Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Breaking Glass

Bloggers' delight Glass Candy have come over all kind and that with four free downloads on TheirSpace. These wondrous tracks are also available on the incredibly hard to find B/E/A/T/B/O/X tour album.

Together with partner in grime, Johnny Jewel, singer Ida No, (me neither, honey), whose voice has a distinction all it's own, talks of emancipation and going au naturel on this new and improved version of Candy Castle. A track that sounds like the Pet Shop Boys doing a demo with Hazel O'Connor circa Breaking Glass. How marve.

Candy Castle - Glass Candy (zShare)

Monday, 26 November 2007

The hits that missed

What makes an also-ran? It's easier to explain when the song is crap (Kelly C, Spice Girls). But for a song that had 'hit' written in 200 foot letters in the sky it's an eternal puzzle as to why it doesn't connect. Here are a few that not only missed but either damaged or killed off careers.

Young, Fresh N' New (Timo Maas Mix) - Kelis (zShare)

Kelis underwent major career resuscitation after the abject failure of this track. The so-so album Wanderlust went on walkabout and disappeared. The States didn't even get a chance to make it a flop. It wasn't released there. But this is a brilliant mix by Timo Maas of a solid song. This should have been the main radio version and maybe then it would have gone higher than 32 in November 2001.

21st Century - Weekend Players

All the stars were in alignment with this track: radio had it on a permanent loop; one half of the duo was Groove Armada's Andy Cato and DJs loved it because everyone went mental. But the Weekend Players were destined to remain a Capital Radio favourite and no more when it stalled at 22 in September 2001.

Much Love (Marco's Soul Sisstah Mix) - Shola Ama

This fabulosa title track from Shola Ama's million-selling album was that one single too far. If your name's not Jackson, don't release more than three singles from a hit album. Although it wasn't exactly career damaging, as the fourth song it did signal a turning point in the London singer/songwriter's fortunes. Her expensive follow-up album In Return failed to make any chart returns in the UK. Massive success in France ended up being really annoying because everyone spoke French. She couldn't understand the plaudits "Vous etes incroyable" etc. and so hit the bottle. If only we had known how it would all turn out when Much Love finished up at 17 in February 1998.

Telefunkin' - N-TYCE (zShare)

It's not just the backing track that has dated with this N-TYCE flop, lyrics like "tied to my telephone line" and the title itself place it firmly outside the noughties. But it's still funkin' great! The best track from Chanta, Ario, Donna and M'chelle's album All Day Every Day gave up the ghost at 16 in February 1998.

A really expensive looking cheap video from N-Tyce.

Dirty Water - Made In London

Time and again Made in London (bloody AWFUL name) pop up in girl band lists. They're probably more famous for never making it. But this track should have been a big fat hit. And they seemed like such nice girls too, definitely not the "sisters in crime" portrayed in the urban spoken intro. At least they'll have made their mums proud even though the song floundered at 15 in May 2000.

A Smash Hits photoshoot. Ah, thems were the days.

If you were a Katie Melua lyric...

I'd dump you...

As if Nine Million Bicycles wasn't bad enough: "There are nine million bicycles in Beijing/That's a fact/It's a thing we can't deny/Like the fact that I will love you till I die", Katie Melua has trumped herself with this stinker. I wouldn't really mention it but if you live in the UK, there's no escape. The TV advertising for the new album features the last single Sailboat. And it's the second line below which earns my biggest guffaw; especially as she pauses after "nail you". Here are the verses in their full awfulness...

"If you were a cowboy I would trail you,
If you were a piece of wood I'd nail you to the floor.
If you were a sail boat I would sail you to the shore.
If you were a river I would swim you,
If you were a house I would live in you all my days.
If you're a preacher I'd begin to change my ways.

If I was in jail I know you'd spring me
If I was a telephone you'd ring me all day long
If I was in pain I know you'd sing me soothing songs.

If I was hungry you would feed me
If I was in darkness you would lead me to the light
If I was a book I know you'd read me every night"

If I was Katie Melua I'd laugh all the way to the bank.


Sunday, 25 November 2007

What are we LIKE!?!

