Saturday, 31 March 2007

Sisters are doing it to themselves

Hey! Girls! Girls! Break it up!

Watch your mouths when you're pissed. That bloke flirting with you is a sneaky journo! You don't HAVE to bad mouth each other, so don't!

Apparently, Babydaddy is having a go at Mika.
He said, she said, he said, she said. *wanders off to watch paint dry. Again!!!*
Sheesh!


How it COULD be...

Friday, 30 March 2007

Robyn ram-raids Hoxton

Robyn @ Cargo, London, 29th March 2007


For the second time in a month, Robyn played a blistering gig in old London Town. The venue, Cargo in Hoxton, was twice as big as Metro; visible progress at least, in the onward march of her world domination. The place was jam-packed with fans, so there was a lot of love in the room and a huge boom of appreciation after each song.

Acknowledging the "big love", Robyn also told everyone how she never envisaged the success of her "Own record" put out on her "Own label" on her "Own terms. Bless!

She bounced around the stage for the whole gig, bashing a syn drum within an inch its life for Who's That Girl. Her voice is so spot on, live, but her memory went west during You Can't Handle Me. She forgot the words but was rescued by her guitarist.

The setlist was exactly the same as the Metro gig - just a different order - but there was still a noticeable absence of Crash and Burn Girl. The highlight tonight was the acoustic version of Be Mine - played as a THIRD encore. Again, she was on stage with just two musicians so her band introduction took only ten seconds (Joss Stone take note). Apparently there'll be loads of press coming up for the UK release of her two year old album. And more gigs! Yay!

A League of their own

Have Canadians never heard of the greatest band from Sheffield? Tsk. What next? The Soft Cell Association of British Columbia?

The bitterest gob

"It just kind of popped out! Sozz"

Hats off to Mr Paul Weller. A man who has never really touched my radar - a rare breed some might say. The story in the Daily Mirror that he gobbed on a picture of Sting fills my heart with glee. The fact he hawked up a chest full of phlegm, spat, then growled "Fucking twat!" made me belly-laugh.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Bits 'n' pieces

PET SHOP BOYS NEARLY DEADED


According to the New Zealand Herald newspaper a plane flying from Santiago, Chile, to Auckland, New Zealand, carrying the precious cargo of Pet Shop Boys "...was within about 40 seconds of a potential catastrophe." What was thought to be a a piece of broken old Russian satelllite hurtling to earth narrowly missed the PSB jet. It turns out it was actually a meteorite. The Boys slept through it. Apparently.

I'M SEEING ROBYN TONIGHT



The gorgeous Robyn is playing her second gig in a month in London tonight. The venue, Cargo, is just down the road. Ha! I shall be hopping on the 55, 26 or 48 bus in about 15 minutes.


DOCTOR WHO TOPS COOLEST TV CHARACTER POLL



This is for the benefit of Dan's Project '76... Yet another poll, just in time for the series starting on Saturday, puts Dr Who at the top of a Radio Times list of the Coolest TV Characters. Oh, and both the programme and mag are from the BBC. Funny that. But I like the fact that The Fonz is still up there. Heeeeeeyyyyyy!


JOSS STONE STRIKES IT LUCKY...



...and sticks a big two fingers up to the UK. As she 'does a Sheena', don't expect her back in the near future. Or ever. Thank God.

"Blue? Blue ooh?"


MARBELLA BELLES - ITV1, Tuesdays 10.00pm

OMG everything is curling! The cringiest, funniest reality (!) show in ages! I found this clip of the show being reprised on the brilliant Harry Hill's TV Burp.

Marbella Belles follows the vacuous lives of five champagne-fuelled, tanorexic, acid-stripped, surgery-enhanced, painted-taloned, coiffeured forty/fifty-somethings in, guess where, Marbella, Spain. And aren't they a joy to behold. One of them, Lisa Johnson, 38 *splutter, yeah right*, doesn't work "'Cos I decided I didn't want to anymowah!". She swears at her son to stop swearing, has a ciggie in her gob whilst getting a facial and forgets she's actually a mum to her baby son called Blue: "Blue? Blue ooh?... Ow! The baaaaby!".

