March 31, 2008

If you want it

Madonna in plasticene. The Lady in Vanity Fair, by Steven Meisel. Image via of Madonna Connexion. See more there...

Read the full interview, which is pretty poor in my opinion, at
Vanity Fair Online. Looks like the writer makes it clear that VF flew her from Connecticut to LA, only to find that The Lady gave her just two hours for a cover story. Regardless, you can also view a slideshow of photos from her cover shoots.

[Yes, I am finally moved to my new place and I love it! More news soon

March 28, 2008

2008: Q1

In no particular order, my Top Songs for the first quarter of 2008. A few rules: These tunes do not have to be singles, but I allow only one song by each artist (or else it would have been dominated by Goldfrapp!) and songs must be officially released. The colored link will take you to a place you can hear/see the song.

Sam Sparro
Black And Gold video
The Gadsdens The Sailor Song* myspace
Temposhark Not That Big (with Imogen Heap) myspace
Goldfrapp A&E video
Sia Day Too Soon video
Missy Higgins Where I Stood video
Supergrass When I Needed You myspace
Adele Hometown Glory video
Janet Jackson Rock With U video
The Feeling Without You video
Duffy Stepping Stone video
Nayo African Girl myspace
Delays Hooray video
Madonna 4 Minutes myspace
China Forbes '78 myspace
Carly Smithson (AI) Blackbird video
Deepest Blue Miracle myspace
Tigercity Powerstripe myspace

What are your favorites?

Song from last year I keep going back to:
Kylie's All I See
Worthy albums thus far: Goldfrapp, Sia, Adele, Missy Higgins, Duffy

What's coming: Madonna, Antigone Foster, Sam Sparro, The Gadsdens (late '08?), The Kooks, Martha Wainwright, Annie,

* Not officially released, but the band leaked it.

hoto by Hedi Slimane / I am moving this weekend, so may be offline for awhile...

You only see what your eyes want to see

M's propping up the planet, or holding it back, depending on how you see it! Or her cheekbones are doing that work. And somebody needs to get her more than one pair of boots. At least she doesn't have a black eye or boxing gloves...

Picture by Steven Meisel, who Madonna has not work with since 1996. Pretty fierce.

UPDATE: Be sure to check out Wongie's site for a post with some Madonna "freebies" including her recent interview with Z100 - she was actually in a good mood for a change! One tidbit: Madonna reveals that she works out to Britney's last CD (eww) and is listening to Goldfrapp's new album, Jamelia and Kate Nash.

March 27, 2008

Review: Temposhark's The Invisible Line

Wavy-haired Temposhark singer Rob Diament

After a few years of recording and releasing singles, Temposhark has finally released their debut CD, The Invisible Line. The band's pedigree is pretty serious: Guy Sigsworth produced two songs and his colleague Sean McGhee handles the rest. Producer Youth and violinist Sophie Solomon are also involved, as well as a major star mentioned below. It's a slick effort that sounds expensive even if it wasn't. Lead singer Rob Diament's voice reminds me a bit of Howard Jones or, perhaps, Duncan Sheik. A slightly reedy instrument you keep expecting to go off the rails, though it never does.

I like the fact that Temposhark are at heart a pop band. There are not many young men currently trading in this sound, aside from Darren Hayes, some of the 80's greats like Pet Shop Boys and, to a degree, Depeche Mode. Having said that, the boys don't always seem committed to that persona.

The Invisible Line has two faces: one is the lush power pop of single Blame, with its gorgeous, fleeting orchestrals at 2:30. The other is edgy electro rock on songs like Crime and Knock Me Out. I don't think they merge these halves successfully. For every song I like, there is a "butch" one I don't.

he standout piece here is a superb collaboration with Imogen Heap called Not That Big. This fantastic kiss-off song apparently is not intended as a double entendre (a fact I find a bit of a letdown!). Though Heap merely sings on the track, the track sounds much like her own solo work, so clear is the inspiration. It's Better To Have Loved and the drum-and-bassy Battleships build on this melody-driven style with great success.

