Monday, April 30, 2007

Dance Diva Diana!

I really have been overdosing on legendary divas from yesteryear of late. I'm planing to write about a couple of contemporary acts in the very near future but today I want to make a post about the legendary Diana Ross. In order to prove that I haven't completely fallen into an ultra gay time-warp, I'll focus on two of Diana's best experiments with dance music - "Take Me Higher" and "Not Over You Yet".

The 90s was a depressing decade for Diana Ross fans. I don't think I'm being too unfair when I describe most of Diana's 90s output as absolute crap. Thankfully, amid the vast sea of lumbering ballads and stale, mid-tempo R'n'B, there were still a couple of bright spots. "Take Me Higher" was released as single in 1995 and presented Diana in a completely new light. Having failed to capture the interest of the R'n'B market with her two previous albums, Diana blatantly focused on the pink dollar by experimenting with a pop/dance sound. "Take Me Higher", the album, even includes a rather desperate cover of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive"! Needless to say, I loved it but the album highlight is still the title track. "Take Me Higher" is joyous 90s dance anthem that should have performed far better than it did. I would have purchased the single for the unbearably fabulous cover alone!

Diana returned to the rather uninspiring world of urban adult contemporary music on 1999's "Every Day Is A New Day" - the album where Di looks like a dead she-male hooker on the cover! The content is not much better with the glaring exception of "Not Over You Yet", which not only returned Diana to the UK top 10 but is surely in the running to be her best single of the 1990s. The Metro Mix of "Not Over You Yet" is so good it hurts. I firmly believe that an entire album of this kind of material would catapult Diana back to the top of the pop charts, where she so clearly belongs. "Not Over You Yet" is a poptastic dance treat. The line where Miss Ross demands more bass still makes me weak in the knees! I've also included an excellent club mix.

The albums, "Take Me Higher" and "Every Day Is A New Day", can be purchased from Amazon or iTunes. "Not Over You Yet" is still easily found on English Ebay.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Karen Carpenter's Solo Album

The Carpenters are one of my favourite groups despite the fact that their music always makes me feel blue. The pair released their fair share of sad ballads but I find their upbeat numbers equally depressing. There is just something innately melancholic about Karen Carpenter's gorgeous, golden voice. I'm probably only projecting my feelings about Karen tragic death on to her music but rainy days and The Carpenters always get me down, in a comforting kind of way - if that makes any sense. I was going to write a post about The Carpenters but Pop Trash Addicts doesn't feel like the appropriate venue. I like to focus on all things happy and shallow, so I thought I would concentrate on Karen's delightfully vapid, self-titled solo album instead.

Karen started recording her solo album in 1979 when her brother, Richard, took a break from The Carpenters. The album was recorded in New York with Phil Ramone, who was determined to show Karen in a whole new light. Karen wanted to attain a more contemporary sound and that meant experimenting with disco and the kind of pop/rock that Olivia Newton-John was riding to the top of the charts. I get the feeling that Karen was almost a little bit too eager to try new things, which results in the album sounding somewhat disjointed at times. The music itself is excellent and I'm sure a couple of the tracks could have been substantial hits. However, Richard and Karen's record company obviously didn't agree. It seems they were less than impressed with Karen's change in style and as a result, the album was shelved and gathered dust until 1996.

Listening to "Karen Carpenter" in retrospect, it is hard to believe that anyone could find the material so objectionable as to scrap the album rather than release it. Some of the song titles such as "Making Love In The Afternoon" and "Remember When Lovin' Took All Night" might have sounded somewhat risque back in the day but the song lyrics are completely harmless. The experimentation with disco is also very subtle. A handful of the songs encompass elements of disco but the music rarely leaves the safety zone of mid-tempo pop. I guess we should just be grateful that the album was eventually released. There are a couple of missteps but "Karen Carpenter" contains several gems that belong in every fan's collection. I have uploaded "If I Had You" and "My Body Keeps Changing My Mind", two of the album's most enjoyable numbers. "If I Had You" slowly builds up into a funky groove, while "My Body Keeps Changing My Mind" is a catchy, disco tinged anthem, which shows off Karen's new, saucy side.

Unfortunately, "Karen Carpenter" is yet to appear on iTunes and the CD is becoming increasingly difficult to find. Your best bet is to look for the album on Ebay or Amazon.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sheena Easton!

The impossibly fabulous Sheena Easton celebrates her 48th birthday today. I can't believe the woman is a day over 35 - she still looks absolutely stunning! I would like to extend my birthday wishes to Sheena with a post that honours her very first single and one of my personal favourites, "Modern Girl".

Sheena started her career as the subject of a television documentary, "The Big Time", which charted the making of a pop star. From what I gather, TV cameras followed Sheena around while she recorded her debut single, "Modern Girl". I would love to see the footage! "Modern Girl" is perhaps Sheena's most anthemic early recording after the sheer genius of "Morning Train (9 To 5)". The song is an incessantly cheerful ode to the hardships of modern womanhood, tackling hard hitting matters like dating and the workplace - set against a gloriously dated synth track. The song originally stalled at #56 but after "The Big Time" aired, the song was re-released and reached #8.

"Modern Girl" received a new lease of life in the late 90s, when it was remixed and included on Sheena's highly underrated "Freedom" album (which coincidentally was finally released in the US only this year! Purchase your limited edition copy here). "Modern Girl '97" is a cheesy delight and was even released as a single in Japan, a country with enough sense to wholeheartedly embrace Sheena's genius. I've uploaded "Modern Girl '97" in honour of Sheena's birthday.