I am in pleats watching this show. It's one enormous freak show. They all clearly hate each other, and I bet when the cameras go they sit, head-in-hands and WEEP! Gawd!

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Kitchenware Records - a Newcastle marvel, 25 years old (!)

25 years ago, in Newcastle Upon Tyne, I was 13. Every Saturday I'd tread a well-worn path in my black desert boots between HMV, Virgin, Volume Records and, for the huge bargain bin, Windows Music shop. I'd know where every band's records were. But there'd also be aisles and corners I'd avoid: the Metal section was scary and, strangely, smelt of hippy juice and the punk section just smelt. Probably farts and beer.


But 25 years ago, unbeknowst to me because I was too young, Kitchenware Records was formed. Keith Armstrong and Paul Ludford at the time ran a successful club called Soul Kitchen at Tiffanys - "New Sounds, New Hope, Newcastle!!!", it said on the flyer. And on the back of their biggest gig at the club, New Order, they set up a record label.

Cut to two years later and, having since found out about Kitchenware, I got in touch - I was brazen 15 year old by then - and did my work experience there. From then on I'd spend intermittent days or weeks there until I found other places to hang out - or more than likely, Keith and Paul got fed up with a stupid-arsed teenager hanging around.

Kitchenware Records didn't have the artiness of the other indie labels at the time like Factory and Postcard, but it did have the ambition and above all the passion. And unlike the other labels, it married its acts to a major record company, more a 'dependent' label than 'independent. This was quite unique at the time and it meant their acts could benefit from the major's huge budgets.

Those bands on the label at the time have made their mark on pop's pantheon in some form or other. Whether through sheer fan devotion and industry name-checks: Hurrah! and Martin Stephenson and the Daintees or through international recognition and hits: Prefab Sprout and The Kane Gang . It was great as a 15/16 year old sat in the office in the middle of the eye of the storm. All the acts were having huge success: Prefab Sprout were about to release Steve McQueen and jetting around Europe on promo trips; The Kane Gang were having hit singles; Hurrah! had found their anthemic sound and Martin Stephenson and the Daintees were touring all over the shop. As well as making copious cups of tea and coffee (that bloody freezing toilet where the hot water was!) I would be thrown a box of tapes and asked to pick out the ones I liked. None were ever signed, but I do remember picking out a Loyd Cole and the Commotions tape. I can also remember voting on The Kane Gang's Gun Law as the follow-up to their biggest hit Closest Thing to Heaven. It flopped.

Just listening to the tracks I've chosen below you'll understand why I loved them: the tunefulness, the genuine sentiment and the pop sensibilities. Click on the band names to buy the CDs highlighted here. The Kane Gang album is trés expensive though!

PREFAB SPROUT
They've always been a favourite. I never thought Prefab Sprout were the arch, art rockers they were portrayed as. I always thought they were a warm, funny band who produced songs which reflected that. Every time they were in the office, there'd be sharp banter and a hive of activity. And there were the kind gestures too, like Marty McAloon making me, the workie, a cup of coffee. Lovely man. Walk On got played to death on my decks and Swoon was completely different to EVERYTHING in the charts at the time; every time I put it on I was transported to exotic places like Jodrell Bank which I've since found to be anything but!
Prefab Sprout - Walk On (mp3 download) - Lions In My Own Garden EP
Prefab Sprout - Cue Fanfare (mp3 download) - Swoon album


MARTIN STEPHENSON AND THE DAINTEES

The Daintees were a brilliant live band. Martin Stephenson and his stories would mean gigs would go on for hours. I remember one gig was recorded and, during the song released on the b-side of Crocodile Cryer, you can hear a friend of mine shout "Phil!". Trouble Town was my first and favourite Daintees song; it was summer in Newcastle and this was the perfect sunny accompaniment.
Martin Stephenson & The Daintees - Trouble Town (mp3 download) - single
Martin Stephenson & The Daintees - Crocodile Cryer (mp3 download) - Boat To Bolivia album

