Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Nick, you’ve built a reputation as one of Australia’s hottest DJs over the past five years. What prompted you to record a more commercial crossover single like “I Believe”?
Thanks for the kind words man. To answer your question, I want a Ferrari. No, I’m kidding (laughs)! There comes a time in every artist's life where increasing the quality of your productions pretty much forces you to move in that direction. As an artist’s fanbase builds and their name is exposed to people far and wide, from places in the world that they had previously never heard of, all it really takes is some decent production for a crossover track to emerge. I don’t believe that any artist sits in the studio with the intention of creating a crossover single at all, it just comes together naturally.
How did you hook up with the amazing Amba Shepherd? She’s so underrated!
Amba had heard some of the productions that I’d done previously and she said she really liked the sounds that I was using. One day over MySpace she got in contact with me, I had a listen to her voice and I quickly found out how amazingly talented she is. From there I emailed her a few instrumentals and consequently we’ve now got a few collaborations in the works. After “I Believe”, expect to hear some piano house music with a track we have together called “In My Life”. It’s sounding really good and hopefully - touch wood - it will do big things.
Tell us more about the song. Does “I Believe” have a story/message or is it just meant to get your arse on the dance floor?
It’s pretty funny because there is a little bit of a story behind the track. Originally “I Believe” was titled “Jasmine” and was going to be released on a flower-themed EP alongside my last release “Rose” (featured on the Global Communications EP). As I listened more and more to “I Believe”, the instrumental version, I realised that the tune would sound great with a vocal. One thing led to another, Amba got in touch with me and she had free reign in regards to whatever direction she wanted to take the lyrics. She’s a real talent and in the chorus incorporated the words “I Believe”. So with that, the title was changed.
Who is remixing "I Believe"? Will there be a video?
Initial remixes come from well-respected Dutch artists Bassjackers & Ralvero and Jono Fernandez, who’s originally from Melbourne but is now based in Sydney. In the week beginning April 12th, an updated package came out with a huge remix from one of Sweden’s biggest artists at the moment, Avicii. That will be accompanied by a club remix of “I Believe” by yours truly. At this stage there’s no video, but if we’ve hit the nail on the head with the track and it becomes popular anything is possible.
Do you listen to a lot of commercial dance music? If so, who are your favourite acts?
I do listen to a lot of dance music, but most of the time it’s not really commercial stuff. At the moment I’m really into European artists Axwell, Avicii and Australians Hook N Sling. They’re all absolutely killing it in my opinion. If I’m listening to music which leans towards a more mainstream kind of sound, it is normally artists such as Goldfrapp, Miike Snow, The Presets and The Temper Trap. In my eyes, these bands are the benchmark at the moment when it comes to making consistently good mainstream music.
The genre is experiencing something of a revival in Australia with the ongoing chart domination of David Guetta as well as surprise hits like Luciana’s “I Like That”. Do you think the trend is likely to continue? Will we ever return to the glory days of the 90s when club tracks would crossover regularly to radio?
I think the line has become blurred. Dance music is the new pop music. You’ll never hear a ten minute long underground tech-house instrumental bomb ever making it onto radio. Today’s generation is a fast-food nation and they want everything to be upfront, fast-paced and all over in three minutes. If you listen to a lot of older dance tracks they would go for between eight and fifteen minutes. These days you rarely see a club track longer than eight minutes and only the big guys can pull it off like Deadmau5 with “Strobe” and Eric Prydz with “RYMD 2010”. So yeah, I think the trend is set to continue.
What is the best remix you’ve ever done?
It’s a hard one to say because every new remix that I do automatically becomes my new favourite. From a commercial perspective, the remix that I did for Kaz James’ “Breathe” a few years ago now did really well with it going all the way to number one on the ARIA Club Charts. My personal favourite remix at the moment would have to be my remix of emerging Dutch guys East & Young’s “Reveal”, which is scheduled for release on Hussle Australia (Ministry of Sound). It’s my favourite because, in my opinion, melody is finding its way back into dance music. This particular remix replicates my thoughts and I hope when it comes out other DJ’s agree with me.
I’ve saved my hardest hitting question for last. Are the ARIA Club Charts rigged?
No, the ARIA Club Charts are not rigged and it’s normally a good indication of the tracks that are doing the rounds within clubs across Australia. The chart is controlled by something like 300 individual ARIA DJ’s a week, all of whom have their own preferences on dance music’s sub-genres. You can’t control things like DJ’s supporting their favourite producers more than others, but no matter what, if a production is a good tune it will inevitably climb the charts.
You can download the remixes of "I Believe" from iTunes and Beatport. A single version/radio edit is on the way. In the meantime, check out the full club mix below.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do - 1/10
Great title, shame about the song. Robyn basically lists all the things that are pissing her off to some generic beats courtesy of Klas Åhlund (from Teddybears). Robyn loves to mix it up by throwing in the occasional oddity ("Konichiwa Bitches" springs to mind) but they are usually done with a sense of humour that is sadly missing from this deathly boring piece of shit.
