November 30, 2008

Review: Frankmusik's Three Little Words EP

Vincent Frank - Frankmusik - has just released the first teaser from his 2009 album, Complete Me. I've said before that I think this will be a major record. I expect the mainstream media in the UK to pick up on that fact in late December and January as they anoint their ones to watch. That Madonna's own Stuart Price produced this brings instant credibility. The 3 Little Words EP is old school in the sense that it's not a set of remixes, but a proper short-player with 3 unique tracks and an alternate recording of the title track.

Price's new mix of indie single 3 Little Words (video below) is actually shorter, clocking in at an airtight 2:48. On the one hand, it's crisper, choppier and more treble friendly, but I find the 80's rock "guitar" on the bridge a bit radio-craven. The online-only remixes added to the EP are fine, but like Sam Sparro's Black And Gold, the original is so solid that it doesn't benefit from mixing.

It's hard to believe Frank has relegated Run Away From Trouble to b-side status. The song, which resides in the same moody underworld favored by Ultravox, is a completely different mood from Words or any of his free MP3s floating around. This would have been a perfect "side two" track in the days of vinyl; check out the layers of massive orchestral synth beds, military percussion and wailing vocals around 2:45. Gorgeous.

Better Off As Two is standard issue Frankmusik, if "standard issue" means better than most electropop singles today. Available only on the physical CD, this squizzy uptempo is buoyant, catchy and, again, album-worthy. My only other comment about the song is this: Vincent Frank likes to get undressed.

Bravely, Frank closes the EP with the Black Gardenia Mix of the title song, an acoustic piano recording, perhaps to prove that he can move beyond all the gizmo wizardry displayed previously. It works, but it's a bit highwire as his voice quivers up and down the scales. Despite the occasional flat note, this version makes a case that Vincent Frank is a rare commodity in the DIY electronic music field: a techno noodler who can actually carry an emotion with his unadorned voice.

For UK fans, get it online at iTunes. US fans, Frank says the EP is available via Island Tunes. He promises a new single in January to launch the album. Until then, you have this and a zillion free MP3s scattered all over the interwebs...

Frankmusik 3 Little Words:

thanks to BradleyMuu for the hookup

November 29, 2008

Dubstar: To know these songs won't happen

Reunion not happening. First, Sarah's comment:
Over the summer my behaviour has been cowardly and deceitful. I have made promises I cannot keep, made Kate look like a bitch and by trying to please everyone I have ended up pissing everyone off, including myself, and have endangered the future of the thing that is most dear to my heart; the music of client. for this I am truly sorry. I demoed some Dubstar songs with a view to a possible album. I discovered on winkipedia last night that these songs will be released entitled 'united states of being'. this is absolutely without my knowledge. I know nothing of the song selection,running order and even the title. this recording is without my consent, approval or pemission and will do everything in my power to stop these unsolicited recordings being released on any format. I was very unhappy in dubstar because I felt I was never listened to or my opinions and ideas taken seriously. I didn't help myself very much by taking my frustrations out on the nearest bottle of pinot grigio and being completely pissed most of the time. but the eminent release of these recordings is history repeating itself and I am so very angry about the position it has put both kate and myself in on the eve of the release of 'command' not to mention our licencees in other territories. I am very sorry for trying to have my cake and eat it... for my greed, deceitfulness and complete disregard for other people. particularly kate and alan, chris and steve, andy ross and stephen hague. and to the fans who have been led to believe a reunion is imminent. it isn't. Sarah
Yikes. Now the guys comment (yesterday) via Facebook:

It looks as though the reunion will now not be happening.

I am incredibly sorry to have to tell you all this. Sarah has now decided (at the 11th hour) to not do anything with dubstar and to concentrate on Client.

So now Steve and Chris find themselves sitting on 20 brand new finished recordings.

For those of you who aren't aware, Sarah posted a statement over on the Client forum, but it got such a negative response from fans that they have now taken it down.

