Thursday, September 30, 2010

Andy Bull - Phantom Pains Interview

It's been a year since my last chat with Andy Bull. In that time he's released a critically acclaimed album, toured the country, recorded a new EP and most importantly, cut his hair. The third item in that list is the reason for today's interview. Andy's new EP "Phantom Pains" hit shelves (sounds better than was uploaded to iTunes) a couple of weeks ago and has already won over the indie-pop crowd - largely due to his magnificent duet with Lisa Mitchell. I didn't think it was possible to top "Small Town Girl" but "Dog" comes very, very close. That song is representative of the EP's dark tone but unlike most of his contemporaries, Andy never forgets the power of a good harmony and catchy pop chorus. Which is one of the reasons he is such a favourite of mine. That and the fact that he graciously puts up with my stalking on Facebook. Anyway, here's what the extremely talented Mr Bull had to say about "Phantom Pains".

The EP is a beautiful collection of songs but your sound is darker this time around. In fact, “Dog” (bottom of post) is possibly the catchiest song about depression that I’ve ever heard. Is it fair to say you were going through a bit of a rough patch when you were putting it together?
"Phantom Pains" is darker than the music I have made in the past, but it's not because I am less happy than I was. it's just because I am discovering, perversely, the joy in articulating that ever-present emotional darkness. Learning to express the personal and the emotional, rather than simply crafting well constructed words, is liberating for the songwriter and the listener, and furthermore, it's honest.

Are you going to do a video for “Dog”?
Maybe, I’m tossing around some ideas. I think I might try animating something, maybe in the style that I drew the EP artwork in. Currently I’m working on a really cool video for the "Phantom Pains" song though. It's not animated: one of my best pals shot it for me in this weird house on Long Island in the States, and sent the footage here, and then me and another pal filmed some more material to complete the clip. It’s really cool just working with your friends on it. Very do-it-yourself. It should be finished soon. It's about a guy who cuts off his thumb to get the insurance money. I wont spoil the ending.

How did you rope in the services of Lisa Mitchell, Little Red and Hungry Kids of Hungary for the EP?
Lisa and I became friends when we toured last year. I had actually become a member of her band during that tour also, since she had cut her finger very badly on the second night of the tour and couldn’t play guitar, so I played piano for her. She called me up earlier this year and invited me to sing a song with her at her Enmore Theatre show, and in return I invited her to sing on my album. One afternoon, when she was in Sydney, she came around to my house for a cup of tea, and then we recorded "Dog" in my little home studio. It took about an hour.

Basically the same deal with Little Red singing on "Nothing to Lose", I made friends with them when we did a long tour about 2 years ago. Earlier this year they were in Sydney mixing their new album, and one afternoon they rocked up to my house with a case of beer, and a few jars in, we decided it would be cool to sing on a song together. With Hungry Kids, my producer Tony Buchen had produced their single “Let You Down” and we thought it would be cool to have them sing on "Last Waltz", so we sent them the track over email with some suggestions for harmonies, and they sent it back pretty well nailed.

Is the EP a taste of a forthcoming album or a stand alone project?
It’s a stand-alone project. I think that in this day and age, with the way we consume music (i.e. iTunes) that long albums are not always so necessary. Or in other words, I think that the EPs could now fill the role that albums have for the last 10 years. From my point of view, EPs are great because there is a shorter time span between their creation and their release, which I think improves the relevance of the output. Take Sufjan Stevens as an example. I think his career is really exciting to watch because it’s very dynamic - he releases stunning EPs regularly. I think there is something to be said for it. Artistically and commercially, it's healthier, because there is less expectation and without that expectation, you can just get on with the business of playing music, and you can do it for the right reasons!

One of my other favourite songs on the EP is “Work Is A Slow Way To Die”. Which basically verbalises my general attitude to employment. What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
I’ve had a few jobs over the years, some of them grubby and very rough. Working in a commercial kitchen is up there as one of the most exhausting jobs, but definitely not the worst. I think, surprisingly maybe, that my stint as a personal trainer was my worst job. Early mornings, late nights, shit pay. You spend half the time cleaning up after people, cleaning vomit and shit off toilet floors. And then you spend the other half listening to people complain about being fat and unmotivated. They want a magic pill to fix their problems, and there is none. I felt like I was always giving people hard facts that they didn’t want to hear. Plus, you have to be one hell of a salesman, which I am not. I had some trainer friends who were amazing at it, who thrived on it and made good cash. But my mind was elsewhere, and I was getting nowhere, so after an unhappy couple of years, I stopped.

You spent 7 years working on your debut album. I loved it but it didn’t quite take off the way you possibly would have liked. How do you deal with that after pouring your heart and soul into something?
Actually I was pretty amazed by the response, and on the whole I felt like reviews were incredibly generous. It didn’t, however, smash though the charts and for that I am incredibly thankful, not disappointed as you suggested. I think that had “We’re Too Young” been a big hit then I would still be tied to it now, which would be the real disappointment. Instead, I got to free myself of it and move on, which was deeply cathartic. Making "Phantom Pains" was a very beautiful, rich, personal experience that brought me real contentedness. Where "We’re Too Young" had been like surviving a trial, "Phantom Pains" came like a happy revelation.

Do you think the record company’s marketing strategy backfired? You were put forward as a retro soul singer, when your sound is actually a lot more eclectic.
Again, it seems to me like other people worry more about all that marketing stuff than I do. If anybody tried to represent me as anything, well, I don’t know what to say about that? I represent myself only, I try to behave in a way that is in accordance with what I believe at that time; and if you really want to know what I believe, then you can ask me and I will tell you. If you want to know about my music, just listen to it and make up your own mind based on your own emotional response. I don’t have ambitions to be seen as one thing or another in particular. My ambition is to not care.

You’re hitting the road soon, doing some solo shows as well as supporting Clare Bowditch. How did that come about? What can we expect from the shows? Will you be dusting off “Small Town Arsehole”?
Just one of those small-world connections. I live across the road from her manager, and so I hassled him about it while he was walking his dog. Well, that’s only half true. But the shows should be cool, I’m working on a little duo at the moment that I think is going to be pretty great. "Small Town Arsehole" is likely to get a run. Should be a great tour.

You can order a signed copy of "Phantom Pains" from JB Hi-Fi. Click on this link to see Andy's upcoming tour dates.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kylie - Get Outta My Way & Third Single

A delicious fan made cover

After all these years I still get excited when Kylie releases a new single. I still have to buy it in every format and track down all the remixes. No wonder I'm broke! And I'm particularly excited about this one. "Get Outta My Way" (along with Jennifer Rush's modern classic "Echoes Love") was the soundtrack to my recent recent European trip and the song brings back a tidal wave of happy memories. It's a bit of shame then that the song is DOA in Australia. The stunning anthem peaked at a ridiculous #69 on iTunes and just scraped into the radio airplay chart at #42. What the fuck? It's somewhat of a (happy) surprise then that we are getting a physical single. Released on the 8th of October, the 6 track CD will have the following tracklist:

1. Get Outta My Way
2. Bimbo Jones Club Edit
3. Sidney Samson Remix
4. Paul Harris Vocal Remix
5. Mat Zo Remix
6. Video


Fabulous! I actually think they should have gone with a CD1 and CD2. No one else is doing it and the Kylie faithful (ie. the only people who are going to buy it anyway) would lap that shit up. Why not double sales? And who cares if it's chart ineligible? The song is already a flop - you might as well try something different and generate a bit of goodwill in the process. At least we have the UK, where "Get Outta My Way" is being released on 3 different formats and is currently sitting pretty at #8 in the mid-weeks. It might fall out of the top ten by Sunday but it doesn't really matter given the healthy album sales.