Fembot - 4/10
Another song about a fucking robot. How cutting edge! Not only has this theme been done to death recently (by Kostas Kountas, Parralox, Gabriella Cilmi and Robyn herself among many others) - it's also been done infinitely better (see Margaret Berger and Marina & The Diamonds). "Fembot" is a just smug exercise in bad metaphors and irritatingly "hip" production. It's not clever or catchy. Just tired and pointless.
Dancing On My Own - 11/10
Just when I was ready to sell my Robyn collection on Ebay and wash my hands of the stupid Swedish troll for good, she comes up with this. "Dancing On My Own" is easily her best single since "Be Mine" and an early frontrunner for the year's best single. Everything about the Patrick Berger ("Jack U Off" and "Anytime U Like") produced gem is utter perfection. The lyrics are gut wrenching, Robyn actually sings for a change and the gloomy beats rain down with laser-like precision. It's dark and depressing yet simultaneously beautiful and uplifting. I feel every second of this anthem and fully expect it to be massive. "Dancing On My Own" is a very welcome reminder of just how good Robyn can be when she doesn't try to be something she's not. It's just a shame that such a spectacular song is housed on such a lousy album.
Cry When You Get Older - 7/10
Robyn re-visits the 80s on this cute little pop tune. I love the bouncy synths and unusually sweet lyrics ("love hurts when you do it right, you can cry when you get older"). This is the album's most straightforward pop song and should appeal to those of us who have been hanging around since the 90s. I feel that I've been a bit stingy with my 7/10 rating but this song reminds me of the mid-tempo synth pop on Gabriella Cilmi's "Ten" and I'm genuinely shocked to admit that Gabi did it better. Which makes me want to grab the nearest razor. Anyway, this is a smart choice for a future single.
Dancehall Queen - 8/10
When this leaked a couple of weeks ago along with "Fembot" and "None Of Dem", many fans dismissed it as the worst of the bunch. I totally disagree. "Dancehall Queen" is a bit of a grower but it's genuinely creative and innovative. I love how Diplo has re-created the raw and organic sound of reggae/dancehall music using synths and electronic beats. The song shouldn't work at all but it's strangely hypnotic and ultimately very catchy. It also the perfect vehicle for Robyn's fuck you attitude. I love her swagger on this. With any luck by the time Part 3 drops, there will be enough good material for one decent album.
None Of Dem - 6/10
This is probably the biggest disappointment on "Body Talk Pt 1". I love Röyksopp but they clearly don't know how to bring the best out of Robyn - as they previously proved on "The Girl & The Robot". "None Of Dem" isn't bad. It's just adequate filler. The production is epic but the song doesn't cover any new ground. Robyn just sings/talks about how hot she is (stop laughing!), while someone forgot to write a chorus. I'm sure the cool crowd will be uploading this as their new ring tone as I type. The rest of us will be too busy pressing 'skip'.
Hang With Me - 6/10
One of the most disturbing things about "Body Talk Pt 1" is just how little Robyn has evolved as an artist since 2005. This admittedly cute acoustic number is virtually interchangeable with "Eclipse" or "Robotboy". It's nice to actually hear some instruments and the lyrics are suitably pretty but it's all been done before and done considerably better.
Jag Vet en Dejlig Rosa - 1/10
Sanna Nielsen called and wants her act back.
"Body Talk Pt 1" is released in the UK on the 14th of June. As yet there is no Australian release date but Modular already have it on their release schedule, so it will be hitting local stores around the same time. I'm off to listen to "My Truth" on repeat to wash away the taste of this aural turd.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
30 April - Discovery Nightclub - Darwin
1 May - HQ - Adelaide
2 May - Platinum Lounge - Mackay
If you live in one of those cities, you're in for a treat. I saw her perform at Nevermind in January and she was absolutely amazing. While we wait for "Skin I'm In" to debut, let's re-visit Luciana's next UK single. "Go Go Go" (below) is a hot collaboration with rapper Lethal Bizzle and is slated for release on the 17th of May. I love this. Luci's verse makes the song and her neon lipstick will be the envy of drag queens across the nation!
