Friday, January 30, 2009

Flight Of The Conchords trailer round-up

The second series of award-winning musicomedy Flight Of The Conchords has just started over in the USA.

Here in Britain, however, we have to wait til April to witness the genius that's three months, for crying out loud!!!

In the meantime, here are all the promo slots and trailers for the second series to tide us over.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Video: Take That - Up All Night

Break out the bunting! Take That have been standing on the back of a lorry miming to their new single, Up All Night. This is all in aid of a promotional video clip, in which the residents of a typical British street have a right old knees up while Mark Owen prances about like a maniac.

For our international readers, the residents of a typical British street include:

A single mother

An alcoholic

A Pirate

Bender from Futurama

Samuel L Jackson's mum

A possessed children eating 1970s retro lollipops

Hang on just a... SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE ALERT!!!!! That is almost definitely a Fab lolly. Fab as in fab four, as in the Beatles - another popular boy band with scruffy haircuts whose drummer is clearly not capable of playing the drums if you study the close-ups carefully.

Therefore, we can conclude that Take That are actually the Beatles!!

Can somebody add this discovery to Wikipedia, please?

Take That - Up All Night

As previously noted, this record is exactly like Shine in every respect except the one where Shine was good.

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More royalties for Prince...

FACT: You can't go wrong by digging up an old Prince track and throwing a thudding great drum loop over the top of it.

Following in the footsteps of Inya Day and Space Cowboy is Liverpudlian dance act Cahill, who've done a "massive" and "arms aloft" and "quite good" version of Sex Shooter - originally by Apollonia Six. It sounds like this:

Personally, I prefer the original - but only because of the frightwigs.

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Video: Lykke Li - Tonight

To be filed under "songs you wouldn't necessarily have chosen to release as a single" and "always remember to wash your hair."

It's still very good, mind.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mini gig review: Lady GaGa

Lady GaGa's muse, Andy Warhol, once said: "An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have but that he - for some reason - thinks it would be a good idea to give them."

These words don't get flashed up on the screen during her gig at the O2 but they may as well have been. Because Stefani Joanne Germanotta has decided to give the audience, who are principally here for the Pussycat Dolls, a short history lesson in 20th Century art.

Between her songs, the video screens feature loving pastiches of Warhol's improvised encounters between Factory regulars like Nico and Edie Sedgwick (thankfully, they don't last a full 16 hours). The songs themselves are illustrated with images by Mondrian, while the stage backdrop is inspired by Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

To be honest, this is largely lost on the crowd, who are happy just to chant "Red Wine" in anticipation of GaGa's current chart topper, Just Dance.

Luckily, as much thought has gone into the front of stage production as the video installations. And the one thing GaGa hasn't picked up from Warhol is an air of studied ennui. The shiny starlet preens, twirls and poses, changing costumes three times in 25 minutes, and singing with a surprising powerful voice.

She only gets time for a handful of songs, and wisely chooses the standout moments from her 6/10 album - including the trashy Beautiful Dirty Rich, stalker ballad Paparazzi and future smash Poker Face.

In truth, the songs are the weak point, all show and no subtlety. GaGa has often been compared to Madonna and, in a way, that's true. The hedonistic music plays second fiddle to the carefully crafted image (and GaGa's dancing is as endearingly scrappy as Madge's pre-megastardom keep fit choreography).

But Warhol would be proud. He loved Hollywood, he loved plastic, he loved commerce. Lady GaGa just needs to keep in mind one of his final pieces of advice - keep defying people's expectations, because "if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning".

PS: I stuck around to see what a Pussycat Dolls concert would be like. BAD MOVE!

I've never experienced a more soulless, pointless piece of artifice. The low-point was a "solo section" where each Pussycat got to sing a song of their choice. I turned round to see what the O2's audience made of it, and got a vision of 20,000 people queueing in the rain to apply for an overdraft. While being aurally assaulted by a cat killing a badger.

Oh, and if you're charging £45 for a ticket, it is an absolute disgrace to perform to a backing tape. Shame on you, PCD.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Ed Byrne and Piers Morgan cross swords

This shabby piece of photoshop "magic" serves to illustrate the captivating moment when comedian Ed Byrne had a big fight with talent show judge Piers Morgan on Five Live earlier today. Topics covered include X Factor, Pop Idol and, er, the political system of Dubai.


