Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Gwen's Sweet Escape Tour

After witnessing Christina Aguilera's craptacular "Back To Basics" show less than a week ago, I found it difficult to muster a lot of enthusiasm for Gwen Stefani's "Sweet Escape" concert last night. I love Gwen but I secretly feared the worst. I had scary visions of Gwen rapping to shitty hip hop music floating around my head, fears that were only reinforced by the choice of Gym Class Heroes as the support act. However, as the lights went down and Gwen emerged from a golden cage looking like a genetically engineered doll, I knew that I was about to witness something special. "The Sweet Escape" tour has everything the "Back To Basics" experience lacked. It's professional, engaging and hugely entertaining.

Acer Arena is a complete dump. Apart from being located in the arsehole of Sydney, it's poorly designed and uglier than Amy Winehouse. It's only saving grace is the liquor lounge, which I'm probably becoming a little bit too familiar with. After downing enough alcohol to power a car, my friend and I ventured into the arena to catch the end of Gym Class Heroes' set. I must have been really tanked because I thought they were fairly amusing and rather enjoyed their craptastic hatchet job on Jermaine Stewart's "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off". It wasn't long before two Harajuku girls dressed as prisoners ran through the stadium and Gwen emerged from her golden cage to sing a fabulous rendition of "The Sweet Escape". The set, costumes and sound quality were all excellent but the most impressive aspect of the opening act was Gwen's stage presence. I found it difficult to take my eyes off her. Gwen exudes star quality like few other modern divas.

Unlike Christina, who thought it best to concentrate on obscure album tracks, "The Sweet Escape" setlist played like a greatest hits compilation. After a quick costume change, Gwen upped the camp ante by playing a cat burglar for her delightful rendition of "Rich Girl". Gwen took some time out to chat with the audience and instantly connected with her sincerity and humility. She could have just been pretending - but if her "acting" in "The Aviator" is any indication, I have a feeling that she was genuinely ecstatic to be there. The hits continued to flow with "4 In The Morning" and "Luxurious". You know that a performer is doing a good job when they give you a new appreciation for songs you previously disliked. I used to hate "Luxurious" but I've been humming the damn thing all day. One of the night's most amusing moments was Gwen's winning performance of "Wind It Up", complete with a mobile hill and glowing sheep!

About half way through the show there was a distinct shift in format. The first part was a highly stylised and well coordinated spectacle, while the second half reverted to a more traditional rock concert. The glamorous costumes were still on display, as were the omnipresent Harajuku girls, but the show now revolved around a singer performing with her band. The sets disappeared, allowing Gwen to prowl the stage like a panther - in fabulous heels, of course! Show stopping versions of "Early Winter" and "Danger Zone" sat well beside a lovely interpretation of "Wonderful Life". This was followed by one of the most unexpected and sweet gestures I've witnessed in a major concert. Gwen climbed off the stage and ran into the middle of the crowd to sing "Cool". By the end of the song she had climbed halfway up the arena and had the entire audience in the palm of her hand.

The show came to a close with a sentimental performance of "Orange County Girl" and a lengthy introduction to her dancers and amazing band. I was particularly delighted that my favourite Gwen Stefani song, "The Real Thing", was included in the encore. Gwen dedicated the song to her son and transformed it into a gorgeous ballad. "What You Waiting For" then concluded the show in fabulous style. "The Sweet Escape" is not a groundbreaking tour but it is a hugely endearing show. Gwen gives her fans what they want, while staying true to her own unique aesthetic. I can't wait for her next visit.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Return Of Infernal!

Paw and Lina have done it again. The sexy Danish duo, otherwise known as Infernal, returned to the Australian music scene last week with a fantastic new offering, "I Won't Be Crying". To be more precise the song is only new to Australian fans as it already features on the UK and revised international versions of their brilliant album, "From Paris To Berlin". As a very sweet bonus, the single includes their poptastic cover of Laura Branigan's "Self Control", which was also left off the Australian edition of their album.