Friday, April 23, 2010
1. Spanish homosexuals have great ball skills.
2. The guy who plays Juan is my future husband.
3. Tracksuits are fashionable in Spain.
4. Romance is alive and well in Barcelona.
5. Zuma de naranja is cheaper than water in gay cafes.
6. All Spanish footballers kiss their gay lovers during practice.
7. Don't fuck with a Spanish gay. Poor Juan gets dumped for simply touching another man. It could have been his brother!
8. Bright orange wallpaper is socially acceptable among Spanish bears.
9. The scene at 3:25 minutes needs to be re-made as a porno.
10. Spanish referees will give a yellow card for anything.
"I Don't Care" is about to be released in Spain. The song will appear on Barb@zul's forthcoming album. Check their Myspace for more details.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Pop Trash favourite Kyrah is gearing up for the release of her stunning debut single "Uh Oh" and kindly sent over a couple of promo videos for your viewing pleasure. These are not even on her own website yet - so they are a world exclusive. How fancy! I'm slightly obsessed with "Uh Oh", so I couldn't wait to see what Kyrah had to say about the song and video. The first clip (above) is just a fun shout out to her fans but the second one (below) is really interesting. The aspiring pop princess says the song is based on a friend "who doesn't care what guys think". I guess that's code for 'she's a slut'. Anyway, "Uh Oh" is apparently a female empowerment anthem! Kyrah then spills the juice on the video. Apparently she was inspired by Madonna's "Justify My Love", particularly "all the leather". The diva promises PVC, lace and lots of old Hollywood glamour. It sounds amazing! I'm told the video clip is almost finished, so expect to see a lot more from Kyrah in the next few days.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The first thing you notice about Kelly is her voluptuous figure. I got into an argument with a friend for commenting on the singer's curves but I actually meant it as a compliment. Kelly looks like she knows her way around a McDonalds' menu and that's ok. There are more than enough barbie dolls in pop. Big bottomed girls need role models too! And they could do a lot worse than the inaugural American Idol, who impressed from the very first song - a rocktastic version of the album's title track (and 4th single in the US). I ache for "All I Ever Wanted". It's ridiculously catchy and could be a big hit with a video clip and some decent promotion. Pull your finger out, Sony! That was followed by "Miss Independent" and the Katy Perry penned anthem "I Do Not Hook Up". The latter has been a guilty pleasure of mine for months, so it was treat to finally hear it live. One of the great things about Kelly is the way she interacts with the crowd. I particularly loved it when she took off her jacket and quipped that it was the concert's only costume change. As it turns out, she wasn't exaggerating! Next up was another great album track "Impossible", but that paled in comparison with her amazing mash up of Alanis Morissette's "That I Would Be Good" and Kings Of Leon's "Use Somebody". Girlfriend had better release a live album or DVD because I want this on my Ipod. I was less enthusiastic about "Breakaway" but nearly fell out of my seat when she combined "If I Can't Have You" (my equal favourite track on "All I Ever Wanted") with Kylie's "Can't Get You Out Of My Head". Kelly doing Kylie is possibly the most fabulous thing I've seen in 2010 and was easily the highlight of the show. Check it out below. Respect!
That stunning cover was always going to be hard to top and "Never Again" really only served as a reminder of how shit "My December" was. Her Black Keys cover ("Lies") was beautiful but I preferred her take on Keith Urban's "Tonight I Wanna Cry", which remains one of only two KU songs that I can stomach without hard drugs (the other is his duet with Nelly Furtado). Kelly then took things down a notch for an acoustic medley of some of her more obscure songs including "Sober", "Addicted" and "Gone". I'm not overly keen on any of those tracks but I loved the segment. It really showcased the Texan's powerhouse pipes and allowed her to express a different side of her personality. "Behind These Hazel Eyes" is my favourite song from "Breakaway", so I'm glad she dusted it off for the tour. That classic was followed by four new songs from "All I Ever Wanted". "Cry" is apparently the album's 4th single in Australia. Not that you'd know it given the song's complete lack of promotion and radio play. It's a shame because "Cry" is one of the diva's finest ballads. The same goes for the equally touching "Save You". It was a bit of surprise to hear the charmingly cheesy "I Want You" but I went crazy for "Don't Let Me Stop You" - my other favourite song from the album. Kelly acknowledged it as a fan favourite and Sony would be crazy to sit on it. I prefer it to "Since U Been Gone"!
By about this stage, Kelly had me eating out of her hand. I love the respect she showed all the artists she covered (often rambling about how much they mean to her) and her down to earth commentary on being desperate and dateless. Kelly should join RSVP. She'd be snapped up in a minute! Her commentary on "Because Of You" was particularly interesting. I didn't know it was about her father, although I really should have guessed from the lyrics. That anthem had the audience swaying their mobile phones in the air (they really are the new cigarette lighters) but "Walk Away" brought everyone to their feet. Strangely, I've always hated that song but it was more bearable live. The big finale was "Since U Been Gone", which hasn't lost any of its shine since 2004. After a short break Kelly returned to belt out "Already Gone". As a silent protest against Ryan Tedder's track whoring I sang along to "Halo" in my head. Take that, sucker! The encore continued with an unnecessary cover of The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" but ended on a high with a brilliant rendition of "My Life Would Suck Without You". It's amazing how 90 minutes can completely change your opinion of someone. Kelly is a desperate dance album away from joining my A List but she's now a firm favourite. The diva is clearly pop's second realest girl after Mutya. And that's something to celebrate.
EDIT: I've just been told that "All The Lovers" was produced by Starsmith (the dude behind Ellie Goulding's album) and executive produced by Stuart Price.
