Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Style At Set: Giving Easter a bit of Glam

Got any plans for the bank holiday weekend? I’m sure excessive chocolate consumption is one of them. Which is fair enough. BUT if you fancy doing something other than eating your own weight in the brown stuff then why not venture down to Kilkenny for  Absolut Style at Set?

Why not you say? Well first of all it’s all been masterminded by the amazing Blanaid Hennessy, of both and The Stylebitches (she also writes about interiors for the Independent. Everyone I’m writing about these days is AWFULLY BUSY).

Second of all Style at Set is a weekend of fashionable films, talks, stalls and mentalness. The weekend is an exciting mish mash of talks by fashion experts, vintage fashion and furniture stalls and plenty of make up and beauty advice. It's all based around the opening of the new Set theatre in Langton's in Killkenny. I'm particularly excited for Saturday night. The Stylebtiches will be DJing  and I will be on after them to bring the night to a close. The dress code is demented which is quite exciting. Might rock a pair of these?


All jest aside this should be a fantastic night and the weekend itself is going to be a real treat. I’m thrilled Miss Hennessy is having me down. But not only that, I’ll be joined by Helen O’Reilly of Style Nation who will be shooting lots of bits and pieces here and there and the lovely Eimear Fitzmaurice will be there taking snaps as is her wont.

For full details check out Blanaid’s blog, where you can find out more on the movies screening on the Friday, the vintage finds awaiting you on the Saturday, the glamourous location and how cheap those lovely tickets are. It’s going to be tip top so do pop down if you’re around. And then stuff your face with chocolate. Everyone’s a winner.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kelis Releases Acapella Video and Continues to Tease Amazing Album

Kelis first released her slinky David Guetta produced single Acapella onto the web in November of last year. I was excited about it back then and I'm still loving it now. A clear crisp slice of dance-pop her gruff vocals sound perfectly at home on what is still one of the most uplifting pop songs I've heard in awhile. The forthcoming Flesh Tone album is sure to be a bit of a stormer.

If that wasn't enough shes' just released the video for the track after releasing a teaser last week. Playing with tribal imagery and slowly bursting with colour it's a joy to watch. Loving the varied looks especially the diamond headpiece/glasses and the image of Kelis floating in a field of stars. Lovely. You can watch the video in full on her official site.

On top of this more tracks from the album are beginning to surface. Live videos of Kelis performing 4th of July have been going around for awhile and it's equally enjoyable with the same sense of euphoria as Acapella. This week at the Winter Music Conference she also performed another new track 22nd Century, produced by Free School. It's great stuff with the straightforward hook "We are the stars" lodging in the head on first listen. This video of Kelis performing the tracks live is great fun, she's clearly enjoying performing the new stuff live (whether she is actually singing or not is questionable though!)

WMC RAW // Kelis from on Vimeo.

(Video found on The Prophet Blog who are well worth checking out.)

She also hit the stage with Benny Benassi to perform Acapella and a track she recorded with him called Spaceship according to MTV News, which you can hear below. Somebody had a busy weekend! (thanks to Ultimate Kelis for the video)

The merging of dance beats and club sounds with mainstream US popstars is nothing new and with everyone from Three 6 Mafia to Christina Aguilera taking on electronic sounds, it seems like there's plenty more mainstream electro pop headed our way in the next few months. As pointed out in the recent Billboard cover story on David Guetta (whose gone from ignored on the US pop charts to producer du jour) the synths and electronic sounds that have filtered throughout pop have only gotten bigger. 

Kelis though seems to be putting her own spin on things. Reflecting on motherhood, moving on from a divorce and still being one of the few genuinely quirky popstars left gives her an edge many others don't have. It's exciting to see where this album heads. In the meantime watch Acapella slowly take over the charts. Is it too early to start talking about songs of the summer?

Bitches With Wolves: The Great Irish Pop Hope

I often lament that we don’t have any proper popstars in Ireland. I mean you’ve got your Westlifes and all but it’s not the same. And while you can’t deny that everyone from U2 to The Script have flown the flag for bands in different shapes and sizes we’ve never had someone to be our Madonna as such.

