How come moving house consumes everything? Time, money, sanity. But it's insanely exciting too, hence no posts since Friday. But I'll be back!
Wednesday, 30 January 2008
Friday, 25 January 2008
I'm looking forward to Lily's show, Lily Allen and Friends, about which she says: "There will be good celebrity guests, not rubbish...." The explosion in a wallpaper factory set looks great, if that is indeed it.
Behind-the-scenes, hot dogs, jumping frogs.
I'm not a big fan of the music but I like her attitude. Hopefully it won't be toe-curling like Gob-on-a-stick Church's awful chat show. And BBC Three promise to spread their shows across the web which is good news for those outside the UK. Go and have a nose around here.
Posted by Phil at 13:00
Whatever you do, don't tell Mozz you like Elton John.
This entertaining piece in TimesOnline is slightly freakish in two ways. Firstly, the writer, who was dressing Mozzer doesn't seem to understand that being an undercover journo on his tour was probably the reason he was sacked after a day, and secondly, I always suspected Morrissey to have an ego as big as his figure of hate, but getting an assistant to spray a fragrance betwixt Himself and the audience is beyond even Dame Elton.
Posted by Phil at 12:15
Tuesday, 22 January 2008
It had to happen. Called Yazoo Reconnected, Vince and Alf are back together for a tour (and some re-packaged product)! It's totally coincidental that another all-time favourite band (known as Yaz in the US of A, pop fans, blah, blah, yadda, yadda), follows directly on the posts about Human League and ABC.
In May there's a box-set (obv.!) called In Your Room (a sly reference to the geeky nature of box-sets?) with every Yazoo recording, ever. Well, two albums' worth plus b-sides. And there's the rub about this band. Their huge influence belies the fact that they were only together for 18 months.
Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke were an odd pairing but perfect for each other too. They had that pop mystery: are they shagging each other? Are they gay? Are they a brother/sister combo? WTF? Together their sound was unique; Vince added the pop to Alf's Joni Mitchell poetry. Who cares that they didn't have much in common, the longevity of the music they created has surprised even themselves. With their very different individual work over the past 25 years, won't it be strange to see them back together?
Goodbye Seventies - Yazoo (zShare) - From Upstairs at Eric's
Anyone - Yazoo (zShare) - From You and Me Both
The Other Side of Love (12" Mix) - Yazoo (zShare) - A one-off single release.
The tour dates are as follows: (exclusive pre-sale tickets are available on the 25th January from alisonmoyet.com)
• Wed 4th June, Glasgow Clyde Auditorium
• Sat 7th June, Manchester Apollo
• Thu 12th June, Wolverhampton Civic Hall
• Sun 15th June, Brighton Centre
• Wed 18th June, London Hammersmith Apollo
For more info and the full press release clicky here.
Nobody's Diary, video, 1983. Imagine Vince and Alf walking onto to the set (1:30) and realising the interpretation was quite literal. How 80s.
Posted by Phil at 00:08
Sunday, 20 January 2008
Every now and again, YouTube comes into its own as a channel for fans and obsessives to reach out to their fellow fans and obsessives. And below is the perfect example. Capturing the Human League on their march, march, march to world domination, these clips from Ozzie pop show Countdown are a rare treat in having the whole band together in one shot - even if they lark around and don't actually reveal anything.
Adrian Wright and Jo Callis on being at number seven (!) in the Billboard Hot 100
18 year olds, Susanne Sulley and Joanne Catherall, doing girl power long before the Spice Girls. But notice how old-sounding their accents are. Really broad northern tones always come across as pensionable!
Susanne and Jo on the now well-worn tale of how Phil Oakey picked them up in the Crazy Daisy club in Sheffield. And I love Jo's blunt northerner description of Grace Jones: "OK for the first half hour and then boring".
The whole band together where Phil Oakey doesn't get one word in.
Love Action, Countdown 1982. I love this voiceover on this, full of showbiz! And the girls! They really can't dance...
Don't You Want Me, Countdown, 1982. Love Jo's very literal interpretation of the lyrics in dance at 0:50.
Is there a girl being attacked in the audience during the first verse? Those screams are blood curdling! And what's with the screams on the chorus? Is it an Ozzie thing?
Thanks to Crowbaby 5 and Noveauxromo
Posted by Phil at 12:14
Friday, 18 January 2008
In a case of blogs eating themselves (or blatantly copying) here are my 10+1 favourite ABC tracks. There's a crossover of 5 but no 90s stuff here. I bought the Up album with much the same trepidation as I bought The Human League's Romantic? and left it at that. I've had a mega ABC post on the tip of my tongue forever, so until then, this is a perfect excuse to at least do a list!
