Saturday, 26 December 2009

Happy Christmas from Worrapolava and the O'Dowds, with a special snog under the mistletoe from Kiss & Make Up



A family get-together + a few sherries + a karaoke machine for Christmas + Boy George = this lovely video.

For a VARE SPECIAL collection of Christmas tracks head over to Kiss & Make Up . My fave has to be MAN 2 MAN's Cryin' On Christmas. And. Girls Aloud... Christmas Round At Ours! Amaze! We thought Pet Shop Boys were the sniffy ones at Christmas, but with a lyrics like: "Grandma's had the best of all the sweets. Picking toffee out her teeth. She says she should've been a beauty queen, And mother sighs as everybody shouts, We don't want no soggy sprouts, Another lazy boring Christmas morning round at ours", the girls win hands down. And just like PSB, they get their Xmas mojo back with: "But when the bells start ringing, I start grinning and lose my Christmas blues, I'll get my kiss under the mistletoe with you".

Happy Christmas everyone. x

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Marc Almond gets Starred


I came across this in the YouTube vaults and HAD to share. Stars in Their Eyes was the show to have on in the background while getting ready to go out on a Saturday night. And occasionally, the catchphrase "Tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be be..." would make you run back in the room and SCREAM. Like this one above, "...Marc Almond". You just know that Ian, above, doing Marc, is in fact Trixie on stage, usually in a tight frock and that she does her own belting version of Jackie every Saturday night in front of a load of gayers. And he sounds NOTHING like Marc Almond.

These two, below though, are uncanny. Well, ish.
"Tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be be...Phil Oakey!"



"Tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be be... Boy George!"

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Happy Christmas from Neil & Chris

The Christmas EP is out today in half of Europe, with the rest to follow on Monday. And as if to kick-start a PSB Christmas, their card arrived today too. Hoorah! But for a very special PSB offering, go here to the luverly Chartriggrrrrr who has given us his top ten PSB output from the noughties.



And here's the consolidation of PSB as a live act. The obligatory live video for the third single, All Over the World from the Christmas EP. A very 80s phenomena, actually.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

What Kylie did next

Well, that's it. Done. We think. Kylie tweeted "Recording in NYC has been amazing...". All with Jake Shears at the helm? Right hand man? Conduit? Muse? It'll all become clear soon enough, but suffice to say, the line up of collaborators is exciting: Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Nerina Pallot (!). Can't wait.

Friday, 27 November 2009

I'm dreaming of a Boy at xmas

"Holidays are coming, holidays are coming..." Along with Pet Shop Boys who release their Christmas EP on the 14th December, Boy George gets in one day earlier with his version of White Christmas, spelled B-Rude stylee as Xmas. It's a reggae-lite version produced by Kinky Roland (glad to see they're friends again), and one for the Christmas playlist I'll be listening to whilst stuffing the turkey. Mind you, I was expecting to see his self-penned new song You Ruined My Christmas (a phrase his mum screamed at a drunken aunt once) as part of the package. Where is it? I wanna hear it!

But the major song on this EP is a new one called Lousy Substitute. It's a Bowie meets Lady Gaga epic. Go listen here (and buy there too!)

Monday, 23 November 2009

LA lies

How vare remiss of me. The lovely Fenech-Soler put out new single Lies two weeks ago and here am I just getting round to buying it. Go here NOW! It's an FS power pop special. And out of the two remixes, Alex Metric's deluxe version wins hands down.



There's a second track on the digital bundle (can we just call them a 'dundle') called LA Love which has been a MySpace fave of mine since I first stumbled across ver lads. Have a listen below...

LA Love by Fenech-Soler

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Up for 2010: Delphic

The Guardian's Paul Lester, in the spirit of nu-rave, christened his 401st New Band of the Day, Delphic, 'nu-Madchester'. Well, they come from Manchester and have a vaguely indie-dance feel... s'pose. But let's just say, along with this year's other sound for 2010 Hurts, they're one in a LONG line of Manchester acts who manage to sound totally accomplished before even being unleashed properly. Mind you. With both of these acts, it's been a long time brewing (that Paul Lester piece, check it, was from 2008!).

Like every 'new' band, pop's pantheon is thrown into front story. New Order + The Editors + The Klaxons = Delphic. Actually, that's quite a good equation. Can I throw in Prefab Sprout, The Orb and Captain to round it up? But that could easily detract from what is great album. Produced by the consistently brilliant Ewan Pearson, Acolyte is out on the 11th of next month. Try it for size over here at 7digital.