The rocker tunes though, I just don't think they're strong points for Diament. The arrangements are edgy and staccato, but they sound sort of cheap, unlike their poppier counterparts. Occasionally Temposhark comes close to making these songs work by emplying unexpected twists, like a horn solo in the middle of metal angst drama Little White Lie.

Album opener Don't Mess With Me, is a more successful experiment, this one a sort of narcissistic chamber piece. Diamont gets to ham it up here, snarling, "I've come, it's been fun, but won't you please disappear?" Should this song be the first track on the record? Probably not, but it does grab attention.

Ultimately, while Temposhark clearly wants to work within a wide scope of styles, I think they should stick with their strength: 4 minute electropop-based tunes with strong melodies. As in real life, it's when men try too hard too prove they're not boys that it goes awry.

Hear Not That Big, Battleships and Don't Mess With Me at Temposhark's myspace. The Invisible Line is out now via iTunes US or UK. They've also done a free podcast for iTunes UK.

UPDATE, 2011: This band sucked ass.

March 26, 2008

I spy Dan Sex-Sells in his underpants.

The Feeling Without You:

Dan Gillespie Sells is almost unrecognizable in this video. He has very good bone structure! In fact, he was born to play a pilot in a British drama about one of the wars. Which he almost does here. How many of you sluts looked at his crotch?

I always like to remind people that I had a conversation with Dan in the magazine section of a Borders in Northern - not North - Virginia. No one else recognized him but me. I'd tell you he tried to grope me, but I don't think you would believe me. He is a tiny man though, with not one ounce of body fat.

March 25, 2008

Mixtape: Life in boxes

Moving on the weekend. Gahhhh! My new neighborhood was named one of the Top 10 Neighborhoods in America last October. That's good, right? I will say that it is very friendly - I have already met many of my new neighbors, who've been quite helpful. None of those above are my place (I wish!), but it is the neighborhood, which is street after street of amazing old houses each in a different color, including a bright green/yellow house and a hot pink one.

That Madonna album cover: I will not speak of it.

The new Death Cab single is 8 minutes long with no vocal until almost minute 5. If it were musically exhilirating, this might make sense. But it's not. You could find it
here, last I checked.

The Kooks album, Konk, is not very adventurous, though the single has grown on me. They are releasing a version that has extra songs. It's called (not so cleverly) RAK, after the studio it was recorded in.

Famous "GILF" Marianne Faithfull is now getting paid to jerk men off through a hole in Broadway wall. Sort of. Read more at New York Magazine.

The REM album, like The Kooks, is not the big return I had hoped for. Not a surprise. Bring back Bill Berry and get some mandolins and a string quartet, guys. And some melodies too. In two year's time, they'll probably be verbally trashing this record like they do with all their others. Read an interview with Michael at Pitchfork.

I love how Coldplay said "It's not about Ricky Martin" after they announced their CD is called Viva La Vida.

I recommend the Guillemots single (Torr hates it!) called Get Over It. It's catchy and mindless fun. The lead singer's name is, I kid you not, Frye Dangerfield.

I kind of wish Hillary Clinton would shut up. She is so transparently craven in her desire to win that it lessens my trust in her.

Retro Wonderland has classic songs from 'Til Tuesday and Thompson Twins.

Speaking of which, I am still looking for the Alex Sadkin UK version of Thompson Twins' Lay Your Hands On Me. For some reason that song, in its American mix, has been on repeat on my iPod lately.

I took Lorraine off my facebook. They do have an album coming out, but who knows where and who knows when. Which reminds me, did Dangerous Muse get dropped? Apparently not, but it has now been close to 2 years since they first hit the indie pop scene.

Okay. If the blog slows down for the next week, you know why. I hope to keep it updated when possible.

Why don't we make a little room in my BMW?

There really was a point in time at which George Michael could do no wrong. What makes his career so notable, in my opinion, are the stylistic leaps he took with each record. You wouldn't know how great a vocalist he is from the first Wham record, but that became clear on Make It Big, where the songcraft took a leap into classic, not throwaway, pop. His first solo album, Faith, fulfilled that promise and made him into a massive star, one who could really sing. Then Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 - at this point, it would be a cliche to ask "Where is Vol. 2?" - launched him into that place where pop music meets art, a la Madonna's Like A Prayer. That album is absolutely perfect and it added a level of introspection and emotion that he'd never displayed before.