Chris and Steve will NEVER work with Sarah again. They are currently figuring out how to move forward through all of this.

I am sorry to have gotten all of your hopes up.

None of this would have been made public if people had not been committed in the first place.
Really unfortunate. Obviously we can't know who is at fault here, but all of this suggests the group was never very "healthy" because they clearly don't communicate. I wonder if Sarah contacted them after she read Wikipedia? I mean, any old slag can edit those entries. The thing is, and some will not agree with me, I think Dubstar is far more marketable, not only in terms of history, but the songcraft was better. Client kind of ambles along- they are not bad at all, but I don't think they come close to Dubstar.

Update: The band apparently did not like my comment on Facebook - they deleted it. No comment.

Update of the Update: I later found out the above delete was a mistake.

November 28, 2008

Mixtape: Secretary Of Pop

As I get ready to post this "mixtape," I realize the majority of it is negative. Maybe Barack Obama can save pop music too. That's not asking too much, is it? If he did add POP to his initiatives, I think I am well suited for the Cabinet. And I could easily assemble a crack team for a new department or agency. I may have some vetting problems though as I'm a bit of a skeevy ho. Anyway, onward...

If you were getting excited by the return of The Pipettes, don't. There is clearly trouble in that band. They've not yet recorded a new album and one of the two new girls just bolted, leaving only Gwenno and her sister.

If you were eagerly awaiting the release of Annie's Don't Stop, don't. And why would you, when the whole thing leaked in summer? It's never coming out. Officially. She's out of her record deal with Island, who botched the affair as the company changed hands. From what I heard of the record, half the tracks are worthy, but she needs to do more with some indie-minded folks. That's her calling card. She doesn't need to be the 6th Girl Aloud.

On a lighter note, while I don't love Franz Ferdinand's new song Ulysses, I do like the title and CD cover for Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. I also got a kick out of this blogger's response to Web Sheriff regarding the cover being "pirated" content. Fight idiocy.

Alexis Petridis rises to the challenge on this Missspears review for The Guardian. My fave bit: "...a dribbly tribute to her kids called My Baby starts... stick around for the bit where she inadvertently suggests the fruits of her loins are cursed with oral hygene issues: 'I smell your breath, it makes me cry.' You want to try giving them those Listerine strips. Tell them they're sweets."

Why don't Cocteau Twins reunite? Now is the time.

Nina Persson of The Cardigans has reunited her A Camp "side project." Their 2001 single I Can Buy You was a masterpiece! Watch it. The new single Stronger Than Jesus (stream it) is not moving me, though Peter Robinson says the album, Colonia, is solid. Pardon my unfortunate choice of "solid" next to Colonia, which reminds me of colonics.

Dragonette have lost their minds. When they first appeared, I loved their music (Galore is better than the last Scissters album by far), but I thought their visuals were a bit too risque to get them wide coverage. And now they've done an expensive looking "commercial" for watersports (not literally piss play, but that is the implication)! Really, it's not like they are promoting a new album. Who manages them? I am all for kink, but what is the point of this?

My first post on Duffy was a year ago. In that time, I've come to sort of despise her. She's just a bit too pastiche, a bit too guided by others, a bit too big-sales-track (see this piece in the The Times). Barring the noir-ish epic Stepping Stone, her potato chip voice is not worthy of the hype. In recent videos she looks like a tranny (not true of her early press photos) - she's trying too hard. That said, her cash-grabbing deluxe edition album is the only worthy one this year in terms of added content. 7 decent songs, including the simple Oh Boy. There is nothing that suggests a next step other than Fool For You, a bass-heavy tune which drags her into the 70's.

Guns'n'Roses? Chinese HooHah? Talk about an anticlimax. The Independent did a piece on long-overdue albums that's worth a peek, but she is dead wrong about Prince's Black Album. She rates it 3/10. I'd give it at least a 7/10.

