Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Emmon's out of the closet. Sort of.

Like the CS Lewis book, stumbling into a big old wardrobe and then out the other side into a magical land called Narnia, Emmon's new album, Closet Wanderings (see what I did there) arrives all glittery and mystical. Not that I would know. The Swedish pop minx has just released her new album but I can't hear it ANYWHERE! If anyone can help, get in touch. Secrets and Lies was a cracking kick-off single with a great video.

This must be the first non-news post I've done. International fans can buy it from here via PayPal. But really, a listening widget would be nice!

Do check her MySpace here too.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

A PSB birthday...

Happy Birthday to me! Well, it was yesterday, and this cake was presented at a do on Friday. After weeks of Pet Shop Boys posts, I've finally become one! On Thursday I'm being whisked off to this hotel in Marrakech, Morrocco which is only, surprisingly, three hours from London. Ooooh!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

BRITS 2009: live Twatter report

8:19 PM: Girls Aloud are on doing The Promise. They are DELUXE. But Cheryl cannot sing. How she can say "Yer pitchin' was a bit off, pet" on X Factor I'll never know. She honked her first line like a burst car horn. U2 were on first, but, who cares? Take off yer boots and fuck off.

8:34 PM: Coldplay are jumping around in My First Soldier's Outfits. Chris Martin's got a sexy crab ladder when his top rides up. Awful mullet though. Can't get the high notes tonight so he's doing a weird monotone version of Viva La Vida. Don't the rest of the band look serious... and has anyone ever said what a terrible name Coldplay is?

9:05 PM: Take That float in on a spaceship looking like a Specsavers commercial. Why ARE they all wearing glasses? An award winning performance but I don't think they'll win any. Methinks the spaceship is a sly dig at Robbie 'UFO' Williams. Or maybe Robbie's in the middle?

Nah. Missed a chance there, love.

9:10 PM: The awards presenters are all real nonentities. The fat one from Hot Fuzz just came on and said "I don't like live music so I'm really surprised they asked me to present Best British Live Act"... Sheesh! Well thanks for coming. Now fuck off, tit.

Oh god... Talking of which. David Hasslehoff has just come on...

9:12 PM: Oh no, he says he likes British music by mentioning the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Get with the beat, baggy. The crowd are shouted "The Hoff! The Hoff! The Hoff!" But it sounds like they're saying "Off. Off. Off."

Gawd. Elbow have just won Best British Band. How tedious. They've just come up onstage and sound like they're making a cup of tea. FizzyPop notices Coldplay look pissed off while Cheryl Cole does a mean slow clap next to her [allegedly] gay husband.

9:27 PM: Kylie looks good. She's got some curves! And she presents with aplomb. But those Gavin & Stacey boys... pooh! They stink!

Aren't Florence and the Machine fucking awful. Subdued cheer as she comes on being all dizzy (pissed) to receive Best Newcomer...

Gok Wan
presenting an award now. 4 words. Bottom. Barrel. Scraping. The.

9:34 PM: The Ting Tings and Estelle do a mash up of Shut Up and Let Me Go, American Boy and That's Not My Name. Bloody BRILLIANT. They all look like they're enjoying themselves. Estelle's spandex leggings look A LA MODE!

Allan Carr presents in a red turtle neck sweater and tweed jacket. He looks like a burst sausage.

9:35 PM: GIRLS ALOUD HAVE WON BEST SINGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aw. Bless. They're all LOVING IT. The Promise has got them their first award in six years. Sarah is deffo going on the lash tonight. Wahey, she's already started.

9:46 PM: Duffy! Best British Album! 3 out 4. She was ultra-glam performing tonight, but with a voice like Kermit the frog. Touching speech, although I'm sure the tears in her eyes were from her grandad, Tom Jones, giving her a poke in the minge with his very own BRIT award.

Next up... Brandon Flowers and PSB. Oh. And Lady Gaga. Hmmmm...

