Indie Girl & Pop Boy

We Need A Little Edge With Our Electro Pop

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Cream Of The Crop In 2005

Me and Pop Boy will know give our expert opinion on what both of us think are the best 25 singles of 2005.

Who do you agree with? If either of us at all, perhaps you think we're talking bile. Give your opinions!

Anyway. Without further ado, here is my top 25.

1. Scissor Sisters – Filthy/Gorgeous
2. Franz Ferdinand – Do You Want To?
3. Goldfrapp – Ooh La La
4. Madonna – Hung Up
5. Rufus Wainwright – The One You Love
6. The Killers – Mr Brightside
7. Kaiser Chiefs – Oh My God
8. Art Brut – Emily Kane
9. Fischerspooner – Never Win
10. Girls Aloud – Biology
11. Patrick Wolf – The Libertine
12. Rachel Stevens - I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)
13. Will Young – Switch It On
14. Futureheads – Hounds Of Love
15. Kt Tunstall – Suddenly I See
16. Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
17. Editors – Blood
18. The Rakes - Retreat
19. Maximo Park – Apply Some Pressure
20. Gwen Stefani - Cool
21. My Chemical Romance – I’m Not OK (I Promise)
22. Bloc Party – So Here We Are
23. Antony and the Johnsons – Hope There’s Someone
24. The Strokes – Juicebox
25. The Departure – Lump In My Throat

Pop Boy will be posting his list as soon as he has returned from the panto and compiled the final cut.

PB: Here is my/the definitive top 25 singles of 2005:

01. Gwen Stefani - Cool
02. Rachel Stevens - I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)
03. Britney - Do Somethin'
04. Audio Bullys - Shot You Down
05. Maximo park - Graffiti
06. Girls Aloud - Biology
07. Annie - Heartbeat
08. Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone
09. Madonna - Hung Up
10. Arctic Monkeys - Bet You Look On The Dancefloor
11. Girls Aloud - Wake Me Up
12. Rachel Stevens - Negotiate With Love
13. Goldfrapp - Oh La La
14. Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl
15. KT Tunstall - Suddenly I See
16. Goldfrapp - Number One
17. Tony Christie - (Is This The Way To) Amarillo
18. Gorillaz - DARE
19. Charlotte Church - Crazy Chick
20. Franz Ferdinand - Do You Want To?
21. Amerie - 1 Thing
22. Scissor Sisters - Filthy/Gorgeous
23. Snoop Dogg ft. Justin Timberlake - Signs
24. John Legend - Ordinary People
25. Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.

The Release Reviews...

...are on holiday, OK?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Pop Boy's Albums Of 2005

As you may have noticed, Christmas 2005 has come and gone. And that means that now I (Pop Boy) have heard 'Confessions', 'Keep On', 'Chemistry', 'Breakaway' and 'You Could Have It So Much Better' and I can make the definitive list of the best albums of 2005...

01 - Maximo Park - Certain Trigger

I think even with the Christmas competitors this is still likely to be the winner simply because it stands tall above everything else I've heard this year. By a good mile or two. In a music scene saturated with indie bands all promising something unique, fresh and different, Maximo Park are the only ones who've actually delivered and how? With an album that doesn't want to be unique and rather ironically and modestly, is the sound of desperately trying to fit in with the norm.
This album is brilliant without compromise from start to finish. Garnished with equal parts of poetic insight, energetic vitality and Northern charm, and all the time with tongue firmly in cheek. And live they are the absolute shit!

Best Bits: 'Apply Some Pressure', 'Acrobat', 'Graffiti', 'Postcard Of A Painting'

(Also, OH! I want this SO much - Album of the year 2006!!!)

02 - Goldfrapp - Supernature

Electro-pop's greatest hits, the envy of all the other pretenders. Flawless, luscious, exquisite, literally the aural equivalent of eating chocolate Carte Dor in an aromatherapied bubble bath surrounded with candles, possibly with some rose petals floating on the top, you can't help but dive in and don't want to save yourself from drowning. Helping people learn to dance again. The album to dance like a robot from 1984 to. Bonus points for referencing Baudelaire. Also the fucking shit live (Being the shit live is a good thing. A very fucking good thing.)

Best Bits: 'Number One', 'Lovely 2 C U', 'Oh La La'

03 - M.I.A. - Arular

Criss-crossing and hopstotching between, into and over several genres, skitting about bananas and curry, coming from both the urban jungle of London and the actual jungle of Sri Lanka, this album was never going to blend into the crowd. The sound of a tiny girl in a big big world that's full of hate standing up for herself and making her own voice. Love or hate, agree or disagree, M.I.A. has caused more controversy musically than any other music sleb could wish to with bitchy interviews and drunken stupors. Personality oozes from this girl. M.I.A. is a true talent.

Best Bits: 'Amazon', 'Bingo', '10 Dollar', 'Pull Up the People'

04 - Girls Aloud - Chemistry (NEW)

This album ought to be higher, as it is very good. Perhaps in a quieter year it would be number one or two, and number four should not take anything away from 'Chemistry' but add to the strength of the whole year. A non-stop pop assault on the serious and boring, Girls Aloud stick out their tongues and flick up their fingers on this ode to Britain 2005, the age of the party girl and (most importantly) 'Swinging London Town'. They also continue the horse trend with a song called 'Wild Horses' (four albums in the top ten are associated with horses - it can't be a coincidence). The album doesn't have any didactic moral message or any huge amounts of sentiment, it seems to exist solely to make everybody dance, and who am I to argue. Xenomania come up trumps again with a set of brilliant songs seeping with ace lyrics from every corner. Yet another strong album that makes it impossible to chose any particular highlights.

