Monday, 25 August 2008

The Stately Homo of England

Bona! The marvelous John Hurt is back as Quentin Crisp. 32 years after the first ITV film of Crisp's life, The Naked Civil Servant, a 'sequel' is being filmed right now in the US of A. An Englishman in New York spans the years spent as an elder statesman in America - he was 72 (!) when he moved there. Cynthia Nixon is also involved in what promises to be must-see TV on screens next year. Clicky here and here for more info.

The raconteur and self-titled Stately Homo of England - the subject of the illustration top right in this blog - became both a figurehead, and strangely a scourge, for the gay movement in the 70s after his depiction of life growing up in a homophobic UK. The Naked Civil Servant, when I saw it in the 80s in my teens, terrified me. The aggression with which the dandy Crisp was outcast from society was not encouraging in the slightest to someone on the cusp of coming out. But what struck a chord was the strength of the man in the face of such absolute ignorance.

This flame-haired beauty is a self-potrait from the 30s. How gorge! A comprehensive site on Crisp can be found here. And for a cornucopia of eye candy, go here - worth watching is the brilliant documentary of his life from 1970 by Brian Mitchell. It is both squalid and beautiful.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Sunday sermon

Reading the words "best thing you will see on the internet" my heart sinks. But this BooTube clip more than lives up to them. The original version is here but it's this drum 'n' bass one I saw over on do1frood that tickles, especially at 1.30 when the girl in turqoise gets a little carried away and pushes over her fellow Holy Ghoster. There's also a severed link, on the do1frood site to Brandy's new track Right Here (Departed) which is full of her trademark beats and vocal filters but is a lot more tuneful than the last workout. Sterling stuff. Listen here.


There are a couple of Human League covers doing the rounds. Well, one and a third really. The Sirens' track Dreams (clicky here for a BooTube stream) tacks the chorus of These Are the Things That Dreams Are Made Of onto a rubbish song. I'm all for mix 'n' match in music - anything is possible and all that - but the phrase 'polishing a turd' springs to mind. And the walking advert for Mane Hair Thickener, Tony Christie, has just recorded a version of Louise for his collection of tracks Made in Sheffield, (can you see what he's done there?). Now this is what I call a cover and it's produced by bloggers' delight Richard Hawley. Clicky here for a listen.


Lorraine are back! Back!! BACK!!! XO has managed to prise them out from under their Norwegian rock and got Ole Gundersen, the singer, to talk about new recordings and how Neil Tennant has been buying clothes for him. Frustratingly though, there's still no actual date for the new album, only that there is one and it's called Pop Noir.


Talking of disappearing acts, has anyone seen this man, Mylo? He's popping up as a DJ at today's Get Loaded in The Park 2008 at Clapham Common (couldn't think of a worse event and its equally worse attendees, quite frankly), but his recording version is nowhere to be seen. Destroy Rock & Roll came out four, yes FOUR years ago. Obviously his hit album spawned loads of work offers which kept him away from the studio, quite literally when he became a travel writer for the Guardian, but work on the follow-up started two years ago. My guess is that something will surface at the end of the year with an album in January. If you've heard any different, let me know! As long as someone tells me he's got brilliant singers with great vocal parts on the new stuff, I'll be happy.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

The perfect UK summer track

With all those bruised skies and spitting rain, summer here has definitely wimped off. The Sun Ain't Shining No More, a retro lament for love lost by the even more retro monikered Asteroids Galaxy Tour is the perfect soundtrack to play while you're sat indoors looking out over sodden Britain - apologies to those of you have a brilliant summer, actually, no apologies at all, ya bastards.

The band are a six-piece and hail from Denmark and seem to have hit on a timely sound with their John Barry meets B52s. I love the James Bond strings in the chorus. On their MySpace (go and check out another great track The Golden Age) it explains how they came to be noticed after supporting Amy Winehouse in Copenhagen - who hasn't these days?! Band founder, Lars Iversen, says of the singer, Mette Lindberg: "It’s her voice I have in my head when I write every song. She is a great inspiration and the longer we’re together, the more the music becomes a collaborative effort. If I present her with a song she always adds brilliant ideas of her own, or sings it in a way I hadn’t expected, taking the song to a new level.”

Jo Whiley seems to have taken notice of the band, so expect their UK presence to step up a gear around the beginning of September!

The Sun Ain't Shining No More - The Asteroids Galaxy Tour (zShare)

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Urgh! The tail! The tail!