HURRAH!
Hurrah! will always be the massive band they never were in my mind. The songs were big, bold, urgent and anthemic. The boys themselves were lovely. Just very warm Geordies who loved their music and loved performing it.
Hurrah! - Hip-hip (mp3 download) - Boxed album
Hurrah! - Who'd Have Thought (mp3 download) - Tell God I'm Here album


THE KANE GANG

I remember Martin Brammer, the lead singer, coming into the Kitchenware offices looking vare peturbed. He'd been followed around Newcastle by a bunch of girlies for over an hour. It was the trademark cap that did it. He took it off and lost them. The stalkers were fickle in those days. Their first album - with two tracks from it here - was yet another summer favourite. The big hit, Closest Thing to Heaven was filmed at the local summer fair, The Hoppings. Loads of girls in pencil skirst and white court shoes! And I was fleetingly in the video for Gun Law, which I've hunted high and low for! Martin has continued songwriting and has just scored big with James Morrison. Vare glad to hear...
The Kane Gang - Crease In His Hat (mp3 download) - The Bad and Lowdown World of the Kane Gang album
The Kane Gang - How Much Longer? (mp3 download) - The Bad and Lowdown World of the Kane Gang album

All in all, this posting isn't about nostalgia. It's about music which has remained with me for years and which I still play now. Also, I was at such a formative time 25 years ago that the people I met through Kitchenware have always figured larger in my mind than even they would ever think.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

It's nothing like Touch Me


After posting about the gorgeous Faithless track, below, I looked up the vocalist, Cass Fox's other stuff. I had a vague recollection of an album (Come Here - now only £1.69 snniiiiipp!!) being released last year, but without much fanfare, and it subsequently passed me by. I think it was probably overshadowed by the monster dance track Touch Me which doesn't sit well on this CD of more chilled, Massive Attack-type stuff. More's the pity, though, 'cos this song is so great: the sentiment is very sweet and the vocals sublime.
Cass Fox - Come Here (mp3 download)

Monday, 26 March 2007

Spring chez moi


I ram-raided Columbia Road Flower market yesterday.

Video of the week

Faithless - Music Matters (Axwell Remix)


Q: How many Faithless songs have I ever thought, "Hmmm. Quite like this one"
A: None

Even though it's got another 'worthy' rap from Maxi Jazz, imagine my total shock as I say: "Hmm. I REALLY like this one".
*Faints*

I'm especially loving the gorgeous animation and the ack-chew-al vocals from Cass Fox of Rui DaSilva, Touch Me fame.

The centre of the world


London at night

Taken with a Cybershot camera from the moon or something. Doesn't she look all bright and gaudy and fab?

Sunday, 25 March 2007

I quit

Nah, not really. But according to The Sunday Times today, the 'blog craze' is officially dead. Lindsay Lohan hasn't posted since Freaky Friday (!!??) and, despite there being a blog page, Barbara Streisand hasn't even switched on her computer and done her first one yet. Now that really IS a trend!

Apparently several hundred million blogs are being abandoned left right and centre. Hey ho.

But there was nothing in the article about how the good blogs are still, and will probably remain, standing (see right, although I'm starting to worry about lifeiscock).

Friday, 23 March 2007

Songs to cry to

Without going all emo, there are certain songs that bring a tear to one's eye. Over on the wonderful XO's Middle Eight there was a link to the newly-found and equally as wonderful The Modern Music where his 'Goth Subculture Anthems' post got me RIGHT THERE!


It was *gulp* The Cocteau Twins. The jangling guitars, gorgeous chords and soaring vocals take me right back to my over-emotional teenage years, *sniff*. And while Liz Fraser sang her gobbledy gook, Robert Smith was doing the same in English.

