Sunday, July 31, 2011

all talked out

Oh, we love a good mash up here at So Hip It Hurts HQ. Darren Hayes has been slogging around the globe promotion his fabulous new single, "Talk Talk Talk".

And now, everyone's favorite Aussie troubadour has chucked it in a high speed blender with the Hall And Oates "classic", "Out Of Touch", to magnificent effect. The resulting aural cocktail is called "Out Of Talk" and it is available from all fine digital retailers from today.

Good gravy! That's a nice mashie.

For the uninitiated, here are the separate parts!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

it's alright

Oh, dear. Over the last twenty years, there are two words the mere mention of which strike fear in the hearts of music lovers - "covers album". And now, thirty years into her career, everybody's favorite love blonde, Kim Wilde, has decided to fondle her favorite tunes and put them on display with her twelfth longplayer, "Snapshots".

One of the nice surprises about the first single plucked from Kim's new elpee is that it isn't an obvious choice.

Well, it doesn't blow me away but it's alright. Literally. KW has reached back into the 90s for some inspiration in the shape of "It's Alright", an anthemic choon originally recorded by East 17. It was a #3 hit in the UK singles chart way back in 1993. That's nearly twenty years ago for those that feel like counting.

If you look closely at the video, you will see Kim's brother, Rick, on keys and Nick Beggs, member of Kajagoogoo, on bass. Oh, the life of a trainspotter.

Here's the original hit by Brian Harvey and co.

Nice hats, lads.

I'm not a fan of covers albums, but I quite like her "interpretation" of the East 17 "classic". Good thing she left out the rap in the middle eight.

Of course, KW is no stranger to cover versions. Her stellar rendition of "You Keep Me Hangin' On", a hit in the 60s and 70s by The Supremes and Vanilla Fudge, respectively, was revived by Kim in the 80s. She hit #2 in the UK with it in 1986 and then topped the US singles chart with it the following year.

"Snapshots" will be available from all fine "shops" on August 21.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

tears dry on their own

At first, I was going to refrain from adding my tiny voice to the clattering din. Social media can overwhelm the senses every now and then. And in times of "news" overload, it's easy to feel like the information highway is crashing down around us all. This week was particularly difficult, but we soldier on. That is the essence of the human spirit.

With the passing of Amy Winehouse, I thought it best to find an oasis of peace. No need to contribute my thoughts. Enough would be more eloquently said across the interwebs. Then, pieces fit together throughout the day as I disengaged from my online activities. No smartphone. No computer. No internet connection. No zeros and ones. However, the music never stops at So Hip It Hurts HQ whether it's on the old victrola or deep inside the confines of my head.

Randomly but obviously, Adele came blaring out of someone's parked car on the steamy city streets. Oddly, I heard Duffy trilling outside an Indian restaurant in Greenwich Village. Some old school Ashford & Simpson turned up inside a tiny record emporium in SoHo. And images of London, my second home, started filling my headspace. Naturally, thoughts turned to the Amy Winehouse tragedy. So talented. So young. So successful. So fleeting.

At times like these, my mind doesn't turn to the burn and churn news conglomerates. I don't chatter on about how sad it is. Instead, I look inward and relive the beauty of the art. It's the optimist inside. The indelible mark of someone's talent never fades even after their physical presence has.

While people ponder her motivations, judge her movements and spin tales around someone they don't even know, it's the art that speaks most clearly to the heart and shines brightly through the media smoke.

Amy's croaky, bourbon soaked, lovelorn vocal delivery is a treasure. The modern amalgamation of Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra and Dinah Washington. In these times of pristine, nondescript, sanitized, auto corrected, robotic vocal blanching, Amy's voice truly stood out among the pack.

Add to that a lyrical prowess and wit of someone twice her age, it's mind numbing to try to comprehend from where all that substance came from. There's a deeper story there. One we may never uncover now that Amy has floated into the ether.

Rewind to 2003. I recall seeing a raven haired beauty peering over the record rack at me. The sleeve seemed to beckon me. Who was this statuesque figure?