(And they are the shit live!)

Best Bits: 'Biology', 'Swinging London Town', 'Waiting', 'Wild Horses', 'Racey Lacey'

05 - Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway (NEW)

Yes, Kelly has managed to fight off Madonna, Will Young and Franz Ferdinand to be the second highest new entry. I'm as surprised as anyone. Perhaps it's just a little more instant, but after three listens to each, I find myself wanting to put 'Breakaway' on. It might help that it has five singles off it (if we include the bonus tracks). Unlike Madge or Will, it doesn't seem to be trying very hard to be a brilliant pop album. It's not recruiting Stuart Price or Nitin Sawhney, it's recruiting good old Swedish writers (and some bloke from Evanescence) that make the album much more 'easy'. Or something. Much like the albums above it in this chart, it sort of keeps you hooked from the opening haze of 'Breakaway' to the last crush of 'Low'. Overall an effortless and brilliant pop album.

Best Bits: 'Since U Been Gone', 'Because Of You', 'I Hate Myself For Losing You', 'Walk Away'

06 - Kate Bush - Aerial

An aural orgasm. A sonic masterpiece. A masterclass in how to make great sounds flow together and create a river of noise and flood into the ears of your worshippers. After having waited 12 years, Kate didn't dissappoint with an album featuring Rolf Harris and songs about her son, a neglected housewife, Elvis' myth and having sex with her husband that left this little pop boy struggling for breath with his heart beating real fast, coming out in cold sweats. Just... wow!
Still, a reference to horses wouldn't have gone amiss though would it?

Best Bits: 'Mrs Bartolozzi', 'Pi', all of 'A Sky Of Honey' is breathtaking.

07 - Will Young - Keep On (NEW)

Beautiful, delicious and sumptuous. And that's just Will (guffaw!). No, really, this album has it's moments of undeniable beauty ('Home', 'All Time Love') where I dare say, if I weren't made of stronger stuff, would make me a bit emotional. But then it has brilliant pop moments where dancing is simply not an option (lead single 'Switch It On', 'Ain't Such A Bad Place..'). Then it has it's moments where it turns into a mass orgy of jazz-pop love ('Keep On', 'Save Yourself', 'Happiness'). But it is flawed in it's beauty as every sentiment seems to be shovelled onto each track with a JCB and at times it can all become just a tad too indulgent.

Best Bits: 'Happiness', 'Ain't Such A Bad Place To Be', 'All Time Love'

08 - Patrick Wolf - Wind In The Wires

A masterpiece of Bush proportions. Both bohemic and prophetic, with an almost constant social commentary throughout. Lots of imagery of horses, birds and the sea, which must have some kind of relevance (I suspect the horse-tip may be related to my imaginary pop trend of 2005 supported by Rachel, Madge and Frapp - but then, I did make that up a bit). It brilliantly seems to stem from the ground like a bitter weed and then gets a shot of electricity and transforms into the beast from beyond, desperately pining for a little bit more electro whilst rooted strongly into the soil. One of Patrick's strongest qualities is that he has no comparison, or no significant comparison. He is unique. I'd love to see how he'd react to some good competition (yes, this is a call to arms all you bohemian artistes to test him and create some more ace music!)

Best Bits: 'The Libertine', 'Tristan', 'Wind In The Wires'

09 - Madonna - Confessions On A Dancefloor (NEW)

I wanted to love this so much. And, hey, maybe I will. Maybe it's a grower. But even then, it's the first Madonna album I've heard in a long while that has been a grower ('Erotica', 'Music', 'True Blue' and even 'American Life' became all-time favourites after the first listen). I really wanted to love this album so much, and yet it leaves me with a bad taste in my motuh thinking "Is that it?". So much was promised. A 'non-stop all-dance tour de force'. A record as far away from 'American Life' as possible. An album that was gayer than Elton John's stag do. But none of this was true. I hate being negative about Madonna, but I can't help but feel I've been a bit cheated. It is good. It is brilliant. But it didn't make me dance as much as Goldfrapp, Girls Aloud or Maximo Park did. And it's really not that far away 'American Life', take 'I Love New York' and 'Isaac' for example which, save the dance beat, are outtakes from it.
However, I'll end on a positive note and praise 'Jump', 'Get Together' and 'Sorry' which have the potential to become classic Madonna tracks up there with 'Like A Virgin', 'Vogue' and 'Material Girl'. Also, any album where 'Hung Up' lasts 5 minutes 36 seconds can never ever be a bad one.

Best Bits: 'Hung Up', 'Sorry', 'Get Together' and 'Jump'

10 - Beck - Guero

Beck is similar to Patrick Wolf in so much that he no tonly dominates his field but appears to own it. There are samplers, there are DJs, there are dance acts, but none of them are quite as knowledgable, geeky or brilliant as Beck. 'Guero' is a flex of Beck's musical muscle as he creates a 'white man' album using traditional black or hispanic styles of music. The sound he creates is like no other, a random burst of electric guitar, followed by an explosion of a drum beat you can't get out of your head and then an earthquaking riff or loop of some kind that finally pulls you in before another random burst of sample that delivers the deadly blow. Simply sensational.