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Soaring through all the galaxies

Poor old Franz Ferdinand. Their really quite good comeback single, Ulysses, is languishing at number 20 in the charts. Perhaps all the people who heard it on Radio One thought they were just playing Take Me Out again.

One other possibility, however, is that people only have room for one song called Ulysses in their record collection - and Franz Ferdinand have been unable to replace the theme tune to 80s space cartoon Ulysses 31 in people's affections.

With that in mind, here is this week's vote:

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Friday, January 23, 2009

New band alert: Delta Spirit

There's a bit of a 1970s AOR revival going on at Discopop Towers this week. We've had Fleetwood Mac, Credence Clearwater Revival and The Eagles pumping out of out iPod Philips record player. And it feels good, man.

So we were delighted to discover the charms of newly-birthed Californian rock "combo" Delta Spirit. Like The Hold Steady, Fleet Foxes and even The Raconteurs, they've delved into the big old music box marked Americana, thrown on a poncho, grown beards and gone back to the roots of rock. By which we mean they've practiced their blues scales, studied Patti Smith's Horses, and recorded their album "as live" in a log cabin in San Diego.

Even their album cover is a brilliant throwback to 1970s dinner parties. Break out the prawn cocktail and Mateus Rosé!

Delta Spirit are touring the UK now, and their album is out on 23rd March. In the meantime, here's the first song I ever heard them play - People C'mon.

I defy your foot not to tap.

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Lily Allen's brilliant opinions

We really like Lily Allen's music. It's funny, sad, catchy, clever and generally amazing. But we wish she'd stop promoting it.

Why? Because she always sounds like a tedious, spoilt gobshite. Here are just a few of the headlines Ms Allen has generated since Monday.

:: Lily Allen ended up buying Caribbean beach while drunk
:: Lily Allen wants a rich husband
:: Lily Allen lets slip she's playing Glastonbury
:: "I make no money from my records," says Lily
:: Lily Allen heading to Afghanistan because her pop star life is "vacuous" (????)
:: Lily Allen 'had a lesbian threesome'
:: Lily Allen sent topless photo to Ricky Wilson
:: I have lesbian dreams: Lily Allen
:: Lily Allen claims gay blogger Perez Hilton is a misogynist

How can someone who seems so intelligent and talented come across so unlikeable?

Sadly, she seems to be one of those people who proudly declares she "tells it like it is" and "says things to people's faces". It's the sort of argument that Big Brother contestants use to defend the fact they're being subhuman berks. And it doesn't even work in Lily's case, because none of her opinions - whether on Cheryl Cole (she's a "stupid bitch") or how to solve knife crime ("have a sports day") - reveal an uncomfortable truth or break an outmoded taboo.

Instead, everything she says further reinforces the percption that she's a tedious, spoilt cretin.

So, what do you reckon. Should Lily give up speaking to the press?

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oscar nomination for M.I.A.

So the Oscar nominations were a complete bore, although it was nice to see Heath Ledger recognised on the first anniversary of his death.

There was a show of surprisingly good taste in the Original Song category, too, where the Academy voters ignored High School Musical 3 (every song on the soundtrack was put forward for consideration) and the worst Bond theme of all time (except the Madonna one). Instead, they've plumped for two songs from Slumdog Millionaire, including M.I.A's fantastic O... Saya.

Let's hope the Feds let Ms Arulpragasam into the country to pick up her prize on Feb 22nd!

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Royksopp single sounds like Royksopp

With credit to Popjustice, here is Röyksopp's latest bit of day-glo dance frippery, Happy Up Here.

Stick around to the end, where it gets properly amazing:

The Norwegian duo release their new album, Junior, later this year and it features vocals from Robyn, Lykke Li and Karin Dreijer of the Knife. Hooray!

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Just Jack burns it up

Here's something a bit different and special. Just Jack (of Starz In Their Eyes fame) has got a new single, called Embers, which throws away all of his usual rap stylings and goes for a string-drenched, harmony-laden chill-out track.

It's immediately captivating, and absolutely fabulous. One of those moments where an artist throws a complete curveball and gets it just right. Can't wait for the new album - All Night Cinema - which is due in May 2009.

There's a lo-fi version of the song below. You can hear an edited version in full stereo on Just Jack's Myspace page.