I notice Madonna is finishing her US Tour and next doing South America. She's been looking good lately. I sincerely hope she is not snacking on A-Rod's hotdog. That's a weak rebounder, doomed on multiple levels, and I really don't want to see her chicken cutlet mug in the tabloids every ten seconds. I'd rawwwther she be alone and write a sullen-yet-masterful breakup album.

The Best Of Lists are staring to roll in. Torr already has his, that whore. I like his album of the year choice, The Last Shadow Puppets. Well deserved. My best-of "extravaganza" will happen sometime in mid-to-late December. In the meantime, you can see 2006 and 2007. I think these lists are the best distillation of my taste in music. Sometime you'll see albums and artists that didn't get covered as much, but are still favorites. This year may not be great - my disappointment list is pathetically long.

photo by Hedi Slimane, 2008

November 27, 2008

Lily: A weapon of massive consumption

Lily Allen is a naughty girl who should be spanked. In fact, she almost named her new album Stuck On The Naughty Step. Instead she called it It's Not Me, It's You and it's coming out in February. The starmaker machinery is gearing up now. The first single is called the The Fear, but it actually leaked last summer as I Don't Know. It's a wicked tune about celebrity culture, which Lily knows something about. Like I said, naughty girl.

Four songs leaked from the album in demo form via her myspazz: The Fear, Fuck You (aka Guess Who Batman), Who'd Of Known (sic) and I Could Say, which is gorgeous and unlike anything she's done before.It appears that she has taken this album seriously, recording the whole thing in Hell-Lay with Greg Kurstin, who I get the impression is sort of!... but with musical talent.

For a full writeup of the new album, read PopJustice now.

Let it be known now, I love Lily. Fucking. Love. Her. I just turn my head when she misbehaves.

November 26, 2008

Tori Amos, 16 years on

New Tori pic by Teri Pengilly

Lest you think Tori Amos's departure from Epic Records will hasten a rethink on her increasingly convoluted album themes, think again. In an October interview with The Independent, Tori reveals that each song on her 10th album will be tied to a short film (I guess this means videos?). At the moment, she is self-financed, so that's a lot to pull off. We'll see. Note that she has a duet with David Byrne coming out next year and she's working on a musical in London.

You can read what else I've said about Tori here.

November 25, 2008

Shake your ass they notice fast

Note to self: When doing a nude photo to promote my debut single, always be sure my underwear is not showing. Kills the effect.

That's Sam Taylor by the way.

November 24, 2008

You can be a little full-on

You won't hear it now and you won't hear it then-en-en. Indeed: FrankMusik released his new EP in England today and, of course, this American cannot find anywhere to buy it since 7 Digital closed off the US from purchasing other territories merch. Be sure to check out the gorge Black Gardenia mix of Three Little Words and the moody Run Away From Trouble. Paper Faces, by the way, is another Stuart Price moniker.

Robyn '08: Reissue, repackage, ripoff

Robyn's new video for the moving Dream On.

This is getting ridiculous. Robyn's album Robyn was released in Sweden in April 2005 with 13 tracks; that's the version I own, shown near the bottom of this post. It has since been reissued 3 times.

In late 2007, it was finally released in the UK with an alternate 15-song tracklist.
The 18-track US release in April 2008 sold just a few thousand. Wonder why? Maybe it was that everyone else, in what Thom Friedman calls "the flat Earth," had already bought or downloaded it? To be fair, I should note that Robyn was asked by her American label to add rappers to the CD, which she refused to do. Interscope may not have backed it as much as they could have if they'd actually had the foresight to release Robyn on its own merits.

The irony of course is that Robyn will probably go down as the one of the most influential, seminal pop records of the decade. Artistically, it's sort of the Album of the Year every year. By the time all is said and done, there will have been 8 singles associated with this album. 8.Like an underground Thriller! Which is another reason to cheer, as Robyn is an independent who controlled the shots all the way.

