Friday, July 28, 2006

Video of the week: Virtual Insanity

how does he do that?More often than not, the best music videos are made for incredibly bad songs.

The reason is quite simple: Artists traditionally make their biggest impact with their first few singles, at a time when the record company isn't prepared to spend wads of cash on a promo clip that might never be seen. Consequently, a breakthrough video is often a poorly-shot, grainy performance of a band styled by their aunt who works on the Debenhams make-up counter.

A couple of years later the video budget skyrockets at roughly the same time as the band's music leaves orbit and crashes back to earth. Hence: amazing videos for songs you wouldn't play to prisoners in Guantanamo.

Luckily, however, some bands manage to strike gold on their second or third album, and get a big-name director for a stunning single - which is exactly what happened to Jamiroquai with Virtual Insanity.

It's directed by Jonathan Glazer, who was also responsible for the Guinness surfer adverts and nearly drowning Thom Yorke in the video for No Surprises. The concept is amazingly simple - Jay Kay dances in a mental asylum.

The clever part is how it's filmed. There is one, locked-off, camera attached to a couple of walls and a ceiling which are suspended slightly above the floor. The "set" is then swung around on a set of castors while Jay Kay stands inside it - giving the impression he's floating across the floor. It's one of the most visually arresting things you'll ever see.

The whole thing looks like one continuous shot, but every so often the camera pans up or down to the roof of the floor -- if you look carefully, you'll see a cut when that happens (often the set has changed when the camera swings back into position).

According to wikipedia - so it may not be true - the couches that form part of the set are hooked to the walls so they will move along with the "room", detaching themselves when Jay Kay presses on them.

The singer likens his performance to "Fred Astaire on acid," which isn't a bad description at all. It certainly cuaght the attention of the public, who sent the song to number 3, and the industry, who awarded the video four MTV awards in 1997.

By the way, keep your eye Look out for a 'blooper' towards the end. Blood that was previously dripping from the wall suddenly gushes out as though they've just accidentally severed a very important artery. It's probably just someone squeezing too hard on the ketchup bottle, though.

  • Buy a DVD of Jonathan Glazer's best bits, inlcuding this video, here

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  • Thursday, July 27, 2006

    Tittle Tattle

    kim basinger in the old daysIt's all got a bit self-absorbed around here over the last couple of days, hasn't it? Blah, blah, Top of the Pops, blah, blah, I wrote some music, blah, blah, voice-over work, blah.

    In atonement for all that narcisissm, here is a round-up of some of the gossipy webwrongs and salacious stories from the past week.

  • Scarlett Johannson had a lap-dance
    ...For her 21st birthday. With her entire family watching. Now that's just weird.

  • Kim Basinger (may have) left her first husband for Jodie Foster
    In which we learn that, in the days before the internet, people exhanged gossip by fax. How quaint 1996 seems already.

  • Shiloh Nouvel Pitt has become a waxwork
    In which we learn that waxworks aren't made of wax any more. Is nothing sacred?

  • Silent Bob has been taking about Jay's battle with heroin
    In which Kevin Smith reveals that the moment you realise your friend has a drug problem is the moment they tell you they've shagged z-list celebrity stick Nicole Ritchie. Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

  • Lindsay Lohan is bit like a cat.
    It's true. My mum says.

  • David Hasselhoff can't fly
    He was thrown off a British Airways flight to LA after appearing intoxicated, the Sun says. (I checked this one with BA -- they say a man was refused entry to a flight on Tuesday, but was allowed to get on the next one after being reassessed with staff. They wouldn't confirm it was the Hoff, though).

  • A bloke who used to stand next to Justin Timberlake has come out
    As, you know, a gay.

  • Prince is getting divorced again
    I can't think of a decent pun. Help!

  • Janet Jackson has a new video
    In which we learn that (a) a woman can have too many tatoos, and (b) spending loads of money on the video won't improve a mediocre song.

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  • Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    End of an era!

    Guess where I ended up tonight?

    In Studio Three of BBC Television Centre, trying to muscle my way into shot on the final ever Top of the Pops!!

