans of the early, Metal Postcard-era Banshees will welcome the motorik austerity of About to Happen and They Follow You.

In the process of preparing this post, I noticed that my friend V has just done a Siouxsie post (with a great title!). I think he is a Siouxsie expert, so I hope he'll do more on her. V also has a link to a site you'll want...

Below is the first single I ever bought by Siouxsie, a great cover of the Beatles' Dear Prudence, the video of which has a certain Like A Virgin quality, no?

True tales from life and music

Last night I was at a show, at da club, and encountered an acquaintance who has worked there for years - more a "friend of a friend," but someone I've seen around for ages. She recently ended a very bad relationship that had dragged on for years and was zapping her life in multiple ways. She told me that she'd briefly quit the club, gathered up her strength/energy and booted the Bad Man to the curb. Without going into all her shit, it was not easy on any level, but she is very happy now and feels really free and renewed.

Don't you love these stories? I was very impressed / happy for her. I was thinking later about this and remembered a song from the 90's that captures what she was telling me last night on the street. It's a Britpop corker...

McAlmont and Butler Yes

Could these two have been any cooler? David McAlmont has one of the best voices of anyone, anywhere. I adore him. And note how Bernard Butler's leg is flying up behind him at the start...

Yes I do feel better
Yes, I do, I feel alright
I feel well enough
To tell you what you can do
With what you have to offer

I sent my acquaintance this video today. She will not likely see this post, but it's for her and anyone else who has had to take that hard step to change their life.

Yes is available on CD in the US and via iTunes UK, among others.

September 5, 2007

All your suits are custom made in London

Madonna and David Collins*

The Queen made an appearance in Londonium last night, turning it out and looking, finally, age appropriate. To paraphrase something Richard said to me, every once in awhile she really turns it on, just to remind people who is The Boss. Be sure to read DListed's description of the event which made me cackle a wee bit - especially when he says that Madonna and Elton "don't have a lot of time" left.

* some interior designer and Main Gay of UK Madge

September 3, 2007

Go to the top of your highest mountain!

Jean-Paul Goude has done a wicked photo shoot with Bjork. Another photo and deets at Zarko's deluxious blog, Design Scene. Goude is most famous for his work with Grace Jones in the 70's and 80's. Bjork is a perfect choice for him.

XOvision: Those earthy Anglos

My uncle was in Cornwall last week visiting some UK family and tells me I have cousins named Cain, Tudor and Demelza! Someone must've been reading/watching Poldark. That side of the family is from St. Agnes and Truro. My grandfather came from a mining family and had 14 siblings - they were hardcore. I should also add that I make a bitchin' pasty, though mine is made like a pie, in a glass dish.

I digress. Here are two new British videos...

The Twang 2 Lovers:

Starring Jaime Winstone (who is the daughter of "Sexy Beast" Ray Winstone) and hooligan Danny Dyer, who has shown the world his pubes. This is a gritty Brit drama in 3 minutes. Jaime looks very Dolores-in-Zombie-era, doesn't she? She didn't always! Never fall in love with a dead-end kid.

Kate Nash Mouthwash:

Thank God for a 20-yr-old featuring something other the promise of sex. This is the tremendous new single by Kate Nash. The video is kind of insane, but I love the song and I really do believe the lyric is supposed to be that simple. Tell me the "I'm singing 'uh-oh' on a Friday night" hook doesn't stick with you? The final minute of the song and video is ecstatic - I love the look on her face in the last seconds. Thanks to Wongie for noting that it's been released.

September 2, 2007

RetroXO: Moloko's Familiar Feeling

A post in anticipation of what will surely be one of the top albums of the year...

Róisín Murphy was sprung from the slightly avant electropop group Moloko. This track, Familiar Feeling, is from the 2003 album Statues, which various peeps have told me is not the freaky deaky disc I thought it was. They are basically right. A bit Abba-esque, Feeling opens the album. It's what might happen if you took an Irish electropop lover and plopped her down in Rio. It has a really organic, world music-y feel and there is something kind of vulnerable about how she sings - I don't get the sense the producers "treated" her voice much on this one.