My trusty music guide's eyes lit up. He didn't have to utter a word. I knew he thought I would dig the sound captured within the grooves of the vinyl tucked inside the rose hued sleeve. Indeed, I was smitten with Amy's debut single, "Stronger Than Me". Unfortunately, the great British public, or at least the radio pluggers and programmers, were not yet entranced by her slurry, urgent, soulful delivery. As a result, the single limped in at #71 on the UK chart.

Pinned against a hip-hop track and a simple, jazzy guitar figure, Amy delivers a sultry tale detailing the disappointment in her love interest's lack of conviction. The other side of love - unrequited, lost and gone astray - seems to have been a recurring theme in Amy's work.

However, the sparkle of humor, even dark at times, could be heard glimmering deep inside her lyrical weave. In fact, it was one of the few times I've heard a female singer question her male love interest's sexuality by asking him if his weakness meant he's gay. Not politically correct by any means, but daringly insightful in the context of the song's message. Amy was not afraid to wear her thoughts and emotions on the very end of her sleeve.

And who would've had the audacity to release "Fuck Me Pumps" as a single, let alone write, record and feature it on their debut longplayer? Guts, determination, drive and vision all wrapped up in the unlikeliest of tattered bouffants.

Amy's debut album, "Frank", garnered quite a lot of attention, but it didn't bother the charts too much. Initially, it peaked at #13 and she was left to create the follow up. Greatness wasn't immediately expected. But with every passing month, her label couldn't contain their excitement over the developments. Little by little, the press and lucky insiders were made privy to the magic being constructed in the studio.

Many column inches have been dedicated to Lady Winehouse following her magnificent sophomore effort, "Back To Black", in all of its doo wop, 60s girl group, boozey, blusey glory. Grit and grime with a heartache chaser sung by a woman wiser than her years in some ways.

Rock n' roll was built on talent like Amy's. It was always the outsiders, the strangers and the challengers that pushed the limits of music. They pulled from the past, got inspired by the progenitors of their chosen genres, and blazed a trail into the future. Sadly, some of them burned out in a brilliant flash rather than simply fade away and tread on past glories. Amy Winehouse has entered that pantheon of performance like many before her. A bewitching force of nature like no other.

Without digging too deeply into the obvious touchstones, I'd like to share my fave rave from "Back To Black", "Tears Dry On Their Own". It's based around the chord sequence from "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", hence the Ashford & Simpson writing credit. The song encapsulates the elation and subsequent fall from grace that Amy, much like many great loves, experienced and endured.

Unfortunately, these days people are more interested in tragedy than talent. Titillated by someone's misfortune rather than find inspiration in them overcoming their personal struggle. So, for a moment, think about the people Amy left behind. Her family, friends, fans and musicians. People that might find consolation in her art. Art left to shine in the light of her short, sharp legacy while we reflect. Even though we are saddened to hear of her passing, tears do, indeed, dry on their own.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

fire and ice

When I worked at EMI, I was in charge of the repertoire for all EMI owned labels of which Chrysalis was one of them. I had my eye on several key acts which had yet to have comprehensive retrospectives produced for them. Icehouse was near the top of my list.

However, I was never able to access the band's formidable catalog due to a contract restriction which didn't allow us to compile their repertoire without full consent from front man, Iva Davies. Of course, the legal department didn't allow for any negotiation on our part, so the ability to produce a singles collection for Icehouse became less of a possibility and eventually, the band took full control of their catalog away from EMI.

Now, after more than 20 years since a patchy greatest hits was made available, Icehouse, best remembered in the US for a clutch hits like "Electric Blue", co-written by John Oates, and "Crazy", will release their first, comprehensive hits collection. "White Heat: 30 Hits", scheduled to hit the "shops" on August 26, will feature all of the band's singles in chronological order across two CDs. Additionally, the set will include a DVD with all 32 of its music videos.