Infernal is possibly my favourite band. They have an uncanny ability to churn out insanely catchy dance fluff that works just as well on the radio or in a club. "I Won't Be Crying" is yet another slice of Infernal fabulousness. The song stays true to the Infernal formula of shiny, meaningless dance/pop but throws in some guitars for a bit of a change up. The result is just as appealing and ridiculous as ever! The video is another trash materpiece with Paw camping it up, preening himself in a room of mirrors, while Lina prances around on the hands of a clock. Classy!

"I Won't Be Crying" is yet to make any impact on the charts, which is probably due to the fact that Central Station releases are getting harder to find than Britney's dignity. It's a shame because "I Won't Be Crying" has immense commercial appeal and the tracklist is nothing less than superb.

Please support trashy dance music by purchasing the single from Chaos or iTunes. Check out Infernal's Myspace and fabulous website.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Betty Vale - Jump On Board

"Jump On Board" is one of the most distinctive debut singles of the year. Sydney's Betty Vale has combined elements from jazz, pop and urban music to create a sleek and immensely appealing anthem. "Jump On Board" was released with very little fanfare last week and is yet to dent the charts. The song is probably too subtle for radio. "Jump On Board" is more suited to late night listening with a glass of bourbon in one hand and a man in the other.

Betty herself remains something of mystery. According to her website, Betty provided vocals for the club hit "Stereo Flavas" and is currently recording her debut album. I find it slightly questionable that neither her website or myspace contain a single photo. Betty is a buxom beauty - as you can see from the fabulously cheap video - so her people need to stop hiding her away like she's Casey Donovan. At least the cover art is fabulous. The cartoon looks like something from a sailor's tattoo! I love the Tommy Trash remix, which artfully transforms "Jump On Board" into a shiny slice of dance filth. Kudos!

You can purchase Betty's anthem from Chaos and iTunes. Check out her Myspace, website and the "Jump On Board" video clip.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Back To Basics Tour = SHIT

I'd rather be fingered by Edward Scissorhands than sit through Christina Aguilera's "Back To Basics" tour ever again. Last night's show at Sydney's Acer Arena was one of the most dismal concerts I have even seen. Cheap sets, poor sound quality, bad costumes and a pregnant diva in hotpants are just some of the reasons why "Back To Basics" is a 90 minute musical trainwreck.

Christina is not my favourite singer but I prefer her to most of the current batch of mainstream divas. If nothing else, Christina has a great voice and has developed into an interesting pop star. "Back To Basics" (the album) is an intriguing experiment and I respect her for having the guts to gamble on such a different sound - even if she doesn't quite pull it off. I was looking forward to see how Christina would blend her old material in with her new sound but found myself swiftly losing interest when she finally arrived on stage two hours late.

After such a long delay, the anticipation was palpable. However, instead of making an entrance, Christina doesn't even appear on stage for the first number. Instead a film clip - largely derivative of Madonna's "Express Yourself" - played on a large screen before the dirrty one waddled down a moving staircase wearing white hotpants and more make-up than an army of drag queens. I'm sure the outfit would have been rather flattering if Christina wasn't heavily up the duff with a very noticeable baby bump. Then there was her skin. I'm convinced Christina has raided Kelly Llorenna's lifetime supply of fake tan and used it all at once because I have never before seen a human being look so orange. Christina might have looked like trailer trash on Halloween but the opening song, a rousing rendition of "Ain't No Other Man" was fantastic. Unfortunately, everything went downhill from there.

"Ain't No Other Man" was followed by a series of dreary songs from "Back To Basics", which perhaps 10 percent of the crowd were familiar with. To make matters worse there were no sets or props - just 8 dancers on a massive, empty stage. Which became increasingly barren due to Christina's habit of disappearing after every song to spray on more bronzer and to change into new hotpants. Any sense of continuity was destroyed by her long absences and poor choice of material. When Christina did get around to singing one of her old songs, she ruined the moment by giving it a jazzy makeover. I had no idea she was even singing "Come On Over" until the final chorus.