Best Bits: 'Black Tambourine', 'E-Pro', 'Hell Yes'

11 - Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better (NEW)

So here we at the transmission party... Another strong from the Franz, building on the brilliance of their self-titled Mercury Music Prize winning debut. They return with an album that seems a little bit more arty and less commercial than the first, and seem to be a lot more comfortable now that they played it 'safe' on the last album in order to get big (by which I mean fucking huge). Alex Kapronas seems to think he's the devil with songs like 'Evil And A Heathen', 'I'm Your Villain' and 'The Fallen' when really he all know he's just a beautiful dancewhore on 'You're the Reason', 'Do You Want To?' and 'Well That Was Easy'. Much like Maximo Park, this is almagamation of all the best bits of the British indie scene but it's all been re-arranged in a way that doesn't suit me quite as nicely as Maximo Park (but really, what does?). Following in the tracks of La Park and La Aloud, Franz have some truly amazing lyrics all over this album ("if we were feckless we'd be fine"). These guys are the shit live too (as I'm sure Indie Girl will agree).

Best Bits: 'The Fallen', 'Do You Want To?', 'Evil And A Heathen'

12 - Ordinary Boys- Brassbound

My album of the summer probably. The one-man call to arms to make summer 2005 the summer of ska. I'm unsure as to whether or not they actually pulled it off, I certainly ska-ed it up. I bought a straw pork pie hat and everything. Irony of ironies, I had it [the hat] stolen at V Festival and thrown around whilst watching The Ordinary Boys. It must have been the hottest day of the year and Preston and co. were the perfect soundtrack to the hot sticky moshings. And I think that's what this album requires: straw hats and hot sticky moshings. Followed possibly by a jug of Pimms.

Best Bits: 'Life Will Be The Death Of Me', 'Boys Will Be Boys', 'Thanks To The Girl', 'Rudi's In Love'

13 - Martha Wainwright - Martha Wainwright

Daughter of Louden III, sister of Rufus. The last in her family to make an album, following the footsteps of her dad and her brother as well as her mother and aunt Kate & Anna McGarrigle. And she doesn't dissappoint. The writing is just as spectacular, theatrical, complex and heartbreaking as you'd expect from a Wainwright with equally cutting realism. The album is grounded though, but that's to be expected in a debut. It doesn't quite make the stretch I feel it really could. This is very much a warm up, the silent coffee before she really breaks your heart. If Martha realises her potential, her next album could well eclipse 'Want'. FACT!

Best Bits: 'Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole', 'Factory', 'Ball & Chain'

14 Editors - The Back Room

Hailed as the new Joy Divison with dark, industrial guitar-weilding electro-rock. Joy Divison comparisons before they'd released an album left the Editors with an awful lot to live up to. It's way too early yet to judge, but they made a good strong bash at it with 'The Back Room'. Dark, moody and broody snarling away with vitriol like a wolf in from a kill with an innocent lamb that got in it's way caught in it's teeth. Don't stand against the wave of noise here, ride it and enjoy. The new Joy Divison? Let's see in a few albums time.

Best Bits: 'Blood', Bullets'

15 - Ambulance LTD - LP

I can't remember where or when I heard of Ambulance LTD, all I know is I told they were really good and that I should get the album. So I did. And whomever or whatever told me was right. They are really good. I'd like to think Ambulance LTD's is the album for the boyfriends of girlfriends who like Busted. This album is ultimately cool chillout to dance to, indie, pop album that is more New York than King Kong climbing the Empire State Building wearing a Yankees baseball cap. This is effortlessly cool and although it sweeps effortlessly from sub-genre to sub-genre (it's pretty static on that indie point), it lacks a brilliant stand out track to really take it to the next level.

Best Bits: 'Primitive (The Way I Treat You)', 'Stay Tuned', 'Young Urban', 'Yoga Menas Union'

NOTE: The chart could potentially look quite different if we were counting 'Anniemal' and 'Want (Two)' as 2005 albums. But I don't think we are. And yes, I know I missed off 'Silent Alarm' and 'Employment', but they were shite. And yes, I know I missed off 'Dangerous & Moving', but this isn't a top 16 is it? Let's blame 'Gomenasai' and 'Craving'. And I haven't heard 'I'm A Bird Now' because I'm a cunt, so I couldn't place that.

Push the [Escape] Button


Mutya was sick of her ugly bandmates and has ran (for cover) from Heidi and Keisha for 'personal' reasons. My first guess is it's to do with her baby, and the fact that she's carrying the other two a little bit. But this isn't the first time something like this has happened. And back then everyone thought it was over but the Babes went from strength to strength and became their most successful.

And here is Mutya's replacement, with an even more exotic name than Mutya Buena - Amelle Berrabah!...

I'd love Mutya to leave and become the Diana Ross to this Supremes-esque story (what with all the members of an ace three piece girl band leaving and being replaced and no-one caring/noticing).

There's something about Amelle.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Sex Factor

Chortle!So there we have it, it's all over. And Shayne won it. Which is good, but so did Louis Walsh, technically, which is bad. With a finale consisting of a closetted rent-boy, a singing binman and two depressingly average pub singers I think the only way there could have been a winner would have been if Simon Cowell had gone on a killing spree and taken every contestant's life. Then he'd kill Thornton. Then he'd kill Sharon and Louis. Then he'd kill Thornton again. Then he'd kill all of the 10 million who actually voted for a contest that, in the end, will have as much relevance to pop music as one of, oh let's say, Deuce (only nowhere near as good). Then he'd kill Thornton again by strangling her with her own hyperbolic attempts at creating tension.

I'd really like 'That's My Goal' to be good because Shayne might take his top off more. Unfortunately, it's not.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Separated At Birth?

Argh! Blunt overload! It is pretty uncanny though..

Indie Girl does Rufus Wainwright

Indie Girl hopped across to Glasgow once again last Saturday on a whim… well, not really… to see a concert which she has had the tickets for since July.

