Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Moustache news

Have you seen the new Hoosiers video? It is very odd.

The Hooisers - Choices

Now, amidst all that chaos (the dragon, the melon, the homage to Lost In Translation, the Kung Fu, the Keytar) you may have missed drummer Alphonso Sharland's drastic new haircut.

Hair today
Alphonso in the bad old days

Gone tomorrow
The new "do"

(Sadly, despite repeated invasive surgical procedures, the doctors have never been able to prise open his eyelids).

I met up with The Hoosiers yesterday and we agreed that the loss of Alphonso's moustache was a vital factor in their campaign for chart domination. A furry philtrum is fine if you're in a testosterone-fuelled rock group like the Kings Of Leon. Pop acts, from The Monkees to Girls Aloud, must remain clean-shaven at all times except under the the following circumstances:

A) Any growth is trimmed with a precision bordering on OCD, á la George Michael.
B) It is the 60s and you are John Lennon.
C) You are rocking a Ron Mael pencil moustache, and no-one dares challenge you in case you flip out, club them to death, chop up their bodies with a stanley knife and hide the remains in those suitcases you carry everywhere.

Band on the run

Anyway, if you need further proof of this incontrovertible pop truth, look no further than the new video from cult US band Apples In Stereo.

Called Hey Elevator, it's catchy of tune and summery of vibe. But one look at singer Robert Schneider's face fuzz* and you'll see why MTV hasn't come calling.

The Apples In Stereo - Hey Elevator

* Also, to be fair, his dancing, his demeanour, and his jacket.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"I'm not dead tonight"

What could be better than coupling a beautiful summer groove with a morbid lyric about overdosing, suicide and indescribable pain?

Nothing, that's what.

Lauren Pritchard - Painkillers

Lauren Pritchard is a 22-year-old from Jackson, Tennessee, who says her songs are inspired by gospel, soul and... er, Billy Joel.

Tonally, her single reminds me of The Young Disciples' epic All I Have In Me, but with a 21st Century, Amy Winehouse spin.

Check out Lauren's MySpace for more music and a free remix of Painkillers (which could be terrible, I haven't bothered to listen to it. What do you want from me? Thorough research?)

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Prince does extreme seriousface

Counting to 1,000 backwardsPrince was given the lifetime achievement prize at last night's BET Awards. To celebrate, the organisers made him sit through a 15-minute performance of his own songs by "major artists" you have probably never heard of, and Alicia Keys.

Up-and-coming R&B singer Janelle Monae gave her all to a performance of Let's Go Crazy, at the end of which she was dragged off the stage and committed to an institution; while Patti LaBelle delivered the worst performance of Purple Rain since records began.

Throughout, Prince pulled a face that suggested he'd just been stabbed in the liver and was desperately trying to use the power of his mind to stem the bleeding. Luckily, Alicia Keys managed to pull of a decent version of Adore (one of the best ballads of all time, and that is the truth) and he got up to give her a standing ovation without his liver plopping onto the floor with a soggy splat. It was truly a miracle.

You can watch the whole performance, and Prince's incoherent acceptance speech below. Unless the video has been removed. In which case, use your imagination to recreate the very things I have just described.

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New video: Marina and the Diamonds


Q: What do the lyrics of Marina and the Diamonds' singles teach us?

A: Obsessions tells us "we've got obsessions" which "make us weak". I Am Not A Robot assures the listener that it's okay to have insecurities. Hollywood trashes the American dream as a "golden lie", and Mowgli's Road is something to do with spoons.

All of these are meaningful'n'important life lessons, I am sure you will agree. Especially the one about spoons.

But, as Tori Amos once said, "what's so amazing about really deep thoughts"? We're here for the tunes, and Marina has them in spades. Day-glo flourescent spades with sparkly handles, which dig up gems from melody beach, and tip them onto a pop conveyor belt where they are crushed and remolded into pop diamonds*.

What's this on my shoulder?Her new single is "Oh No", which was a last-minute addition to the Family Jewels album. So last minute, in fact, it was absent from a lot of review copies. It was recorded with Greg Kurstin (Kylie, Lily Allen, Britney) and it's a foot-stomping, melodramatic corker.