There seems to be a big album push for 2010 with Polydor muscle after the two indie singles This Momentary and Counterpoint set the pace this year. Radio 1's Zane Lowe and Jo Whiley are the feeders, gawd bless 'em. Whiley was fizzing at the gash today over new single Doubt, also out in January. I really hope these four lads don't 'do a White Lies' and disappear before they've begun...

1st single, Counterpoint


2nd single, This Momentary


Watch their live version of Doubt below on Later with Jools Holland...


Delphic site here, and a brief Wiki...

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Moments of ecstasy

Totally unrelated, content-wise, but both of them nuggets of pure delight, here are two things that have made me *scream* this week.

Rhoda: Season 1 on DVD, whoop! whoop!
"New York, this is your last chance!" It's taken 35 (gulp) years for this belly laugh sitcom to make the boxset generation. I got into this series in the 80s when the BBC repeated every show late at night. Just hearing the theme tune gives me goosebumps and the humour hasn't dated one bit. The delivery may not be as quick, but the lines are still as funny as fuck. Nancy Walker, who plays Rhoda's mom, was the biggest star at the time of this first series, despite Valerie Harper coming straight off the back of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Hence, she gets all THE funniest one-liners. A very kind somebody called retroteevee2 has uploaded ALL of Season 1 onto YouTube. Go have a look here... NOW! And can I just say one thing... Joe. Swoon.

Cruel Intentions by Simian Mobile Disco featuring Beth Ditto


Oooh. This is an MDMA creepfest of a video but a beautiful minimal electro song. In the UK you'll recognise the two lead actresses: Sharon Maughan from the cheesy Nescafe Gold Blend ads and

Saturday, 7 November 2009

What got me into... Soft Cell

Soul Inside (UK Number 16 September 1983)



In 1983 Marc Almond, being Marc Almond, had announced he was retiring, aged 27. 27 years later he's still going strong and better than ever, but just after the letter to every mag and newspaper had sealed Soft Cell's doom they released the first single from their last (brilliant) album This Last Night in Sodom called Soul Inside.
They were already massive in the UK at the time, one top ten hit after another. And aged 14, I got it. "The wind in my hair and the black in my eyes, I was holding back tears as I reeled with surprise. There was no one to phone. I just chewed at the time. I was waving goodbye to control of my mind". While my brother and someone else were getting their teenage years explained to them by Morrissey, my education came via Marc Almond. Obviously, the paranoid drug references were lost on me, but it fitted my teenage angst very nicely. What a bloody release. For a 'fuck you' teenage song jumping around your MFI bedroom, there's no better. The cymbal at the end is very symbolic of an, erm, teenage explosion.

Check out this great remix from The Readers Wifes on the Heat: The Remixes album...

What got me into... previously
DEPECHE MODE

Friday, 6 November 2009

Hurts begin...

And so, after signing to a label at last, Hurts are slowly beginning their assault. Or not. As the NME rightly pointed out, they're so elusive it's like a game of cat and mouse with this band. The first single out on Biff Stannard's new Sony imprint Major Label, (or RCA if this blog is anything to go by) is the gorgeous Wonderful Life and NYC dance maestro Arthur Baker lends his legend to Adam and Theo with a mighty thunderous remix. Attaching his name to another Manchester band like this reminds me of the brilliant Shellshock he did with New Order years ago. Mind you, the radio edit version is a bit lumbering and trunkated. Below is the full 6.44 version which makes a lot more sense. And you can NEVER get enough sax solos. Bring 'em back!

Wonderful Life (Arthur Baker Remix) by Hurts

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Oooooh, new Rowsheen!

It's a jittery , clever little bugger! Here's Rowsheen's new single Orally Fixated. I likes. "Don't take my lollipop!"

Monday, 26 October 2009

The performance of that PSB song!


Skip to 4.50 for The Performance of My Life, Dame Shirley Bassey's song written by Pet Shop Boys for her new David Arnold-produced album. I cried like a nelly at the end. This is the BBC's Electric Proms, a posh version of Top of the Pops, really, with the BBC Concert Orchestra providing the backing for the usual plethora of likely/unlikely acts.

And Patsy, she's 72!

Buy the album, The Performance, here and sample the mammoth Tom Baxter, Richard Hawley and Manic Street Preacher songs written for her.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Woo's that girl?