One of evening's few bright moments occurred when Christina appeared on the back of carousel horse singing "Dirrty". It was the only time I saw people standing up until the final encore. Things continued to spiral downwards when Christina finally decided to talk to the audience - and gave a 5 minute lecture on domestic violence. For added effect, a black and white film clip of a woman being violently assaulted was played during Christina's "inspirational talk". Less than 15 minutes later, Xtina had a rest and played another clip - this time of her rolling around semi-naked, spreading her legs. I'm glad the thousands of 10 year old girls in the audience have such a quality role model! By this stage not even a surprisingly extravagant circus segment or a delicious interpretation of "Candyman" could save this sinking ship. The vast majority of the crowd had simply lost interest. Luckily, Christina had filmed some fan testimonials to play in the background. I almost lost lost my dinner when one desperate individual cooed that Christina "makes me feel alive each and every day". I mean, really!

The concert ended with great performances of "Beautiful" and "Fighter" but a competent encore does not make up for the dirge that went before it. The concert stumbled from one disaster to the next. Christina has as much charisma as a floating turd and the staging was less elaborate that Dannii's gay nightclub tour. I know that Christina has a fantastic voice but it was impossible to tell with the poor sound system and her shrill screaming. "Back To Basics" is a desperate new low for live entertainment.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Olivia Newton John - The Rumour

I recently spent some time writing an article about Olivia Newton-John's magnificent career for a website and had the chance to reflect on some of my favourite albums. I've already dedicated a post to the trash epic that is "Soul Kiss" and waxed lyrical about the pure brilliance of "Totally Hot" but I'm yet to write about "The Rumour", which I believe is a completely unique pop album. Pop music is almost exclusively aimed at teenagers and young adults. Madonna is old enough to be a grandmother but she still writes songs for 20 year old fags. It seems that divas either continue to cater for the young or turn into Celine Dion and start releasing concept albums for the post-menopausal crowd. Olivia's "The Rumour" is one of the few straightforward pop albums that straddles the great divide between youth driven music and granny pop. "The Rumour" was released in 1988 after Olivia had taken a 3 year hiatus to raise her daughter, Chloe.

Like any good diva, Olivia made an explosive return to the pop scene with a fabulous new mutton-dressed-as-lamb image and a brilliant new album. "The Rumour" was Olivia's last traditional pop album and stands up as one of her best. Unlike her later recordings which sometimes slide into granny pop territory, "The Rumour" was an attempt to make a contemporary pop album directed at adults. The idea of tackling issues like AIDS, single parenting and ageing within the context of trashy pop album is really quite revolutionary. Olivia's touching AIDS anthem, "Love And Let Live", inspired fans well before AIDS advocacy became trendy, while "It's Not Heaven" is an unusually frank commentary on single parenthood. The album might sound heavy but its not. The title track boasts one of the trashiest videos of Olivia's fabulous career and the closing track, "Tutta La Vita" is one of the defining pop trash moments of the 1980s. The video, which depicts Olivia doing the conga on a Navy ship, has to be seen to be believed. Sadly, the album was a failure everywhere except Australia. The general view was that Olivia was too old to compete with the new generation of pop tarts. All I can say is: Bitch, please!

Here is a review of "The Rumour" I wrote for Amazon:

"The Rumour" was Olivia's last real "pop" album before changing her focus to the adult contemporary market. That might have had something to do with the album's scathing reviews and commercial failure. Then again, maybe Olivia just felt the urge to move in a new direction. I really hope the reason was the latter because "The Rumour" is a great pop album, which was simply too eclectic for mainstream tastes at the time.

My favourite aspect of "The Rumour" is that Olivia finally has something to say. Olivia has since devoted entire albums to environmental issues and women's causes, but at the time the choice of subject matter was eye-opening. The fact that Olivia manages to cover topics such as AIDS, the environment, single parenting and working women without ever being overbearing or preachy, is a minor miracle.

