Abracadabra

I really like new Island signing Leon Jean Marie. He’s from South Woodford and has been knocking about in the right circles for a couple of years. His last single, the Mark Ronson produced, Bed of Nails had a spooky Madness feel to it, that once it clicked hooked into your head for ages. As a buzz single it didn’t really do much but he’s plowing ahead with single #2, Bring It On and I really hope it does well, although i’m not entirely confident. I met him a couple of months ago for an interview which you can read here and here and I’m pleased to report he was really lovely and we had a good chat about working with Bloodshy & Avant in Sweden!

Here’s the video for ‘Bring It On’. It’s got a similarly 80s feel and I couldn’t quite figure out what it sounded like until it was pointed out as being pretty much exactly the same as Steve Miller Band’s 1982 #2 Abracadabra (what a tune!). I hope it’s referenced as being an ‘interpolation’ or what not as it’s blatant! Compare the two, and laugh at the 80s spook of the ‘Abracadabra’ video.

La Chart

ting0508.jpgAs much as I personally like The Ting Tings, I never in a billion years thought they would have much mainstream success, but it seems this Sunday I may have to eat my words very very largely when they chart at a very high position. I’m still not entirely convinced by them – I love the songs but when I saw them live in January they were quite ropey. That probably doesn’t matter to all the people who find them irresistible to jump up and down to in a club and I certainly have enjoyed playing them for the last year or so.

But, what the hell is going on with the chart? It’s gone from being irrelevant and a bit rubbish to being completely amazing in the last 12 months. Downloads revolutionized it but it seems they also made people into better music? I think it all started when Robyn went to #1 – an artist bloggers had been banging on about for ages was suddenly adored by the mainstream. Forgetting Eva Cassidy and Leon Jackson, have there been any bad number ones in recent times? They’ve only been 4 all this year and we’re in mid May! Basshunter deserved it for proving no radio play still creates an amazing buzz on a dance record (if you’ve not checked out Boten Anna you need to!), Duffy might be annoying now but it gave me the ‘must listen to 20 times in a row and scream about this’ feeling on first listen, Estelle nailed it and finally got the success she deserved and Madonna created a brilliant dancefloor record.

So what else is going to be #1 this year? Fingers crossed on Sara Barielles, Late of the Pier, Lykke Li and Jordin Sparks w/ Chris Brown. Two of those are extremely likely and two of them are could bes depending how things take off.

Neon Neon – I Lust U

For some reason I completely ignored tales of how amazing Neon Neon were until yesterday. An electronic project of Super Furry Animal’s Gruff Rhys and twinkly electroboy Boom Bip, the pair first worked together on one track in 2005 and enjoyed it so much they decided to create a whole album. I’ve not heard all of Stainless Steel yet, but from what I have their March single I Lust U immediately stands out. Slow bleeping 80s synths add a hypnotic feel to this duet which features cute Welsh singer Cate Le Bon on vocals with Gruff and it creates what I would think a chilled out electronic masterpiece. Cate’s vocals remind me of Ladytron and ‘I Lust U’ is almost what would happen if Ladytron met Fischerspooner.

Popstarz

Since moving venue in February I think Popstarz has been going from strength to strength. The crowd is a bit older, much nicer and know their music which is good for us – we don’t have to wheel out Mr Brightside every time the dancefloor gets a bit thin!

This is what we played in our first set last night…

Ladytron – Runaway
Presets – This Boys in Love
Depeche Mode – Strange Love
Language – Salman Rushie, Bono, Sting
VHS or Beta – Nights On Fire
Rascals – Freakbeat Phantom
Reverend & The Makers – Heavyweight Champion
Interpol – Slow Hands (Britt Daniel Remix)
Patrick Wolf – Magic Position
Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma
Zutons – Valerie
Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Pin
CSS – Rage (Rat is Dead)
Dandy Warhols – Get Off
Strokes – Someday

Other stuff we threw in later included…

MGMT – Time To Pretend
Ting Tings – Shut Up & Let Me Dance
Blondie – Heart of Glass
Muse – Hysteria
Placebo – Teenage Angst
Blink 182 – What’s My Age Again (hee!)

Let Me Tell You A Secret

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Before music took over my life, I used to be more into new technologies and was particularly keen on reading up on the latest mobile phones and angling after a way to get them. I went through all the best Nokias that came out – and looking back it seems crazy we all went so mad after the tiny 8310, surely it was too tiny.

Anyway after avoiding the iPhone for a while, a demo by my cousin John at Xmas made me certain I actually wanted one. It was just too shiny not to get one y’know!! Of course, now I’m tied to an 18 month contract and will look on in anguish when the new version hits the shops in June!
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Agyness Deyn – Popstar

The rise of supermodel Agyness Deyn somehow passed me by until she appeared on Jonathan Ross a couple of months ago. Brain bashingly northern, she’s a breath of fresh air and (currently) normality into the modelling world. She looks different, sounds different, is funny and doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously. I’m a bit disappointed her real name is Laura though, I was digging the famous person being called Agyness vibe. My great aunt and great-grandmother were both called Agnes and I’ve always thought it a pretty ugly name until now!

The domination of Agyness in the pop culture world could now no longer be confined to fashion after it was announced that she would be appearing on a track with Northampton turned New York band Five O’Clock Heroes. The song is called ‘Who’ and is the first single from their 2nd album ‘Speak Your Language’. And as it turns out – the girl can sing. Her sweet vocals complement the gruffness of vocallist Anthony Ellis and the boy/girl vocals are slightly reminiscent of Mystery Jets ‘Young Love’ although it’s a lot more new-wave sounding. And of course Aggy looks amazing in the video. Effortlessly cool, she has an Edie Sedgewick wandering around Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Lost in Translation’ world, vibe to her.

Sonny J – Handsfree

Could this be any more amazing?

Apart from the Jackso-esque ‘Can’t Stop Moving’, ‘Handfree’ was the immediate stand out track from the forthcoming Sonny J album ‘Disastro’ and I’m delighted to see it get a release. It’s been given an expensive video treatment courtesy of the producers behind the video for Utah Saints Somethin Good ’08 and it’s mainsteam feel could see it becoming a regular on the music channels.

Of course – it’s a massive sample. In fact it’s barely a sample, more a remix of an old track by Donna Hightower. Popjustice pointed me at the original on youtube yesterday and it’s one of those cases where (like ‘Robot Rock’ – check this) the new song is so identical to the original it barely seems worth it. However without this remix we’d probably never have discovered the amazing original!