Sunday, 31 May 2009

It's Time To Get What's Mine

With career prospects no higher than their knickers, the pop life of Vanilla was something of a miracle. Highly qualified with 'beauty therapy' certificates from the 'College of Basildon' under their bingo wings, they scored no less than 2 massive top 36 hit singles between 1997 and 1998. Other than untangling kebabs from their extensions and narrowing the list of potential fathers of their kids down to 5 bus stops, these girls managed to show the Spice Girls and The Supremes how it should be done. Everyone knows about their legendary No Way No Way middle-8 wherein they all pretend to be insulted by a drunk 2nd division footballer coming on to them individually - one strongminded member states this guy has the cheek to think he could buy her with just one drink (these girls take a rain check and cling on to their termination loyalty cards in search of a real man).

Speaking of abortions, on the abandoned recording Realise they all sing whilst chewing gum, which presumably took higher priority than sounding in tune. Faking an orgasm must be more convincing, and their pramface boredom is painful where as the chorus repeats again and again it is hard not to imagine them yawning whilst giving the producer a half-hearted blow job. Xeonomania would certainly have had their work cut out propping up this limp soggy tampon of a track, but Vanilla's slack-jaw charm wins only through sheer dead-eyed persistance.

I would love Vanilla to whore their act once again by touring Britain's gay bars, chafing their way up and down the country, and lip-synching for their lives and to pay for their daughters Bethany, LeTavia, AlwaysUltra, LeToya, Reebok, Beyonce, Trisha, MadonnaMinogue and MingeTout all to follow in their footsteps into showbiz, glamour modelling and freelance web cam modelling.


Want More & More

Despite getting her wires crossed trying to cover Freed From Desire, and ending up with More, More, More instead, after getting mixed up with the song's 'want more and more' chorus, how much does Dannii look like Gala here? Tom boy-ish, beautiful and Eurotrash looking!

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Ex-Members Club

The lush elegance beaming from the eponymous standalone album by Dusty Trails from 2000 is a calm afteroon in the summer spent sipping gin and biting your toe nails: 'mellow sounds and minor chords' was written on the back of the CD case, yet Vivian Trimble's first forray after her departure from Luscious Jackson eloquently gives her decision at least some justification. Indeed, teaming up with a full-blown lesbian and ex-member of The Breeders (I have finally got the joke), Josephine Wiggs, must have paid at least a weeks electricity bill - the album was never designed to be a hit, yet it's appeal surely is to let itself drift out to be caught by those open to enjoying soft and elegant soundtrack music. It is obviously pretentious and Trimble took far too much pleasure telling journo's about instructing her neighbours to stop hoovering so that Emmylou Harris could record a song for them in her livingroom (I'll bet there were a lot of candles). Featuring Harris, Order Coffee is stoic and brittle and often cited as the highlight: elsewhere, the poignant phrasing and ultra-sickly bossa nova synthesis of You Freed Yourself, Est-Ce Que Tu, They May Call Me A Dreamer and Fool For A Country Tune could wet the eyes of Saint Etienne - Country Tune in particular rolls the credits in, dissolving the day in style. Roll The Dice, however, reunites the original Luscious Jackson line-up, but is the sound of a coffee shop gig getting 'lively' and disappoints. An album you are hardly going to wet yourself over, but that is going to rinse through you like a routine colonic and linger warmly into late lonely nights.

Est-Ce Que Tu
Fool For A Country Tune

Friday, 29 May 2009

A 'Wind-In-The-Face' Facial

80s 'wind-in-the-face' summer anthem Rush Hour by ex Go Go's punk-pop-princess pixie Jane Wiedlin is a tireless classic that never runs out of fuel, sounding just as exhilirating some 21 years later after its release back in 1988. Despite nipping to the post ex-band mate Belinda's nip-and-tuck international success with the dreary Heaven On Earth, Jane never properly sustained her solo career and yet managed to record the classy Kissproof World in 2000. Taken from the album Fur, her courageous delivery salivates with her effortlessly excited-yet-understated vocals. Surely if ever Norway's hopeless whisper siren Annie wanted to quit messing around and finally have a hit, then she should look no further than covering Jane's fast lane romance gem by layering her vocals by a minimum of 1000 and finally get to know what it was like to be Geri Halliwell between April 1999 and March 2000. For those who think tilting your head back is only for recieving facials, this track is utter bliss and enjoying the breaze in such a manner comes second nature with this tightly-contained blast from the past.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

'Call it what you like...'