    To be honest, it was a bit of an anti-climax. There were no bands, only video clips, and an array of aging TOTP presenters.

    Surely they could have managed to book someone on the show - if not Robbie or Madonna, I'm sure Chico would have done it.

    In the end, though, it was quite a nostalgic night. The staff were very emotional (although speculating that they'd be back within two years) and the presenters seemed genuinely fond of the show they were saying goodbye to.

    "Maybe we should just say 'See you next week'," laughed Mike Read as they prepared to read out the closing link.

    If only they could...

  • Read my 'professional' summary of the night's events here

    PS I couldn't quite hear him over the screaming teens, but I'm sure Reggie Yates said that the programme would be back for a one-off look at the singles of 2006. Does this mean we get the Christmas Day show, after all? I do hope so!

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  • Ironically, I do feel like dancing

    The Scissor Sisters dress for a funeralThe Scissor Sisters are back, back, BACK!!! And any qualms that the high priests of campery had been hiding away for so long because their new material was rubbish can be instantly dismissed on one listen to their new single.

    I Don't Feel Like Dancing is exactly what you'd expect. Falsetto vocals direct from the heart of the 1970s, a massive singalong chorus, and a liberal sprinkling of those disco drums they used to have on Pigeon Street.

    But what do I know? Let's see what everyone else has to say:

    Club Kingsnake: "The Scissor Sisters' homage to really terrible bad dance music of the 70s, is the most fucking gloriously badly good song ever."

    Popjustice: You cannot go wrong with disco laser zapping noises."

    Triflin': WHY DID THE SCISSOR SISTERS HAVE TO GO THE BEEGEES ROUTE?? im really upset" (It would appear Triflin's author is so upset by the song he has forgotten how to operate the shift key correctly)

    Some Russian guy on Livejournal: Scissor Sisters жгут! О, Jake Shears - просто голубая мечта какая-то;)
    отличный сингл I don't feel like dancing - очень хочется крикнуть Everybody report to the dance floor. NOW!!!!

    Dial The Operator: "[It] fits with the Sisters signature style as snug as Jake Shears' jockstrap"

    Zeon Music: "Warning: This song's quite queer"

    Well, that just about sums it up. As the song is barely a "secret" any more, I should point out that you can download a high-quality MP3 of it here for evaluation purposes, etc, etc.

    PS: Many apologies to Back To The Cereal Box and its author, Drew Mackie, who I completely misquoted in my original post. He loves the Scissor Sisters, and who am I to disagree?

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    Tuesday, July 25, 2006

    Quality control

    Sometimes, in the course of my day job, I get asked to provide voice-overs. Nothing you're likely to have heard, mind you, just the occasional programme trail or narration for a news pacakge.

    Today, I was asked to pop into the recording studio for a piece on the BBC 's website. I dutifully obliged, recording two lines of translated dialogue for a piece from Japan.

    At the time, I didn't pay much attention to the script. My lines were quite simple: "It's really fun - both the way it looks and the way it smells. It's the first time I've bathed in curry and my daughter loves it."

    Hang on just a cotton-picking minute, there... Bathing in curry?! My daughter loves it? Had I really considered what I was lending my voice to as I sat in the recording booth?

    Looking at the video now [click here] it feels like I've been sucked into a disappointingly nudity-free edition of Eurotrash.

    Perhaps in the future I'll exercise a little more caution over the jobs I accept. Unless there's payment involved, in which case I'll dress up like a monkey and pretend to be the second coming of Jesus. It's not like I have standards.

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    All the young dudes carry the news (on their portable media player)

    storyfix - it's a drug reference, you know?The BBC has very quietly started offering vodcasts of their news programmes. It sounds amazingly futuristic and high-tech, but all it really means is that you can download videos of the news to your PC / iPod or PSP. And, if you really like a particular programme, you can subscribe to it, and your computer will magically acquire new episodes as soon as they become available. How marvellous.

    Normally, I wouldn't give a monkeys about such a thing, but one of the first shows they've made available is Storyfix, which - for some unfathomable reason - I was asked to write the theme tune.

