Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Daggers V. Richard 'Biff' Stannard

This band here that I've been blithering on about, Daggers (there's no 'the' by the way) from Manchesterford have just been blessed by the Pope of Pop, Richard 'Biff' Stannard. As the man behind the music of such majuh acts as The Spice Girls, Kylie and, er, Bellefire he's definitely someone Daggers need to be in cahoots with. Theo Hutchcraft, lead singer says: "I wrote him a fan letter [aw, bless], but didn't expect anything from it. Next thing, he called me up and invited us down to his studio in Brighton. My jaw practically hit the floor." As well as his pants five minutes later as 'Biff' boffed him on the casting couch.

I made that last bit up. But this is GOOD news. I have said before that this band need to be taken in hand (oo-er) by a pop genius. There is a very obvious ambition for greatness eminating from La Hutchcraft. He's even doing the Mika, Bowie, Iggy and (pause to giggle) Elton thing of 'is he or isn't he an uphill gardener?'. He explains coyly (whilst applying his eyeliner): "Let's just say I'm potentially bi-curious. I think there's room for a little mystery. Let's keep people guessing". Spoken like a true pop star - now break the mould, Theo and just be straight... or gay.

Read my previous posts here and here.

Apologies to everyone who read this news in Attitude already, but I only got my copy yesterday. Mwah!

Photography by Ezra Coal

Sunday, 27 April 2008

The Preset Boys

Many thanks to Adem With an E for introducing me to this Ozzie band, The Presets. Yet another act who I foolishly skirted over. His bonza review of their new album, Apocalypso (out in the UK June 12th) can be found here. Around since 2003, Julian Hamilton (vocalist, above left) and Kim Moyes (right) have a huge following in their homeland: sold out tours and a number one album. But their sound is very European. Julian said: "We've always taken inspiration from overseas. We never really wanted to make Australian-sounding music. We always love bands from England and Europe, so hopefully this is a record for the world."

They could, in fact, be described as the full-fat version of the Pet Shop Boys: "They're one of our favourite bands. The way they're primarily a pop act, yet they feed off club music, we like that, we try and do the same thing."

I would love to post a taster track but Modular, their record company, reported me to the Blogger Police for previously posting a Cut Copy track. It was a fair cop guv. So instead I'll point you all in the right direction. Nudge, nudge.

First things first. This track If I Know You is - to purloin a new word from XO London - STELLAR. It's a hook-laden synth ballad and consolidated the boys brilliance for me. No wizard of Oz trickery, just solid arrangements, meaty beats and heartfelt (homo hopefully) lyrics. Go here to Fried My Little Brain.

This Boy's in Love is the second single from Apocalypso and this homo-erotic vid reminds me of Domino Dancing's boys in the surf.

A New Sky
has the best middle eight I've heard in a LONG TIME. After the prog rock-like intro, the tune kicks in and just flys. It is AMAY-ZING and can be sampled here at SIART.

The band are traversing across the globe for the next six months including a mammoth US stint. Go to TheirSpace for details and more tracks.

Lastly, Julian's voice has a very familiar ring to it - the heavy doom-laden 80s Glenn Gregory thing. But it was the much overlooked Paul Haig (pictured here) that sprang to mind immediately. His track Never Give Up (Party Party) is one of my all-time favourites, but the one below, the equally fab Love and War, could be described as Pre-The Presets - there's even a reprise of Waltzing Matilda at the end for the perfect symbiosis.

Love and War - Paul Haig

YouTubage: 2

The original Cobrastyle

This was never shown in the UK, a marvelous Heineken ad - it's always the alcohol ads - featuring the Teddybears' original version of Robyn's cover Cobrastyle. The two are very different and brilliant in their own way.

YouTubage: 1

SIMON COWELL pre-pantomime dame act.

Miss Cowell looks very fresh of face in this clip from TV quiz show Sale of the Century from the early 90s. And his camp-o-meter goes all the way up to Larry Grayson. What a gay day!

At 8.10, when he says "How lovely!", was it aimed at the golf bag or the cute male model? You decide. Maybe the comment "I want that" at 9.00 will help. Even the presenter noticed Simon and 'Ferdie' should "get together".

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Pet Shop Boys Madness

As well as performing alongside Madness at Heaven next Friday, the Pet Shop Boys will be performing a Nutty Boys classic with vocals from Suggs and Carl. What a marvelous, quirky idea! There's no word on which track, but I reckon it'll be It Must Be Love which is ripe for a PSB makeover. I can't make it, so someone will have to report back. Tricky? The event is a benefit concert for the family of their mutual friend and long time employee, Dainton Connell.

Also reported on the Pet Shop Boys site is the emergence of a tune written by Chris Lowe with Dainton. Originally a white label for mates, this ravey davey track It's the Bear from the early 90s has surfaced on an Arsenal football fans' ep by a band called The Riders of the Night. The Boys have donated all their rights to Dainton's family in the hope that they may get some royalties on it. If you want to listen to/buy it, do a search on iTunes as there's no facility to link from here. Be warned. It's very 'of it's time'.