EDIT 2: Starsmith just confirmed that he didn't produce it! LOL
EDIT 3: Kish Mauve (the electro duo behind "2 Hearts" and "Lose Control") just announced that they wrote "All The Lovers" on their Myspace.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Chris getting mauled by fembotsOpening with "Dangerzone" was a smart move. I love that song and still think it's a viable single. It was interesting to note that the majority of the dance steps haven't changed since her showcase but why fuck with something that isn't broken? Chris used the stage better than anyone and her amazing fembots put Kelly Rowland's broke arse dancers to shame. The choreography was so tight. I still get a kick out the sequence where the fembots bring out the microphone in a series of robotic moves and their costumes looked brilliant under the lights. Chris didn't look too shabby either. Her old Hollywoood meets Cassie circa "Electro Love" hairstyle was the sex and I'm a complete whore for that skirt. "Dangerzone" was followed by "Symbiotic". It's no secret that I don't really like that song and Thursday night's performance didn't change that. I just think it's missing something. Like a chorus. Not that it mattered because Chris saved the best for last. It's been such an amazing journey witnessing "So Lonely" evolve from a shy little demo back in 2008 to the slick electro anthem it is today. I actually got quite emotional hearing her perform it in front of so many people. That song alone sums up how far she's come over the past year. It was the perfect end to an accomplished and original set.
Chris & Sean Paul swap numbers back stageNext up was Eve. I've had a not so secret gay man's crush on her since she joined forces with Gwen Stefani on 2001's "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" (has it really been 9 years?) and was looking forward to finally seeing her live. And she didn't disappoint despite having what appeared to be a dead muppet glued to her head. Bitch needs to call Ken Paves ASAP! Eve's set was very simple but she has star quality and it was fun hearing old favourites like "Who's That Girl" and "Gansta Lovin'". Unfortunately, I missed Jay Sean while I was back stage annoying Chris but I did manage to get high on the marijuana fumes streaming out of a certain dressing room. My only regret is not running into Kelly Rowland. I was dying to ask her what it's like to be in the presence of greatness (ie. Beyoncé) but I did hear a fantastic story about her ironing Akon's shirt - which makes me love her even more. By the time I got back to my seat, Sean Paul was half way through his set. I'm not exactly a fan but the crowd was going wild for him and I loved his bootylicious Jamaican dancers.
Grrrr!The biggest surprise of the night was Pitbull. With the exception of his stunning rap on Livvi Franc's immortal smash hit (in my mind) "Now I'm That Bitch", his music has always bored me senseless. However, after thirty minutes of watching the pride of Miami thrust his groin at the audience - I was just about ready to start a new fansite in his honour. It would just be heavy on pictures and light on audio. That said, "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" and "Hotel Room Service" sounded great live and his band was incredible. Consider me a convert! After Chris, the act I was most looking forward to was Kelly Rowland. As a life long Destiny's Child fan, she holds a special place in my heart and the hype surrounding "Commander" (her new single) suggested she had taken things to the next level. She hasn't. I hate dissing someone I genuinely love but Ms Kelly was a hot mess. She looked amazing and sounded good but she seemed lost on stage and made a series of embarrassing comments that made her look like an idiot. Things started well with great versions of "Work" and "Like This". I thought her re-jigged version of "Dilemma" was a misstep but not as bad as leaving the stage for an extended break after three songs only to return in the same costume. I guess she was busting for a piss. The highlight was her Destiny's Child medley of hits but I cringed when she told the crowd she was going to take them "way back" by singing "Survivor". It was released after at least three of the songs that preceded it. She then performed an awful cover of Coldplay's "Clocks" before thanking Australia for taking "When Love Takes Over" to number one. Sorry, Kelly. It actually peaked at #4. I know I'm being pedantic and slightly mean but I expected more from her. Maybe she was just having a bad night. All in all, I really enjoyed Supafest and hope they bring it back next year. Preferably with urban superstars like Solange, Khia, Michelle Williams, Choice, Livvi Franc, Kiely Williams and Heidi Montag in the line up. A boy can dream.
At least she looked good
PS. Bravo to whoever designed the stunning mock cover that I stole from Say Hey!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
John, there's a huge amount of hype about Parralox overseas. How has the band managed to stay so underground in Australia?
Thanks! Yes, Parralox are very well received in Europe, from Dublin all the way to Moscow and beyond. I suppose we have remained underground in Australia because I haven’t chased any of the major labels or radio stations. The major FM stations are only interested in commercial music, as are the major labels. Parralox isn’t concerned with commercial success, so we are happy to remain “underground” in Australia.
Exactly how big are you in Europe? I hear that Eastern Europe is in the grip of Parralox-mania!
How big are we in Europe? Well we are being flown over to Germany in 4 weeks to perform at the Electro City music festival in Berlin, and then again in August to perform at Infest (a major electronic music festival) in UK, so we are really starting to gain momentum. We get Xmas cards and all sorts of things from our fans in Europe and it just blows our minds every time we get something in the mail. One of our fans in the Czech Republic now runs an official Parralox website, which is pretty rad. Europe has been our strongest supporter so we focus all our efforts there.
Can you tell us how the group got started? You were formerly better known as a songwriter/producer.