Since that time, well, we know what happened. Tearoom trolling, extended pot haze, an almost hermit-like persona. I mean, the man sojourns in Dallas! Not quite Lauryn Hill weirdness, but a waste of talent with just occasional glimmers of past genius in newer recordings. In many ways, he seems far older than his 44 years. The empathetic part of me thinks that George is insecure and never really felt he deserved the success he had, so he did everything he could, including lawsuits, to sabotage it. There is a part of him that seems quite normal and unpolished in interviews.

The last time he toured America was in 1991 for the Cover To Cover tour, which I saw. The show was a celebration of songs he loved: perfectly chosen covers, some obvious (Elton's Sun) and others less obvious (Seal's Killer). I love that George respects other people's music. He is a true music fan and he has impeccable taste in music. 17 years later, George is finally returning to America and... I am so there. All is forgiven and forgotten. He just gave an interview to USA Today where he had this moment of introspection:

'I still have facial hair,' he says. 'My hair is much shorter and browner. And I don't dye it.'

Well, bully for you, Jorge Miguel (as we like to call him). Probably not a factual quote, based on the photo above. I just hope you take the time to meet your opening act on this tour, a measure of respect you did not accord Sophie Ellis Bextor

Worldwide trolls please note that the new US version of Twenty Five, the hits CD, contains a new recording, a cover of Nina Simone's Feeling Good. I'll do a follow-up post on my favorite songs by George.


March 23, 2008

Blondfire: You know you own the room

For fans of Saint Etienne, Dean & Britta and The Rosebuds, Blondfire's debut single Pretty Young Girls is a "beguiling" mix of UK influenced indie pop and catchy sweetness. From a Brazilian/American brother/sister duo, it's so new there is not yet a video. I urge you to check the tune out on Blondfire's myspace.

You can purchase Pretty Young Girls now on iTunes US and UK.

March 22, 2008

XOvision: BritPop Brunch

Some new Britpop videos worth a look...

The Last Shadow Puppets The Age Of The Understatement:

The Last Shadow Puppets is Arctic Monkeys singer Alex Turner's string-laden side project. The first single is, to quote Mrs. Beckham, MAJOR. How much moolah do you think was dropped on the above video? You can watch it on wide screen too. It was directed by Romain Gavras. The single is out on April 17 (on 7" and digital, no CD) and the potentially grandiose debut album is out on April 21 in the UK and May 6 in the US.

Delays Hooray:

I've warmed to this single since I first heard it. There must some alternative UK where they are as big as Keane, because they deserve that kind of success. Delays embrace the pop in Britpop wholeheartedly and I - no surprises - love them for it. Thanks as always to Torr, who just did a post about this on his blog.

Neon Neon I Lust U:

The jury is still out on this band: I like Neon Neon's retro 80's sound, but I feel like the tunes are kind of disposable. The singer is Gruff from Super Furry Animals, but on this one he's wisely joined by Welsh singer Cate Le Bon (does she smirkingly say "Le Bon, Cate Le Bon"?). I do find the "I lust u if the price is right" line fitting with recent American political downfalls I've been obsessed with.

Don't forget, you can find the audio for some of these tunes on Hype Machine.

March 20, 2008

You have always waited for this moment to arrive

Occasionally American Idol transcends the Starz In Their Eyes-style horror and provides a moment that shuts me down. This week Irishwoman Carly Smithson chose one of my favorite Beatles songs, Blackbird, and she sang it right from the soul. It was sublime. Typically, Simon didn't get it because it wasn't Westlife or Leona pap. Carly explained why she chose the song afterward (watch here), but it doesn't take a genius to understand the emotional impact of that lyric on anyone. Simon tries so hard to manipulate the votes to what he wants - a cash cow singer. Whatever.

Remember too, when people trash Paul McCartney for being too la-dee-da, they forget that he, not John, wrote Blackbird. The original is on The White Album and has been covered hundreds of times. You can buy this version on American iTunes now.

