Thursday, July 29, 2010

a short Blackumentary

It is becoming increasingly rare to find an artist these days with lyrical depth, melodic strength and vocal purity. With the foundation of the music business slipping on the shifting sand, labels aren't equipped to build long term careers for the artists signed to their revolving door rosters.

This leaves many singers and bands to move forward on their own. For some, it can be more lucrative - financially, artistically or both. Either way, the advent of the internet allows the world to be introduced to artists that otherwise would wither away in the dark hallways of large, crumbling corporations. That paradigm change has undone one business model has given birth to another. It's all a matter of harnessing the power at hand.

Thankfully, Colin Vearncombe, aka Black, has taken the reigns of his career and found a footing in the new web world which allows his dedicated fanbase to easily access his exquisite output. The heartbreaking beauty of his music has resonated with me for more than twenty years. At the moment, IMHO, he's delivering some of his best work ever. As a songwriter, I am deeply humbled and awestruck by his immense talent.

Colin has seen a resurgence over the last few years. He released two magnificent albums in the last twelve months. Some artists can barely scrape together one half-solid longplayer in twice the time. Both "The Given", attributed to his birth name, and "Water On Stone", which is housed under the Black moniker, are epic. Strikingly gorgeous and breathtaking at every turn.

While he maintains his distinct identity, the subtle influences are audible. Roy Orbison, Scott Walker, Ian Curtis and Jimmy Webb are all suitably attired in Colin's passionately expressive vocal delivery and stirring lyrical construction.

Check out this recently produced mini-documentary about Colin and his music.

If you think Black is little more than "Wonderful Life", I urge you to purchase one of the most recent elpees from the Black/Colin Vearncombe back catalog - or Blackatalog, as so cleverly identified on Colin's official website. Do yourself a favor and bathe in the glorious, sepia tones of his achingly sweet voice. I think you'll agree, he's a singer songwriter for the ages.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hurts reswizzled

It feels like everyone has been holding their collective breath for "Happiness", the debut longplayer from Hurts. In the meantime, the interwebs have been buzzing about the new Freemasons mix of their latest single, "Wonderful Life". Finally, it has arrived!

That certainly improves upon the radio edit we posted a few days ago. It's a lovely companion to Arthur Baker's mixes that made the rounds earlier this year. Poppers o'clock, indeed! Expectations are certainly running high for the album.

And, as if we couldn't get enough of Kylie, it appears that she is featured on a track called "Devotion", one of many fine songs on "Happiness". I can't remember a time when Kylie has had a higher profile. She is omnipresent! She didn't even have this kind of visibility during the "Fever" era. Get her PR person on the phone stat! Kudos and champers are in order.

By the way, I have it on very good authority that Freemasons are remixing "I Want Your Sex", the song that launched George Michael's debut solo elpee, "Faith". Sony has finally dusted off the album and are about to issue a deluxe edition in September. I am without words.

kissing cousins

Well, it seems like ver Scissters and Ms. Minogue are getting on like a house on fire! They are all down under working on promotional duties for their respective longplayers.

Here is everyone's favorite, Aussie, pop rocket with Jake, Ana, Babydaddy and Del performing their bluegrass arrangement of Kylie's current hit, "All The Lovers", in front of an adoring crowd.

Ana, get the timing on your shakers a little tighter, babydoll.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Do you believe in life after a dud?

The mighty Goldfrapp is about to release "Believer", the third single from their excellently poptastic, retro sexy longplayer, "Head First".

While I'm very excited to see a third track plucked from the album, I can't help but wonder how the whole campaign tanked. Both "Rocket" and "Alive" - two completely AMAZEBALLS singles - were met with a resounding thud on the charts.

I get the sneaking suspicion that Radio 1 refuses to play solid, thoughtful pop music. Perhaps people thought Goldfrapp started following instead of leading. Maybe they lost people on the pastoral predecessor, "Seventh Tree".