This makes the latest edition all the more puzzling. At what point does "perfecting" a record become an abuse of fan trust? This new release, also 18 tracks, adds new versions of two old hits and her cover of Prince's Jack U Off (which is worth the money, but the latter has been a b-side numerous times). Why not make it a double disc special edition or add a DVD of the videos? Why not release an EP of remixed old hits for the US and UK? She's a canny businesswoman, but this is silly. Europeans will be fortunate to download the new tracks via iTunes, etc (not so for other territories).

That said, the new mix of 2002's Keep This Fire Burning sounds fierce. There is also a new version of her 1007 breakout hit Show Me Love. Indeed, there are still more tracks from this era that have not made it to a version of Robyn, such as the stellar This One's For You (she did that with Fleshquartet) or CCC with Christian Falk or Hey U with Basement Jaxx.

At the end of the day - or year, as it were - Robyn is one of the most exquisite pop albums ever released (and released...). It's brazenly poptastic, danceable, funny, covertly political and, most of all, incredibly emotional. Music like this will bring back pop, I promise.

Here's the new cover:

1. Curriculum Vitae (featuring Swingfly) who dat?
2. Konichiwa Bitches
3. Cobrastyle
4. Handle Me
5. Bum Like You
6. Be Mine!
7. With Every Heartbeat
8. Who's That Girl?
9. Bionic Woman (Interlude)
10. Crash And Burn Girl
11. Robotboy
12. Eclipse
13. Should Have Known
14. Any Time You Like
15. Dream On
16. Keep This Fire Burning (2008 mix)
17. Show Me Love (2008 mix)
18. Jack You Off

The 2005 version I have:

1. Curriculum Vitae 2. Who's That Girl? 3. Handle Me 4. Robotboy 5. Be Mine! 6. Bionic Woman (Interlude) 7. Crash And Burn Girl 8. Tomteverkstan 9. Konichiwa Bitches 10. Bum Like You 11. Eclipse 12. Should Have Known 13. Any Time You Like

November 22, 2008

There but for the Grace...

See more stunning images of Grace at Fashionation.

XOvision: The landing gear are down

The year is winding up and there are few chances left to wow us. What does it say that two of the videos below relate to last year's releases? It shows how unenthusiastic I am about 2008...

Roisin Murphy on Tour

View a Roisin show in 9 minutes. Her clothing on this tour is beyond. The two-tone pants rock my cock. chill, it's just a phrase

Keane Perfect Symmetry

One of the better songs on their new album, which I'd rate as middling. It's not bad, but it doesn't leap like it should. Not sure if this is an actual single. I'd like to see them put more effort into their videos, which does not mean they have to spend more money.

Solange Knowles T.O.N.Y.

While every Tom, Dick and dick have their heads turned toward Sasha Fierce, Li'l Sis has released a clip for a song better than anything Bouncey put out last week. If you've not heard this tune, please play the video just once. It manages to recall the best girl groups, but still sound totally in the now.

Will Young Grace

How to do it right. I don't love this song, but Dermot mentions the "master class" and that is what this is.

Darren Hayes This Delicate Film We've Made (trailer)

Darren is releasing a collection of 13 videos from his last CD. I like how he makes these trailers look like previews for blockbuster films. A slightly obtuse comment to Darren directly: Really?

November 20, 2008

Mr. Hudson And The Library

Mr. Hudson And The Library Picture Of You:

Do you remember the brilliant scene in Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, when Cillian Murphy leaves the hospital only to find that there is no one left in London? The streets are empty (you can see images from it here). This video has an almost identical shot on Westminster Bridge - one that I am surprised Mr. Hudson and The Library were able to pull off.

There are many things to love about this (2007) video: the haircut and dye job, the Cappuccino Kid clothes, the blue filter and, not least, the surprise cameo appearance of another creature near the end (2:40). It's worth it just for the gorgeous shot of Mr Hudson 40 seconds into the video, with Big Ben in the background. Get me on a plane. Now.