Well thank goodness then for Bitches With Wolves and  their star in the making frontman James O’Neill. Bitches With Wolves have garnered plenty of buzz over the last year. Thanks to a strong live show, some high profile support gigs (I'm sorry did someone say Groove Armada, Fatboy Slim and Calvin Harris?) and a couple of exciting tracks on their Myspace BWW feel like a proper pop force in the making.

Their current track Broken Hearts is a fine example of what makes the group so exciting. Sounding like a MSTRKRFT remix, Goldfrapp on a boozy Friday night and early 80s Madonna  if she were born today all put in a pop blender, it’s a pleasing piece of crunchy, dirty electro pop.

If that weren’t enough the group have also announced a string of dates at the Academy 2 starting this Saturday (the 3rd of April). I can only imagine the kind of antics James and co. will get up to onstage but whatever they do it’s sure to be poptastic.

I can’t help but love that poster too. Who hasn’t sat on their disco ball and thought about the world? Get more info on the gigs here, add them on Facebook and make sure you check out Broken Hearts on the band’s Myspace and if you really like it, remind the fine folks at Spin 103.8 of the fact as they’ve added it to their playlist. Lovely stuff.

Spin That Record - Top Tunes of the Moment Circa March 2010

No frills here just a list of tracks I’ve been enjoying over the last few weeks. I’m not going for the freshest tracks per se, just the things I’ve been spinning for whatever reason. 

And despite my usual need to rant about everything I’m keeping this down to artists and names only. Go dig out the songs yourselves if you’re interested (End rant!) 

P.S. this post was inspired in part by the utterly stylish blog of Miss Eimear who also turned me on to the amazing Lady Gaga mix I mention below!

Dragonette – Big Sunglasses

Goldfrapp – I Wanna Life

Bitches With Wolves – Broken Hearts

Madonna – Into The Groove

Gabriella Cilmi – Heart’s Don’t Lie

Adam Lambert – For Your Entertainment

Lady Gaga- Bad Romance (Skillrex Remix)

Rihanna – Rude Boy (Cosmic Dawn Remix)

Cheryl Cole – Just Let Me Go

Crookers  - Natural Born Hustler feat. Pitbull

Usher – OMG feat. Will.I.Am

Hot Chip – I Feel Better

Madonna – Music 2008 (Live)

Missy Elliot – Lose Control (Jacques Lu Cont Remix)

Simon Curtis – Beat Drop

Sophie Ellis Bextor – Bittersweet

Tinie Tempah – Pass Out

Toni Braxton – Make My Heart

Aggros Santos – Candy feat. Kimberley Wyatt

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Lady Gaga!

It's Lady Gaga's 24th birthday today. Hard to believe how ridiculously young she still is and the  amount of things she's already achieved. From bestselling albums to eye popping videos and a handful of tours under her belt her work ethic is putting every other popstar out there to shame. Maybe Gaga will have a slice of this for her birthday:

(found this on Flickr here by the way)

Below is a video of Miss Gaga having Happy Birthday sung to her by backing singers/dancers in Australia last night. I love when celebrities get Happy Birthday sung to them. It's always so ridiculous and overblown. (Video spotted on, my fave Gaga fansite)

Here's hoping the Lady takes time out of her busy schedule of wearing outrageous outfits, being provocative and constantly touring to you know, kick back and relish another year passing in her life. In honour of the Lady herself, her is what is still one of my favourite Gaga videos Lovegame

Saturday, March 27, 2010

GCN Music Column and a Sharp Shock to your Tuesday night

For some reason, I’ve yet to properly mention GCN and my work writing their music column every month. Whoops! Bearing that in mind, check out their latest issue online here, the recent redesign looks amazing on full screen I must say. And don't forget to contribute to their GCN Forever campaign to keep the magazine going as a community resource in this harsh times for print media.