Aphrodite - the game!

Almost as exciting as Australia's unexpected physical single is the unveiling of Kylie's Aphrodite computer game. I am seriously obsessed with this trash. You basically have to rescue Kylie over 10 very simple levels but the tacky Nintendo circa 1996 graphics and camp voiceover make it absolutely addictive. They need to release this as an iPhone app immediately! Last but not least is the slightly disturbing confirmation that "Better Than Today" will now be the album's third single instead of the previously rumoured "Put Your Hands Up". I'll save that rant for another day because I'm praying the information is wrong. Interestingly, at least one remix of "Cupid Boy" (that I know of) has been commissioned - so hopefully it will get a showing as a later single or, at the very least, be pushed to clubs. In the meantime, let's just enjoy "Get Outta My Way". It might not be the superstar's biggest hit but I think it's one of her best. Check out this lovely behind the scenes doco from the making of the video (below). I had no idea it was a homage to Paris Is Burning!

ARIA Awards 2010 - Round Up

Yawn. The Australian music industry's night of nights is almost upon us and it's going to be as boring as usual if the recently announced nominations are any indication. Don't get me wrong. I actually like most of the nominees but the bias towards indie rock/alternative pop is as strong as ever. Kylie was largely overlooked despite releasing an album that actually sold more than 10 copies internationally, Vanessa Amorosi's domination of the singles chart was roundly ignored and CC Martini was robbed of ARIA glory yet again for her belated #93 smash "Double Dutch". Haters! The big winners were Sia, Washington, Julia & Angus Stone, Birds of Tokyo and Guy Sebastian (seriously?) - who received 6 nominations each. I think Sia's half dozen are well deserved. After being all but written off in Australia for the past decade, some recognition for her achievements is long overdue. I hope she scoops the pool and throws her pile of ARIAs at Delta Goodrem's head. Here are my 2 cents on the 2010 nominees. Please note I've highlighted who I think should win in red. Not who I necessarily think will win.

Album of the Year
Angus & Julia Stone - Down The Way
Birds of Tokyo - Birds Of Tokyo

Sia - We Are Born
Tame Impala - Innerspeaker
Washington - I Believe You Liar


I know it's hard to believe given the content of this blog but my taste in music is actually quite diverse and I'm only slightly embarrassed to admit that I purchased all these albums. Not only that but I'm also rather partial to them. While "We Are Born" doesn't quite match the heights of "Some People Have Real Problems", it's rich and interesting. And most importantly, it's fucking fun! Angus & Julia (who I actually went to school with - fun fact!) used to annoy the hell out of me but "Down The Way" is gorgeous, sunny Sunday afternoon of an album. And probably deserves to be here. Same goes for Washington's quirky "I Believe You Liar". The indie pop princess could have gone down the Missy Higgins route of mind numbing pretense but carves out her own little idiosyncratic niche. As for Tame Impala and Birds of Tokyo, they are probably the two least annoying rock bands in the country and almost live up to the hype. So what could have improved this line up:

Aphrodite - Kylie (Sublime from beginning to end)
The Lighter Side Of... - Laura Imbruglia (Funny, sad, heartbreaking)
Hazardous - Vanessa Amorosi (A consistently brilliant pop album)
Calling All Magicians - Danielle Spencer (So incredibly underrated)
Ten - Gabriella Cilmi (Desperate but surprisingly lovely and fun)

Single of the Year
Angus & Julia Stone - Big Jet Plane

Birds of Tokyo - Plans
Sia - Clap Your Hands
The Temper Trap - Love Lost
Washington - How To Tame Lions


How incredibly lame is this line up? Again, a bunch of great songs but (with perhaps the exception of the strikingly beautiful "Plans") are all brilliant album tracks - not killer singles. Even personal faves like "Clap Your Hands" and "How To Tame Lions" don't really cut the cocaine. Seriously, this shit is a 45 year old lesbian's wet dream. I know many of these will be eligible for next year's awards but I'm bitter about the omission of the following triumphs (in no particular order):

So Lonely - Chris Sorbello
All The Lovers - Kylie
In The Moment - Zoë Badwi
We Speak No Americano - Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP
Dog - Andy Bull and Lisa Mitchell
10 Date Commandments - Am8er
This Is Who I Am - Ness Ness
Isn't It Strange - Parralox
Ching Ching Ching - Nikka Costa
Kingdom - Erika
Sometimes We Fall - Vera Fernandez
Welcome To Disgraceland - Courtney Act
Big, Beautiful & Sexy - Casey Donovan
Spin - Casette Kids
Sometimes - Miami Horror
Filter Freak - Denzal Park
Changes - Emma Donovan
Shooting Star - Bag Raiders
And The Boys - Julia & Angus Stone
According To You - Orianthi
On Your Side - Danielle Spencer
Peek-A-Boo - Bertie Blackman

ROBBED!

Best Female Artist
Clare Bowditch - Modern Day Addiction
Kylie Minogue - Aphrodite
Lisa Mitchell - Oh! Hark!
Sia - We Are Born
Washington - I Believe You Liar


The omission of Am8er makes this category redundant!

Best Male Artist
Dan Kelly - Dan Kelly's Dream
Dan Sultan - Get Out While You Can
Guy Sebastian - Like It Like That

John Butler - April Uprising
Paul Dempsey - Fast Friends

Admittedly there's not much to chose from but this is ridiculous! Go John.

Best Group
Angus & Julia Stone - Down The Way
Birds of Tokyo - Birds Of Tokyo
Powderfinger - Golden Rule
Tame Impala - Innerspeaker

The Temper Trap - Love Lost

Scarlett Belle?

Best Dance Release
Art vs Science - Magic Fountain

Miami Horror - Sometimes
Midnight Juggernauts - The Crystal Axis
Pendulum - Immersion
Yolanda Be Cool and Dcup - We No Speak Americano


So predictable. I'm glad Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP finally get some respect and I LOVE "Sometimes" but where is Zoë Badwi's stunning club smash "In The Moment" or Kylie's "Get Outta My Way"? And how about Denzal Park's "Filter Freak"? You know, music that people can actually dance to....

Best Pop Release
Bluejuice - Head of the Hawk
Empire of the Sun - Half Mast
Guy Sebastian - Like It Like That

Kylie Minogue - Aphrodite
Sia - We Are Born

Replace Guy Sebastian with Vanessa Amorosi's "Hazardous" and I can sign off on this. Kind of. Kylie had better win or I'll curse the ARIA voters to walk around smelling of Pink Sparkle for the rest of eternity.

2010 ARIA Award Public Voted Nominees:

And here are the awards voted by the public. They are a mixed bag but a big improvement on the categories decided on by industry members. Note the inclusion of Ness Ness. Bless you, Australia.

Most Popular Australian Album
Angus & Julia Stone - Down The Way
Empire Of The Sun - Walking On A Dream
Guy Sebastian - Like It Like That
Jimmy Barnes - The Rhythm and the Blues
John Butler Trio - April Uprising
Kate Miller-Heidke - Curiouser
Powderfinger - Golden Rule
Stan Walker - Introducing
The Temper Trap - Conditions

Vanessa Amorosi - Hazardous

Fair enough but where the fuck is "Hermaphrodite"?!