A pic of a pint of cooking lager + advert for Kylie's new album on the back of BOYZ sent to me from a gay bar in Soho = Gay As Fuck

We came, we saw, we ate a cupcake

It was bitingly cold yesterday. Even thick scarves and coats couldn't keep out the winter weather, so we took refuge in the House of Homosexual Culture. Well, their Christmas Fayre, to be precise, which was full of warmth and winter cheer. It was cupcakes and pom-poms a-go-go at St John's Church in Waterloo.

A milky cup of coffee, a snip at 50p and I had a nice sit down to watch the goings on. The Feeling's Dan Gillespie (he's teeny tiny!) was there having a right old chinwag with all and sundry. Amy Lamé, Duckie's New Jersey-born hostess with the most-ess was showing everyone how to make pom-poms - which took EVERYONE back to infant school. Sirena (Sir Ian Mckellen) was due to turn up and lend his support, but we missed him. Hey Ho. We bought some pom-pom making kits and headed off for a hearty Steak and stout pie at the pub around the corner. And very microwaved it was too.

Here's a suitably festive accompaniment:
Holiday on Skis - Al Caiola And Riz Ortolani

Friday, 23 November 2007

Is this what you were really thinking?

But were too polite to say...
cash advance

Fun for 10 seconds. Ha!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Found! Kissy's things that dreams are made of mix!

It's full of his trademark sonic squeals squeezed to buggery. The Bethnal Green lad done good. And here it is:

The Things That Dreams Are Made Of - The Human League Vs Kissy Sell Out

And because Kissymas is just around the corner, here's The League on the BBC's annual Christmas Day edition of Top of the Pops 1981. They're performing their Christmas number 1 Don't You Want Me and there's a party atmosphere going down. Particularly at 2.55 in. Someone goes mad with the silly string and near chokes poor Joanne. It's a cracker!

New York, ice cream, TV, travel, good times...

...Norman Wisdom, Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, good times.

Good songs never die, they go on to have a long and healthy existence way beyond the expectations of the writers. The Human League's Things That Dreams Are Made Of from the classic pop album Dare! is to be given another shape in the form of an updated version by the fashionista's DJ choice Kissy Sell Out (left). Hooj Choons, a dance label with an impressive pedigree, is releasing Kissy's remix along with millions more (well, probably about eight in total, a little excessive in my view, but hey). Tiga gets a look in (doesn't he always) as does the original producer of the track, Martin Rushent. But confusingly, four of them are already on iTunes, where you can buy Rushent's urgent Moroder-ified version. Clicky here.

This song is ingrained in my mind. Every word, syllable, Linn drum handclap and synth brass chord stab. "Like fun and money and food and love" Phil sings and it could sum up the track and what was to follow, the rest of the Dare! album. I have posted before about what the whole album meant to me as a child. Philip Adrian Wright (the strawberry blonde one) penned these glossy pop lyrics in a list-like manner, perfectly fitting the dance backing track and they still sound a la mode today.

Hooj Choons stick-man dresses up as Phil Oakey and his famous lop-sided do.

Until the Kissy and Tiga remixes, here's a mix de glamour from early this year by Manhattan Clique - the NY producers who've done a fantastic job with Soft Cell's Bedsitter (Clicky here for a listen) for the forthcoming album of remixes. There's also the League and Martin Rushent's 1982 dub version below, originally produced for the Love and Dancing album.

The Things That Dreams Are Made Of (Manhattan Clique Mix) - The Human League (zShare)

The Things That Dreams Are Made Of (Love and Dancing Dub) - The Human League (zShare)

And for the full pack (I've gone all trainspotterish in this post, I KNOW!):
The Things That Dreams Are Made Of (Original Mix) - The Human League (zShare)

Thanks to Electronically Yours for the news. My source for all things League dontcha know!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Where've those Sisters been?

We all forgot about this lot for a while, but it seems the Scissor Sisters' Ta-Dah juggernaut kept on rolling around the world. And they've done a home movie!

I love this stuff. Those dressing room japes where we get to see them all naked, or near as damn it!

Go to the website for clickies on clips.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Beside the b-side

I've been fluttering around too many remixes this week. Although I'm taking nothing away from the ones I like, it did make me wonder about the long-lost cousin of the remix, the b-side. Although some acts still give their listener the choice on CD and download of that extra track, it's vinyl where you had no choice BUT to do something else.