    I've written about it previously here and here, so there's no need to bang on about it any more. But do remember that any time you watch it, it improves my chances of making some money off the music, and that's what keeps this blog alive!

    That and the kit-kats.

  • BBC Vodcasts

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  • Monday, July 24, 2006

    Jessica Simpson lesbian shocker!

    It's true! Jessica Simpson has a new song where the lyrics go like this:
    "Hey, Amanda, I see you looking over here, baby
    Are you gonna keep looking, or get up & talk to me
    Here's an opportunity, that you don't wanna miss tonight."

    Jessica Simpson, a woman with great big talentsOf course, it's all a big dirty trick to get publicity, but not in the way you might think. She's released a 'personalised' version of her new single A Public Affair where you can get your own name put into the song's lyrics. The choices include such un-musical names as Ian, Sharon and, yes, Simpson's ex-husband Nick.

    The only catch is you have to download it for a hefty $1.99 from Yahoo's music website.

    Well, that and the fact that the song is a piss-poor imitation of Madonna's Holiday. But, hey, it's got your name in it.

    What's more interesting about the track is that it's being offered without any form of copy protection. That means you can transfer it to other computers, burn it to CD as often as you like, and put it onto any MP3 player of your choice. It may not sound like much, but these are things you cannot do with a track purchased from iTunes, for example.

    Best of all, this move has been made by Sony - who only last year were installing virus-like software on people's computers when they tried to play one of their own CDs. It'll be interesting to see whether this experiment catches on - and, if it does, whether the prices will be similarly high.

    By the way, if you're here after searching for "Jessica Simpson +lesbian sex" on google: Shame on you - you sick, sick puppy.

  • Yahoo music: Jessica for you

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  • Friday, July 21, 2006

    Especially for me

    The problem with starting work at 6:30 is that you're awake and near a computer when the booking lines for big concerts open.

    You also lack the clarity of thought to stop you spending £49 plus booking fee, plus postage on tickets.

    Anyway, I am now the proud owner of two passes to see Kylie at Wembley on January 3rd 2007!

    Apparently, I'm quite lucky - as they sold out in ten minutes, and most people couldn't even access the bookings direct website.

    The site is as slow as a snail with learning difficulties right now, but apparently tickets for the 5th and 6th of January have just been added and gone on sale!

    Speaking about the concerts a couple of days ago, the teeny-tiny songstrel said: "I'm as prepared as I can be, but I'm not sure that I'll be able to do everything that I did before".

    "I said, 'You know what, maybe we won't have quick changes, we'll have slow changes. And maybe even a little chair.'"

    If she doesn't do Hand On Your Heart I'll storm out in a big girly huff.

    The tickets for 5th and 6th January are sold out too, and final dates have been announced for the 8th and 9th. I got an email from Wembley at 13:40 saying there were fewer than 1,000 tickets left for both of those dates...

    Meanwhile there is controversy about the whole debacle on the intranots.

    "What is it with this women, she's jus got over her cancer and you can tell she's back on form, cos she wants £50 per ticket to see her in January, No wonder she can afford the very best in medical treatment," says Phil McCracken (ho ho) on the Popjustice forums.

    "'I nearly DIED so I am making my tickets £25!' Sure." replies badjelly.

    "It could have been a lot worse than £50. The shows would have sold out (which they have already) for over £100," says Dazzle, sensibly.

    Over on Kylie's site, Nickass says: "Just went on ebay to find 15 pages of tickets no wonder everyone had so much trouble". Although, to be fair, their are only 38 pairs of tickets on the auction site right now, which is 0.001% of the 60,000 seats available.

    Meanwhile, Summer 75 sums the whole affair up by saying "Europe is standing by Kyle's side".

    It is unconfirmed at this point who Kyle is, and what he has done with our pop princess.

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    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Diva standoff: Beyoncé and Ciara

    two ladies sixty-sixTwo of R&B's hottest stars, Beyoncé and Ciara, are going head-to-head with their new singles, both of which are the first releases from their sophomore albums.