Most Popular Australian Single
Brian McFadden - Just Say So
Gabriella Cilmi - On A Mission
Guy Sebastian - Like It Like That
Guy Sebastian - Art of Love (featuring Jordin Sparks)
Kate Miller-Heidke - The Last Day on Earth
Stan Walker - Black Box
The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition

Vanessa Amorosi - This Is Who I am
Vanessa Amorosi - Mr. Mysterious
Yolanda Be Cool & DCup - We Speak No Americano


I refuse to acknowledge the first name on this list but a double shot of Vanessa, "Sweet Disposition" and finally some props for Gabriella. How delicious!

Most Popular International Artist
Beyonce
Black Eyed Peas
David Guetta
Eminem
Jason Derulo
Katy Perry
Ke$ha
Lady Gaga
Michael Buble
Mumford & Sons
Owl City
Rod Stewart
Susan Boyle
Taylor Swift
Train


Rod Stewart? Seriously. What the fuck? Fingers crossed that Beyjesus wins (or at least Queen Ke$ha) but I fear it will be someone vile and revolting like Taylor Swift or Train. Gross. Ok, enough bitching. The ARIAs aren't usually my cup of tea but I look forward to the award ceremony every year. If nothing else in the vain hope of catching another career ending performance like Madison Avenue's legendarily tragic rendition of "Who The Hell Are You?" from 2000. Cheyne's mid-song break to have a glass of water is positively iconic. Comeback, bitch. We miss you!


Friday, September 24, 2010

A Luciana Update

It's been a month since Luciana's last promotional trip to Australia and I still haven't got around to posting the classy chat we had before her show at Family nightclub in Brisbane. And for once it's not through my own laziness. The interview is going to be published in the Southern Star Observer (Melbourne) and then Sydney Star Observer in the next couple of weeks and I figure it's kind of rude to scoop myself! I'll link the article - which has some exclusive tid bits about Luci's US plans and a potential second collaboration with Kylie - as soon as it's dumped on the sticky floor of the nearest gay nightclub. Until then I thought I'd update you on the legendary dance diva's latest achievements. Here goes:

1. Ms Caporaso's reign as the new queen of clubs (sorry, Dannii!) was confirmed when "Figure It Out" peaked at #1 on the US dance chart a couple of weeks ago. The song was released under the pseudonym Isha Coco which I believe is British slang. For something.

2. Australian nightclubs still worship at the altar of Luciana. Her collaboration with Nari & Milani is currently sitting at #12 on the ARIA club chart. I love, love, love this song and wish Ministry would release a nice tight radio edit. It is the most logical follow up to "I Like That".

3. "Go Go Go" peaked at #67 on the ARIA Singles Chart, which is actually hugely impressive considering radio and television refused to play it. Cunts.

4. "I Like That" is sitting at #160 on US iTunes. It's already top 40 on pop radio airplay, so with a bit of luck the song could repeat its Australian success in America.

5. Speaking of American success, the fabulous "I Like That" video (I love you David & Stephen!) was played on the main stage at the recent VMAs. See pic below. How much do you wanna bet that Lady Gaga's next video finds her wandering the back streets on London, before being molested by rubber gloves?

6. Luciana is back in the studio with Dave Audé - the amazing producer/DJ behind "Figure It Out". I'm not sure if it's for Dave's album or Luci's but I promise to do some digging and find out!

7. Apart from penning tunes for Kylies and the skanks from Girls Aloud, the in-demand songsmith has written a song for Erika Jayne called "One Hot Pleasure". You can hear it playing in the background of this behind the scenes look at Erika's video. Sounds HOT!

8. New remixes of "I Like That" have been commissioned for America. Listen to them here. Dave Audé's mix is epic!

9. The diva is returning to Australia in late October. She will perform at a car show in Melbourne on the 22nd and then rock the Fat As Butter music festival on the 23rd in Newcastle. Can't wait.

10. Luci's mum is an A grade MILF!

Phew! Seeing as it's Friday afternoon and I'm about to go and get pissed, let's kick things off with this fabulous Luciana/Gaga mash-up that I've been meaning to post for months. Sorry fame monster but you lose!

Marina & Fred Falke - Shampain Remixed

Before I get carried away with Marina, a quick bit of housekeeping. I finally gave in and joined Twitter. You can follow my musings or just say hello to me here. Toy soldiers, Bey stans and Kaci fans unite! Ok, so back to business. It's been a while since my last post on Marina & The Diamonds but my devotion to the Welsh beauty hasn't waned. "The Family Jewels" is easily one of the best albums of 2010 and I'm gagging for the diva to finally grace Australia with her fabulous presence in early 2011. Until then we have her 5th single to tide us over. And "Shampain" is smart choice. It's probably the most commercial track on the album after "Hollywood" and shows off Marina's lighter side. Not that "Shampain" is throwaway fluff. I love the lyrics ("drinking champagne - a bottle to myself, savour the taste of fabricated wealth") and think the video's fashionista zombie theme is a stroke of genius. But as much as I love the original, I'm a complete whore for a trashy dance mix and Fred Falke gays "Shampain" up admirably. To be honest, I prefer the extended club instrumental but Fred's radio mix is perfect Friday fodder. "Shampain" is released in the UK on the 11 of October. Pre-order your copy now!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mutu - Australia's Taio Cruz?

Although I never actually got around to reviewing his album for the blog, I'm completely sick for Taio Cruz. That whole urban dance sound pushes my buttons and I really want to zoom around Ibiza in his speedboat! Given the surging popularity of the genre (See Usher's "DJ Got Us Falling In Love" and Flo Rida's surprisingly amazing "Club Can't Handle Me") it's no surprise that an Australian has finally put their hand up for a piece of the pie. Not that Mutu is a johnny come lately. In fact, I've been meaning to write about him since January when his taster single "Not Worth Your Love" did the rounds. I liked that song but his official debut is even better. Produced by Stylaz Fuego (Snoop Dogg and Kelis) and mixed by Brent Kolatalo (Kanye West), "Familiar" is a slick mid-tempo pop tune with just enough R'n'B flavour to keep the urban crowd happy. The video also turned out well (below). Extra points for the cool choreography and pretty lights. "Familiar" is released on the 4th of October. Fingers crossed it's a hit. There might be hope for Selwyn yet!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Toy Update - Due To Popular Demand

I love you guys. When you're not rubbishing my love for faceless dance music or hating on my faves, you're spamming my inbox with breathless demands for more Toy Toy. Your wish is my command. I've actually been toying around (pun intended) with the idea of doing a "No Relations" retrospective for months now but I thought I'd tide you over with a quick update on the legendary icon's latest antics. Basically, the high priestess of pop has been giving a master class in publicity whoring. Her first appearance at a shopping mall almost caused a riot. Thousands of Cali Swag fans Toy Soldiers turned out to see our goddess hawk milkshakes with hip hop band Cali Swag District. They apparently have a hit song at the moment (who knew) called "Teach Me How To Dougie" and they kindly taught Toy Toy the dance moves in return for some career advice. No, seriously. The proof is below! After single-handedly plotting Cali Swag's journey to the top of the charts, La Toya hit up a fashion show at Macy's and wowed the paparazzi with her timeless poise and beauty. This is my favourite snap. Poor Brandy. She looks like a withered, old crack whore in comparison to the glorious siren next to her. As her duet partner Monica once sang - don't take it personal. It's just one of dem days!

And The Award For 2010's Sluttiest Film Clip Goes To...