Pardon the pun, but Jonny Woo was asking for it. And not one to mince his words either he's called his latest stage show, Faggot. London's original and best bearded lady, queen of the the seen and he of The Night of a 1000 Jay Astons is playing to a packed house at Soho Theatre. Part childhood reminiscences - there's a lot of mileage in coming from the Medway towns. Who knew? - and part fantastical trippy stories, the show is clever, full of life and totally different. The man is a genius. Coming on like a punky Liza with a surprisingly legit voice, you get the impression this may be a run-of-the-mill cabaret show with a bit of, snore, attitude. But how very wrong.

The show backflips into a deluge of words. Memories, tongue twisters, raps and characters coming thick and fast. The only break from speech is a brilliantly conceived Bowery-inspired mime-thing about a shop worker's daily grind. With wry nods to clubbing, drugging and shagging Jonny's set is vare Mr Woo. Somehow, though, you know he has lived the tale first before telling it. But above all, it's FUNNY, in capital letters. A fistful of fairies in flat getting high on Sara Lee space cake? Or how about the Sausage Siblings, a tongue twister about a set of siblings who shoved sausages up themselves, read by a character called Spam Ayres.

Faggot ties in with his new EP of the same name. Unfortunately, I've searched high and low for a link to buy it but there isn't one. I'll gladly put one up if there is! But to make do, listen to the soundcloud widget below...

Faggot by Jonny Woo

For all things Jonny, who he is and where she's come from, read this recent Times interview. And here's Jonny on a wild goose chase through London...

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Synth-tastic

And so the much-anticipated Synth Britannia aired in the UK last night on BBC Four. Here's Neil and Chris in their segment with nothing new to say, unfortunately, but it fits neatly into the documentary as a whole which concentrated on electronic music pioneers.



Overall, the doc scores a B+. There were a few holes, like not enough credit to Soft Cell and missing out completely on how they produced the first ecstasy-influenced dance music. There was too much of OMD and it overplayed their influence on the genre. But there was just the right amount of credence given to synth giants The Human League. This is Phil talking (see what I did there) about their first synthesizer.

Music journo, Simon Reynolds, was the glue which held everything together. His knowledge of the era was acutely observed - how The Human League parts 1 and 2 straddled and defined the non-human first phase and the popular emotion-led second phase. Very clever. Read his info-packed Guardian piece here heralding the documentary. It's also refreshing to see Gary Numan get the credit he deserves for being the first synth act to break through (even though he's a card-carrying Tory!!) and Depeche Mode being held up as the innovators they were, even though the serious music press were so hard on them at the time. I never noticed, really, too immersed in my Smash Hits mag.

With a few exceptions, the synth world of the 80s was a very laddish affair, which is why the women of the genre stood out a mile in this programme. They were also the wittiest. Jo and Susanne on the League being the first UK band to use the Linn drum machine: "The boys got so bleeding excited over this big black box with knobs on". And Alison Moyet describing seeing Depeche Mode around Basildon: "With their fluffy blonde hair they looked like little ducks".

For loads of other clips from the 90 minute doc, go here and here.

Thanks to Stuart for the Fauxlaroid of The Human League above.

A friend of mine emailed me her five thoughts after the programme:
1. Andy McLuskey looked like Anton Du Beke. Twat.
2. Why only one tantalising glimpse of Dave Sylvian? Swoon.
3. Martyn Ware looks like Martin Clunes.
4. GARY NUMAN'S WIG!! Get a lighter colour, mate.
5. Still don't know what a synthesiser is.

And I replied with mine:
1. The young Andy McLuskey looked like a wig on a stick.
2. Thompson Twins? Trite? (Or did they say 'shite'). Tut tut.
3. Phil Oakey looks just the same as he always has. He just looks like he's taken a wig off.
4. Gary Numan looks like Parker from the Thunderbirds now.
5. Bernard Sumner BUILT his own synthesiser. And it didn't work, so he obviously doesn't know what a synthesiser is either.

"At last, I'm on Jools Holland's show..."


Not a dicky bird and then? Another post about Paloma Faith. Hey ho! But this clip is worth it. From last night's Later... with Jools Holland Paloma does Upside Down and the mighty New York. She also does a cute little interview with Jools where she reveals it was an ambition of hers to play on his show. Sorted!

Monday, 5 October 2009

"She stood so tall and she never slept..."

