Lana Del Ray

Homemade videos need to have that special something to make you filter them out from your everyday norm. Hurts had the eyebrow raising dancing lady on their first £20 video and now Lana Del Ray weaves together old movies, bottles of drink and herself wearing a movie star wig in black & white.

The movie star image is what Lana’s rocking. Her real name is plain old Lizzy Grant and according to her press release she’s been roaming the musical world for a little while. Who hasn’t though? Here’s an old interview with plain old Lizzy from a couple of years ago. Now though she’s in London and spending time songwriting with pop legend Biffco. There’s a slight hint of Paloma in her voice, but an altogether much darker, sometimes sulkier, sometimes realer sound. ‘Kinda Outta Luck’ sounds like it belongs straight on a Tarantino soundtrack and the sinister elements to her voice remind me a lot of The Pierces. This one could go anywhere from chilling, sexy acoustic to sultry pop. Exciting.

Download Lana Del Ray – Diet MTN Dew for free.

The Garden

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs certainly have their google technique nailed with that name. This is the video for their new, totally huge sounding, single ‘Garden’.

Louise of jaunty folksters Lulu & the Lampshades probably makes music I’d never listen to but sounds great here as the female vocalist. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is though just one man – the brilliantly named Orlando Higginbottom – who I’m told does ridiculously fantastic things live.

It totally rips of this though, no?

In The Evening

Horse Meat Disco
The new Horse Meat Disco album is out, but I’m still massively enjoying edition 1. The ultimate disco floor-filler moment on it comes from Sheryl Lee Ralph with ‘In The Evening’.

The lyrics are brilliant and make me do all kinds of inside my hair music video construction. Who cannot relate to, “In the evening, the real me comes alive.” Maybe my current weary nature can’t, but me at 19 definitely can.

Best of all though is the music video. It’s full of totally mental face pulling. I could watch it again and again open-mouthed at the mass insanity of it.

Warning : serious amounts of ‘acting’ follow.

[For non London people – Horse Meat Disco is a gay club night in Vauxhall where men, primarily ranging from the slightly hairy to very hairy style, dance about to disco music in a dark room. It is amazing.]

I Need Air


I don’t know a huge amount, in fact not even a tiny amount, about dubstep. I know when I hear it, I tend to like it and I know that Skream’s remix of La Roux’s ‘In For The Kill’ was a bit of a tipping point last summer. I’d not paid much attention though to the news of a ‘dubstep supergroup’ coming out of Columbia records.

Magnetic Man consist of Skream, Benga and Artwork (no idea) and you’d probably expect them to make full on raving it up noise. Their first real attack on the mainstream however is instead a twinkly electronic pop song. It’s probably total disgusting to their old school, hardcore fans, but as far as I go it’s almost perfectly tailored.

I Need Air by pigeonsandplanes

The vocals (and presumably top-line) come from American singer-songwriter Angela Hunte who not only sounds delightfully robotic and cold here, but, FACT FANS, is the writer behind ‘Empire State of Mind’, ‘Do Somethin” and best of all, various Mis-Teeq album tracks.

‘I Need Air’ is out on July 26.

Smash Bang Baby

French DJ Martin Solveig has just released a new video, the first from his brand new, slightly secret, project. It is totally insane but perfect for the current Wimbledon frenzied lifestyle.

Starring the vocals of Dragonette’s Martina, the song is nice enough, but it’s worth watching regardless. The one and only Bob Sinclar stars as Martin’s opponent in a tennis match where the players seeds are determined by their DJ Mag rankings and real life tennis man Nocak Djokovic does a comedy turn.

Fingers crossed for a Solveig vs Gaga rematch soon.



So finally to two down and out pop moments. Shakira wowed the Glastonbury audience on Saturday afternoon with her perfect blend of pop and world music. From the off it was an incredible sexual performance with fun moments where we howled along to She-Wolf and tried out the Waka Waka dance to emotionally intense ones like my favourite Shakira song ‘Underneath Your Clothes’. In the perfect sunshine, this was pretty special. Shakira later humped a speaker so violently we were all driven to staring at the floor.