Go here to the MARVELOUS Music Source for the PSB cover of Madness track My Girl. And this song fits them like a glove!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

In the mind of Mazza

In 1962, the year Marilyn Monroe died, Peter Robinson was born - not the Popjustice bod but the original gender bender pop star, Marilyn. Together with Boy George, he rampaged through a decade of excess in London and New York in the 80s, had hit singles and became a household name. Boys fancied him and girls wanted to be him. And then, bless, he disappeared to live with his mum.

After years of, in his words, not getting out of bed with the bedroom curtains drawn, he emerged in early 2000s to talk about his time in the limelight. And then last year he surfaced on MySpace with some rambling but very entertaining blogs every couple of months. Click here to read the entries. His story about George's, sorry, GINA's, penchant for rentboy whipping and making ashtrays out of old Marilyn albums is a particular highlight.

Being ever associated with Boy George seems to be a blessing and a curse. They have a love/hate thing calling each other Dawn Pigport (George) and Melonhead (Marilyn). George has had the biggest platform for discussing his side of the relationship: his two best-selling autobiographies. In Straight he says: "Marilyn has a brain and can be surprisingly wise. Underneath all the bullshit Marilyn is actually a very sweet person, but not many people get to see that. His great line is: "There are three truths. Mine, George's and the truth.""

In Take It Like a Man George's first words about Marilyn were typically bittersweet: "A pretty pig-faced creature that talked with a wiggle and walked with a lisp." They see through each other and despite the mood swings of the pair of them, they seem resigned to always having each other in their lives. Like Hinge and Bracket, really.

Here are the original Bitches of Eastwick: Mazza, George and Philip Sallon. When Sallon turned up with Marilyn on his arm one night, the Boy seethed with jealousy over the 'new' best friend. And he readily admits it was because Marilyn looked so drop dead gorgeous. Watch the clip above and imagine being on the sharp end of this triangle of catty banter.

Enter Marilyn at 3.42, tottering down the street in heels and glamour filmed in the 80s for a piece about the Blitz club kids. In this 2005 TV documentary Whatever Happened to the Gender Benders? Marilyn, despite undergoing treatment for cancer, hence the drastic bloated look, was as sharp and bawdy as ever. Philip Sallon's tale at 4.10 is hilarious.

And now to the music. Here is his biggest hit, Calling Your Name written with Paul Caplin, who also did Haysi Fantayzee's hits. His voice is surprisingly husky and in spite of the record company toning him down, he still manages to look fab; all hair and sequins.

This boy was, in the words of Princess Julia, an enigma. It takes a lot of hootzpah and balls to grab your opportunity and do well out of it - however short the time. The image, the music, the voice, it all takes a creative energy that some stars don't even know the meaning of. Marilyn was doing his thing at fifteen before he met Boy George and before the fame. Even though he blew a big chance handed to him from Diana Ross in NYC - he bottled it at a showcase gig as detailed in this Smash Hits article, here, by none other than Neil Tennant - hats off to the big old puff, I say.

Go to iTunes to BUY Calling Your Name to help Mazza pay the bills.

Go here to the very comprehensive which has all the Mazza related links there are possible including this brilliant Smash Hits cover story, here and here where a girl had asked Jim'll Fix It, a BBC TV show to 'fix it' for her to be on the cover with George Michael. They couldn't get him so Marilyn was substituted instead. Apparently the girl was a bit fucked off because she didn't know who he was.

And here is the recent Australian DJ Lazlo dance mix update of Baby U Left Me in the Cold.

Baby U Left Me (Laszlo K Remix) - Marilyn (zShare)

And last, but by no means least, here's Maz back in the day with a certain 49 year old pop star who's still hauling her ass around the world...

Mr D'Luv has just reminded me of the above. The 'alleged' boyf and boyf thang. Gavva & Mazza. It's got a certain ring to it. And doesn't Gavin look girly! A world away from this and this.

Worra trouper

Here's Robyn at 9 in the morning (!!) performing on GMTV. This is the fab live version of Who's That Girl. The FIFTH single from Robyn the album. Fifth? I mean, who does she think she is? Michael Jackson?

Earlier, she was 'on the sofa' with the anodyne Andrew Castle. Why does he always sound like the embarrassing dad interviewing popsters? And that question about working with the Backstreet Boys? Worra div.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

I'm in love with the disco sirens

Wooop! Wooop! Wooop! Wooooooop!

Lipgloss shining! - that's you, probably :) Pants are sagging! - that's me :(

Damian Harris, ex-boss of Norman Cook's Skint Records has eschewed the boring day2days of running a record label for the life of an international dance act. As Midfield General, esconced in Paris and, er, Brighton he's ram-raided his extensive record box and put together this AMAY-ZING track, Disco Sirens (see below). With vocalist Vila from The Bumblebeez, the dance maestro has come up with a totally '08 French-sounding masterpiece. Justice be buggered.