I decided Diva Incarnate needed spruced up, and am quite pleased with the 'cheap as press on nails' results. The divas who decorate my banner are as follows (L-R), complete with my suggestions to those unfamiliar to their less obvious highlights:

01. Marie Fredriksson - Reveal (as Roxette)
The original Pink is subdued on the Kleerup remix which is incredibly restful, whilst the Attic edit is more nervous yet no less regal-sounding.
02. Cyndi Lauper - Maybe He'll Know (Special Mix)
Originally a Blue Angel track, the light-footed party spinner Maybe He'll Know was re-recorded for her True Colours album and easily stood out as her strongest chance for a hit single. Poised for release as a fourth single, it was scrapped in favour of the MOR ballad Boy Blue. This 'Special Mix' is widely believed to have been the edit set to go to radio, but eventually saw the light of day as a b-side to the 1989 release I Drove All Night. There can't be many singers able to convey such abandon and giddiness and make it sound like an artform.
03. Cher - Back On The Street Again
unexpectedly delivers a pounding synth-dripping ABBA-sounding stree-walking anthem with an album track taken from I Paralyze.
04. Billie Ray Martin - Eighteen Carat Garbage (Jr. Vasquez Edit)
Watch tragic trannies dancing to it (try telling yourself they are nothing like you and I won't believe you):

05. Alexia - Number One
The Italian dance minstrel's most fully committed euro-thumper managed to be beautiful and brainless at the same time, and that is a compliment.
06. Courtney Love - 20 Years In The Dakotta (as Hole)
The Beautiful Son single's b-side 20 Years In The Dakotta can't hide the singer's Stevie Nicks aspirations, before bursting into recogniseable early Courtney Love gutteral yelps.
07. Belinda Carlisle - (We Want) The Same Thing
An icon of power-pop, it's a pity that her songs are considered either too 'girly' or worse formulaic as her abilities are gigantic.
08. Mylene Farmer - Aime

I was convinced Aime would have been a single as it is my 3rd favourite from the 2005 Avant que l'ombre... album. Mylene's soothing voice is stark, romantic and let's itself be guided into a storm.
09. Siouxsie - Heaven & Alchemy
After-hours torch ballad; the make-up must be sliding down like her man Almond. Siouxsie almost inadvertantly delivers an alternative Christmas song.
10. Dannii Minogue - All I Wanna Do
A cascade of narcissistic agony, glistening eyes and the singer's most plaintive vocal to date: these days Dannii either hisses excess botox (Come & Get It) or gives hope to cancer victims (So Under Pressure). The 'Innocent Girl' version found on Unleashed, which was the original planned single edit, is given a trance makeover and brings out Dannii's expressive side with some rad ad-libs not used on the mainstream cut.
11. Madonna - Rain
It is easy to forget how brilliant Madonna can be; this lush 1993 single still has the power to cleanse all her crimes.
12. Kier Kirby - River of Freedom (as Deee-Lite)
A lost opportunity, this hallucinatory-trance track had the most emphatic melody from the 1994 album Dewdrops In The Garden. Find it on youtube for another trannytastic dance routine (once you look; what is up with the Gays giving a rubbish tranny strip money? Ew).
13. Gina G - Everytime I Fall (Metro Dance Mix)
Thirst quenching 90s remix that gives Gina her very own Freed From Desire moment with an Italo-piano keys middle-eight: par excellence!
14. Gala - Different Kind of Love
Cheekbones galore, my favourite barmy dance singer with ambiguous bissexual vibes oozing euphorically from every pore. This is more of a chugging guitar stomper, but I smell potential of Holly Vallance Desire proportions. Gala was not allowed to perform new material at a recent Belgian concert celebrating the finest 90s euro-dance artists; not to be told what to do, she still used the rehearsal time as an opportunity to shoot footage to accompany her secret weapon from the forthcoming album Tough Love. See for details.

15. Dana International - Betula
Gorgeous piano-ladden momentum, sung softly like an Arabian lullaby, sporadic English is woven through and a Suzanne Vega reference. Because of the language barrier, Dana's music is largely inpenetrable to markets outside of the Hebrew domain, yet this is a stunning ride that makes one feel like a post-divorce Princess Jasmin from Alladin getting ready for a night on the tiles.