Like a distillation of Marina's previous songs, Oh No is about self-image, rejecting fame, fear of failure, acting like a machine and wanting to "make a change" (the nature of the change is unspecified, but this endearingly barmy blog post might help).

The video is superb - from the daffy dance routine to the scene where Marina eats an actual money sandwich. See if you can spot all the vintage fashion magazines pastiched by the props department. I noticed The Face and (I think) Sky. Plus, the single cover - like all of Marina's current artwork - is a tribute to Andy Warhol's Interview magazine.

Marina and the Diamonds - Oh No!

* Do you see what I did there?

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Glastonbury 2010: Highlights in video

The BBC coverage largely stuck to the Pyramid stage this year, but that's hardly surprising given the quality of the acts on the bill.

Still, if you could be bothered to sit through the Editors for the eightieth year in a row, there were some gems to be found. Here are my totally subjective highlights.

And the highlights in video included:

Scissor Sisters and Kylie - Any Which Way

Mumford & Sons - The Cave

Florence & The Machine - Drumming Song

Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls

Muse and The Edge - Where The Streets Have No Name

Stevie Wonder - Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Marina and the Diamonds - Mowgli's Road

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Glastonbury 2010: The view from the sofa

Another year, another weekend spent in front of the television going "why didn't I buy tickets for this?" Next year I will be tweeting up a storm from Worthy Farm. Mark my words.

Until then, here's a lazy person's view of what they saw on the television this weekend when they weren't treating picnic tables with Ronseal.

Snoop and Damon, together at last
Gorillaz flopped. They just don't have the rousing, sing-along choruses of, say, Blur. Or U2.

The Edge and The Muse
When The Edge plucked out the opening riff to Where The Streets Have No Name, Muse's spine-tingling Glastonbury set reached its zenith.

Stevie Wonder rocks the keytar
Stevie Wonder brought mile-wide grins to everyone’s faces. Superstition, Uptight, Signed, Sealed Delivered. A masterful, remarkable end to the weekend.

Scissor Sisters and Kylie
In a massive breach of security, Kylie Minogue rushed onto the stage during the Scissor Sisters' set.
Thom Yorke
Thom Yorke gave us his best Bjorn Borg impression during Radiohead's "surprise" set.

I love hot chips
Hot Chip must have built a nest under The Other Stage. How else do they get onto the bill every year?

Shakira, shakira
Shakira presented her bottom to the world like a Baboon in heat.

Marina and her Diamond sunglasses
Marina and the Diamonds did a very good Hammond organ version of Mowgli’s Road while dressed in a comfort blanket.

Phoenix looked very, very French and were very, very good.

Paloma Faith
Paloma Faith did something totally unpredictable and mad involving balloons.

Kate Nash
At one point, the normally calm and measured Mrdiscopop exclaimed: “Kate Nash is as talented as a bucket of sick”.

Snoopy Doggy Dogg Dog
Snoop Dogg looks like he’s wasting away. Someone should feed him a Bonio.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Top of the rank like Pearl and Dean

It seems the well of new music has dried up because everyone is off at Glastonbury (except me, I'm off to the theatre tomorrow because I'm all cultured and shit).

In the meantime, please enjoy this "blast from the past".

Betty Boo - Doin' The Do

That's 20 years old. TWENTY!

If you were born today, Betty Boo would have as much cultural and musical relevance to you as Doris Day and Vera Lyn had to me when I plopped onto the planet in 1974.

Oh, and if you are slumming it in Glastonbury, the current rumours are, in order of aweseomagicality:

1) Thom Yorke & Johnny Greenwood on the Park Stage tonight.
2) Biffy Clyro will be on the Park Stage tomorrow at 6:40pm.
3) Kylie is joining the Scissor Sisters on stage tomorrow.
4) Tinie Tempah will guest with the Gorillaz tonight.

In the past, the perennial Glastonbury rumour was always that Michael Jackson had died. Somehow, these "surprise" guest appearances don't quite live up to that... RIP Mr The King Of Pop.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World

I am very excited about this movie, and it is all because of 12 frames in the official trailer.

She bangs the drums

1) A girl is playing the drums.
2) The drums say "drum" on them.
3) Her playing synchronises perfectly with the soundtrack.
4) The soundtrack is The Prodigy's Invaders Must Die.
5) When she hits the hi-hat, animated stars burst onto the screen.