Get a drink and raise your glass to a true diva!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Millie Jackson's 80s Epic

I've made no secret of my Millie Jackson obsession. Few artists have dabbled as successfully in as many musical genres as Millie J. The great woman started her career with a string of highly acclaimed deep soul albums before experimenting with funk, disco, rap and country music. One of Millie's most satisfying musical adventures is her brief stint as an 80s pop queen with one of the most fabulous and foul mouthed recordings in musical history. Here is a review I wrote for Amazon:

Millie fans are divided about her 1980s material. Some think she became a parody of herself, while others (myself included) simply think she captured the zeitgeist perfectly and took her zany brand of entertainment to dizzying new heights. E.S.P. encapsulates every tawdry thing I love about the 80s, from Millie's sequined headband on the glorious cover art to her mind blowing reply to Olivia's "Physical".

The album begins with the title track, an upbeat dance number complete with 80s synthesisers. Initially I found it difficult to accept Millie's gritty soul voice with cheesy 80s keyboards but by the second verse I was completely taken with Millie's new musical direction. "Too Easy Being Easy" is both a nod to Millie's 70s output and a glance at her future direction. The song is similar in structure to older tunes like "All The Way Lover" but the witty interludes are no longer spoken, but rapped! This song is so funny, it hurts. Basically Millie is told by a female fan that she doesn't appeal to men. Needless to say, Millie J sets the bitch straight! This could also be the only song in existence that rhymes "herpes" with "V.D.s" - genius!

"This Girl Could Be Dangerous" is straightforward 80s pop, while "I Feel Like Walkin' In The Rain" is the closest thing here to an old school R'n'B number. Personally, I think the sound is very reminiscent of many of the songs on Tina Turner's "Private Dancer". This is followed by the album's undisputed highlight and perhaps the campest song ever recorded. "Sexercise" is a jaw dropping reply to Olivia Newton John's "Physical". Millie states that her bedroom is her gym and gives the listener a series of "sexercises" to perform. This song has to be heard to be believed. I love her advice to larger ladies and skinny women ("bone bruisers"). This is a camp classic.

Millie continues with the raunch on "You're Working Me", a pulsating dance number with some first class groaning. It seems Millie really had sex on the mind because the next song is dirty in the best possible way. The title, "Slow Tongue (Working Your Way Down)" says it all! This slow groove sounds like Isaac Hayes at his best. The album ends with a corker, "Why Me" is the story of a down trodden woman whose husband and son are in jail. This song is classic Millie.

Nobody does it quite like Millie J. This album is essential for any fan of 80s pop or camp lyrics. However, fans of Millie's very early output may prefer to skip this one.


I have already posted "Sexercise" but a classic of this calibre deserves a second showing. The song is not only poptastic and hilarious but also quite instructional. I've found the "a,e,i,o,u" mouth exercises most useful! One of the album's other highlights is the fabulously sleazy "You're Working Me". 80s pop music does not get much better than this burst of sonic filth. I've also included Millie's "Sexercise" for the 1990s, the delightful titled "Butt-A-Cize".

"Extra Sexual Persuasion" is highly recommended for fans of camp pop music. You can purchase your copy from Amazon.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Cheyne: That Tart From Madison Avenue

Where the hell is Cheyne Coates? The Australian music scene needs her monotonous spoken vocals and inability to wear age appropriate clothing now more than ever! Cheyne is, of course, best known as the lead singer of Madison Avenue, one of the seminal dance acts in the history of Australian music. The band scored four top 10 hits between 1999 and 2001, including the international chart-topper "Don't Call Me Baby" and the Australian number one "Who The Hell Are You?". More impressively for a dance act, Madison Avenue managed to transfer their success on the singles chart to the album countdown, with their top 5 debut "The Polyester Embassy".

The mastermind behind Madison Avenue was DJ Andy Van, but Cheyne was the face of the group. She imbued their music with a degree of attitude and verve that it really didn't deserve and always found a way to wear as little as possible. Her diva turn at the ARIA Awards is now the thing of legend. Whilst performing on stage, Cheyne stopped singing half way through the song in order to have a sit down and a glass of water! Cheyne might be a bit of a skank but the woman is all kinds of fabulous!

When Madison Avenue broke up in 2002, it seemed inevitable that Cheyne would pursue a solo career. Cheyne didn't waste much time, releasing her debut solo single in 2003. It speaks volumes for the quality of the song that the most memorable thing about "I've Got Your Number" is the trannytastic cover art. There is nothing particularly wrong with it apart from the fact that it is so overwhelming similar to her work with Madison Avenue. The song sounded dated on release and lacks the edge of her early material. Nevertheless, it was a hit in the clubs and "I've Got Your Number" made the top 20. Unfortunately, everything went downhill from there. Despite being significantly better than its predecessor, Cheyne's second single, "Taste You", failed to make the top 50. "Taste You" is something of a lost gem. Ms Coates rants her way through the song, against the obligatory thudding beat, but there is more shadow and light on display than usual. If this had have been the first single, things might have turned out differently for Cheyne.