Apparently, they have a lot of support from music bloggers. I haven't read anything but praise for "Head First". Anyway, the cover art for the single is spectacular. It's got more of that "Xanadu" factor they've been trading on. Alison has clearly tapped into every gay boy's dream.

Monday, July 26, 2010

soft touch

Natasha Bedingfield has re-emerged with "Touch”, the first single to be taken from her fourth studio album "Strip Me", which is due later this year.

The sweet lass has lensed a video for it. Shall we take a peek?

Pleasant enough. The verses are completely shite. A total lack of melody. However, the chorus is complete euphoria. It almost makes up for the truly awful verses. Natasha, go back and give us verses that match that sparkling chorus, babydoll.

Where does Ms. Bedingfield fit in this post Gaga universe? Honestly, although it's a decent pop nugget, "Touch" is not unique enough to stand out these days. She's clearly not carving out a path in the pop landscape like Robyn is. It's a dilemma that has already put Christina Aguilera in choppy waters without a floatation device. Also, Xtina delivered a half-baked album with too many Gaga-isms and a handful of shitty songs. It's anyone's guess how she'll recover from that debacle.

The bottom line. Natasha delivers terrific pop records, but there's nothing extra special about her or her material. It's missing the glitter, ingenuity and creativity which would make her more au current. Nice dress, though.

hang across America

Our little, Swedish minx is working overtime! No sooner has she embarked on a North American tour and unveiled details of her next petite elpee, Robyn delivers the video for her latest single, "Hang With Me".

Super tasty. Nice video scrapbook of her current trek across the US. Proof that a low budget music video can look like a million bucks. It pushes all the right buttons. This chick is doing it right. And doesn't she look absolutely stunning?

"Hang With Me" will hit the "shops" on August 16 in Scandinavia, August 17 in the US and Canada, September 3 in Germany and September 5 in the UK and Australia. Not sure what the reason is for the staggered release schedule. But who am I too judge. Robyn has made all the right moves since she re-emerged in 2005. Excelsior!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I like twisted comedy

It's a video bonanza today!

Mr. Neil Hannon, the face of The Divine Comedy, has returned with "I Like", the second single from the elpee, "Bang Goes The Knighthood".

This single is yet another magnificent tour de force. Full of the usual humor and wit we come to expect from TDC, this jaunty little number is the perfect summertime companion for those long trips to the beach. Classic, British tune ahoy!

A suitably cheeky video has been lensed for it. And Neil's co-star is a complete airhead. Cue chortle.

"Bang Goes The Knighthood" will get a US release very shortly in the downloadable domain. Unfortunately, a distribution deal for the physical CD hasn't been secured as hoped. Therefore, TDC will not be playing any shows in the US anytime soon. Let the pouting and stamping of feet begin!

tweaking out

Faithless unleash another epic single in the shape of the provocatively and erotically titled, "Tweak Your Nipple". It's from their latest longplayer, "The Dance".

Granted Maxi Jazz, Rollo and Sister Bliss are an acquired taste, but their big beat, adrenaline fueled excursions nicely tread the line between the underground and mass consumption. Sure, it has been more than fifteen years since they burst on the scene with club chestnut, "Insomnia", but they continue to put out wildly interesting dance albums in a genre that often doesn't allow for much experimentation.

They've just unveiled the suitably trippy video for "Tweak Your Nipple". It's visual ecstasy, ladies and gents.

This acts as part two of a trilogy based in the sultry, psychedelic, animated world that began with the first single from the album, "Not Going Home".

Here's Maxi Jazz dropping some seriously powerful, Buddhist, zen master knowledge about the track.

Third single, IMHO, should be the Blancmange sampling "Feel Me". This hypnotic jam has been going down a storm when they play it on tour. They've reworked it a bit in a live setting. Harry Collier sings Neil Arthur's parts and Maxi Jazz has added a verse.