Who's that girl, v.2

Madonna is back in Londinium and morphing by the minute. Last week she was Americana trailer park trash and this week she's either a bike messengeresse or a wealthy older matron depending on the hour. I will say that the heinous cheekbones are less obstrusive when she doesn't trowel on the pancake.

March 18, 2008

Immi: The best days of our lives

Don't forget that Imogen Heap's new song Not Now But Soon is out today on iTunes (from the Heroes soundtrack).

Update: As you may see in the comments, the record company has chosen to make Immi's song available as "album only" meaning it will cost you $.99. I don't know where to begin about this practice. It's pure greed and shows how the industry has not fully adopted the new model of song-by-song downloads. They see a cash potential in forcing people to buy the full album and must figure that any sales lost are made up in the price gouge. What they don't factor in is the consistent ill will this model exhibits toward consumers. It says "We don't care what you want from us. We want your money."

March 17, 2008

Ch Ch Changes

If I seem a bit invisible, it's because I am. I alluded recently to an upswing after a frankly shitty opening to the year: I'm preparing to move into the city. I've never actually lived in DC in all the years I've been working here. We're talking full-throttle city living, with street parking, sirens wailing, etc, but I'll be living in an old row house with lots of character - it's one of the ones above - and even have a patio/garden. I'm not buying it [good God, I cannot afford that], but the plan is to be there for at least 3 years. My current place is walled with boxes. Moving forces one to release material possessions - which should make the soul lighter, right? - but I still have too much. The amount of CD boxes alone is going to be absurd.

So if things get a bit silent for awhile, this is why. Rest assured, I cannot wait to get my normal life back, but it will take some time.

Think I want you still

Yes, it is old now, but I'm just splashin' this up here because I love the photograph. Alison recently talked about getting inspiration from the movie Picnic At Hanging Rock - watch the trailer. I still think A&E is the best song for '08 thus far. Meanwhile, the new single is Happiness (see its cover here) - if you have not caught the hilarious Rex The Dog Remix video, do it now at PopJustice. The story is this: these guys did a decent remix of Happiness, which got rejected, so they took it on Alison and Will via puppet violence!

The upcoming single has these remixes (but no new songs): Road To Somewhere (Acoustic Version), Happiness (Beyond The Wizards Sleeve Re-animation), Monster Love (Goldfrapp vs. Spiritualized) and Eat Yourself (Yeasayer Remix).

Goldfrapp will - in usual fashion - do 3 dates next month in the US. Check out the band doing a beautiful version of A&E at Union Chapel in Islington on March 4:

thanks dcbaxter

March 15, 2008

Who's that girl?

This is LaDonna. She lives in a double-wide in a trailer park and - when it has wheels - she likes to drive it around. LaDonna used to be a boxer back in the day. And a high kicker. Now she plays the bingo on Saturday nights, and reminisces while nursing her Jack mixed with Fanta. She enjoys fake fur, thinks control-top panty hose are spankin' hot, and she likes to suck on hard candy in between ciggies. She still dreams of owning a Cadillac.

March 14, 2008

Rydw i'n hoffi Duffy!

Duffy has purged not only her first name (Aimee) from her bio, but also her Idol-esque TV background. Never fear, no one can hide anything on the Interwebs, so it doesn't take Inspector Lynley to uncover video from her appearance on Wawffactor way back in... 2003! In Welsh! Or Cymraeg, I should say. That is hardcore.

March 13, 2008

Right now they're playing our song

Promoters have been sending out info about the April 1 release of Kylie's X album in the States. Today I received the stream of All I See (below) and played it like 10 times in my office, which says something about the state of pop music in the past few weeks. I am obsessed with this song all over again. I still think it's so unexpectedly pretty. The sum is much lovelier than the cookie cutter parts.

Kylie Minogue All I See "Mimless" streaming audio

Bonus: Watch Kylie's X EPK

click on image

March 11, 2008

How long have I known you?

20 years ago we encountered this lonely lady:

and now we have this one:

Roisin's new video for You Know Me Better, which might as well be the best song of 2008. Why not? This video lacks the humor of her previous two, but it does enable Roisin to wear every. single. item. she bought at the thrift store. I think the best look is the yellow dress / blue socks / tulle hat. You?