But! It was totally worth waiting for because this concert is by Indie Girl’s “obsession for 2005™”, Rufus Wainwright.

I will now take you through the night in good and bad points…

Good Points:
  • He was on for two bloody hours! I’ve heard people complaining of his ticket prices being a little too high but you certainly get your money’s worth.
  • Costume changes… Suit with sparkly “Gay Messiah” on the back to white robes (I’ll explain later..) to aqua coloured toga thing (once again, I’ll explain later) to dressing gown. Random and good.
  • Comedy. Seriously, I the boy wasn’t such a good singer, he’d have stand-up to fall back on. He’s hilarious! His attempt at a scottish accent alone deserves an applause.
  • Voice was on form. Rufus’ voice can occasionally sound strained but tonight is was fairly perfect.
  • Inclusion of his Christmas song "Spotlight On Christmas". Tis the season to be jolly all! Finished the song by pulling a cracker (pictured above, bless him for trying to play the guitar and hold the cracker at the same time, it could go on the ground…)
  • It was all so beautiful. Even the lighting! Yes. It added atmosphere. Or something.
  • The finale (but not really.) Old Whore’s Diet complete with swaying/dancing Rufus and band in togas. Can’t picture it? Photo will be up as soon as Blogger stops being arsey. What more could you want though? Really?!?
  • Oh, that’s right. Meeting the man himself! Yay. I now possess a photo of me and Rufus and signed ticket and Poses cover. I love his scarf.

Bad Points:
This is probably quite bad. But I can’t really think of any. Rufus buggered up in the middle of Poses but it only made you feel sorry for him for a wee second. I can’t think of bad things.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Releases 12th December 2005

Blunt Of The Week Special

With releases from Westlife, Mariah, That Frog and Robbie Williams this week we’ve made it a blunt of the week special, dedicated to some of the biggest blunts in music. Apologies for the lateness, maybe I’m a blunt too!

Westlife feat. Diana Ross – When You Tell Me That You Love Me
Oh look! It’s another nauseating samey Westlife ballad, released around the festive period… nice to see the lads having a go at some different… * groan *

Of course, this is shit! It is Westlife, with or without Diana Ross, they’re just crap. Part of me wants this to do especially badly because “You Raise Me Up” was named bloody Record Of The Year! I mean, come on! Not that that actually counts for anything. The great british public vote, these are the people hat kept the Crazy Frog and James Blunt at number one for all those weeks.

It almost gets a little bit good at the bridge with Diana really starting to give it some welly, but then Shane ruins it. Bleugh. I wonder if it’s a cover (I really should know that)

PB: Westlife are collaborating with Diana on a cover of one of her old songs. Why they chose this song I don’t know. Mark would deliver the ‘Why do birds sing so gay?’ line (Ha!) from ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love’, which amongst Ms Ross’ finer moments. I’ll tell you why they did one of her blandest songs, because they are dull. They’re so dull infact, that they make dishwater look like champagne.

Don’t quote me on this but this is the first material we’ve had from Diana in a good few years. Which confuses me, so many questions, so little time. Are times this hard at Chez Ross? She came out of pop-retirement for this? Is this what we’ve come to? Why am I still listening to this? Is this the end of pop music (again)?

But I’ll leave all that for another day.

I’m sure that, much like their last ‘inspirational’ single, this is supposed to ‘touch the hearts of the nation’ once more and make people realise what love is. Because of course, they were all too busy hugging their grandparents and kissing babies’ foreheads to be in love, but now that the ‘Loife have released a love song, they can have sex again. Boring, slow sex. With no orgasms. Or something.

Mariah Carey – Don’t Forget About Us
Now, as a Girls Aloud and S Club fan I may be a bit of a hypocrite here but: I don’t like re-releases of albums. It’s not nice. It almost makes me glad I downloaded her album first time round. Because I’d be pissed off if I’d’ve bought it back in the summer only to see it be re-released three and a half singles in (‘Shake It Off’/’Get Your Number’ was a double A-Side) conveniently just in time for Christmas.

‘Don’t Forget About Us’ is apparently inspired by the greatest woman ever to grace this fair earth, Marilyn Monroe. Hmmm. I’m sure Norma Jean is spinning in her grave as we speak. I just don’t understand the link here.

Oh Mariah! Shut the fuck up and give us a blast of ‘All I Want For Christmas’ or ‘Hero’. And please, don’t you dare start a rendition of ‘Against All Odds’ with the Loifers.

IG:It’s Maaaaaaarriiiiiiiiiiiahhhh! And it’s also a bit of R’n’B that I really am getting bored with one minute in. I really, really, really cannot get excited about this music at all.

I find it incredibly boring and unimaginative. To me it sounds like it could’ve been released by Mariah, Beyonce (with or without the Destinys) , “r’n’b Jlo”, or just any of those clones. It’s really nothing special at all. I think I’ll go and listen to “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and remind me that there is actually one Mariah song that I actually like.

Crazy Frog – Jingle Bells
The type of song that makes me want to punch a shopping centre Santa Claus.

Of course the Crazy Frog wouldn’t just bugger off and die like we all wished. Of course, because the public are stupid enough to make the frog into a utterly crap “phenomenon” here in Britain, on par with stuff like Celebrity Love Island and toast.

The only small smidge of goodness in the entire, highly irritating trip into Christmas Hell is the sample of Noddy Holder saying “Iiiiiiit’s Chriiiistmas!” (not like Mariah) reminding me that there are good Christmas songs! Hurrah! I hope Noddy sues the Frog’s scaly little arse for that sample if it’s used without permission.