This video above is quite fantastique... it has great energy. I love how Róisín looks like a secretary finally letting her hair down. Look for the moment where she appears to fall on her ass!

September 1, 2007

London's mine.

The title of this post was the original name of this blog (I didn't end up using it). Anyway, the state of the Empire is strong! This has been a good year for British pop/rock.

A CDR's worth of my favo(u)rites this year, with more to come in the fall, I hope. These are all bands, no solo artists, and in no order:

Ghosts Stay The Night video
The epitome of the classic Britpop single. Totally joyous. Stop and new single Ghosts are epic too.
The Klaxons Golden Skans video
The March song that made me want to wear skinny jeans with pointy shoes. I didn't really do it!
GoodBooks Passchendaele video
History lesson in a highly melodic three mintes. Classic singalong chorus, tightly arranged and produced.
Lucky Soul The Great Unwanted MP3 here
I just wrote about this - the great unwanted will not be ignored!
The Revelations If I Called You On The Telephone video
It's indie, so it goes here, but it's a perfect retro pop girl group gem.
Travis Closer video
Atmospheric and sweet. Best thing on the CD by far. Took me awhile to like this song.
Cherry Ghost False Alarm
This band is Britpop with a countryish twang. A soaring ballad.
Fields Song For The Fields hear it at myspace
6 minutes of British folked crossed with raging guitars. A major song. Charming The Flames is worthy as well.
Arctic Monkeys Fluorescent Adolescent video
I love Alex Turner. Love. Him. Remember when the boys were all electric?
Cajun Dance Party Amylase video / MP3 via Torr
I like how the hook is built around the word catalyst. Smart and punky pop.
Mr. Hudson And The Library Upon The Heath
Jazzy ballad about dudes smoking "greenery" and musing on life while sitting on Hampstead Heath.
Passenger Wicked Man's Rest video
Gorgeous comedown music - soothing, but not somnabulent. Smart too.
Little Man Tate This Must Be Love video
A midtempo guitar pop gem about kissing with tongues and feeling up girls. Yay second base.
The Hours Ali In The Jungle video
Literate. They're about to take NYC. From a worthy album that no one but me liked. I reviewed the CD here.
The Twang Either Way video
What if the criminals on British cop dramas burst into song? Here it is! A mix of spoken and sung parts, veddy Briddish. I bet drunk hooligans show their soft side singing along to this.
Bloc Party I Still Remember video
Memory of teen flirtation. Gay themed? One would assume. Indie approved, but we'll let that slide because this song is sweet and moving and uplifting.
Hard Fi The King play MP3 sample
Sweeping ballad, not as good as Move On Now, but still worthy. Gorge middle eight at 2:48.
WinterKids Who Am I Kidding hear it at myspace
They're from Peaslake! Nothing like the CD, this classic is sung by the band's little sister and better for it.
A Silent Film The Lamplight video
Very indie. The vocals on the opening are pretty. Smooth chiming British rock music. Has potential.
Aqualung Garden Of Love
Sort of one guy, but this song is a masterpiece. See more here. I suppose Aqualung is a solo artist, but we'll let that slide.

In terms of albums, the best British pop band album is Ghosts self-titled debut. By far. It is brilliant pop record and you must have it! Will be high on my top ten this December.

Worthy: Fields debut album Everything Last Winter is such an intriguing mix of folk and metal, all meldoic. The Hours' Narcissus Road (reviewed) is solid as a rock, if not revolutionary.

Half-n-half albums: Cherry Ghost's Thirst For Romance, Hard Fi's good-not-great Once Upon A Time In The West, Mr. Hudson And The Library's schizo A Tale Of Two Cities, Travis's meh The Boy With No Name, GoodBooks' Control (not what I was hoping for, but some good tunes).

Do not buy: Little Man Tate's About What You Know (too pubby), WinterKids' Memoirs (too American sounding, like Fall Out Boy).

Jury's out: Aqualung's Memory Man takes awhile - it is not an immediate kind of record. Athlete's Beyond The Neighbourhood -single disappoints me, but I have not heard the full CD. The Twang's album is supposed to be good, but I don't have it yet.

The best blog for new British music is done by Torr. It's updated about once a week and always has good new bands,.