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

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.