Just Jack - Embers (low quality radio rip)

PS: Another rapper on the comeback trail is Ms Dynamite. Her new song, Bad Gyal, leans heavily on the Dancehall-inspired sounds of Santogold and MIA. You can hear it on Youtube.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Follow mrdiscopop on Twitter

I am now posting endless trivial updates on Recent highlights include:

  • "Watching Obama's inauguration in awesome HD. Look at all those people!"
  • "Just think of me as your personal exorcist "
  • And the now seminal "Going shopping for a new Mini this morning"

    If you have no idea what a Twitter is, then (a) Well done and (b) Here is an article which explains it all. But, basically, it's like an endless stream of Facebook status updates, and it's "changing the world" (trans: mildly diverting).

    Other Tweeters include Stephen Fry, Philip Schofield, Barack Obama, Jonathan Ross and pop music's Calvin Harris. Sadly, briefly popular r&b star Tweet is not Tweeting or Twittering or in any way making an impact on the public in 2009.

    And that is all I have to say about that.

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  • Brit nominations curated by Radiohead

    "No alarms and no surprises"

    Best British male
    Ian Brown
    James Morrison
    Paul Weller
    Will Young

    Best British female
    Beth Rowley

    Best British group
    Girls Aloud
    Take That

    Best British live act
    Iron Maiden
    Scouting For Girls
    The Verve

    Best British single
    Adele - Chasing Pavements
    Alexandra Burke - Hallelujah
    Coldplay - Viva La Vida
    Dizzee Rascal/Calvin Harris/Chrome - Dance Wiv Me
    Duffy - Mercy
    Estelle Ft Kanye West - American Boy
    Girls Aloud - The Promise
    Leona Lewis - Better in Time
    Scouting for Girls - Heartbeat
    X Factor Finalists - Hero

    Best British Album
    Coldplay - Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends
    Duffy - Rockferry
    Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
    Radiohead - In Rainbows
    The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing

    Best British breakthrough act
    Last Shadow Puppets
    Scouting For Girls
    The Ting Tings

    Best international album
    AC/DC - Black Ice
    Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
    Killers - Day & Age
    Kings of Leon - Only By The Night
    MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

    Best international male
    Neil Diamond
    Kanye West
    Seasick Steve

    Best international female
    Gabriella Cilmi
    Katy Perry

    Best international group
    Fleet Foxes
    Kings of Leon

    Critics' Choice: Florence and the Machine

    Outstanding Contribution To Music: Pet Shop Boys

    A few things to note:
    1) There are only four nominees for Best British Male, which has now overtaken Best British Female as the ceremony's joke category.
    2) M.I.A. is the sole artist in this list with a semblance of edge or controversy. Jay-Z is welcome, but hardly surprising now that he's gone corporate.
    3) Our predictions for the night's big winners are Elbow, Duffy and Kings of Leon.
    4) Fuck Scouting For Girls Up Their Stupid Asses.
    5) Girls Aloud are performing on the night, which means they have a bigger-than-normal chance of picking up a prize. No-one would dare give them best group over Coldplay, but Take That aren't in the running for best single this year, so maybe, just maybe...
    6) We would love to see a performance by poprawk supergroup Kings Of Leona - a mash-up of Sex On Fire and Bleeding Love, perhaps?
    7) Poor old Goldfrapp :(

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    Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    Buy this record or the penguin gets it

    This chilling note and picture were shoved under the door at Discopop Towers earlier today:

    Oh no!! Luckily, there is a link to buy the record off of iTunes. If we all work together, we can save the penguin.

    A Camp - Stronger Than Jesus - Live at 2009 Swedish Grammis

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    New pop trend ahoy!

    Do you know what pop music is missing these days? Nerds.

    It used to be that the geeks were everywhere, making very clever music using algorithms and applied mathematics. And, provided you didn't have to look at them, they were quite good. Kraftwerk were "seminal", Leo Sayer was "squeaky" and Tears For Fears were "amazing".

    In the final analysis, even Abba was just two geeks who'd scored girlfriends way out of their league (apparently Benny and Bjorn have huge cocks*).

    But MTV ruined it all, because people didn't want to see spotty, uncoordinated, bespectacled singers clogging up the airwaves when they could have scantily-clad teenagers gyrating in school uniforms instead.