Picture the scene: you've pulled at Ghetto (it could've been G.A.Y. at the Astoria, but Dannii Minogue closed it last week) before getting the night bus from Tottenham Court Road you pull your amour into a side alley for a bit off a drunken, drug-fucked fumble and bump into a shiny golden goblin with a penis for a tail. EEEK! Mind you, you could have just as easily met him in the next urinal in Ghetto's toilets...

This is The Chemical Brothers' new single to plug the Depeche Mode-type collection – yes, another 'greatest hits' – Brotherhood. But! There is a disc of their experimental offshoot Electronic Battle Weapon series, a load of white label floor fillers that are even harder sounding than typical Chem Bros. including the rollicking good single, Midnight Madness , the video of which is above. Don't watch it if you have goblinphobia. It's creep central.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Solange: she's completely hatstand...

...or mad as a box of frogs. In this interview in today's Guardian headed "I want to be the black Bjork" her conversation bounces off all corners of the room whilst never actually hitting the target. Robo-Beyonce, the anodyne pop star sis must be turning in her air-free mansion at comments like: "People think I'm high, even when I'm sober," she says. "You probably think I'm high right now." But then again, at 22, Solange is already a divorced mother of one with a penchant for sex on weed. I'm exaggerating, just like the Guardian piece, but is this a Knowles tactic? To launch Solange as the antithisis to big sis?

Whatever, she's refreshing and the craziness is no act as this blog on her MySpace, posted last Friday, confirms: "Since folks seem to get their panties and briefs in a bunch when they see my dry sense of humor. Daria (Yes, the animated one) and Larry David (curb your enthusiasm) are my Idols. I released a you tube clip this week [BooTube, it's gone!] and I think its hilarious that people think I was under the influence of some sort. Ya Ya Woopsie Guys. If I was high, guess I was high off life or ghost dust on the set. hehehehe. Anyways....I know this blender piece will provoke that disposition even more. When you see me getting carried out of the club or stumbling out of a bar, then get worried. Its called HUMOR people, find a sense of one and get used to me having one.
Ps: Feels good to be in London where saying Fuck is perfectly Normal.
I can even say it on T.V..... can u believe it?"

The Guardian writer, Alex Macpherson, hits the nail on the head when he sees her rubber ball conversation as a "defence mechanism". However rebellious she may appear next to big sis', she's a Knowles after all and ain't no one going to probe any deeper than she decides.

She's also got a much better album than her sister could ever dream of. See here for the post about current single I Decided, and here's a marvelously titled newbie from the forthcoming Sol-Angel and the Hadley St Dreams. "I ain't nothing but a sandcastle, don't blow me away".

Sandcastle Disco - Solange (zShare)

This video, from Stone Soul Picnic for WKYS in the States shows Solange recognising a fellow fruitcake when a drunk invades the stage for a birrof a dance. She's a kindly soul. At 3:30 she tells security, "He ain't hurting nobody".

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Brand new Marc Almond performance

An old single, Please Stay, with a band called Mekon released as a tribute to legendary record producer Joe Meek in 2000, has proved so popular on his MySpace player, Marc Almond whizzed 'round to his mate's house and filmed a brand new performance of it for BooTube. Made by Jamie McLeod and Screan in two hours, Marc's donning a luvverly quiff, more akin to Hilda Ogden than a modern day teddy boy! His voice fits these old songs like a glove.

A film about Joe Meek, Telstar, is in production right now with a great cast, including Kevin Spacey, James Corden, Rita Tushingham and, er, Jon S Club (he's playing Billy Fury!). Duffy has recorded Please Stay as the theme tune. Marc, you was robbed! Here's her version anyway...

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Long lost Mika

It seems like YEARS ago but Mika's world domination only happened last year. And after domination to the point of saturation, some might say "Stay lost!" but I'm not that unkind. I have a soft spot for the lanky bugger. I fizzed at the gash over that first big show of his at Koko . Mika live is a totally different animal to the anodyne video Mika. Anyhoo, his website had a makeover last month and has gone from being an advert for the album to it's own entity. He's been providing these sweet video blogs on his travels and at the head of the site is a neat summary of the past 18 months. Clicky here to have a looksee. And below is his revisiting an ice cream parlour in Damascus...