The album begins with the Elton John penned title track. The song is rock-lite at its best but also sounds more like something Elton would have recorded in the 1970s than an 80s pop song. As a result and despite its quality, "The Rumour" is the only song that doesn't quite seem to fit with the others. The next song "Love And Let Live" must have been one of the first songs to deal with AIDS in the 1980s. Happily, this is not a maudlin ballad but an insanely catchy pop song complete with synth keyboards and is one of the album's highlights. This is followed by Olivia's restrained cover of "Can't We Talk It Over In Bed" and her environmental awareness song "Let's Talk About Tomorrow".

"It's Not Heaven" is one of the best songs Olivia has written. It is an unusual mid-tempo ballad about being a single mother, performed with real emotion. "It's Always Australia For Me" is a lovely nod to Australia's then bicentennial year, while "Get Out" is a funky anthem for the working woman. This is followed by "Big And Strong", which is one of the strangest songs Olivia has recorded. I'm not sure if it has an anti-war message or just unfortunate lyrics. Anyway, it sounds pleasant enough.


"Car Games" is a great 80s song about the dangers of love and another example of Olivia's gift for unusual lyrics. "Walk Through Fire" is a beautifully performed ballad and perhaps my favourite song on the album. The final song, "Tutta La Vita" closes the set on an upbeat note with an enjoyable piece of pop fluff about the important things in life.

"The Rumour" is an underappreciated 80s gem. Olivia's vocals are superb and the album shows her significant development as a songwriter. This album is highly recommended.

One of the many great things about "The Rumour" was the accompanying video album, which provides film clips for each song - usually with some kind of narrative. The video clips for "Tutta La Vita" and "Love And Let Live" below both originate from the video album:

Love And Let Live

Tutta La Vita - Possibly my favourite video ever!



"The Rumour" can be purchased from Chaos, Sanity and iTunes. International readers can buy the album from Amazon.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

She's Delicious!

I was completely overcome today when I learned that my homegirl Deni Hines is not only releasing a new album in October but also launching yet another tour. It seems Deni has hooked up with James Morrison to record a jazz album! It's not exactly my favourite musical genre but I'm sure Deni will convert me. Here's an excerpt from the press release:

THE OTHER WOMAN

No, it’s not a sour grapes tell all saga of infidelity more so the joining of two worlds and two minds, one voice one instrument.

World renown Jazz artist, James Morrison and leading Soul/RNB singer Deni Hines join forces for “THE OTHER WOMAN”. A 15 track duet album stacked with classics from Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin and a stellar original of their own titled “The Other Woman”.


The very thought of Deni covering the likes of Ella, Billie and Nina has got me in a frenzy! Unfortunately, "The Other Woman" is still a couple of months away so I thought I would post some vintage Deni to tide us over. "Delicious" is one of the many random singles Deni released during her ten year drought between albums. I've decided to focus on "Delicious" due to the original's slightly jazzy feel and because it has the most stunning cover art I have ever seen.

"Delicious" exudes class with every beat. Deni's vocals are gorgeous and the production is delightful. The song is heavily influenced by 70s soul and wouldn't sound out of place on Deni's sublime "Water For Chocolate" album. Shamefully, I still can't help but be drawn to the trashy club mixes. It's a sickness! I have selected the intriguingly titled "Colour System Inc White Mix" for your listening pleasure.

"Delicious" is available on iTunes and can be found on all of Deni's greatest hits compilations. So who wants to be my date for the tour?!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sirens - Three Trashy Divas

I had completely forgotten about Sirens until my recent post on Sara-Marie's fabulous cover of "I'm So Excited". The song is credited to Sara-Marie and Sirens but it seems the latter did all the singing. And I mean all of it. Sara-Marie's contribution was limited to shouting out "bum dance" instructions! "I'm So Excited" has been a guilty pleasure of mine for years, so I thought it was time that I did some research and explored the short but fabulous career of perhaps Australia's most obscure and fantastically tragic girlband.

Unfortunately, my search was rather futile because I could only find one other Sirens single. The whole process was complicated by an English girlband of the same name, who were releasing material at the same time. I'm sure the Australian Sirens did more than support Sara-Marie's floptastic music career and release one other song but if that was it, they should hold their heads high. "I'm So Excited" is brilliant and "Like Fire, Like Rain" is equally delightful. "Like Fire, Like Rain" is the kind of glorious nonsense that makes me proud of the local music industry. The ladies sound amazing and the disco flavoured backing track is wonderfully crap. There's even an embarrassing guitar solo - I could listen to "Like Fire, Like Rain" all day!