A few performances have turned up online. There are two that tweak me most, if you'll pardon the expression. One was recorded on a soundstage with a mix which was recorded too hot and, therefore, is distorted. The other is from this year's Glastonbury festival, and the crowd goes absolutely batshit crazy for it. Both are equally expressive.

Not sure which performance I prefer. You decide. One thing is for sure. They are a mighty, live machine.

Zut alors! Now that's a spicy meatball!

Here are some more new age, crystal musings from the band about it.

What we need is some synchronized swimming.

Sweet jeezus. I step away from the interwebs for a couple of hours and Hurts splash the new video for "Wonderful Life" across the world wide web.

Beautifully shot. Decent budget. Suitably lush. Slightly bleak yet glamorous locale. Veiled models in slinky dresses. Pouty band members. It all has a bit of a Roxy Music vibe to it.

Clearly, the new mix of the single pushes all the right buttons and make "Wonderful Life" even more epic than it already was. It was nearly perfect in its original form. Amazing what some tribal drums and a few synth parts can do to a song.

And, if I'm not mistaken, Hurts are the 2010 equivalent of Johnny Hates Jazz. That is not a bad thing, kittens.

"Wonderful Life" will be available from all fine "shops" on August 23. However, the big fail here is the availability of the mixes by Arthur Baker, Freemasons and Mantronix. You'll only be able to get your Google dirty fingers on them as a digital download bundle.

Considering the target audience Theo and Adam are aiming for, a CD single with the mixes on it would have made the most sense.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

body parts

It's a good day to be a blonde bombshell artiste. News of Robyn's new petite elpee, "Body Talk Pt. 2", just landed on my desk. Isn't the artwork spectacular? The lady has carved out a creative style all her own. I love how the end of the "R" curls around her eye.

Robyn isn't not even done promoting "Body Talk Pt. 1" and she's on to the next part of the adventure. I guess each release will dovetail through the full "Body Talk" campaign. And it's smart that she's touring with Kelis between the releases.

I must admit that I, along with many others, was skeptical about releasing three mini albums over a twelve month period. But the girl seems to keep the momentum rolling. I'm happy to see her being able to achieve her goal.

Of course, I think time will bear out one amazeballs longplayer distilled out of the three releases.

The tracklisting for "Body Talk Pt. 2" even features a track with Snoop Dogg called "U Should Know Better". The Doggfather sure does get around these days. Take note of track eight.

1. In My Eyes
2. Include Me Out
3. Hang With Me
4. Love Kills
5. We Dance To The Beat
6. Criminal Intent
7. U Should Know Better
8. Indestructible (Acoustic Version)

Does that mean we might get a souped up, electronic version of "Indestructible" as a single from the third installment of the "Body Talk" series?

pout and play

Love blonde and perfect pouter, Kim Wilde, is about to return with "Come Out And Play", her eleventh longplayer and the follow up to "Never Say Never" which was released in 2006.

First single is "Lights Down Low", a muscular, rockin' number with some electro flashes throughout to keep things au current. Let's take a listen.

The single will hit the "shops" on August 13 with the album to follow shortly thereafter.

Best of all, Kim collaborates with two of her 80s contemporaries. She shares the mic with Glenn Gregory from Heaven 17 on "Greatest Journey" and Nik Kershaw on "Love Conquers All.

I'm super jazzed about the Nik Kershaw pairing. I clearly remember loving the sound of their combined voices on "Let It Be", the Ferry Aid single from 1987. I always thought they would work together immediately after that charity project. Sadly, it was not be. Glad they finally got around to it. Huzzah!

The following is the tracklisting for "Come Out In Play".

1. King Of The World
2. Lights Down Low
3. Real Life
4. Greatest Journey
5. I Want What I Want
6. Love Conquers All
7. Hey! You!
8. Suicide
9. This Paranoia
10. Loving You More
11. Get Out
12. My Wish Is Your Command
13. Jessica

my heart goes bang

It's all about a squadron of über-producers these days, innit? Greg Kurstin, Stuart Price, Mark Ronson, etc. You could be forgiven for thinking they are interchangeable. Each one takes cues from the past and weaves it with technology of the now, thus creating their own variations on a similar theme.