Former child star Kaci Battaglia! I featured "Body Shots" back in August and hoped for a suitably scandalous video. Well, Kaci has surpassed all my expectations with her latest soft core trashfest. The shy and retiring diva ups the whore ante by lezzing around with a bunch of busty beauties. That is when she's not downing drinks, making out with Ludacris and dancing like a stripper on heat in skimpy swimwear. Yes, everything about this sticky cum rag of clip screams lowest common denominator - which is just the way I like it! Fingers crossed that Kaci finally lands a hit. If not, she can at least take heart from the song's popularity with clubbers. This week "Body Shots" climbs to #6 on the US Dance Chart. A promising sign for her album, which is released today. At the moment "Bring It On" is only getting a digital release via Amazon. I can't download it from Australia, so if anyone knows a different online store please let me know. In the meantime I'll keep praying that we eventually get a physical. Kaci is fast becoming one of my favourite trash divas and I need this sure to be musical masterpiece in my collection!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chris Sorbello - Dangerzone Video


PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

Dear electro-pop pretenders,

It's time to pack up your shit and leave.
Chris Sorbello's new video just dropped (below) and you look like a sad fool in comparison. Don't be sad. I hear TAFE is still accepting enrolments.

Love you!

Mike

xoxoxoxo

Friday, September 17, 2010

Zoë Badwi On Freefallin', Sirens & Global Domination

Zoë Badwi is one of the leading ladies of Pop Trash. I've written about her stint as one third of Australia's most tragic best girlband, waxed lyrical about "Release Me" several times, ranted about her being snubbed at the ARIAs and interviewed her in the past. But that was before Zoë's commercial breakthrough. Last week "Freefallin'" debuted at #38 on the ARIA singles chart and should shoot much higher this week if the song's top 20 position on iTunes is any indication. What an amazing achievement for an underground club queen on a niche dance label! The Neon team has been working towards this for two years - honing the diva's sound with a series of club releases, while she built a loyal following by performing in every nightclub in Australia. I'm so excited all the hard work has finally paid off and couldn't wait to catch up with Zoë for another chat.

Hey Zoë! Since the last time we spoke you've gone from being Australia's underground club queen to a veritable chart force. How does it feel to finally see your own name on the ARIA countdown? I know you've been there before as one third of Australia's best girlband.
It's amazing!!! I'm loving it!!!

Speaking of Sirens, "Freefallin'" is a return to the band's pure pop sound after a few years releasing less commercial club tracks. Was it a conscious decision to move back to your roots?
Hahaha you do love Sirens! Those days were fun. No, it wasn't a conscious decision. It kinda just went that way. I don't think "Freefallin'" is as commercial as my Sirens days. It still has quite a dance element to it and it's a little bit nasty with sweeter vocals on it.

"Freefallin'" is so easy to identify with. Is the song's universal theme the main reason for its breakout success?
Yeah, I think it does have that appeal where you can relate it to any aspect of your life. Lord knows there are so many times when you just have to let go of a situation and see what else the world has to offer.

Denzal Park produced the track and I believe Amy Pearson wrote the lyrics. How did that collaboration come together?
The Denzal boys produced the track and sent the bed of music around to a few of us. We all wrote on it but Amy's was the stand out. It's an awesome song. It's the first time Amy has written a song that someone else has sang and it's also the first time I have sung a song I have not written. Amy and I have had writing sessions since with some great outcomes. Plus we get on like a house on fire!!

Sorry but I have to ask - why are you being assaulted by a ruthless band of seedy homosexuals in the video?
Hahahahaha actually only one of the guys is. So the other 2 guys enjoyed grabbing the girls hahaha.

The song was another #1 club hit for you. How do you explain your popularity among drug fucked clubbers?
Haha ummm I dunno if you can say they are all drugged up but I guess it's the big strong beats that get a dance floor moving. I like beats that have a little bit of a dirty edge to them and I think that's what clubbers like too.

Apart from taking over Australia , I hear that you have signed a deal with Atlantic records in America. How did that come about?
Yes I have. They fell in love with "Freefallin'" and signed it on the spot. I have just been over in LA and NYC but it was actually to perform "Release Me" as well as "Freefallin'". I'm feeling very lucky indeed.

Things are also starting to happen for you in the UK with "Release Me" being re-released. No offence but aren't you a little sick of hearing and singing it yet?
HA!! Never!! It's like the gift that keeps on giving! I can image singing that on my death bed hahaha.

Now there's an image! I'm a huge fan of "In The Moment" and think it could have been massive with a bit of a touch up and a video clip. Would you consider re-releasing it instead?
I love "In The Moment" also. I think that's a great feeling song. Sure!! If that has some legs overseas I'll release it for shiz!! The UK really picked "Release Me". It wasn't something we put to them. The owner of the record company went to Ministry of Sound in London and said when they played "Release M"e, it blew the roof off the place. Plus BBC Radio 1 had been playing it for nearly 2 months so there was a demand for it.

In our last chat you talked about the album and said it would have an eclectic mix of sounds. A year has passed since then. Is it pretty much the same collection of songs or have you been constantly playing around with the tracklist?
I have been writing away for my album in between touring. So there is lots more to come. You will have to wait and see my friend. I am looking at releasing it half way through 2011.

Are there going to be any covers on the album? I could offer some suggestions...
No covers are planned yet. Haha are you suggesting a Sirens cover???

Maybe! All of a sudden there are quite a few Australian singers releasing electronic music - Chris Sorbello, Sarah McLeod and the Minogue sisters among others. How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
I don't really view it as competition. I think it's healthy for there to be a few of us. We all have our own different sound. I think there is room for us all. Plus Aussie domination helps us all!

You've done hundred of gigs around the world. What is your favourite nightclub?
Oohhhh hard one. I'd have to say Paradise Club in Mykonos. It has no roof and it's right next to the beach. Playing there in the middle of summer is something I will never forget!

When are you going to come to Sydney and do some shows? I'm dying to finally hear "Like Fire Like Rain" live!
Hahaha I will be in Sydney on the 30th of October at the Greenwood, then Live. But sadly for you there is no "like fire like rain" in the set list.

Rude! Lastly the question on everyone's lips - will you be reuniting with Sarah Marie for another Bum Dance?
Hahahahaha has everyone really been asking that?? I saw that the other night on the 20 to 1 worst songs - so I think we may leave that one where it is :)

Melanie Alexander - Another 90s Icon Returns!

Girlfriend mania is taking over my blog the world. Hot on the heels of Robyn Loau's 270th comeback, comes a new track from ex-bandmate Melanie Alexander. I feel like it's 1991 all over again! Amazingly, this is Mel's first ever solo recording and the first time she's lent her magical vocals to anything since GF4's groundbreaking flop "Need Love (To Make The Sex Right)". Now if Siobhánn would just give up her day job as a pole dancer and hit the comeback trail, my life would be complete! Ok, so back to Melanie. The stunning brunette never really went away. She was a presenter on Foxtel for years and now earns a living hosting holistic/new age events. Her new anthem is more of favour to an old friend than a comeback as such but that doesn't make it any less fabulous. "Falling For The Dance Floor" is the handiwork of DJ Stonedog (of "Rainbows" fame), who you might remember as the Australian DJ behind Hong Kong's hottest tranny La Chiquitta. It really is a small world. Well, DJ Stonedog is currently putting together a club compilation for Volume (think a Ministry of Sound - only MUCH gayer) and thought of Mel. I'm so glad he did because the result is extremely fabulous and will no doubt drive Hong Kong's gay community into a frenzy. Fingers crossed it gets released over here! In the meantime, listen to a preview of 2010's most unexpected comeback.

