Monday, March 22, 2010

A brief pause

It's holiday time at Discopop Towers, so there'll be a short break in service. In the meantime, here's a video of a boy falling down.

Back after Easter!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Telephone: The alt-jazz version

I like these guys... Particularly because the singer's accent makes it sound like the lyrics are "Stop, Colin, I don't want to talk any more."

Nice work.

Pomplamoose - Telephone

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She & Him & Her & Me

This video is something of a triumph, making what was already quite a cute song even cuter still. It's like being tickled by a thousand puppy-dog noses while Rachel Bilson blows you a kiss and a nearby baby gurgles with delight at a stuffed toy kitten. You may do a little sick at the end of it. But it'll be the healthy, cleansing sort of sick, I promise.

She & Him - In The Sun

She & Him are singer-songwriter M Ward and Hollywood starlet Zooey Deschanel. This may explain how they managed to get Peyton Reed (Bring It On) to direct the video.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Time for some proper music

It doesn't get much better than this.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Automatic booty applications

Good news for people who like pop music to be good and interesting: Robyn is back, and she's singing about sexy robots.

The petite Swedish popstrel has uploaded new song Fembot to her official website, along with a freaky-deaky digitally distorted picture (we're very much digging the gold safety pin earrings).

Robyn and her cheap earrings

The track is what it would sound like if had a heart - an autotuned dance'n'b masterpiece that manages to be wistful and robotic all at once. Here's a 10-second clip for those of you too lazy to click on that link in the last paragraph:

According to Pitchfork, Robyn plans to release three albums this year. This is the sort of statement that usually means an artist has lost all critical persepective but given Robyn's track record (and the five year gap since her last release) we're hoping she can surprise us.

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Amazing Ellie Goulding remix is amazing

:: Ellie Goulding's Under The Sheets is amazing.

:: Chiddy Bang, of Opposite Of Adults chart "fame", are amazing.

:: Ellie Goulding's Under The Sheets remixed by Chiddy Bang, of Opposite Of Adults chart "fame" is, by no small coincidence, amazing.

Ellie Goulding - Under The Sheets (Chiddy Bang Remix)

If you liked that, the wonderful folks at Neon Gold are offering a free and legal MP3 if you click on this link.


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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New video: Florence and the Machine

Florence and the Machine video stillGiven the ubiquity of her music, it may come as something of a surprise to learn that Florence And The Machine's collaboration with Dizzee Rascal on You Got The Dirtee Love is her highest-charting single to date. In fact, Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) only got to 12, while the awesome, elemental Drumming Song limped into the charts at 54.

The album, by contrast, has done spectacularly well - selling 515,843 copies in 2009, making it the 18th best-selling record of the year.

Having made a bit of money off the back of that, Florence has decided to redo the video for Dog Days Are Over. According to monumentally brilliant music blog, We Are Pop Slags, Ms Welch was dissatisfied with the low-budget original, which was shot on "a video camera in a forest, with my Dad and Marks & Spencer sandwiches".

For the sequel, she's covered herself in medieval geisha paint, hired two dancers from a B52's zombie cover band, and gone crazy with the powder paints. It is totally unhinged, and utterly superb.

Florence and the Machine - Dog Days Are Over (2010)

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Chat Roulette - The Musical

Over the last couple of weeks, a certain breed of internet denizen has gone bonkers for Chat Roulette.

The idea is that the site connects you to a completely random person, anywhere in the world, by webcam. It is fuelled by a "skip" button, that allows you to screen out anyone boring / ugly / naked until you chance across a stranger who doesn't make you shudder with contempt.

Or, as Jon Stewart put it: "This is an internet site that will very quickly become a repository of 5% curiosity seekers and 95% free floating dongs."

Here's a (safe for work) video explainer:

Chat Roulette from Casey Neistat on Vimeo

So far, so depressing. But piano genius Merton has used the site to deliver something truly amazing - an impromptu, imrpovised musical, based on the people he meets online. Best video of the week.

Chat Roulette - Piano Improv

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Cheryl's 3 Words, sung by some blokes

Literally not bad Manchester electro outfit Delphic have been in Radio One's Live Lounge a few times over the last couple of months - but this time they were on Fearne Cotton's daytime show which meant two things:

1) They had to play their new single and a cover version.
2) Each performance was bookended by Fearne cackling like an educationally subnormal Tickle Me Elmo.