    So kudos to Polydor for signing Gary Go (not his real name, we suspect) - a spotty, unccordinated, bespectacled singer straight from a Sci-fi comic convention. He will appeal to the Coldplay "demographic", because his songs are just like the ones Coldplay release. Radio 2 love him, obviously.

    Here's his debut. It's called Wonderful. The video does a good job of playing on Gary's geekdom without making him unlikeable. But you still get the impression he'd rather be at home playing World Of Warcraft.

    Gary Go - Wonderful

    * may not be true

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    Monday, January 19, 2009

    New Q-Tip video: Manwomanboogie

    We're huge fans of Q-Tip's latest album, The Renaissance, here at Discopop Towers. His new single, Manwomanboogie, is one of the best bits, with a bassline that may actually have been played on some rubber bands strectched over a box of Kleenex. The video is a bit pants, but we can forgive that because it made us want to get up out of our seats and do a tiny dance.

    Q-TIP - New Music Video - Man Woman Boogie

    Note to Q-Tip: This is how to really spark impromptu dancing on the subway.

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    Madonna - YIKES!

    Lovers of granny porn will appreciate this outtake from Madonna's Hard Candy photoshoot. The rest of us... Well, let's just try not to have nightmares.

    Via: Homotography, where you can find more horror.

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    Listen to the new U2 single!

    U2's comeback single leapt onto the airwaves this morning, full of slinky guitar riffs and spooky harmonies.

    The track is called Get On Your Boots, and it feels quite political for a late-period U2 track. The first verse sees Bono crooning "night is falling everywhere, rockets hit the fun fair, satan loves the bombscare but he won’t scare you," which could either be a reference to the Middle East conflict, or naff amuement arcade horror flick Final Destination.

    First impressions are mixed. One the one hand, it could be a game-changing slow burner, like The Fly was back in 1991 (1991!). On the other hand, given the slightly schizophrenic cut'n'paste aesthetic, it could be a great big old mess, like Discotheque was whenever it was that Discotheque came out. On our third, freaky extra hand, it all sounds uncomfortably like Billy Joel's 1980s crapfest We Didn't Start The Fire.

    Why not have a listen and judge for yourself:
    U2 - Get On Your Boots (radio rip) [mp3]

    The single's out on 15th February, followed by the album, No Line On The Horizon, on 2nd March. That's the artwork above... The tracklisting was revealed last week, and it is this:

    1. No Line On The Horizon
    2. Magnificent
    3. Moment of Surrender
    4. Unknown Caller
    5. I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight
    6. Get On Your Boots
    7. Stand Up Comedy
    8. Fez – Being Born
    9. White As Snow
    10. Breathe
    11. Cedars Of Lebanon

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    Friday, January 16, 2009

    Bonus feature: Lady GaGa interview

    I spent a wonderfully filthy 30 minutes on the phone with Lady GaGa shortly before Christmas. The resulting feature went up on the BBC earlier this week [read it here]

    But here, as a special treat for you lovely Discopop readers, are the bits that didn't make the cut.

    Hello Lady GaGa! How are you?
    Hey, it's so nice to meet you... I wish we were sitting down having tea.

    That's very British of you.
    Listen, I love tea. I must have tea time five times a day.

    Have you written any songs about it?
    Actually, I wrote the whole album drinking tea and blueberry-flavoured coffee.

    What on earth is that?
    They make it in America. It’s a Dunkin' Donuts corporate thing – but I can't get away from it. It's so good for you – the antoxidants. So delicious. Love it.

    I wrote a song a long time ago, a couple of years ago, called Blueberry Kisses. It's about the coffee because I used to drink the coffee and I was dating this guy and whenever we'd kiss he'd be like: "Oh baby, you taste like blueberries". But it's also about oral sex.

    Of course it is. Your album walks a fine line between commercial pop and utter filth. How deliberate was that?
    I'd say, from a philosophy standpoint, the pop art element of my work is really important. I wanted the album to sound fresh, but I wanted it to be played on pop radio. Ever since I was 13 years old, I wanted to hear my songs on the radio.

    Hold on one second, my tea is here!!

    It's nice when they bring it to you, isn't it?
    Oh yes. Except, in Canada I'm like quite big over here and I always forget. I don't know why – but I genuinely forget about fame sometimes. And I'm like in my fucking underwear. My hair looks like I just had a good time with a guy.