Jessica Mauboy - Get 'Em Girls

Jessica Mauboy's stunning transformation into the new Queen of crunk is complete! Australia's sweetheart has left behind the cute, ever-so-slightly urban, pop of her debut album and returned with a hot new hood sound. I'm on board. "Get 'Em Girls" is very reminiscent of Beyoncé's "B'Day" era, which isn't surprising given the singer's status as Bey's second biggest stan - after me. The song was even produced by Bangladesh (the genius who blessed the world with "Diva") and the result sounds like a cross between "Get Me Bodied" and "Freakum Dress". Quality! Not that "Get 'Em Girls" is a cheap knock off. The beats come thick and heavy, while the lyrics cover hard hitting topics like looking sexy in high heels. I'm not sold on Snoop Dogg's superfluous rap but I think it's quite brave of Jessica to turn her back on the current urban dance craze and try something different. My only concern is that "Get 'Em Girls" is perhaps a little too hood for the Australian market but it's rapid ascent on iTunes says otherwise. As much as I love J Mau's new club banger, I hope there is some of the sweet pop that made "Been Waiting" so special on the new album. We'll know soon enough because it drops on November 5. "Get 'Em Girls" is available to download from iTunes now.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

David Hasselhoff's Daughters Launch Pop Career!

The day we've all been hoping and praying for has finally arrived. David Hasselhof has generously passed the batton of pop superstardom to his vocally challenged daughters. Yes! Hayley Amber and Taylor Ann - otherwise known as Bella Vida - are wisely following in their father's footsteps by terrorising delighting Germany with their debut single before conquering the rest of the world. It's not fair. They should have started with Australia. "Turn Up The Radio" is every bit as amazing as you would expect from the fruit of David's holy loins. The RedOne on a $10 budget production rocks my world, while the cheesy lyrics ("It's a hot track - hollaback - even if ya can't sing!") and catchy chorus ensure instant cult status for this auspicious debut. Best of all is the hilarious overuse of autotune. "Turn Up The Radio" makes Cher's "Believe" sound like a grassroots country album! Make sure you check out their recent performance on RTL (below). Taylor-Ann (the brunette) does a pretty good job at keeping a straight face but Hayley (a plus sized supermodel according to her bio) appears to have no idea where she is or what she's doing. I'm in love!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Exclusive - Robyn Loau's New Single

Robyn Loau is in the process of possibly the most drawn out comeback in musical history. The former Girlfriend frontwoman/all around Australian pop legend got the ball rolling way back in 2007 with "She Devil" (an event I celebrated here). Since then the delicious diva has recorded a theme song for The Biggest Loser, released an album originally recorded in 1997 and lent her vocals to a dance track about school bullying. Oh and she also blessed the Pop Panel with her fabulous presence. However, all of these activities were side projects. After three years of delays, Robyn is finally ready to unveil the official lead single from her comeback album "Only Human" and was kind enough to send me an exclusive sneak peak. "Never Let You Down" not only has the best cover art of 2010 (above), it's also the best song Robyn has recorded in over a decade. Penned by the 90s icon and Cameron McGlinchey (ex-Rogue Traders), the gritty pop/rock anthem reminds me of her seminal classic "Sick With Love". Only angrier and more upbeat. I also think the song is probably somewhat autobiographical given the bitter aftermath of Robyn's recent divorce - he tried to have her passport suspended, she tweeted about his deformed penis! Strike this up as another point for team Loau. "Never Let You Down" hits radio on the 27th of September with an iTunes release to follow shortly thereafter. Check out my exclusive preview below. Welcome back!

Sweden's Latest Trash Diva

The name Rebecca Stella might not mean anything to you (yet) but her face is probably familiar to most Scandipop fans. Stunning Bec first came to fame as one of the three buxom beauties chosen to front Swedish trash band Sunblock. Who will ever forget their cover of Robin Beck's "The First Time" or their amazing interpretation of Corona's "Baby Baby" - complete with low brow gay video? Since the demise of Sunblock, Rebecca has been a busy woman. She's become a blogging sensation in Sweden, modelled for Tierry Mugler and was rumoured to be fucking Darin for a while there. Oh and the blond beauty also found the time to record a slammin' electropop jam called "Swag In A Bag". Produced by Fireface, Bec's debut single is catchy in that slick Scandinavian way and boasts amazing lyrics like "poor to rich, rich to poor - get the Christian Dior, let's hit the store!" As you can tell it's extremely complex examination of the human condition. The crazy video (below) has been ridiculed by some but I think it's great. Why is every diva compared to Lady Gaga? She did not invent unflattering outfits and excessive eye make-up!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Return Of Scarlett Belle

Australia's most tragic newest girlband is back with their second single! I featured the gruesome twosome's debut on the Pop Panel a couple of months ago and was ashamed to admit that I rather liked it. Well, "Freak Tonight" is even more perversely enjoyable than "Closure" - so I guess that makes me a very reluctant fan. How embarrassing! Seriously, these girls are all kinds of wrong. And I'm not just talking about their bad weaves and penchant for over-emoting in music videos. Their songs sound like they were stolen from the recycle bin on Keri Hilson's laptop and the whole urban vibe is about as convincing as Lady Gaga's humility at this year's VMAs. And yet, I can't help but find them amusing. It doesn't hurt that "Freak Tonight" is a cover of song I like. Released in 2009, Israel's version got some airplay in Australia but never really took off the way it should. A pity because he was rockin' that Taio Cruz sound before anyone! Happily, the girls asked him to rap on their interpretation and it just adds to the... experience. I'm told Reigan and Tamara are getting ready to film the video next week. They need to hurry up. "Freak Tonight" is already top 40 on iTunes and looks like it could be their breakthrough hit. Good luck to them.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rozlyne Clarke - A Tribute

I've been meaning to write about Rozlyne Clarke since I first started this blog but I kept postponing it because I didn't know where to start. It's like trying to cover La Toya's iconic, hit filled career in one post! All of the legendary diva's stunning anthems deserve their own in depth analysis but I'm notoriously bad at keeping on track when it comes to extended features - see my failed Barbra Streisand guide or tragic Wasted Singles serial - so I've done my best to cram in everything. I just hope I can do justice to this amazing talent. So who is Rozlyne Clarke? Possibly the most fabulous Australian pop star of the 1990s. Which makes it even more of a scandal that nobody knows who the hell she is outside of France. Yes bitches, Rozlyne is the original Tina Arena! A nobody in Perth but a star in Paris (well, about 15 years ago). Let me explain.

The glamorous Sydneysider first made a name for herself in the late 80s, winning roles in hit musicals like Sugar Babies and Starlight Express. That lead to Roz being offered starring roles in Europe. It was during a performance of Cats in France that Nicolas Skorsky (a music producer) was thunderstruck by the Australian's exquisite beauty and otherworldly vocal talent. Anyway, that guy obviously knew his shit because he hired Roz to sing on a dance track he had written called "Eddy Steady Go". A camp floorfiller with indecipherable lyrics about having a three way (or is it riding on the freeway?), bizarre vocal effects not seen since the glory days of Boney M and an infectious chorus that basically consists of Rozlyne screaming "Are you ready Eddy steady go? Eddy go home!", the song shot to #1 on the French club chart and peaked at #8 on the Singles Chart. The cultural capital of the world was clearly smitten by the Australian songbird and she was called back to record an album with Skorsky. Appropriately enough, Rozlyne's debut was called "Gorgeous".