Even if the rest of the film is a disaster zone (and it won't be), I'm turning up just to see this scene.

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Passion Pit cover The Smashing Pumpkins, no casualties

The Smashing Pumpkins' sprawling, disjointed double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is a rock masterpiece. Stuffed to the brim with crunching guitars, impossible drum fills and baroque flourishes, it is a jaw-dropping document of an insanely prodigious songwriter at the top of their game. 15 years later, I would still recommend it to anyone with who can withstand (a) the appalling title and (b) the nasal trumpeting that Billy Corgan refers to as "my singing voice".

Massachusetts inide-popsters Passion Pit are clearly fans, as they've chosen to cover the album's soaring opener, Tonight, Tonight, for some Levis promotional thingy. The results are pretty damn good, too. Have a listen.

Passion Pit - Tonight, Tonight

If you like that - check out the original over at Youtube (embedding disabled by request), which has a fantastic video inspired by the 1902 Georges Méliès film Trip to the Moon. And the aforementioed jeans manufacturer is offering a free download of the Passion Pit track to anyone who hands over sensitive personal data on their official website.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A literally quite good summer mixtape for your listening pleasure

Monday was the first day of summer and, as if by magic, the sun finally, begrudgingly came out to warm our lawns and burn our noses.

We all know that music sounds better in the sun. There's no scientific explanation for that. It's just true.

So it's a happy coincidence that the solstice was also the day where everyone who signed up for the Summer Burn mixtape swap-shop had to send off their CDs [see here for more details].

My compilation should have arrived with its recipients now, so I thought I'd share the mix with everyone who reads the blog, too.

If you're a regular visitor, you've probably heard most of these songs before, but not in this order, not mixed together "seamlessly" by an amateur... and not with clips from Sesame Street in the middle of them for no apparent reason. It goes a little something like this.

Summer Burn 2010 by mrdiscopop

1) Interlude - Welcome
2) Kid Sister - Life On TV
3) Kelis - 4th Of July
4) Robyn - Dream On (Wez Clark Remix)
5) Holy Ghost! - Static On The Wire
6) Penguin Prison - Something I'm Not
7) Marina & The Diamonds - I Am Not A Robot (Clock Opera Mix)
8) Ellie Goulding - Under The Sheets (Chiddy Bang Remix)
9) Big Boi - Shutterbugg
10) Interlude - Ray Charles' Alphabet
11) Mark Ronson - Bang Bang Bang (featuring Q-Tip and MNDR)
12) M.I.A. - XXXO (Remix featuring Jay-Z)
13) Interlude - Rain
14) Bird and the Bee - F-cking Boyfriend
15) Mr Little Jeans - Faking Gold
16) Girls Aloud - Untouchable
17) New Young Pony Club - Architect Of Love
18) MNDR - I Go Away

If you want a copy for yourself, with artwork and everything, drop me a line using the comments box, or email me at the address at the bottom of the page.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Scissor Sisters cover Kylie

Scissor Sisters at Glastonbury

The Scissor Sisters recently said their new album, Night Works, was "a little more grown up, a little less ramshackle Muppet-fest" than it's predecessor. They're not wrong.

The New York band's third record wisely ditches the shonky saloon bar pianos in favour of big, broody dancefloor grooves. Jake uses his proper singing voice, instead of that piercing Chip'n'Dale squeal, and producer Stuart Price has been allowed to indulge his Pet Shop Boys fetish (particularly on the epic Invisible Light).

While the album isn't due out til next week, you can be sure the Sisters will preview its finer moments on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury this weekend. Promising a spectacular show, Jake Shears told Radio One the festival holds special memories for the band because it feels like "the place, really, where I feel like our band broke."

"We played six years ago and, suddenly, everything turned in one moment," he said. "Our album went to number one after our Glastonbury performance," Ana Matronic added. "And it had been out for six months at that point."

The band have just departed the legendary Maida Vale studios, where they played a clutch of songs for the Live Lounge. If you only listen to one thing today, it should be their slide guitar cover of Kylie's All The Lovers. Such exquisitely beautiful harmonies.