The Cure's Head On the Door was the Goth superstar of an album that still sounds as urgent as it did 20 years ago. Sigh.

The Cocteau Twins - Lorelei (mp3 download) - from Treasure
The Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas (mp3 download) - from Heaven or Las Vegas
The Cure - A Night Like This (mp3 Download) - from Head On the Door

*sniff*

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Uptown is where I belong

Uptown - Pleasure (mp3 download)
My new favourite band. There's been loads floating around about Fred Ball and his marvelous music. I love this track and can't wait for the Pleasure 2 cd I've ordered.

C4 again!

Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position
Channel 4's T4 is a strange old thing. So-called 'hangover TV' on a Sunday morning when, really, I'd rather see great stuff like this - Patrick Wolf in stack heels and pixie pants - on a weekday night after work. Y'know, something genuinely entertaining instead of some mental woman on Corrie up in court for murdering her fella or Louise Redknapp crying crocodile tears over her size zero tits.

Sunday morning TV means America's Next Top Model, Golden Girls and, back in the day, mad soaps like Brother, Sister.

"My love is poison, like ARSENIC!!!"

Patrick Wolf and The Horrors. Quelle Horreur!

Not quite as good as the laydeez C4 ad - but at least this one looks like they're all in the studio at the same time.

So we have: The Horrors, Bat For Lashes, Unkle Jam, The Noisettes, Jack Peñate and Patrick Wolf. I love how they all try and get their 'personality' into their 2 seconds of spotlight. Fab.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Ice, Ice Baby


A new Yoko Ono compilation Open Your Box is out on April 23rd and available a little earlier on Amazon. Not quite sure if the world needs 3 versions of Walking on Ice, but here's the superior mix. Obviously.
Yoko Ono - Walking on Thin Ice (Pet Shop Boys Electro Mix) (mp3 download)

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Mika's new video

Mika - Love Today
Not that he needs any more blog promos but this is one of my favourites from the album. I thought Lollipop would be a bit more of an obvious choice. Whatever, it'll sell by the truckload. And I love the retro Paula Abdul influence. Straight up!

Pet Shop Covers

A sign of a good cover is forgetting the original and having the cover artist make it their own. It's hard for any cover version of a Pet Shop Boy track not to jar on first hearing because you're so used to Neil Tennant's loquacious tones.

But repeated plays of these three and that thought quickly disappears. They are brilliant performances and arrangements of three well-loved PSB songs.

King's Cross - Tracey Thorn (mp3)
Love Comes Quickly - Memphis (mp3)
It's a Sin - Paul Anka (mp3)

Monday, 19 March 2007

Worth a looksee

Shang-A-Lang, Chelsea Kelsey's superb blog.
The latest post, Hit Music, is his quarter-year round-up of favourite songs this year. I love the home-spun way he'll introduce a topic obviously very dear to his heart: "The weather’s been like May in London - most odd - but time's still getting on... it suddenly became a matter of the utmost urgency that I begin organising 2007’s tracks to date on iTunes and think about my favourites so far." Top tune in the Kelsey household is Read My Mind (Pet Shop Boys Stars Are Blazing Mix) – The Killers And it HAS to be the PSB version... What follows are affectionate tributes to his Top Ten so far. Have a read...

Silence is a rythmn too
Another music lover, Michael has a fabulous knack of hitting on brilliant new tunes or finding brand new mixes which change your outlook on a hitherto overlooked track. From his weekly Funky Friday set, there's a great new mix of LCD Soundsystem - Us Vs. Them by Go Home Productions which has given an ordinary (by LCD's standards) track an extraordinary makeover. GRAB IT NOW!

Lifeiscock
As ever, Simon Christmas sighs his way through another blog on the minutae of his life. This one contains his list of things to do before hitting 30 (if only!) which is all a bit samey by the looks of it. Funny as fuck.

And Happy Birthday to XOLondon. I got there 2 weeks ago... all I can say is, it took a bloody long time to get there!

