September 30, 2011

And the only solution was to stand and fight

Florence + The Machine performed at a London party this week, previewing two new Ceremonials songs, Only If For A Night and Heart Lines.

Only If For A Night sounds monolithic. NME said, "A harp interplays with a hiphop beat. It's the first of a few tracks which feel expensive, and schooled in the US world of production. The flow (sorry Flo) reminds us of The Big Pink's Dominos." You can hear that link in the heavy hiphop drums. Check it:

Heart Lines is more tribal. Slight sound issue on this one...

The picture above is from the new issue of US magazine Interview. You can read an excerpt of the issue, in which she is interviewed by Baz Luhrmann, here. Billboard also has a definitive piece on the making of the album, which is said to feature more subtle vocals than Lungs.

UPDATE: Amazon US has 30 second samples from Ceremonials. It's going to be a very "big" album.

Still waiting on the video for her amazing new single, Shake It Out.

September 27, 2011

Erasure 2011: Stream their new album, Tomorrow's World

Erasure are now streaming their new Frankmusik-produced album, Tomorrow's World. At a lean 9 tracks and 30 minutes - old school! - initial standouts are the lovely, airy What Will I Say When You're Gone and the surging Then I Go Twisting. Like several of the songs, though, you feel like the latter ends before it really lifts off. Regardless, this album represents an attempt to subtly take a risk, which has been Erasure's albatross after years of tepid albums.

I am not a huge fan of the first single, When I Start To (Break It All Down). It's their most melodic release in years, but there's something shrill about the vocal, like it's just out of Andy's range. Another track, A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot, sounds as if it was ripped from Frankmusik's own new album. Do It In The AM, out today worldwide. Following his own amazing debut, the follow-up is a real disappointment... samey tempos, little depth. If you want one of the decent tracks, try Ludicrous.

Stream Erasure's Tomorrow's World

Oddly, despite the album's short length, the band put the title track only on the b-side of their single (you can find it on iTunes). It's an instrumental, but it's quality. The digital versions will contain some extra songs, including the darker Give Me Life.

Tomorrow's World
is released next week, on October 3.
Idolator really likes it, but I still think the cover is a bit... vaginal.

What do you think of what you're hearing? Better than previous work or... not?

September 25, 2011

Hurts so good

On October 28, the handsome men of Hurts will release a long-desired deluxe edition of their debut 2010 Happiness project. Aside from finally wedding the album's astonishing (and orphaned) title track to the actual album of the same name, it will include a number of b-sides and special songs, including last year's excellent holiday single, All I Want For Christmas Is New Year's Eve. It also feature a DVD with a film of a live show and most of the group's videos. No word yet on cover art, but expect it to look gorgeous. You can order it now via Townsend Records.

There is no sign, however, of new work coming. Amazingly, the band are still on tour with dates throughout October and early November in Europe and the UK


CD 1

01 Silver Lining
02 Wonderful Life
03 Blood, Tears & Gold
04 Sunday
05 Stay
06 Illuminated
07 Evelyn
08 Better Than Love
09 Devotion
10 Unspoken
11 The Water
12 Verona
13 Confide in Me* b-side for Stay
14 Happiness* non-album digital track
15 Mother Nature* b-side for Better Than Love
16 Affair* b-side for Wonderful Life
17 Devotion (Demo)*
18 Sunday (Demo)*
19 All I Want for Christmas* non-album digital single

CD 2

01 Intro
02 Silver Lining
03 Wonderful Life
04 Happiness
05 Blood Tears and Gold
06 Evelyn
07 Sunday
08 Verona
09 Unspoken
10 Mother Nature
11 Devotion
12 Confide in Me
13 Illuminated
14 Stay
15 Gloomy Sunday
16 Better Than Love
17 Wonderful Life video #1
18 Better Than Love video
19 Wonderful Life video #2
20 Stay video
21 Sunday video
22 Illuminated video
23 Blood, Tears & Gold video

Hurts Affair

Hurts Happiness

September 21, 2011


This is talent. Emeli Sandé performing her recent single, Heaven, on Jools Holland. [note: you may have to sit through a commercial before she pops up]

Emeli's debut album, Our Version Of Events, is due out in January. She just released the dreamy cover image yesterday.

