Review: Heartbreak – Lies

Disco’s all the rage. 80’s all the rage. Put the two together and you get something that sounds like Heartbreak, the pairing of the fabulously named Ali Renault and Argentinian Sebastian Muravchik. They both look like they’ve fallen straight out of East London, complete with skinny moustache, so it’s no surprise they’re making that italo-disco sound all the cool kids are talking about.

‘Lies’, their debut album, is a somewhat mixed affair. While at times, Sebastian’s voice can sound epic and flamboyant, it also has something of a ‘Jake Shears gone evil’ tone to it, none more so as in the absurd sounding ‘Robot’s Got The Feeling’. ‘Akin To Dancing’ transports us to a seedy NY discotheque, while the pulsating Moroder beats of former single ‘We’re Back’ pound along with high drama. This 7.30 minute epic, which sent all the hipster blogs into a frenzy back in August, is their masterpiece, with the eerie and creepily sung lyric “You have not heard it all before, cos we’re back from the disco to the radio”.

Close but no mirrorball – we’re not entirely convinced by this album – if we wanted italo disco we’d listen to Sally Shapiro, and if we wanted creepy 80s synth pop we’d go for Cut Copy. If nothing else we can thank Heartbreak for the best song title we’ve heard in a long time – ‘Deathly Pong of Love’. Brilliant.

Originally published in September’s Attitude Magazine

Here’s Little Boots’ cover of the epic “We’re Back”.

Ben Folds – You Don’t Know Me

‘You Don’t Know Me’ is the super cute first single from the new Ben Folds’ album ‘Way To Normal’. It’s jaunty, bouncy and makes me think of something you might hear on Avenue Q / Sesame Street (this isn’t necessarily a bad thing). A duet with Regina Spektor, it’s the kind of pairing that geeky indie kids everywhere will be swooning over. It’s impossible not to go all gooey particularly with the little talky breakdown bit towards the end. I heart Regina’s “say it!”. The official video sucks so I want you to watch this sweet fan made one instead.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRgQns-TJGM[/youtube]

Review: Katy Perry @ Water Rats

‘I want you to pop my cherry!’ shouts Katy Perry, at this her first ever UK gig. Knowing exactly how to drive the teenagers packed into London’s tiny Water Rats wild, she’s even more wide-eyed and coy than she looks on TV – her vampish dress showing off, as one punter put it, ‘a great rack’.

Her debut album isn’t out yet, but this crowd know every word. Undoubtedly a show-woman, Katy’s bright blue eyes flash round the room wildly as she spends every moment trying to shock whether it be burping into the mic, begging the audience to ‘touch her boob’, telling us about her sexual exploits or peppering her lyrics with swearing.

Ripping into boys is a major theme. ‘If You Can Afford Me’ tells them off for expecting too much in return for dinner, while the unashamedly cruel ‘You’re So Gay’ disses her ex for being too metrosexual. Named as her ‘sing-along anthem’, her casual use of ‘gay’ as a derogatory term is reprehensible.

While the insincere rocky ballads show off her Alanis-esque voice, it’s the poppy ‘Hot N Cold’ that we enjoyed the most. A song almost too good for Perry, it’s a pulsating pop rock anthem that P!nk would kill for.

Katy disappears briefly off stage for a mock call to her super Christian mom. ‘I just want to make one thing clear, she was really f**king hot!’ she shouts, before launching into a rocked up version of bisexual shock-a-thon ‘I Kissed A Girl’ complete with head thrashing guitar breakdown.

Katy Perry, obsessed with bodily parts, sexuality and acting all alternative, is the perfect pin up for 15-year-olds who find emo too dark. It’s calculated corporate quirk and as that alone, is very good at what it does.

Katy Perry in London

We just saw brazen hussy Katy Perry play a tiny gig at London’s Water Rats. I have to write 300 words about it tomorrow so shall save you the detailed analysis for the moment. Needless to say it was rubbish.

Best bits:

1. Boy is all over girlfriend. Girlfriend goes to bar. Boy gawps at Perry then texts friend “My God man, in the flesh I can’t stop staring at her rack.”

2. ‘I Kissed A Girl’ pumps away. Drunk mid 30s couple barge into the back of the crowd and start trying to push their way through. They push the wrong man who pushes them hard into the rest of the crowd. Close face talking ensues between men, woman wanders off shouting, “It’s not Top of the Pops love. It’s a fucking Katy Perry gig.”

Amazing.

Sugababes – Catfights and Spotlights – Initial Thoughts

I’ve steadily been going off Sugababes with each album. Whereas once they had funk and attitude they seem to have drifted into ‘could be anyone’ territory. Live they’re lifeless and need some bite adding.

Now the as yet untitled album number 6 zooms into horizon. We’ve all heard the single ‘Girls’ and yet again it leaves me thinking ‘meh’. Today I stood in a field 10 000 miles from human contact and was allowed to listen to 5 other album tracks. This are the half formed thoughts I scribbled down:

No Can Do – A super summery song that could have been a Jackson 5 hit. Very 80s funk. Cool layered vocals at the end.
Best line: ‘Don’t try and call me on the telephone’ (obv this is a rubbish best line but it’s the only thing I wrote down’

Murder One – Unfortunately not a song based on the greatest crime tv series of the 90s. It’s a delicate piano ballad that starts with Heidi before a drum machine kicks in. There’s a couple of nice key changes. Best line: ‘Every heart that’s broken is a murder one’.