I would be remiss if I did not note that Mr. Hudson and The Library are signed to Kanye West's own label and are on tour with him now. Strange. Their new album is due out in 2009, with a single There Will Be Tears out in a moment. Download a two-minute snippet. It's heavily vocodered, but spare, melodic and vaguely jazzy.

Update: Kanye's new album contains a track with Mr. Hudson called Paranoid.

November 18, 2008

You set me on fire

Ladyhawke releases her debut album in America today. The iTunes version has a great remix of Back Of The Van (the 7-minute Fred Falke Ultimate Beverly Mix) that is uberlush. Think Christopher Cross meets Tangerine Dream meets Stevie Nicks. Seriously.

Pip looks deluxe in the image above from her new video for My Delirium, probably the best song on the album. Remember this is the THE debut album of the year. For more on Ladyhawke, click on the wee blue tab below.

November 17, 2008

1996: Everything But The Girl

EBTG Wrong

I've always thought this song quite seductive. When Ben Watt almost died in the early 90's and EBTG were later resurrected, they started to create (pop) art on the edge. They have a number of songs that are like a mix of sleek metal and cashmere: Lullaby of Clubland ("I've got no coat... are you on your own?") and Five Fathoms ("I wrap the wheel around me and I go out"). Songs that are marked for me by those key lines, which I associate not with isolation, but with the freedom of a solitary moment. Especially when pushed to the corners of one's comfort zone. Wrong, for me, is summed up by this line: "I wanted everything for a little while / Why shouldn't I / I wanted to know what it was like."

Clearly I am having a London moment. It's the rain and cold and grey following a frustrating week. Do you have any songs like this, that resonate on a key line - one that reveals a certain side of you?

I'd like to occasionally highlight an old song that maybe has not received the attention it merits. I'd share the tracks, but we all know how that goes...

November 16, 2008

Playlist: Carry on!

That's a photo of some of the fences in my neighborhood (by a great photog TonyinDC). His child's hair matches the leaves! The weather here is seriously autumnal. Last night I was on a street in NW DC that was literally blanketed in newly-fallen ginkgo leaves (see further down). Here are thoughts on six songs I've been playing lately as I crunch across those leaves...

Vacant Heart
A few days ago, I put up the video for Malcolm McLaren's Madame Butterfly, which is sampled on this unreleased new track. I'd speculated awhile back that before I got excited about Vincent Frank I wanted to hear how he handled ballads and midtempos. He nails them: great lyrics, strong vocals and a beautiful melody that holds its own against that sample. I am not sure if this is one of the Stuart Price-produced tracks or a demo. Either way it MUST be released in 2009. Hear a bit of it via his myspazz or via PopMuse.

Leela James A Change Is Gonna Come
I don't think it can be understated how American history was altered two weeks ago. I had not been proud of this country for many years and now I am. Period. So we need songs to go with that mood! Seal released an Obama-themed video for this oldie, but I think Leela James 2005 version gets to the heart of the matter by keeping it simple. Where Seal's orchestrated arrangement pushes the mood, Leela relies purely on her voice, the melody and the lyrics. Note that she does a 10-minute version of this on her Live in New Orleans EP. I hope we hear more from her soon.

The Killers Spaceman
Aliens stop just short of anally probing little LaFleur on this new single. Durn. Hitting Brandon's magic spot might have sent him right over the glittery disco edge, which would not be a bad thing. Regardless, Spaceman is one of those tunes that seems pedestrian at first but morphs into an earworm. PopJustice's Peter Robinson wrote last week that the album is a big disappointment, though the singles have been 5 star in my opinion. All will be revealed within a week.

Sugababes No Can Do
The Babes next single has been branded their worst by some fans, which truly baffles me. This is so much better than non-song Girls. From the blaring horn intro to the brilliant final vamp (2:36) "Don't try and even call me on the telephone..." it's solid retropop. Makes me happy. Watch it.