...ah! There he is!

Firstly, that 'growling' door at the beginning sounds creepy... As I posted a missing in action blog about Boy George, there he was posting this on YouTube.

Here's a diary of his time 'down under' at Mardi Gras. With all these clubbing vids, I feel a bit detached from what is probably a very nice crowd experience. You had to be there I suppose.

"Is it that I'm being too gay?" as he's taking off a very fetching pair of red slingbacks. Bless.

"Whoops! There goes my career"


"Joss! Don't jump!!! Oh. Go on then."

You could almost feel sorry for her after this Dallas Austin woman-hating, crack-induced dig. But then... The Chris Moyles interview... Of course, Joss, it's soooo hard being a jet-setting millionaire and everyfink.

Anyhoo, best of luck with the album!

Friday, 16 March 2007

My favourite Boy...


I haven't heard a peep out of him for ages... probably because he's doing his Singer/DJ duties Down Under. There seems to be some kind of media black hole down there...

'Time Machine' didn't bloody do anything. No radio play same as fucking ever... gorgeous though it is. And there's been not a jot on YouTube for over a month! So, instead, here are 4 songs which will help alleviate the pangs until he comes back...

Il Adore - Boy George (mp3 Download)

From the plaintive strings to the bitter sweet lyrics: "Laughing screaming, tumbling queen / Like the most amazing light show you've ever seen / Whirling swirling never blue / How could you go and die, what a lonely thing to do" this is George writing about Leigh Bowery. Featured on his album Cheapness and Beauty and as a show-stopper in Taboo it's George at his very best creatively.

If I Could Fly - Boy George (mp3 Download)

A little naughty giggle at the beginning but the cello sets the real tone for this song. Another Cheapness and Beauty song, this one is about overcoming heroin addiction. Happy subject I know but such a beautiful tune...

Mr Strange - Boy George (mp3 Download)

From the album of unreleased tracks on The Unrecoupable One Man Bandit.
All about Steve Strange. George was bitterly jealous about Steve scoring a number one single first with Fade to Grey. This is a kind of apology by George for being so nasty in the past... and then he takes it all back. Bitch! hahaha!

Stranger In This World - Euan Morton (mp3 Download)
Playing the Boy himself, Euan not only looks like him but sounds like him in this song from Taboo. Gayers, get ya hankies out. It's a teary coming-out special.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

The milk of human kindness...

Flicking through tonight's copy of thelondonpaper I came across this lovely letter from Gail in Surrey talking about the fabulous Beth Ditto's proposition to TopShop to design clothes for a bigger size than 16: "While it might be normal in the USA to be as wide as you are tall, in the UK the average size is a 16. If average is normal, then Topshop already caters for normal women... perhaps someone might like to persuade her to waddle over to Evans, a shop for women with "bigger bodies"."

Gail from Surrey. What. A. Cunt.

A sad woman with serious issues about weight, size and probably herself. Go get the latest copy of heat, love. There's some pictures of Vanessa Feltz and some crappy cover line about "fat celebs" to make you feel better about yourself.
Strewth!

"Gail! I think you dropped these 2 fingers?"

"A grande latte of air and the new Paul McCartney CD please!"

Urgh! Starbucks 'does' music of its own...

The 'coffee shop' chain that opens a new branch around the world every 0.05 seconds - as you read that, another three just did - now plans to launch it's own record label. They'll distribute the music digitally within the said shops to burn onto CD. Erm. Can't we just go in there and burn the store instead?

Listen to this statement from, Ken Lombard, the Starbucks bloke in charge of setting the whole thing up: "This announcement is a natural next step in our entertainment strategy. Hear Music will add tremendous value to the content offerings (!!!) and distribution of great music Starbucks customers have come to expect." *slaps palm on forehead then walks over to a newly painted wall to watch it dry*

Actually, alongside the rumoured Paul McCartney signing, I've got a few suggestions: what about the fabulous Joss Stone? With her 'youthful soul' she'll get the 20-30 demographic? Or the really edgy Sean Paul? There's your 'urban' demographic sorted without alienating anyone. Westlife can grab the grans and grandads. Coldplay can mop up the 'indie' mums and dads and Beyonce can just mop up the floor. We all know they need a good clean. Filthy holes.