1. S.O.S. (mp3 zShare)
My absolute favourite, the second single from the album Beauty Stab and the ninth most played on my iPod. Bloody geek.
The very homo-erotic S.O.S. video, 1984
2. Vanity Kills
Listen! A trumpet! Domino Dancing! Torch!
Vanity Kills, video, 1985
3. Look of Love (Part 1 and 4)
"What's the look? Look for your information, yes there's one thing, there's one thing that still holds true..."
Look of Love, Top of the Pops, 1982
4. That Was Then But This is Now (mp3 zShare)
"Can't complain, mustn't grumble, help yourself to another piece of Apple Crumble"
5. The Night You Murdered Love (mp3 zShare)
Another follow-up, this time to the massive When Smokey Sings. I love any track which manages to sing the calendar with panache.
6. Show Me (mp3 zShare)
Ah. Strings. Lots of 'em. Especially in that extended intro.
7. All of My Heart
"Add and subtract, but as a matter of fact. Now that you're gone I still want you back"
All of My Heart, video, 1982. At 3:31... the plug and the blood!!!??
8. A to Z (mp3 zShare)
In an attempt to not appear as the duo they really were, Martin Fry and Mark White had a gay bald midget, David Yarritu and a bewigged Face journo Fiona Russell-Powell (known as Eden) join the band in a Monkees-stylee (see above). This track is the ABC anthem for the How To Be a Zillionaire cartoon album. Martin Fry quotes a Bette Davis movie: "Who needs the moon, when we got the stars" and Eden invites everyone to kiss her snatch. Nice.
Now. Where do we begin? Firstly, who got these kids hooked on this pop filth in the first place? Secondly, the enthusiastic boy on the left is, at a guess, the ringleader/choreographer. Aw, bless, and you KNOW what I'm thinking. And thirdly, someone cut the "snatch"! haha! Just watch the little 'un at the front! Aw, again.
9. 4 Ever 2 Gether (mp3 zShare)
Hot Lips? Speak. No.
10. (How to be a) Millionaire
Martin Fry: "Real life was rubbish. We wanted to reinvent ourselves and our world in cartoons. Larger than life and twice as ugly".
(How to be a) Millionaire, video, 1984
+1. Fear of the World (mp3 zShare)
Another track from the Zillionaire album. This is the opener and the hook.
Postscript: loving the new track!
Posted by Phil at 00:10
Wednesday, 16 January 2008
Well, it nearly happened and kind of maybe WILL happen. Whatevs. Apparently it CAN happen. Official. A music blogger's wet dream! In yesterday's interview with Digital Spy, Robyn details the oh-so-nearly opportunity where pop stars being pop stars just didn't have that window in each other's global schedules. Tut tut.
But there is hope for the future: "I'd love to work with Kylie, but who knows what would happen if we went into the studio together? Maybe we wouldn't come up with anything, or maybe we'd write ten songs. Every time you work with someone new, you never know if there's going to be chemistry."
Maybe they could do a mash-up?
With Every 2 Heartbeats?
Better the Bum Like You?
Red Blooded Konichiwa Bitches?
Je Ne Sais Pas That Girl?
Posted by Phil at 14:07
Another band with not much imagery, so, Major Houlihan here has kindly stepped in to illustrate this post.
S'funny this blogosphere world of music. Everything has to be so NEW. Whilst that's definitely a good thing, stop 'aplogizing' for discovering stuff after someone else, like five minutes afterwards. There are music nuts all over the wonderweb who don't care, they just share, and they're the ones I always rely on. A case in point about a band bloggers have pounced on whilst also issuing disclaimers are Pacific!: "They're Swedish... that's sooo 2006"; "I had this track ages ago but only just got around to playing it". Tsk. Just get on and ENJOY the music dammit.
Pacific! (with their annoying 'screamer' - flipping heck I'm crotchity today) are a classic duo line-up from Gothenburg whose music has been described thus: "You’ve spent a sun-drenched day relaxing on the beach and you’re looking out at the ocean – see that very strong bright light on the water? That’s what new band Pacific! are all about, and it’s a warm sunny emotional feeling that imbues all of their music." Hot Lips, their last single, is a sparkling slice of pop. And their brand spanking new track on iTunes Number 1 consolidates their musical prowess. They have a new album due out early this year in the UK, France and Sweden called Reveries: "The name is inspired by one of Debussy's symphonies and our general way of finding inspiration and truth", explains the high-falutin' band.
Hot Lips - Pacific! (zShare)
And here's the simple and lovely video by their visual colloborator Stephane Manel who also drew the band portrait above.