Parralox was formed in 2008 after I wrote a song called "Factory Friends" for my other band The Tenth Stage which was rejected as it sounded “too electronic”. I got Roxy to record vocals for the track and was blown away by how good it sounded. At that time I was producing a lot of alternative and rocky sort of music and was really getting an itch to do something completely electronic. I suppose the time was just right, so I wrote a song called “I Fell In Love With A Drum Machine” and leaked it onto the net. Heaps of blogs picked up the track and gave it rave reviews, which was fantastic. Roxy and I recorded our debut album ("Electricity") and released it 9 months after the band was formed.
Parralox has a very unique sound and look. What are your musical and visual influences?
Where do I begin? Musically we are inspired by Depeche Mode, The Knife, The Human League, Yazoo, Eurthymics, Propaganda, The Art Of Noise, Deee-lite, Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre and any other band that uses synthesizers. Visually we love David Lynch, Guillermo del Toro, Paul Morrisey, Pedro Almodovar, Anton Corbijn, John Waters and Pierre et Gilles. Some of the authors who inspire me are Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Frank Herbert, Brett Easton-Ellis, Stephen Hawking, Brian Greene and Arthur C Clarke. Both Amii and I spend a lot of time on the visual side of the band, as it’s such an important part of the whole package. We want to create something which will stand the test of time.
Sorry but I have to ask - do you have a kinky robot fetish?
Oh my God yes. There’s something about a strong silver body that just pushes my buttons. I grew up watching Doctor Who, Blakes 7 and Space 1999 and just about every other science fiction show and movie that was ever released. I knew from a very young age (around 8 I think) that science fiction was the only way to go. My father was a very technical man, and introduced me to electronics at a very young age. So anything that had buttons and lots of flashing lights would pretty much bring on an orgasm. LOL. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I saw the interior for the MOTHER control room in the Alien movie. I used to build my own LED chaser kits and have flashing red lights everywhere. I even built my own miniature ORAC (Blake’s 7) but it was basically a bunch of lights and cotton wool stuffed into a fish bowl!
The third single from “State Of Decay” has just been released. How did you settle on “Isn’t It Strange” over all the other gems?
It wasn’t an easy choice. Amii and I both had a chat about what direction the band was heading in, and plans for the future etc. We both have a vision for the 3rd album, so it made sense for "Isn’t It Strange" to be the next single lifted from "State Of Decay". It is clearly single material and one of the darker tracks from the album. Given what the 3rd album will be, we thought we should show people the darker, more serious side of Parralox. Speaking of which, we have plans to release Time as our final single from State Of Decay, on a soon to be released remix album called "Extensions" in the next few months.
I believe you directed the band's latest video. Is there any aspect of Parralox you’re not involved in?!
I direct all the Parralox music videos. It’s another part of the music process that I really enjoy, and have always wanted to explore in a more serious way. Now that I have good quality High Definition 35mm equivalent equipment, I can finally bring to life some of my visions! The video for "Isn’t It Strange" was launched last week and has had over 2,000 plays in just over 7 days! It was rated #12 top video in Australia the day after its launch on YouTube. This clip is a little darker than our previous one, but still represents what Parralox is all about - good songs with lots of synths! At this stage I am pretty much overseeing every aspect of Parralox. I write, produce and arrange the songs. I take the photos and do all the graphic design and layout for the sleeves. I manage most of the websites and deal directly with the various labels and stores affiliated with the band as well as any other promotional/networking bits. Then there’s the video clips and remixes too!
Have you considered re-releasing “I Am Human” with a video? I think it’s by far the most commercial radio track on the album and really should have been a massive worldwide hit!
Yes, we’d love to do a proper video for that. I actually started shooting some footage for it last year with a dancer called Tony Keeble from VCA. When we signed with our German label they released "Hotter" and "I Am Human" simultaneously which was probably not a wise move. It meant that "I Am Human" missed out in its chance for exposure as we couldn’t really promote two releases at the same time. I’d like to be optimistic and say that "I Am Human" still has a chance for release, but we are recording so many new songs that are even better. Also I am against re-visiting the past, mainly because I’d rather focus time and energy on new songs.
I’m so impressed by the band’s unique approach to marketing – offering limited edition physical CDs, free downloads for fans and different digital bundles. How important is a strong online presence/social media for pop acts in 2010?
It’s essential really. The internet has replaced the traditional model of signing to a major record label for distribution and promotion. Parralox is what I would consider a boutique band, so we need to focus on what we are good at, and that is delivering good songs in great packaging. Fans thrive on collectability and value for money and that’s what I want to give them. We’ve copped a bit of flack for releasing albums with 17 songs on it, but I say if they are good quality songs, then go for it! If the quality is there then you should give people bang for their buck, because, let’s face it, they can always download it for free from any torrent site. That’s why ensuring that the physical CDs are well packaged and presented is so important. The actual packaging of the product is just as important as the actual song. When I listen to any song on the "Dare" album by The Human League I always see the front cover in my mind.
Tell me about some of the other acts you’ve worked with. You were behind Olivia Newton-John’s best track in over a decade. Why was “Best Of My Love” never released? What was the legendary Gina G like to work with? Is Dulta really a miracle cure for insomnia?