PB: I can’t honestly say I’ve had the pleasure of hearing this song too many times (and I use the word ‘song’ in the very loosest sense). I imagine it’s abysmal. And Crazy Frog even has the cheek to try and murder a classic tune (as opposed to the hideously below par ‘Axel F’ and ‘Popcorn’ which really were quite annoying in the first place). I thought he’d go for Rudolph personally.

However, despite being a horror to humanity, I’m going to let this one slide! Afterall, it wouldn’t be Christmas without novelty records (although please NOTE: Christmas is where they should stay) and it’s the season of good will and all (Please note: good will will only last one season). Plus, I have bigger, uglier more hideous fish to fry (plotting the assassinations/mutilations of Robbie, Bluntmeister, Louis Walsh and The ‘Loife).

Merry Christmas Crazy Frog!

Nizlopi – JCB Song
This song is sweet. I did dislike it early on as the sentiment was so sickly I nearly spewed, then I realised it’s the season of good will and all, and really, it’s actually not that bad at all. And it references Transformers, B.A. Baracus and Bruce Lee.

I think the line that does it for me is the “I wanna transform into a tyrannosaurus rex, and eat up all the bullies and the teachers and their pets”. Especially has Hip-Hop Boy (Pop Boy’s youngest brother) has had a hard time at school for the last few months and this line really sums up just how he feels, I think. My heart would weep, if I had one. It would be cool if our Dad (Drivetime Man) had a JCB though.

Maybe it is to do with Pop Boy’s family, but this song really does get me. I’m the eldest of three brothers, and I’m sure all of us have at some point dreamt about Drivetime Dad owning a JCB and taking us out for a drive.

Girls just don’t understand. Or something.

I don’t even know what I think about this song. One thing’s for sure, the video is ace. That’s clear. Now for the song… well, last week I adored it. Now I’m getting a little bloody pissed off with it. I mean, the song has been around for quite a while but no-one paid any fucking attention until they appeared on Richard & Judy.

The song is interesting. I can’t decide whether it’s clever or just really silly either. I think it’d make an alright Christmas Number one though. Knowing the story behind the song helps a bit as well (the kid singing is bullied at school a lot and the only time he really feels safe is in his dad’s JCB digger) I think it’s just a very nice sentiment for this time of year, it’s “nice.”

Robbie Williams – Advertising Space
Right, do I or do I not prefer this to “Tripping” ? Well, this is more a trip back to classic Robbie and I have no idea whether that is good or bad thing.

It’s a bit boring to be honest. Slightly dreary. And I have things abut all these male singers as I tend to dismiss stuff that doesn’t live up to the stuff I like in general. Plus Robbie’s a bit of a twat.

Oh alright. A complete twat. He song is all ‘meh.’ I need more from Robbie for his music to impress me.

PB: Oh Robbie, how I hate thee. Your songs make my blood boil over. Your moaning and whining make me want to smash by head against windows in the chance that glass will shatter into my ears and deafen me. Despite being a huge music fan I’d quite happily go deaf if it meant I never had to listen to your glorified pub chants again.

(OK, I’ll give you your dues, ‘Angels’ was ace, but if Guy Chambers had given it to, let’s say, Mark Owen, the Take That story would be a very different one. And best British single of 25 years? Puh-lease.)

Mariah was inspired by Marilyn Monroe, Nizlopi by JCBs, Westlife by drying grey paint and Crazy Frog by Christmas, and Robbie is inspired by Elvis. Once again, I can’t quite make the link myself. How this dull song, that even manages to out-dull Westlife (now, surely that deserves a Brit Award!), can be compared to Elvis, the man who invented the pervy hip thrust and rock-n-roll, I don’t know. It might be something to do with the lyrics, but I don’t care to listen that much. It’s probably about how terrible it is being rich and shagging women way above your depth and getting chances you don’t deserve (surely he should be strung up for the new album?) and about how big Robbie’s cock is. Or something.

Best & Worst
Best: IG –
Nizlopi, PB - Nizlopi
Worst: IG -Tie between Crazy Frog and Mariah, PB – Robbie Williams

And may I add at the end this week is readers (if there are any of you) make yourselves known! We’d like to hear feedback and opinions so really do feel free to comment. Make use of the little comment button. I like to hear what people have to say and who is reading us. We do read them [PB: I don’t].

Monday, December 12, 2005

Oh My!

Hasn't Dhani from the A*Teens grown?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Pop Boy Does Maximo Park

Readers of my LJ may remember me saying that Maximo Park's 'A Certain Trigger' was the greatest album of 2005, and they the greatest band, long before anyone else paid any attention. So imagine my excitement when they hit Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall last Sunday, their first gig in Britain after touring Europe.

And my thoughts remain. In a year when I've seen Kaiser Chiefs, Ordinary Boys, Franz Ferdinand, Goldfrapp and Scissor Sisters live at V Festival and Girls Aloud 'live', Maximo Park are also the greatest live band I've seen all year.

They were supported by Field Music, who I'd not heard of, but they were very good. The front man was a drummer, which was unusual I thought. The music was nice indie pop that I could dance to, but no-one else was hyper/drunk enough to dance with me. I'll have to buy their debut album after Christmas though. Clor followed them. I think (I'm not sure who came on first). They were alright. They did 'Love & Pain' and 'Good Stuff' which I knew. I think they made an anti-Girls Aloud joke, so they are stupid arses. But they did give out posters and stickers so you know, I'll let them off for being generally quite rubbish.