I’m particularly happy with this month’s music column. With Usher, Diana Vickers, Bitches With Wolves, Marina and the Diamonds and Ellie Goulding getting a mention (to name a few) it’s a typically poptastic mix of artists.

This month’s cover feature is great too, a look at the forthcoming documentary Growing Up Gay which airs this month on RTE. The cover was shot by my friend Peter Fingleton, who some of you may know for his photography, blogging or Djing (how does he do it all?). 

Speaking of photography Peter launches his website Sharp Shock on Tuesday March 30th at Tripod’s Chocolate Bar from 8pm . Peter excels at amazing club photography and the thoughts of having a place online where I can check out his pictures like I Can Teach You How To Do It excites me no end.

The launch of Sharp Shock is also sponsored by Absolut so will include some cocktails (Yes!) for those who get there early. Of course this will all be followed by another night of madness at C U Next Tuesday the club night Peter co-promotes there each week. It will be bonkers (guaranteed) and will include a guest slot from Joey and Eimear who know a thing or two about turning a room out during a DJ set.

So in short, read this month’s GCN, have a little nap then hit the launch/subsequent party on Tuesday at Chocolate Bar. One way to get the week off to a good start!

Album Review : Gabriella Cilmi "Ten"

Gabriella Cilmi is a bit of a funny one when it comes to the pop big league. Her Xenomania produced debut single Sweet About Me was as slow burning sensation, becoming a hit on the charts and raido internationally. Despite her obvious vocal chops and being a star in her early teens (what a way to spend age 14-16 eh?) it was hard to get a sense of anything solid out of Cilmi.

Thankfully her new album Ten solves that problem. It’s easy to roll your eyes when a popstar claims to be all grown up with a sexy new image when they want people to pay attention but this time there are the tunes to back things up. You may already know the thumping lead single On A Mission. It’s anthemic pop with bags of attitude and a fantastic calling card for that big voice to shine.

There are plenty more highlights throughout the album. The true standout is the sole Xenomania produced Hearts Don’t Lie, a sultry and impressive disco number that should hopefully be a huge hit. If it’s not the world is missing out as this is one of the strongest things Xenomania have worked on in quite awhile.

There’s plenty more to enjoy however, including Love Me Cos which sees Ellie Goulding crop up on the co-writing credits (in fact it doesn’t sound a million miles away from something that would crop up on Lights) and Superhot which is a nice slice of Moroder style synth pop. It’s nice to hear someone with Cilmi’s pipes tackle these songs too as opposed as to the Amy Winehouse lite of her first release.

Sadly the odd dud crops up here and there, Defender is a limp would be power ballad and What If You Knew is a tad cheesy. Still these are merely blips on the radar of an otherwise fantastic pop album. Dripping with sass and a sense of fun, this should hopefully place Cilmi firmly in the middle of the pop heap. 

STOP EVERYTHING: The Hills Has Been Axed

Oh. My. Word. The Hills has been officially cancelled.

I'm sure it's no secret of my love for MTV's reality hit The Hills. I've been a fan of it's compelling mix of "drama", beautiful people, gorgeous photography and crow barring of numerous popular songs into one episode for awhile now and I was a bit sad to hear this week that the show had been axed.

If I'm being honest, as discussed here before, the show had peaked in terms of what it tried to do and the attempt at rebooting the show with Kristin Cavallari last season clearly didn't work the way the producers had hoped.

Ideally when Lauren left last year that would have been it. It felt like a nice way to wrap what the show had done as opposed to the jump the shark antics of Speidi and their new cute kid next door neighbour (you know your show is in the shit when a cute kid comes in. Fact.) and assorted Audrina "drama" that never got off the ground.

Still with the end of The Hills comes a conclusion to a show that did something a bit different with the reality TV genre. As a spin off of Laguna Beach, the format itself wasn't new but what worked with The Hills was how it honed the "reality filmed as a TV drama" aesthetic into something beautiful to look at. The show also perfected the ability to use the broad strokes of established drama cliches (the best friend, the villain, the harsh boss etc) to paint a vivid picture of the lives of some stupidly privileged blondes. There's been spin offs from the show directly and in various international markets and not to mention spoofs aplenty.