Also, each of them cut their teeth on being a bit of a reluctant pop star. So what do you do when you're not quite the frontman of your dreams? Hire the talent like you're ordering out for Chinese! Alternatively, use your talents wisely, produce other artists and strike pop gold.

While Mark Ronson was busy producing the next Duran Duran album, he was inspired to pull together the follow up to his previous longplayer, "Version". "Record Collection", which is credited to Mark Ronson & The Business International, is another all star potpourri of collaborations. However, this time all the songs on the album feature original material rather than cover versions.

First single, "Bang Bang Bang", just crashed into the UK top 10 singles chart at #6 with the combined efforts of Amanda Warner from MNDR and some old school, rap flava from Q-Tip. Both take turns mixing it up on the mic.

Here's the fabulous, 80s nerd chic video with a splash of Japanese superhero inspiration for good measure.

For the lingually impaired in our audience, "je te plumerai la tête" roughly translates as "I will pluck the hair from your head". How do I know that? Well, besides being an international traveler of fine distinction, j'ai étudié la langue sur le genou de ma grand-mère.

And there you have it, mes petits chatons.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bryan Ferry and his phalanx of foxy babes

The promo parade for Bryan Ferry's forthcoming longplayer, "Olympia", is gaining steam. The video for the first single, "You Can Dance", premiered recently, and he's back with his requisite bevy of beauties. Does he travel with a harem? Not sure why he feels like he needs the babe brigade after 40 years. I guess that's part of the Bryan Ferry "brand".

Bryan is back in languid, layered, lounge lizard mode after the gutsy "Dylanesque". I like "You Can Dance", but the song doesn't breathe. The ear candy in the mix is exquisite, but the song doesn't soar like you would expect.

I really prefer the collab version with DJ Hell.

It's dark and menacing. A more daring choice of direction for Mr. Ferry. The kind of track you would expect to hear in the backrooms of Berlin's seedy nightlife. Not that I know anything about such things.

Hearing his voice stripped bare placed in the midst of an icy, bleak, electronic landscape offers more depth to the song. It also strengthens the minimalistic melody. His voice still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. Le sigh.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

hanging and dancing with Robyn

Barely done promoting "Body Talk Pt. 1", foxy, Swedish warbler, Robyn, unleashes "Hang With Me", the first track from the second of three mini-albums she plans to release this year. Her next petite elpee will be the aptly titled "Body Talk Pt. 2" which is scheduled to hit the "shops" on September 6.

Here's a shitty radio rip of "Hang With Me". Do people sit at the computers waiting to record this stuff? It's the modern day equivalent of being perched beside the stereo with a Magnavox cassette recorder held up to one of the speakers.

She's got that euphoric melancholy down to a science. Simply gorgeous. She's cutting her own swathe through the pop landscape by being herself and not aping anyone else's style. And she can be quite a clever, little minx as evidenced by the inclusion of the tender and fragile acoustic version of "Hang With Me" on her current mini elpee, "Body Talk Pt. 1".

Anyway, I'm digging Robyn's vibe the more I hear solid pop nuggets like this one. Her last album was always gonna be a tough one to follow.

I still hold my ground on her decision to release three, short albums. Shortplayers, if you will. I think you'll be able to distill the best bits into one, convenient - wait for it - longplayer. Can you hang with that?

In the meantime, have you heard the dirty, big beat, funky slap bass madness of "Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do" from "Body Talk Pt. 1"? The track has been lovingly overhauled by Mylo & Sharooz.

My fave mix of the moment is the Buzz Junkies' stadium sized reswizzle of "Dancing On My Own". It is, as they say, poppers o'clock!

Excuse me. I wanna rip off all my clothes and smash things.