Then, the DJ (hedging his bets) played 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor' just before La Park came on to get everyone dancing. Then it happened. I would try to tell you the setlist, but I'm not really sure. I think they played 'Graffiti' and 'Apply Some Pressure' twice but I might've just imagined that. They did play every album track plus 'Fear Of Falling' (a favourite of mine) and 'A-19' in which Paul Smith unleashed his liquid hips. These came early on, as did 'Signal & Sign', 'Postcard Of A Painting' and 'Graffiti' and 'Apply Some Pressure' (the first times round). Then mid-way through 'All Over The Shop' me and my chum, Ashmeena glanced at one another and decided that that was the moment and we pushed forward from the sides. From then on I remember hearing and dancing to 'The Coast Is Always Changing', 'Limassol', 'Going Missing', 'I Want You To Stay' and rareties 'Wastleland' and 'Don't Leave Me' (or something) in a sweaty clamour. I was right in the centre of it and by the end ('Apply Some Pressure' (again), 'Graffiti' (again) , 'Kiss You Better' and 'Once, A Glimpse') and was about two people from the front resting my arm on someone's shoulder, squeezed between two people's shoulders with an elbow in my back. Oh bliss! But despite various "Throw us your tie!!!" shouts from me and my neighbours at the end of the show, Paul was a spoilt sport and took it with him. However, as criticisms go, that's honestly about it. Even the elbow in the back thing is tolerable when it comes part-and-parcel with that atmosphere.

Of course, my memory of the setlist should be taken with a pinch of salt, as I already think I'm wrong, and it was all a big blur of musical excellence. The encore however, saw them do 'The Night I Lost My Head' and 'Acrobat' which is beautiful, although the mutterings heard on the record are unhearable mumblings when done live.

Take the best record of the year, add lots of very sweaty people dancing and jumping around and what you get sounds so much more lively, fuelled and unique than anything else released by anyone this year. 'Apply Some Pressure' done live is just, wow! Also, get the badges, because I did and I am ace.

If you get chance, go. You will not regret it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Hall Of The Not So Famous (Part 3)

Inductee No. 3: Scissor Sisters

Hello, and now I will take you on a little journey into the world of the Scissor Sisters. It may be strange but also pleasurable, like watching Boohbah after doing mushrooms. The Sisters are indeed very psychedelic, and who would’ve thought that a camp, disco funk rock band would have the biggest selling album of 2004 in the UK? Well, no-one did but the Scissor Sisters have hypnotised the Great British public into a state of getting up shaking their arses to songs about drag queens (filthy/gorgeous) and swaying along to songs about the heartbreaking effect that crystal meth is having on the New York gay community (album finisher Return To Oz)

Firstly, anyone who knows me will know what kind of Scissor Sisters fangirl I am. I am obsessed, to be quite honest. My user name is “ScissorSister” on just about every messageboard I visit (I haven’t had that many people asking if I am an actual “scissor sister” [explanation later] Just to clarify, I’m not) and even my account (go on, laugh at my music taste) I love the Scissors and the Scissors love me! (I wish)

The SS released their first single in 2003 after a long hunt to build up a proper band. It all started as Jason Sellards, his friend Scott Hoffman and dream. When they decided they needed a girl they decided to ask friend Ana Lynch to join on a whim. She was a fellow freak who had seen them perform one of their oddest tracks (the weird but wonderful “Bicycling With The Devil”) as a two-piece earlier in the year and had bags of attitude so fit perfectly into the equation.

The group began to play small New York clubs miming along to songs and dancing to Scott’s choreography, not exactly his strongpoint may I add. After deciding they had to get a guitarist to be a proper rock band, they asked Derek Gruen, who had originally walked out on one of the band’s performances at a seedy gay bar because he thought it was so awful. Strangely enough, he was a member of this band he had hated a few months. A willing Patrick Seacor completed the lineup after Jason tired of using a silly little drum machine on their stomping tracks.

Of course, these names were far too boring to be a cool band! No! So Jake Shears (Scissors, Shears, get it!?!?) , Babydaddy, Ana Matronic (after her love of robots and the Bionic Woman), Del Marquis and Paddy Boom were born. And after a change of name from “Dead Lesbian and the Fibrillating Scissor Sisters” to just “Scissor Sisters” (cutting it down to just the a euphemism for lesbians) the band were on track. They recorded a fantastic demo album (available all over soulseek and worth the download, even if just for Ana’s speech on Filthy/Gorgeous, cruelly cut from the final edit) and were signed on dance label “A Touch Of Class.” They didn’t receive much interest when signed with them apart from Bicycling With The Devil being used on the "Party Monster" soundtrack and the first release of Laura reaching number 54 in the UK charts (there is alternative video for this version as well, it’s fabulous.)

The Sisters were eventually signed to Polydor. This is the label on which they released their smash hit debut album "Scissor Sisters" Things were all on the up from then on. Playing Glastonbury, T in the Park and V Festival 2004 and “Scissor Sisters” shooting up the charts. They released a DVD last year as well which features one of their famous live performances, this one being at the Brighton Dome. The next year the band were greeted with three Brits, every single one they have been nominated for. Then the band seemed to disappear until Live 8 and then V Festival 2005 where they completely stole the show. They are currently away in New York recording their much-awaited second album which according to Jake, is to be available in Spring 2006 and will definitely be one to look out for. Don’t stay away for too long Scissor Sisters, we will all miss truly the most original band to come out of 2004.