By the time Cheyne's debut album was released, the public had lost interest. "Something Wicked This Way Comes" is a surprisingly diverse and interesting album, which is definitely worth checking out. You can listen to clips of every song on Cheyne's lovely website. You can also download the scrapped third single, "Don't Do Nice". The song is quite pleasant but the video leaves a lot to be desired. Poor Cheyne looks like a she-male on crack! Since the failure of her album, Cheyne has disappeared. That is, until she recently provided vocals for Soundbluntz on "Maybe (You'll Get Lucky)". The song was released in Canada last year but is set for an international release in 2007. "Maybe (You'll Get Lucky)" is yet another return to the Madison Avenue sound. I'm not complaining, I'm just happy that Cheyne is still applying too much make-up and carrying on like a complete diva. Watch Cheyne's new song below:

If the song garners enough interest, Cheyne will hopefully be tempted to pull her finger out and record some new material. The lady might be a tart and sound like a foghorn but she has charisma and that commodity is sorely lacking on today's music scene. I hope Cheyne graces us with her fabulous presence again in the not too distant future.

Cheyne's album is becoming quite difficult to find but it does turn up occasionally on Australian Ebay. Hopefully, it will eventually appear on iTunes.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dannii's Astonishing Chart Success!

Dannii has set the Australian charts on fire with "He's The Greatest Dancer", which debuts this week at a lofty number 37! This is a fantastic achievement for a dance song without a video clip that has been leaked for almost a year. "He's The Greatest Dancer" is also Dannii's 8th consecutive top 40 hit, which reinforces Holidannii's standing as one of Australia's most successful pop divas!

A big thanks to Magical Froggy for the fabulous artwork. Make sure to check out Dannii's Dirty Box later in the week when I will try to answer this perplexing conundrum: Who is more loathsome - the delusional Dannii droids who populate the Dannii Board or the anti-droids who take every opportunity to criticise and mock everything that Dannii does or achieves? Life as a Danniiholic is never easy...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

She Is The King!

The release of She Is The King's debut single makes me proud to be an Australian. I can't think of too many other countries where a female Elvis impersonator would be given a record deal and allowed to make a video clip with more drag queens than a Mardi Gras float! She Is The King, otherwise known as Jacqueline Feilice, hails from Western Australia and has been performing an Elvis tribute act for more than a decade. It seems that Ms Feilice is a heavyweight in the cutthroat world of Elvis impersonating, placing second in an international Elvis contest in Las Vegas last year.

She Is The King released her debut single this week with a poptastic cover of "Viva Las Vegas". The song makes me want to eat a fried Mars Bar and squeeze into an ill fitting jumpsuit in honour of the great man himself. "Viva Las Vegas" is an unexpected delight. She Is The King has obviously made a shrewd decision to interpret, as opposed to impersonate, Elvis. This imbues the song with enough of her own personality to make "Viva Las Vegas" more than just a camp curiosity. The video clip is also highly recommended. Any clip which involves drag queens drinking champagne in the back of a limo and a female Elvis impersonator dancing in a gay bar is alright by me!


The single includes several great remixes. My favourite is the trashtastic Vegas Mix.

If you enjoy She Is The King as much as I do, you can purchase the single from Chaos, Sanity or iTunes. She Is The King has a fantastic website that is also worth a look. It seems that we can expect a whole album of Elvis covers in the next couple of months. I can't wait!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cheer Up - It's Kylie's Magic Roundabout!

There is something almost impossibly cheerful about Kylie's early material. Songs like "Turn It Into Love", "I Wouldn't Change A Thing" and the unbridled musical masterpiece that is "One Boy Girl" saw me through many a bad day as I was growing up. Kylie's music still has the ability to drag me out of the foulest mood but these days I'm more likely to give "The Magic Roundabout" a spin rather than one of her early classics. As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, I thought it would be timely to honour a song that exudes a manic sense of happiness with every fabulous beat.

It is well known that Dannii's older sister provided the voice of Florence for the animated film "The Magic Roundabout" in 2005. "The Magic Roundabout" was later released in the US as "Doogal" and duly flopped. The film is something of a trainwreck and it currently holds the honour of being voted the 53rd worst film of all time according to IMDb's Bottom 100! Personally, I rather enjoyed "The Magic Roundabout" and I immediately fell in love with Kylie's theme song.

"The Magic Roundabout" is a joyous pop gem from the first beat to the last. Kylie is so endearing when she is unencumbered by the desperate need to be taken seriously. "The Magic Roundabout" is a gloriously stupid piece of pop fluff and Kylie sounds all the better for it. I had hoped that the song might be released as a single but it never happened. I actually get the feeling that most fans find the song a bit embarrassing. It's their loss. As far as I'm concerned, "The Magic Roundabout" is musical Prozac. Kylie needs to make bad animated movies more often!

You can purchase the "Doogal" soundtrack from iTunes or Amazon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Flashback: Daniel Merriweather

I was more than a little surprised to see "Stop Me" by Mark Ronson Ft. Daniel Merriweather make a top 10 debut on the UK Singles Chart a couple of weeks ago. The name Daniel Merriweather should be familiar to fans of Australian music. There was massive hype surrounding the release of Daniel's debut single in 2003 and he was considered by many to be the next big thing. Daniel was marketed as Australia's first white R'n'B superstar (even though that honour clearly belongs to Peter Andre) and he quickly developed a considerable amount of positive buzz at home and overseas.

Despite much critical acclaim, including an ARIA Award for Best Urban release, Daniel's domestic career lasted for all of two singles - "City Rules" in 2003 and "She's Got Me" in 2004. Since 2004 Daniel has provided vocals for various Australian hip hop acts but had largely fallen off the radar until the release of "Stop Me". I didn't particularly enjoy Daniel's solo material but his vocal talent is undeniable. Daniel can best be described as the antipodean Justin Timberlake - only with a far better voice and considerably worse producers. "City Rules" is a rather painful cry for urban credibility but "She's Got Me" ventured into more pop friendly territory. I've posted a remix, which mercifully edits out the token rent-a-rapper.