Friday, July 16, 2010

full font frontal Ferry

The cover art for "Olympia", the thirteenth solo longplayer from Bryan Ferry, has been revealed. Sophisticated and enigmatic, if not just a little on the uninteresting side. However, the contents should more than make up for the underwhelming sleeve. I guess it's all de rigueur these days.

Some dark and moody remixes for the lead single, "You Can Dance", have started appearing online. The one below was reswizzled by Tim Roe. His is one of five remixes making the rounds of dancefloors across the globe.

And here's a suitably dreamy clip montage of Mr. Ferry and his collaborators in the studio during the making of "Olympia".

More quaaludes, plz.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

everybody, Hurts

The covert art for "Happiness", the debut album from Hurts, was revealed today.

It's quite shit. N'est-ce pas? Merde, indeed.

It reminds me a lot of this, actually.

Which is one of the most amazing and iconic album sleeves EVER. Hurts' cover is nowhere nearly as good.

After delivering epic beauty, eye catching photography and lovely, understated design elements for the sleeves of their first two singles, who decided it was a good idea to give the task of designing the album art to someone who needed practice learning Photoshop?

I'm sure the poorly designed sleeve won't ruin the listening "experience". However, it does soil Hurts' reputation for painstakingly developing their image and design "style". Perhaps they've run over budget and decided slap any old rubbish together. Or maybe our expectations are set too high.

Thanks to XO's Middle Eight and Popjustice for alerting us to the "lovely" cover art.

The following is the tracklisting for "Happiness" which will hit the "shops" on September 6.

1. Silver Lining
2. Wonderful Life
3. Blood, Tears & Gold
4. Sunday
5. Stay
6. Illuminated
7. Evelyn
8. Better Than Love
9. Devotion
10. Unspoken
11. The Water

Freemasons have been brought in to reswizzle Hurts' forthcoming single, "Wonderful Life", for dancefloor consumption. Here's the radio edit.


And here's the now classic mix by the legendary Arthur Baker.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Robbie's hits and bits revealed

RAWR! Robbie Williams looks delicious in the photo adorning the cover of his forthcoming hits collection, "In And Out Of Consciousness: Greatest Hits 1990-2010. The artwork mimics the sleeve of his most recent elpee, "Reality Killed The Video Star".

"Shame", the first single, is a beautiful duet with Gary Barlow which will be available from all fine "shops" on October 4.

Mr. Barlow makes a second appearance on Robbie's retrospective with "Heart And I" another fantastic Williams/Barlow collab. Seems like these two have patched things up and gotten a little cozy.

The album revisits the last two decades of RW's career in reverse chronological order. In fact, it covers every single he released as a solo artist. That's quite unusual for a most greatest hits collection as, inevitably, something is left off. The compilation is rounded off with Take That's "Everything Changes", the boyband's fourth, consecutive single to go straight in at number one in the UK way back in 1994. Technically, the album covers sixteen years rather than the twenty inferred by the album's subtitle.

With a whopping 39 tracks slathered across two CDs, Robbie's career retrospective finally includes his debut solo single, "Freedom", a cover of George Michael's hit from 1990.

"In And Out Of Consciousness: The Greatest Hits 1990-2010" will be released on October 11. Here's the tracklisting in its full glory.


1. Shame
2. Heart And I
3. You Know Me
4. Bodies
5. Morning Sun
6. She's Madonna
7. Lovelight
8. Rudebox
9. Sin Sin Sin
10. Advertising Space
11. Make Me Pure
12. Tripping
13. Misunderstood
14. Radio
15. Sexed Up
16. Something Beautiful
17. Come Undone
18. Feel
19. Mr. Bojangles


1. I Will Talk And Hollywood Will Listen
2. Somethin' Stupid
3. The Road To Mandalay
4. Eternity
5. Let Love Be Your Energy
6. Supreme
7. Kids
8. Rock DJ
9. It's Only Us
10. She's The One
11. Strong
12. No Regrets
13. Millennium
14. Let Me Entertain You
15. Angels
16. South Of The Border
17. Lazy Days
18. Old Before I Die
19. Freedom
20. Everything Changes

It's a truly all encompassing hit collection. It includes "Kids" and "Somethin' Stupid", his duets with Aussies Kylie Minogue and Nicole Kidman, respectively. Surprisingly, it even features the singles from "Swing When You're Winning", considered many to be a side project rather than a proper RW album. Kudos and kisses to the label and RW's management for getting this one right.