Let me know if you have any information on the band's other releases. I'd love to hear more of their sonic brilliance!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Toni Pearen's Pop Legacy

Toni Pearen is often rudely but accurately described as the poor man's Melissa Tkautz - who in turn is the homeless man’s Dannii! Both Melissa and Toni first came to public attention as stars on the sadly missed Australian soap opera “E Street” and both embarked on fabulous pop careers in the early 90s. Toni isn’t quite in Melissa’s league of trashtastic fabulousness, mostly due to her incredibly dull image. I'll take an anorexic, plastic surgery addict over the wholesome girl next-door any day! However, Toni’s pop legacy is still rather stunning and definitely worthy of appreciation.

After Melissa unexpectedly reached number 1 with the divine “Read My Lips”, it was only a matter of time before the show’s other teenage star followed suit. Toni was quickly snapped up by Mushroom Records and released her debut single, “In Your Room”, in 1992. “In Your Room” is one of the sweetest bursts of Australian bubblegum pop to be released in the 90s. Instantly catchy and undeniably cute, the song was a deserved top ten hit and eventually went gold. With the release of her second single, the equally excellent “I Want You”, Toni appeared to be a legitimate rival to the Minogues and Melissa. “I Want You” still holds up as a gorgeous slice of mid-tempo pop. It's almost too high quality for a trashy soap star turned pop diva. “I Want You” peaked at #10 in 1993 and became Toni’s second and last gold single.

The failure of Toni’s subsequent releases is probably explained by the fact that they were quite shit and released almost a year after her two top 10 hits. Toni spent most of 1993 recording her debut album “Intimate”, which was eventually released in 1994. “Intimate” is a surprisingly good pop album, which is only marred by a handful of plodding tracks aimed at the American market. The album was launched with Toni’s third single, “Walkaway Lover”. Unfortunately, the song limped to #35 and “Intimate” could only manage #56 on the album chart. “Walkaway Lover” is a cover of an old Sonia track and probably the closest that Toni ever came to tacky Euro-pop. I like “Walkaway Lover” but it poorly represents the polished American sound of “Intimate” and basically killed the album. The funky title track would have been a much better choice to launch the album or perhaps the camp “Looking At You”. A further single, “Joy”, was released in 1995 but Toni’s time had passed and the song could only manage #71 despite being a rather lovely pop anthem.

Toni returned to television in 1994 with a brief stint on “Home & Away” and even managed to star in a couple of films, most notably the classy “All Men Are Liars” in which Toni memorably fell in love with a drag queen. Toni left Australia in 1995 to pursue music and acting opportunities in the US and somehow managed to score a deal with Chrysalis Records. Despite staying in Los Angeles until 2003, Toni never managed to score a role or release a solitary song. The most fabulous part of Toni’s American exile was her column in Woman's Day, which reported on her "glamorous Hollywood lifestyle" with fellow no-hoper Kym Wilson. Toni finally came to her senses (unlike Kym who now works in a Los Angeles clothing store) and returned to Australia to host "Australia's Funniest Home Videos" in 2003. Since her return, Toni has hinted at reviving her music career and has performed at Carols By Candlelight and made an appearance on “ABBA Mania”. Toni's tens of fans wait with baited breath for her next pop masterpiece!

Sadly, Toni's stunning album is not available on iTunes. It does, however, turn up frequently on Australian Ebay.


Australian Pop Queens - Melissa Tkautz & Toni Pearen

Friday, July 13, 2007

Fuck Pink! Dame Shirley Throws It DOWN!