Tony Christie The Only Ones Who Know
When I heard this song, it instantly became my favorite from the ye olde British crooner's wicked cool new album produced by Richard Hawley. The fact that it was a cover of Arctic Monkeys flew by me for a few weeks, but I should have known by the lush lyrics (Alex Turner is GOD).
"I hope your holding hands by New Years' Eve / They made it far too easy to believe / That true romance can't be achieved / These days." Hear it.

Will Young Tell Me The Worst
It took me a month to understand that this Annie Lennox-like weepie is probably Will's finest lyric. The conceit is Will telling a lover that they cannot have a true relationship if he doesn't reveal his flaws. The point when Will admits he has the same problem ("I got close before, but I turn back every time") seems to lift the song higher. As with all the vocals on the Let It Go album, Will is in total control, knowing exactly when to play it soft for maximum emotion. I should also mention the momentary Bittersweet Symphony-eque strings at 2:30. Epic. Hear it.

Go hunting: iTunes US | iTunes UK | Hype Machine | Google Blog Search

Read my October Playlist

photo by RoyBoy 05

November 15, 2008

Beautiful stranger

These are photos of Madonna TODAY after her shoot with Steven Meisel for the new Louis Vuitton ads. The Lady needs some money for her divorce layers. Let's hope they airbrush those cheek cutlets of the pics.

The lipstick makes her look like the Madonna of the 80's and 90's, except, you know... OLD.

November 14, 2008

Learning Moment: I have faith in this love track

Pay attention: This classic from 1984 (and a never-worn favorite since that era), Madame Butterfly by Malcolm McLaren, is the underpinning of one of the first GREAT SONGS OF 2009.

Stay tuned for more...

November 13, 2008

It happens again aging boyband borrows an artist's recent hit and tries to whip up some needed cash. Be ye not fooled, good people! Tom Baxter's Better is far....bettuh than this cover by Boyzone.

Tom Baxter Better:

Boyzone Better:

Wow. They've even lifted Tom's video concept and made it cheesier. At least Tom used real people (come now, Ronan is not a real person is he?). Boyzone did have the good taste to do this song versus the usual crap Richard Marx / Phil Collins tunes that groups of this ilk this often cover.

There's been some hoohah on Popjustice Forums about Stephen Gately singing to a male in the clip - one person implied it was a publicity stunt. I don't care that the press is writing about this as if it's news. The fact that it's hard to figure out how many music videos feature gay couples confirms that there need to be more images like this.

I hope Tom Baxter rakes in the dough with this association. He deserves it. The album that Better comes from, 2007's Skybound, is sublime. It reminds me a bit of Sting's Nothing Like The Sun, with arrangements that stretch out and often take twists into flamenco, jazz, etc. Songs I recommend include Night Like This, Skybound, The Last Shot and Tell Her Today.

November 12, 2008

Mixtape: So I be written in the Book Of Love.

La Bex avec Le Bebe. She's popping out a kid in April. Her new commercial features her next single, the monotonous sounding Sophia Loren, in the background. Supposedly an album is due at the height of summer.

Blogger zapped me. They decided to delete my Ladyhawke Elect post even thought it did not have actual full MP3's. I linked to Juno's 60-second samples of her songs. I'd switch to Wordpress, but I tried using it for work and did not like it . At all.

Meanwhile, there are so many new pop blogs I am getting worn out by the concept. The good thing: bloggers are actually writing reviews, etc. Reading them makes me wonder what I have to contribute - I like to read other reviews, but it kind of zaps my enthusiasm. It takes so much time to blog. Absorbing various media and music, quickly analyzing it and then trying to write something thoughtful and original. That's not easy, especially if you have a lot going on in your life.

In the new Instinct Magazine I am a bit mean to Christina Aguilera. I think I call her a "horny USO girl," but her new recordings of Genie and Beautiful are the best things she's done in years. She plays it cool: no wailing, just "sleek modernity" as they say.

The new Razorlight album is a career ending piece of crap. I cannot believe it's the same band that recorded America.

Seriously, HBO is developing a series based on the life of Anthony Kiedis of RHCP. Good gravy Marie.