When the hit appeared on the a-side of 7 inch vinyl single, the track on the b-side was usually one of the following options:
1) A song written specifically for the b-side (applause for the sentiment but boos for 90% of the results)

2) A track that that wasn't quite good enough for the album (a misjudged choice when it turns out the entire album wasn't quite good enough for the album)

3) A live version of a previous hit (a marketing ploy which sounds a lot better on paper, especially when the live version is some ropey version with the annoying cheering and audience participation)

4) An instrumental (how fucking lazy and how fucking disappointed were you when you flipped the single over! What use is an instrumental?)

5) The second half of the extended club mix (the bits where the synths go mental and the vocals are minced through a Fairlight sampler 'til they're nothing but a sequence of barks)

6) A remix (and here we are at the beginning of the end of option 1)

Here are a few genuine option 1 b-sides I've known and loved...

Eurythmics - Lifted (zShare)
A-side: I Saved the World Today

Altered Images - Surprise Me (zShare)
A-side: Bring Me Closer

ABC - Minneapolis (zShare)
A-side: The Night You Murdered Love

EBTG - Laugh You Out of the House (zShare)
A-side: Each and Everyone

The Human League - The World Tonight (zShare)
A-side: Life On Your Own

Pet Shop Boys - The Ghost of Myself (zShare)
A-side: New York City Boy

Monday, 19 November 2007

I'll shit my peaches and cream (!)

And the winner of spew out yer mouthful of crisps WTF bellylaugh line goes to... Electrovamp with "I'll shit my peaches and cream".

The line actually goes SHAKE my peaches and cream... Whatevs. I like these two. Sisters Kally (17) and Tammy (18) are the cocks of the sixth form who probably go mad on Tequila and disco biscuits when in London on record company business. But back at home in Cardiff they love nothing better than shopping with their mum cooing over the new Leona Lewis album. Maybe.

They're ripe for image-moulding and being signed to Universal's Island label means plenty of moolah behind them to do it. They'll be the bad girl beauties, the younger naughtier sisters of Girls Aloud, the Skins-type teens who cause £10,000 worth of damage in a grown-ups house after advertising a party on MySpace. Oops! They already have! And they have a video to prove it.

There's this brilliant track I Don't Like the Vibe in the VIP due Dec 31st and a whole album later on. Three words to remember though, girls, as a word of warning: Daphne and Celeste.

Have another shot and get naughty, naughty. But we'd better watch out we don't get caughty, caughty.

Have a go at TheirSpace.

A Whole Lotta History

Five years ago! Nicola was only 16, Sarah had even worse hair, Kimberley was flat, Nadine dressed like her mum and Cheryl was a bigger Geordie in all senses of the word. How times have changed. Mind you, don't we all have our faults looking back. Here's a timely reminder of how it all began...

This was the final of Popstars the Rivals when Girls Aloud were chosen. The performances are very ropey compared to recent X Factor/Idol shows, which blows the theory that the contestants are getting worse. The biggest shock of the night was Javine Hylton not making the band line-up. Throughout the series, her and Nadine were consistently the best out of the lot. I doubt whether the band would still be around if Javine had been part of GA. Her and Cheryl, best of friends, but two feisty gals like that could easily be the worst of enemies.

We all loved the tears when the band was chosen. I love Cheryl's laddish "Coooome on!" when she was chosen. And Nicola, bless her, like a rabbit in headlights.

Anyhoo, a week after this, Sound of the Underground was released and the boyband 'rivals' One True Voice (still the most cringeworthy name ever) were obliterated. Hey ho.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Remix Sunday

To coin a phrase from the frankly fabulous Palmsoutsounds I've called this post Remix Sunday. With remixes there has to be some tough love going on otherwise we'd be drowning in a digital sea of musical makeovers. Plain and simple, the criteria is shit or not shit. Below are the ones that made the grade.

2 Hearts (Version by Studio) - Kylie (mp3 download)

This is a fantastic version of the Kylster's single. Swedish duo, Studio, make lovely chunky electro fed through an 80s filter. Their track West Side is always a pleasant surprise when it shuffles up on my iPod. TheirSpace.

Sasparilla Kiss (Skylab Remix) - Coco Electrik
(mp3 download)

The wonderfully named Anne Booty, lead singer of Coco Electrik, is one to watch. She's good with images of herself if the pics on
are anything to go by. There are some fab shots by music photographer god, Dean Chalkley. This remix by band member Matt Ducasse, aka Skylab, is, dare I say it, better than the original.