Posted by Phil at 00:56
Tuesday, 15 January 2008
I must stop with the lame-o post heads, but with newbie band Cobra Dukes it was crying out to be used. Way back in June, Arjanwrites threw his considerable spotlight on duo, Kyle Gibson and Lucas Gianello for the release of their first track Leave the Light On which was a more than promising start. Half a year down the line and they are living up to that initial promise. Airtight is a fantastically accomplished track, synth pop in cinemascope just bursting with ambition. And it's no fluke. Go listen to the other tracks over at TheirSpace, Science Fiction is a just as confident. It's a blessed relief to come across GOOD new music.
Popjustice and Paul Lester in The Guardian have both raved about them and there you can read all about the Mylo connection... And as with most new bands, there's always the temptation to compare: ABC circa Lexicon of Love is my opinion, for some reason I kept hearing the 4 Ever 2 Gether track.
Airtight - Cobra Dukes (zShare)
As for the band's imagery. Oof. Sort it out boys. Other than the acid-tracer imagery of last summer, the black and white Calvin Harris thing at the head of the post is IT. You've been photographed for Vogues Hommes by David Bailey, for fucks' sake, so the camera must love you in some way. Get 'em out!
Oh and apropos nothing; looking for said Vogues Hommes pics, I found these stylishly gorgeous promo vids for the Spring/Summer 07 and Autumn/Winter 07/08 (James Franco, who knew! And kiddies, try to ignore the Mario Testino fur shoot - boo you Mario!).
Posted by Phil at 00:37
Friday, 11 January 2008
(Posted By Steve on January 10, 2008 6:13 PM)
Lists. I'm bloody sick of 'em. Which is why, stumbling across this one, I was suddenly overcome with empathy, love and, yes, a little sex wee. All those lists of 'the best of 2007': Feist this, Robyn that (please forgive me). Mark Monohan's 'Perfect Playlist' of the top 10 songs of the 80s with Blondie's Call Me at number one! The Human League's Open Your Heart at number two! Fuck the all that nostalgia shit and give me someone with TASTE.
And to Steve who posted the actual comment underneath the Telegraph feature (read them all! They're hilarious. Don't Smiths/Jam fans take it SO seriously), erm, yes, you div.
I shall now do a Top of the Pops-style run down. The one where you sat and cheered or booed.
1 Blondie Call Me (1980) - Yay!
2 The Human League Open Your Heart (1981) - Yay!
3 Madness It Must Be Love (1981) - Yay!
4 Duran Duran Hungry Like the Wolf (1982) - Yay!
5 Heaven 17 Temptation (1983) - Yay!
6 The Pointer Sisters Jump (For My Love) (1984) - Boo!
7 Prince Let's Go Crazy (1985) - Yay!
8 Peter Gabriel Sledgehammer (1986) - Boo!
9 Pet Shop Boys Rent (1987) - Yay!
10 Neneh Cherry Manchild (1989) - Yay!
The choice of tracks has a deeper significance than just pivotal tracks of the 80s. Out of the entire canon of these bands, Rent, for instance is telling. It's an obsessive's favourite, as is Open Your Heart and Manchild. It's uncanny, I have eight "Yays" and two "Boos" and at various points in my life, these tracks have been MY favourites.
What do you think? Perfect playlist: Were these the 10 best songs of the '80s?
PS it's all gone italics! Ha!
Posted by Phil at 12:38
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
Ooh new-ish Emmon! I'm dying to see how the Swedish singer progresses after the cracking single Rock D'Amour. Although this remix of Frenzy Eyes is over a month old, it's probably indicitive as it's her own remix of herself. Keep up at the back! Hopefully the second solo album (her day job being a member of the band Paris) will actually happen. Frenzy Eyes is a solid, chunky piece of electronic pop and is available as a free download from her MySpace, or if you CBA (can't be arsed) with the link, it's just below.
Frenzy Eyes (Emmon RMX) - Emmon (zShare)
And here are a few YouhooTubes with the gal in action. The first is a horribly stilted converstion between her and a German pop show host - love the segue from small talk about Emmon's holiday in the sun to the new record: "as hot as your, er, alboom?" - but seeing as both are talking in a second language, it's vare admirable and probably more eloquent than your average English-speaker anyway.
Here's Emmon live doing a budget Confessions set. It's actually a lovely Depeche-type electro ditty called Down Below (and no. She's NOT being rude!)
Clicky here to see Emmon at lucky 13 on my Top of the Pops of 2007. And here for my original post on Rock D'Amour.