Scissor Sisters - All The Lovers

:: Scissor Sisters - Fire With Fire (live lounge)
:: All The Lovers (live lounge)

There's official video of both these performances on the Radio 1 website .

While we're visiting the Live Lounge, you should also check out Robyn's performance of Dancing On My Own from last week, which is sublime.

Robyn - Dancing On My Own (live lounge)

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Back on the block

Hello! So what's been going on round here for the last week? Anyone care to fill me in?

No need to worry about the following three videos, however. I couldn't fail to avoid them, even in the wifi wilderness of the Peak District. So here they all are, for the sake of completion.

1) Mark Ronson & The Business Intl - Bang Bang Bang

:: This was quite unexpectedly the song of the holiday.
:: It contains lyrics from French nursery rhyme Alouette.
:: "Je te plumerai la tête" means "I shall pluck your head" (?!)
:: The video will appeal to fans of the Simmons electronic drum.

2) Katy Perry - California Gurls

:: Helpfully, the video contains the same air of forced jollity as the song.
:: But I like the bit with Snoop Dogg buried up to his neck in spunk.

3) Kelis - 4th Of July (Fireworks)

:: The radio edit of this song is a triumph.
:: "Nothing I ever say or do will be as good as loving you" is a brilliant pop lyric.
:: The video is slightly awkward, although I like the nod to Jacko's Rock With You.
:: The bit with a skipping rope made of lights (3'11") is a genius display of making special effects on a limited budget, that sadly outstays its welcome by about 30 seconds.
:: The whole endeavour would have been improved tenfold by the inclusion of an eagle.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Mark Ronson debuts - and I run for the hills

Don't you just want to pinch his rosy cheeks and give him a kiss?It's been doing the rounds for a couple of days now, but Mark Ronson's thoroughly acceptable new single Bang Bang Bang gets its official video premiere on Channel 4 later today.

Sadly, however, I'm off to the Peak District in exactly one hour, so I will not be bringing you any further updates on this momentous musical event until 21st June. Sorry.

In the meantime, here is a teaser clip, in which it is revealed that Ronson has stumbled upon the TOTALLY ORIGINAL idea of setting the video in a fictionalised French TV show from the 1960s.

Mark Ronson - Bang Bang Bang teaser clip

It's lucky that, isn't it, that Diana Ross (Chain Reaction), Phil Collins (You Can't Hurry Love) and Marina And The Diamonds (that godawful Stella advert) have never produced similar videos?

Still, the Battle Of The Planets bit at the end hints that things might take an unexpected turn for the better.

Bang Bang Bang, which features Q-Tip on vocals, is a return to the hip-hop sound of Ronson's debut album Here Comes The Fuzz. I can only give you a 30 second clip, but it sounds something like this.

She could be so good to you. Love you like you want her to. The vocalist on the track is not, as you might have suspected, Santigold but MNDR. Known by her dad as Amanda Warner, She's definitely one to watch in 2011 (can't believe I'm typing that already).

Her new EP - called EPE - features a stunning Prince-meets-Kim-Deal bedroom break-up ballad called I'll Go Away. Scattered with tribal drums, haunting synths and fractured vocals, it's absolutely beautiful.

MNDR - I Go Away [right-click to download]

See you all in a week or so!

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New music: Spark

Spark - for it is sheGiven the worrying chart performance of Marina Diamandis and Ellie Goulding this year - ther second singles both stalled at 26 - you'd think record companies would be giving a wide berth to anyone other women with a kooky wardrobe and a handbag stuffed full of electropop songs.

But the album sales tell a slightly different story. Marina was recently given a Gold award (100,000 sales), while Florence and La Roux both have a clutch of Platinum plaques between them.

So it's not a complete mystery why East Londoner Jess Morgan is getting a shot at superstardom. The 18-year-old goes by the name Spark and is not to be confused with Sparks (the band), Sparkies (the electrical tradesmen), Sporks (the cutlery) or Norks (the breasticles).

The sound of Spark is nourishing punk-pop propelled by pounding pianos and urgent, fuzztone guitar lines. Blow, which you can find on her MySpace page sounds like a punkier, dirtier Kate Nash. New single, Shut Out The Moon is a more melodic affair, drenched in Marie Wilson harmonies. Both are excellent.