Daniel's music is not available on iTunes or any of the usual online retailers. You might be able to find some of his early music on Australian Ebay.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Fleetwood Who?

One of the best songs of 2007 is Melinda Jackson's brilliant debut solo single, "Fall In Love". Australian pop music has rarely sounded this inspired. "Fall In Love" hasn't exactly set the charts on fire but I guess that is to be expected in a country where the sound of drowning cat on Valium (ie Missy Higgins) passes for popular music. However, I am convinced that there is a niche for a divine pop siren like Melinda. I have played "Fall In Love" to every second queen on Oxford Street and ever single one has been instantly smitten! When I first featured Melinda on Pop Trash Addicts, the response was overwhelmingly positive and I received numerous e-mails asking if she had released anything else.

So, by popular demand, I'm featuring Melinda's first recording as a guest vocalist on Moustache's amazing cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere". The song was released in 2005 and became a massive dance hit before crossing over to the mainstream Charts. "Everywhere" was, and still is, a massive breath of fresh air. Moustache transform the song into a pop anthem complete with retro synthesisers that would make Infernal foam with jealousy. In fact, the comparison with Infernal is quite apt. Moustache does for "Everywhere" what Infernal did for Laura Branigan's "Self Control". Yes, it's that good!

Melinda's record company, iSPY kindly responded to my last post and brought my attention to their Myspace site, which is currently showcasing a new song by Melinda called "Magic". Well, the title could not be more appropriate. "Magic" is a brilliant follow up to "Fall In Love" and it becomes more addictive with each listen. The song reminds me of Gwen Stefani's "The Real Thing", with its sweet melody and warm synth soundscape. If these two songs are any indication, then Melinda's new album will blow the other pop pretenders out of the water! Interestingly, iSPY's site also features new material by Moustache. They collaborate with Siena on an excellent dance track called "Ordinary Day", which is also worth a listen.

You can purchase "Everywhere" from iTunes, the Cabin Crew remixes are excellent. Watch the classy video here. Remember to check out Melinda's new material on iSPY's Myspace and become one of Melinda's Myspace friends. All the cool people are doing it!

Just Fucking Buy It!

"He's The Greatest Dancer" has finally hit stores. The cover charmingly recycles the "I Can't Sleep At Night" photoshoot and the single contains all of the fabulous remixes that leaked last year. I know many of us already have the tracks but help keep Dannii in Botox by purchasing the single from Sanity, Chaos or iTunes.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bette Midler's Disco Album

Bette Midler is one of the very elite group of divas that I consider to be truly legendary and utterly beyond reproach. I don't care if Bette has lost some of her edge over the years and I am even willing to turn a blind eye to the travesty that was "Cool Yule". Nothing can diminish the heart, wit and originality that distinguishes Bette's output from the 1970s and 80s. Bette may not have had the best voice to ever grace a recording studio, but nobody has had more personality! I have been meaning to make a post about Bette for some time, but as with Barbra Streisand - another diva I have unintentionally ignored - I just couldn't decide where to start. That problem was solved for me by Deirdre Halliwell, who recently wrote an absolutely stunning post about Bette on Cheesy Pop Music. I couldn't possibly re-cap Bette's career any better myself, so I thought I would cover one of the albums that Deirdre did not mention - Bette's divine, if brief, attempt at disco in the late 1970s.

"Thighs And Whispers" was Bette's much maligned attempt to jump on the disco bandwagon. The album was released in 1979 and promptly became Bette's lowest charting album to date. The culprit for the album's failure appears to have been the timing of its release. Bette's soundtrack for "The Rose" was riding high in the charts and audiences were confused when the rock goddess on display in "The Rose" unexpectedly released a camp disco album. Personally, I can't get enough of "Thighs And Whispers". It is, without a doubt, one of my favourite Bette albums and contains three of the most memorable songs from the entire disco era. It's high time that this masterpiece received some love and appreciation!

The album begins with a luminous disco interpretation of "Big Noise From Winnetka", one of Bette's live standards. The sound quickly changes to something far more traditional for the almost unbearably sad "Millworker". Bette remains in a contemplative mood for "Cradle Days" before shifting into high disco camp for the gorgeous "Knight In Black Leather". The song is an absolute classic of the disco era. I can just picture men with handlebar moustaches and leather chaps dancing to this under the brilliant glow of a disco ball. It also contains one of the best introductions in disco history:

I'm a hot blond and it was a cold night,
This is my story, I ain't ashamed to tell it,
I was hungry, tired and looking for love!


Just when you think the song could not possibly get any more camp, Bette finds the man of her dreams in a disco and exclaims - "He smelled just like a brand new car, 'cause everything he owned was leather". I'm living for the day I actually hear this anthem in a leather bar! "Thighs And Whispers" continues with one of my favourite slow disco tunes, Bette's brilliant cover of "Hang On In There Baby". Everything about the song is gorgeous from the depth of sound to the beautiful instrumentation and the soulful backing vocals by a certain Luther Vandross. Next up is "Hurricane", which is seven and a half minutes of disco madness. The disco sound briefly gives way for "Rain", one of Bette's best ballads.

The final song on "Thighs And Whispers" represents everything I love about Bette - It's bold, brassy and brilliant. "Married Men" is Bette's disco warning about the dangers of dating married arseholes. The song manages to be simultaneously funny and bitter, while never skipping a delicious disco beat. Luther Vandross returns for backing vocals and Bette is in top form herself. "Thighs And Whispers" might not impress critics or Midler purists but who really gives a fuck what they think. "Thighs And Whispers" is a work of camp genius that manages to encapsulate a sense of time and place with wit, originality and attitude.