Speaking of which, here's a lovely shot of the Leicester Square branch to end on. Note the user-friendly 'crowd control' queuing barriers. Nice. They LOVE their customers.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

"Excuse me, I think you'll find there's Spam on that!"

Q: "Aren't prawns an aphrodisiac?"
A: "I wouldn't put it past them".


Comedy, and in particular, good comedy I can watch again and again. It's like music to me. Like a 20 year old track that sounds as fresh as it did when I took it out of the WH Smith/Woolworths/John Menzies carrier bag and put in on me Sanyo Music Tower.

This Victoria Wood sketch starring her and Julie Walters is one of my favourites. It's so full of gags you have to watch it again because you've guffawed and spluttered over the previous three. A friend of mine has based his whole repertoire of one-liners on this very sketch. Mention prawns and he says he never touches them: "Do you know they hang around sewage outlet pipes, treading water with their mouths open? They LOVE IT!"

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Free music... No, really. It's free!

And it's given to you with love from me. Although I write songs, there are a few musical 'doodles' of mine floating around that become a dance track instead. Sometimes though, they stay unfinished. But, because I'm biased, I still like hearing them now and again. So, ta-dah! Here's a little taster... and, BTW, I know crunk is a form of hip-hop, but I love the word and it seems to suit.


Crunk (mp3 Download)
- available 'til 26th MARCH

Saturday, 10 March 2007

The Boys in the Band

I'm terrible for watching bands and only having eyes for the one I fancy. I've gone through entire gigs staring at them not even noticing what they're playing. The usual criteria is: he's not the singer, he's usually dark-haired and looks blokey. Simple enough. Here's a gallery of the ones I've always hankered after and rather than have to decide on who comes top and who comes bottom (oo-er), I've put them in alphabetical order. The criteria for this post is that they have to be in a band I actually like, so Coldplay's drummer will have to sit this one out. Funnily enough, the first 'boy in the band' who got me puzzling over why I fancied men comes out first in the list...

ABBA - Benny Andersson
A-HA - Magne Furuholmen
ABC - Mark White





BLUE - Anthony Costa
CULTURE CLUB - Jon Moss
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN - Pete De Freitas





FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD - Paul Rutherford
KEANE - Tim Rice-Oxley
THE KILLERS - Ronnie Vanucci





KLAXONS - Simon Taylor
KUBB - Adj Buffoni
MADNESS - Lee Thompson





PET SHOP BOYS - Chris Lowe
S CLUB 7 - Paul Cattermole
SCISSOR SISTERS - Babydaddy





AND FINALLY...
This one's a guilty pleasure.

Random Treats. Pt 2

This one's for Susie.
There's always a musical refrain from a favourite track that'll pop up from nowhere at any given moment. In 1993, a mate of mine introduced me to that very kind of track. One that she loved. Whenever it came on she'd go all bendy and purry like a cat on catnip. The tune was Stories and the band was Izit. We both ended up loving the tune so much that when Izit were in town (Liverpool, at the time) at a club night doing a full-on live set we were there, front row. The only thing was we were part of a 10 or so crowd in front of a band with about double that onstage. Never mind. We loved it. They loved us (whooping it up an' all) and, after much searching, here's the track...
Izit - Stories (mp3 download)

Thursday, 8 March 2007

My life as a library


Look at these books I got for my birthday.

What do they say about me?
1) I love music - electro, with a northern flavour, a particular favourite.
2) I work, (for my sins), in magazines but still love them.
3) I'm a big old gayer who likes looking at dirty pictures.

Correct, correct and, erm, correct. Am I that obvious?

Er, yes, I also got this: but I'm saving this for a blog of it's very own in the weeks to come...