    But which one will win? There is only one way to decide: a hastily cobbled together table that I've done in Microsoft Word. It is based on their newly premiered videos, which you can see at the end of this post.



    PS - Ouch!

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    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    Some sanity, at last

    ooh, a shiny trophyHooray for popjustice - the "influential" "pop music" "blog" done by Peter Robinson, who also writes for the Guardian and the NME and Attitude.

    Every year, the website goes head-to-head with the bloated corporate nonsense of the Mercury Prize with its own award ceremony - the Popjustice £20 Music Prize.

    Held on the same night as the Mercury ceremony, it gives £20, cash, to the creators of the year's best pop single. It is normally won by Girls Aloud.

    This year's shortlist was coincidentally announced this morning. It bizarrely features several artists from the 'other' shortlist. But, more importantly, it provides respite for the acts who were cruelly overlooked for the Mercury prize. And Matt Willis out of Busted.

  • Biology - Girls Aloud
  • DARE - Gorillaz
  • Destroy Everything You Touch - Ladytron
  • I Said Never Again (But Here We Are) - Rachel Stevens
  • Number One - Goldfrapp
  • Over & Over - Hot Chip
  • Push The Button - Sugababes
  • Smile - Lily Allen
  • Supermassive Black Hole - Muse
  • Up All Night - Matt Willis
  • Valentine - The Delays
  • Who Am I? - Will Young

    No prizes for guessing the winner. (Hint: it will not be Hot Chip).


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  • Mercury Prize Shortlist

    Here it is, hot off the presses:

  • Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
  • Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Ballad Of The Broken Seas
  • Editors - The Back Room
  • Guillemots - Through The Windowpane
  • Richard Hawley - Coles Corner
  • Hot Chip - The Warning
  • Muse - Black Holes And Revelations
  • Zoe Rahman - Melting Pot
  • Lou Rhodes - Beloved One
  • Scritti Politti - White Bread, Black Beer
  • Sway - This Is My Demo
  • Thom Yorke - The Eraser

    Witty and erudite deconstruction of the nominees will follow in due course.

    Update One: Well, it's hardly inspiring, is it? I admit that I haven't heard the majority of these records. The ones I do know are generally over-rated turgid indie bollocks. Sway's biography is more interesting than his album is, Hot Chip are a personality void, and Editors are just The Auteurs without Luke Haine's magnificent irony.

    If I had to choose a favourite it'd be Arctic Monkeys - but how crushingly predictable is that? Very crushingly indeed.

    And what happened to the pop? Where are Goldfrapp? How has Lily Allen's eye make-up been overlooked? And what about McFly? (nb: joke)

    Update two: I've just heard Richard Hawley's album and it's lovely. Lots of steel guitar and American-style baladeering. It won't win, but I think I may end up buying it. Curse you, the Mercurys!

    Update three: Sorry for being neither witty nor erudite, but there wasn't much to go on, was there? Maybe next time...


  • Monday, July 17, 2006

    Precious little dears

    Take a good, careful look at the following:

    Yes, those cute kids are Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake performing in one lame-ass sketch on the Mickey Mouse Club.

    Watching it, you have to wonder what went on in the Magic Kingdom to turn these wholesome teeny tots into the deviant sex pests they have become.

    And then it gets to the scene about the "oral report", and everything suddenly becomes clear.

  • Originally posted on Dlisted

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  • Friday, July 14, 2006

    Spots before your eyes

    If you haven't left work yet (and if not, why not?) this game will drive you to distraction until the boss frees you from your shackles for the weekend.

    You have a couple of seconds to memorise a pattern of dots, which you then have to replicate on a grid in front of you.

    Five mistakes and the game ends.

    It is the most infuriating thing I've done all week, except for that one thing with the hamster and the trousers.

  • Play it here

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  • Thursday, July 13, 2006

    MP3 Frenzy!

    I'm feeling altruistic today, so here's a whole bag of downloads for you to plump onto your ipod and enjoy over the weekend.