"Thighs And Whispers" was re-mastered a couple of years ago and is available from Amazon.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Britain's Ultimate Pop Flop - Caprice!

I'm very excited to welcome my second guest contributor, the amazingly talented Magical Froggy. Magical Froggy will be familiar to anyone who has ever braved the murky waters of Den Den or the Dannii Board. In fact, I think he is the only person to be banned more times than myself! Magical Froggy has already contributed some amazing artwork to Pop Trash Addicts and Dannii's Dirty Box but this is his first post and I am absolutely delighted by his choice of muse - a fabulous tart called Caprice. Unfortunately, Australia missed out on the undeniable magic of this shy and retiring flower. I thank Magical Froggy from the bottom of my heart for exposing me to the shining talent of this misunderstood pop genius!

Caprice Bourret. What comes to mind when you hear the name? Fantastic tits? Certainly. A Barbie figure with trashy bleach blonde hair? Definitely. Her stint on UK Celebrity Big Brother? Surely. Being Callum Best's sloppy seconds after her 'romance' with self-styled ginger 'Love God' Mick Hucknall? Perhaps.

You are probably unaware, though, of the many other strings Caprice has in her bow of talent. Firstly, she is a fashion designer. As John McCririck (don't worry if you've no idea who he is, you're better off not knowing) shrewdly pointed out to the nation on Big Brother, she was only on the show to plug her line of 'grubby knickers'. Secondly, she also fancies herself as an actress, appearing in such wonderful productions as Debbie Does Dallas - The Musical (I kid you not). Finally, what you are probably completely unaware of, once upon a time in the late 90s Caprice set her eyes upon the lucrative world of pop superstardom.

In 1999, Caprice and her perfectly proportioned mammaries signed a record deal with the then home of the Spice Girls, Virgin Records. What followed was perhaps one of the most tragically pathetic pop careers ever.

Caprice's self-penned debut single, the originally titled "Oh Yeah", was released in September 1999. When asked in TV interviews what she thought she was doing trying to launch a singing career, Caprice pointed out her role model of Sade, who was successful both as a model and as a singer. Clearly the rest of the world must have missed the phase in Sade's career where she appeared weekly in FHM and Loaded with her legs spread and a charmingly innocent 'whore' tit tattoo. And we won't mention the fact that Sade can sing, whereas Caprice's vocal talent is on a par with a tone-deaf sea lion. Needless to say, the single flopped, peaking at #22.

To get over the shock, Caprice 'did a Dannii' and stepped back from her pop career for a while. After being sent to work with Chesney Hawkes, Caprice came back with the Natalie Imbruglia-esque "Once Around The Sun" eighteen months later. Despite a pretty video with Caprice looking vacant on a US bus, and a surprisingly decent B-Side, "I Would Live For You", the single again did nothing and flopped, again peaking at #22. And that was that.
Caprice then announced that she was 'retiring' from her music career, citing the 'enormous stress' she was placed under. Allegedly she had a breakdown whilst flying back from Europe after promoting her second single there. Bless. That's even more feeble than the Danushka herself!

Enjoy Caprice's musical legacy. Appreciate or snigger, the choice is yours...!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Toni Collette's Music Career Looks Up

No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to separate Toni Collette from Muriel Heslop, the titular character from "Muriel's Wedding". It's not like Toni has been sitting on her arse since 1994. She received an Oscar nomination for "The Sixth Sense", stole the show in "Little Miss Sunshine", matched it with Nicole and Meryl in "The Hours" and played a frighteningly convincing drag queen in "Connie & Carla". And yet, Toni will always be that silly, fat mole from Porpoise Spit to me. And I mean that as a compliment. "Muriel's Wedding" is one of my favourite movies, I must have watched it at least 20 times and can quote most of the dialogue verbatim. Maybe that's why I was initially disappointed by Toni's music. I almost expected her to release an album of ABBA covers, preferably with Toni dressed as Agnetha on the cover. Instead, she delivered a sedate set of self-penned tunes, aimed squarely at people who don't fall asleep listening to Sarah Blasko.

Toni released her debut single, "Beautiful Awkward Pictures", in September last year on a small indie label. To be completely honest, if the song had not been performed by Toni Collette, I doubt I would have listened to it twice. It's not that "Beautiful Awkward Pictures" is terrible. In fact, it's evocative and quite pretty in a morose kind of way. Toni is obviously a gifted songwriter and has a fine voice. "Beautiful Awkward Pictures" is just not my cup of tea. If I want to feel depressed, I'll put on some Aimee Mann instead. At least she is consistent in her misery. The song does have a lovely video clip, which involves Toni strolling along an empty beach, and it grew on me enough to purchase Toni's debut album, also titled "Beautiful Awkward Pictures".

"Beautiful Awkward Pictures" got a few spins on my stereo - usually when I was drunk or stoned - but it never really clicked for me until I saw Toni in concert. I think I needed to see her on stage with a group of musicians to dispel the lingering thoughts of Muriel from my mind and be able to take Toni's music on its merits. Toni is a charismatic woman and hearing her perform the album live really helped me put the songs in context. One of the highlights of the album is the recently released second single, "Look Up". I much prefer "Look Up", with its literate verses, sweet chords and delicate instrumentation, to the first single. "Look Up" is an excellent pop song and deserved a higher chart placing than #61. The video is also cute. Check out Toni's killer red heels. I'm guessing she stole those from the set of "Connie & Carla"!
Toni's album is definitely a grower and she makes a welcome addition to the Australian music scene. She's not exactly in Dannii Minogue's league of fabulousness but I'd take Toni over dreary bitches like Missy Higgins and Dullta any day. I have uploaded album versions of the first two singles and one of my favourite live tracks. Give Toni's music a listen, you might be pleasantly surprised.