J 'adore Factory Records the Complete Graphic Album.


A surprisingly straightforward Tony Wilson (funnily enough in the foreword) explains how Britain was a dark, dank and design-less place BF (Before Factory). Well, more just a shade of brown and orange from what I remember but when Factory introduced their design ethos (every product from gig flyers, to records, to a whole club was Factory tagged) it did bring Britain around to the idea that shapes, colours, words and ideas called design could, perhaps, add something to one's life. This book by Matthew Robertson is a little anodyne in the written detail, especially when talking about my favourite design, Fac 73 New Order's Blue Monday. The die-cut holes in the cardboard sleeve design meant every copy of this 12-inch sold at a loss. At a loss? It was the biggest selling 12-inch single OF ALL TIME... well over a million. But this gorgeous tome is all about the pictures anyway. Many bring back memories, especially the warning hazard type stripes: it was cool and made dowdy Manchester look like NYC. Later on, the Happy Mondays' Rave On sleeve seems to encapsulate the mood at the time, amateurish but definitely bold and knowledgable. I stroke this book it's so bona to varda!

J 'adore too, 100 Years of Magazine Covers.


As a bold statement, none could be more up itself than: "Magazine covers... at their best come together as a spontaneous street level exhibition, publicly displaying the work of our best creative talent...". But when the co-author and designer of this equally gorgeous tome is Neville Brody, the Art Director present at every great magazine design leap forward, you can kind of forgive it. The usual suspects are here, step forward i-D and The Face, but also present are a comprehensive look at covers throughout history and around the world, neatly packaged together in logical themed chapters rather than *yawn* chronological order. It's very striking that, although technology has made covers look more slick, it was, and still is, all about the message and ideas. I was amazed by the Time Out covers from the seventies. Although more political, the ideas were groundbreaking and effective. My only quibble with the content, however, is the complete lack of music or teen stuff. NME and Smash Hits in the 80s were poles apart but equal in terms of creative verve and deserving of a reappraisal here, after all, they got most of us interested in the first place. B+

J 'adore, also, Butt Book

It's very strange to see someone you know stark-bollock naked. But even odder with bits upside down and dangling in a copy of Butt. Imagine. "Can't talk, love, I'm doing a Butt shoot, yeah I'm on the top deck of the 159, arse to the wind, one hand up me crack and me cock nuzzling the ear of this old woman in front of me, Yeah great, innit?". Yes, the pics are all wonderfully verité and the design is refreshingly different, but it's all very try-hard (ouch). There's a nice edgy probing perviness to the features but after a while it all gets a tad reeee-lent-less. My advice? Read it with your mates, it's nice to pass around, to discuss the, er, finer points of selling skid-marked undies and to point at the person you know in there and go: "Oooh, ain't she brave".


All that talk of design made me tweak a few things on my blog...

Nice colours.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

How many Pet Shop Boys does it take to change a lightbulb?


Ooh, how exciting. I've just seen on the Pet Shop Boys website that they're currently rehearsing the next leg of the tour with a "different stage design". Having seen stills and clips during the whole of the last tour and being as jel as hell at not being able to go (I eschewed the festivals to wait for a 'proper' concert), it's great to see it'll be a changed show for part deux... and I've got tix for 27th May at Hammersmith Apollo. Hoorah!

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Synth-u-go

After a hard coupla days in a new job and some nerve grinding commutes from Hackney to Wapping... 10 minutes as the crow flies but nearly an hour by foot and sodding bus through the grimy streets o' London. Something tells me I've slipped up somewhere and I'm getting my just deserts for what? I know not. I've got to do something nice now to deposit a huge wad good things into my bank of Karma so here are some tunes FOR YOU!

There's a kind of connection between them all. They're all a bit overlooked and are all covered in synths: posh ones, squidgy ones and some as big as yer 'ead. Just click on the title etc.