As far as 90s Eurodance albums go, "Gorgeous" is pretty hard to beat. It only has 9 tracks - 8 if you bought the original French release - but this is a case of all killer, no filler. What makes the album special is the variety. There is enough low brow Euro-fabulousness to satisfy even the most demanding trash lover but Roz also throws in some unexpected ballads and co-writes one of the campest songs I have ever heard. But more about that masterpiece later. The title track was released as the album's second single and it was another club smash and followed "Eddy Steady Go" into the French top 20. I'm not convinced by the dubious lyrics ("Wanna be the prettiest, wanna be extremely gorgeous" - LOL!) but Rozlyne's pipes are in breathtaking form and I love the production. Make sure you check out the classy video for the full "Gorgeous" experience. The hits kept coming with "Dancin' Is Like Makin' Love", which is easily my favourite (hit) single from Roz's debut. Another top 20 smash in France (peaking at #16), this catchy jam is a pure pop explosion. Again the lyrics are first class - "remote my control, use me like a toy!" - and the production sums up all that was beautiful about 90s house. It's a miracle Kate Ryan hasn't butchered this classic for her own devious purposes! Brace yourself for one of the best "live" performances ever in the history of television (below). The audio isn't synced but Rozlyne's effortless grace and fierce dance moves will leave you in a trance. This is YouTube gold!

The rest of the album is just as amazing. "Still Waiting For Your Call" is a tender ballad that reminds me of La Toya's classic "I Don't Want You To Go". If it were a showtune. Roz brings a bit of funk to the mid-tempo "Stepping Out Of Line" but goes completely hood on the urbantastic "Never Started Loving You". I think Rozlyne missed her calling as the original Fem C because her fierce rhymes put Lil' Kim to shame. "Single Again" is another floorfiller for dance fans, while "Certain Nights" is truly a ballad for the ages. Who doesn't feel the tortured diva's pain when she sings "certain nights I cry by the window, certain nights I just can't hide my sorrow"? Rozlyne was clearly robbed of an Ivor Novello award! That leaves the album's undisputed highlight. The title probably tell you everything you need to know about "Wizard Of Roz". There is some dispute as to whether it was an official single - some fans insist it was just released on 12" vinyl as a club promo - but there's no denying the song's genius. A camp, slightly bizarre and strangely touching ode to her father, "Wizard Of Roz" is an enduring trash classic that deserves a wider following. Give it a listen at the bottom of this post.

In 1993 "Eddy Steady Go" was re-released in France, becoming a hit all over again. Sadly, it was to be Rozlyne's last appearance on the French singles chart. The club hits, on the other hand, would follow for the rest of the decade. 1994 saw the release of "Giving Up, Giving In" - the same Three Degrees classic that Sheena Easton later covered on her epic "Fabulous" album. Like Sheena, Roz couldn't give her version away and she went back to the drawing board. "Take My Hand" fared considerably better the following year. A top 20 club smash, the infectious dance anthem is one of the best songs in Rozlyne's canon of hits. The production is more electronic than her earlier offerings and the chorus is an absolute monster. That was followed by the house-tastic, disco-tinged "Knockin' Me Out" (another top 20 club hit in France) later that year and the insanely catchy "I Wanna See You" in 1996. As far as I know, the latter is the only Roz anthem to be released in her homeland. There could be others but I've been looking for years and it's the only Australian CD single I've come across.

Speaking of fruitless endeavours, I've been trying to get my hands on Rozlyne's second album for over a decade. Despite her stunning success in France, "Faithful To You" was only released in Belgium and is almost impossible to find. If anyone has this treasure sitting in their collection, I would do just about anything to hear it. Someone out there must have it - I'm convinced it's lining every bargain bin in Brussels! While lesser divas would have given up, Roz went on to score three more French dance hits. "I Need You" reached #20 on the club chart in 1996, while "Ecoute Bien Ces Mots" went all the way to #4. Unfortunately, neither crossed over to the mainstream and Rozlyne released her last single "Quel Tempérament De Feu/I'm On Fire" in 1997. Fittingly it became a top 20 club hit in France. I guess that leaves us with the question - where is she now? And the answer is a happy one. Roz got married and moved back to Australia. I believe she's now a professional make-up artist and just as gorgeous as ever. I'm happy the Queen of French clubs has found her calling but I really wish she would come out of retirement. At least on a part time basis. After all, she's only 42 - a month younger than Kylie - and the diva's amazing Hi-NRG sound is as timeless as her beauty. Rozlyne, we miss you!

My favourite Roz anthem

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Next Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP?

Given the stunning worldwide success of "We Speak No Americano", it's not surprising that other acts are jumping on Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP's novelty song bandwagon. So far the most likely candidate to snatch their crown is Duck Sauce. Comprised of super DJs Armand Van Helden and A-Trak, the band has been making huge waves with their ridiculous catchy disco house anthem "Barbra Streisand". The song rocked this year's Winter Music Conference in Miami and has been picked up by major labels around the world. More surprising is the impact it's having on mainstream radio. "Barbra Streisand" is already top 50 on the Australian airplay chart and looks set to rocket into the top 40 this week. Personally, I can't get enough of these random novelty songs. Particularly when they are this catchy and name check a holy gay icon like Babsi! Although it begs the question - when is Jive Bunny going to come out of retirement and show these bitches how it's really done? On that happy note, treat your ears to "Barbra Streisand" (below).

Friday Flashback - Miami Mix Madonna

There must be something wrong with me. Hating on Madonna is usually one of my favourite past times but lately I've found myself re-visiting some of the old troll's less grating moments. Like her cover of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" - or more specifically, the trashtastic Miami Mix. I don't know what it is about this camp mess but every time I hear it, I get the urge to build a time machine out of unsold copies of "Hard Candy" and travel back to 1997. You know, to an era when Madonna was still fun and didn't think twice about ruining a much loved classic of musical theatre in order to please the gays. And it worked. The Miami Mix was an Oxford Street smash and even crossed over to mainstream radio, pushing the song into the top 10 at a time when the poor man's Stacey Q couldn't buy a hit in Australia. In fact, listening to these 4 and a half glorious minutes of pure ridiculousness, I can't help but feel that Madonna's finest moments should be collated for eternity. Perhaps a compilation of her 90s trash classics? I'd throw in "Thief Of Hearts" and "Human Nature" for starters. Trust me, it would sell more than the "Immaculate Collection"!

Emily Osment > Miley + Britney = Fact

Jacques (The Prophet) has been spamming my inbox with Emily for the past few weeks. At first, I thought she was just another one of his horrible obsessions (like Tea Tea or Kimberly Wyatt) and ignored him but I eventually gave in. And I'm kind of glad I did. In case you're not a 15 year old girl or as gay as I am, Emily Osment is best known for playing Miley's friend Lily in the Hannah Montana series. And like every other ho on the Disney channel, someone thought it would be a great idea to give her a record deal. Not that I'm complaining. Emily is definitely up there with the legendary Ashley Tisdale and genre defining Vanessa Hudgens as one of the best C List teen sensations ever to release an autotuned flop.