I got to work on the Olivia remix via my friend Ashley Cadell (Kate Ceberano, BJ Caruana). It was heaps of fun to do that track, and I’ve posted 2 of them on Youtube which you can listen to right now. The remix was supposed to come out on a CD supporting breast cancer, but it didn’t pan out. I spoke with the songwriter Brett Goldsmith (Olivia’s nephew) a few weeks ago and asked him if the track was ever going to be released. He said he’s catching up with Olivia in May and will ask her about it. So who knows… it may get an official release one day! I started work with Gina G back in 1993 when she was in a band called Bass Culture. We wrote some songs with another songwriter (John Collins) and these were used on the Bass Culture album and some were also placed in the TV soap Home and Away. I still get some lovely royalty cheques from that. We still write together whenever she comes to Australia, which isn’t often now that she’s married and has kids. We wrote a few songs together for her latest album which came out a few years ago. Delta, she’s a very pretty girl who smiles a lot.
What’s next for Parralox? When are you coming to Sydney?
We are performing in Sydney in June, right after we return from Europe in May 2010! Our Australian manager (Jaime Jimenez) is organising the show as we speak. We are currently recording our third album (due for release in November), with the first single slated for a September release. We have more shows planned for UK and USA next year too. Stay tuned…
Discover the full Parralox experience by checking out their amazing website. Make sure you sign up to the mailing list, which gives you access to a treasure trove of free mp3s. "Isn't It Strange" (below) is now available to download from iTunes. You can also score a physical copy from this online store.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Our place of worship has come under attack. The Church of La Toya was abruptly shut down a couple of days ago after allegations of impropriety by a certain administrator were aired in the forum. Toy's Church has since reappeared on a new server - only without the forum or the original founders, who made the site so special in the first place. This saddens me greatly. I know it's not cool to admit but I've made life long friends on the various Toy Toy fansites. Happily, Tommie is trying to bring everyone together again at the Gospel of La Toya. He promises a return to the sense of irreverence and fun that shaped Toy's Haven (the pre-Church forum). I've even been invited to write another series of the Erotic Adventures Of Toy Toy! For old time's sake, here's the first installment. I wanted to post the episode where La Toya goes down on Celine Dion but I don't want to be threatened with legal action. Again. See you all at Toy's new home.
The alarm pierced her ears like tiny daggers. Grabbing the nearest dildo, La Toya smashed her clock radio into a hundred tiny pieces. It couldn't possibly be morning already, Toy Toy thought to herself as she sat up in bed and groggily attached her mattered weave. Looking around her once glamorous boudoir, La Toya's eyes widened in disbelief. Clothing was scattered around the room and empty bottles of Star Ice littered the floor. Getting up to investigate, La Toya felt a familiar burning sensation in her big back door. With the intention of sitting on a packet of frozen peas, Toy Toy stumbled into the kitchen and gasped in horror. The fridge was empty. Janet had raided her pantry again.
To Be Continued...
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Love Song - Isabel Guzman (suggested by Robpop)
I really love the lyrics, they are very girly but the synths make this song for me.
Estoy Baliando - Las Hermanas Goggi (suggested by Hidroboy)
Besides the fact the film clip itself is unbelievably cool, (those women are rocking it in their leotards) they also have their very own troop of 'femme bot' dancers... even if they are male. 'Men bots?' I'm also being a little patriotic and saluting the motherland, Italy.
Model For Me - Jer Ber Jones (Suggested by Ro Ro)
The video is hilarious! Why have I never seen this before?! I just can imagine a remix of this song going off in the clubs.
Congratulations to the winners! Send me an email with your address, so I can post your incredibly glamorous prizes. The rest of you will just have to order a copy here. Life's not fair, I know.
A future Chris Sorbello anthem?
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Friday, April 09, 2010
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
The next stunning anthem comes from a former Cheetah Girl. I had no idea who Kiely Williams was before a link to "Spectacular" appeared in my inbox but I know I'll never forget her. In one fell swoop, Kiely has kicked all the pretenders to the curb and reached icon status. I haven't heard this kind of unadulterated filth since Vanity revolutionised music as we know it in the 80s. "Spectacular" begins with the classy lyrics "last I remember I was face down, ass up, clothes off" and goes on to feature a lot of heavy groaning and classy ad-libs like "I hope he used a rubber" - all bow down to the new Queen of pop! The video is also a work of art. Kiely dances like a stripper in an outfit that Divine Brown would deem too tasteless. Some sleazy guy also gets his arse out for your viewing pleasure. Can someone please give Kiely the MTV Award for best video now? This is essential viewing for all trash fans!
After featuring two (semi-) natural women, it's time to give the trannies some loving. I wish I knew more about Russella because I'm completely obsessed with her genre defining debut single. I tried to do some digging but all I found was her Gardening blog! For the full Russella experience, watch her plant rhubarb in full drag here. As amazing as her gardening adventures are, the diva's music is even more gripping. "Too Fabulous" is pure class from the opening line "I'm just a long legged lady with a big set of balls" to the final tinny beat. I can honestly picture someone like Heidi Montag stealing this for her next iTunes smash. It's fierce, fresh and fabulous. And then there's the brilliant video. Russella is clearly a creative tour de force. I love the gay makeovers and classy costumes. Revel in her glamour below. Oh and make sure to watch the stunner's amazing Destiny's Child video.