Edit: the formatting is a little wack with the font size in places which I have tried and failed to fix.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Immoral Manufacture

It has taken me a wee while to properly accept The Fame by Lady Gaga as an actual album, it's like the same engine suddenly using different petrol in parts. A lingering highlight for me is the very sunny Stefani sounding Summer Boy, the swaggering dizziness of Disco Heaven is almost languid nu-wave pop perfection (as is the chugging blissful chorus to Boys Boys Boys which could have featured in Clueless for all it's playfully stuck up campness), I Like It Rough has a middle 8 that rings really true, Poker Face certainly flexes the same muscle as Just Dance but it's more ripped and heavy-duty. Initially I thought a sagging point was Again Again, a familiar-sounding ballad that's a bit of an empty tank, as I believe she will have better (more depressing) melancholy than that in her still to come. Brown Eyes is better; a bit of a waster-ballad, down on your luck and almost enjoying it- a grower now that I am listening to it once again. Too bad Retro, Dance, Freak isn't on the UK edition, 'shut down like software' is a cute lyric. I do prefer Heidi's gatecrashing 'Heidi!' version of Fashion, but Gaga sings it too low that's all - it's a song that actually sounds as if travelling down the conveyor belt of immoral pop song manufacture if there ever was such a thing. The Fame should tag Montag's version on at the end, as for her it's a victory along the lines of asking for a refund without the receit and getting away with it.

Double The Damage: Tag Team MILFs Volume 1

Bananarama's PWL commerical peak may have reached a panting climax in the late 80s with the breathless Love Truth & Honesty, but these MILF's continued to plod away at their ruthless game with admirable restricted releases such as their France-only 2001 album Exotica, which sounds like a brand of condoms from the late 90s. Their sex-hungry sound is basic, yet thick, ribbed and heavily lubricated with a dated sheen that could pass for their hey day sound: the pre-'chav' Starz is fey and tritely whimsical, but the emphatic thud of the beguiling and murky If is one of their best ever singles. Sarah and Karen stay ahead of the game and want seconds straight away: 'come on come on encore, I'm waiting for you' is something they regularly scream from their moving car through Essex with their windows rolled down - it's became something of a tourist attraction, with the girls known for favouring guys who are prepared to buy them kebabs.

Their enchanting 'vocals' are thinner than Jamie Lynne's condoms, yet still manage to sound completely immersed in the sheer adrenaline of being care-less pop stars; their shared mouthed sounds (no solo's whatsoever) slur together like two shots of vodka doing double the damage. They mark their terriotory well with verses mumbled into their cleavages, bringing back fond memories of when I started a hollering campaign of gays shouting 'your tits are hanging out'at Karen when they performed at 2005's Big Gay Out in London.

Finishing them off, the carefully thought over conclusion 'ain't no big deal, just do as you feel, no big deal' is the salty aftertaste bringing the track to a hectic end. These women do not care and long may they pant breathlessly with no discernable vocal range, just so long as there is a cheap ass disco beat propping them up - bras that fit come and go, but classic pop trash lives forever.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Full-Speed Euro-Dance

Since crimson antipodean dance warrior Gina G decided that growing a human being in her baggy womb was far more important than giving gays a reason to live, her 1 album legacy of 'love goddess' Hi-NRG perfection has finally found a pretender to her thrown. She comes in the form of 'Swedish Idol' winner Agnes Carlsson - with a name that just screams to be lit up in neon lights above dingey gay bars across the world, not only does she have the looks many transsexuals would kill for, her luggage of national popularity and an even bigger forehead set expectations high indeed. Her 3rd album Dance Love Pop has qualified her to 3 native top ten hits and currently sees her releasing Release Me as her missile into the UK and other European markets.

The album's first domestic single was the technoid On & On, a full-speed collision between early 90s Euro-dance duo Culture Beat and Tina Cousins. Impact is instant, and Carlsson is unflinching whilst a rave-up flares not a million miles away from the racaus carnage of Dead Or Alive's Nukleopatra.

The haunting Love Me Senseless is a cross between Laurent Wolf's No Stress and Love Inc's Broken Bones. A great pun wasted nevertheless, the track is melancholy with all the anguish of having trapped wind that won't shift in time for an internet meet. Agnes takes drastic action, and the track is as compelling as sex life strife in popworld gets.

The radio-ready current single Release Me is tamer yet her emphatic dedication remains equally evident, revving up comparisons to Lara Fabien and various Hex Hector remixes. The video bears a most unflattering resemblence to Madonna's Hung Up promo where an ensemble of stage school embiciles pretend that hip hop is their way of life whilst dancing to a disco track. Making up for the misguided choreography is Angnes' own drag queen worthy strutting as she minces to her nearest gay bar. Inside, some of the videos best shots are shown as the track's instrumental spins in drunken bliss - if that girl does not leave the gay bar for a mmf sleepover now then she will probably never leave the guy she is whingeing about.

How Do You Know? is not only my standard responce to overweight female customers who limp their wrists at me as I sell my soul in order to sell face and body products to them ('take this into the shower you'll be making noises your husband hasn't heard since you first got married'), but this is also about Agnes defending her decision to become a woman; the young Andreas would be proud as he becomes the pop diva he always creamed of whilst stealing his sisters Just 17 magazines to sneak peaks at AJ from the Backstreet Boys amongst others.

