Tuesday 31 July 2007

Even if it makes it twice as hard

The header above is from the stonking chorus of Hard by new band I Am Finn. But the singer/songwriter and powerhouse behind the London group, Liam Lever, could just have been watching too many Carry On movies. Imagine, a shot of Babs Windsor on her knees in front of an upright cackling Sid James, saying, "Even if it makes it twice as hard!" and then the camera whip pans around to the front of her to reveal she's actually blowing up an airbed...

But then, watching the vid (posted seperately below) it's not about that at all. In fact Liam, the lovechild of Iggy Pop and Janice Dickenson, is quite serious.

Go have a look at their MySpace where more tunes are streamed. Bad Luck is a particular favourite sounding anthemic and intimate at the same time with a right old late 80's AOR geetar solo in the middle and another storming chorus. They're clever buggers this lot.

There was a tune at the end of last year that I kept hearing when I was out, and it turns out to be a remix of a much sparser, tuneful track I Love You. It's amazing how loose ends tie up with a little research. This remix and the original share only the vocals in common. That remix, by duo Van She Tech, stands up on it's own, and that vocoder break had me thinking Imogen Heap every time I heard it.

I Love You (Van She Tech remix) - I Am Finn (mp3 Download)

Update: And go to IAMFINN.com for another FREE TRACK!!!

The vid for I Am Finn's Hard

Saturday 28 July 2007

The 7 One Hit Wonders...

...of my world, anyway.

Part two.


The other day I lost my iPod. I know. It's a shiteous thing to happen, but luckily I have all my tunes backed up onto CD so it was just the actual gadget. Whoever ends up with it will have a brilliant selection; eclectic and totally me. A bit of Margaret Berger there, a lot of Pet Shop Boys here and a little bit of Cilla Black (!!) for good luck. The iPod was in a bag which somehow went missing on a Friday night bender between leaving Profile bar, calling in at Burger King in Leicester Square (the shame of it) and climbing into an unlicensed minicab. I think most of my dignity was in that bag too. Oh dear.

Ah well. But there is a silver lining to my little tale of woe. My fella bought me a replacement! So I'm spending this weekend catching up with all my lovely tunes as I fill up the new one. And going through them, a blog occurred.

I've got hundreds of one-offs where I only have one tune by a particular artist. This is usually because I either haven't bothered to look for more (Dream) or I haven't actually liked the rest of their stuff (A1) or that's all they've produced (Sweet Female Attitude - well, there might be more, but none of any cop). Anyway, like the previous post, I've called them my 7 One Hit Wonders, and here's part two in alphabetical order:

A1 - Caught in the Middle
(mp3 Download)
Dream - He Loves U Not (mp3 Download)
Girlthing - Girls On Top (mp3 Download)
Hear'say - Lovin' Is Easy (mp3 Download)
Jentina - French Kisses (mp3 Download)
Nadiya - Roc (mp3 Download)
Sweet Female Attitude - Flowers (mp3 Download)

And because he's a one-off in his own right, here's my one and only Pete Burns track. I loved Dead or Alive and this is his only solo effort. Released before the nation was repulsed by his Celeb Big Brother antics (they actually endeared me to him) and written with and produced by the Pet Shop Boys. It was only available by mail order about three years ago. It actually sounds more like a PSB B-side, until the sub-Soft Cell lyrics come in. But I still love it!

Pete Burns - Jack & Jill Party (mp3 Download)

And, searching for a pic of Pete, I came across this (not literally) at Lady Bunny's website. I belly laughed, and just what IS that on the stage by his feet???!!

Tuesday 24 July 2007

Pull my puppet strings

The word is out. Kylie's coming back with... a cover, maybe. Apparently, for a laugh, she recorded Roxy Music's Love Is a Drug and Culture Club's 1983 hit Victims; the latter being full of comedic value we presume.

There's something up in Camp Kylie. This interview with shouty singer, Luciana, on popjustice revealed the possible rabbit-in-headlights panic over decent material for the lead-off single. The world and his wife have been contributing songs including, thankfully, Xenomania and Cathy Dennis - let's just hope Timbaland was too busy when they called. Actually, it's a blessed relief that the Scissors' White Diamond hasn't been slated for single release... I don't know about anyone else, but I struggled to find the tune. And the middling ho-hum leaks a few weeks back only add to the sense of foreboding. I'm not sure a cover is the answer, especially one as serious and dramatic as Victims. But I wouldn't mind being proved wrong.

