Saturday, October 20, 2007

Temporary break in service

Hello! We're off to Australia for a month to sample the local culture, a few koalas and Justin Timberlake. I might make the odd update during the trip, but I'm not promising anything...

Thanks for stopping by. Normal service will be resumed around the 19th November.


PS Please don't rob our house.


While we're away...

One or both of these songs will go to number one. And deservedly so*.

Take That - Rule The World

Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love

*You have to understand how begrudgingly I make this statement in the case of Leona Lewis, but it's true nonetheless.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

What's going on with Natasha Bedingfield?

In the old days, before corporate "synergy" gave us global brands like Cif and Snickers and the Wonderbra, products used to have different names in different markets. What we now know to be Starburst used to masquerade as called Opal Fruits; painful ladyhair remover Veet used to be known as Immac in certain parts of the world; For many years, Pepsi was called Honking Nob Juice in Scandinavia (Are you sure about that last one? - Ed)

Most of this confusion has now been cleared up, except in the case of the Milky Way. A fluffy nougatine confection in the UK, in the US it is to all intents and purposes a Mars Bar. It can cause literally seconds of confusion.

It now appears that Natasha Bedingfield has turned into the pop equivalent of a Milky Way. Her perfectly lovely NB album, released in the UK earlier this year, is completely different to the album of the same name she's about to release in the US.

The first single for US fans is a duet with that twat Sean Kingston which, to my surprise, isn't that bad. But the song has never been released in the UK, where it doesn't even feature as an album track.

Natasha Bedingfield ft Sean Kingston - Love Like This (fan video)

Now, we find she's doing the same with her second single - a poppy little R&B number from Rodney Jerkins (Brandy, Destiny's Child, that Spice Girls album we prefer not to talk about). Again, its a completely new track just for the US.

Natasha Bedingfield - A.N.G.E.L. (clip)

Clearly, someone at Sony US has decided Natasha's first attempt at a second album wasn't good enough, and has forced her back into the studio to try again. The results are actually quite good - but it makes you wonder why she was allowed out with a substandard product by the UK arm of her company in the first place.

Next week from the tortured pop-confectionery metaphor department: Why Robbie Williams is at the end of his FUSE, how Britney has turned into a FLAKE, and Brandon Flowers shows us his CURLY WURLY. Geddit?!

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Moody cows

Why, it's the new Girls Aloud video:

Girls Aloud - Call The Shots

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why Kylie will never be Madonna

It has now been a week since the the latest Kylie single premiered and, despite the fact that it's a perfectly serviceable slab of techno-pop, the song seems to have ruffled a few feathers.

Popjustice has a great summary, cherry-picking quotes from the web's Minogue-o-maniacs. For example: "Kylie just doesn't have the voice to make it really work" and "She's slapped us in the face again".

I have a feeling that people were expecting some kind of revelatory, heart-on-her-sleeve bombshell. After all, Kylie has had an incredibly harrowing three years - from being diagnosed with cancer, to having chemotherapy and reconstructive surgery. Not to mention splitting up with her long-term boyfriend and shelving dates on her celebrated comeback tour because she wasn't back to full health.

But then Kylie has always been strangely mute about her personal affairs. Anyone going to the Showgirl Homecoming concerts would have seen that her main priority was to dress up in feathers and bask in the fervent adulation of her fans. There were no tear-jerking moments where she revealed her innermost thoughts and passions - unless Kylie secretly wishes she were a robot from Doctor Who. Which is a possibility, I suppose.

Across nine albums, Kylie's lyrics have never strayed into her domestic affairs, either. She can't get things out of her head, she spins around, and she doesn't know why (in French), but we know precious little about her loves and losses, her personal battles for control, or even her on-set experiences with Jean Claude Van Damme.

Kylie's talent is to act as a cypher for the listener - a blank screen on which you can project your own experiences. That's why she'll never be Madonna, Janet or even Christina, all of whom use music as a spiritual and emotional enema.

Perhaps she's genuinely got nothing of interest to say, but I suspect she's too scared to relinquish control.