March 10, 2008

Post Madonna

I just watched Madonna being inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame and I was thinking about how imagining the world before Madonna is like imagining the world before the Internet. I mean, we lived it, but we say the same thing: What did we do? I mean, really, how boring it must have been for us.

Burning The Ground has some good Madonna 80's stuff. Check it out.

March 9, 2008

Mixtape: The crack of my...

Sleep continues to elude me and the time change has not helped, though now maybe I'll be wide awake at the oh-so-palatable 4:30 AM versus 3:30...

That's Patrick Wolf above with Peaches Geldof at a recent NME event. His taste in lady friends also includes the esteemed Kelly Osbourne. Oy. He's young! Meanwhile Peaches seems determined to follow in her mother's footsteps as a rock star "band aid." And yes, his ass is poking out of his pants. I wear the same look on the days I work at the Reference Desk. Hot or not?

I love that Martha Wainwright has named her new CD I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too. It's out June 10, features lots of old male rock star guests and has a cover of Love Is A Stranger (Eurythmics). I am temporarily off Rufus, by the way. Just need a year away from his ginormous ego.

The long-missing Maxwell has a snippet of a decent ballad called Pretty Wings on his myspace. I guess he's still signed to Sony? He needs to revise his plan to release three albums in three years and just try for one.

Truly missing in action: Courtney Love (her CD is the new Chinese Democracy) and Lorraine (promises, promises boys, you never tell the fans anything except "album coming!" - in what, 2010?).

The Divine Comedy is headlining a festival in late Spring but I don't think they have a new CD yet?

Speaking of older male muscians, my God! Billy Bragg has lost his English accent. His new album is like American alt/folk. Someone's been playing too much with Wilco. Maybe his recent collabs with Kate Nash will bring it back? The album also completely erases the ebulient English pop that was threaded through his arrangements.

Tracey Thorn is far enough into recording her new album that she knows "we won't be heading for the dancefloor on this one." She's in her "Berlin period," having recorded there recently with Ewan Pearson (good news). They're using lots of "guitar and piano and organ so far." Tracey also says she loves the Hot Chip record and that she has no clue whether music killer Guy Hands has dumped her from EMI. EDIT: Read more at Worrapalova - he and I had the same idea on this!

Did you see that "Björk... hurt the feelings of the Chinese people"? What bullshit. She shouted "Tibet! Tibet!" before a song, but I don't even believe that will affect other artists performing there. At least for 2008, China is trying to play nice because so much attention has been placed on them for the Olympics. By the way, last I read, the Chinese cannot use or read anything at Not sure if this is always true or only at moments.

Martina Topley Bird, who used to sing with Tricky in the 90's, has a new album called The Blue God that she calles "futuristic pop noir." The free track on her site is weak, in my humble opinion. See more here.

I hope everyone caught the insanely amusing Leona drama on Chartrigger? Mariah's Lambs have clearly moved over to Leona. That's all I am sayin' here! I did make some comments, among the 50+, over there...

The details on the current state of Annie Lennox's relationship with SonyBMG are covered in the Times. Quote: "'It’s all turned around now. They’ve got right behind it.' It was actually the company’s idea, she explains, to make the rereleased “hard copy” of the single. " Sing is finally out this week. By the way, did you know that AIDS can be transmitted via breast milk? I did not know that - in fact, it seems counterintuitive to what I know about AIDS.

Finally, thank God, Paul is back from Vegas.

March 8, 2008

Where were you in '78?

China Forbes. You may not know the name, but you probably know the voice in a very different guise. She's the lead singer for Pink Martini, who had a hit last year with Hey Eugene. Now she's done a solo record steeped in sounds of singer-songwriters like Sheryl Crow and the female artists of the 70's. It's called '78. What's strange is that her voice, so unique and wry in Pink Martini, becomes almost mundane in these arrangements. The title track is a dream: Carole King-esque moodiness with rainy day horns. What I've heard from the rest of the record is not as good. She's a singer in need of a mood. Note also that the album contains an alternate version of Hey Eugene.

You can hear '78 on her myspace, The Yellow Stereo has a song and China is now on iTunes US.

March 7, 2008

This will be on every blog...

Mama said knock you out.