You can still purchase both singles and Toni's album from Sanity and Chaos or download them from iTunes. Both singles are worth purchasing for their bonus tracks, the "Beautiful Awkward Pictures" single includes an interesting song about "The Hours".

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ride On Dolly's Peace Train!

The best (and only!) present I received this Easter came from my dear friend and tranny icon, Deirdre Halliwell. Knowing my appreciation for all things Dolly, Deirdre thoughtfully sent me the US Maxi single of Ms Parton's "Walking On Sunshine" - highly regarded among Dolly's fagtastic fanbase for the fabulous dance remixes of "Peace Train". In addition to the divine reworkings of Cat Stevens' 70s anthem, the single also contains four remixes of Dolly's classic "Two Doors Down" and three mixes of "Walking On Sunshine".

Dolly's versions of "Peace Train" and "Walking On Sunshine" first appeared on her 1996 album, "Treasures". I'm not sure how the amazing remixes came about but I remember there were rumours that Dolly was working on a "dance" album, which sadly never eventuated. I adore Dolly's country output but even a brief return to her disco pop glory days would have been a massive treat. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be.

I love the mixes of "Walking On Sunshine" and "Two Doors Down" but the highlight is definitely "Peace Train", which is still on high rotation in gay clubs around the globe. The African chanting on the Junior Vasquez Mix is interesting, the Bounce Euro Mix is trashtastic and Junior's Arena Mix will satisfy clubbers. However, as far as I'm concerned, it's all about the poptastic Holly Roller remix!

These remixes are a slice of pop trash heaven and I had to share them. Thanks again, Deirdre! I also need to thank MSB for lovely picture. You can try looking for the single on Ebay or Amazon but it is becoming increasingly hard to find.

I should also point out that Dannii's Dirty Box has had a couple of minor updates over the past couple of weeks.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The King Of Queer Pop - Pete Burns

Pete Burns is an enduring oasis of originality and wit in the increasingly dull world of pop. As the outrageous driving force behind Dead Or Alive, Pete stands alone as the only gay pop star to represent the queer community with any sense of flair or authenticity. If Boy George would put down that bowl of ice cream and do something apart from making bad house records under a seemingly endless stream of aliases, he might actually provide Pete with some competition. I have also become fond of George Michael as he has transformed into a fat drug addict with a beat fetish. However, the boring nature of his music negates his increasingly fabulous image. That leaves us with a pack of pathetic cunts like Will Young, Mika, Elton John and Anthony Callea. They should all be locked away in a soon to be demolished building as a public service to the gay community. In a gay pop star battle royale, Pete Burns would be the only queen left standing.

Many people disagree with the high esteem in which I place Pete Burns. His detractors usually refer to the fact that he was married to a woman for 25 years before coming out, ridicule his supposed plastic surgery addiction and claim that he has been milking one song ("You Spin Me Round") for almost a quarter of a century. I would reply by pointing out that Pete has had the same gender-bending image since day one. The videos for early Dear Or Alive songs are so overtly gay that I can hardly believe they were ever shown on morning television. Pete is far from the only gay man to have been married before coming out and he has been incredibly open about his sexuality since meeting his long term boyfriend. As far as the plastic surgery comments are concerned, any ageing diva worth their gay fanbase has been under the knife. If anything, Pete's changing visage only adds to his fabulous allure. The final criticism is interesting because until very recently, I would have agreed. Despite being a fan, my knowledge of Dead Or Alive came to a screeching halt with 1988's "Nude" album. I was aware that the band had continued releasing material in Japan but assumed it must be second rate junk. I have Max to thank for opening my eyes to the delights of Dead Or Alive's brilliant Japanese material and I am devoting this post to covering the band's output from 1990's "Fan The Flame (Part 1)" to 2000's "Fragile".

Dead Or Alive's success in Japan in nothing less than astonishing. If Wikipedia is to be believed, the band has scored nine #1 albums in Japan and seventeen #1 singles. I'm sure these were #1 hits on the Japanese International Chart but that makes the achievement no less impressive. Dead Or Alive's first Japan only album was 1990's excellent "Fan The Flame (Part 1)". The album marked a departure from the band's usual output in both sound and lyrics. The sound had evolved from the typical Hi-NRG beats of their early material to explore a richer sonic pallet. The result is something akin to Stock Aiken Waterman on acid. I particularly love "Unhappy Birthday" with its darkly amusing tale of a fucked up birthday party. I can definitely relate. The theme of shitty celebrations continues with "Blue Christmas", which I believe is the band's very first ballad. I'm surely I'll have this on high rotation in December. The gorgeous "Lucky Day" finds Pete in a much lighter mood. The video for the album's lead single, "Your Sweetness Is Your Weakness", is worth checking out for Pete's La Toya Jackson inspired outfit!