Unfortunately, the aspriring diva's latest single "Let's Be Friends" has been making waves online for all the wrong reasons. Some deluded haters have accused Emily of jumping on Miley's teen whore bandwagon by sexing it up on her second album, while jealous Brit Brit fans have declared the song a "Radar" rip off. Bitches, please. Miley wishes she had Emily's raw sex appeal and as for that alleged sex offender, "Let's Be Friends" is better than 80% of "Circus" - so back the fuck off! Disappointingly, the new Queen of teen pop can't seem to give her shit away but don't let that stop you reveling in her fabulous glory. Emily's jam is seriously catchy and would probably be #1 for weeks if someone less talented recorded it. Emilegend, we love you!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Kimbra Goes Electro

Kimbra is currently being hailed by the street press as Australia's next big thing. Which is amusing because she's actually from New Zealand. While I'm not ready to throw away my Dannii CDs and jump on that bandwagon just yet, I do love her debut single. "Settle Down" is one of the quirkiest pop songs of 2010. It's cute, kooky and (after the third or fourth listen) very, very catchy. More importantly, the amazing video features a wall of dolls and a creepy little girl doing housework - so I'm sold! Kimbra has spent the past few months working on her album but also found the time to lend her golden pipes to Miami Horror's new floorfiller "I Look To You". Though sadly not a Whitney Houston cover, the track is still a rather lovely shot of disco infused electro. It's a nice change of pace for the eclectic diva. Usually a purveyor of Kate Miller-Heidke/Sarah Blasko-esque organic pop, Kimbra takes to her new genre like Lilo to cocaine. I just hope there are some harder remixes because "I Look To You" is perhaps a little too dreamy for radio and the clubs. The video is also well worth a look. Sure, it owes a large debt to Empire of the Sun but the trippy colours and spacey special effects suit the track perfectly. I can't wait to see what she does next!

Brandy's Forgotten Gem

Brandy is one of my favourite 90s has beens. Don't get me wrong. She's no Monica or Tamia but songs like "I Wanna Be Down", "Baby" and "Have You Ever?" are guilty pleasures that I still occasionally dig out. Since her late 90s hey day, the diva's output has been fairly hit and miss. 2004's "Afrodisiac" was as shit as the title suggests but I thought 2008's "Human" was a stunning return to form. Unfortunately, no one else agreed and the album became the biggest flop of Brandy's career. It's a pity because the underrated opus houses at least one minor pop masterpiece. Written and produced by Bruno Mars and Darkchild, "Long Distance" is the kind of overwrought (in a good way) ballad that makes me want to listen to early Mariah and air grab for Australia. However, as much as I love the album version, my true allegiance lies with the brilliant Jody Den Broeder remix. This is one of those rare ballads that translates seamlessly into a dance anthem without losing the sentiment that made it special in the first place. "Long Distance" still packs an emotional punch and the lyrics get me every time. I just prefer to be sad to the sound of heavy house beats! File this under 'songs that should have been massive'.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Chris Sorbello's Dangerzone - Preview

A couple of weeks ago I posted an exclusive first look at Chris Sorbello's "Dangerzone" video. Unfortunately, it was a little bit too exclusive and her record company asked me to take it down. Whoops! Since then I've actually seen the finished product but that doesn't make me any less excited about being given the green light to share this preview. "So Lonely" will always hold a special place in my heart but "Dangerzone" takes things to a whole new level. It's that rarest of breeds - a local film clip that actually stands toe to toe with the international big guns. I'm not sure how much it cost but Chris' glamorous spectacle looks expensive, which is half the battle won. I love the comic book panels, control room theme and fabulous styling. More than anything, I'm excited that "Dangerzone" is finally going to be unleashed on unsuspecting pop fans. I still remember the first time I heard the song way back in 2008 and it still rocks my world. As soon as I know more about the release date, remix package and promotion schedule - I'll let you know. In the meantime, whet your appetite with the incredibly hot teaser (below). How amazing does the new production sound?

Worst Duet Of All Time?

Someone recently asked me what I'd nominate as the worst duet of all time. It took a while for my brain to compute the long list of possibilities but I eventually settled on this jaw dropping disasterpiece. For those of you too young or too stoned to remember the mid-90s, Merril Bainbridge was briefly the golden girl of Australian pop. Her double platinum debut album spawned a couple of massive hits and she surprised just about everyone by repeating her success in America, where "Mouth" went on to become an unlikely top 5 hit. Merril looked set for big things but sadly it wasn't to be. Her second album peaked outside the top 50 and she never bothered the upper reaches of the charts ever again. You can blame changing tastes and the patchy nature of "Between The Days" (an album that I still love, by the way) but I think the real culprit is the unlucky diva's abysmal duet with Shaggy.

A rancid cover of Sonny & Cher's seminal classic, "I Got U Babe" is the musical equivalent of being raped with a chainsaw. It's inhumane and unbearably painful. There's nothing wrong with an odd couple but unlike Seiko and Donnie Wahlberg - this is NOT the right combination. These two have no chemistry whatsoever and their voices are a match made in Cheryl Cole's recording studio (ie. hell). Merril's soft, little girl voice is all but trampled by Shaggy's Jamaican twang - rendering the song utterly ridiculous. And yet, as bad as it is, I'm still glad to have this stunning #62 smash in my collection (above). I love car crash pop and I wish Merril would come out of hiding. She's a great songwriter and the world is ready for "The Garden Part 2"!

So tell me, what duet makes you want to pierce your eardrums with a rusty knitting needle? I can think of a few other contenders....

Catching Up With Sarah McLeod

About a month ago I posted Sarah McLeod's new single "Double R". I still think it's one of the best Australian pop songs of 2010 and can't wait to hear her half a decade in the making sophomore album when it drops next month. Sarah is currently on the promo trail to pimp and kindly took some time out to talk about her new electro sound, those pesky Rihanna comparisons and the Australian pop scene. Note to self - asking someone how they feel about their last flop is not the best icebreaker. It was said with love!

Sarah, it's been a year since our last chat. What have you been up to?
I've been living in New York, recording and producing music with a selection of different producers and musicians. It was great fun.

I loved "Tell Your Story Walking" but it didn't really take off the way you would have probably liked....
No, I love it when no one buys my records.

You've re-invented yourself again on "Double R". The sound is slightly darker and dirtier. Who or what inspired the track?
This song is about what a risky manouver it is getting intertwined in other peoples lives.

It's hard to avoid the comparisons with Rihanna - who also had a song called "Russian Roulette" and an album called "Rated R". Are you a fan? I remember you saying you liked "Breakin' Dishes".
Ha, yeah I am a fan but I didn’t know about the "Russian Roulette" thing till it was too late. My song is actually a few years old, and her one totally sucks.

Your sophomore album has been so long in the making. Are you constantly adding new tracks or does it have the same tracklisting as the one you talked about last year?
I wrote "Double R" in 2009 but all the rest are new. I have been adding and morphing the tracklisting for years.

I still want to know if "White Horse" made the cut!
Hate to break it to ya.....

Boo! Will there be songs on it for the fans who loved "Beauty Was A Tiger" or is it exclusively electro?
Well if it's guitars you're looking for you’ve come to the wrong place, but I've got some pretty rockin' tunes on there with some huge dirty synths. There's one song in particular called "Love And Honour" that is just ferocious .

How hard is it for pop acts to break in this country if you're not from Idol or a soap?
You have to work very hard to be in this business, there are no short cuts and it's not easy. You have to be good live. If you're good live you’ve got a chance of longevity.

Will you be doing gigs to promote the album?
The gigs are starting in October, stand back!

Finally, I'm a closet Living End fan. Would you ever work with Chris Cheney again?
I love Chris’ voice. I would work with him again if the project was right.

