Hot new Pop!

LindaThis is Linda Sundblad. She is Swedish and unsurpringly makes fantastic pop music.

I’m late on the case here. The poplogsphere was bubbling with this girl last week with the excellent Sounds of Sweden doing a detailed review of her debut solo album Oh My God. In fact I didn’t even like Back In Time, the first song I heard from the album, with it’s messy English ’16 and still virgin’ lyrics. But now, now everything fits.

Linda is the former lead vocalist of Swedish rock outfit Lambretta, who admittedly I’ve never heard of. But this album is pure pop. Lead single Oh Father glides along simply and makes me childlishly giggle at "oh father i’ve been touching myself and I’m sorry" every time I hear it. And the true standout of an excellent album is the midtempo Lose You – a light poppy vocal over a very New Order bassy sounding chorus.

This album is so good, I think I’m going to physically purchase it. And if that’s not a positive recommendation I don’t know what is.

Download – Lose You / Check myspace / Buy Oh My God!

I’m running out of television

I rarely watch television shows I really love live these days. The obvious exception is Torchwood as I’m rarely out on a Sunday evening and it is a nice finish to the weekend; and X-Factor as it’s (moderately) fun before partying on Saturdays.

Last week I finished watching downloads of Hotel Babylon. I didn’t really know much about the show but was aware of the book on which it was based. But it was perfect TV viewing. Tamzin Outwaite and Max Beesley were great leads and the whole thing was very glossy and perfectly conjured up the images of 5* hotels. Plus having Craig Kelly on screen is never a bad thing. Plus on the go I have Love Film sending me DVDs of Shakespeare and Chaucer Retold as anything with Billie or Sarah Parish in it is good right?

So what to watch now? I’m currently enjoying season 3 of best show evah Veronica Mars (ok possibly 2nd to Angel, I can’t decide) and looking forward to the second series of Life On Mars. Plus someone has recommended Bones and the first episode of Jam and Jerusalem was alright. But other than that I’m pretty lost. Can you help?

Shows I like: Angel, Veronica Mars, (new) Doctor Who, Buffy, Torchwood, Life On Mars, Hotel Babylon, Blackpool, Casanova, Peep Show, *cough* Hollyoaks *cough*, Beauty and The Geek (USA s1), Ally McBeal (s1-3), Frasier, Lead Balloon, Red Dwarf, anything involving Gordon Ramsay, X-Files, SatC, Allo Allo, Goodnight Sweetheart, The Brittas Empire (i’m not sure i’d like these last three now i’m not 13 though), Dead Like Me, 3rd Rock from the Sun,  Eerie Indiana, Spooks (s1-2). OK I’m rambling now. 

Shows that have passed me by with little interest: Lost, Desperate Housewives, Dawson’s Creek, The OC (I’ve never watched this, but probably should have – too late now), 24, Party of Five, anything involving fake alien faces

Shows I think I should try: Firefly, Ugly Betty, Alias

So any ideas? I think things like The Wire would be a bit too intense and I don’t think I can handle trying to catch up on a decade of The West Wing or Sopranos. Should I watch The L Word, QaF USA, Nip/Tuck, Charmed, Smallville or will these be too hard to catch up to date on? What’s the new Matthew Perry show like? Why is Eamonn Holmes presenting a show in America? I’ll watch more of How I Met Your Mother if it happens to be on, but what’s Till Death like? What about Heroes?

Please help me people of the world, especially you, Jack, Graham and Sizemore. Merci

Superjupiter @ Too 2 Much

We Are Scientists at Popstarz

Last Thursday was a week off djing (hurrah!) so off we went to the launch party for new electropop compilation Robopop. It was held at Too 2 Much which had inexplicably been renamed the ‘Soho Revue Bar’ and like our lunch at Ronnie Scott’s it was cool to see a venue we’d heard so much about. It’s also in one of my favourite bits of Soho where the street goes really narrow and the hookers go hardcore (i’m not sure what that says about me.)

Anyway, the CD contains lots of cool artists like Goldfrapp, Dragonette (yay!), Performance, Temposhark and Soho Dolls. I need to listen to it more to check out the bands I don’t know, but it seems pretty ace. Performing live at their launch party were Formatic, Super Jupiter and Matinee Club. Issues at the door meant we only got in just in time to see the end fo Formatic, a London brother/sister duo, but they sounded much squeakier in real life than on myspace.

Super Jupiter are a three piece from Norway and are mates of the astoundingly dreadful Lorraine. In fact two of Lorraine were in the audience and my mind wandered quite a lot trying to figure out a way of destroying them. Anyway we received Super Jupiter’s single You Know through a DJ promo list ages and ages ago and really liked it. Again there’s an easy Scissor Sisters reference here, but I need to remember that high pitched and camp doesn’t always equal SS, but well mainly it does and it’s 4am, I can’t be bothered to be any more in depth here – you can hear it on their myspace. We had planned to see them before at a showcase at Camden’s Barfly but managed to show up as they were packing up. So now was the time to see how they transferred a really produced synthy sounding record to a live performance – and, well, they pulled it off. You can watch their mildly amusing skating video, which Laurie you’ll probably love, at youtube.