It took several line-up changes and five years until the release of "Nukleoptra", which was not only released in Japan but also found its way to Australia and a couple of other countries due to popularity of the club hit, "Sex Drive". "Nukleopatra" is my favourite of Dead Or Alive album. It is surely one of the campest recordings ever released and shows off the band's fabulous new dance pop sound to great effect. The album was Pete's first since leaving his wife and officially coming out and these events are reflected in the lyrics. For example, the title track sends up Pete's gender bending image with a fabulous lyric about forming a "she-male race", while "I'm A Star" contains hilariously bitchy lyrics about George Michael and Take That. It also boasts several memorable lines about "riding" a DJ. "International Thing" is a more straightforward dance pop song, while "Sleep With You" is a down and dirty slut anthem. Throw in the international club hit, "Sex Drive" and the band's cover of David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel" and you have one of the most enjoyable pop albums of the 1990s.

Dead Or Alive released "Fragile" in Japan in 2000 and, rather predictably, it hit #1. The first single, "Hit And Run Lover" also reached the top spot and the video clip is a thing of beauty. "Fragile" is predominantly a remix album but also includes several new tracks. The new tracks are interesting and find the band experimenting with a harder club sound. "Fragile" is a very good record but there is a bit more filler than killer. Nevertheless, "I Paralyze" is something of a club stomper, while "Isn't It A Pity" provides another commentary on his evolving image. Pete's talent for witty lyrics are on full display with several funny lines. In my opinion, the album's best pop song is the anthemic "Just What I Always Wanted", which strikes me as being more than a little autobiographical.

It has now been almost a decade since Dead Or Alive released their last completely new studio album. There have been greatest hits compilations, remix albums and various re-releases of "You Spin Me Round" to keep fans satisfied but it is high time that Pete made a proper comeback and put all the pretenders back in their place. Thanks again to Max for opening my eyes to this fantastic period in Dead Or Alive's amazing career.

Help cover Pete's plastic surgery fees by purchasing one or all of these fabulous albums from Amazon or Ebay.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Craptastic Covers Vol 2 - Motown Re-Visited

There are few things as enjoyable as a craptastic cover version of a classic song. As far as I'm concerned, the more inappropriate the interpretation, the better! I posted a collection of wonderfully tragic Supremes covers a couple of weeks ago and I thought I would continue the Motown theme with three intriguing interpretations of "I Can't Help Myself". I elaborated on the pitiful circumstances behind La Toya's appalling yet irresistible album of Motown classics in my last post. Toy Toy's take on "I Can't Help Myself" was only single released from that album. I am told it sold about five copies to deaf people in Germany. The song is as terrible as everything else on the album but as a slice of ridiculous pop, you will be hard pushed to find something that matches La Toya's incredibly disinterested, Euro-house interpretation of The Four Tops' classic. I love it!

I devoted a post to the Teen Queens late last year. In short, the Teen Queens were a successful 90s Australian girlband who specialised in covers of hits from the 1960s. The girls not only covered old classics but continued with the vintage theme for their outfits and videos. The fabulous bitches look like they have just raided Gidget's wardrobe. "I Can't Help Myself" was one of the Teen Queens' final singles before they parted ways. The song is quite faithful to the original, perhaps a little too faithful.

I am completely disgusted with myself that this is the first appearance of the inimitable Dolly Parton on Pop Trash Addicts. I worship the ground that Dolly totters across in her sky high stilettos. My mother is a huge Dolly fan and I grew up listening to the sweet sounds of "Coat Of Many Colours", "Jolene" and "Here You Come Again". One of the fun rarities in Dolly's vast catalogue of music is her album of 60s cover versions, "The Great Pretender". The album is unusually hit and miss by Dolly's lofty standards but let's be honest. The woman could sing the NaTRASHa Bedingfield songbook and make it bearable. Dolly's version of "I Can't Help Myself" almost sounds like a demo, such is the minimalism of the production. I have the feeling that Dolly was thinking about more important matters like world peace or getting her nails done when she recorded this. Nevertheless, it is Dolly and it is therefore monumentally fabulous.

The Gayest Video Ever?

I was immediately intrigued when I received an e-mail with a link for Ultra Nate's new video, "Automatic". I love Ultra Nate and had a sneaking suspicion that it might be a cover of the old Pointer Sisters' classic, which is one of my favourite songs. Well, my suspicion was right. Ultra Nate has done The Pointer Sisters proud with a stunning cover version that has the potential to not only conquer dance floors around the globe but also make the transition to pop radio. Ultra Nate is one of the most sorely underrated divas in music today and this stomping dance anthem is a reminder of just how good she can be when given the right material. I can't wait to hear the remixes!

And then there is the video. Warning - you may need a cigarette and a lie down after watching this! Ultra Nate looks absolutely stunning but it's hard to pay too much attention to her with that naked man typing on his keyboard. It's even more distracting when the said naked man looks like Gerard Butler after a stint in prison! I think it's fair to say that Ms Nate is appealing to the gays and the fabulous bitch has got me hook, line and sinker! My favourite part begins at about 2.40 minutes (or at 45 seconds in reverse). You wont see that on Video Hits! Just between you and me, I have the same reaction every time I check out The Church Of La Toya. I was also very impressed by the blow up doll outfit, which I interpret as a fitting tribute to the legendary and sorely missed Leigh Bowery. Expect to see this playing on screens in a gay club near you!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Australian Club Smash Of 2007

TV Rock are currently sitting at #15 on the Australian Charts with their 3rd single, "The Others". They are experiencing even greater success on the Club Chart, where "The Others" is still #1 after already spending two months at the summit. TV Rock is made up of Grant Smillie and Ivan Gough, two of Australia's best known DJs. Apart from being rather easy on the eyes, the boys have a habit of creating catchy dance anthems that are simultaneously annoying and highly addictive. Like every other Australian poof, I spent the majority of 2006 getting down to TV Rock's debut single, "Flaunt It". That song ended up being the highest selling single of 2006 and won the group a handful of ARIA Awards.