Up To You (Ercola Remix) - The Millioners (mp3 download)

Back in May I wrote about The Millioners, a Finnish dance act with gorgeous songs. Check out TheirSpace for more tracks. This version of Up To You is dee-gorgeous! It's actually by the producer, Ercola, of their album Most Sexiest Music. The equally Finnish Ercola has a great track out called Follow Me featuring Annie on vocals. Hear it on HisSpace.

Here Comes the Rain Again (Freemasons Remix) - Eurythmics (mp3 download)

Can the Freemasons do no wrong? I love this version of one of my favourite Annie 'n' Dave tracks. Sometimes remixes of old tracks just sound WRONG. How many versions of Sweet Dreams have made your toes curl? But this remix takes nothing away from the original and picks up on exactly the right tone to create another original. Here's TheirSpace.

Breakin' Dishes (Soul Avengerz Remix) - Rihanna
(mp3 download)

Just like the Freemasons above, Soul Avengerz hardly ever put a foot wrong. This Rihanna track ticks all the boxes and is another remix that's better than the original. Look here for the fab Booty Luv remix.

All tangled up in Girls Aloud

I'm becoming slightly obsessed with GA. After years of being slightly interested, along comes the single Call the Shots and I'm all ears. And then the album Tangled Up totally captivates me. Bona!

Last night's contestants on The X Factor were given sage advice from the girls (mainly consisting of "Just go out and have fun"). Cheryl can talk for England and has an opinion on EVERYTHING. But she's really sweet with it, just watch her with Leon: "And I voted for ya!". Bless. Nadine's accent is still impenetrable and Nicola never gets a look in. Maybe her advice was peppered with too many 'fooks'. Who knows. Here's all the bits edited together.

And here's the Girls' Own performance on the results show. Obviously, all the acts have to sing live on this show so there are a few wobbly bits, but over all, marvellous!

Saturday, 17 November 2007

The bum's rush

Even though Booty Luv's new track Some Kinda Rush can be heard on a commercial radio station near you it's officially not out 'til Christmas Eve. That either means tracks are being played to death again way before release or 24th December is actually not that far away. Shit! Note to self: must start Christmas shopping tomorrow.

Nadia and Cherise have enlisted a myriad of remixers on the track to keep everyone from Hoxton to Hartlepool happy. This one below by the house stalwarts (ie; they've been at it for donkeys) Soul Avengerz is my favourite. It's like 1992 all over again. But remember kids, they're singing about a 70s heavy Metal band, NOT about coming up on E.

Some Kinda Rush (Soul Avengerz Mix) - Booty Luv (zShare)

Friday, 16 November 2007

Everything's going great... the first public performance in the back room of a Victoria's Secrets shop...

...even though they do the wartime look (think Xtina girls) and then...

...Geri turns into a candelabra. Oh dear. Spice Girls doing Dali. Methinks it won't connect.

Thursday, 15 November 2007


Tangled Up, the new Girls Aloud album a lot of people seem to be wetting themselves over (and rightly so) pops up everywhere on Nov 19th. But here's a sneak preview. It's the Wham-influenced Can't Speak French, (say it prefixed with Girls Aloud and it's a cute little joke that probably had the lasses giggling). Xenomania have done a fine job with this new album. All beef, no filler.

Can't Speak French - Girls Aloud (mp3 Download)

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Exclusive Pet Shop Boys tracks!

Streaming now (but not, unfortunately available to download) are various bits and bobs from over the years. Go to the PSB site (skip to homepage bottom right) and go to PRODUCTS; EXCLUSIVE TRACKS via the Navigation menu. It's like an unreleased bonus CD! And with everything PSB, there's some anorak-type notes to accompany each track.

These images are part of the current HMV ad campaign. It's nice to see such familiar faces down the Tube in the morning on the way to work. And look who's come out of the cold at the bottom of this post.

Stand out tracks include It's a Sin (The Miami Mix) recorded at Stock, Aitken and Waterman's PWL Studio in 1987 which turned up six years later on The Pet Shop Boys Compiled, a Radio 1 competition prize. Sounding like a Hit Factory product frozen in time, this version has the studio's receptionist speaking in Spanish. The guitar-laden A Powerful Friend, was written in 1982 with this version recorded 20 years later during the Disco 3 sessions.