Love it or loathe it The Hills became a genuine pop culture phenomenon. Playing off our ever more intense love for pointless celebrities (the great legacy of reality) and glossy attention deficit TV, it was another reminder of MTV's knack for pulling the right show out at the right time and their ability to keep their paws in their coveted youth audience.

The interesting thing was seeing how the show negotiated becoming a pop culture hit and the cast became famous outside of the show. The peak of this was Season 3 when a real life sex tape rumour became the basis for the now infamous Heidi/Lauren feud. The attempt to keep the burgeoning celebrity lifestyles of Audrina et al out of the show was interesting not least for how it made the show seem more and more ludicrous as time went on.

From what I've read on the next season, it sounds like they might attempt to bring these elements into the show, which could make for an interesting watch. Like many a hit US show, this was allowed run that little bit too long but I'll still have some fantastic TV memories and I'm sure Heidi Montag is only delighted someone was willing to pay her to pretend to eat lunch in order to get a new face.

RIP The Hills. May you live a legacy of blondes, "drama" and quasi celebrity careers in your wake.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ready for the Remix : Tom Neville comes to Dublin

Who doesn't love a good remix? I've had people make fun of my constant need to have 7 different versions of the one song (is it my fault I enjoy cheesy house mixes and electro laden reswizzes? NO.) but there's nothing like a remix to give a song a fresh take, give it a new lease of life or just make you view it in a new way.

Which is why the news that one of the hottest pop remixers around Tom Neville is on his way to Dublin. Neville's CV is undeniably impressive having worked on mixes for Calvin Harris, Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, The Ting Tings, Kelis and Britney Spears. You know, just some low key indie type artists you may not have heard of. Neville does his own tunes too, fitting into a similar vein of immediate electro goodness.

Neville does a good line in chunky electro takes on familiar tracks. His mix of The Tings Tings That's Not My Name is a good example, all sliding synths and heavy bass it's a neat example of those remixes that happily mix commercial appeal and harder dance rhythms. 

I'm really loving his biggest mix at the moment too, a take on Gaga's Telephone which is becoming scarily huge, as hits go:

Having slowly built up a strong international profile, he'll be jetting into Dublin's Wax for a spot of tune playing on the 9th of April. Given that this is a Friday night and WAR will be on upstairs, it'll be basically the best mix of dance, pop, electro, trash and general Britney vibes in town that weekend and sure to be quite the amazing night. I'm sure I'll be there picking my face off the floor/dancing like a crazed animal/failing to convince people that I'm actually sober etc.

If that weren't enough for you, here is an amusing picture of Tom Neville looking off into the distance, probably thinking up of new ways to reswizzle popular hits for maddourivit youngsters on a Friday night. Oh, the life of a DJ:

For more on Tom's work check out his MySpace and for details on time/price etc click here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Robyn Rolls Back Around Part II : "Fembot" in Full

I've already mentioned the new Robyn track last week. Fembot was put up on her official as a further teaser for more pop amazingness later on in the year. What a great excuse to post a lovely picture of her, (which I by no means robbed from Pitchfork. Ahem).:

The track leaked in full and while I certainly wouldn't condone listening to the final version in a less than illegal manner (tut tut iLeaks, ahem) I would point out that the full thing is every bit as amazing as the preview. From the judder-y hip hop beat to that lodge in the head hook, it's that pefect pop moment where everything you love about an artist is maintained but you still get to hear something fresh. You can't help but feel Robyn really crafts her sound and with all this new music coming from her this year we can only imagine. 