10:02 PM:Pet Shop Boys were ruddy marvelous. See how they accepted their award as giant video heads. It was a complex (vare PSB) but simple (vare PSB) mash-up of tracks. I suspect they did 25, one for every year. Love Etc and Left to My Own Devices were segued together (just as I pointed out earlier). Brandon was brilliant (with a lovely bum) striding in on "As I look back upon my life", Lady Gaga less so when she just popped up and squawked Dusty's immortal lines in What Have I Done to Deserve This. This is followed straight away by I'm With Stupid. Haha.

The Boys' outfits were a mixture from throughout the years (LOVED Neil's Brains glasses) with Chris Lowe wearing the pink wig from Can You Forgive Her looking like Andy Warhol... and looking OLD!!! And the set was reminiscent of the Cubism/Fundemetal tour, playing on their iconic look with video screens and dancers. Thank gawd there weren't any streamers at the end. That would have been SO not PSB.

Ladies and gentlemen, Pet Shop Boys...

PSB geek here counted 15 tracks :) Especially liked the drums from In the Night sneaking in there... why no Sound of the Atom Splitting though? Joke.

**UPDATE** 2
Pet Shop Boys are performing LIVE this year with two new concerts announced tonight at Manchester Apollo on June 18th and London O2 Arena on June 19th. Tickets are ON SALE NOW HERE! Got mine!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Phil Oakey Vs PSB

It's been vare Pet Shop Boys 'round these parts this week. But as the Yes album and Love Etc. single near release next month, news like this keeps cropping up. And, quite frankly, this is TOO GOOD to let pass. After yesterday's semi-news about a possible PSB/DSB collaboration, this one has happened and I think I may just have died and gone to heaven. Phil Oakey is to sing with Pet Shop Boys. Swoon.

As well as Neil AND Chris singing, Phil appears on This used to be the future on the bonus album etc. which will be a double disc all wrapped up as Yes. Pet Shop Boys Etc. Inspiration for this bonus disc came from The Human League's 1982 album Love and Dancing, a dancefloor version of Dare! And the song couldn't be more apt for Phil as The Future was the prototype band for The Human League and Heaven 17. Read all about it here on and here, on Electronically Yours where I first stumbled on this great snippet.

If anyone doubts the links between The Human League and Pet Shop Boys, first, watch this...

and then this...

You kind of wonder why this meeting of minds has taken so long to happen. Talking of which It was revealed yesterday that Lady Gaga will be taking to the stage at the BRITS on Wednesday evening with Neil and Chris to cover the Dusty Springfield part in What Have I Done to Deserve This? as part of their GreatestHitsMegaMix performance. Vare zeitgeist! But let's hope not TOO zeitgeist, as it will only prove this snooty piece in the Observer Music Monthly correct: "Attempting to cram 25 years of arch understatement into 15 minutes, the Pet Shop Boys are too smart by half. Losing the crowd with an ironic "credit crunch medley" of Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money) and Rent, they end with a sour What Have I Done to Deserve This? as the TV credits roll."

Saturday, 14 February 2009


More Pet Shop Boys, peeps. On Absolute Radio's Geoff Lloyd show, listen here, Neil lets slip that there is a possibility of them, finally, working with Dame Shirley Bassey. The camp-o-meter goes off the scale here. DSB and PSB? I'd like to think it would be a poignant "I've lived a life" kind of ballad, orchestral and stirring, but something tells me it'll be all glitter, tits and fan kicks. Either way, we'll love it.

Neil says of the collaboration: "I hope this isn't top secret but Miss Bassey is actually making an album at the moment with a very good producer who actually phoned us up to see if we had any songs for her... This was just before Christmas and we haven't had a response yet."

Could this producer be Trevor Horn? I think we should be told! In the meantime, here's DSB performing a Trevor Horn track originally done by the other diva, Grace Jones, Slave to the Rhythm. And those dancers aren't that camp, are they?

Friday, 13 February 2009

Drive a car? I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing

After being so hard for years, Neil Tennant has finally passed his driving test. And in a typically unassuming Tennant kind of way. Apparently, while he left Chris to twiddle knobs in the studio during the recording of their new album, Yes, Neil was out on the road having lessons. Aged 54, he passed his test at the Durham Test Centre, near his north east England hideaway.