And we are good to you. Aren't we? We really are, as here is a little snippet of Scissor Sisters during the demo years. This is Filthy/Gorgeous featuring Ana's speech and more general aceness. Download here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Releases 5th December 2005

This week I am bringing you six releases instead of the usual four. This is because it’s silly season now and there are lots of review-worthy releases. And also, we feel guilty about last week’s debacle, which can be 'blamed' on Indie Girl's devotion to her studies and revision which means she's been unable to write up the reviews. Hence why she's missing from this week's reviews as well. I will have to make this two-man riot a solo thing.

Edit: Indie Girl is here! Unbeknowst to me, Pop Boy has posted the reviews without me but I am here. Not that you missed me or anything, my reviews are generally a bit half arsed and never even half as good or professional as Pop Boy's but hey ho. I did plan to do them today and i'm sorry that I didn't do them last week but Indie Girl is currently suffering from insomnia, sleep depravation and general stress. I will try to keep up to speed with the blog. I feel really quite guilty about last week as well, I feel bad for Pop Boy. Expect an entry into our Music Hall of The Not So Famous (remember that?) on Scissor Sisters and a little rant about my trip to see a certain Mr Wainwright soon.

Mystery Jets – Alas Agnes
PB:I am so incredibly cool. I was in love with this song all the way back in March. Their previous single ‘You Can’t Fool Me Dennis’ (particularly the Justice remix) was also one of my favourite indie tracks of the autumn. So I’m very much looking forward to an album from these weirdos.

The band set up is typical story really, a five piece band from Twickenham’s Eel Pie Island that is fronted by Blaine Harrison but features his father Henry on, amongst other things, a mellotron in indie-pop’s best/only father-son combination. On paper, they are undoubtedly unique. However, unlike so many press release half-truths, this band really IS truly unique.

Upon hearing ‘Alas Agnes’ the first time I didn’t know quite what to make of it. It’s cheerily jaunty, eerily choral and unlike so many bands trying to create a new sound by making the sound of indie bands of the future, The Jets create a new sound by making the sound of indie bands from 1884 (“dancing to mellotron like the gentry from 1884” and all that). It’s ironic then that is aged sound is the sound of the past but also very much the sound of the future.

Mystery Jets, a real one-in-a-million band raising up from the monotony of Bloc Party and The Doves.

IG: I had only heard the name of Mystery Jets before Pop Boy suggested we review this track for our releases garb.

So, at the start I began to worry that the group singing was the start of something G4. Yes, that was until the track blew up into a whole big lot of weird and wonderful folk rock randomness. Seriously, just buy it for originality alone! It’s great! Don’t know if I will pursue my like of them further but this song is really good.

It isn’t following the general indie criteria but it’s a change and a good one at that. Woo!

Kanye West ft. Adam Levine – Heard ‘Em Say
PB: Indie Girl and Pop Boy have not always known each other. And when we were getting to know one another one of the bands we’d both obsess about was Maroon 5 (don’t judge us!). And yet, after 2004’s ‘Songs About Jane’ we’ve heard nothing new from them. So allow our appetite’s to be somewhat whetted by Adam’s Kanye collaboration, a possible direction for the new album? (anyone who heard ‘Woman’ produced by Kanye may agree that this is no bad thing).

But enough of talking about our poster boy, this is Kanye’s single, so now we shall talk about Kanye. Although it does feature Adam, this single doesn’t appear to use a sample (I may be wrong) unlike it’s predecessors from Late Registration’. Kanye has made a record here that for me, finally justifies the hype (OK, I’ll admit it, ‘Gold Digger’ is good to dance to but so is Steps). Kanye goes all political making a statement about racism and corruption in America, almost as if to back up his “Bush doesn’t give a damn about Black America”.

There are so many songs that have mixed music with politics with disastrous consequences, however here Kanye makes a song that blends the two together naturally. There is the message, but it’s subtley written enough for you to be able to just enjoy the keys twinkle in the background and sing along to the chorus harmlessly enough.

IG: As you’ll hear me say about Gwen, just any type of R&B provokes yawning in me.

Though I’m willing to give this a small listen as it features Adam Levine of Maroon 5 but still. Ugh. A lot of “uh” and “yeah” of course, though it is repeated as if all the other R&B artists will make fun of Kanye if he doesn’t use them enough and the rap if generally about the same load of old tripe (not that I was actually paying much attention.)

Sure enough, Kanye is one of those few rap artists who I have a mild amount of respect for but this song is just tiresome despite the fact that it gets quite good whenever Kanye isn’t rapping and then he goes and ruins it again. The end is good at least, for more reasons that one.
Even Mr Maroon 5 is underused and sounds far too much like the Timberlake. Pah! Slightly less annoying that Golddigger though so that’s a mild triumph.

Sugababes – Ugly
PB: Written for the Sugababes by Dallas ‘Trick Me’ and‘Just Like A Pill’ Austin after he read their portrayal in the British press. This makes a great record brilliant in context, and with the only band that could have ‘fit’ it. Much like ‘Heard ‘Em Say’, there is a message hidden (not so subtley mind) underneath the luscious song. And what a sweet sentiment to push us into the festive period and season of good will. Could this be an indication of things to come, things in store for 2006, great songs with even greater messages to put to the people? I sure hope so (although, if I’m honest, it’s purely to see if it can be pulled off).

The girls all sound on top form here which is excellent. After straddling the charts like a dog on heat with ‘Push The Button’, Mutya, Keisha and lovely Heidi (ooo-lovely lovely Heidi!!) are throwing dirt in Girls Aloud’s eyes in an attempt to keep their crown as Britain’s top girl band (yeah – get real!!!!!!11eleven) by releasing another cracker from their new album ‘Taller In More Ways. This should be a tough act to follow, good luck single number 3.

