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.


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.

Music Go Music

Disco is so hot right now. Not only is Blackpool’s very own Little Boots sending everyone squealing with ‘Stuck On Repeat’ and her newer stuff, but Argentian / UK combo Heartbreak are also sending the blogs burning up in a frenzy.

Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic, I’ve just found anonymous trio Music Go Music. Totally embracing the ABBA side of disco, in particular on single ‘Light of Love’, the three songs on myspace are firey melancholic pop that leaves me very excited to see what else is coming.

I can’t spot who they are though, are the vocals familiar to you? Or is the mystery just there to develop some hype. Here’s the epic & dramatic ‘Reach Out’.

Music Go Music – Reach Out [MP3] (free mp3 provided by the band)

All Hail Janelle Monáe

I have a new favourite pop star. Yes, only hours after RebekkahMaria I have now been drastically won over by the deliciously funky Janelle Monáe.

You may have heard her soulful tones on Outkast’s ‘Idlewild’ soundtrack, but I’ve just been introduced to her via awesome American blog Arjan Writes. Originally her EP Metropolis was released on a small label in 2007. As these things sometime do, it spread through the music lovers and built up a buzz before P Diddy signed her up to his label and Outkast’s Big Boi rocked up on production duties.

Yesterday she released ‘Metropolis: The Chase Suite’ in America and her full length debut will follow in early 2009. It’s a concept EP telling the tale of Janelle’s alter ego sci-fi android Cindy Mayweather who falls ‘madly in love with a human’. Although the two races live side by side, the androids are govered by a law that says no android can ever fall in love so it’s time for Cindi to go on the run and escape the droid control hunting her down with chainsaws. It’s bonkers, but coupled with the mash of strange hammond organ, James Bond-esque strings, funk, rock and soul, manages to completely work and sound magical.

Download: Janelle Monae – Violet Stars Happy Hunting!!! [MP3]

Introducing… As In RebekkaMaria

The former singer of Danish band Lampshade, As In RebekkaMaria is the latest in a long line of Scandanavian pop stars I’m enjoying. Considerably more bonkers acting than the rest, Rebekka Maria came to London for her first show last night and we went down to check it out.

With very little promotion and no one having a clue who she was, there were only about 22 people there but after a rubbish first 3 minutes it then turned into a mini rave. Wearing a massive purple scarf round her hair for the first part of the gig, there was unfortunately no live band with RM singing over a DJ playing tracks. Unlike when we saw Annie do this a few years ago though, you could actually hear what she was saying.

Twisted strange sounding pop with quite creepy electro, the highlights had to be the energetic ‘She Lion’ and finale ‘Army of Foxes’. Team her up with Roisin Murphy and you’d have an electropop duet made in heaven. I’m waiting for her awesomely named album ‘Queen of France’ to arrive but in the meantime take a listen to her myspace.

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day

Back in February I watched a trailer on youtube for a film called Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day. I’m not very up on my film but thought this looked simply wonderful. Ever since I’ve not heard a single peep about it until The Times offered it up last week for a free screening.

The screening took place yesterday and lived up to my expectation in every way. It’s a light hearted romp through the glitz and glamour of the days just before WWII broke out with the fabulous Amy Adams and serious acting lady Frances McDormand in the lead roles. Frances plays Miss Pettigrew, a dowdy & homeless former governess who accidentally becomes the social secretary of American flap about town Delysia Lafosse. With excellent costumes, a brilliant soundtrack and some tasty supporting male actors, it had everything to make it a karinski success review wise – music, Lee Pace, war, romance, pre war hair, Cole Porter, frocks, a run time of 1h 30, Amy Adams,  duets and old London.

Simply wonderful, go and see it when it’s released next Friday or at very least check out the trailer here.