I wasn't particularly impressed with the group's debut album and their second single, "Bimbo Nation", was astoundingly awful. Therefore, it was something of a surprise when TV Rock emerged early this year with a new sound and another killer track. "The Others" is actually credited to TV Rock Vs Dukes Of Windsor and is basically a remix of an old Dukes Of Windsor song. You can hear the original version of "The Others" on Dukes Of Windsor's Myspace. TV Rock have transformed an unusually catchy indie rock song into a dance floor stomper. I have no idea what the song is about because, quite frankly, the lyrics make no sense. I can't help thinking of that Nicole Kidman ghost movie of the same name! Whatever the song's inspiration, it is undeniably fantastic. I have uploaded the excellent Kam Denny Mix.

You can purchase the single from Chaos and Sanity. Check out TV Rock's funky website for more information on the band.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Requiem For An Orange Goddess

Kelly Llorenna cuts a striking figure on the stage. Her lean, orange body glows like a Renaissance sculpture dipped in a barrel of fake tan, her ever-present sunglasses create an air of alluring mystery and her measured strut announces the presence of a true diva. The mere sight of Kelly is enough to throw her core audience of unwed teenage mothers and derelict homosexuals into an uncontrollable frenzy, which only abates when Ms Llorenna deigns to open her gorgeous trout pout and unleash those golden pipes. Make no mistake. Kelly Llorenna, or K. Lo to her army of devoted fans, is pop trash royalty and this tribute has been long overdue. As Kelly's star plummets faster than Halley's comet in the wake of her recent chart disaster, take a moment to reflect on the musical gifts that Kelly Llorenna has enriched our lives with over the past 15 years.

In 1992 a tremor of genius shook the pop world when Kelly provided vocals for the N-Trance anthem, "Set You Free". The song flopped twice before finally becoming a massive hit in 1995. The success of the song resulted in Kelly signing a solo deal. Her first single, the divine "Brighter Day" made the top 40 but AATW Records quickly decided that Kelly would be more suited to collaborating with N-Trance. However, before returning to the band, Kelly recorded two of the most fabulous unreleased singles of the 1990s. Kelly's cover of the classic "One Day I'll Fly Away" represented a huge change of pace. The choice of song was a stroke of genius and the remixes were excellent. Strangely, the song was scrapped just after promos were released. Unfortunately, Kelly's equally fabulous "All I Wanna Do" (not a Dannii cover!) suffered a similar fate. I first heard the song on Deirdre Halliwell's criminally under-appreciated music blog, Cheesy Pop Music. "All I Wanna Do" really is something of a lost dance classic. This stunning anthem was another hit in waiting but sadly, was also scrapped.

Given Kelly's seeming inability to actually get a solo single released, she returned to the N-Trance fold and scored a multitude of hits over the next 5 years. However, Kelly was still desperate to establish her solo career. So, she released a cover of Taylor Dayne's "Tell It To My Heart" in order to re-launch herself as solo star and scored a deserved #9 hit on the UK charts in 2002. The follow up, a re-worked version of her earlier flop, "Heart Of Gold", made the top 20 and remains one of my all time favourite K. Lo anthems. In true diva style, Kelly's debut album was also a greatest hits compilation. "All Clubbed Up" rocketed to #62, announcing Kelly as a pop princess to be reckoned with!

Kelly returned to charts in a blaze of glory with the release of her craptastic cover of Donna Summer's "This Time I Know It's For Real" in 2004. While not in the same league of pop fabulousness as the Young Divas' recent version, Kelly's cover is a true guilty pleasure and the staple of many an aerobics class. The tragic video is a trash classic, with Kelly camping it up with some of the worst dancers Great Britain has to offer. "This Time I Know It's For Real" was intended to be followed by the release of "Nobody Like You" last year. I personally think "Nobody Like You" is one of the most poptastic dance singles of recent years. It's instantly catchy and more importantly, is slightly more pop orientated than Kelly's usual club sound. The song spent over a year in limbo before being scrapped. If it had been released, I can't help but think Kelly's career would not be in its current shambles.

Instead of twiddling her thumbs while AATW debated whether to release "Nobody Like You" or not, Kelly re-applied her fake tan and recorded a couple of tragic songs for Klone Records, including a fabulously awful cover of Rita Coolidge's Bond anthem "All Time High". Early this year, AATW decided to proceed with a new Kelly Llorenna single and they settled on a dance version of Lara Fabian's hit ballad "I Will Love Again". The song is far from terrible. In fact, I love the chilled Twilight Mix. The problem lies with the fact that the song plays right into all the negative stereotypes surrounding K. Lo - that she specialises in cheap dance covers and never releases anything original. Given the limited promotion and difficulty fans experienced finding a copy of the single in stores, it came as little surprise when "I Will Love Again" stalled at #105. Hopefully, this is not the last we hear of K. Lo. She may be slightly tragic bitch and have the fashion sense of a blind prostitute but Kelly is one of the few interesting personalities to emerge from the English pop scene over the past decade or so. If this is the end, let us remember Kelly in all her orange glory.

You can buy "All Clubbed Up" and "I Will Love Again" from Amazon and HMV. Purchase a copy today and help keep K. Lo in fake tan. A big thank you to Jamie for helping me out with the sexy Kelly pictures and mixes.