One of the year's most glorious pop albums thus far is Dame Shirley Bassey's "Get The Party Started". The first single, "The Living Tree", was typically majestic and oozed class with every beat. The soon to be released title track, on the other hand, is an irresistible explosion of camp! Dame Shirley takes Pink's party anthem, deconstructs it and vastly improves on the original. As brilliant as the single version is, I almost fainted when the lovely Deirdre Halliwell sent me the remixes. Dame Shirley has hooked up with Kelly Llorenna's favourite DJs, Flip N Fill, to release one of the trashiest club mixes of the year. This remix will make trash lovers dirty their undies! Ms Bassey's fabulous career has been long and varied but tragic house queen is a new and unexpected development. Bring on the remixes for Dame Shirley's "This Is My Life"!

Thanks again, Deirdre. The cock shots are in the mail. Dame Shirley's anthem is released in the UK on the 23rd of July. Purchase your copy from iTunes, Amazon UK or HMV UK.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Aleesha Rome - Search My Heaven

This post is dedicated to the lovely Zac for kindly reminding me of Aleesha Rome and her brief but wonderful reign as one of Australia's leading pop divas. To my knowledge, "Search My Heaven" was Aleesha's one and only hit, making the top 20 in 1999. She released a couple of further singles but they all flopped spectacularly and Aleesha sadly disappeared after the release her debut album. Ms Rome's career may have been short but the brilliance of "Search My Heaven" ensures that her fabulous legacy will endure.

After being reminded of Aleesha, I rummaged through my CDs and discovered Aleesha's album as well as several singles. I will get to those another time because I want to devote this post exclusively to "Search My Heaven". I have been playing Aleesha's anthem on repeat since digging it out and I really can't believe that I neglected it for so long. It goes to show how much better the standard of pop music was in the late 90s. Back then, "Search My Heaven" was just one of a number of fierce pop anthems and somehow got lost in the mix. By today's standards, however, "Search My Heaven" sparkles like the Hope Diamond! Aleesha has produced four minutes of flawless pop, which is overwhelmingly European in sound. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised at all if it's actually a cover version.

Aleesha sadly remains one of the many fabulous Australian divas to disappear without being given a proper chance to shine. The woman definitely had potential, one listen to "Search My Heaven" will get you hooked. I've spent the past few days walking around humming "you came along, as quiet as a church mouse and bright as a lighthouse". Now that shit's deep! The last I heard, Aleesha was playing with an indie band in London. I really hope she hasn't turned to dark side!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Joanne Appreciation Volume 2

My first post about Joanne went down like a lead balloon but I'm not discouraged. Joanne's contribution to Australian pop music is overwhelmingly fabulous and I'm going to keep shouting her praises - even if I'm the only one listening! Today's post will concentrate on Joanne's second and third singles. The former, "Pack Your Bags", is a gorgeous piece of late 90s pop that should have been massive. The latter, "Are You Ready?", is perhaps Joanne's weakest single but is just corny enough to be endearing. Dust off your disco whistle, Joanne really will get you dancing like its 1999!

After the massive success of her debut single, Joanne was briefly considered to be the next big thing. While none of Joanne's subsequent singles reached the same lofty heights as "Jackie", they were all moderate hits. In fact, Joanne's album spawned an impressive six hit singles and she deservedly developed a large club following. Joanne's sublime second single perfectly illustrates her appeal. "Pack Your Bags" is a bright, shiny pop anthem about nothing in particular, which fabulously hitches a ride on the late 90s disco revival. Unfortunately, the song stalled at #54, becoming Joanne's biggest flop.

"Pack Your Bags" was followed by "Are You Ready?", Joanne's rave anthem. "Are You Ready?" sounds unusually dated for a song released in 1999 but fans of 90s dance music will love it. "Are You Ready?" is my least favourite Joanne single but it is still a cut above the rubbish that was flooding the airwaves at the time. The song was a club favourite and peaked at #41. After two relative failures, Joanne's sound and tragic image was given something of an overhaul and her next three singles represent some of the best pop music made in Australia in the early part of this decade. I'll cover those hits and Joanne's stunning album in my next few Joanne posts. Stay tuned!