And, in the end, that's why her fans are upset. After supporting her through a particularly rough patch, they expected something in return - only to find Kylie had retreated further into her cocoon.

Not that anyone wants a full-on cancer album, you understand. But just a hint of the person behind the bottom would have been nice.

Kylie - 2 Hearts

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Girls Aloud - Call The Shots artwork

If you buy the new Girls Aloud single next month, this is what it will look like:

And the remixes will sound like this (Tony Lamezma) and like this (Xenomania). How exciting, eh?

In the meantime, let us distract ourselves with the perennial Girls Aloud dilemma - who, exactly, is the hottest? You should base your answer on the above photo for the sake of timeliness and relevance.


Monday, October 15, 2007

New Music Monday

Some of the better video clips of the last few days:

Regina Spektor - Better

Regina's Begin To Hope album is two year's old now but she's still plugging away at the singles. Which is a good thing, because there's barely a duff track on her record. This single, which features him out of the Strokes on guitar, has been polished up to make it more radio friendly (i.e. slightly more bland) but it still rocks our socks.

Modest Mouse - Little Calm

The third single from their patchy, nautically-themed album We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, which features former Smiths guitarist Johnny "not Andrew" Marr. One of the most thoroughly depressing videos you will see all year.

The Killers feat Lou Reed - Tranquilizer

The first single from the band's outtakes and rarities album Sawdust, which comes out later this year. No proper video yet, sadly, but the song is packed full of meaty goodness like a rock sausage.

Alicia Keys - No-one

I still love this single and this storming live performance from Jay Leno's chat show is awe-inspiring. No-One stands a good chance of being my top R&B song of the year - beating Amerie and Rihanna into a cocked hat. Indeed they could be knocked into any type of hat, penis-related or otherwise.

Fergie - Clumsy

A bag of old pants. And that's just Fergie's face! (guffaw).

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Can You Tell Me How To Get To...

Why is it that you can't see Sesame Street on UK television any more? How will future generations cope with the real world if they haven't been taught how to count by a large yellow bird and a man who lives in a bin?

Also, Sesame Street introduces children to future life-skills such as sending back cold soup in a restaurant, sharing an apartment with a man shaped like a banana, and distracting vampires by encouraging them to count the number of flowers in a vase (works every time, that one).

Most importantly of all, Sesame Street features some of the funkiest goddamn music in the history of the planet. Witness below Stevie Wonder's appearance on the show from the mid-70s (episode 514, according to Youtube). You just wouldn't get this on Balamory.

Stevie Wonder - Superstition (Sesame Street live)

Stevie teaches Grover to sing

Stevie Wonder - Sesame Street jam

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pass the time by watching these

Here are three videos from the internet in ascending order of amazing-ness.

Good news, everyone! Having already won an Oscar (it was featured in Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth) the cast of Futurama reunite for their own movie. It's back, back, BACK! from the intergalactic space dumper orbiting Vorgon 5.

Bender's Big Score - Trailer

Imagine a gene-splicing experiment where you combined one-third of Lily Allen, one-third of KT Tunstall, and one-third of Corrine Bailey Rae. Remi Nicole would be the result. NB: Not as repulsive as it sounds.

Remi Nicole - Rock and Roll

On a racetrack, in the middle of a race. Eeeek! And, latterly, phew!

Kanga in Danga

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Even more new pop: Girls Aloud!!!

Girls Aloud's 17th (!!!) single, Call The Shots has leaked here and here and here, amongst other places.

If you can't bear to be torn away from this website, then (a) well done, and (b) here is what to expect:

1) It is a bit slower than most Girls Aloud songs but it is not one of their ropey ballads
2) Sultry would be a good word to describe the overall "tone"
3) Other good words would be "shamelessly" and "commercial"
4) One of the key lyrics is Ah-ow-ah-ow
5) Another one is Oooh-oooo-oooh-ooo
6) It doesn't sound like anything else the band have recorded
7) But it is still instantly recognisable as a Girls Aloud song

In other "it's something about Girls Aloud, so I will print it" news, here is what the band have to say about their forthcoming fourth album:

As we all know, Girls Aloud return to the world of pop with Tangled Up, their brand new album out 19th November. Everything else has been kept under wraps, locked away in a tiny safe at Fascination records… until now!