    Have you just had a good time with a guy?
    No! I'm alone today. That was a quick response, I'm impressed! But I'm actually quite focused as an artist. I don't really date at all. And if I do, it's very brief.

    That's true for a lot of artists.
    I just don't care enough about it. My art is so fuckin' important and if I'm going to be with someone, it's gotta be with somebody who understands that. Even if we make dinner plans, I might go mental mid afternoon and end up staying in the studio til four am. And they've gotta be okay with that.

    That's quite a tough demand on someone.
    It’s a tough demand... but I’m quite a woman to go home to!

    You come across as very self-confident. Are there any insecurities hiding inside Lady GaGa?
    Well, who doesn't have insecurities? I'm an artist. We're bred out of insecurities.

    You need to be in a vulnerable place to write sometimes – Brown Eyes stands out in that way.
    Brown Eyes I wrote a while ago. Almost every interviewer in the UK asks me about that song. Probably because it's very inspired by Queen and John Lennon. And I'm always very flattered by that. Because, when I wrote it, people said "oh, it's a bit like Lennon" and I'd say "nobody is going to compare Lennon to a blonde white girl in a bikini, believe me".

    He’d have been all for that!
    Yes, of course. I've got a peace sign tattooed to my wrist for that man.

    Do you get ever get uncomfortable with the looks you get from the guys – or girls – in the audience?
    No, they love it. I mean, I don't look naked. And I'm not in my skivs – I'm in fashion. That's the difference with my show now than when I was back in New York, when I was doing real underground pop stuff.

    A lot of people don't realise that - that you've been working at this for years...
    I've been around for ever! But that’s okay... Truthfully, nobody had any commercial knowledge about me until March because I didn't start touring the US until then. I've been touring NYC, but I didn't have money to get in a car and bring my show all around the country and still eat.

    What was the best lesson you learnt from those early days?

    This is the best thing I could say to any struggling artist that wants to be a star: You have to put your work in the room. I know you're afraid, I know you think you're still figuring out your sound, or your painting style, or the fashion you want to make – but nobody gives a fuck unless it's in the room. You can make it in your bedroom all you want, and ponder as to whether it's great. But it's not going to matter until you put it in the air. It's like the fabric, and the music and the paint has got to hit the molecules in the air and it's got to bounce off the retinas of everybody in the room. And they've gotta have feelings, and make noise, and make more molecules vibrate. And you'll know when you’ve done it right when the shift is so intense, you'll be like "that’s it. I did it."

    You have to fail before you can get it right. Right?
    Absolutely. If you never fail, you'll never be great. You’ve got really bomb at least once. I’ve played crowds and it's like crickets, man. Tumbleweed city. I'm 17 years old and I thought "why is everybody not responding" and then I thought "well, I'm bored. I don't even want to listen to me sing right now. I'm singing some nonsense about some guy who broke my heart. Who cares? How many times have you heard a song like that?".

    I don't write about love, really. That's what I like about Amy Winehouse – she doesn't give a fuck about love in a certain kind of way. She'll write about it, but she'll write about it in a certain way – it's like love and death.

    You can't write about love unless you really know about it. I don't know about it, so I write about sequins and parties and fame and how I wish that modern America was more like Andy Warhol in the 70s. I write about nostalgia, is what I write about.

    One last question: In Just Dance, you sing "I wish I could shut my playboy mouth". What’s the last thing you said that got you into trouble?
    How big is your dick to some guy – and he took it out... Oh wait, is this for a family publication? Well, in that case, I almost got in trouble with the label because I was asked to choose some props for a magazine shoot and I chose meat on a hook and live animals – a great dane and some live white birds. So I got myself into trouble for art.

    Lady GaGa's generally excellent album is out now

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    New music: Emmy The Great

    Emmy The Great is one of those artists who's been around in the "blogosphere" (a horrible word used by horrible people) for ages without ever really making an impact on the mainstream.

    Her devoted followers hang on her every word, however. And who can blame them, when those words form brilliant verses like this one: "I thought romance was pretty / Then you went and spoiled it / Every time that I think of you / I have to go to the toilet."

    With her lo-fi folksy charms, the 22-year-old Londoner is shaping up to be this year's Laura Marling. Her debut album - First Love - is out on 9th February, and it's trailed by the title track, which is a great take on Alexandra Burke's Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah - and how Emmy was seduced by a boy playing the song to her on his cassette deck. The scoundrel.