My next honouree is the legendary Jer Ber Jones. I've been a Jer Ber fan since my friend Ro Ro introduced me to her special brand of musical magic back in 2007 and I'm glad to see that she's back with a new anthem. This time around the diva has joined forced with the equally stunning Calpernia Adams on "Transfixed". I genuinely love this song. The production is amazing and the ladies' eerie vocals give the song an edge. Speaking of eeriness, don't watch the video before bedtime or you'll have nightmares. And I'm not talking about their less is more approach to make-up! "Transfixed" is wonderfully weird and creepy. I love the disturbing special effects and dance moves. So much time, effort and creativity (not to mention, at least $20) went into this. If only Jer Ber's mainstream rivals could say the same. Check out this fabulous acid trip doubling as a video clip below.
Last but definitely not least is Philadelphia's favourite daughter. I've been meaning to write about Karina Bradley for months but The Prophet and D Listed got there first. The song slipped my mind until I rescued The Prophet from a Melrose Place marathon on Sunday night and we drove around for 4 hours listening to "Dance Floor Diva" on repeat. 'Cause that's how we roll! And while other gays have fallen for the stunning beauty's endless camp appeal, I honestly believe this is one of the best pop songs of 2010. "Dance Floor Diva" succeeds where recent efforts by Robyn, Britney and Christina have all failed - by perfectly combining heavenly vocals, insightful lyrics and revolutionary production. Karina simply does it better! The video is also a masterpiece. The poor bitch looks like a drag queen that's been locked in a sunbed for 48 hours before being forced to wear one of Jordan's old outfits. It's heaven! Oh and if you're wondering how she managed to fund such an iconic video - check out Karina's day job here. I would die to go to one of her workshops!
Monday, April 05, 2010
On A Mission - 6/10
The only thing that stopped "On A Mission" suffering a similar fate to Amy Pearson's vastly superior "Butterfingers" (yes, I said it!) is the fact that Gabriella actually looks good in a mini skirt. As you probably already guessed, I'm not a huge fan of the album's lead single. It's pleasant enough but the Rogue Traders were doing this shit back in 2007. I particularly hate the spoken interlude and embarrassing space video. Barbarella has been done to death (see Kylie's brilliant "Put Yourself In My Place") and Gabi should avoid performing choreography at all costs! The song's saving grace is the amazing Wideboys remix, which injects "On A Mission" with some much needed fun and energy.
Hearts Don't Lie - 7/10
So this is the second single? It's definitely better than "On A Mission" but Gabriella's disco throwback doesn't really strike me as chart gold. Admittedly, the track is something of a grower and I love Xenomania's lavish Bee Gees meets the Scissor Sisters approach to production. I just can't help but feel that something is missing. Like a decent chorus. The song also suffers in comparison to La Toya's similarly titled 80s classic "Heart Don't Lie". It's a shame because Gabi's vocal is epic and the lyrics are suitably sexy. Fingers crossed for a decent video and more hot remixes!
What If You Knew - 9/10
After a couple of early disappointments, everything comes together on "What If You Knew". Produced by The Invisible Men (Sugababes and Noisettes), this catchy little jam is so 80s it hurts. Think A-Ha meets Duran Duran with a smattering Yazoo thrown in for good measure. Yes, it's that amazing! I love the cute lyrics and appreciate the fact that Gabriella can be understated and vulnerable when the song demands it. I think this is probably too subtle to be a single but it's well worth checking out.
Love Me Cos You Want To - 10/10
"Love Me Cos You Want To" is another sublime 80s throwback (courtesy of The Invisible Men) with a big, beautiful chorus. What sets this apart from the rest of the album, however, is the song's softness and honesty. The lyrics are genuinely moving without feeling forced or manipulative and Gabriella really connects with that in her delicate vocal delivery. This would have been perfect for Kylie. If "Ten" is a massive flop, she should steal it for her next album. Dreamy pop doesn't come much better than this.
Defender - 4/10
Gabriella channels Celine on this shiteous ballad. No thanks.
Robots - 9/10
There should be a separate sub-genre for songs about robots. It seems like every bitch with a synthesizer has explored this metaphor at one time or another but Gabi's is definitely one of the better attempts. Actually, I'd probably rank this second only to Margaret Berger's legendary "Robot Song". The slick beats and romantic synths suit the subject matter perfectly. I also appreciate the clever lyrics. How lovely is this: "What if we were made from wires and spare parts? What if there was only science in our hearts?"
Superhot - 9/10
International dance sensation Luciana teams up with husband Nick Clow, Paul Harris (Kylie) and Ian Masterson (Dannii) for the album's best floorfiller. While the majority of "Ten" is soft and pretty mid-tempo electro, "Superhot" gives Gabriella some much needed edge. I actually think they could beef up the production to make it more club friendly but this is one of the album's few potential radio hits. Who doesn't want a super hot guy with a super hot ride? With all due respect to Gabi, I'd kill to hear Luciana's demo. She was born to sing this kind of tongue in cheek filth!