Unfortunately, Joanne's music is still not available on itunes. However, most of singles regularly turn up on Australian Ebay.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Chantoozies - I'll Be There

I'm in the mood for a pop trash flashback! I recently sent this song to a dear friend and I thought some of you tragic bitches might enjoy it too. The Chantoozies are veritable 80s icons. The lovely ladies were Australia's answer to Bananarama, scoring top ten hits with pop classics like "Wanna Be Up", "Witch Queen" and "He's Gonna Step On You Again". As you can probably gather from their song titles, there was nothing particularly deep about the band. The Chantoozies were all about fun, big hair and even bigger shoulder pads. Basically, they were a slice of heaven!

The original four woman line-up only lasted for one album but three of the Toozies reformed the group in the early 90s. "I'll Be There" is a product of their 90s comeback and I think it holds up as one of their best tunes. Don't let the first 20 seconds of the song fool you, this is no dreary ballad! The Chantoozies somehow manage to transform this classic into a tacky pop anthem. Michael Jackson and Mariah must be green with envy because this version shits all over their crap! I promise to fully re-visit The Chantoozies' glorious legacy soon.

Unfortunately, The Chantoozies' catalogue is yet to appear on iTunes. Your best bet for finding a physical copy is Australian Ebay.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Lorenz - Back In The Studio!

As Lorenz's biggest (and quite possibly, only) fan, I was delighted to find that his website has finally been updated. Regular readers will remember my utter disappointment when Lorenz turned his back on tragic dance music in order to release a meditation CD. Thankfully, the Italian man-whore has come to his senses and is currently in the studio concocting his next trashy pop hit. Lorenz's website proudly boasts that he is recording "songs written by 10cc's Graham Gouldman and Take That's Gary Barlow". The mind boggles. I just hope Lorenz continues to wear as little clothing as possible and perform stunningly bad dance routines in his videos. Although I doubt he could possibly come up with something more sublimely tragic than this:
If you are new to Lorenz, check out my previous posts here and here. The download links still appear to be working.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Oh Yes, I'm Gonna Be Smokin'!

When everything goes to shit and I feel completely miserable, one of the few things that never fails to cheer me up (apart from hard drugs) is the legendary Millie Jackson. I've already written several posts about this goddess but they barely cover the tip of the iceberg given that Millie's career spans several decades, many musical genres and more fabulous hairstyles than your average drag queen. This post will focus on her 1978 opus "Get It Out'cha System" with its winning mix of hilarious spoken interludes, interesting cover versions and fantastic music.

"Get It Out'cha System" is really quite breathtaking in its scope and variety of sounds. The title track sets the tone with a funky groove that borrows elements from soul and disco. That formula continues with the infectious "Keep The Home Fires Burning". However, the first real dose of Millie genius is the third track, "Logs And Things", which is really only an extended spoken introduction to the next song, "Put Something Down On It". Millie is famous for linking tunes with humorous skits and interludes but "Logs And Things" takes the biscuit. The song (for want of a better word) is basically a warning to Millie's man that he had better start satisfying her needs or else. Only instead of her usual direct approach, Millie uses the most hilarious mix of bad metaphors ever committed to record. Let's just say that these "logs" have nothing to do with forestry! Nobody puts a man in his place quite like Millie J!

The album's second treasure is Millie's lovely cover of "Here You Come Again", which Dolly Parton rode to the top of the charts a year earlier. Millie's version shows her in a softer light than usual and the result is adorable. Ms Jackson then returns to more familiar waters with the soulful and funky, "Why Say You're Sorry". Like all good Millie anthems, she tears strips off her man in the intro. "He Wants To Hear The Words", on the other hand, is a surprisingly straightforward pop number. Thankfully, Millie snaps out her malaise on "I Just Wanna Be With You". This delightful anthem is a charming Motown throwback with some gorgeous harmonising between Millie and her backing singers. "Get It Out'cha System" ends on a high note with an amazing cover of Kenny Rogers' "Sweet Music Man", which is given a full Millie J makeover, complete with the obligatory comedic intro. "Get It Out'cha System" isn't Millie's finest hour but it is surely one of her most entertaining.

Millie's stunning opus can be purchased from most online retailers. I bought my copy from Amazon UK.