You can pre-order a limited edition vinyl copy of Shut Out The Moon from PureGroove - who have helpfully provided the following full-length samples to help influence your purchasing decision.

Shut Out The Moon by Pure Groove

Spark - Shut Out The Moon (Monsieur Adi Remix) by Pure Groove

PS: Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of reading Spark's blog, which is simultaenously hatstand nutso bonkers and eye-bleedingly dull.

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Jay-Z hooks up with M.I.A.

The godfather of hip-hop has contributed a verse to the new M.I.A. single, neither vastly improving nor totally ruining it. Thought you'd like to know.

M.I.A. - XXXO (remix ft Jay-Z)

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Goooooooaaal (pt II)

Okay, so Shakira's performance of the official World Cup song, Waka Waka, at tonight's opening ceremony was pretty cute.

Shakira - Waka Waka (World Cup Opening Ceremony)

Come on you reds, or whatever.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's that bird out of Mad Men in a video

Christina Hendricks - in the 1960s and THE FUTURE!

Men of a certain age will want to put this on a loop - it's buxom redhead Christina Hendricks* (aka Joan Holloway from Mad Men) playing a sexy android in the video for Broken Bells' new single, The Ghost Inside.

Apparently, Danger Mouse and James Mercer have a bit of a crush on Ms Hendricks - despite the fact she's not really ginger at all - and asked her to appear in the video as some kind of adolescent wish-fulfilment fantasy.

"We assumed we would ask and that would be it," Mercer told Entertainment Weekly. "She’s got to be so busy, and who the hell are we?

"But she said yes! Turns out she’s a fan of our record."

Broken Bells - The Ghost Inside

Next up, Don Draper appears in the new Justin Bieber video, drinking neat whisky and punching a prostitute in the face.

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The World Cup is the one time I put aside my absolute hatred of football and get involved in watching a tournament. Can't explain why. Maybe because it's over in a relatively brusque 30 days.

It all kicks off in Johannesburg tonight with a concert featuring Shakira, John Legend, Angelique Kidjo, Alicia Keys and the Black Eyed Peas. But none of them will be able to match the effortless brilliance of this performance from Diana Ross at the 1994 World Cup ceremony.

She mimes! She kicks a ball! She misses the goal!

It's the perfect tribute to England's strategic plan.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Crow, darling, I was blind to let you go

Sheryl Crow and Michael Jackson and some wigsI've already written about Sheryl Crow once today, and now Billboard reports she's recorded a cover of the Jackson 5's I Want You Back for her new album, 100 Miles From Memphis.

Jacko fans will know this isn't the first time she's sung the Motown classic. Under the name Shirley Crow, she was a backing singer on the star's 1989 Bad Tour - where the song was performed as part of a Jackson medley.

"It's definitely an homage," she told Billboard. "The guy gave me my first job in the business and was incredibly generous with his talent with me."

Crow added that the Jackson 5's self-titled debut "was the first album I ever owned".

As great as Sheryl Crow's earlier work is (Every Day Is A Winding Road is one of my all-time favourite bongo jams), I reckon she'll be hard-pressed to better this cover version of I Want You Back by Dutch singer Trijntje Oosterhuis.

Trijntje Oosterhuis - I Want You Back

Boring fact: I came across this song on the in-store PA system of Norwegian knick-knack emporium Design Torget. Shazam is great, isn't it?

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Izzy Wizzy let's get Lissie

According to Science*, a dinosaur evolved 150 million years ago with a shocking orange mohawk and four elaborate wings. It looked like La Roux's prehistoric ancestor.

The point, apparently, was to attract potential mates.

Now, if a freakish lizard with the brain the size of a pea understood how to stand out in a crowd during the Mesozoic era, you would think people working in PR in the 21st Century might also have cottoned on to the idea.

Not so. Take a look at this CD, which has been sitting on my "I'll get round to this eventually" pile for the last month.

A boring CD cover, yesterday

You might not be able to tell from my appalling photography but that's an entirely grey CD cover. The album title is in a slightly darker grey. The artist's name has been scribbled over the top with a Tip-Ex pen. It essentially says "you would be better off doing some laundry than listening to this drab old bollocks".

