October 29, 2012

Top Ten Reasons Why Grace Jones Is God

Anyone who attended Miss Grace Jones' Saturday night show at Roseland will know that it was a master class in how to entertain. Aside from the crazy hats and a couple of other props, there was nothing but Grace and her enigma. She has more athleticism and energy than mortals half her age (she is 64) and she owned that audience.This was one of the greatest shows I've ever seen.

Here are my Top Ten Reasons Why Grace Jones is God...

10 Her shoes were fucking epic.

9 Grace's ongoing banter whenever she left the stage, which ranged from frequent exhortations to "Keep it tight!" to her declaration that she needed to "suck some dick" (needless to say, that went down well). At one point she even did an Irish accent - it's not that far off Jamaican patois - while talking about a lover.

8 She sounded fantastic for two solid hours. How does she do it at 64?  I was also surprised by how great the band and arrangements were. The details were there, even for a one-off show. Her pretty son Paolo Goude was a member of the band and opened for her with a brief set. 

7 Grace straddling (and pounding) the huge drum for Feel Up. 

6 I totally bought the schtick with Grace bitching from the stage at the dude ("Mr. Union Man") running her spotlight. "There's no one over here!" she exclaimed, gesturing to the spotlight hitting nothing to her right. "Are you getting your dick sucked?" she asked halfway through and, toward the end, "I think you really did cum. Did he swallow?"

5 We loved it when Grace pulled that guy Geoffrey out of the audience to dance with - and get molested by - Grace. Who wouldn't want that experience? Loved how he was carrying a tote bag the whole time and dressed in a Penguin Prison shirt  (which Grace had him take off and give her). Also loved how he brought out a glass of red wine to her in the next song. Read his account of the night here.

4 Grace fucking up La Vie En Rose was perhaps the greatest live moment of any show I've seen.  Check out this clip, especially at about 2:05. She looked so gorgeous in the top hat and tails (see image above), spinning slowly on the turntable, laughing at herself. I've always loved the "runs' on that song, when she holds the "la vieeeeee." So beautiful. She'd last performed at Roseland in 1978 and there were ghosts of the disco era while she sang this song. So many of those 70's icons are dead, but here was Grace, more alive than ever. It was also sweetly professional of her to re-do the beginning at the end of the song. 

3 The surging "I've got the Williams blood in me" parts of Williams Blood were really compelling live. I know anyone at the show will get what I mean. Those guitars gave me chills.

2 Slave To The Rhythm may very well be my all-time favorite song. I live my whole life to it. Until the performance came, I had not considered the "bucket list" experience of seeing Grace perform it live. She doesn't tour, so you have to take any chance you can to see her. As was expected, she did a lengthy version during which she hula-hooped the whole time. Amazing. A Life Moment.

1 The kismet of Grace performing the night before a major storm. It's a quintessential New York Moment to face a major hurricane by dancing the night away. That the show closer was the Bondian title track of her last album, Hurricane, seemed too perfect. There was Grace, in front of a wind machine, hanging onto a pole while her huge cape flowed behind her.

If you get the chance to see her, Grace puts on a show worthy of long distance travel and big $$. She is a destination.

Not sure who took that picture, but thank you!

October 24, 2012

Review: Tracey Thorn's Tinsel and Lights

In the heap of plasticine Christmas albums this season, Tracey Thorn's holiday offering is a crisp, silvery bauble. Her song choices range from country-hip gems like Dolly Parton's Hard Candy Christmas to lesser knowns, like Sufjan Stevens' gorgeous Sister Winter. The presence of Scritti Politti's Green Gartside (whose voice has miraculously not aged) on Low's Taking Down The Tree is a particular gift to longtime fans. Occasionally, as on Like A Snowman or the self penned title track, the arrangements take you - thrillingly - back to the pre-electronic era of her group, Everything But The Girl. With a voice as comforting as any fireside Christmas classic, Tracey Thorn remains a gift to the wise men and women who love her.

The Sufajn Stevens' cover, originally released in 2011


In The Cold Cold Night is a White Stripes song...

This review is a variation on one I did for the October 2012 Instinct Magazine here in America. Also note that the first day of  Tracey's advent calendar has a great Making Of video.

October 23, 2012

Depeche Mode building the perfect beast

The return of the glorious Depeche Mode. The band announced May - July 2013 dates today and released this studio teaser with a gritty new track. Still no word on album details.

October 19, 2012

Erotica! Romance!

Madonna's album Erotica was released on October 20, 1992.

Read my celebration of 20 Years of Erotica at Idolator

October 10, 2012

Gabriel Bruce's perfect Perfect Weather


What we know:  Gabriel Bruce is a 23 yr old Brit. The Guardian compared him to Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, and Johnny Cash, but I'd add in Bowie and Iggy Pop. But oh can he dance. Watch his thrilling new video below (be patient, the amazing bit comes about 2/3 of the way in).

I admit I'm not a fan of his earlier single, Sleep Paralysis. It was a bit droney, but Perfect Weather hits the sweet spot, so I have hopes for the debut album, Love In Arms. It's been pushed from October to February, probably to get him onto the Beeb's Sound of 2013. Love In Arms has 11 tracks: Dark Lights, Shine Loud, Honey Honey Honey, Sleep Paralysis,Greedy Little Heart, El Musgo, Zoe, Cars Not Leaving, All That I Have, If Only In Words, Perfect Weather, Sermon On The Mount.

Keep listening.

I get around

If you're on Tumblr and not following me, do!  If you're not on tumblr and want to see something purrrrty, take a look.  And talk to me on Twitter...

October 7, 2012

First listen: Florrie's new tracks performed live

Florrie performed in Madrid in mid-September and premiered several new songs, presumably from her 2013 debut album. Here are some surprisingly clear audios from a fan's phone recordings... 

First Time

Last Thing On Your List

Looking For Your Love

and Shut Down
My first thoughts? I like all of them, except the overly repetitive Shut Down. Florrie nailed how repetition can be used to brilliant effect on the perfect Shot You Down. Remember you can still download Florrie tracks for FREE at her website.

Thanks to Pol Diaz for posting the iPhone clips. Well done. 

October 5, 2012

20 Years of Automatic For The People

Today I did a post at Idolator on the twentieth anniversary of R.E.M.'s most perfect album, Automatic For The People. Please check it out! 

October 2, 2012

Losing you's for good.

I've been a fan of Solange Knowles since her last LP, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, where it became apparent she is not a "middle of the road" type. If you don't know her gorgeous track with Bilal, Cosmic Journey, listen now. And then it went quiet. Aside from being generally fabulous in good clothes, she's been working on new music for several years now. Would it live up to the promise?


Losing You, recorded with Blood Orange, doesn't need to scream its brilliance. Solange never overdoes it. This song is smooth and edgy and actually quite sweet. The video, shot in Cape Town, reminds me of what Janet Jackson did so well in her most subversive pop masterpiece, Got 'Til It's Gone.

Losing You is on iTunes US now.