Darren Hayes: Bloodstained Heart

Bloodstained Heart is quite possibly, to my ears, Darren Hayes' finest single. The new video is one of those where you immediately assume what is happening. But all is not what it seems. Watch closely all the way through...

September 17, 2011

Jessica 6: "Sexual pop!"

One of my favorite acts of the summer was Jessica 6, who are really just starting to take off.

Who are they? Check it.

They are fking cute. And Nomi is the best pop star of 2011. Perfection. You can see the final Mixmag pics here (scroll down).

My favorite Jessica 6 tracks, on endless play in summer 2011 were...

Prisoner Of Love

See The Light

September 14, 2011

10 Musical Thoughts: It's a fine romance

Bring fall now. Please. Some songs I recommend...

01 The US iTunes bonus track, Flicker And Fail, from Laura Marling's new album is really good. Someone's been listening to 70's Joni Mitchell.

02 If you are looking for a heartfelt, soothing song, I recommend Judie Tzuke's cover of John Martyn's Hurt In Your Heart, It's available on iTunes on the Johnny Boy Would Love This compilation.

03 Nicola Robert's upcoming album-closer Sticks And Stones is pretty high up on the artistry front. Everything about that song is handled with elegance and economy.

04 Likewise, I have been crushing on the final track, Someone Got Everything, from Penguin Prison's debut. It's a moody electrofolk ballad, with a lyric that is variations of "Someone's got everything they need, they got everything they want, they got nothing." It's one of those songs that starts to haunt you. Amazing.

05 Oldies. I have recently been crushing on two lost early 80's gems: Gladys Knight's Save The Overtime and The Pointer Sisters' Freedom. For the latter, get the long album version, far superior to the single edit

06 Darren Hayes' new Australian single Bloodstained Heart is perhaps his finest solo record to date. He told me it is "the thing I'm most proud of in 20 years of doing this."

07 For a bit of joy, try the chill inducing Save Me from Gotye's new album. It's on iTunes worldwide now. Pounding drums, male choral vocals, and a beautiful lyric, "And you gave me love when I could not love myself. And you made me turn from the way I saw myself... you saved me." It wrecks me.

08 My friend, the Count, who runs an actual record store, recommended a new Dirty Vegas song, Never Enough. He's right, it's great!

09 The random retro Paul Weller single Starlite is a real grower. It doesn't try too hard and for that aone, it wins. I wish Paul would return to this style, which is like late Style Council. He put this song out as a one-off because it did not fit his new album.

10 Florence. I could cry, her new single is so good. It makes me wanna run across a mountain top singing, with my arms thrown out.

Darren Hayes and his demon dancers

Darren Hayes has done a mini Making The Video for his new single, Black Out The Sun (out Oct 2). Remember those from MTV? At the bottom of this post, look for a topless Darren on the set of a Savage Garden clip. Mmm hmmm.

This album is getting a big-time campaign, like the golden days of pop. Here is the final video...

The Making of Savage Garden's Hold Me:

Another new video, for the Australian single Bloodstained Heart, is due shortly.

September 13, 2011

Cover Story: Florence + The Machine

MONOLITHIC. Like Virgina Woolf meets Goldfrapp.


01 Only If for Night
02 Shake It Out
03 What The Water Gave Me
04 Never Let Me Go
05 Breaking Down
06 Lover to Lover
07 No Light No Light
08 Seven Devils
09 Heartline
10 Spectrum
11 All This and Heaven Too
12 Leave My Body

Out Oct 31/Nov 1, deluxe details here

And here is the single...

Bright Light x2: You make it SO HARD

Disco Moment in remix.

The incredible So Hard remix of the new Bright Light Bright Light single, Disco Moment, is available on his site
for 50p. The full EP is released on September 19th.

If you are in London, you can attend the September 21st single launch

Follow Bright Light Bright Light on twitter.

September 12, 2011

September 11, 2011

Mixtape: My iPad is Fkn possessed!

