Mini Viva – Left My Heart In Tokyo

Over the last couple of years, Xenomania have been touring the country looking for new talent to work with and develop into pop stars. Mini Viva are the first to give it a go, having signed to Geffen (Polydor) and now putting out their first single ‘Left My Heart in Tokyo’. It’s a brilliant buzz of disco pop which couples the best Xenomania rapping since ‘strippers in the vicars in the back’ with a gloriously funky bassline and some cheesy oriental sounds. Plus hold out there for the middle 8 and it’s pummeling strings. Live they are a bundle of fun, and have a real instinctive quality to their performance – they know exactly what the other one is getting up to. I have no idea which is which, but the video is slightly odd because it sounds like only brown hair MV (Britt?) is singing for most of it. Maybe it’s just been mixed oddly. Anyway because I always hate the Shaznay/Nadine of the band, I am instinctively drawn to curly MV who I am wildly guessing is Frankie as my favourite.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvjML3-66SA[/youtube]

I always talk in some kind of idiot manner about how it’s really important your favourite pop star is either really aspirational (La Roux, Atomic Kitten) or stark raving bonkers (Gaga) and these pair really fit into the aspirational quality. I’m not entirely sure about their look (they are styled by the same person who does GA FYI)  – in places Britt (?!) looks a bit harsh and overdone, but Frankie just oozes your mad little sister who’s jumped up on stage and is having a bit of a dance. They’re just two regular girls from Newcastle & Liverpool who’ve been plucked out from obscurity and I know were I a teenager back home in Blackpool I’d be loving them.

Are You Bewitched?

Perhaps the windscreens of ‘trendy Stoke Newington’ is not the place to leave this. I am sure all the yummy mummies already have chart readers, life coaches and the like. In any case there are some bold claims in this brilliant advert. Copied as is:

MR KADIM – CLAIRVOYANT – easy terms (what??)

Mr Kadim is the solution for your problem solving, by serious and secrecy work. Quick and honest, I succeed where all others have failed. You will succeed your marriage, you will have a passionate love story, and did you split? You lover will come back to you. Do you want to fall in love? Do you want somebody to fall in love with you? I can do it. I will protect your job; bring back luck into your life; you will succeed your exams and tests. Are you bewitched, I will relieve you. My supernatural powers will solve your problems even from distance by telepathy and extrasensory perception. From clairvoyants’ line of descent, my work is serious and you will notice the results after a week. Speaks French & English

Anyone want his number?

Hooray for Torchwood

Picture 3

Hurrah. No more secrets about the word ‘Dad’, no more secret swoons at Doctor Rupesh, no more pondering Lois’ fierceness, no more trying to remember how amazing Ianto & his sisters scene was, no more random muttering about the 456. After teasing you earlier in the year, Torchwood has finally aired and first reaction on twitter seems very positive. I can’t wait to see the rest of the series!

So now the issue is off the shelves, here’s my Torchwood piece for last month’s Attitude. It was my first TV piece and the first thing I’ve had to write that’s been over about 600 words since I left university. Lots of fun. See it after the bump

(more…)

In No Particular Order : John Legend – Ordinary People

In the world of a nice, normal person – the question ‘What’s your favourite song?’ is probably an easy one to answer. It’s ‘Viva La Vida’ or ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’; ‘Whole Again’ or ‘Patience’. In my world, the question is an absolute nightmare. I go from having a new favourite song that lasts for about 12 minutes before I find something else I love even more. It could be old, new, anything – if it works then little else will make me as happy as a new favourite song. Anyway that’s a bit of an incomprehensible little rant but the point is that I’m going to start every so often declaring a few of my favourite songs. Not only will this help me keep track of the music I claim to be obsessed with, but it might also mean the blog doesn’t go left for weeks at a time. If I’m organised enough I might have a theme, but most of the time I think I’ll just be banging out an amount of songs I love with no link, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do now. Let’s make it clear from the start though – these are in absolutely no particular order (although actually this one is possibly my favourite ever. Errrr).

John Legend – Ordinary People

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDMpkWiex60[/youtube]

Forget about the cheesed up radio edit, the album version of Ordinary People gets me every time. John Legend’s voice sounds so warm and rich over simple, yet gorgeous piano. I’d love to have a romantic story to tell along this, but instead it will always remind me of working on Spoony’s Weekend Breakfast show. We used to sneak it in as often as we could and just sit slightly asleep sipping on Starbucks Hot Chocolate going all dreamy to this song. Without wanting to start going off into some kind of therapy session – I’ve, as yet, never been in love.(Wah! My world is empty! Boo hoo! etc). But I love the throwing away of the ideal of ‘fairy tale conclusions’ and treating love as something that does just happen between regular people and that it’ll face traumas and tribulations but will survive. One day when I finally bump into Robbie, I will be able to explore this.

I finally got to hear John performing this live last year at West London’s brilliant Porchester Hall, and despite him sweating his way through an entire shirt, it was as goosebumpy as it is on record. It’s so good it almost makes me feel a bit sick. Put that on your next press release.

Live Review: Paloma Faith @ ICA, London

paloma faith

After years of playing hostess at trendy London parties, now is the time for Paloma Faith to have a blast at going global. Gigs like tonight’s are normally designed by record labels as a big celebration for your artist’s debut hit topping the charts, packed full of media and smug music executives. Yet despite the decadent ‘Stone Cold Sober’ limping in at a disappointing 17 (even Paloma herself shouts “must try harder”), this is a show launched with big white balloons and packed full of character, colour and fun.

Of course, in a post-Winehouse age with no shortage of glammed-up soul sweethearts around, Paloma was never going to have it easy. It’s unfortunate that the likes of ‘Broken Doll’ – a vintage-tinged smoky jazz bar number – were knocking about maybe even before ‘Back To Black’ hit the shelves, but were held from release due to a series of label delays.

Live, Paloma is everything you might expect from a former magician’s assistant, clad in a retro corset and a towering head-dress, in front of a giant rag doll version of herself. Bonkers pop stars are the best kind, and as she teeters in high heels on tiny white chairs, talking in a delicate porcelain doll voice and singing the somewhat lacklustre next single ‘New York’, it’s plain that demented is exactly where she’s at.

While album title track ‘Do You Want The Truth or Something More Beautiful’ is an epic, cinematic ballad, one too many torch songs almost lose tonight’s crowd. Fortunately the wild and frantic ‘When We’re Dancing’ saves the day and allows Paloma to show off her footwork.

Fun and loud, Paloma is the perfect pop star-in-waiting. We only hope she’s given the time to become one.

Originally published at Orange Music