Thanks Richard!

Quote Of The Week

'Generations of them, all moaning about how NME stopped being good at the exact moment they stopped buying it,' complains Steven Wells, one of the magazine's star writers in the 1980s and early 1990s. 'It must really suck to be an NME writer these days with this bloated Greek chorus of balding middle-aged naysayers on your back.'

From a Times Online piece called They think it's all over for the NME, published March 7, 2008. The Times, perhaps self-servingly, declares the 56 year old music rag "dead."

March 6, 2008

Up in '08: Nayo

Nayo (pronounced Nigh-o) is a new singer from London. The Times Online is offering up four - yes, four - MP3s. People keep calling her the next Sade because 1) her tunes are smooth and elegant and 2) she is part Nigerian. That comparison is a little kneejerk - it's easy because she is African. The odd thing about her is that, in certain moments, she sounds like she could easily sing Carrie Underwood's songs. Can anyone else hear that? She is a wee bit "poised" in her vocals, but I like what I've heard so far.

Nayo's 11-track album, called African Girl is due on March 10. I highly recommend the lovely title track, one of the free downloads at The Times. It's one in a long line of "dump your girl for me, baby" songs. Her myspace calls the music "ambient soul"... how long till the poor girl is musically molested by Sting?

If you're a fan of Skye Edwards, Zero 7, etc, you will like Nayo. In fact, like Skye, Nayo has Madonna-cohort Patrick Leonard behind her.

March 5, 2008

Heartache to heartache she stands

Janet Jackson's new video, Rock With U, is out and it's a mess. This is a shame, because this is the best single she's had in years. But this clip? The costumes alone were vomited up from that old Pat Benatar video where the hookers rebel against their pimp. Right

I appreciate the level of dancing going on here: the video has some good moves and a casual vibe, but it's just a visual mishmash. Actually, Rock With U has some amusing details: Janet features hideous bi-level hair and she is wearing some noxious flats. In this guise, she strangely reminds me of Stevie Nicks in her Oxycontin phase. Not really sure why. And WHO is Janet imitating at 2:57 when she walks out of the room messing with her hair? Is it Tina Turner?

There is a move busted by Janet that I want you to look out for at 2:16 that is verrrry 80's, like a move Madonna would've done back in the day. And in the Misheard Lyrics Department, I still think I hear "Straw birds make everything sexier"! [Note: it's strobelights]. 

Close your eyes and play the music...

March 4, 2008

Not now but soon

Can you believe it's been almost 3 years since the Mary Poppins of poprock, Imogen Heap, dominated my blog? I have some news for those who've not been following the English rose for awhile: On March 18, the world will be treated to a brand new Heap song, Not Now But Soon, from the Heroes soundtrack. The snippets she's played on her 'vblogs" sound typically immense.

Meanwhile, her collaboration with Temposhark, the intriguingly titled Not That Big, is out March 25 in the US and in April elsewhere. You can stream it now at their myspace. It's tremendous and fits right in with Immi's previous work.

A few other notes: She's recently done a remix for IAMX - do you know him? He's very UK...errr... electroluxe? She's also doing a new song for the next Narnia movie, Prince Caspian.

Catch Imogen's latest vblog (#20), where you can watch her drive on the wrong side of the road, as those eccentric Brits all seem to do. She's so pretty - as Lloyd Cole once sang, she's got perfect skin.

March 3, 2008

When it comes to you, I can't wait: Pt. 2

It's becoming increasingly clear that Róisín Murphy is a stellar live act, a true musician. She keeps popping up in stange places with pristine performances and new arrangements. In this case it's Lyndhurst Hall / Air Studios in London. Be sure to read The Hopeless Optimist's great review of the show (part of iTunes Live) on March 1.

Watch above as she does a flawless version of You Know Me Better. I'd carried on in my album review about the bridge on this song - the middle eight, children - and this particular performance has a hushed breakdown at the 3:00.

Also watch a new acoustic guitar-based version of my Favorite Song of 2008, Let Me Know, here. Holy shit!

Róisín looks particularly gorgeous in these clips (check her out in Primitive), the audio of which will soon be on iTunes UK. I know some peach will send them to me, since I cannot buy them in the States...

video courtesy of

REM: Gold...member?