We can now announce that the album will see the girls team up with long-standing collaborators Xenomania and will feature the singles Sexy! No No No… and the catchy mid-tempo track Call The Shots.

The album will also feature future hits such as I Can't Speak French, which sounds like a contemporary take on the classic girl groups of yesteryear*. Meanwhile, the full-on Girls Aloud attitude come out in force on tracks like Blackjack and Fling with their raucous mode, synth, bass and sassy lyrics turned up to the maximum."

* I pray to God they mean the Supremes and not Bananarama.

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Kylie's new single is not a Phil Collins cover after all

Look here! It is the new video from Kylie Minogue in which we learn that if you dress like Alison Goldfrapp and do a song like one of Alison Goldfrapp's songs - but with Kylie Minogue's budget - you can have a song that isn't quite as good as a Goldfrapp song with a video that is considerably better than a Goldfrapp video.


Kylie - 2 Hearts

PS We love the Damien Hirst-inspired, diamond-encrusted, skull-on-a-microphone. Sheer genius.
PPS I have run out of hyphens. If you have any to spare, please send them to me in an email marked "I have some hyphens for you".

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Top of the box

Good heavens above! Someone has locked petite pop star Robyn in a box and filmed it for the telly.

It's a bit like that creepy/rubbish film Boxing Helena, except no-one amputates Robyn's limbs.

At least I hope not, I didn't manage to watch the whole thing.

Robyn - Handle Me

For context and evaluation purposes, here is another video with a pop star in a box.

Tori Amos - Silent All These Years

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Who's that looking in my window?

Why, it's Alison Goldfrapp, and she has hand-delivered this message about her new album. How thoughtful.


Just to let you know that we haven't forgotten about you...

News has reached these parts that after months of beavering away in studios from the West Country to the West Coast, and having returned from their recent stint in LA LA land, Alison and Will are in the UK putting the finishing touches to the album this week.

As yet untitled, it will be rearing its antlers early next year...

Keep logged on to the website for more news in the coming weeks, and perhaps a few tasters for you...

That is all for now. More news soon.

The Deer

To bide the time until next year, then, here's the band performing Ooh La La in the States:

Goldfrapp - Ooh La La (David Letterman performance)

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Arcade Fire's freaky hand video

At first glimpse, Arcade Fire's video for their new single Neon Bible might seem to be a black and white glumfest. And it is - but with a cunning twist... By the wonders of modern technology, you can click on bits of the screen and influence what happens as you watch.

It doesn't stop Neon Bible being one of the most oppressive, creepy songs of the year (mrsdiscopop can't listen to it in the car because it "makes you think everyone is a serial killer") but it is a diverting way to spend three minutes of your life.

I can't post it here because of technical gremlins, so you must go to the band's Beonlineb website to immerse yourself in the gloom.

Have a miserable day,
All my love,

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Johnny Depp sings!

...And Professor Snape says "may the Lord have mercy on your soul" in the trailer for Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd.

Have a look - and let me know what you think!

Sweeney Todd - Official trailer

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Too much time on your hands?

Then why not re-create famous album covers out of sweets?

That's what former Radio 1 DJ Mike Read has been doing with the long, dark, lonely days he's been spending alone in his bedsit pondering where it all went wrong. Look:

There is more of this lunacy on the BBC Wesbite

The mind boggles.

Britney's back

It's been said before, but Britney's new single is actually very good - which makes it all the more sad that her record company has decided to exploit her illness to promote it.

I'm not just saying that... Here's what a representative from Jive Records told MTV earlier this week: "When you have someone at this level of celebrity, they become like cartoons or soap-opera characters, and we forget that they're human beings."

Okay, he also said "Jive does care about her and does support her," but what's the point in writing a blog if I don't get to take things wildly out of context for dramatic effect?

Anyway, here is La Spears' latest video - which appears to have been recorded off someone's iPhone (la-di-da). You will notice two things:

1) Britney Spears
2) A pole

At first glance, you might think she is doing a dirty stripper dance. But no, she just needed something to hold herself up.