One of my favourites from last year, The Tough Alliance (see number 4) have just pitched up on Pitchfork. Unfortunately, they sound like a right pair of Kevin the Teenagers, but I still love 'em.
Posted by Phil at 18:46
Sunday, 6 January 2008
Saw this story and HOWLED. This man is very tall, and very deluded.
AND! Oh no! Lost in the 80s is NO MORE! But at least every post will be reproduced here... I'm genuinely upset. Aw.
Posted by Phil at 20:38
Saturday, 5 January 2008
In 1984 I picked up this comedy album, Joan Rivers' What Becomes a Semi Legend Most?, for buttons in the HMV bargain bin. You can even see the - some would say unkind - notch in the bottom left of the sleeve (above) which marked out said bargains.
You see, back then, Joanie wasn't the 'Semi' legend she has become. But all the gayers knew her. So how my family never guessed what I would become when I walked in with this purchase I'll never know. I think I even had a giant poster of Bette Davis in All About Eve on my wall.
Anyhoo, for a new year giggle, nay HOWL, have a listen to this comedy gem. You've heard her routine a thousand times, but with Dame Joanie, it's always funny. The beauty of this live recording is the references to celebs of the time: stoopid Bo Derek; fat Elizabeth Taylor and, of course, the Royal Family, so prominent after the Lady Di injection.
What Becomes a Semi Legend Most (Side A) - Joan Rivers (zShare)
- The National Enquirer and UFO sightings
- Living in New York
- Before and after marriage
- Rock stars
- Men vs. women
- The Royal Family
- A great movie star
What Becomes a Semi Legend Most (Side B) - Joan Rivers (zShare)
- How God divides
- Nurses and stewardesses
- Men she dated
- Being a bridesmaid
- Being Married
- Heidi Abramowitz
- Going to the Gynecologist
Posted by Phil at 14:28
Friday, 4 January 2008
The Pet Shop Boys on their Dress Down Friday.
Trust the BBC. I don't know whether to cheer or jeer. As a broadcaster, it is adept at making stupid, unilateral decisions like shunting pop off the mainstream and onto its fragmented platforms and channels. But then, the programmes they produce on the likes of BBC Three and Four are inspired. The latest is a season of programmes on Radio 2 and BBC Four; an examination of British pop over the past six decades. The mini website (here) for Pop! What is it Good For? is a treasure trove of facts and tidbits.
Go here for exclusive video interviews with Lulu, Holly Johnston and Ronan Keating talking about their involvment in British pop AND Phil Oakey on how the key creatives in the band were sacrificed on the altar of the £100,000 video for MTV. Fascinating.
It is a shame though, that pop programmes on TV tend to be 'historical' rather than current. For all the diversity in pop itself, no one in broadcasting seems willing or able to package it for TV anymore. Of course there are videos, but as a concept, they're old hat and one dimensional. If pop can work on the web in the form of popjustice, why can't that format translate into mainstream fodder?
Mind you, I can't wait for the three docs called Pop Britannia starting tonight on BBC Four, especially episode 3 from the 80s to now, look at the featured artists here.
In a weird coincidence, I'm currently devouring Simon Napier Bell's history of British pop Black Vinyl, White Powder. It's a juicy, rollicking account filtered through drug and gay culture. Clicky here for the Amazon review.
In the first in the series of Pop Britannia Damon Albarn describes pop as being music which never stays still, how it reinvents itself as the NOW and should then be discarded.
This is partly true.
Of course the mutation of the genre is important, but looking at the WHOLE, it's a relay race. It's an urgent race against time; to always be first. But the race never stops. The baton is handed over from generation to generation. Your own personal foray into pop comes via your parents, then another viewpoint via your older siblings and then you suddenly see pop through your OWN eyes; what a revelation that is. Reading Adem with An E talk as fanatically about sixties' Motown via his Aunt as he does the current planet pop is the perfect example. To segue from The Supremes to Girls Aloud with no sense of time in between is pop. It's always current, full stop.
*staggers off soap box*
**UPDATE part 2**
Look who's on BBC Four's homepage, bottom right. Clicky here. And yes, I have been told I look SPOOKILY like Keisha Sugababe.
Posted by Phil at 07:17
Thursday, 3 January 2008
"I'd call it heartbroken soul - pathetic love songs about being pathetic! I was listening back to my album the other day, and I just thought 'Oh my god, I'm so pathetic when it comes to boys!'" Adele on her songs in this interview from Monday, on Digital Spy. She goes on to reveal how she would impersonate the Spice Girls for her family. Aged six. Christ on a bike. She is vare young.
And I suddenly feel vare old.
Posted by Phil at 20:37