Also worth a listen is the rough mix of God Willing, originally intended as the opener to Fundamental. In typical PSB stylee, they explain how "Neil, Chris and Trevor Horn read out junk emails which are then played backwards, fascinatingly enough".

Well! Undisco me and smother me in glitter, it's Billie Ray Martin!

*UPDATE - try streaming the tracks in Firefox if the other browsers are letting you down!

Monday, 12 November 2007

M&S does Hollywood

Funny Face, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire are all referenced in this gorgeous M&S Christmas ad. I'm a sucker for this old style Holloywood pastiche. And how fabulous does Twiggy look?

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Kylie's inspiration

She wasn't the first, and she won't be the last. Cilla Black did it with aplomb EVERY week for years.

1. Cilla - 1960s
Cilla walks on sans frock... Step inside, love, you must be freezing!

2. Cilla - 1970s
Did they really still do programmes in black and white in the 70s?

3. Cilla - 1970s
Ah, that's better. Someone's waved the colour wand and given our carrot-topped Cilla a carrot coloured outfit. Loving the snazzier graphics.

The joker's always smiling...

Looking like a Stepford Wife waiting in the mirrored room for Trinny and Susannah to poke at her, this was one of my favourite sequences on ITV's telly special, The Kylie Show from last night. It's one of the only sequences WITHOUT the hysterical, Red Bulled-up audience, (all from the same agency thinking it was a taste of the 'big time').

Overall? I enjoyed it. It felt like an old fashioned TV special and looked like a cheap 80s video. The funny bits were titterful and it filled an hour's worth of Saturday night.

"Tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be Phil Oakey of The Human League"

"With a lot of LOVE and a lot of ACTION! Tonight, singing live, Ray Fairhurst is Phil Oakey!"

I never knew! All those Stars in Their Eyes acts over the years and I never knew there was a Phil Oakey one. And doing Love Action! Bless him, the little mimic looks like he's going to cry when Matthew asks "Has the twenty years of dedication been worth it?"

And the dancers doing the girls are actually spot on.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

You dirty stop-in!

Countdown minus 35 minutes!

It's all going Pete Tong...

I quite like the Headlines single. If it was a. n. other track on the album, I wouldn't skip it... but as a comeback single it's proving to be doing more harm than any good at all. Selling just over 5,000 copies on downloads this week will give it a chart placing of 20. Not very good for so much time and money spent on the Spices' reunion thus far. Pretty dire really.

And the press are going to love the news come Monday. That and the fact that Radio 1 has decided not to playlist the track will mean the tour and subsequent singles will have to be fucking good. Radio 1 got right to the point in their decision to play the track ONCE a day: "Clearly there's a huge number of Spice Girls fans out there - look at the tickets they have sold. But 'Headlines' is very disappointing. The song simply isn't strong enough.. it would have been a B-side in their heyday."

David Walliams looks fabulosa, BTW.

Will does funny...

Apart from the cringey Helena BC bit at the end, La Mirren and Will induce titters aplenty...

Anyone want any elephant shit for Christmas?

It's grim up north

Saw this over on London Calling (now based in Lytham St Annes, north west Engerland). The prizes are yer actual lumps of meat. Funny scary.

It's a very northern thing. And very popular leading up to Christmas. Imagine: "Mam, the turkey's nice, where'd you get it?"
"Oh, I won it down the bingo at The Legion".

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Presenting Eliza Lumley, (no relation)...

Last night was a very grown-up affair. Dinner and cabaret rolled into one. How simply deeeviiine.

A friend, Eliza Lumley, was performing her new album, She Talks in Maths: Interpretations of Radiohead, at Pizza on the Park. Eliza's made her name on Broadway and the West End starring in big old juggernauts like Mary Poppins and Mama Mia, so this project really is her own.

Now between you and me, jazz versions of a band I've never really been into could have been the equvalent of nails-on-blackboard for me. But as it was a friend, and as I actually enjoyed the tracks once I'd heard them on HerSpace I dragged my sorry arse down there. With the Jazz combo backing band, she performed a cover of my favourite Smiths song too! Please, Please, Please... became bittersweet and was gorgeously arranged. The album is available on iTunes, together with the Smiths'cover! Bona!