    Justin - Sexyback: It didn't take long for this to break free of its internet constraints. Filled with dirty synths and fragments of Timbaland rapping, it sounds like a track off Nelly Furtado's album, except sung by a sexual pervert.
  • Get it here

    Alesha - Lipstick: Pop-o-rific debut single by the cute one out of Mis-teeq (and also the star of N.E.R.D.'s She Wants To Move video). The song is so polished it shines, so you could use it to look around corners if you attached it to a broom handle.
  • Get it here

    Razorlight - In The Morning: Because it is the best pop-rock song in ages One can only imagine what the original, 20-minute long, version was like.
  • Get it here

    Lady Sovereign - Love Me Or Hate Me: I saw Lady Sovereign supporting Basment Jaxx a couple of years ago, and it was one of the most embarassing performances I've ever witnessed. But on record she's quite good - like a chav MIA.
  • Get it here

    Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies): The song the BBC used for it's "Goal Of The Tournament" compilation at the end of the World Cup. Still as good today as it was two years ago.
  • Get it here

    The Roots - Don't Feel Right: Note-perfect philly rap from the best hip-hop band on the planet. "Remember back in the days when the kitchen had eggs?" is the best lyric of the year so far.
  • Get it here

    Lily Allen - Oh My God: Her single is number one, and her album is set to top the charts when it comes out next week, too. Is she worthy of all the hype? Can you stomach the thought of liking something genetically linked to Keith Allen? Who is responsible for her eye makeup?
  • Get it here

    Fergie - London Bridge: The debut solo single from the pant-wetting, hump-having, former Crystal Meth addict out of the Black Eyed Peas. Disappointingly, it's really good.
  • Get it here

    Nelly Furtado featuring Chris Martin - All Good Things: Back when Nelly Furtado's album, Loose, was being recorded it was revealed she'd laid down a duet with whining Coldplay geekboy Chris Martin. The song appeared on the album, shorn of his vocals. "Contractual difficulties" were cited as the reason. But, as this leaked version shows, it's because his performance is wank.
  • Get it here

    Jorge Ben - Take It Easy My Brother Charles: My current obsession is a compilation of Brazilian psychedlic rock on the Soul Jazz label, called Tropicalia. This song is the standout track, and if you only have time to download one track off this page, make it this one.
  • Get it here

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  • Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Why not call them the Freddies?

    goldfrapp prepare to leave the building, with a large and conspicuous organ jokeWe're appraching that time of year when the Mercury Music Prize judges choose their sacrificial victim - the artist who they will curse to the dustbin of pop through the act of bestowing an "album of the year" award upon them.

    Previous has-beens include Pulp! Ms Dynamite! M People! And some other shite.

    The Mercury has some very simple criteria when selecting it's prey:
    1) One record on the shortlist has to have been championed by Jo Whiley
    2) Another album is by a classical artist, who will not win
    3) The winning record must be one you've heard of, but never got round to buying

    The committee have now released the longest of the long lists for the prize, which constitutes all of the albums submitted for consideration by British record companies. A shocking 217 records have been put forward this year. Let's have a quick look at who the record companies are trying to butter up.

    The shoe-ins
  • Morrissey and Kate Bush (for long service)
  • Sway (obligatory 'urban' artist)
  • Lily Allen and/or Sandi Thom (attempt to look relevant in the days of myspace and whatnot)

    The no-hopers
  • Girls Aloud (too popular and exciting)
  • Gomez (previous recipients of Mercury's kiss of death)
  • Robbie Williams (you are having a laff mate)

    The ones you've never heard of
  • Paparazzi Whore ( sound like one of the musical sketches from Not The Nine O'Clock News)
  • St Jude's Infirmary (they have a song called Sylvia Plath's Platinum Summer - enough said)
  • Various (perhaps the committee could have been more specific here...)

    Ones I keep meaning to buy, who will therefore probably win
  • Editors
  • The Automatic
  • Guillemots (bonus points for Jo Whiley endorsement)

    Band I would like to win, who won't win
  • Goldfrapp

    I've posted the full list here. The 12-album shortlist is announced on Tuesday 18th July 2006.