Paloma Faith New York OFFICIAL Behind The Scenes

How can anyone NOT love this song. It has everything: a story, strings, sadness and sensation. I was on a train from Liverpool to London on Sunday and Paloma Faith was as happy as Larry two seats behind me. Maybe she'd just heard that New York had gone top twenty in the UK or maybe she was just on a high because she knew she had a brilliant record out. Whatevs. This is one of the songs of 2009 for me, and this sweet behind-the-scenes video just endears me more to La Faith. For the full, glorious version, go here.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Where has Alison Moyet gone?

Amaze. Go here for a typically entertaining and forthright interview with the all-new slimline Alf. Seeing her enjoying herself with Vince Clarke last year on the Yazoo reunion tour was a highlight of 2008. She dips in and out of the music business with regularity but always manages to stay up there as someone people want to hear, not only singing but for her opinions too. It's like she's become a national treasure. She says: "To be honest, I’ve enjoyed the career lulls as much as I’ve enjoyed the highs. You reconnect with your family and friends, you live a normal life; it grounds you. Fame and adulation are transient – you should only sing if you’re desperate to sing, because that’s what should drive you."

Sunday, 13 September 2009

I'm off on me hols!

At last! Hoping to catch the rays I missed out on during the UK's hit and miss summer, I'm off to Croatia to stay here and island hop to here and here. And the musical accompaniment? Bananarama's Viva, Prefab Sprout's return with Let's Change the World With Music, MPHO's Pop Art, (although the release date has now been put back) and Marsheaux's latest Lumineux Noir. Expect a review of the Marsheaux album when I get back. And seeing as they're Mediterranean girls, the music will the perfect soundtrack to a day on the beach. Au reservoir!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Das return of Yello

Well, that's not strictly true. Much like Pet Shop Boys, Dieter Meier and Boris Blank as Yello never really go away. The last (brilliant) studio album was The Eye in 2003 and news via Electronic Beats is that the Swiss duo are doing that oh-so-noughties thing of combining visuals with their new music and having it linked to a suave website. It's some kind of film from what I can gather called Touch Yello performing on a "wertual stage". It doesn't look that far removed from all their videos in the past where the pair mimed in front of a projected backdrop. Whatevs. The portentious intro on the trailer above is pure Yello. And the music is classic Yello. This all heralds a new album for the beginning of October. Bona!

Their single I Love You hooked me as a teenager in 1983 and since then it's been an on/off threesome with Dieter, Boris and me. That song and Lost Again, below, have been constants throughout the years, while bigger hits like Oh Yeah and The Race, less so. Sniff. Mind you... I loved Ferris Bueller's Day Off!


Yello - Lost Again 1983




And with the news that Dame Shirley of the Bassey has recorded a PSB song, here's the duo who got in first - way before even The Propellerheads.


Yello with Shirley Bassey - The Rhythm Divine 1987


Wednesday, 9 September 2009

HURTS are signed to RCA


The post header couldn't be more literal, or ever say it in more than five words. From a reliable source, I found out HURTS have a deal with RCA Records. Quite what that entails, we'll soon find out, but suffice to say, if it means actual product then we can look forward to. Of course, there'll also be some arty Italian babble, some arty black and white videos and some amazing songs (like the above Wonderful Life). Basically, your Wednesday should be a little brighter than it started out.

After a few years of wishing Daggers would break through, it looks like HURTS could be the trump card for lead singer Theo. BTW, is it 'HURTS' in caps or plain old 'Hurts'? Let me know.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Mary Onettes: I will hug them and squeeze them and call them my own

As the season turns, the perfect autumn fodder, The Mary Onettes are back with a Swedish smorgasbord of delights. There's a new single at the end of this month, Puzzles, and a new album in November called Islands.

I have a lonely obsession with this lot. They're much-liked around the globe, but I'm the only one in my world who likes them. Courtesy of the lovely people at Labrador Records, here's their new single just for me to drool over. It's just as melody-laden and gorgeous as their other tracks. Oh, er, and you can download it too...

Puzzles - The Mary Onettes (mp3)

Monday, 7 September 2009

Buy 'Purple Heart' NOW!

For once, this is a downright, self-promoting "give us yer fecking money" post. James Leon, London's darling of the electro scene, has a new single out and I have a remix on it (under my other moniker Phileastend). Woo hoo! I have to say, though, hats off to James for getting all of this together. It ain't easy, but he's managed to get his music out there and fully purchasable.

Two is the magic number here: there are two places to buy this lovely single and two tracks for the price of a loaf of bread.

1) iTunes UK: clicky here

2)
Klicktrack (especially for those of you outside the UK): clicky here

Purple Heart is a right old throbbing monster of a track dripping in atmosphere. With so much to work with (so to speak), doing the remix was quite thrilling. I went for an old skool NYC feel and something that wouldn't be out of place at London's Horsemeat Disco.