The cover was a gloriously scuzzy version of Cheryl Cole's 3 Words (Fearne's verdict: Brilliant) - which you can hear below:

Delphic also played forthcoming-but-also-out-last-year club "anthem" Halcyon (Fearne's verdict: Brilliant). And here is that track in video form, captured from a separate, but no less good, live lounge session last month:

Delphic - Halcyon (Live Lounge)

::Delphic - 3 Words (live lounge)

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Telephone - Redux

Bored of sitting through the "acting" in Lady Gaga's latest opus? If so, here's a fantastic, four-minute, song-only re-edit of the best video of the year.

Telephone: The 4 Minute Edit

Q: Will you get to the end before Universal's lawyers pull it off the internet forever?

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Awful noise of the day: Professor Green

Sometimes, readers, listening to pop music is not good for you. Sometimes, a pop song will reach into the bathtub of your soul, pull out the plug, and let everything glug away. This is one of those songs.

Professor Green ft Ed Drewett - Need You Tonight

Now, I don't normally complain about music on this blog, but Professor Green's witless, moronic "tune" has angered me in a way that is normally the preserve of a gorilla who's had his favourite banana smushed by a mandrill and gone feral. I am seething, frothing, livid and generally quite a bit upset.

The song was on to a loser from the very beginning, because it samples Need You Tonight - INXS's signature song from 1987. Actually, "sample" is too generous a term. Professor Green has just flipped the single over to the b-side (ask your dad) and talked over the instrumental.

Then, to make matters worse, he deletes the chorus and gets Darren from EastEnders to sing over the top. And what he sings is so basic and rudimentary, it feels insulting to call it a hook.

The lyrics go: "She's everything I want, but all that I don't need" (writers - this is an entirely new and original linguistic juxtaposition, which you could also exploit in your songs to great effect) but they might as well be: "I sing this line quite high, and this one goes down low" for all the effort that's gone into writing them.

Professor Green - or Stephen Manderson, for that is in fact his name - jumps in for the verses, rapping about being given the run-around by a girl he likes. To be fair, the lyrical conceit of the player being played is quite clever but Stephen undermines the whole thing with his final pay-off: "It's just a song. In real life, this would never happen to me. I am a pimp."

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Now, it just so happens putting a rap over the top of INXS's Need You Tonight is neither a new nor an original idea. A man called DJ McSleazy had a go a couple of years ago, combining the track with Neneh Cherry's I Got You Under My Skin. It is no exaggeration to say the result is ten bajillion-gazkillion-manillion times better.

INXS vs Neneh Cherry - Got Your Cherry Tonight

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Sarah Blasko live and acoustic

Sarah Blasko and her conch shell Aussie songstrel Sarah Blasko popped in to BBC 6 Music on Monday to plug the UK release of her sublime As Day Follows Night album.

She chatted to Lauren Laverne about how she was influenced by Cyndi Lauper, and why, when every woman in pop has bought a synth, she has invested in a lute and gone back to musical basics. That's her on the right, playing caveman music on a conch shell. Probably.

Anyway, Blasko played two songs from the new record - All I Want and We Won't Run. As I mentioned in my review a few weeks back, she is stunning in concert, with a husky other-worldly quality to her voice. Although, as mrsdiscopop has pointed out, she has a tendency to chew her vowels like bubblegum.

We Won't Run

All I Want

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Bears vs Gaga

As great as the Telephone video is (Beyoncé eats a pasty!) I would have been equally pleased if Lady Gaga had turned up this morning and presented the following as her latest videographic extravaganza.

Just imagine that with Telephone running in the background. Amazing.

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A very expensive advert for Virgin Mobile

Also starring Lady Gaga and Beyoncé.

Lady Gaga - Telephone ft Beyoncé

A few quick thoughts:

1) Don't you hate it when the song gets in the way of the video?
2) Beyoncé steals the show
3) I hope the makers of Thelma and Lousie don't see this

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

New video: Yeasayer - ONE

In which a 1970s Freddie Mercury clone sings from inside a cage while a mysterious clan play Star Trek chess next to three refugees from Lonnie Gordon's Happenin' All Over Again video and the computer that did the CGI for Terminator 2 catches a virus and has to be rebooted.

Or something.

Yeasayer - ONE

Excellent song, mind.

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10 reasons why Glee isn't as good as you keep telling yourself it is

Glee promo shotBefore we start, let me just state for the record that I like Glee - How could you not like Saved By The Bell: The Musical? But when everyone around me is hysterically flapping their hands and screaming "best programme everrrr", I have to disagree. This is why:

1) Episodes follow the same rigid structure every week: Random event puts Glee club in jeopardy; Character quits Glee Club; Glee Club sing song about it; Character reinstated to Glee club; Glee club is no longer in jeopardy; Big song; The End.