The Human League - You Remind Me of Gold (Instrumental Mix)

I love how The League, when Martin Rushent was producing, would always knock off another, totally different mix of A and B sides. This one is on the flip of Mirror Man and is like a dub as it starts minimally, sweeping synths come in and then it kicks of with looped vocals whipping up a right frenzy. I always used to think the girls were singing 'Jolene...'.


Marina Van Rooy - Sly One (Melbourne Mix)


G-Love was a once a month mid-week club night run by a collaboration of Liverpool dance creatives in the early 90's. It was facking marvellous; it all felt a bit illicit and wrong. This track, by Marina Van Rooy, was one of the night's classics - I love the breathy 'Oooohs'. One of the G-Lovers, Peter Coyle also wrote and produced this under his 8 Recordings banner.

All This Love (Tonite Only Mix) - The Similou


I had my doubts about this track at first but then I heard this mix and I don't even remember how the original goes now. That dirty, squelchy sequenced bass at the beginning of this mix got me hooked good and proper.

Hoxton Whores - Friday Saturday Love (Vox)

Aw. I love stomping electro stuff. This is a perfect track to take you from 'just getting into it' to, 'bloody hell, what happened there?!'. And the Hoxton Whore's house of music and mirth is just 'round the corner. We could be neighbours.

Monday, 5 March 2007

I heart Channel 4

Aw. Channel 4 always manages to surprise. Picture the scene: it's the last ad break after Desperate Housewives and this plug for a new Channel 4 season pops up...



Lady Sov, Mutya, Sophie and Tracey Thorn on one 20 second track? LOVE IT! (Let's just forget about the Bedingfield "hmmmmmmm, hmmmmmmm" and Bailey Rae). "Music in my ears and everything..."

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Random Treats. Pt 1


Music is my, music is my, music is my life.
I've always thought that Mark Moore is one of those creative marvels who lives for music and will always be involved, whether as a DJ, svengali, or songwriter. His S'Express stuff was the segue for me from synth pop to full-on dance. A few years after that I began to appreciate the *ahem* proper nuances of dance, but this track was always my favourite of theirs. Billy Ray Martin (bless) provides the vocals on Hey Music Lover and you can ramraid this gorgeous tune here for a few days.
Hey Music Lover - S'Express

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Who's that girl?

Robyn @ Blow Up - Metro Club, London, 2nd March 2007
Ruddy marv! What a right old shindig it was at Metro last night. Robyn performed her little pixie boots off last night. In a venue that defines the term shoebox, she seemed bowled over by the ecstatic welcome she got, and genuinely surprised that the crowd sang back her lyrics.

Opening with Konichiwa Bitches, there was some slightly puzzling lipsynching going on, but after that everything was *phew* a genuine vocal. And for someone so 'elfin' in stature, she's got an absoulute belter of a voice live. Almost shockingly so.
After a neat little medley of Buffalo Stance and Push It she launched straight into either Who's That Girl or Cobrastyle... I'm bloody terrible at remembering the setlists! One of the highlights was a massive version of With Every Heartbeat. Even in the tiny space it sounded HUUUGE.
Robyn clearly loves her music and loves performing it, especially to such a brilliant crowd. There's a bit of a Robyn love-in going on in the UK at the moment with the repackaged Robyn album coming out on April 2nd, the Konichiwa Bitches single before that and ANOTHER gig at Cargo on the 29th March! Hoorah. I'll try and remember the setlist for that one...

Friday, 2 March 2007

Thursday, 1 March 2007

New musik...

Too many years ago to mention - I was only 10 years old - I bought my first record. If music is an important part of your life, that first choice in the record shop can be such a signifier. My hard earned 75p was spent on this cute electro pop confection: Living By Numbers by New Musik. I love the fact that I could choose a song in my tender years and then find I still like it - right down to the cheesy spoken refrain at the end: 'They don't want your name, just your number'. It only got to number 13 in 1979 so it's nice to know I was, even then, a little left of centre.

The link to the mp3 file above will only be around for a few days so HURRY!