Purple Heart (Phileastend mix) - James Leon


mp3 players


And here is the video for the original mix, shot at Trash Palace in Soho...

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Down La Roux's front


Down the Front is a simple but genius idea. Give some hot artists some intimate studio space and a digital platform to do a session of songs from their hot albums. First up in June was The Macabees, and next, the luvverly La Roux popped in donning her even more luvverly House of Holland blouse. She did a cute acoustic version of Bulletproof, a song so ubiquitous on the airwaves this year that a different version is a welcome change. It sounds quite rockabilly, to go with the quiff I suppose. Quicksand is an odd Billy Bragg-esque version with just her voice and the spiky electric guitar. The rest of the session is back on the synths though. Phew.

But above is one of my favourites from her debut album. Armour Love is quite an emotional track despite the subject matter; full of light and dark. Just beeyootiful.

For a look at the 'mazingly deluxe video for La Roux's new single I'm Not Your Toy (which will undoubtedly sell by the shedload), nip over here to XO who has developed a real soft spot for them.

Down the Front sessions here on their MySpace channel.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Sweet temper


I like guitars that sound like sequenced synths and for it to be big, bold and anthemic. And so, The Temper Trap, an Australian band from a country with the biggest horizons, fit that bill perfectly. The video's quite ambitious too with all its swirling around the universe and allusions to the Big Bang. Although this single, Sweet Disposition tickled the bottom of the UK Top 40 last year, it's getting a re-release and a bigger push this year. This gorgeous Axwell and Dirty South Remix has gone down an absolute storm this summer. Singer Dougy Mandagi deserves special credit for his voice. It suits the band's music perfectly, but also adds an entire layer all its own.

Check out the last single Science of Fear too. The choppy strings are beautiful.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Electronically with love

"I don't like country and western,
I don't like rock music
I don't like, I don't like rockabilly or rock 'n' roll particularly
Don't like much really, do I?
But what I do like I love passionately"


I can quote the words above, from Chris Lowe on Pet Shop Boys' Paninaro , verbatim. They're a kind of mantra for preferring synths over guitars, dance over rock and electronic over acoustic. Which is probably what attracted me to the Electronically Yours site in the first place. Although their first incarnation was as a Human League fansite, EY's development into a haven for great electro music served with a passion has been one of the biggest delights on the web. While other electro sites change with the wind in the vain hope of becoming a brand, Electronically Yours haven't wavered from their original intent or followed the crowd. Instead EY has expanded and branched out by releasing music by the very bands they champion. And the new compilation album, Electronically Yours Vol. 1 is the welcome result.

Bands like Parralox (left), Marsheaux, Client, Cassette Electrik and Mikro already have product out there but they have given time, energy and songs to this snapshot of electro music which in turn gives a platform for other artists like Electrobelle, Red Blooded Women, Katsen, and Oblique. Parralox offer their fan favourite X Minus One while Marsheaux have recorded the vare lovely Sadly as an exclusive. Mikro have a long and illustrious career in their home country, Greece, but they were new to me. They are also a total delight with their pulsating slice of electropop Restart. Clicky on the widget below!

Restart - Mikro


mp3 players


Go here to listen to ALL the tracks. Included on the bonus CD are the brilliant Northern Kind with an updated snappy remix of On & On and one of my top twenty tracks from last year, the sublime We Are Technology by Technologic.

To understand the passion behind this compilation album, go here. The 'insider's guide' reads like sleeve notes for a Pet Shop Boys CD: comprehensive, detailed and entertaining. For a site to support music and bands like this is vare special and should only be encouraged, so GO BUY IT here and here.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

'Nana love

How could you not love these two? Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin as Bananarama are doing the promo rounds at the moment for their new single Love Comes. While other pop stars with their pedigree would huff and puff as the back catalogue is wheeled out, these two laugh and say how fab it would be to "have those figures again". And while younger pop folk trot out well rehearsed answers and quips these two do it on the hoof with an easy wit. After 27 years together, they're still happy, sane and affable making everything seem effortless. On BBC Breakfast, they're asked why they still "keep going" to which Keren replies "who wouldn't want to travel the world doing something you enjoy with your best mate". And you know she's right. Watch the interview below...