On the subject of random Robyn things, this remains one of my favourite tracks on that rather fabulous self titled album:

Bittersweet Bextor: Sophie Ellis Bextor Returns With A Killer Single

From her days of Groovejet to a consistent portfolio of top pop singles, Sophie Ellis Bextor has carved a niche as one of the most enjoyable yet slightly shy of the big time popstars around. Her last album Trip The Light Fantastic was painfully underrated, from the exuberant electro pop of Catch You to the Xenomania gem If You Go, it still stands up to repeat listens. After a successful collaboration with dance-pop wizards the Freemasons last year on Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer) the pair show up on her new release Bittersweet (alongside pop songwriters supreme Richard "Biffco" Stannard and Hannah Robinson).

With the Freemasons on board you'd probably be thinking that Bittersweet is a stomper. And you'd be right. An epic slice of chilly electro pop, the chorus plays that fine line between desire and disdain that suits Bextor's vocals perfectly. It already feels like a proper stormer of a tune, the kind of thing Bextor needs to reaffirm her place on the pop heap. If that weren't enough there is a rather heavenly extended mix by the Freemasons that will probably go down something of a storm in the clubs.

The remix by Jodie Harsh is also pretty special and with rumoured producers on the new album reported to include Groove Armada, Richard X and the Sneaker Pimps it's hard not to be just a little bit excited about what's coming our way Sophie Wise.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Robyn Rolls Back Around: New Track Preview Hits Website

Following news that she was preparing three new albums for release this year (THREE!) Robyn set pop fans heart alight. Having milked her fantastic self titled album for five years across the world she has built up a diverse fanbase and scored herself a UK number one in the process.

A video from a documentary on the Swedish star leaked last week with some new song snippets throughout, all of which sound suitably amazing (get more on the video here)

And now Robyn has posted a new track preview on her official site, entitled Fembot. With the killer opening line "I've got news for you/fembots have feelings too" it feels like typical Robyn but with enough advancements to suggest fresh ideas abound. Immediate chorus, jittery production, layers of attitude with that typically sweet but deliberate vocal delivery, it's a charming slice of pop. This is yet another exciting teaser for the return of one of pop music's most interesting figures.

See for the preview. Cannot wait to hear more! Pitchfork also has an interview with her too, give it a look

Reboot/ Rock the Nation

Lady Gaga Explains Away The Critics: Telephone Video Continues to Set Tongues Wagging

Let's face it, at this stage, with nearly 20 million views in less than a week the world and it's dog has probably seen the new Lady Gaga video with Beyonce for Telephone. Predictably it's caused alot of discussion from fevered fans to critics, all of whom have dissected the video in various ways.

For my sins I got locked into a passionate defence of the video with the lovely Una Mullally over on the Panti blog. We've got differing viewpoints on the video and Lady Gaga for sure but it's always fun to compare and contrast them too. Head over there if you can brave the lack of paragraphs (I tried to space them but the blog wouldn't let me. Raging).

There is lots of great further reading to be found elsewhere. Only Words to Play With offers up spirited academic discussion of the ideas in the video, in painstaking detail. Whether or not you agree with all of it (which is always open to debate when it comes to these kind of ideas) it's interesting to read and unsurprisingly has been shared online by Lady Gaga herself.

Vincent Herbert, Gaga's manager, spoke with Advertising Age after the video was released to discuss the level of product placement in the video. It's fascinating to see who did and didn't pay for their inclusion in the video and how many of the placements were not paid for but included as part of ongoing deals (which means that they WERE paid for, just not for this video specifically a nice way of skirting around the issue).

Gaga's own chat with Ryan Seacrest of E! News (who got the first play of the video) is interesting too. There is some very clear attempts by Gaga throughout to discuss and explain her own ideas and also point out Beyonce's reaction to some of them which is entertaining in itself.

The best of the bunch though is Out magazine's interview with Heather Cassils who plays Gaga's lover in the prison exercise yard sequence. Cassil is a performance artist and personal trainer based in California and by her own admission not usually used to appearing in big budget pop videos. She recounts her own experiences on set, including a discussion about gender that herself and Gaga have between takes. It's a fascinating piece and Gaga's own posting of the article suggests her need to make clear her intentions behind Telephone.