2) The show is stuffed full of stock high school TV characters - the jock, the cheerleader, the talented underdog, the gay, the asian - and its never entirely clear whether the writers are poking fun at those stereotypes or indulging in them.

3) Middle-aged, middle class white men should never rap.

4) Glee has no internal logic. Take, for example, Sue - the show's gloriously sadistic sports coach. After building her up as a politically incorrect, take-no-prisoners villain for eight weeks, they needed a twist for an episode about disability and suddenly revealed Sue's SURPRISE SISTER with AN UNSPECIFIED MENTAL ILLNESS, which made her incongruously sympathetic to all children with disabilities. Lazy, slapdash writing.

5) That surprise sister with the mental illness? She will never be referred to again. [Update: A few people have written in to say that the sister does indeed come back for one entire episode. A victory for continuity, I'm sure you will agree.]

6) Kevin McHale, who plays wheelchair-bound Artie Abrams, is in fact able-bodied. This doesn't bother me too much, except there was an entire episode dedicated to the message that "wheelchair users should have the same opportunities as the rest of us", after which the closing credits revealed McHale had a wheelchair stunt double for the dance routines. Astonishing.

7) The show's tone is wildly uneven. Every tear-jerking emotional moment is instantly undermined by arbitrary slapstick nonsense or shrieking melodrama. It's like the producers are so lacking in confidence that they've erected a big flashing "irony" sign over your television, just in case you accidentally think you've tuned into a screening of If…

8 ) Jane Lynch's brilliantly acidic delivery is wasted on lines like: "I will not rest until every inch of our fair state is covered in garbage". Picking a topic and saying the exact opposite of what everyone thinks doesn't make your character comically subversive, it makes them insane.

9) What does the show have against women? Two characters lie about their pregnancy for material reasons; one is a manipulative, scheming bigot; and another is a borderline schizophrenic with OCD. Even the show's leading lady, Rachel, is deliberately unsympathetic.

10) Glee jumped on the mashup bandwagon, precisely eight years after the horses bolted, the wheels fell off, the wagon's contents were eaten by coyotes and its frame was set on fire by a freak lightning storm. Plus, they ruined Halo.

None of this, I hasten to add, will stop me watching (for the time being at least). But you have to hope that a bit more discipline and logic is applied to the second series when it starts in the US next month.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

When artists do the job for you...

I like We Are Scientists. Why? Because their songs are catchy, their live shows are incendiary, and bassist Chris Cain has an awesome man-tache.

Chris Cain and his moustache

Best of all, though, they make my life easier by writing humorous press releases that I can just cut and paste onto the website.

So here are the fabulous We Are Scientists with their new single, Rules Don't Stop, which they describe as having "the budget of a 30 Seconds To Mars clip, the raw fx firepower of James Cameron's Avatar, and the intensively rehearsed, flawless timing of an OK GO video".

We Are Scientists - Rules Don't Stop

Job done, let's have lunch.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Something strange / in the neighbourhood


After five years, I have pulled this blog off of Blogger, after Google decided that (1) they would no longer let me have ownership of the content on my website and (2) they would start closing down music blogs without warning . So, now I've moved everything over to Wordpress, which is hosted on my own server - and if anyone has a problem with what I write, they'll have to come to me directly. Which is simultaneously empowering and ridiculously scary.

Many thanks to Jim Kendall, who ported over my old site design when I proved too clueless to do it. I'd highly recommend his enthusiasm and professionalism (and prices) if you need a bit of Wordpress jiggery-pokery of your own. His website is here.

As with all these things, there may be a problem or two lurking around the corner, waiting to pounce and eat out my brains. I've been through most of the old posts on the site and corrected video players and broken links where I can. But if you spot anything amiss, drop me a line using the email address at the bottom of the page.

That's all for now! Normal inane chatter and music video goodness will resume tomorrow.



Friday, March 5, 2010

Diana Vickers comes up trumps

Diana Vickers remains to this day the only X Factor contestant we have ever voted for (we think - there may have been an alcohol fuelled phone call to Miss Frank last year, but it's hard to be 100% certain). Here's why...

Unlike American Idol, which deliberately includes a few quirky contestants every season - this year it's the improbably-named Crystal Bowersox - X Factor rarely takes a punt on anyone who doesn't fit the well-groomed top 20 template. Vickers was the exception: Dressed like a hippy in a hurricane, and singing like Delores O'Riordan with hiccups.