Shakira was always on my Glastonbury to do list but the other amazing highlight for me wasn’t. I’ve seen the current Pet Shop Boys show twice now, and was seriously tempted to head to the Pyramid for Muse as I hadn’t seen them in about 5 years. In the end though, the PSB won out and I had the immense joy of the show totally converting some of my hating friends into total PSB lovers and felt like I was cheating on Colin going to see them with Daniel.

Annoyingly the moment isn’t on YouTube so I can’t show it, but ‘It’s A Sin’ hit me hard during this show. It somehow transformed from AMAZING pop song to BLOODY INTENSE EMOTIONALLY DISTRAUGHT UP GAY RIGHTS pop song. I know it always was that, but I hadn’t quite got it until standing about in the cold with lots of people off their face while Neil was bathed in demonic red lights.


p.s. amazing (AMAZING) pop fact – Helena from ‘Frank’ is one of the PSB’s dancers. I thought it was her, then I chastised myself for being racist by assuming a girl with an afro who I could only see from far away was another girl with an afro, for no other reason than she had an afro. BUT THEN, it was her. So there.

Florence to the power of X Squared

Moment two came thanks to the combination of The XX and Florence and the Machine. Two bands who’ve had a lot of hype over the last twelve months.

I’ve never quite been bitten by the Florence bug, but once I’d finished yawning at the amount of hype round the XX and actually listened to them I was totally in love. I saw them at a Jools Holland play two songs, and then excitingly caught their SXSW set in a Methodist Church in Austin. There the audience was very quiet and polite, at Glasto they couldn’t have been more different. This was an audience who was obsessed with the band and stomping, clapping and cheering along at a moments notice.

Even though the band members normally have a very controlled stage presence, the excitement in the John Peel tent for their show meant smiles were trying to break through the serious faces just about cracking at the side of their faces. This felt big.

To close the set they said they were going to play a song they hadn’t done live before and the familiar harps from the start of Jamie XX’s remix of Flo’s ‘You’ve Got The Love’ rung out. At first it sounded like Florence’s vocals were just being scratched in but then out she came and everything went mental. Candi Staton was on a different stage at the same time. Poor Candi Staton.

Eliza Doolittle


And so Ellie Goulding is the Sound of 2010. I like Ellie but not enough to really care much at the moment – she seems nice enough. Both Ellie and Marina were always going to come at the top of the poll having been knocking about since the beginning of the year and taking time to leak songs, play gigs, in Ellie’s case play Jools, release limited edition singles and set the blogosphere all in a tizz while making sure they didn’t chart in the top 20 and break the conditions of being in the Sound of … poll. The model of the Little Boots winning path was watched and just repeated last year. My votes this year were for 1. Hurts 2. Dollface 3. Jessie Malakouti. I’d have voted for Marina as well but thought she would get enough.

Anyway a couple of the labels were less on the ball about the sound of and sent out I Blame Coco + Eliza Doolittle tracks the week after it shut. I’d have probably have voted for them both otherwise. Eliza was knocking about in development for a lot of 2009 but only released her first E.P. at the end of November. Let’s just hope that wasn’t the first in an attempt to be the Sound of 2011.

If you can get over the name confusion (people should really start thinking about google), Eliza makes toe-tappy jangle pop. It’s not big, bold with massive production; in fact it’s even a little Jack Johnson (wait… come back!) She looks like a more natural version of Miley Cyrus, lyrically there’s shades of Lily with her straight talking tales dresses her age and is distinctly Norf Laaandan. Her age seems to be a bit of a mystery. I think she looks about 17, but her label replied saying they weren’t sure but they thought about 22.

Her videos all have a strong visual identity. This is her first single proper ‘Skinny Genes’, joining the ranks of Ain’t What You Do, Young Folks and er, Blow My Whistle Bitch, as songs with a whistle designed to get inside your head.