Michael Stipe has painted himself gold for Q Magazine
. And it's not flattering. I do hope he left a tiny bit unpainted so he doesn't die like that chick in Goldfinger (or Golllldfiinguhhh!). I'm somewhat unimpressed by REM's new single Supernatural Superserious. It's supermeh. Just listen to the old stuff and look at pics of Mike when he was not goldleafy...

March 1, 2008

BritPop Brunch: Fickle XO

Let us take the month of February and bury it in the ground. The anxiety, grief, anger, depression, panic, etc, etc. We are this close to Spring and, while the exchange rate suggests I won't be in Londinium anytime soon, there's always the music scene to distract me.

The Kooks Always Where I Need To Be
Catchy is not enough, boys. I am in the camp that loves the Brighton group, mainly on the strength of Luke Pritchard's vocals and 2 songs, Naive and She Moves In Her Own Way, which are smart Britpop. The new single features Luke mixed right up front, but it's decidedly lackluster. Some A&R guy may have thought the doo-doo-doo-doo bits would translate into sales, but the song just lays there. "[Wah wah wah] I'm a man on the scene." Well, no Luke, unless it's the "scene" of Tesco shoppers on a Saturday morning.

Duffy Stepping Stone
The Rockferry album turns out to be a solid piece of music with some clear singles and slow burn album cuts, this one from the latter category. If each song has a time of day it should be played for best effect, Stepping Stone is for dusk. It's slinky, yet defiant: "I will never be your stepping stone / Take it alll or leave me alone." As if Duffy's putting on her makeup for a night out - glass of wine in hand - and she's totally wary of the whole fucking thing. [Hmmmm. Sounds like someone I know... minus the makeup]. Expect critics to slash and burn this album, out Monday, but it contains real melodies, vocals and diverse arrangements.

The Feeling Without You
Funny. A song I like, in which my review will sound like I don't like it. Without You is the finest moment on The Feeling's overcooked new CD, Join With Us. I can't even bear to review the full album, I dislike it that much. This song has several things going for it: a great melody, a lush orchestrals, some nice squizzy electronics and a melancholy theme of being away from those you love. I do find it a bit creepy how Dan G-S sings the line "30 dead and one teenage gunman" in an almost come-hither voice, though, and the song - like much of the album - has some outright clunker lyrics: "Even though your heart's in the dungeon / I wonder what the time is in London?" Huh? And a minor detail: no one calls it "North Virginia." It's northern Virginia. Whatever, a solid single.

Delays Hooray
A brilliant title to launch Delays third CD, Everything's A Rush. The song starts promisingly with synthy strings, chiming bells and a nice guitar line. Greg's verse vocals are subtle and cool, but there's something wrong here, perhaps because the chorus has the same melody as A Fine Frenzy's superior Come On Come Out (hear the latter at FF's myspace). That said, Hooray has an urgent bridge and is ubercatchy. Of course, if previous singles Hideaway and Valentine can't propel them, I don't know what will.

Your Vegas In My Head
No, it's not my Vegas at all. A British band from Leeds with Vegas in the name is always suspect. Who do they want to be? The label is pushing them hard, but I was willing to give them a shot, even if they don't sound terribly British. In My Head is pure American radio pop/rock, incredibly slick and a bit of an earworm. Nothing less, nothing more, but it could be a hit. I think I prefer Troubled Times on their myspace.

Supergrass When I Need You
"All the shit that we face everyday / Somehow works itself it out any way." Supergrass has defied all odds and survived for 13 years, out of the ashes of the original BritPop 90's invasion. This track is evidence of how much they've grown, with a sophisticated melody, adult lyrics and an arrangement that straddles the line between slick and practical. "I looked at old photos for hours and hours" sings Gaz Coombes, but his band is not resting on any old image of itself. This track is magnificent in every way.


The Kooks Always Where I Need To Be via Hype Machine
The Feeling Without You hear it on their myspace
Delays Hooray check via Google Blogs
Supergrass When I Need You at Obscure Sound
Your Vegas In My Head MP3

photo from London Daily Photo Blog