    Here's the video:
    Emmy The Great - First Love

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    Thursday, January 15, 2009

    Gorillaz escape

    Damon Albarn was on Radio One last night playing what were billed as "new Gorillaz songs". In truth, the three tracks sound like home demos -- crammed with ideas, but lacking any structure or polish.

    The first track he played, Broken, was the most fully-realized (and the only one with vocals). A hazy, trippy ballad, it continued with Demon Days' theme of imminent armageddon and the fall of man - while displaying the influence of Albarn's excursions into world music with Africa Express and the Monkey opera.

    Electric Shock started off with pretty piccolo lines and a playful pizzicato string motif - but it exploded in about a hundred different directions, the highlight being a lo-fi electro drum loop which featured a Santogold-esque chant of "that's electric shock" over the top. This was perhaps the only song of the trio that fit conceptually with Gorillaz previous indie-hip-hop experiments.

    Finally, we heard Stylo/Binge, which would make a good b-side on a Warp Records release (trans: It's a load of twiddly electronic bollocks).

    Talking on the show, Albarn admitted the songs were "not finished by any means".

    "It's really hard to know when something's done," he added. "If I haven't got it right, I'll throw it away."

    Listen to them below (and hope that planned sessions in Syria later this year turn the demos into something a bit more hummable).


    Electric Shock


    By the way, Albarn also displayed impeccable taste during his "take-over" of the Zane Lowe show, playing tracks by Dead Prez, Plastic Bertrand and Girls Aloud (Biology!).

    Good work, Mr Blur.

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    Ryan Seacrest tries to high-five a blind guy

    This actually happened.

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    New St Etienne single = marvellous

    You know what you're getting with a St Etienne record: vapour trail vocals, a soupçon of wistful romance, a hint of disco, and a chart placing in the lower end of the top 40 :-(

    Their new single, Method Of Modern Love (sadly not a cover of the Hall & Oates song) ticks all the right boxes. It’s upbeat, frothy pop with a deliciously catchy chorus and production by Mr Richard X, of The Sugababes and Rachel Stevens "fame".

    You can buy it from 9th February - a week after the band's much-delayed greatest hits set London Conversations gets released - and it received its premiere (fanfare please) on Radio 2 at 2:15am on Tuesday morning... Oh dear.

    For the non-insomniacs amongst you, it sounded like this.

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    Now and then

    Everybody has at least one Now compilation in their record collection, don't they? I think my first was Now II - which featured Queen's Radio GaGa, Nena's 99 Red Balloons, and The Politics Of Dancing by Re-Flex (??!)). The last one I ever bought (on vinyl) was Now 22, containing Snap's Rhythm Is A Dancer, Take That's It Only Takes A Minute, U2's Even Better Than The Real Thing, and Carter USM's Do Re Me So Far So Good (???!)).

    Most people don't realise that, for copyright and licensing reasons, the albums get deleted three months after they come out - which means there's a huge collector's market for the early albums, particularly on CD.

    But now, EMI have ruined all that by re-releasing the first ever Now compilation, from 1983, as a special collectors' edition. Can you name all the artists on the cover? (Clue: Limahl is on there twice)

    Of course, Now wasn't the first Top 40 compilation album - I remember one called Chart Trax that had Blondie and The Buggles on it - but it is the most enduring, seeing off competition from the likes of Hits and the Deep Heat collections.

    If you're interested in the history of the series, there's a great interview with the man who has compiled all 71 Now albums on the guardian website.

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    Love Letdown

    Have you ever wanted to hear a more tuneless, less funky version of Kanye West's Love Lockdown? Well, here's your chance!

    Hotly tipped new rock band White Lies - who are actually quite good - popped into Radio One's Live Lounge on Wednesday and proceeded to beat Kanye's song over the head, shoot off its kneecaps, tie it up in a sack, drive it to the river, dump it in the river, drop a piano on it, drag it to the shore, hack it up with chainsaws, feed it to a crocodile, which they then killed, filleted and roasted over the burning embers of a drum machine they'd stolen from Kanye's studio and done a wee on.

    You can listen to the resulting, tuneless dirge on the Radio One website.

    But you won't like it.

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    Mark Owen's improbable fringe

    Little Mark Owen from Take That has been wearing a hat for the last couple of months, leading everyone to speculate that he's rapidly going bald (or hiding a chicken kiev that he nicked from Gary Barlow's house).