    Let me know who you think deserves the prize...

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  • Monday, July 10, 2006

    Video Of The Week: Tribute

    jack black in the tenacious d film pick of destinyJack Black, star of King Kong and School of Rock, has a side project. It is the greatest band in the world - or so he says.

    Tenacious D, for it is they, consist of the portly actor and his sidekick Kyle Glass. They are that most diabolical of diabolical inventions -- a comedy rock group.

    If Satan has the best tunes, then comedy bands are what Jesus has on his iPod.

    To put it another way; jokes in songs are the musical equivalent of George Bush in the role of US president. They're funny at first, quickly becoming embarassing and then intolerable. Eventually, they both get eaten by crazed dingos in bandanas (it says here).

    "The D," however, are a cut above the rest. That's partly due to Jack Black's manic energy, partly because their music is actually quite good, and partly because they can call on famous friends to help them out.

    This video, for the song Tribute, is a great example. The song itself is only mildly amusing - the tale of how Black and Glass wrote the best song in the world but then forgot it - but the video lifts it into the realms of a comedy classic.

    Directed by Liam Lynch, of United States of Whatever fame, and featuring Ben Stiller and Dave Grohl (as the devil), it was voted Kerrang TV's top video of 2002 - despite the fact it was never released as a single in the UK.

    A full-length feature film about the band's rise to fame, also directed by Lynch, is out later this year. Let this be a warning to you.

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    Friday, July 7, 2006

    A present for you all!

    It's two weeks late but I've finally uploaded my Summer mixtape for everyone, thanks to Telewest fixing my internet connection.

    Trying to capture the summer sun, this is less discopop than Brazilian jazz, but it'll keep your feet tapping at all those sweaty barbeques.

    The tracklist is:

    1) Tico Mocotó - Swinga Sambaby
    2) Johnny Jones - Purple Haze
    3) Evinha - Que Bandeira
    4) Quarto Em Cy - Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser
    5) Segio Mendes - Mas Que Nada
    6) Donal Leace - Today Won't Come Again
    7) Stevie Wonder - You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
    8) Sly & The Family Stone - If You Want Me To Stay
    9) Graham Central Station - Hair
    10) Archie Bell & The Drells - Tighten Up
    11) Buddy Rich - The Beat Goes On
    12) Henry Mancini - Pink Panther Theme
    13) Quincy Jones - Soul Bossa Nova
    14) Harry Belafonte - Jump In The Line
    15) Herbie Hancock - Bring Down The Birds
    16) Young Holt Unlimited - Ain't There Somethin Money Can't Buy

    I've put it up on for the next seven days. Click here to go to the download page. Serve loud with Mojitos.

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    Thursday, July 6, 2006

    Thought spillage

    Just a quickie today. First of all, to mention how excellent it is that Arrested Development has been nominated for multiple Emmys again - despite being cancelled three million times in the last twelve months.

    Secondly, a big hiss and boo to Prince for shutting down his NPG Music Club website with three hours notice. So many tracks I'd meant to download have vanished into the ether. Shame on you, purple midget...

    Thirdly, to point you in the direction of a sexy little mash-up of Gwen Stefani's Crash and Blur's Song 2( Get it on The Smash Mix). Yes, yes - I know these 'bootleg' mixes are terribly 2001, but I like this one. And what I say goes. Got that?

    Fourthly, a big thank you to Nintendo blog DS Fanboy for the link to my post on the Pet Shop Boys and Animal Crossing. I'm well chuffed, and no mistake!


    Tuesday, July 4, 2006

    Are the Pet Shop Boys secret Nintendo fans?

    The Pet Shop Boys have announced the second single from their excellent Fundamental album will be the uptempo dancefloor stomper Minimal.

    What they haven't announced is that the song features a cartoon dog from Nintendo's Animal Crossing game...

    Animal Crossing is a role-playing / life-simulation game on the Gamecube and DS that sees you performing menial tasks and cultivating friendships in a primary colour village.