It's a bold move and a welcome one when many miss the crucial point of what she is doing. Her work is deliberately referential and part of how mainstream culture borrows from more left field areas. As Cassil points out : Elvis stole from African American music. Everybody's constantly riffing -- Madonna stole voguing from poor, disenfranchised black drag queens in Harlem. This isn't a new concept. I think there's more reverence with regard to Lady Gaga as she's obviously educated herself in her trajectory with visual arts practices and the stuff that she's doing isn't light stuff

Telephone for all it's bluster and flaws and epic ambition has become a sensation, reminding us how the pop video can still be an event and how to maintain interesting in a follow up single from a recently released album (something many big popstars struggle with these days). Whatever your stand point, there is nobody else in the mainstream pop arena attempting a third of what Gaga is doing and it's breathtaking to watch. If you only read one article about this video then make sure it's the Out interview.

And once you've done that, give it another watch (how long before this hits the 100 million mark? Days?)

Rihanna's Rude Boy : Remixes Ahoy

Rihanna's Rude Boy, one of the standout tracks on her Rated R album is shaping up to be one of her biggest hits and while certainly not reaching Umbrella heights, definitely sounds like the new Rihanna taking on the shiny pop of Don't Stop the Music on her own terms. It's been nice to see how the single has slotted into the altogether darker tone of the Rated R campaign, from the suggestive single cover to the Keith Haring meets MIA meets Caribbean vibe of the video.

Still what is a pop single without some decent remixes? Have dug around in the last few weeks very few of them really stand out. Chew Fu who has done wonders with many recent pop tracks falls a bit short with his take. It's too plodding and slow when it should be explosive. The Low Sundays rework is similarly disappointing. The Wideboys thankfully rescue the track with their enjoyable if slightly straightforward mix. Having done wonders with many pop hits over the last few years (Riri's own Don't Stop The Music in particular) they gave this tune an enjoyable house flavoured workout. Sounds a bit like Calvin Harris' I'm Not Alone at times too (those 90s style synths, lovely).

The cream of the crop though is the Cosmic Dawn remix (which I first spotted here) a bouncy nu-disco take on the track. It's fresh, immediate and would sound quite good blared at a summer party. And a nice excuse to post yet another version of the video. By the time you've finished you'll have the image of Rihanna whirling around imprinted on your brain forever. Check out more on Cosmic Dawn at their blog.

All very enjoyable it must be said. It'll be interesting to see how they follow up this single, there's already talk of work commencing on a follow up but with a pop album as strong as Rated R, there is sure to be some mileage left.

Uncomfortable Viewing Alert: Heidi Montag Laughs At Herself

Well this isn't the first time Miss Heidi Montag has appeared on this blog. But with her recent plastic surgery transformation and car crash lifestyle it's hard not too be sucked into the trainwreck whirlpool that is Planet Montag.

As is now customary for many famous folk to prove their normality to the masses Heidi has done a video for Funny Or Die, the infamous comedy site home to numerous spoofs and viral video hits. From Lindsay Lohan to Denise Richards, plenty of famous ladies have made fun of their image in an effort to seem self aware and in on the joke.

Heidi's video is no exception. It's actually quite funny and it's nice to see all those years of awful acting on The Hills haven't dulled Heidi's comic timing. But my god how frightening is her face? She's not far off Jocelyn Wildenstein at this stage. And Spencer looks radically slimmed down too (apparently he's been taken off The Hills temporarily after intimidating a member of the crew. Jaysus.)

Interestingly the video has a bit of a "point" aimed at setting up a consumer agency in the US to help those facing large bills/debt in the current economic climate.

Which is all very well but when Heidi constantly looks like she's about to fall over because of her new boobs and joking that her face doesn't move (is she even joking?) it's hard to pay attention. Still this is an enjoyable video and certainly less upsetting then Lindsay Lohan's one last year.