Anyhoo, here, in case you forgot how good Boy George's Christmas singalong was (and it is, honest! It's one of my favourites), here it is:

Victims - Culture Club
(mp3 Download)

Monday 16 July 2007

Maybe we could make happen, babe

With Every Heartbeat is now on the Radio 1 A-list playlist which means it blasts out of the nation's speakers at least a hundred times a day. It also means that Robyn (and Kleerup, bless 'im) could be in line for a big fat hit. And the promo machine is going up a gear with an appearence this week on Jo Whiley's Live Lounge. Which day wasn't mentioned (helpfully) on today's show, but you can listen again as soon as it's happened on Jo's mini-site.

It would be fantastic if Robyn could get Radio 1 behind the rest of the album; in spite of rubbish DJs, they're incredibly influential. I'm keeping everything crossed.

With Every Heartbeat is released 30th July (digital), 6th August (physical).

Below, is a video from her live show at Cargo in March performing Be Mine. The crowd were wild for her that night, as you can hear at the end of this storming version. And is that Electroqueer down at the front?

Robyn - Be Mine @ Cargo

Saturday 14 July 2007

Free Chemical Brothers/New Order

I've never read a more accurate description of a Chemical Brothers' album than this one on Chelsea Kelsey's Shang-A-Lang as he does his quarterly round-up of fave tunes. We Are the Night is another CB great HALF album. And this track
A Modern Midnight Conversation - The Chemical Brothers (mp3 Download) is definitely the New Order one.

And What I Am Needs Some Excusing!

Oops! Doing in the trade, what is known as a 'Donna', eg., "Oh, my giddy aunt, she's done a Donna!", Gloria Gaynor has shat all over her (namesake) gay audience. On Radio 4's Woman's Hour, she proclaimed that she wants to "Lead gays to Christ" and when pulled up on what she actually thinks of homosexuality, refused to say anything. So, a performance at G.A.Y. isn't just a regular PA to La Gaynor, but a missionary experience. Oh please.

Go here to listen to the interview.

It's the height of ignorance and arrogance to assume it's acceptable to sing anthems of emancipation like I Am What I Am and I Will Survive for ANY minority group and then dismiss them as being somehow sinful and therefore wrong. Her views on feminism fall into this category. Apparently, women asking for equality are men haters. Gloria! Stop! Now! I used to have a lot of time for her; in the studio, she recorded I Will Survive in a back brace after falling on stage. Suffering for your audience like that, how gloriously gay, I used to think.

I'm sorry to say that her two hits will now be tainted with her own homophobia. Thanks, Gloria.

Ali, Love it!

Ali Love, the vocalist on The Chemical Brothers' brilliant Do It Again has his own tune out on Monday in the UK. Secret Sunday Lover is de-lovely lazy funk, perfect for Sunday head nodding in a summer beer garden, (I'm sure I heard a namecheck for Brick Lane's 93 Feet East bar in there). I really like Ali's voice too, especially the cute speech impediment going on: 'Got a bwain like bubblegum, blowing up my cwanium'. On this one he goes, 'earfbound'. Aw!

Taking his inspiration from the decade he was born into and being a bedroom musical boffin seems a bit en vogue at the moment. Two's a coincidence and three's the trend with Ali, Calvin Harris (who he spookily resembles) and Pleasure's Fred Ball. Ali had an overlooked single last year called K-Hole ('Lipstick on my left cheek, and a bwooze on the other side') which was a cringing account of a night spent on Ketamine. It made ME wince.
Anyhoo, love the new single, the vid of which is just below. Want to hear more, then there's some aural booty over on his MySpace and a sparse but brand new website.

The vid for Secret Sunday Lover

Tuesday 10 July 2007

The night of the Gutter Hearts

Marc Almond @ Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, 9th July

Last night, at Marc Almond's concert and 50th birthday it was all heart. A right old love-in between his fans, who used to call themselves Gutter Hearts and his royal tainted-ness himself. He said himself, "I'd rather be here, with all of you, than anywhere else tonight." I first saw Marc, many Julys ago on his first solo tour where the crowd were rabid for their hero: fainting, screaming and dancing like banshees and totally loving it. Maybe the fainting has stopped, but the screaming, dancing and loving it haven't.

Two Soho legends together.

Marc hit my teenage zeitgeist like a thunderbolt - an emotional misfit with a key to another world. The pictures he painted were like the films I watched furtively on my portable TV: Derek Jarman's Sebastien, Querelle, any Bette Davis melodrama. All of them, worlds full of colour, vibrancy and on the edge of everything! But he also taught me what it was like to be romantic and perhaps, dare I say it, how to love someone through song, and that, above anything is why his fans are so evangelical about him. At times tonight, looking down from my fabulous front-of-circle view, seeing arms raised and voices louder than the band for songs like the divine My Hand Over My Heart was like being at the Church of Marc Himself.