Boys - 9.5/10
I guess most people with a beating heart will be able to identify with this surprisingly scathing little tune. "Boys" is another viable single choice. There's nothing like a bitter break up anthem to win over the depressed gays and underappreciated housewives! Moreover, the track is fucking catchy. Gabriella brings just the right amount of attitude to the proceedings, while Dallas Austin's production is spot on. I love the heavy synths and catchy vocal hooks. Wait, is she yodelling? Whatever. I approve.
Invisible Girl - 5/10
Britney called and wants her "Blackout" demo back. Yawn.
Glue - 7/10
The lacklustre ballads really let "Ten" down. "Glue" is pleasant enough - I particularly like the faint hint of gospel in the chorus - but it's all been done before and better. Gabriella's beautiful voice makes it work but the album would have been more coherent if they had stuck to the electro-pop brief.
Let Me Know - 7/10
Was this recycled from "Lessons To Be Learned"? It's not bad by any means. I actually love the organic production and beefy chorus but what is an admittedly fun nod to Motown doing on this album? It just sounds so out of place.
Superman - 8/10
Greg Kurstin is one of my favourite producers. He gave Sia a top 40 hit and almost made Ke$ha sound classy on "Animal". Clearly, there is no limit to his talent! It comes as something of a surprise then that "Superman" isn't as great as some of the other tracks. Again, it's more "Lessons To Be Learned" than "Ten". That said, the production is suitably slinky and the intro is lovely ("falling so fast for you, I'd need a parachute"). I guess my expectations were just too high. It could be a grower.
Sweet About Me (Twenty Ten Version) - 7/10
Bitch, please! We all know you can probably retire from the proceeds of this one song but it's time to move on. The remix is actually pretty great but its inclusion here is sad and embarrassing.
Sucker For Love - 3/10
You'd be a sucker for spending cash on this lame iTunes bonus track.
Saturday, April 03, 2010
1. Australian Chart Domination
As I mentioned previously, "I Like That" has been THE crossover dance smash of the Australian summer. Last week it peaked at #16 and received a Gold certification. I thought that was an amazing feat for an unheralded club record but then Australia's Got Talent happened. The song is currently being used to promote the show and the sight of a heavily pregnant Dannii Minogue busting a move to Luciana surrounded by two gross losers has transfixed the nation (watch video below). "I Like That" has since rocketed to #2 on Australian iTunes and looks set to jump in the top 10 this week. I'm so exited for her!
2. Mike Protests Vicious Records
My one man protest of Vicious Records was an epic fail. LOL. I'm devastated that Luciana's biggest hit is not being released physically, while Ian Carey's (admittedly fabulous) flop "Shot Caller" was. I know physical singles are being phased out but fans still collect them - remix loving dance music fans in particular. Maybe the song's new burst of popularity will sway them. At this stage I'd be happy with an acetate DJ promo in a clear plastic slip! Hint.
3. Luciana Returns To Australia
Luci is coming back to Australia later this month to promote "I Like That" with a series of club shows. However, none are slated for Sydney as yet. Rude. I notice she is performing at Bedroom Nightclub - where I recently saw the legendary Ami Suzuki! - so another trip to the Gold Coast might be on the cards.
4. Behind The Scenes Of "I Like That"
Check it out here. Amazing!
5. Next Australian Single
Now, this is where it gets a bit confusing. I know at least two local labels were sniffing around her latest collaboration with Bodyrox, "Shut Your Mouth", but I believe the new frontrunner is "Skin I'm In". Both tracks are great but I think the latter showcases Luciana's versatility better and is slightly more commercial. Can't wait to hear a proper studio version!
6. Luciana Does Gabriella Cilmi
The Queen of electroclash somehow found the time to pen a song for Gabriella Cilmi's surprisingly great sophomore album. I'll eventually get around to reviewing "Ten" but check out Luciana's contribution. "Superhot" is seriously amazing and would have made a much better single than the La Toya rip off "Hearts Don't Lie".
7. French Single And Video
David Vendetta is the latest DJ to benefit from Luciana's powerhouse vocals and songwriting genius. "Make Boys Cry" is slated for a single release in France and a video clip has been filmed. No word yet on a release date. I love this song. It's fucking epic. Fingers crossed, it will get a full international release.
8. New UK Single
Luciana features on Lethal Bizzle's latest single "Go Go Go". To be honest, I'd never even heard of the UK rapper before this collaboration but apparently he's quite a big deal. The classy neon drenched video has even been exclusively unveiled on The Sun's website. What a hot tune! He even raps about Beyoncé! I smell a hit.
9. Behind The Scenes of "Go Go Go"
10. N-Dubz Collaboration!
Last but definitely not least, Luci has hooked up with the UK's hottest hip hop outfit N-Dubz to record a song called "We Dance On" for the soundtrack of a new 3D movie called Streetdance. A video clip is also in the works. The song hasn't leaked yet but the film looks stunning - kind of like a crunk version West Side Story! Check out the trailer below.