But I hate doing laundry, so I belatedly popped the CD into the stereo and, lawks-a-lordy, it is utterly gorgeous.

Lissie (for it is she) has a bag full of melodies, all swiped from the Stevie Nicks school of widescreen songsmithery. Songs like When I'm Alone, Cuckoo and In Sleep have choruses bigger than Yosemite National Park and are as sun-bleached as the roads you drive to get there.

The actual album cover captures the spirit of the music much, much better.

Catching A Tiger

All of the above is basically an excuse for me writing about Lissie approximately two months after everyone else. I judged a book by its cover, just like my dad told me not to.

Her current single is When I'm Alone, which is what Sheryl Crow would sound like if Sheryl Crow didn't take herself so goddamn seriously. The video is terrible, but watch out for that chorus because it will sweep you right off your feet.

Lissie - When I'm Alone

Here are a few things Lissie has said in interviews.

:: "I was Annie in the musical Annie." [Caught In The Crossfire]

:: "I've got some weird immunity to tequila." [Newsbeat]

:: "I like that Miley Cyrus song, Party in the U.S.A." [Spinner]

:: "It felt self-serving, to have a doctor show up in your hotel and take this big needle and inject you in the butt." [Aquarium Drunkard]

:: "I picked, like, 200 tangerines and gave them away." [BBC]

:: "Ellie Goulding got up and sang with me and that was cool. She is awesome. I think she's my new friend." [Kingston Guardian

As luck would have it, there is a video of that performance with Ellie Goulding on Youtube (Youtube). It is totally spellbinding.

Lissie and Ellie Goulding - Everywhere I Go

I think that's enough for now. But basically what I'm trying to say, in a nutshell, as succinctly as possible, in a sentence, is that LISSIE IS AMAZING.

* The journal, not the academic discipline

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You've been a very bad girl, Gaga

Note to world: The most shocking, depraved thing about the video for Alejandro isn't the Nazi imagery, the inverted crucifix on her crotch or the machine gun brassiere. It's that Lady Gaga dresses up as Bono.

Lady Bono of Gaga

The full nine-minute extravaganza is below but, be warned, it's about as much fun as a fart in the mouth.

Lady Gaga - Alejandro

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New music of a dancey-guitary variety

William Fitzsimmons is an Illinois-based musician with a touch of the Sufjan Stevens to him. His songs have been used in (yawn alert) pivotal moments of permanently wet medical drama Grey's Anatomy.

For most sane people that would be a sign to run for the hills - presuming William Fitzsimmons wasn't at the top of those hills strumming his acoustic guitar with a meaningful face. Although I've never seen anyone strum a guitar with their face before, so that could be worth a journey to the hills in its own right. But what if the taut steel guitar strings started to rip away chunks of William's tender, vulnerable face flesh? You wouldn't want to be there to clean that mess up.

All things considered, it's probably best to stay exactly where you are and avoid listening to William Fitzsimmons altogether.

Only I'm about to throw a massive spanner in the works (any sized spanner would do, but I happen to have a massive one) because somebody called Pink Garnter has gone and beefed up one of William's drippy acoustic ballads with drum beats and rumblesome bass notes. The effect is beyond tolerable, in a "this will probably end up on a Hed Kandi compilation" kind of way.

Here it bloody is.

William Fitzsimmons -So This Is Goodbye (Pink Gartner remix)

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New music of a bleepy sampledelic variety

James Blake has been called "one of the most talented and imaginative members of dubstep's second wave", but don't let that put you off. His new single, CMYK, is a laid-back groove with vocal samples from Kelis and a hypnotic, swirling keyboard riff (unless the bleepy noises remind you of the machine that goes ping in a hospital emergency room, in which case it might induce palpitations).

James Blake - CMYK

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Video: Big Boi - Shutterbug

I wrote about this track two months ago when it premiered on the radio. Now there's a video, and the video is awesome. Feast your eyes on this.

Big Boi - Shutterbug

The Outkast star's first solo album, Sir Lucious Left Foot, is out on 6th July.

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Bang bang to rights

The Bang Bang ClubIn the 80s, electro-pop was dominated by men. Men with daft hairbonnets and eyeliner as thick as a Twix, but men nonetheless.