The Dido phenomenon. Huh? Some of her lyrics are good, but her arrangements are so makeshift. Plus, I believe I could talk/sing the album just as well. I do like a new track called It Come and Goes, though the title of that song is exactly what annoys be about her: she's so non-committal.

"When you have a penis like that, you're never broke." John Hughes at PopDose is always worth your time, but his recent Phags on 45 post is a gem. John's in the pageboy. I love the discussion about Warren Cuccurullo's penis (see quote above and do NOT click here at work!) and the moment when his friend does the "Do you hear me!?" bit, which you must be about 40 to understand.

Lucas Mire has finished his new album. I think it launches with an appearnce on Good Morning America right? Robin will love him and Sam The Gay Weatherman will jump him.

I wonder which unreleased albums will be shelved? Annie? Keri Hilson? Starsailor? Don't doubt it - the economy is in the dumper and labels will not be taking chances. In America, retails sales are absolutely tanking and the economic outlook is worse for 2009! Maybe it had to happen, I don't know, but it seems to be creating a seachange in American consumerism which is probably not a bad thing. We need a push away from living on credit.

I adore Noel Fielding of The Mighty Boosh. Here he talks about wearing Courtney Love's hand-me-downs.

Fans of the Smiths should listen to Northern Portrait from Norway. It's uber-Smithsian, but isn't it good, Norwegian wood?

Over 30's: Tracy Chapman just released a new record Our Bright Future that sounds like it was recorded in 1988! Yes, it has been 20 years since her debut. Bless her, she's another one who could use a spike in her tea. Thinking Of You is her best song.

Finally, please gaze into my crystal ball(s): The new Missspears album will have a song I actually like and it will be called Unusual You.

Did you see the episode of Ugly Betty that ended so beautifully with Betty and Wilhemina on the rooftop watching dawn in Manhattan. They made great use of Sebastien Tellier's song Look. A great driving song, it will make you feel chic muttering along in French. Cliquer ici or whatever.

I don't understand what is going on in California, but I should correct Darren Hayes that Prop 8 does not affect the American Constitution. It's a California vote, in state where gay marriage should be commonplace! Thanks to PopMuse for leading me to this joke-free Keith Olbermann commentary. Do take six minutes to watch it at the link or below. An attack on gay marriage is an attack on love and an attack on families.

Keith Olbermann:

photo via Santa Barbara Independent

There's a new Sam in town

Not to be confused with Sam Taylor Wood, Sam Taylor is a new British artist being launched by Kylie Minogue's MG* Will Baker. I believe that Steve Anderson, who has written numerous hits for Kylie, is also behind Sam's music, which debuts on the Beautiful People soundtrack.

What makes Sam unique for me is 1) he can actually sing, 2) he is not mimicking Justin Timberlake, which seems to be the template for all new male "pop" acts and 3) he may have the potential of genuine male pop stars like Darren Hayes and Will Young.

His debut song is Run Away and you can hear it on his site or below (no proper video yet). This tune reminds me of late 80's acts like Halo James and Breathe.

Sam Taylor Run Away (not official video):

*Main Gay

November 11, 2008

You were vodkas and Coke, I was Guinness all night

iTunes US has FOR FREE one of the best tracks from The Script's debut album. This week only, it's Before The Worst. Get it now from iTunes US.

November 10, 2008

Looking for the man that can

Craig David Walking Away

Anybody who knows me well knows that I emerged from the birth canal with a furrowed brow. As I've aged, my worst characteristic has calcified: worry. Sometimes I have a burst of
shine it on, but most of the time I'm quietly (or not) fretting about something. I don't think it dominates my personality, but let's just say "concerns" keep sleep from being my friend. All of that is a roundabout lead in for this epic Craig David song. I feel like Craigy went off the rails trying to prove he's a red blooded man. When he was younger, his calling card was sincere vulnerability slipped in between some very fast vocals, often laid over acoustic geeeetar and beats. At the point this single was released (2001), he could have had it all. Even Bono said he loved Walking Away.