Although if this is what Heidi Version 3.0 looks like on camera, I can't wait to see how they address that on the new season of The Hills.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lady Gaga and Beyonce make a typically understated video for "Telephone"

Well knock me over with a diamond encrusted feather, I've just had my first viewing of the video for Lady Gaga's Telephone featuring Beyonce.

Initial reactions:

- Brilliantly shot, with Jonas Akerlund riffing on Kill Bill, the Paparazzi video (the story is obviously intended as a continuation) and his other videos particularly for Madonna (I was getting both American Life and Nothing Really Matters at times), hip hop videos (the Hype Williams style split screen and booty dance at the end) and I'm sure ten billion more cultural touchstones I'm not smart enough to catch up

-Outfits are suitably impressive but particularly love the use of costumes from the current Monster Ball tour esp the Rachel Barrett latex (I'm guessing) dress and the leopard print catsuit. For someone who has done so
many looks, Gaga knows how to re-use certain costumes to great effect.

- Some of the new looks are particularly those smoke covered glasses in the prison sequences

- The chick with a dick joke is actually hilarious

- The obligatory mobile phone plugs are as painful as you'd expect

- The choreography is the most "pop" we've seen from Gaga in awhile in particular the underwear dance sequence amidst the prison cells which is like Britney doing the Cell Block Tango from Chicago.

- The "to be continued" bit is interesting. If Alejandaro is really the next single as is been mentioned around the place recently, it should lead to an excellent follow up

- The humour is off the wall and all the better for it. "Let's Make A Sandwich" indeed.

I'd be here all day ranting about this really. I will say that compared to the Paparazzi video this is much more of a short film/musical piece. At times the ins and outs of the music don't work as well as they should. It'll be interesting to see what kind of edit they do of this for TV play etc. Still it's hard to fault a story as bonkers, enjoyable and brilliantly visual as this.

Nicely played Lady Gaga and assorted creative types/Beyonce.

Credit to iLeaks for sending out the video early to Gaga heads everywhere!

UPDATE: Now on Vevo/YouTube

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dear Blog: An Open Letter

Dear Blog,

It's been awhile hasn't it? A week almost. I know it's been a bit patchy between us but I do care. I do. I've just been doing other things that have meant we've been missing out on our quality time.

Don't believe me? Well there is the small matter of Venntertainment, the other blog I write for. Yeah I know. I'm not betraying you, just keeping my options open. Because they've been kind enough to ask me to host a radio show I've been following up some of the show pieces on the blog.  So if you want to know how to brave Chat Roulette, make money as a musician, what should happen at awards shows (but doesn't), ways the internet could ruin your life or what celebs would be amazing to have tweet

Maybe you haven't heard the show but that's OK, if you click here you can catch up on all the podcasts so far. I mention you alot, isn't that one way of showing I care?

But don't worry I've done other stuff too, not least upload videos of me interviewing popstar types at the Meteors:

While also Live tweeting for IMTV at the Choice Music Prize, and also rehearsing for two (TWO plays) among other things. Not only that but I was on Spin 103.8 at the weekend talking about Marina and the Diamonds and Sugababes and filmed the lovely Sinead Ni Bhurda interviewing Ocean Colour Scene and Two Door Cinema Club for IMTV. Did I mention I finally finished the first season of 90210? It's been a crazy week.

So you see dear blog, I'm super busy but I'm going to give you a bit more time, I promise. So while I try and hunt down some dirt for you this week I'll also be doing the DJ thing (for both C U Next Tuesday and Come As Soon As You Hear) and attempting to soak up as much pop culture as possible.

Love ya blog,


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wynter Gordon takes her "Dirty Talk" to the clubs

I mentioned the rather fabulous Wynter Gordon and her track Dirty Talk on here awhile back. And since then she's announced that is to be released officially as a single with an album "With The Music I Die.." ( the title according to a flier on her official site) to follow later this year.