Alternatively listen to her EP on Spotify which contains the furiously catchy Moneybox, the trippy Police Car and chirpy Rollerskates.

2009: Songs of the Year

I’d love to have the energy to make end of year lists as wonderfully detailed as the mighty XO London. Unfortunately I’m full of a stinker of a cold and generally distracted by everything else. This year I’ve been a little rubbish at listening to as much music as I should do. There’s a whole back-up of albums in my LISTEN TO ME folder on spotify, so this may well be missing some corkers. Like I’m sure Fever Ray and Metric would be likely candidates for my favourite albums had I actually listened to them more than once or twice. I need to catch up pronto.

Anyway my favourite songs of the year:


1. Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling
Simply for packing as much joy and celebration as possible into just under 5 minutes. It’s utterly infectious and I’m even more convinced this is my song of the year after feeling just how amazing it was to both play it and watch others enjoying it at Popstarz NYE last night.

2. Daniel Merriweather – Water & A Flame
I’m not entirely sure what I think about Daniel Merriweather but his album surprised me. Red grew on it to a manic extent but this later released single is without doubt the heart-achingly gorgeous highlight. It’s one of those moments that could make me cry so hard I start to feel sick (see De-lovely, last 10 minutes of ‘Doomsday’, Mr Shue & Emma on Glee etc.)

3. Lady Gaga – Bad Romance
It was tough to choose between this and Pokerface, but again Popstarz last night tipped this one as best. It was as if I could have played it on repeat for 4 hours solid and no one would have minded. Paparazzi was my favourite video of hers this year, but the first 2 seconds even of Bad Romance absolutely smash it. The decade’s most exciting popstar.

4. Royksopp – The Girl and The Robot
A bleak surprise song from Robyn. I interviewed the band earlier say everything I could possibly need to (600 words worth) over here.

5. God Help The Girl – Musician Take Heed
I’d not heard of this album until Colin stuck his iPod on loudspeaker at a late summer BBQ and the brilliant God Help The Girl album came out. It’s a teaming up of Stuart Murdoch from Belle & Sebastian with various female vocalists. Just pipping Perfection As A Helper, this song showcases why I love the album, full of gorgeous, melancholic harmonies.

6. Cheryl Cole – Fight For This Love
I know some people (hello Naomi) fully despise Cheryl, but I’m happy to be swept away with the hype of loving her. Hooray for her pipping Nadine to a solo album. FFTL was unexpected and provided the opportunity for a wide range of new, fascinating dance with your fist type moves from the Talia camp.

7. Jack Penate – Be The One
When Jack released his first album I wasn’t particularly interested in the jingly-jangly nature of it all. Who knows what happened before the release of album #2 (a long holiday in Ibiza?) but it’s euphoric, Balearic sounds were the surprise of the year. A blissfully uplifting song that featured the best use of trumpets since Mark Ronson got his hands on the instrument, and provided a brilliant moment at Wireless in Hyde Park.

8. Shirley Bassey – Apartment
I have absolutely no idea what this song is about. Written by Rufus Wainwright for the latest Shirley Bassey album, it’s entirely nonsensical. That said, the spanish guitars and a roaring vocal make it a quirky and utterly memorable oddity.

9. Rumble Strips – Daniel
I think I should have listened to the latest Rumble Strips album more but this is the song that stuck with me the most. That’s probably because I have a friend called Daniel and when we’re talking about him I like to belt this out. I feel like I want to sing it while standing on a windswept bridge in the rain. Dramatic and dastardly.

10. Lily Allen – Not Fair
A funny, silly, even stupid little song that captures everything we first loved about Lils. It causes a regular barn dance each week at Popstarz and provided a very odd moment with a bride and groom dancing and singing it to each other when I, retrospectively inappropriately, played it at a friend’s wedding.

Special outside the top 10 loving goes to Never Forget You, Bulletproof, Flashback, Empire State of Mind, Battlefield, Warm in The Shadows & Heads Will Roll.