The following is the official tracklisting for "White Heat: 30 Hits", which has been overseen by Iva Davies, features all of Icehouse's internationally released singles.


1. Can’t Help Myself
2. We Can Get Together
3. Walls
4. Icehouse
5. Love in Motion (Original Single Mix)
6. Great Southern Land
7. Hey, Little Girl
8. Street Cafe
9. Glam
10. Taking The Town
11. Don’t Believe Anymore
12. Dusty Pages
13. No Promises
14. Baby, You’re So Strange
15. Mr. Big


1. Cross The Border
2. Crazy
3. Electric Blue
4. My Obsession
5. Man Of Colours
6. Nothing Too Serious
7. Touch The Fire
8. Jimmy Dean
9. Big Fun
10. Miss Divine
11. Anything Is Possible
12. Satellite
13. Big Wheel
14. Invisible People
15. Love In Motion


1. Can’t Help Myself
2. We Can Get Together (Australasian Version)
3. We Can Get Together (International Version)
4. Walls
5. Icehouse
6. Love In Motion (Original Single Version)
7. Great Southern Land
8. Hey, Little Girl
9. Street Cafe
10. Glam
11. Taking The Town
12. Don’t Believe Anymore
13. Dusty Pages
14. No Promises (International Version)
15. No Promises (UK Version)
16. Baby, You’re So Strange
17. Mr. Big
18. Cross The Border
19. Crazy (Australasian Version)
20. Crazy (International Version)
21. Electric Blue
22. My Obsession
23. Man Of Colours
24. Nothing Too Serious
25. Touch The Fire
26. Big Fun
27. Miss Divine
28. Anything Is Possible
29. Satellite
30. Big Wheel
31. Invisible People
32. Love In Motion
33. Sister (from "Countdown 1980")

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

all is fair in love and warning

Penguin Prison, one of my current fave raves, just released "Fair Warning", the fifth single from their forthcoming, self-titled, debut longplayer. It's an elpee crackling with top tunes. Each one a single contender in its own right.

And, as if by magic, Chris Glover and co., have lensed a video for their latest offering. Let's take a peek.

Stylish, colorful and bristling with energy, the video is exactly the visual component needed to bring Penguin Prison into a more human realm. Until now, it seems Mr. Glover has remained slightly reluctant to plaster his face and stamp his personality on the project.

"Fair Warning" is available now from all fine online retailers. A raft of remixes will be released next month. Look out for its parent album this fall.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

talk of the town

Aussie pop minstrel, Darren Hayes, has returned with "Talk Talk Talk", the first single from his forthcoming, fourth longplayer, "Secret Codes And Battleships". The song has a giant, anthemic chorus which is preceded by more understated verses that feature some nifty electronic shadings. Darren's voice has rarely sounded stronger and more confident.

It looks like Darren is pulling out all the stops with the video. It's a suitably stylish visual extravaganza rarely seen these days.

Plus, he's given his new single an old fashioned, non-album b-side in the shape of his interpretation of "Angel", an often overlooked chestnut originally released by Madonna way back in 1985.

"Talk Talk Talk" is available now from all fine online retails. Expect a bundle of reswizzlings to be hit the "shops" on July 31. The song has been reworked by 7th Heaven, Club Junkies, Fred Falke and Penguin Prison. A nice line up!

Also, Darren will deliver an old school extended version and a clever mash up which features the vocal of "Talk Talk Talk" over the instrumental of "Out Of Touch" by Hall & Oates. Looks like he's covered all the bases. Kudos to his management team for pushing all the right buttons.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

the big sky

The Human League are mere moments away from plucking "Sky", the third single from their current longplayer, "Credo". The radio edit just showed up on the interwebs. Despite a lukewarm reception to the new elpee, their first in a decade, there are at least five very strong songs among the eleven tracks.

Although I like "Sky" quite a lot, I would've opted for the more muscular sounding, "Egomaniac", which was released as a single in Germany.

"Sky", replete with a raft of requisite remixes, will be available from all fine online retailers on July 25.