I met her this week and she said her X Factor experience was like being Bambi just after they shot his mother - possibly my favourite pop star quote ever. As you may know, she survived the ordeal, went on to win awards for her West End debut in Little Voice, and has recorded an IMPORTANT DEBUT ALBUM on Sony.

Despite a terrible name (Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree?!?) the record has an impressive cast-list of writers - Cathy Dennis, Ellie Goulding, Nerina Pallot. If Kylie had bothered to make an album last year it would have sounded pretty much like this.

The first single is Once. Rather than underplaying Vickers' squeaky vocal tics, it builds the chorus around them. A bold decision, but the correct one.

Here's the video. We like the way she sleeps standing up.

Diana Vickers - Once

All good. The end.

UPDATE: For some reason, Sony have given the World Exclusive of Diana's video to - that well-known home of music video exclusives. have not promoted the video anywhere on their site, except the page where you buy Diana's album. It is almost as if they belatedly realised what a stupid idea it was to try to compete with Youtube. Anyway, if you want to see it you now have to click this stupid link.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Look at Alison Goldfrapp's shiny rocket

We've been living with Goldfrapp's Head First album for a couple of weeks now and can "exclusively reveal" that it is rather good. The songs are simpler and more direct than before, but retain all of the band's sensual pop sensibilities. Phew for that.

The first single, for those of you who haven't been paying attention, is Rocket. It's all about Alison Goldfrapp's lover cheating on her with another woman. And in her own home, the scoundrel.

In the lyrics, Alison straps this [insert topical footballer reference here] character onto a metaphorical rocket and sends him into metaphorical outer space, allowing her to put her troubles to one side and get on with life.

The video chooses to interpret this scenario literally, with the addition of a massive truck (it would of course be necessary for Alison to drive her missile into the desert to avoid damaging any property lying within the blast radius of the launch site). Watch it below....

Goldfrapp - Rocket

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's funny because it's true

Via loldwell courtesy of @glinner

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Self-conciously quirky video corner

I was going to write something really insightful'n'meaningful about the pitfalls of making "wacky" videos and looking like a twat. But I've run out of time.

So here are two videos, both of which feature deliberately silly nonsense and shenanigans. One makes the band seem likeable and genuine, the other makes the band seem like ridculous, preening twerps.

See if you can tell which is which is which is which. Is which?

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass

The Drums - Best Friend

Is which.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Acceptable indiebloke noise

Here are The Foals with a song that you might like, and a video you will not.

The Foals - Spanish Sahara

EXCITING NEWS: If you go to Foals' official website and register for a mailing list (urgh), you get a free copy of the single in remixed format (double urgh).

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Embedding disabled by request: Gorillaz

There's a sense in which The Gorillaz has always been about Damon Albarn living out his unrealistic childhood fantasies - I'm in a cartoon! De La Soul made me part of their band!! I am a hologram!!! And, let's be honest, who here wouldn't want to do any of those things? It's an infinitely more rewarding set of achievments than, for example, recording a concept album about London with the bass guitarist from The Clash.

You'd think that, by now, Albarn would have used up all the wishes the genie granted him - but no. The video for Gorillaz' next single Stylo allows the wiry young Essex Boy to "star" in a five-minute-long car chase with Bruce Willis. ZOMG, etc.

No embedding allowed - so watch it in glorious HD on Youtube (Youtube).

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Monday, March 1, 2010


That's right, Prince, punch your tiny purple fist in the sky, because you have done the unthinkable and recorded something distinctly "not rubbish" for the general consumption of the public.

Now, as with anything post Diamonds and Pearls, this is not an entirely successful endeavour. So, to help you decide whether or not to click on the play button, here is a list of the good bits and bad bits.

Opening line: "If I had the chance to do it all again, I wouldn't change a thing except my next of kinFake crowd sound effects do not convey authenticity
Glorious gospel harmonies in the middle eightIt's all a bit Lenny Kravitz
Fret-busting guitar solo'Heavy' rock breakdown has featured on every Prince record since The Rainbow Children
Second fret-busting guitar soloThe line: "I am what I am because & effect" (a) means nothing and (b) sounds like Popeye
This line: "If I could leave myself just one little note, I'd say you need to be a superstar or grow up, but not both"It's not Little Red Corvette

The song premiered on Minnesota Public Radio over the weekend. Their embedded player thingy is below - but if that doesn't work, visit their blog instead.

Thanks to Suzy for the tip-off!

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