If I seem "sparse" these days, I am. Late August and early September are always hard times for me to blog as real life overtakes me. One bit of news: I got an iPad! I feel terribly guilty because there are wiser ways to spend my money, but... hey, I wanted one. Nicola Formichetti of Lady Gaga fame has designed some iPad skins (above top) for his NYC pop up store. Vair vair cool, but I have no clue how to buy one online.

Let us start with a recent tweet of mine: Dear The Gays: The Empress Barbra Streisand is back - and with her early 70s hair. Love, xolondon

Bjork's new songs have been decidedly subtle on melody (which means I am not reacting well). The score versions present the songs in another form, which may bring out the melodies more clearly. Hear for yourself.

Recently I tweeted about some fake Christmas albums. Here are some I came up with: A Very Radiohead Christmas? Home For the Holidays With The Gallaghers? Bieberful Holiday? Ke$ha's Kristmas F*ck? For the latter, I did a full post, which I hope you ho ho hos saw.

What to make of the new Coldplay song, Paradise? Bombastic, pretty, and initially not very strong on melody. They are so "produced" lately.

The new Laura Marling album, out next week, is very good, though I am not sure it exceeds her previous one. I think people want it to, so they keep saying that. Here is a 9 minute EPK from Laura. Moody shots of her moping around Argentina abound, with Laura looking Children of The Corn in the the ominous opening shot.

George Michael is touring, as older pop men do, with an orchestra. He does Kissing A Fool and A Different Corner and...Rihanna's Russian Roulette? Much like his Cover To Cover tour back in 1994 (I was there!), the show is filled with covers including Rufus Wainwright's Going To A Town and Terence Trent D'Arby's Let Her Down Easy. The Guardian flipped over this tour. but so far no North American dates.

Whatever happened to Sam Sparro?

Cher is a must follow on twitter. She's exactly who you want her to be, no holds barred. The Gardian noticed her brilliant tweets, like these gems: "My iPhone is Fkn possessed!" and "Fk-IT Even PICTURES R HAUNTED!"

Keeping the Gay Gay Gay theme, NYT did a great interview (or vice versa) with RuPaul last week. Ru is very quotable but I love the section about the "baby strollers, and the just as colossal air of entitlement, that have invaded the hallways ('This is a fire hazard') of his West Village building."

If you love piano/string arrangements with female vox, you should try the new Catherine A.D. release, Communion. It was produced by Liam Howe of Marina fame. Going Wrong is gorgeous.

Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes To Hollywood still has it. Watch this performance. The Power of Love, the last song, is in my top ten favorite songs of the 80s.

As I do, Chart Rigger likes the new Darren Hayes single, Bloodstained Heart. Now, Robbie, I would not call this a jam, per se. I've heard the new album and it's notable for brilliant string flourishes and high emotional drama. More on that soon.

Shiny & New ranks Tori Amos' new tracks.
I've heard this record too and it has a bit of the old Tori magic, if you don't mind like twelve Yes Anastasia's in a row. The real story here is Tash Hawley, Tori's daughter, who sings lead vocals on Joe's Coffin. That girl has a future -she's incredibly expressive for a ten year old.

I actually agree with Shiny & New that the new Florence and The Machine track (What The Water Gave Me) is merely fine. It does not scream "play me again!" the way I hope her upcoming single will. That track may or may not be called Shake It Off.

So Hip It Hurts talks about the similarities (in the extreme, I'd say) between Emelie Sande's stirring debut single, Heaven, and the Massive Attack classic, Unfinished Sympathy - a song I thought was called Unfinished Symphony for like 10 years (sad but true). Sande's debut album is due in early 2012.

I hope you are following 80's Record Party on tumblr. It's amazing. I also adore Sounds Of The 70's/80's. A makeshift name for a fabulous tumblr.

Penguin Prison's album is OUT NOW in the UK and in the US on October 18. Amazing debut record. Seek it out. But first read this short piece from Magnetic.

Good news! The Smiths forthcoming remasters will be available in a £35 version from Rhino.