"Double R" is available to download from iTunes. There are currently no plans for a video, so check out the track below.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Get Outta My Way - Video Review

Once again, sorry for the delay between posts. Usually I'm just too drunk to type over the weekend but my computer crashed and I've been without the net since Friday. I guess that's what happens when you put 200+ Gigs of music on a shitty laptop! Anyway, I'll try to make up for it by being prolific this week. And the first cab off the rank is Kylie's "Get Outta My Way" video clip. To be honest, I'm not quite sure what to think. The teaser clip looked amazing but the finished product lacks something. Like a point. Don't get me wrong - I love the pretty lights, like most of the costumes and appreciate Kylie's stunning homage to Olivia Newton-John but I can't help but feel that such a cute, throwaway (in the best sense of the word) pop song needed something a little more fun and a lot less stylised. You know, I'm thinking Kylie working the dancefloor of her local RSL club on senior citizens' night. Picture her grinding on some toothless grandpa while her bored Spanish toy boy trawls for trade on Grindr. Let's keep it realistic, people! Sadly, that masterpiece will never eventuate so we're stuck with this. Here is my scene by scene commentary:

0:00 - 0:25 mins Pretty lights, gays on chairs and a lump of mutton dressed as lamb on the dancefloor. So far, so good.

0:25 - 0:50 mins Scary. Kylie's face hasn't looked this tight since "Red Blooded Woman". Happily, the choreography kicks in and I want a pair of Minogue senior's glowing gloves.

0:50 - 1:25 mins Min spins around on giant glowing Etch-A-Sketch. Amazing!

1:25 - 2:00 mins The America's Got Talent 'chair dance' routine. For once Madonna actually did do this first on her Blonde Ambition tour - consider it revenge for stealing the cover of "American Life" from
Kylie's Che Guevara poster! The highlight of this segment is the beautiful gold corset and flattering hairstyle. Kylie looks almost as sexy as Dannii without make-up when she walks out of the shower in the morning, translucent with the glow of motherhood.

2:00 - 2:10 mins I'm not feeling that red monstrosity at all.

2:10 - 2:30 mins My favourite part of the clip! The impossible princess standing on a pontoon is a clear nod to Olivia Newton-John's heavenly
"Twist Of Fate" video. When are these two legends going to join forces and record a completely age inappropriate duet?

2:30 - 2:50 mins A futuristic Mayan tranny being offered for sacrifice? No?

2:50 - 3:05 mins Nice editing.

3:05 - 3:30 mins Dance routine on pontoon + water splash = bonus points.

3:30 - 3:40 mins Can someone make me a Gif of the last 5 seconds? I want Kylie twirling around on that twinkly dancefloor as my new avatar on a certain fan forum that I'm supposed to be banned from!

Yeah, so it's ok. But I still think my idea is better!

7.5/10

Friday, September 03, 2010

Kylie - Change Your Mind

Why is Kylie standing next to a giant white dildo in this photo? You just know Dannii would straddle that fucker as soon as look at it. But I digress. The topic of today's post is old probably news to most of you. Earlier this week "Change Your Mind" found its way online (probably via Elle's outbox), becoming the first official leak from the "Aphrodite" sessions. Kylie's dreamy jam received a rather cool response from fans but I love it. Produced by Deadmau5, "Change Your Mind" is the kind of soft and lovely electronic embrace that the elderly Minogue does better than anyone. Admittedly, it takes a couple of listens to get into and sounds decidedly unfinished but the bare bones of a great pop song are there. The lyrics (apparently written by Jake Shears) are really quite odd - walking the fine line between romance and realism. Take this little gem: "Don't worry about me, I'm right where I belong. I'm better off all by myself but you might prove me wrong." Pretty! And then there's that fabulous sample of Deadmau5's own "Brazil". Unfortunately, Alexis Jordan got there first - sampling the track to stunning effect on "Happiness", which I posted back in June. That could be why "Change Your Mind" remains unfinished but I hope it eventually finds its way on to a Deadmau5 compilation because the track has so much potential. Check out a hot fan edit below. This is my song of the week!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Sky Ferreira - Covers, Ke$ha & Horse Shampoo

Sky Ferreira is electro-pop's current 'it' girl. Discovered on Myspace by Swedish super-producers Bloodshy & Avant, the American teenager has subsequently turned the music world upside down with her sexy image and edgy pop tunes. I have to admit I wasn't convinced until I heard her cover of Stevie Nick's "Stand Back" and realised that she isn't just another pretty girl with a synthesizer. Sky has the looks, attitude and - most importantly - talent to match the hype. Her major label debut "One" has just been released in the UK and it's absolutely brilliant. Make sure you check out the demented WAWA remix, which sounds like something Whigfield released in 1998. I'm obsessed! Anyway, I was lucky enough to have a brief chat with Sky about record label interference, the lingering 'Lolita' controversy and that glorious mane of hair. Here's what she had to say:

Hey Sky, can you please give us a re-cap of how you were ‘discovered’ for all the fans that are just jumping on board now?
Myspace. The internet. Sending a message to Bloodshy & Avant and having them sign me.

Are you the last of the Myspace sensations? The site seems to be losing a bit of relevance...
I don't know, am I?!? Maybe Myspace will have a re-boot soon.

“One” is an amazing track. What’s it all about?
Being ignored, neglected, rejected. My life story!

What was it like working with Bloodshy & Avant? They have worked with so many massive stars – was it a little intimidating?
Working with other writers and producers is ALWAYS intimidating.


Why are you going with a different song in America ? “One” sounds like a hit to me.
Nobody believes in it yet... not even the UK iTunes charts, apparently. They'll realize eventually! I think "One" is going to be a song that will be around for a really long time whether it's a 'hit' or not. Not trying to beat on my own drum, but it's a really special song!

Speaking of “Obsession”, you seemed a little annoyed about it being released as a single in an interview I saw recently. Is that right or was I smoking too much pot?
We were both smoking too much pot! Just kidding! Um, yeah. I was a bit annoyed. I love it but I always want to try to be innovative and stuff......

How different is working with someone like Ryan Tedder than Bloodshy & Avant?
They both are equally as amazing in different ways. They grew up on different music/cultures and make different music.

Tell me about “ 17” . I love that song. Is it autobiographical? Did you deliberately try to push buttons with the video clip? To me it just looks like a typical night out! Not really! I wanted the bedroom scene to be pretty more than 'raunchy'. I made out with boys... hasn't everyone? Doesn't mean I was doing it to Petey! It totally is a typical night out for a lot of teenagers. That's why it's so funny that people think I was trying to be "bad ass". I was really poking fun at it. But yes. I did that stuff.

What do you make of the comparisons with Ke$ha. Do you like her music/image?
We're nothing alike but blonde. Kesha didn't invent denim shorts. Also I'm not a fan of glitter.

Do you ever worry about the label toning down your image for the mainstream? Will amazing songs like “Sex Rules” and “Fucked From Above” make your album?
Yes. Everyone wants to keep it G rated or corny sexy. I'm not a gimmick. I write about things I 'shouldn't write about because I'm so young' - blah blah blah. Even when they don't let me do things, I always find a way of releasing my work and ideas no matter what. Without label money etc etc etc.

Who else have you worked with on the album?
Greg Kurstin, Dallas Austin, Colin Munroe/Cory Enemy, Paul Epworth,and I even did a song which was produced by my side band on the record.

I love your covers of “Stand Back” and “Animal”. Can you please stick them on a future single as a B-side?
If Stevie Nicks and Miike Snow let me! Sure, why not.

Last but definitely not least, how you maintain your lustrous locks? Your hair is stunning!
HUNNI.
MANE 'N TAIL. Yes... I'm serious!