But of course, The 'Nanas, or 'Rams, are vare au fait with breakfast TV interviews, as this 1984 (!!) clip from Good Morning America shows.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

What got me into... Depeche Mode

Get the Balance Right (UK Number 13 Feb 1983)

Get the Balance Right


I always get into bands via a side door. A bit skew whiff, so to speak. They may have enough songs to fill the Albert Hall, but I pick up on the underdog track. And it's always a single that touches something (don't ask me what) which then sends me into a fact-finding, catalogue-buying frenzy. Get the Balance Right is the perfect example: an album bridger, unloved by band and fans alike but still my one of my all-time favourites by Depeche Mode. Between the Martin Gore album A Broken Frame and the album that defined their sound, Construction Time Again, the band had to come up with a single lest anyone forgot who they were.

The aptly named Get the Balance Right is as light as its predecessors but as heavy as its successors with the political overtones. The video's very stilted, of course, but the synth pop is still as crisp and the dubby groove still ahead of its time. The band themselves aren't particularly fond of the song because of the pressure of producing it to order. The follow-up was the mammoth hit Everything Counts which introduced Construction Time Again and in turn dwarfed GTBR. After that, Dave Gahan started tinting his hair - still didn't shave until 1993 though - Martin Gore got kinky, Andy Fletcher began sounding more and more like Sid James and Alan Wilder just got livid. The single made me re-visit and fall in love with their debut album, Speak and Spell, go see them live for my first ever gig with Construction Time Again and love Some Great Reward most of all. Go here for a neat upsum of their big singles...

Friday, 28 August 2009

Bananarama: the readers wifes

Watching the glorious 'Rams new video for Love Comes, with their very distinct brunette versus blonde and heavily kohled eyes, I was reminded of The Readers Wifes brilliant 2005 video, Scumpop... Spot, as they say, the difference.

First, da girls...



Now, da wifes...



BTW, sozz for being AWOL. Normal service will resume just as soon as I find where I left it.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Acceptable in the 90s


Loved by the kids and oddly ignored by the arbiters of good taste, (except, of course, this man) Calvin Harris is on a roll with another great track destined for numero uno. Well, it would be if roasted peanut, Peter Andre wasn't bleating on about his failed marriage to tits-on-a-stick Jordan to squeeze a few more sales. Tinchy Stryder aside (but 7 out of 10 for effort), Calvin is quite close to nabbing the top spot, according to the midweeks. Now, XO's observation that Ready For the Weekend is another example of the 90s revival - the wailing diva, the piano and rave beats - is not to be taken lightly. I think it's genuinely happening. And it's no bad thing!

Apparently, 2 Unlimited (which IS a bad thing) are already starting the ball rolling for a nostalgia fest in Belgium. But if there's a 90s revival happening, what's going to happen to all those bands touring the 80s revival circuit? Will they go the way of the 70s and 60s acts who end up in smaller and smaller venues until no one turns up? Who cares. Turn up the strobe!

Friday, 7 August 2009

Cicada, reheated and re-done

Here's a jolly version of Cicada's Psycho Thrills, out as a single 14th September. It's totally different to the album track but still has the Cicada touch. But where's Heidrun and the boys in the video? Are they really too old-looking? Get them back for the next one! Duncan Mills, on drums, is the most entertaining performance in itself...

The band are also doing two live dates: 30th September at Ruby Lounge, Manchester and 1st October at 93 Feet East, London. Both of which I won't be able to go to. Boo!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

"Well, Chris isn't Andrew Ridgeley either..."

That was Neil Tennant's incredulous reaction to the question put to him by Chris Cowie, "You aren't going to do a Wham eventually, are you?", meaning, Chris does nothing but stand behind a keyboard, you sing, so are you going to go solo like George Michael? It was on a music show called TX45, a Tyne Tees TV production which was regional-only. Imagine that. A music programme JUST for the north east of England. That's what fragmented niche TV meant in the 80s.

Incidentally, TX45 moved into the same studio left behind by Channel 4's The Tube.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Three buffalo gals!

If you've ever wondered where the definitive Bananarama interview for this French and Saunders ("I'm a bit toppy and I'm a bit bottomy") parody comes from...



...then watch this classic early 80s interview from Channel 4's The Tube with the BRILLIANT Paula Yates: as The Ram's Karen says, "We either write together or we get someone in to help us if we can't find the bridge for the middle of the song or something".


The Tube - Bananrama Interview on MUZU.

Apparently, ITN own all of Tyne Tees' (a TV company from Newcastle) music output and MUZU TV has all the archive footage of The Tube's interviews. Clicky here!!!