The whole Born To Do It album is stellar. If this record predates you a bit, also look for Fill Me In, Booty Man (the title is a ruse - it's sweet! Hear below), and 7 Days. His forthcoming 15-track Best Of really does have most of the great songs. None of his CDs have been worth it since Born...

Craig David
Booty Man

Click off click on...

Craig's new single is Insomnia. ChrisBrown it much? It's a total ripoff of Forever and Disturbia!

November 8, 2008

And the world comes alive

I still adore the new Take That song, The Greatest Day. Although I agree with numerous assessments that the song is one long fade-out (or perhaps a "credits-roller"), there is something in the chords that makes me all "goosey."

The boys just did an 8-minute promo piece for The Times. They talk about how The Circus is the first album they've properly recorded as a group, writing in the studio. I love listening to them talk because Mark and Gary, in particular, sound like they've got cotton in their mouths. (Is that a Mancunian thing?) They really big-up the album in these interviews. Gary even says he'll be seriously "wounded" if people don't like it.

Part 1:

Part 2:

I do find the jiggly video for the song a bit embarrassing, so instead here is a live version from the EMA's. You'll notice this song is made for live trouble, with Gary having to it all those high notes. It also amuses me how much Little Mark Owen gets into it when all he really has to do is sing "Hold on, hold on" over and over again...

I suspect Chartrigger and FizzyPop will be two of the main blogs for all things Take That, especially as we approach December 1, album release day.

Not afraid to tell me

Keep an ear/eye cocked for the Poetica Remix of Madonna's Miles Away, the most classically "Madonna" song on Hard Candy. Poetica is the best of the mixes I've heard, but I'm pretty sure it's a fan creation. Of the legit mixes, Stuart Price's is sadly meh , but the Johnny Vicious Club Mix is solid. None of them really lift the song to a new place.

November 7, 2008

Ladyhawke Elect

And the winner of my election day poll is... Ladyhawke's eponymous debut album! She received 36 out of 112 votes, or 32% of the total. That's a mandate in my disjointed-yet-glittery world.

Next was Girls Aloud with 28 votes, or 25% of the total. The big "loser", bless her, was Pink, who only got 7 votes, or 6% of the total. I have to say that right now I sort of agree with that (although I would rate her higher than Lady Gaga). Pink's new album, in my opinion, doesn't reach the highs of her last one, but she still rocks righteously!

November 6, 2008

A little gift from Rufus

Rufus Wainwright fans should note that he's just released one of the most beautiful non-album tracks of his career. It's called Albatross and it's on the new Judy Collins tribute album called Born To The Breed (iTunes US). Lyrically, Judy's style is perfect for Rufus..

Many people wander up the hills
From all around you

Making up your memories and thinking they have found you

They cover you with veils of wonder as if you were a bride

Young men holding violets are curious to know if you have cried

And tell you why

And ask you why

Rufus has been concentrating on writing an opera called Prima Donna, but this new song makes me wish he'd do another folk-pop record.

RIP Lorraine? It had to happen eventually

Lorraine's myspace seems a bit... black.

Lorraine's website seems a bit... white.

Although Lorraine may be gone gone gone without ever releasing an album, most fans can compile a very solid CDR of tunes. Still, I have a feeling we've not heard the last of the boys. Whatever happens next, they need a member who has an interest in dealing with the media and fans. Quality tunes will not do it alone, sadly.

There is a surprise twist in this story. I can't keep surprises though - they're now called Black Room. That's not verified.
Stay tuned.

November 4, 2008


Michelle Obama on her husband:
Barack Obama will require that you work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism; that you put down your divisions; that you come out of your isolation; that you move out of your comfort zones; that you push yourself to be better; and that you engage.
I cannot explain how I feel, but comments are quite welcome!

Side note: I got the Obama quote above from Arianna Huffington's well-written post this evening.