He was so overcome by the crowd's outpouring, especially after everyone, lead by guitarist Neil X, sang Happy Birthday, he couldn't get through the first verse of the next song. And the emotion didn't stop there, when he thanked the late Gene Pitney for having played such a major part in his career Marc had to leave the stage to compose himself. When Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart came round, I sobbed during Gene Pitney's part. Worra softie I am.

He doesn't look a day over 49!

Marc had an album to promote tonight as well! The glorious Stardom Road, full of covers reflecting his life and career fitted like a glove into 27 years' worth of his own material. Soft Cell numbers, Tainted Love, What! and Say Hello, Wave Goodbye(the crowd sang most of it!) were anthemic but it was amazing to hear Marc and the Mambas' Your Aura (surprisingly rocky) and the early solo numbers like The Boy Who Came Back, Ruby Red and Melancholy Rose. Jacky was given a fantastic interpretation: lounging on Martin Watkins' piano, Marc did a louche, slo-mo version of the chorus while going at double-time, like Beyonce on speed, for the verses, no mean feat after his accident. He apologised several times for forgetting the words throughout the concert, in fact, someone from the audience had to prompt the first line for the Mamba's Torment and Torreros after Neil X let him down!

As a break for the band, Marc performed a couple of songs from his album of Russian songs, Heart of Snow. Igor Outkine, the Russian musician performed (his accordion-type thing) beautifully. And Marc's big heart allowed him to reap the huge cheers of the audience on his own.

At the end of the second encore, an amazing two and a half hours after the beginning of the concert, La Almond sang Curtain Falls and then exited, stage right, arms brimming with flowers, tears flowing and a heart bursting.


Over on his website, the editors, Vicky and Michelle have pulled off a fantastic 50th birthday tribute with messages from friends and colleagues. Dave Ball (aww), Babs Windsor (bless), Antony (from The Johnstons) Hegarty, Nick Cave, David McAlmont, Jools Holland, Holly Johnson, Gary Numan, Janice Long, Matt Johnson (!), JG Thirlwell (!!), Annie Hogan (!!!!), Tasty Tim, Mark Moore, Kiki Dee, The Sparks, Sarah Cracknell and even Coronation St's Bill Tarmey all wish him well. Erasure have a lovely, heartfelt little video message too.

The Gutter Hearts get their say too. Of course!

As someone who arrived at Marc a bit later, Tricky, over on his website was amazed by the concert and the emotion of the night. So, for him and others who may have missed the earlier, gorgeous material, here are a few to be getting on with!

From the Vermin in Ermine album:
The Boy Who Came Back - Marc Almond (mp3 Download)
Tenderness is a Weakness - Marc Almond (mp3 Download)
Gutter Hearts - Marc Almond (mp3 Download)

From the Stories of Johnny album:
My Candle Burns - Marc Almond (mp3 Download)
Stories of Johnny - Marc Almond (mp3 Download)

From the Mother Fist and Her Five Daughters album:
Melancholy Rose - Marc Almond (mp3 Download)
Ruby Red - Marc Almond (mp3 Download)

And because it's so gorgeous:
My Hand Over My Heart - Marc Almond (mp3 Download)

Monday 9 July 2007

Happy Birthday to a Salty Dog

Marc Almond is 50 today! 50!! Can't believe it, but hey, all our pop stars have to grow older at some point. Marc is doing this as disgracefully as possible and will be celebrating with a sold out concert at Sherpherd's Bush Empire tonight. I'm going, so I'll report back, but until then, here's the TV ad for Stardom Road (see seperate post, thanks YouTube and your dumb embedding nonsense) and a gorgeous over the top cover from 1986.

A Salty Dog - Marc Almond (mp3 Download)

Marc outside my favourite cafe on the edge of Soho.

Marc Almond - Stardom Road

Sunday 8 July 2007

Carrie and Co. are back! Back! BACK!

At bloody last! Kim Caterall has finally got her reported huge salary and a (buried already) HBO series in return for agreeing to do THE movie. But if Sex and the City is to succeed on celluloid a few things have to happen:

1) SJP does not 'place' her Lovely fragrance in any scene. It stinks. My friend's mother asked for a complimentary spray in her local Boots in New Milton, only to be told by the irked shop assistant that she'd "Rather not because it's bloody awful and lingers for hours! A bit like a bad fart if truth be told!".