And here's the video for Cheers Then, their third single from their debut album Deep Sea Skiving. Siobhan Fahey said of its moderate success: "We started taking our careers seriously after Cheers Then bombed. Before then we thought all groups just brought out records and had them go to the top of the charts. It bought us down to reality a bit."

Friday, 31 July 2009

Do you remember, the very first time...

...when September first released these songs everywhere outside the UK? Well forget that ever happened because the compilation of all her 'worldwide' hits is out at last (given that special UK Radio Edit treatment, whatever that is), out on Monday. This is really her greatest hits album, come early. Cry For You comes hot on the heels of the single Until I Die, which unfortunately did just that. I'm thinking now, my Seven 4 Summer post jinxed them all! Sozz!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Got a big surprise...

Talk about THE most irratating teaser. Clicky here for Jake and the girls' 'big surprise'...

Nice Muji slippers, though.

The madgepie of pop

A great example of pop eating itself here. Madge's warhol rip-off for her new greatest hits collection, by LA street artist, Mr Brainwash comes hot on the heels of MPHO's new pop art album sleeve. Great pop magpies thinking alike...

By the way, there's still no sign of MPHO hitting the UK Top 40 in the midweek charts. Gulp!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Love comes quickly

The 'Rams have finally found a home for their new album Viva Bananarama. Above is a radio rip of the first single Love Comes synched to their performance at the Isle of Wight Festival a couple of weeks ago. Fascination Records are releasing the single on 6th September and the album a week later.

Will it get radio play? Who knows. Will it get into the Top 40? Who cares. The gayers will love it and the boom-boom mixes will go down a storm at your local gayspot. Welcome back girls!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Shhh. Don't say boyband...

Boyband was such a dirty word in the late 80s. You could have Andy Warhol direct your video, or SAW write you a hit. You could pretend you wrote all of your own songs, anything to NOT be tarred with the stigma of being in a boyband. But at the end of the day, you were hawt, young, pur-rity and had singles to flog. Face it honey, you were in a boyband...

Example 1

Curiosity Killed the Cat - Misfit

How good-looking were this band? This Andy Warhol directed video makes the most of their looks (especially Bendy Ben). And the fashion is so on trend for 2009. The band still insist they were pigeon holed into becoming pin-ups but funnily, never complained about the party lifestyle which followed!

Example 2

Brother Beyond - The Harder I Try

Again, this band look hawt. Nathan is the epitome of the late 80s good-looking fella: glossy, shiny, a No. 1 short back and sides with quiff and a floaty bolero-type jacket to top it off. He describes Brother Beyond as being a bona fide band before this SAW production provided them with their biggest hit (skip to 7.00 here).

Example 3

Bros - When Will I Be Famous

Bros never really denied they were a boyband until the odd one out, Craig Logan, was pushed. After that, they definitely weren't a boyband. Matt and Luke Goss were a brother duo who produced serious music. Yeah right. If only they had stuck to the brilliant pop they were good at, kept Craig - the brains who went on to manage Pink - and not go on to produce this serious rubbish.

And then there was Big Fun. Bless. A law unto themselves...

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Beats and pieces

Over the past week, a clear winner has emerged from T in the Park. Snow Patrol? Nah. Kings of Leon? Noooooo. Blur? Schmur. It's Pet Shop Boys who have triumphed, garnering praise from all corners for an immense performance at what is predominantly, a rock festival. Just look at the glowing comments here. And if you're in the UK you can watch THE WHOLE amazing hit-filled performance at the same link. It's essentially the Pandemonium tour show, ever so slightly condensed. For some great images of the merchandise and the tour programme being created, go here to Mark Farrow's site. Scroll down though!


More PSB news... the Boys are Number 1 in the Billboard Dance Charts with Love Etc. Or at least they will be on Monday when the new chart is released. Quite a feat considering the first of the NINE number ones was West End Girls in 1986. The rest are: What Have I Done to Deserve This? (1988); Can You Forgive Her? (1993); Go West (1993); Before (1996); To Step Aside (1997); New York City Boy (1999); Break 4 Love (2002); Love etc. (2009).


MPHO, with her new single Box 'n' Locks and upcoming album, Pop Art, is causing everyone to fizz at the gash. Something her peeps have picked up on. The lovely XO gets and honourable mention on the Brixton singer's own website here. She has a vare entertaining blog detailing her exploits including a phone call from Martha (as in 'and the Muffins') wishing her luck with the single sampling the Echo Beach riff. XO's Middle Eight also previews the Pop Art album with a special YouTube sample mix. It sounds bloody marvelous!