Monday, July 12, 2010

fall for Ferry

While sipping a fruity cocktail on the veranda of our summer beach house, my aural senses were awakened to the distance sounds of "Don't Stop The Dance" by Bryan Ferry. It happens to be one of the finest singles among his breathtaking and extensive recorded works.

And, as if by magic, I was alerted to some juicy info regarding his forthcoming elpee which should finally hit the "shops" this fall on October 25.

"Olympia", Bryan Ferry’s thirteenth, solo longplayer and the follow-up to 2007's "Dylanesque", is a star-studded affair. The first single, "You Can Dance", has already been a club hit across Europe under the title "U Can Dance" as a collaboration with world renowned DJ, Hell. It will be released in the UK on August 2.

Further collabs include Scissor Sisters on a track called "Heartache By Numbers" and Groove Armada on "Shameless" which already appears on their album, "Black Light".

Also in attendance will be Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, former Chic frontman Nile Rodgers, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd along with Flea and Mani, singularly named bassists with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Primal Scream, respectively. Impressive! N'est-ce pas?

As if that wasn’t enough, Mr. Ferry has wrangled in his Roxy Music bandmates Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno, as well.

The following is the tracklisting for "Olympia". It includes two covers, "Song To The Siren", originally recorded by Tim Buckley, and Traffic's "No Face, No Name, No Number".

1. You Can Dance
2. Alphaville
3. Heartache By Numbers
4. Me Oh My
5. Shameless
6. Song To The Siren
7. No Face, No Name, No Number
8. BF Bass (Ode To Olympia)
9. Reason Or Rhyme
10. Tender Is The Night

For those of you that have been following the very cool remix EPs from Roxy Music, the fourth in the series was released a few months ago. "Remixes (Blue)", which features reswizzled tracks from the "Avalon" era, is worth your time simply for Disco Pusher's gorgeous, slinky n' sultry remix of "To Turn You On". It's available now from all fine digital retailers.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I was lying there, lying on the beach

We're at the mid-year point and it's time for my summer holiday. Seven glorious days in the peaceful enclave of Provincetown. The sea. The breeze. Who are we kidding? The eye candy!

Srsly, this is the moment where I dial it down. I will be comatose for the better part of a week. Recharging my batteries. So, what better time to review my beachcoming soundtrack?

Here, submitted for you perusal, are some of my favorite albums of the year, so far. Each of them will be getting quite a lot of spins on the old Victrola at the beach house this week and all summer long.

"Aphrodite" - Kylie Minogue

This is clearly going to be blaring out of every open window on the cape. Let's face facts. It's the gayest album of the year. The boys will bring the noise and this elpee, the musical equivalent of a rainbow, will feature prominently. I can smell the poppers at the Boat Slip already.

I would bet cash that the marketing "gurus" at the label figured it was best to issue her album on the cusp of Pride celebrations worldwide. I'm sure we'll be raising a glass to our little Aussie pop rocket all summer long. Chin chin!

"Head First" - Goldfrapp

This is already shaping up to be one of the finest years for purveyors of pop music. Goldfrapp, back from their pastoral wanderings, returned with a synth in one hand and a fistful of killer tunes in the other.

Another album that is sure to please the boys on the beach. I expect to hear "Rocket" and "Alive" doing the business around town at various discotheques.

"Night Work" - Scissor Sisters

Oh yes! It is a gay old year. N'est-ce pas? Sleezy, filthy, camp AND fun. Ver Scissters leave behind the honky tonk and cheeky winks of the last two albums and stretch a little.