Florence + The Machine's new album has been pushed up a week, to Oct. 30! At least in the UK. Still no details released. All we really know is that the Deluxe edition will have an extra CD of remixes and tracks. Speaking of which, here is the first mix of What The Water Gave Me, this one a bootleg mix by Scully Bros.

In the There I Said It department, I absolutely loathe the Lady Gaga single, You And I. Horrid 80's bombast. The video is yet another kitchen sink set of weird images that she's done before.

James Blake is covering Joni Mitchell's A Case Of You - who hasn't? - on his new EP. Maybe he realized his debut album had only a couple of actual songs? A very good singer in search of a tune.

is recording their 2012 album now.

Ladytron have charged their look in a big way for their elegant new video, White Elephant. I like them, but I do wonder how they have the money to do all this? Who exactly buys Ladytron records?


Follow me on Twitter and check out my tumblr, kicky&fresh

September 8, 2011

A Ke$ha Kristmas?

I spent last night on twitter coming up with fake Christmas albums. A Very Radiohead Christmas? Home For the Holidays With The Gallaghers? Bieberful Holiday?

Then I remembered reading a great quote from Ke$ha on Idolator:

Sometimes I’ll walk my dogs and fill bags full of massive dog s**t. Then I’ll wrap them as Christmas presents and give them to people.
She is a class act. Which lead to me another album title: Ke$ha's Kristmas F*ck

I started with a few song titles:

Seasons Gruntings Dirty Ol' Man
Christmas Is Cumming (And So Am I)

Your Balls Are Filled With Cheer
Grow A Pear Tree
Angels We Have Heard While High
Hard Candy Cane Christmas
Xxxmas Night With U

and my whorish tweeps gave me more

Drunk The Halls
Shove Some Glitter In My Stocking
Throw Some Tinsel Make it Rain
It Came Upon A Midnight Beer

and my favorite, from Adam Soybel, a clearly trashy American:

Do You Hurl What I Hurl?

Please, ye merry gentlemen, give us more...

Free track from Catherine A.D.

I've been following the development of Catherine A.D. for over a year, maybe even two. In celebration of her new EP, Communion, she is giving away a lovely track called Going Wrong. The project was produced by Marina's collaborator, Liam Howe, using piano and strings. If you like Rufus Wainwright (and other women, haha), you should check this out. It's perfectly autumnal.

Catherine AD - 'Going Wrong' (free download) by Stayloose

You can buy more tracks from Catherine via her Bandcamp site. A full album is due in 2012.

September 3, 2011

The Nicola: Lucky Day Dancer

As we bite our nails waiting for the
Nicola Roberts album, here is a sharp mash-up of Lucky Day and Rhythm Is A Dancer by Snap! - mixed by a clever fellow named Julien Spencer. Well done!

Nicola Roberts - Lucky Day Dancer by JulienSpencer

Some more news of The Nicola...

The LP features a cover of Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime, the old Korgis' track that Beck also covered. I do have a sense that some folks who've heard the album are a bit tepid about it, but we'll see...

She did a great photo shoot for Notion Magazine

Episode 5 of Through Nicola's Eyes is out now, but only for UK viewers. #sadtrombones

The new b-side is Fix You, which sounds... makeshift.

September 1, 2011

Ryan Adams: The lights will draw you in

Ryan Adams
is about to release his first proper album since 2008's Cardinology. Ashes & Fire is out on October 10 and includes Dirty Rain, Kindness, I Love You But I Don't Know What To Say and this total gem below, Lucky Now. Despite being a bit of a hot mess, Ryan, 36, is a sturdy songwriter - one of the best alive - and a singer with more than one voice. I saw him on his Cold Roses tour and he was, thank God, a total charmer.

Lucky Now by ryanadams

Xolondon's Top Ten Plus One Two Ryan Adams Songs

La Cienega Just Smiled
The Rescue Blues
Goodnight, Hollywood Blvd
Come Pick Me Up
The Shadowlands
Let It Ride
Dear Chicago
Fix It
Sit And Listen To The Rain
How Do You Keep Love Alive

Goodnight, Hollywood Blvd, my favorite:

So I close my eyes
And I close my mouth
And do this all in time to the music
That dances like fools set on fire
Flailing their arms in a room full of whores