Britney Spears - Gimme More
(Oh dear - looks like it's been taken down. But you can see a clip here)

To make up for that appalling display of lacklustre posturing from a one-time superstar, I'm also posting the rather excellent video for I Get Around by British popsters Dragonette.

I've cruelly ignored this band all year because I once heard a thirty-second clip of their debut single and thought it sounded rubbish.

I was wrong.

I mean, how can you argue with a band who use this as their publicity shot:

Imagine the sleaze of Soft Cell, mixed with the pop of the Pet Shop Boys and the cheek of Calvin Harris. That is what Dragonette sound like.

Their album, Galore, has just appeared in the record shops (if record shops still exist, I'm not sure). I urge you to check it out.

Dragonette - I Get Around

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Sugababes acoustic on Radio One!

The Sugababes have just performed this beautiful version of their number one single, About You Now, live on Radio One. Apparently it was inspired by a fan, Martina, who wrote this arrangement and posted it on Youtube. The video for that is at the bottom of the post...

Sugababes - About You Now (acoustic) (removed due to misuse)

Martina Hassgren performs About You Now

The band also revealed they're touring next March (yay!!!!) and performed a gorgeous cover of the Plain White T's Hey There Delilah, which you can get off of Evilshare by Clicking this link.

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High School Musical 3?!

The producers of the real HSM3 (as the kids are calling it) will have to work really hard to top this:

Saturday Night Live - High School Musical 3

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Hoos this?

Like The Feeling, The Hoosiers are a band that owe a sizeable debt to mid-70s MOR rock radio.

Unlike The Feeling, The Hoosiers are really rather good.

This important disctinction can be made for three reasons:

a) When you see the Hoosiers, you do not immediately think of the colour grey
b) The lead singer looks like Ben Stiller, not Errol Flynn
c) None of the members have ever shared the most intimate form of love between a man and a woman with Sophie Ellis Bextor, but they would if they could*

The band's first single, Worried About Ray, was nailed to the top 10 for about three months over the summer and their new single, Goodbye Mr A, is out next week. Both songs have exceedingly good videos - quirky and funny without being irritating - so here they both are. Both.

The Hoosiers - Goodbye Mr A

The Hoosiers - Worried About Ray

*This is pure speculation on my part

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Monday, October 1, 2007

The Monster Mash

Remember those girls at school who were a little bit too scary to be cute? The sort of girl who'd fix you with a luminous, blue-eyed smile and suggest roasting marshmallows on the burning embers of your principal's car? That's what I imagine Nellie McKay is like.

The kooky curly New Yorker won loads of rave reviews for her debut album Get Away From Me (a rebuke to Norah Jones' Come Away With Me), whose cute jazz songs featured couplets like "Give me head or you'll be dead" and "Salute the flag or I'll call you a fag".

Then she got a bit too big for her boots, and flounced away from Sony because they (sensibly) remarked that her shrill, precocious second album, Pretty Little Head, would be a commercial disaster.

She released it on an independent label. It flopped.

But now she's back, with more of the tunes and wit, and less of the self-indulgent lunacy (A duet with Cyndi Lauper, you say? A thousand times no.)

Her third album, Obligatory Villages, came out in the US last week. There's no release date for the UK yet, but one of the stand-out tracks, Zombie, has made its way over to Pitchfork, and resulted in the following home-spun, night-of-the-living-dead Youtube promo. It will eat your brains.

Nellie McKay - Zombie

And if that's not enough, here she is doing one of the stand-out tracks from her debut album on Jools Holland. It contains my all-time favourite lyric: "You had some time to spare. You were barking at a bear."

Nellie McKay - Ding Dong

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An open letter to a rock group

Dear Mr Radiohead,

Your idea of letting the fans pay "whatever they want" for your new album is very admirable and I am sure that readers of the Guardian and the Independent will be very excited. But I notice that to get the second disc you actually have to pay £40 - which is a bit steep, isn't it?


PS I thought about writing this message in a special secret code, but then I realised that I am no longer 14.

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