Elsewhere, saggy Aggie returns to her full-throttle capabilities on the stodgy stomper Open Up Your Eyes where her theatrical wail never sounded better. If only Mariah would record a song so frivolously sleazy. Carlsson's impatience snaps into anthemic proportions after her un-named sex partners can't bear to look at her anymore. Undaunted, Agnes is at the top of her game and warns Don't Pull Your Love Out.

Look At Me
stimulates similar emotions to Whitney's jittery So Eotional, but achieves the same effect by sticking two fingers up (although 'look at the way I spread my legs' goes a bit too far). Her slick campaign of unabashedly uptempo numbers is a high-impact assault that will take place in the hearts of dance-pop lovers all over the world and will probably leave Lisa Scott-Lee crying into her empty packets of cream crackers. Gina G will most likely be too knee-high in baby dirt to notice, but a new pop pricess has arrived.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Delight In Dysfunction

Billie Ray Martin's largely undiscovered 1994 collaboration with the Grid, an E.P titled 4 Ambient Tales, remains her most romantic and impressionistic to date. Unfairly, Martin is largely remembered as the singer of the circumstantially faceless trance love song Your Loving Arms (a genuine international hit single), or from Electribe 101 who had even less success yet left a critical legacy not to be overlooked. The fact that her back catalogue is a curious condition of scattered collaborations (often unreleased) and a mere 2 albums, is a major betrayal of a singer her fans consider to be the most expressive soul singer since Dusty Springfield ('the Dietrich of techno' is another odd yet apt description).

Often overspilling in a knowingly perverse thrill over the melodrama she sings of (hear her scream 'there is a body on the floor that looks like me' on the ballad Deadline For My Memories and you will worry that she would have needed a strait-jacket afterwards), Billie sings truthfully nevertheless and always avoids the cliches of her genre. Here, this is the sound of someone closing their curtains and locking their doors in order to be alone, and Billie gives her most restrained and profoundly revealing vocals ever. 4 Ambient Tales is a 4am remedy for the broken hearted, the loney and world-weary, and epitomises her insoucient style of electronic soul.

The lead off track Hearts drifts one as far away from their problems as they can get: imagine Brian Eno meets Cyndi Lauper's True Colours and you are maybe halfway there. Naive and abstractly poignant, it's a dissarming experience with those familiar with the singer who once sang of keeping her lover's soiled panties in a biscuit tin. When Billie sighs 'so calm down' she then sings so gorgeously it is almost paralyzing. She does it again on Planet of The Blue; 'don't doubt me' is as passionate as it is understated. The feeling is that open wounds are being healed here: the hauntingly sung 'Oh let's get carried away boy' has to be the most adorable lyric of her entire disparate songbook, tinged with country regret; whilst 'forget all the everyday scars, tonight we may get a star for you' is secluded and affectionate. Siouxsie Sioux once sang of a 'bridge of sighs', well this is it.

Billie sings with tact, consideration and on I Spent Hours Again (Wishing You Well), even with poker face diplomacy, there is a cathartic sense of closure being achieved. Hours calms the storm, what must be rage is distilled into singing 'I spent hours again wishing you well' almost as if it is a put down, and that she is far too glamorous to lose her composure over a sordid affair. The passivity of the vocal is cleansed completely by the rippling ambience and echo of Tammy Wynette in the form of those arching country guitars shimmering into the moonlight.

House of Love is the most recognisably Billie, sounding as if it could have been an Electribe 101 recording. It is definately the black sheep of the release, probably due to its theme of stalking and gets back into Martin's trademark delight in dysfunction.

Washed up souls are in for a treat - these achingly gorgeous songs ressurect the listener into optimism. Listen to 4 Ambient Tales and the sound will connect you to a life support machine; emotions ripple pensively and you will be deep in peaceful thought long enough to flush those pills down the toilet and face another day. The luminous atmosphere created by these descreet love songs is an experience to behold.

You can buy the CD here.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Home (less) Coming Man

Kylie is not like Dannii: when she hits an all-time low she doesn't speed-dile the local lesbian strip bar like any normal 'do my chunky calves look big in these?' pop star. Realising her faux pas was being snapped by photogs, Kylie quickly covers her tracks and pretends she was only after the latest issue of The Big Issue. You just know the man found a discreet skip and had a wank about the whole thing - at least he had a sleeping bag to cover his modesty. Kylie should just go back to the back pages of Boyz magazine - isn't that how she found big Willy?