This is of course great news, I've been playing Dirty Talk loads in the last few months. It is basically Madonna's "Celebration" with a shopping list of sex positions/places/situations in place of lyrics and getting up and dancing. Not only that but it means we finally get to a Wynter Gordon logo, as evidenced on the single artwork below:


The song already sounds quite club ready but there are some remixes on the way. Not least one from remixer du jour Laidback Luke whose already done remixes for Daft Punk, David Guetta (his reswizz of When Love Takes Over will be familiar to anyone who was out in a club in some shape or form in the last 12 months), Black Eyed Peas (click here to hear him rescue I Got A Feeling from the land of the terminally overplayed) and Calvin Harris. His mix is a potent jumble of rave-y synths and full on electro bleeps and will only help this song become the club juggernaut it needs to be.

The best evidence of just how monstrous this mix can be seen in the video below. It features Laidback Luke himself playing the mix in one of his sets. The first time I watched this I thought it was somebody filming a cute guy singing along to the track and loved the idea that this was the lone Wynter fan in the crowd. Then I realised this was in fact Laidback Luke going crazy to his own mix. Which makes more sense.

Dirty Talk is a surprising start for an artist who seems to be more as soulful/intense sort but a girl's got to start off somewhere. Still it should be an effective launch pad for one of the most talented internet buzz artists in awhile and at the very least allow to snag some slots writing for high profile artists. Needless to say, it's all very exciting.

And just for fun I've put the original version of Dirty Talk and Madge's Celebration beside each other so you can play them back to back and revel in the pop meets Ibiza house meets divas in battle glory. Enjoy!

Seventh Time Just As Sweet? : Sugababes "Sweet 7" Album Review

It hasn't been an easy time in the limelight for the Sugababes over the last few months. The sudden removal of founding member Keisha Buchanan from the group suggested all was still not well with a band rapidly becoming better known for their line up changes than their music.

Sweet 7, the latest release was delayed when new girl Jade Ewen had to be drafted in to slap her vocals on top and now we finally have the finished product. And what a product it is. All over the place and weighed down with big budget production, you don't doubt the money that's been thrown at this project. Even before Keisha left the group the band made no secret of how they were working with more big name producers and reinvigorating their sound after the failure of their previous effort Catfights and Spotlights.

While that was a somewhat half baked attempt at soul-pop in the style of Duffy etc it did seem like an attempt to give the Sugababes some semblance of the class and sophistication that marked their earlier output. Sweet 7 does no such thing. The singles preceding the album (all 3 of which have been top ten hits in the UK) are enjoyable and punchy pieces of up-tempo R&B synth pop. But they are hardly earth shattering and feel a tad generic. Get Sexy and Wear My Kiss do the job nicely and will lodge in your head on first listen but don't scale the lofty heights of Round Round or Hole in the Head. About A Girl is a tad better, sure it's your standard Red One produced club jam but it's one of the few moments where the big name production and the girls vocal really come together and the idea of the new Sugababes as a big glossy pop product really works.

Further attempts at upbeat pop crop up throughout and it's the only time the album is in anyway enjoyable. Wait For You and Thank You for the Heartbreak allow Jade to flex a bit of vocal muscle, Miss Everything with Sean Kingston is an obvious contender for a sure-fire hit single while She's A Mess is an all over the place but enjoyable cocktail of tumbling synths and cockney accents.

It's on the mid-tempo numbers and ballads that the whole thing falls apart. There isn't a single one that stands out and in fact feels like some of the worst stuff the band have ever placed on an album. No More You is dull, Sweet and Amazing is painfully cheesy and Little Miss Perfect is a limp and lifeless drone of a song. It's here that you realise that the band have been completely mismanaged in this new sound. The Sugababes of old were as at home with the powerful ballad as the club stomper. Stronger and Too Lost in You were epic and fitting and reminding you how much vocal power the trio possessed. None of the slower songs on Sweet 7 come close.

Overall, Sweet 7 is a patchy but listenable piece of slick pop with the occasional highlight. It's far too weighed down with filler to be truly great and as a Sugababes album it is sorely lacking. Hardcore fans will try and love it but everyone else will left a little bit disappointed.