    But now he has stomped on, quashed, shattered and torn asunder those rumours with this fringe-tastic cover photo for Attitude magazine:

    So, that's settled then. Mark Owen has got his own hair, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. But our first reaction to the picture (after simultaneously laughing and wretching) was "who is he trying to look like?"

    KD Lang

    Ricky Wilson

    The Attitude shoot is part of a circulation boosting four-cover collectors' set. But, in the interest of your wallet during the current financial crisis, here's the full set to print out and keep.

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    Wednesday, January 14, 2009

    Katy Perry's new video

    We like Katy Perry, but her "look at me, I'm so terribly controversial" histrionics are beginning to grate... She's like that aunt who always turns up at family reunions and insists on showing everyone her bra to prove how fantastically liberated / youthful / drunk and lonely she is.

    So, it's a good thing that Ms Perry is in more reflective mood on the third (fourth?) single from One Of The Boys. Thinking Of You, a ballad, finds her mooning over her ex-boyfriend while in the middle of a rebound relationship. The best bit goes like this:

    He kissed my lips
    I taste your mouth
    He pulled me in
    I was disgusted with myself

    The video places the song in a slightly different context, with the boyfriend cast as a soldier on the frontline of the Second World War. It's touching, sombre and kind of unexpected... Plus, Katy looks right at home in those pointy-bra 1950s outfits. Top notch.

    Katy Perry - Thinking Of You

    This acoustic version of the song is pretty cracking, too:

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    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Kelly "Jelly" Clarkson's new single

    Guess what? She's still banging on about her ex-boyfriend.

    Kelly Clarkson - My Life Would Suck Without You

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    Back from bed


    I've spent the last week hacking my lungs up like a niccotine-addled granddad, hence the lack of updates. Not that there was much to blog about anyway. Little Boots won the BBC's Sound of 2009 Poll, and put up a free single on iTunes - both of which are great, although I'm still not convinced she's doing anything particularly original. And Lady GaGa deservedly went to number one - I'll have an interview with her on the site later this week.

    The only new music I came across from my sick bed was a song called Glitter by production duo N.A.S.A. It features vocals by three of the zeitgeistiest artists of 2008 - Kanye, Santogold and Lykke Li, and is surprisingly funktastic. Kanye even remembers to rap, rather than singing love songs to an electrical appliance. Listen below:

    By far the worst thing I heard during my week off was by folk-punk nitwit Frank Turner. His single, Reasons Not To Be An Idiot is insufferably smug, but his appearance on Radio One's Live Lounge - in which he plays a skiffle version of Take That's Greatest Day - extended my sick leave by at least a day.

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    Back from bed

    Tuesday, January 6, 2009

    Tiny royal update

    Those new Prince tracks I wrote about just before Christmas are now streaming on the purple pixie's new website Enjoy!

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    Video: A Camp - Stronger Than Jesus

    Apart from Britney Spears writing about having vagina dentata on her Twitter feed, today's best pop news is that Cardigans side-project A Camp are getting a UK release for their new album, Colonia.

    While you wait for 2nd February to come round, here's the video for the new single, Stonger Than Jesus. Perhaps due to "budgetary considerations" it appears to be a throwback to Abba's kaleidescope-tastic 1970s music videos... right down to Nina Persson's stupid hair.

    It's amazing, obviously.

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    Monday, January 5, 2009

    An airbrush meets Cheryl Cole

    This, apparently, is Cheryl Cole on the cover of Vogue:

    Apart from the fact you can't tell whether she's lying down or standing up... wouldn't you agree that Cheryl Cole looks a little bit more like this?

    Wears too much blusher

    Trademark 'startled hamster' expression while singing

    Poor dress sense

    Cries at slightest provocation

    Obviously, it's Vogue's job to take our Cheryl and glam her up a bit... But this Stepford wife could be any one of a dozen anonymous fashion models.

    Ask yourself the following questions about the different Cheryls you see above:
    1) Does she seem friendly and accessible, or distant and remote?
    2) Is she high fashion, low fashion, or just a regular girl?
    3) Is she standing up or lying down?

    What Vogue have done is to remove the very essence of Cheryl Cole and replace it with an airbrushed vision of vacant nothingness. So why not just make this the cover picture instead?

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