I haven't dug deep into this, their third longplayer, but I suspect this will be the soundtrack for dark corners this week.

"Bang Goes The Knighthood" - The Divine Comedy

The audio equivalent of reading a good book on the beach. SPF at the ready. Umbrellas at a slight tilt. Maybe a picnic basket of sammies and a few cocktails.

Neil Hannon's quick witted delivery and jaunty piano numbers will enchant and delight while you soak up some sun. Even the British love a summer holiday. Close your eyes and let his lyrics paint a picture for you. Run your own little film behind your eyelids.

"Love And Its Opposite" - Tracey Thorn

This is the Sunday brunch album. This is for the comedown and the chillout. It's also suitable for an early morning bloody mary.

Thoughtful and breezy. A light, flowing, linen blouse as the sun comes up.

For the record, I think The Psychedelic Furs and some classic, pre-symbol Prince are going to be garnering a lot of play this week. I'm in the mood for some grit and a bit of funk. Read into that however you'd like.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

on the edge of life

After "Better Than Love", Hurts' debut single, seemed to do a header off the side of a tall building, they are finally releasing the song we all thought should've been their entree into the shiny world of pop.

Speaking of jumping off buildings, check out the lovely sleeve artwork. It appears they've discovered the beauty of color photography!

"Wonderful Life" will be released on August 23. Apparently, it has been slightly reswizzled for popular consumption. Let's hope those Arthur Baker mixes are part of the CD format. Not much can be done with them since they've only been made available on a picture disc 12" single. Is this 1983? Enough with the picture discs! Kthx.
By the way, Freemasons have just submitted their storming take on "Wonderful Life". Quite an amazing set of mixes have been commissioned of this potential classic. Let's see how this shakes out in the charts.

Hurts' highly anticipated album, "Happiness", will hit "shops" on September 6. By "highly anticipated", I'm referring to myself and a few of my music obsessed friends.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

running with the owl

Are you ready for a dreamy, breezy summer tune for those hazy, lazy days at the beach? Get the margarita machine ready.

Chicane, the nom de plume of the enigmatic Nick Bracegirdle, returns with Adam Young, the mayor of Owl City, for "Middledistancerunner". The single is from Chicane's forthcoming longplayer, "Giants". Here's a little preview.

In fact, this album has had a longer gestation period than Sophie Ellis-Bextor's long anticipated elpee. After three singles including "Come Back", "Hiding All The Stars" and the top 10 hit, "Poppiholla", the album still remains unreleased.

"Poppiholla" was even tacked on to the end of "The Best Of Chicane: 1996 - 2008" a full year after the greatest hits collection was released.

Pull your finger out, Nick!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

divine revelations

If you're a frequent reader of my blog, you know The Divine Comedy is one of my fave "bands". I use the inverted commas because, like many groups, The Divine Comedy has become the vehicle for an individual.

With the recent release of their magnificent longplayer, "Bang Goes The Knighthood", Neil Hannon, the expertly tailored, infinitely intriguing leader of TDC, is running the PR gauntlet by giving interviews on radio, talking to newspapers and magazines, playing solo shows and giving fans lots of gloriously interesting web clips.

Check out the four part set of vids below from DCHQ. Neil offers up some solo performances of a three songs from the album - "At The Indie Disco", "The Complete Banker" and album opener, "Down In The Street Below" - all prefaced by his thoughts on each track. The fourth clip is a bonus interview. Across all four vids, he discusses everything from lyrical inspiration, sonic structure, musical references and recording techniques.

It's fascinating stuff. My only complaint is that I wish he had shot a clip for each song on the album.

Monday, July 5, 2010

losing faith

Was this necessary?

What is the point of shoehorning Gostface Killah into this brilliant tune? Someone at the label needs to be shot for this. How deliciously apropos that would be.

For those who care, the single will be rereleased in the UK on August 1.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hey baby, it's the 4th of July.