TURN UP THE STROBE!

Here's the video for London synthpop singer James Leon's first single, Purple Heart out soon on Swedish label Electric Fantastic. Watch this space for more details. Also, this is where I declare more than a vested interest. Go here to listen to a remix, included in the single package, done by liddle ole me! Bona!


Chicane's video for Poppipolla is an entertaining update of the Guardian newspaper TV ad from the 90s. But the song is even better. Sampling (heavily) Sigur Ros' Hoppipolla this is a PERFECT summer driving track. Picture it: bright sun; hot breeze through the open window; blue skies, beach to the left. Oh. I've just looked out of my window at grey clouds over London. I think I'm going to cry.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Seven 4 Summer

Our summer's blowing hot and cold in the UK this year. But at least these tracks make the sunshine moments last longer. In a playlist headed Seven 4 summer, it's amazing how they brighten the dullest of days. So pour yourself a glass of Sangria, relax and listen to them one by one below and I guarantee the sun will come out...

1. NYC Bad Girl - Purple Crush


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Courtesy of the brilliant Sheena Beaston comes Purple Crush, a New York electro duo who describe themselves on their Myspace thus "imagine if prince really was gay and he and jimi hendrix were married and adopted kurt and courtney love" and have been around since those heady electroclash days in the early noughties. This track cracks pavements it's so hawt. Go buy it here on compilation album You Been Crushed V.1

2. Box 'n' Locks - Mpho

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Brixton lass, Mpho (pronounced mm-poh) devines Martha and the Muffins' Echo Beach to produce this zingy, fresh as lemons tune destined for the UK Top 10 when it's released in a couple of weeks. Born in South Africa, Mpho has an album due out called Pop Art (devining PSB for that title) in the Autumn. Get the track for a credit crunching 50p here. And check out the classy vid here.

3. Dead End - Master Shortie

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As one of the BBC Sounds of 2009, Master Shortie aka Theo Kerlin needs to 'do a La Roux' and find an audience with this bouncy UK indie-tinged hip-hop. The chorus is a killer and vare radio-friendly. It first came out late last year, but a summer re-release makes a lot more sense: the festival-loving crowd will hear the sunshine in this track. It hasn't made this week's Top 75 which is a bit of a blow, but being on the B-list at Radio 1 provides some hope at least.

4. Shark in the Water - V V Brown

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V V Brown
, another on Radio 1's B-list, went straight in at number 38 this week. For all the hype and acres of fashion magazine coverage, this track delivers on the promise. From the opening infectious backing vocals to the Finlay Quaye inflections and ballsy chorus, it's a quirky song with a sense of humour. Go here to Kickin'the Peanuts for a brilliant Louis La Roche remix.

5. Styfling - Square1 featuring Siobhan Donaghy

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Square1's beats are a bit 1999 but this track is perfect for the balmy evening as the sun goes down. Siobhan could sing the telephone directory and imbue it with emotion. Until she does another proper album, this'll more than fill the gap.

6. Until I Die - September

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She hasn't quite established herself here as a bankable hitster, but September's at least got the backing to give it a go. Despite the immense back catalogue, she's been pigeon-holed as the tweeny clubber's favourite and this track won't change any of that. It's boom boom-tastic with awful lyrics "I live, until the day I die". And I loves it. Go here to Scandipop for an interview which neatly sums up her recent worldwide success.

7. Give It To Me Right - Melanie Fiona

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This record sounds vare British: that sixties retro soul thing used by everyone and their dog recently. But Melanie Fiona is Canadian. Watch the lovely Lorraine Kelly simpering away about her on GMTV recently.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Summer night city

Over the past few weeks there have been some magical musical moments...

Pet Shop Boys
at the O2 Arena, London? Bloody marvelous but terrible sound. Magnificent staging complete with dancing skyscrapers. 16,000 people going ape at the hits and hearing album tracks like King's Cross played live. Go here for a great review.

Cicada
at the iTunes Festival, the Roundhouse, London? Condensed goodness in an amazing venue. A so-so crowd (who were there for David Guetta anyway) but an electric performance from the band who could lift the roof off with their own audience. Duncan Mills on drums playing like the Muppets' Animal and looking like Matt Lucas' George Dawes. And singer Heidrun Anna Björnsdottir is a revelation as a live performer: she's amazon-like, bestriding the stage with a powerful top-notch vocal.