With the single, Love Etc. imminent, news stories like this are all over the place. This one surfaced on the Newcastle Evening Chronicle site, Neil's (and mine) home city. Clicky here for a read and a cute audio snippet where he describes how the driving examiner didn't know who he was. Oh, and by the way, have I ever told you how I went to the same school as him? Of course I have.

Neil's also been trading a few bon mots that are guaranteed press coverage - call Simon Cowell a twat and EVERYONE listens. So it looks like everything's hotting up for the BRITS, the single and the album. Hoorah!

I heard Love Etc. at Kimono Krush tonight. It sounded quite epic. As an album opener it feels like the RIGHT decision. I can't imagine the last three launch singles being this good in a club.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Pet Shop Boys' official outing

And so after being leaked at the end of last week, today saw the oh-fish-y-al coming out ceremony on Radio 2's Ken Bruce (!) Show of Love Etc., the duo's new single. For your own evaluation, go listen here first before EMI pull it.

The common consensus is that this is a good track, if an odd choice for opening single, and hopefully heralds an even better album. And I thought I'd wait until it was given a nationwide hearing before I gave my two pennies' worth. I hate it.

Only kidding. I love this track. Hearing upon hearing it gets better and better. When a favourite band comes back with an off-beat single its oddness can throw you. Back in the day, I lost Adam Ant after Puss In Boots and loved The Human league even more after The Lebanon. But PSB have been here a few times. It's very them to throw their audience. Love Etc. has no discernible formula: there's one verse and the rest are all choruses (very Xenomania BTW). And rather than be warm and cuddly as they bask in their god-given BRIT Award for being the best oldies, they're as cold and icy as the February winds blowing in from the Russian Urals.

The graphic theme for the album, Yes and single artwork is reminiscent of Introspective. And the aloof chant/rap style of Love Etc. has a lot more in common with that album's lead-off single Left to My Own Devices than any other.

Like every Pet Shop lover, I expect to adore this album, if only because this single is so good. But only time will tell if it rises above my top five of Please, Introspective, Behaviour, Billingual and Nightlife.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Jessie does LA LA Land

At the end of 2008, London more-than-hopeful singer, Jessie, lost her record deal when the label went under. Not one to sit around and mope, she upped and headed for the States when other UK record labels failed to bite. One gig at The Viper Rooms in LA and a flurry of meetings ensued with suits falling over themselves to sign the gutsy lass. Universal Republic Records were the successful bidders and below is the actual showcase at their offices...

And so Jessie will be recording an album for release this year. She details everything in her blog here. It's an exciting time for a talent too good to be trapped in MySpace. One request to Universal Republic Records: no Joss Stoning Jessie. Please.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

It's snowing in London...

It's not very often, but when it does snow in London, it's vare purdy. We nipped out down to the river to take these shots an hour ago...

And this was outside my window. That's the Stage Door pub opposite looking all Dickensian instead of urban...

**UPDATE** See video footage here.

The golden age

I've got a real soft spot for one-man dance acts: Mylo, Mike Monday, Felix da Housecat, Fred Ball AKA Pleasure and now Antoine Harispuru AKA Golden Bug. The common thread throughout is a) they all have penises - which is just a coincidence, really - and b) they produce an album with all meat no filler. Golden Bug's Hot Robot which came out at the end of last year is covered in plaudits and, rather worryingly, is seen as the vanguard of new genre, nu-disco. I say worryingly, because labelling leads to stifling and ultimately dating. This album, let's say, has legs aplenty - legs for longevity and for dancing. It's like disco after a blowback, meaty, beaty big and bouncy. Try Barbie's Back, below. It's rude in EVERY sense.

Paris-based Golden Bug deserve Mylo proportioned recognition judging from this, their last single, Bisco...

GOLDEN BUG "Bisco" from Leroy Hanghofer on Vimeo.

Barbie's Back (Blow Version) - Golden Bug (zShare)
Buy Hot Robot here.