From the obvious to the obscure. Happy 4th Of July, kittens! Feel the heat.

"4th Of July (Fireworks)" by Kelis.

"Fireworks" by Roxette.

"4th Of July" by X.

"Fireworks" by Siouxsie And The Banshees.

"Living In America" by James Brown

"I Love America" by Patrick Juvet

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Norwegians on ice

Everyone's fjordsome threesome, a-ha, have been busy beavers. Their farewell tour has been packing venues to the rafters all around the globe. They're about to release deluxe editions of their first two longplayers, "Hunting High And Low" and "Scoundrel Days".

There's even a new single about to hit the "shops". It's called "Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)" which will be available as a digital download on July 5. Then, on July 30, they will release it as a CD single in Germany. Snap your grubby, little hands on a copy of it ASAP because it's sure to be a tough one to find.

"Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)" is also the lone, new track featured on "25", their forthcoming, career retrospective. The double CD set will be released in Norway on July 19, in Germany on August 6, and in the UK on October 4. It is their third hits compilation following "Headlines And Deadlines - The Hits Of a-ha" from 1992 and "The Singles: 1984-2004 which was first released six years ago outside the US. For some odd reason, the latter just received an American release this month.

The tracklisting for "25" includes 33 of their 36 singles lovingly placed beside six of the band's favorite album tracks. The missing tracks are either remixes or live recordings which would have meant three songs would have been included twice.

There are a few surprises. For instance, the second mix of "The Blood That Moves The Body" from 1992, which was released to promote their first greatest hits collection, makes its first appearance on an a-ha album. Its inclusion is favored here over the original single version from 1988.

It's nice to have the single versions of their most recent releases, "Nothing Is Keeping You Here" and "Shadowside", which differ greatly from the ones that appear on "Foot Of The Mountain".

However, it isn't clear from the tracklisting if "Dark Is The Night For All" and "Angel In The Snow" are the single versions. Both tracks were retitled as "Dark As The Night" and "Angel", respectively, when they were issued as singles from their parent album, "Memorial Beach", back in 1993.

Lastly, the original 7" single of "Take On Me", which appears on CD for the first time on the deluxified edition of "Hunting High And Low", is missing from "25". I can certainly live without it on this new retrospective now that it's finally available in a beautifully remastered bundle of zeros and ones.

The following is the tracklisting for "25" in its full glory. Morten, Mags and Paul are ending on high note, indeed!

CD 1

1. Take On Me
2. The Blue Sky
3. The Sun Always Shines On T.V.
4. Train Of Thought (7” Remix)
5. Hunting High And Low (7” Remix)
6. I've Been Losing You
7. Scoundrel Days
8. The Swing Of Things
9. Cry Wolf
10. Manhattan Skyline (Edit Version)
11. The Living Daylights
12. Stay On These Roads
13. Touchy! (UK DJ Edit)
14. There's Never A Forever Thing
15. You Are The One (7" Remix)
16. The Blood That Moves The Body (Two-Time Gun Remix)
17. Crying In The Rain
18. Early Morning
19. Slender Frame
20. I Call Your Name

CD 2

1. Move To Memphis (Single Version)
2. Dark Is The Night For All
3. Cold As Stone (Remix)
4. Angel In The Snow (Edit)
5. Shapes That Go Together
6. Summer Moved On
7. Minor Earth Major Sky (Niven’s Radio Edit)
8. The Sun Never Shone That Day (Radio Edit)
9. Velvet
10. Forever Not Yours
11. Lifelines
12. Did Anyone Approach You?
13. Celice
14. Analogue (All I Want)
15. Cosy Prisons (Radio Mix)
16. Foot Of The Mountain
17. Nothing Is Keeping You Here (Single Remix)
18. Shadowside (Single Edit)
19. Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)

Note to trainspotters, the versions of "Touchy", "Cold As Stone" and "The Sun Never Shone That Day" on "25" mark the first time they are being made commercially available.