IG: Something a bit different as well from the ‘Babes. And such a refreshing change from the overly irritating and overplayed “Push The Button” [PB- Bravo!]

Electro-ish overtones replaces the tired R&B beat as they actually deliver a proper message (!!!) This is perhaps not a particularly fun song, but it’s good because it’s such a change for the better. I really hope this is a hit for the girls as it is much better than their previous chart topper.

Franz Ferdinand – Walk Away
PB: Lyrics as theatrical and brilliant as ever. After the youthful art party hedonism of ‘Do You Want To’, Franz become much more poetic, thoughtful and mature with ‘Walk Away’. The key to understanding the awesomeness of this song is the simultaneous bathos and pathos and the “No quake will split the ground” line. It really is all just amazingly clever.

At this point I'd leave Indie Girl to tell you more about Franz, because quite frankly, she knows what she's talking about and I'm a bumbling fool when it comes to La Franz, but in her absence you'll just have to imagine her fan girl rambles.

IG: I'm here, I'm here!

Classic Franz, but just a little bit different. The familiar sound of the Franz guitar, Alex’s sumptuous vocals, but something is a bit different. It’s a bit sinister and different, bit of a torch song rather than an anthem like their last single “Do You Want To?”

The lyrics continue to be as kitsch as ever and make perhaps even less sense than normal but that’s not necessarily bad… namechecking Radio Four and various old World leaders cannot ever be bad, can it? It’s Franz.

Franz rule. End of.

Performance – Surrender
PB: Please allow us, for one second, to get extremely cunty and superior here. ‘Surrender’ is brilliant, but you commoners on the surface wouldn’t know about that because you probably haven’t heard this. Originally pencilled in for release on 7” only when we were deciding which songs to do it now appears to have disappeared from release schedules, but you know, we’re so into this, we’ll write about it anyway. Anyone reading it is just a bonus.

Actually, I have Indie Girl to thank for finding this brilliant electro treasure and would advise you to find it on iTunes. So many words can describe it: lush, sexy, tortured or just ace.

This is an incredibly gay track, just check out the “Stop me if it starts to hurt you” line which is either about anal sex or sado-masochism and the “backs to the wall” line. Plus of course, it’s indulgently beautiful electro.

IG: Repetitive electro wonderful-ness now! I can’t get enough! I really can’t! And this track is just so 80s, it hurts.

A limited release but available for download on iTunes is Performance. I magically came across their low budget video in The Amp one morning and told myself I had to get the track. The bass rocks, the vocals are heartfelt and talky. It’s just great. The lyrics probably make absolutely no sense at all but I really don’t give one solitary fuck.

Fantastic for jerking about to in your room like a good electro-indie kid to. Get it!

Gwen Stefani – Luxurious
PB: Let me take you to a magical place. Where tasteless bigots were all shot for possession of Oasis albums, U2 had been trapped in the 1980s, Coldplay were busking the streets of London waiting for their big break, teenagers across the world cried over the A*Teens split, Girls Aloud were on the cover of NME and packing out stadiums, everyone bought ‘Come & Get It’ and Richard X was made king of music.

This is the alternate world of music. Brilliant isn’t it? In this world, Gwen could at least try to release the really-really-mega-fucking-great stuff off ‘L.A.M.B.’ instead of the really-really-just-great-and-still-better-than-95%-of –the-people-doing-what-she’s-doing stuff. It’s infuriating that Gwen will remembered for decidedly hip-pop songs like ‘Rich Girl’ and ‘Luxurious’ instead of mighty pop anthems like ‘Bubble!Pop!Electric!’ or ‘Serious’ or ‘Crash’ or ‘Danger Zone’ or ‘The Real Thing’. What’s worse is she doesn’t even dress up like a Pirate, or pretend to be Madonna/a brown haired Italian-American girl (yes, I know - technically she is but shush), or Alice In Wonderland or Torrence from Bring It On in the video, she just acts like a white girl from the OC who wishes she was a black girl from New York who likes pinatas. Which is just a bit boring really.

I’m not saying ‘Luxurious’ is rubbish, because it isn’t. I’m just saying I’d rather hear practically any other album track be the single. And radio edits with rappers added onto them never were and never will be cool.

IG: Oh Gwen! What have you done? From the punky tone of No Doubt to the pop genius of “What You Waiting For?” but now Gwen has given to R&B worshipping masses, just so she can be successful in the USA. This was Gwen’s chance to redeem herself after “You Got It Like That” with Pharrell (which I loathed) and this is certainly not as good as any of Gwen’s previous singles. I mean, where the hell is the random spelling out of the names of fruits?!!!!?!?!

Maybe this is because, even though it’s Gwen, I cannot just spark up interest about any kind of R&B music at all. Sure, this is a different kind of R&B but the little voice in my head tells me that Gwen has sold out. I thought she was getting back on track with “Cool” but no. Perhaps her choice, but if she had continued with wonderful bizarre pop or the luscious indie punk then I would have a lot more time and respect for Ms Stefani.

Best - PB: Mystery Jets IG: Performance
Worst - PB: SHOCK! Gwen SHOCK!! IG: Kanye

In summary: In a week when a Gwen Stefani single is the worst release of any significance and Girls Aloud release an album (that 'Confessions' stylee , I can't hear until Christmas) you know Indie Girl's missed out on a cracker of a week.

IG: Once again, I apologise about not being up to speed. I know you're getting sick of me slacking Pop Boy. It is meant to be a bit of fun, but I will try to stop falling behind. Ta rah.