2) Miranda and Steve ditch the family thing, move back to Manhattan and are seen to have sex all throughout the movie. Or maybe, we catch them post coital on several occasions, if only to see Steve, stark-bollock naked.

3) Samantha ditches her Arayan boyfriend for the sake of her character. He's bland, blonde, boring and does nothing for her. Sam works best as a singleton.

4) Charlotte and her lovely bald hubby adopt a plethora of third world orphans and create a huge melting pot of a family.

5) Mr Big is in it.

6) Aidan is also in it and comes out.

7) Aidan tries it on with Mr Big and we have a great scene where the pair of them have rampant big gay man sex. Phew.

8) Carrie doesn't go through ANY life changes.

9) That's all.

"I tell you Carrie, we ARE to blame for the gentrification of NYC".

Saturday 7 July 2007

Put a sock in it

Joss Stone. What a cock

La Stone is getting vocal again.
There's a new single on the horizon, (a nation yawns, turns over and goes back to sleep again), so it's time to put on the faux-London accent which hides the faux-American accent for the wind bag to spout off about how the British press are to blame for the backlash last spring and the subsequent failure of her new album. Nothing about how the blame could actually be laid at her bare feet?

I suppose it's a symptom of being self-obsessed and surrounded by 'yes' people that when things go wrong, it is always the fault of outside forces. But it goes deeper than that. There is an ignorance and lack of dignity on display here. When everything went belly-up for Kylie ten years ago with a flop record and seriously bad press she quietly retreated, regrouped and came back stronger than ever. Joss, just take note.

A normal day at the office for an icon

Wednesday 4 July 2007

Sweet Siobhan

Bless. I could just eat her. Erm, maybe not, but this down-to-earth lass deserves a cheery "Well done" for going through the soul-destroying four year tenure with Keisha in the Sugababes and coming out of it the other side without bitterness, reproach or a sack of potatoes on her delicate shoulder.

In this hotel room interview with Sky Showbiz (says what it does on the tin), she talks about not ruling out a collaboration with Mutya and, joy of joys, debunks the romanticising of the greasy, spotty-arsed smackhead, Pete Doherty.

Click on this link here to view the interview. I haven't worked out how to post it properly. I'm sure I'm not pressing the right knob or three.

Monday 2 July 2007

Oh baby, it's raining, raining

Rihanna's number one for the 7th week in the UK and it's STILL RAINING all over the land. There's a direct correlation between the two, I'm convinced of it! Seven weeks of Umbrella and seven weeks of it pissing down. Please, Rihanna. I love the song, but please, just put the brolly down and sing about something else. How about driving cars or something?

Gawd! Alright already! Ella, ella, eh, eh, eh.

But none of this unrelenting rain could dampen the spirits of everyone at Gay Pride in London on Saturday. What a marvellous day it was. Where else could you have thousands of queers mincing about in the pouring rain and making the most of it by just enjoying themselves? The March/Parade through the terrorist-strewn streets of sodden London went off without a hitch (the only hiccup being when some homophobe asked why Oxford Street was blocked off and then harumphing at the mere mention of the word 'gay').

Our very own 'Rihanna'

Highlights included the Fetish Society, a ten-strong team of leather clad queens pulling a Ben Hur type chariot with a cigar-smoking Caligula waving a fist to the, largely, puzzled crowd, (we passed the abandoned contraption an hour later on Regent Street upended with one wheel off). And the Pink Youth Society giving everyone fresh hope that this fresh meat would not only keep the flag flying but keep it flying high with their brilliant slogan scrawled across the float saying: 'GAY ICONS OF THE FUTURE'- followed closely by this auld queen remembering The Legacy!

"Ooh. My aching icons!"

Soho was literally awash with feathers, fake tan and fucking umbrellas. Soho Square bounced around like a bag of pills and the bars had huge crowds circling the doorways, a brolly in one hand and a drink in the other, but everyone wore a smile. We stood outside until we couldn't take anymore drenching and went inside a packed loft in the Yard Bar, which took precisely ten minutes to turn into a steam room. Imagine!

Trafalgar Square was out of the question. Darren, Jimmy et al could do it without us. But two friends who made it down there (I think they hitched a lift on a passing canoe) said they had a great view... from the dry, civilised bar of the National Portrait Gallery complete with a bottle of Champagne.

Geri Halliwell turned up like a bad penny. Again.

For a trip around what was a fabulous day, go here to The Zapping, who quite rightly points out that friends and being comfortable summed up the day, and here to Tricky who found that the same 'sod it' attitude was the order of the day.

Ruddy marvellous!