You On A Good Day – Doesn’t particularly go anywhere but has a fun, bouncy 60s beat with a proper old school girl group feel to it. Some quirky sounding Supremes-esque instruments and nice harmonies.
Best line: “I want it, I hate it, I need it, want it, want it.”

Hanging On A Star – What a lovely song name. Starts with Salt N Pepa esque ‘Tell Me Baby, Baby’ with a softened singing repeater. Again there’s a funky 80s feel. It’s the type of thing I might have expected Dana Dawson to sing (and yes I know she was 90s!). Obviously Heidi has an amazing middle bit.
Best line: “Hanging on a star, I was waiting to fall in love”.

Sunday Rain – Here’s the big Sugababes ballad of the album. It starts with haunting ooohs, then there’s trumpets and a gorgeous swelling wall of sound. Undoubtedly the winter single. It’s got a Sam Brown ‘Stop’ feel to it. Best thing so far
Best line: ‘You give all your heart and get nothing to show.’

Sunday Rain wins!

[edit: the title has now been revealed by PopJustice.

Uh Huh Her

Uh Hur Her are Leisha Hailey and Camilla Grey. They’ve just released their debut album ‘Common Reaction’ and it includes the brilliant ‘This Is Not A Love Song.’ Sounding just like it could be a cut from Goldfrapp’s ‘Supernature’, it’s a slice of electro pop goodness. I’ve not heard the full album yet, but nothing else so far lives up to this. They’ve got a massive gay following thanks to Leisha’s role in The L Word (and as a former gf of K D Lang) so I hope this goes down well at Miss-Shapes.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ9iPPfOMvM[/youtube]

They play a live date in the UK at Koko, London on November 18.

Garvey’s Finest Hour!

I am utterly delighted that Elbow have won the Mercury Prize 2008 with their brilliant album ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’. Before this year I didn’t know much about the band and if I’d been asked to name one of their songs would only have thought of their hilarious spoons cover of Destiny Child’s ‘Independent Women’.

Originally when the nominations were announced I was dead set on Neon Neon to take the win. It is full of amazing electro pop, but there are a couple of tracks where they veer off such as ‘Trick For Treat’ and ‘Sweat Shop’, that let it down. On the other hand ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ is just constant bliss. It’s epic and packed with emotion. The swirling strings of ‘One Day Like This’ turned me onto the album and I’ve been listening to it non stop for the last three months.

The tension in our house waiting for the winner was full on. I was desperate for Elbow while Gaypop wanted Estelle after Simon Armitage was unbelievably rude about her. But then the result came, and it was better than Will vs Gareth!

If you need to taste it before you swallow, try the snarling ‘Grounds For Divorce’ (which is worth the prize alone) or Richard Hawley duet ‘The Fix’.

p.s. am totally in love with Guy Garvey.

Edwin Van Cleef

Last year when I visited Berlin I had the pleasure of seeing French DJ Kavinsky play live. As well as being hilarious to watch, the music he played was great, and as a friend of the whole Daft Punk, Ed Banger crew I knew his album would probably be great. I wasn’t wrong. It was fun, 80s sounding electro with typical French filter house sounds but also some urgent, storming beats. Now the amusingly named Edwin Van Cleef has started appearing on blogs with some brilliant songs that aren’t far off Kavinsky’s sound. Hell even their artwork is pretty similar.

But this boy is home grown. Popping out of the Leeds music scene, he’s 21 and we think has a bright future ahead. Can’t you just hear Annie Mac hammering these?

Edwin Van Cleef – Paranoid [free MP3 provided by artist]
Edwin Van Cleef – Tracer [ditto]

Review: Miley Cyrus – Breakout

Having spent most her life being more a brand than a human being, the girl behind Disney sensation Hannah Montana is finally creating her own self – Miley Cyrus. Fresh from pregnancy hoaxes and a controversial Vanity Fair photo-shoot, the aptly-named Breakout sees the world’s most famous 15-year-old throwing her toys out of the pram and putting her own name into the spotlight. All the Disney kids have tried to pull off the move from acting to singing with varying degrees of success, but it’s only Miley who has the songs and personality to make it work.

Read my full review of Miley Cyrus – Breakout over at Orange Music.

Review: SugaRush Beat Company

When she’s not in a tiny skirt, shaking her Afro and blowing a trumpet with Fedde Le Grand, Danish diva Ida Corr is one of the big voices behind SugaRush Beat Company.

Joined by New York soul singer Rahsaan Patterson and producer Jaz Rogers, Ida and co have come together with the promise of “a brief history of r’n’b, only turned upside-down, twisted, stretched and re-envisaged”. Brave words indeed, especially when your band name is the most ’90s sounding thing we’ve heard in years.

Read my full review of SugaRush Beat Company’s self-titled debut at Orange Music.