Attack of the Ninja Supermodels

Poor Bryn Christopher. There he is, all suited, silver-booted and fluted with a frilly corsage when all of a sudden, some Ninja Naomis tromp over, fireworks blazing. Nothing to do with the song, an ode to a loved one, but, hey. It looks good.

is a GREAT single which deserves to be a classic. It's got a touch of the Terence Trent D'Arby Wishing Well about it. I bet Terry wishes that this had been on the second album...

Monday, 11 August 2008

Keep up at the back!

Worra busy week last week, hence the lack of Bloggage. A distinct lack of media too makes my head feel fuzzy... need. to. hear. bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. *switches on radio/TV/iTunes and vacuum cleaner*

Ah, that's better. Now the band above, Melee (can't be arsed finding the proper accents above the 'e's) are a strange current obsession. They're a bit OneRepublicCorporateRock. Judging from their MySpace, they're bombastic and catchy but not my bag. But I've been getting into the track Built to Last. Sounding like a cross between Keane and the Carpenters (it's all in the poly-voiced chorus) this song came out to precisely no one buying it in February and the current re-release seems to have fizzled out too. But stadiums beckon and they probably will have a massive album and we'll all get sick of hearing them. Until then...

Built to Last - Melee


UPDATE on Jessie, the new thang for 08/09: Sexy Silk, the debut single, can be heard on TV! Nivea Body Cream (natch) have used it as a backing track for their new ad. 'Twas a pleasant surprise when it blipped up in break on Celebrity Wife Swap (BTW, how neanderthal and infuriating is Alexander O' Neal. Criticize? I was livid). As soon as it's up on BooTube I'll post it here... This is interesting for two reasons, firstly the song will subconciously seep into the nation's brain so that when the release comes around - in September/October it will feel vare familiar, secondly, Gut Records seem to be following a different path to breaking Jessie that Adele/Duffy/Mika were lead down. I was convinced that it would be a low key push in the autumn followed by a bigger onslaught for a January single to get onto the New for '09 lists. By the way, the song sounds BRILLIANT on TV.

Jessie is supporting Taio Cruz in some upcoming gigs around town this month. And over on HerSpace there's a fabulosa new track called Hello. Catchy? Hello? Go have a look/hear here.


Australia's Sneaky Sound System seem to making an impact over here in the UK. They're coming over for a few gigs in September when hopefully we'll get the rest of the album. At the mo', the old/new single Pictures is popping up all over the shop. It's such a sugar rush of a track, like drowning in Chuppa Chups: upbeat and a perfect summer anthem.

Pictures - Sneaky Sound System (zShare)


Talking of sugary records, I rediscovered this track after doing an iPod trawl. I LOVED this track when it first came out in 1985. Icing on the Cake was Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy's follow-up to his bigger hit Kiss Me and I much prefer it out of the two - it reminds me of summer. It's one of those songs that, whilst not exactly referencing summer, was released in summer and always has that association (oooh, I can feel a post coming on). There's a great collection of his songs which came out in 2001: They Call Him Tin Tin is available here at iTunes and here at Amazon

Icing on the Cake - Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy

P.S. the cover of that single was shot in Roupell Street in Waterloo, London. Just down the road from me. I get my hair cut there at the best barbers in town!

Monday, 4 August 2008

Lose yourself

And at a massive 8.15 it would be easy to lose yourself in this epic mix by Fred Falke of Lose Control, a new track by Kylie's 2 Hearts writers, Kish Mauve. This is summer in a song: an 80s blasting, sun-kissed, beach beaten breeze of a remix. I haven't heard the original, but after this, maybe I don't need to. It's apparently a promo heralding new material from the London duo.

Lose Yourself (Fred Falke remix) - Kish Mauve (zShare)

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Hit that perfect beat

Electro popsters eh? They're like buses. You wait ages for one to come and then all of a sudden there's loads of 'em. The Ultrasonics have long been an EY and EQ favourite and were PJ's Song of the Day a few weeks back. The song Perfect Girl is actually available on the 25th of this month (after knocking around for weeks now) and you can hear it on their MySpaz by clicking here. It's like a fruity, shimmering, lipgloss complete with a big bubblegum chorus that goes pop all over your face. Another track on their MySpace player Love Addiction is just as fresh but a more spearmint kind of pop. Just dee-lovely.

The Ultrasonics are fronted by the very radio-friendly voice of Johanna Lee Gervin. Here's their slinky version of Sweet Dreams at Soho Revue Bar's popshow performed last December...