Then came Matinee Club, which is the unnecessary new name for The Modern. Ditched from their label after a chart rig fiasco and minus one or two members, the band were as tight and as good as ever. But – I was pretty bored. We first caught them live supporting Kaiser Chiefs [argh CDUK is now offline and I’ve lost all my screengrabs. Argh]  at Ibiza Rocks in 2005 and they sounded right up my street. Female, vaguely Stefani-esque vocal, with a big fat chunk of 80s glampop. But now, well to me it just sounds a bit tired and boring, and honestly I think they looked a bit dishearted. That said if you’d slogged your guts out, finally got signed to a major, and then got sent back to slogging your guts out hell, you’d probably be a bit pissed off too.

We Are Scientists @ Popstarz

We Are Scientists at Popstarz

Last Friday night Popstarz was host to a show from American geek-rockers We Are Scientists, who bombed it across town via XFM, to play a six song set for us. I was a bit worried about this gig to be honest. Sure people liked WaS but they aren’t an absolutely massive Popstarz band. Such worries were unnecessary though as when we arrived at midnight, the club was really full and much busier than I had expected.

I’d seen the band before, supporting Editors at Astoria in 2005 and briefly at Benicassim this year, and although I think they’re alright, I’m not a massive fan. That said, their performance at Popstarz was actually really good, and their cover of The Ronettes Be My Baby certainly brought it up a notch or two. Also Chris from Editors joined the band on stage to play bass during The Great Escape so let’s hope he thought the club was cool and Editors want to play too. We played the 2 – 4 slot after the band and managed to keep people dancing to Mika and CSS. Hooray!

REVIEW: Girls Aloud – The Sound of Girls Aloud

Ga
I’ve discovered it’s very hard to write about your favourite band. I am not ashamed, i’ll say it loud and proud – Girls Aloud are my favourite group*.

Anyway I like the review I wrote last year of their third album Chemistry, but this time I was writing about the Greatest Hits, songs which I’ve listened to about a billion times and don’t really have much to say about any more. So after a lot of scrambling about, and with some sentences still not flowing as nicely as I’d like this is what I came up with:

When "Biology" rolled round with its jarring bluesy intro and double
chorus, you could almost hear the walls between musical genres being
battered down by Louis Vuitton handbags.

In retrospect, Louis Vuitton should probably read River Island or something.

Read the full review online at BBC Music.

* This does not mean I approve of their Xmas single. Unless they turn it into a double A with something good.
 

I can be brown, I can be blue

Over the last couple of weeks I appear to have seen a huge number of gigs live and not managed to blog about them, so here is a frantic catch-up

Mika
If you’ve not heard of Mika yet, then you probably will be soon.  He’s Universal Records big hope for 2007 and has already been signed up to soundtrack an American ‘Red’ advert as bizarrely as the new face of Paul Smith.

Mika’s is originally from Beirut, but now lives in London and is a dead cert for your new favourite pop artist of the year if you like the Scissor Sisters. He’s tall, good looking, very colourful and seem to be channelling the voice of Freddie Mercury. I don’t know if he’s gay or not, but he’s certainly fabulous.

Last Wednesday, we headed down to World Famous jazz bar, Ronnie Scott’s, in the middle of Soho for the very first time to see Mika get a bunch of press people together at lunch time and sing to them. To make us like him more we were fed some chicken with very salty chips and as much free white wine as we could all guzzle down our ligging throats.

We’d had the amazing dancetastic Cutting Crew-esque Relax – Take It Easy through on a DJ promo list early in summer, but had only just got the album sampler for the forthcoming Life in Colour Motion the week before. This was a good thing, as we knew the songs and could sing along as we all know pretending we are the pop star ourselves at gigs makes them 100% better. But, even if we hadn’t this would have been fun as one newbie to Mika declared upon leaving "Bloody Hell, that sounded like a greatest hits set."

Mika sang 5 fabulous songs (and 1 bizarre one), including the aforementioned Relax – a song which is so good that if you’d not heard the rest of his material, you’d expect to be the greatest thing on his album. Amazingly everything is this good. Love Today goes all Beck on our asses with Mika chatting away before it turns into a big stomping chorus, Grace Kelly talks about his love of the great screen legend and features the best Freddie impression we’ve ever heard; Billy Brown is a cute, tear worthy tale of a man who gets married but has a secret gay lover and the gigantic Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) sings about his love for the non skinnies among us and is getting pummelled, courtesy of us, on the Popstarz dancefloor. His vocal range is incredible and it’s very easy to warm to him. The only somewhat strange thing about the gig was his encore – a song called Lollipop which wouldn’t seem out of place if sung by Gwen Stefani accompanied by part of a musical.

And as for the venue – well we’d never been to Ronnie Scott’s before, but if you ever get the chance, I’d totally recommend you go. It’s exactly as you might expect – chairs and tables and lines of seats surrounding the stage as if you were back in the 1940s – it’s very like a much smaller version of Blackpool’s Funny Girls venue. I’d love to see it on a proper night, but I can imagine it’s unbelievably smoky.

Finally, if you’re in London, I’d recommend you can catch Mika at Dingwalls next week, otherwise you can catch him on Jools Holland on Friday, or at regional dates round the country next week.

Update:

iTunes have Billy Brown as their free download this week.

Check out his Myspace
Download Relax and  Grace Kelly

and use this funky music player to

listen to two acoustic tracks from forthcoming EP Dodgy Holiday