Now, in the second era of electro-pop, it is the women's turn. But while the 80s gave us Annie Lennox and Madonna, the new popocracy is closed to men.

Frankmusic? No thanks. Dan Black? A flop. Sam Sparro? One-hit wonder. Hurts? Their single stalled at number 50.

With that in mind, I can't confidently predict big things for new pop duo The Bang Bang Club, but let's take a look anyway.

John and David used to be in a band called The Protocol, but that all fell apart. Now they are The Bang Bang Club, a sweaty synth setup with a soft spot for a sumptuous chorus.

Their debut single, Chemistry, has been all over the blogs this week. It looks and sounds like this:

The Bang Bang Club - Chemistry

Not bad - but I actually prefer the band's other material. This Must Be Love ("I think I love you. I don't want to, but it won't go away") is happy and sad and brilliant all at the same time. Plants And Animals is what it would sound like if Soft Cell had electric babies with Empire Of The Sun.

The duo are still putting the finishing touches to their album so, sadly, you can't hear those tracks yet. But if they can find room alongside the Lady Gagas, La Rouxs and Little Bootses, they are definitely ones to watch.

Their website lives over here.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Great record label own goals of our time

1) This is a screenshot from Parlophone's official YouTube channel.

2) Parlophone is owned by EMI.

Copyright law - you're doing it wrong

To be fair to the people involved, YouTube has only been around for a brief five years and copyright law is really, really hard.

EDIT 4th June, 2010: The video has been reinstated. Well done, everyone.

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He's not even going to kill her Once

Take a look at this scene from Diana Vickers' new video, The Boy Who Murdered Love.

I mean, seriously, COME ON

It is a BOY trying to MURDER a sign with the word LOVE on it. It is just about the dumbest thing I have ever seen committed to film. And I've seen Transformers 2.

Thing is, this boy is never going to succeed in his diabolical plot because he hits like a girl. He is wetter than a cup of tea, in a fountain on World Humidity Day. His wrist is so limp, it could be a cucumber sandwich. If those punches were a musical genre, they'd be Flaccid House.

And aren't there better ways to murder love than giving it a lacklustre slap? How about diverting a train line through its living room? Or dropping a piano on it from the top of a nearby cliff? Or replacing its favourite food with four sticks of TNT?

Alternatively, if you're not Wile E Coyote, I would consider NOT committing murder due to the harsh penalties the crime attracts in most civilised nations.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, Diana Vickers. The Boy Who Murdered Love is among the better songs on her debut album (sadly, a 5/10 affair). The video's not available for embedding, but you can watch it on the MSN video pages. Or, if you prefer not to endorse the "evil" Microsoft corporation, watch this live performance from Monday's Graham Norton Show.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hackneyed JLS video is hackneyed

Yes, yes, yes. You are in a club, not just lyrically but literally. And look at how much the ladies love you. It is almost as if you were desperate to prove something, but I can't quite put my finger on what that might be.

JLS - The Club Is Alive

To quote from finger-on-the-pulse musiblog We Are Pop Slags "Our favourite bit is still the ‘You can get up on me, BUM ME, BUM ME’ line, which is most clearly heard at 02.48."


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This is how I play the drums, too

[via Robert Popper]

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Kylie - inspired by granite

So, I've escaped the Eurobubble in Oslo - but while I was there I may have inadvertently stumbled across the inspiration for Kylie Minogue's new video.

To the north of the city centre is a huge sculpture park designed by visionary / madman Gustav Vigeland. He spent a lot of time making casts of people in erotic orgiastic poses - plus this famous one of an angry baby.

Vigeland's Angry Boy sculpture

The centrepiece of the park is a 14m-high granite obelisk, wrapped in 121 naked human bodies, all clambering hungrily on top each other. It could represent mankind coming together to reach towards heaven; it might be suggesting that man will always trample on his fellow man to get to the top; it might be a Norwegian sex party in the form of a giant phallus. No-one is really sure.

But take a look at the monolith, then watch the video for All The Lovers, and tell me the two aren't connected.

Vigeland's monolith

Kylie - All The Lovers

Of course, I might be over-intellectualising this. Kylie's glorified underwear advert also made me want to take out a second mortgage.

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