    It's played in real time, and on Saturday nights you can catch a wandering canine minstrel, K.K. Slider, performing a set of folk classics in the village coffee shop. He even gives out bootlegs at the end of the gig!

    Clearly the Pet Shop Boys are fans, as they've "hired" Slider for a solo spot on the chorus of Minimal. Don't believe me? Here's a handy side-by-side comparison:


    Pet Shop Boys - Minimal


    KK Slider - DJ KK


    KK Slider - Rockin' KK

    See what I mean?

  • Pet Shop Boys site
  • Introduction to the groovy world of KK Slider

    striking a blow against corporate fatcats

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  • What's happenin' mofo?

    Some spunky links for your web browser.

    cartoony wolf thing1) A very funny and characterful comic strip by Mike Russell points out the differences between the X-Men films and comics. Not as nerdy as you'd think. But still quite nerdy, nonetheless.
  • Link here

    2) Is Justin Timberlake still any good? Who knows, but you can hear an amazing 17 seconds!!! of new single Sexyback on fan website (how did they come up with that catchy URL?!!). The lyrics go like this: "I'm bringing sexy back / You motherfuckers don't know how to act". It is quite weird.
  • Link here

    3) The latest in a long series of links to people recreating video games in real life. This time: Tetris. With milkcrates.
  • Link here

    4) After the disappointment of Janet's comeback, it's good to hear one of my other favourite acts getting back to form. Philadelphia rap act The Roots are back with a new single which is a proper catchy old-skool hip hop track. It's so retro, in fact, the leaked version is only available as a low quality audio stream on XXL's website. How very 2001.
  • Link here

    5) The BBC is releasing the name of the new Doctor Who assistant at midnight tonight - I'd expect to see a story on the news website shortly after. If you've been paying attention to the tabloids, though, you'll already know who's got the part...

    6) While I'm talking about the Timelord, I should say I'm not a huge fan of the series. David Tennant and Billie Piper are great, I grant you, and the programme has a lot of energy. But the scripts are too verbose, and the extras are hammy and cheesy (sounds like a nice sandwich). At the same time, the programme's website is fantastic - and the MP3 episode commentaries with Rusell T Davies are supercute.
  • Link here


  • Sunday, July 2, 2006

    Call on Janet

    Janet Jackson, yesterdayI go away for just one week and what happens? A new Janet Jackson single gets released to radio... Tsk.

    Entitled Call On Me, it's the first release from her new album, 20 Years Old, which is out in the "fall", as they call it in America (where the word Autumn is deemed to be too non-descriptive of deciduous trees. And too difficult to spell.)

    Although I missed the first platy, I did manage to find the track on a French-language blog, Patapouf (can you do the fandango?).

    First impressions: It's a grower, not a shower. The mood is summery and laid back, but the melody just doesn't seem particularly memorable. The song is clearly a Jermaine Dupri production, and he's dipped his brush into Mariah's sonic paintbucket (ooo-er, etc).

    It also has Nelly on it. Nelly is really very bad indeed.

    However, Janet's best singles have a habit of getting under your skin - and there's something about those silky harmonies on the chorus that have me coming back for more. I suspect I'll have a "revelation" about this song shortly.

    In the meantime, Dupri has posted some pictures from the video shoot on Janet's official messageboards. Apparently, it's going to be the most expensive video of the last three years, which is one of the most meaningless statistics I've ever heard. Janet looks quite nice, though, as you can see at the top of the page.

    This has all been rather exciting, hasn't it?

  • Get the MP3 on Patapouf et ses petits patatrucs (NB: This may have some weird gay imagery that's NSFW, but its French so I can't really be sure).

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  • Saturday, July 1, 2006

    Football + Kick = Goal

    My, isn't it hot?

    I've just had a fantastic week in the Cotswolds away from computers and TV and the news, so if anything important has happened, do leave a comment below.

    I am aware, however, that England are playing again today - so here is a little video of the best football song ever written. I was going to keep it for the final, but I think it has become fairly clear by now that we're not going to get that far.

    Normal service will be resumed next week.

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