Hollywood Infected Your Brain

Earlier in the year I thought Marina & The Diamonds had somehow been left after the Sound of 2009 poll. Secretly everyone was gently taking their time to make sure the Sound of 2010 poll had her at the top or at very least the top 5. In the ever confusing world of buzz singles, limited release, digital only, the video for her FIRST SINGLE PROPER (i.e. the first single on a major label) seems to have just hit the web.

 [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1VTcJfL7RE[/youtube]

Marina looks absolutely gorgeous but I’m hoping this isn’t another case of ‘loved by the critics (at first), written about to the point of boredom and then generally ignored by the public’ a la Little Boots. The chorus of this is much poppier than anything else we’ve heard from Marina before and it includes these outstanding lines that will quite easily make Adrian explode:

‘He said ‘OH MY GOD, You look like Shakira
No, no you’re Catherine Zeta
Actually my name’s Marina’

It’s like a 2010 answerback song to this that should be sent back in time ten (TEN!) years as a warning:

Annie – Don’t Stop

Courtesy of Popjustice here’s the new gorgeous sleeve for the finally going to come out 2nd Annie album.

Annie Don't Stop

If you like Annie, the greatest piece of advice I can give you is to never, ever see her live. No matter how tempting it might seem – it will ruin everything.

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

MPHO – Box & Locks

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDfLBY6PJrQ[/youtube]

MPHO first popped into the music world as the vocalist on 2003’s Booty La La by Bugz In The Attic. Since then she’s been operating round London town as MPHO Skeef, showing up as backing vocalists for various pop stars and has finally signed to a major label with her debut album due later this year.

‘Box N Locks’ is her first single and it’s an immediate assertion that this is an album full of in your face party pop. With lyrics about the assumption that just cos she’s a ‘brown girl’ she’ll be ‘making urban music’, we can’t help but shed a tiny tear for Remi Nicole (where is she?) Back to MPHO – the video manages to look very glossy and US friendly despite using just a few cheaply set up shots. I love, love the line about Leeds and of course the song is based around one of my all time favourite songs ‘Echo Beach’. I’m actually more familiar with the Dimestars version which I got off Anfunny’s site a few years ago and have banged out at Popstarz ever since. Now Box N Locks looks set to join it in my must play tunes and I can’t wait to hear the rest of her album ‘Pop Art’.

Download MPHO – Album Minimix
Download Dimestars – Echo Beach

The Veronicas Hit The UK!

Over three years ago I wrote about a brilliant pop band called The Veronicas. I’d found them via an mp3 blog, was working in social media at the time, and loved the way they were being marketed.

Amazingly they are now being brought over to have a crack at UK success. Although the Max Martin penned 4eva from their debut album remains the standout song for me, it’s their 2nd album ‘Hook Me Up’ that we’ll be hearing. Originally released in their home of Australia in 2007 I wonder what it must be like for a band to constantly have to promote the same stuff over and over again in different terriorites over such a long period. I know we think the world of pop is all glamour and glitz, but we have to remember to the people involved it’s probably like any other job. It has more than it’s fair share of amazing-ness but there must be those hungover or dragging days that get anyone down.

Image issues are another part of fame, and I think something The Veronicas are facing. Where once they were pretty looking normal girls, they’ve now become so thin it’s unattractive. You could see every bone and muscle in their knees when perching on stools and facially they looked worn and gaunt, plus they’re playing about with a ‘oooh we might be so sexy together’ lesbian T.a.T.u-esque vibe despite being sisters. Yawn, we’re so over that.

Muscially though, is what we’re all about, and live they pulled off a great show. They’ve dropped the super poppy sound of ‘The Secret Lives of…’ and taken a darker, more studio electronic vibe surrounded by emo looking band members. ‘Untouched’ will be their first UK single. It’s an urgent sounding, string laden teenage tale of yearning love that I think is brilliant. It’s perfect to soundtrack an episode of Gossip Girl, but I doubt it’ll work on super safe daytime radio music policies. Perhaps the similarly awesome but slightly more commercial Hook Me Up would do better. Equally their image is doubtful to impress fashion magazines or the like unless they were on a bit of a gothic vibe, with my friend from Marie Claire describing them on his twitter as ‘appleton + shampoo + pinks song + rubbish tattoos = the veronicas’.

You can download a free, guilt free copy of Untouched here courtesy of Fuse Magazine.

Download The Veronicas – Untouched [MP3].

Most importantly if you only have time for one creepy pair of weirdo sisters in your life, ditch these and go check out the wonderful The Pierces. We’re waiting for your new record!

Napoleon

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjQechwXd2w[/youtube]

Too often at the moment I’m hearing an amazing song, thinking ‘ooh I’ll blog about that’ and then remembering when it’s at #1. Unhelpful. The brilliantly named ‘I Love My Baby (but if anyone touches her I’ll kill them) is one such track. Not that it’ll ever go to #1 mind.

Perfectly positioned to break the UK in a post-Alphabeat land this burst of twee bliss is blasting straight out of Sweden thanks to 11 piece band Napoleon. I first heard it on Radio 2’s amazing Radcliffe & Maconie show a few weeks ago where it later went on to become their record of the week. It’s slightly oddly mixed and nothing else on their myspace comes close but the horns, the chirpy female backing vocals and the whole Motown vibe is a winner. This single came out last week and an album will be out later in the year courtesy of Ruffa Lane Records.

DOUBLE PSB

I was out tonight so disappointingly didn’t get to watch the Brit Awards live on TV. Instead I’m catching up via youtube and started at the end with the Pet Shop Boys outstanding achievement medley. Seriously – how amazing is this? I wish I’d been there, but was so overwhelmed just watching this, I’d have exploded into tears.

I was a little confused why they needed guest stars, but they did’t detract at all. Gaga pulled off Dusty’s bit perfectly and Brandon looked hilariously excited. Plus a shout out to my home town of Blackpool – I can’t imagine how mental Little Boots went during that bit.

Double woops must also go out to Elbow & Girls Aloud for scooping their first Brits. As for Katy Perry? Shame on you Brits voters!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OAlTWrNN6o[/youtube]

Marina & The Diamonds

Marina & The Diamonds

Landfill indie is dead (save those terrible Brit nominations) – 2009 is undoubtedly the year of the the leftfield pop girly and we’re already overwhelmed with possibilities for the success stories of the year.

Marina & The Diamonds somehow avoided being mentioned in the BBC Sound of 2009 list earlier this year. She has, however, just joined the winner of that poll, Little Boots on Atlantic Records subsidiary, 679, and looks set to be releasing her first big single before the summer is out. First though, comes Obsession a strictly limited release on the uber cool Neon Gold label, out on Valentines’ Day.

Despite the name, Marina is a solo artist, and to crudly compare her to someone else she sounds like Regina Spektor doing a dance of the seven veils with Kate Bush. Half Welsh, half Greek, I certainly think she’s going to crap all over Florence & her similarly mythical Machine’s expected party, never mind the concern it might cause Kate Nash’s forthcoming 2nd album.

Normally Marina’s banging on the piano, but her label have just sent out a gorgeously dreamy new remix of ‘Obsessions’ drenched in synths and creepy italo disco soaring which you can get for free right here

Download: Marina & The Diamonds – Obsessions (Pink Stallone Crush Remix) [Free MP3]