Over at HisSpace he has more tracks from an album's worth about 27 years in the making including strawberry acid-laced Barry the Moth featuring the glorious Mighty Boosh's Noel Fielding.

Disco Sirens - Midfield General (zShare)

And here's some more: tunes from doze ravey davey dayz which I KNOW you like... raise your hands!

Raise Me (Eon's Ascension Mix) - Bizarre Inc. (zShare)
- "Set your body free"

Can You Party - Royal House feat. Todd Terry
- "Check dis out"

Dominator - Human Resource (zShare)
- "I'm bigger and bolder and rougher and tougher in other words sucker, there is no other"

Inssomniak - Djpc (zShare)
- "I need no sleep"

And... just dance 'n' move your body!

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Catch up 2008

So, here we are, a quarter way through 2008, and probably a good time to catch up with a couple of my choice bands of last year. Time enough for something to happen: a new tune on MySpace, a new set of pics or at the very least a new fan or two.


This Manchester band should be at the same stage as The Whip: great album out, much acclaim and a national tour booked. But unless something major is going on behind the scenes, all is quiet in Camp Daggers. Theo Hutchcraft, the vocalist and band feuhrer is determined for Daggers to be "the biggest pop band from Manchester since Take That". And that steely ambition was recognised by The Courteeners' Liam Fray here in the NME. Apparently, after a particularly vicious beating, the hospitalized Theo read Simon Reynolds' comprehensive Rip It Up and Start Again about the post-punk music scene in the early 80s, a time when pop came from the ethos of punk. It spurred him on and gave him ideas for a total Daggers concept. You can hear the influences of the bands of that time: Human League, Heaven 17, Simple Minds, but Daggers also have a totally modern pop sound. Stardom is but a global record deal away. There are no new tunes on MySpace but the pic above was placed there in January. You can catch up with them on tour with Robots in Disguise in York, Manchester and Leeds in May. The details are on TheirSpace.

Go here for my previous post and here the band are at Number 11 of my Top 20 of '07.

Magazine (Zombie Disco Squad Remix) - Daggers (zShare)



NEW PRODUCT ALERT!!!! The Finnish wonders have a new track out, er, soon (the vague date of 'spring' is the only tentative timeline). Body Into Use has been up for a a week or two on TheirSpace, go listen! It's a fab slice of chunky melodic disco, vare wow, vare now! I could imagine Donna Summer doing some trademark warbling on this.

Go to my previous post here and here for their Number 3 (!!) placing in my Top 20 of '07.

And go here to to Discodust for more Millioners love and brilliant remixes of Body Into Use. I particularly love the Russ Chimes mix.

And here is a live version of My Great Regret from the Most Sexiest Music album launch last year.

My Great Regret Live @ Kuudes Linja

Saturday, 5 April 2008

FREE! Marsheaux Remix!

Last year, Marsheaux invited everyone to remix an album track of theirs, Regret, the New Order cover on their, quite frankly, brilliant Peek-a-boo album. And this is my version, yes, reviewer turns remixer! I've been itching for people to hear this for ages and Marianthi, the singer (left), very kindly agreed to let me post it. Only the vocals remain in this remix. The entire backing track is original with a New Order feel but still very Marsheaux. Enjoy peeps.

Regret (phileastend RMX) - Marsheaux (zShare mp3)

**UPDATE** I've re-uploaded the remix so there shouldn't be any problems...

Buy Peek-a-boo at iTunes here.

Friday, 4 April 2008

R.I.P. DJ Tallulah

Tallulah was a queer legend. Part of the gay legacy worldwide, he DJ'd in London and New York for over forty years. He died last week aged 59. Last year he was, quite rightly, the first inductee into the House of Homosexual Culture.

Read this interview he did a while ago; it's a fascinating, detailed first-hand account of the gay scene of his two favourite cities. Wildly enthusiastic about ground-breaking gay clubs like Bang in the 70s, he is mischievously sniffy about totem clubs like Taboo in the 80s: "To tell the truth, I don’t think it was that fantastic, there were really much better things going on".

On Charles Hawtrey, the Twiglet-like Carry On actor: "He used to do [seaport town] Deal, because the marines were there and they had a marine band. And he used to walk along the sea front in red leather. He was really outrageous, he’d just go for marines, and they’d go for him, because he was a film star, or he was to them".

And Kenneth Williams, the nasal Carry On star: "We went for dinner, sitting in his little kitchen in Belsize Park around this really little glum table eating spaghetti hoops on toast. Very strange."

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Chuffin' 'elle!

The UK version of Elle out today, complete with our Madge as she steamrollers her way 'round every mag in the world. Hats off to still getting covers. But, chuffin' 'ell, whack that contrast up on the image.

Soft and grainy hides a multitude, baby. And those tights have seen some action. Weren't they the same smelly gussett ones from her roller disco daze?

Now if I was nearly fifty and had a bum like that, I'd look as pleased with myself and show it off - they've done well to airbrush the scaffolding out!