-- if you don't like music(k), we don't like you --

Monday, 28 July 2008

Cover uncovered

OK, let's get a few minor details out the way first shall we? Yes, Solange is Beyonce's little sister. And yes Solange is her actual name. Here she is on the front of her second solo album, the clumsily titled Sol-angel and the Hadley Street Dreams (there's also a 'Presents' at the beginning but it all seems so superfluous). Now, we all know that Beyonce's a pretty huge megastar who probably bathes in champagne and eats gold so we assumed that this wealth had been shared equally between the Knowles family. Yet, here we see poor Solange clearly surrounded by the paraphernalia of a good jumble sale; a few record players, a dusty couch, some old records and a pair of novelty party wings. Things don't look good for our little Sol-angel. To make matters worse, she doesn't seem to have fully grasped the magnitude of her very own 'credit crunch' (very topical I know), what with her expensive looking dress and that whopping great ring on her finger. But these are just the final delusions of a wilted mind, the hangover of a life steeped in riches. Somewhere, atop a hill, sits a tower in which Beyonce is cackling manically while poor little Solange sifts through the dregs at the local bring 'n buy sale. "What price my battered old records" she sings, badly.

To listen to Solange's weary tales of life on the edge, click here

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Ban this filth...future Daily Mail headline.


As previously reported right here on everyone's third favourite blog, Gnarls Barkley pushed back the release of their brilliant 'Who's Going To Save My Soul', in favour of the more upbeat 'Going On'. The latter subsequently became their lowest selling single to date and so far sophomore album The Odd Couple hasn't sold nearly as well as anticipated. So, the record company have reverted back to plan A and gone for this maudlin masterpiece, a song so perfectly poised that each syllable sounds more heartbreaking then the last. But we live in a visual world my friends, so image is of course more then important. So, they've only gone and made one of the best music videos I've seen in a very long time...

SECOND WARNING: Don't watch this video if you read The Daily Mail as it does involve scenes of a stabbing nature. Actually, don't read this blog if you read The Daily Mail.

Er, slight problem with the video. It stopped working, leaving a giant blank space right here where these words are. So, just click here and fly off to youtube yourselves you lazy buggers

Where to start? Most videos have about three memorable shots and one or two moments that make you feel any emotion other then "ohhh, I quite like this" or "this makes me want to hurt myself", but with this you get sadness, shock, laughter, drama and the unsettling feeling that can only come from watching a heart singing into a piece of broccoli. When the little heart stabs himself and falls back on the plate, I damned near shed a tear for the loss of this relationship, and I don't even know these people! The power of a great music video is a power like no other dear readers. Most importantly, it complements the song perfectly, which is kind of the point.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Joe No

There was a moment, back in Halcyon days of early January 2008, when Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong were thought to be the future of music. As you can see from this picture things had already gone slightly awry.

Well, I bring you sad news. They've decided to scrap the release of their debut album, about two weeks before its release. Apparently the album 'didn't truly reflect where the band are at musically', which is management speak for 'it's utter dog shit'. A re-recorded version will be released next January to a fanfare of 'weren't they the band that were tipped for big things in January 2008 but didn't get anywhere and now things are moving so fast in music that I'm already really bored of them?'

Mariah Vs. the dolphins

Mariah Carey loves animals. Back in the early noughties, before all that horrible war stuff and prior to her mini breakdown, Mariah would request a basket full of puppies to snuggle up to in interviews so that she could appear motherly and a friend to all things cute and cuddly. It's rumoured (i.e. made up) that one puppy decided to show his feelings towards Mariah by biting her so she had him made into a clutch purse. Since this fateful (and completely fictional) incident, Mariah has been seeking a new animal group to fall in love with, and thankfully she's found one in the nick of time. Watch the video for her new single, 'I'll Be Lovin' You Long Time', to find out which lucky mammal struck musical gold (the clue's in the blog title).

Lucky old Flipper, eh? It's thought the two of them were able to communicate perfectly through their mutual ability to reach ear-piercing notes that would deafen any other animal. I just hope the dolphin behaved himself, otherwise expect to see Mariah sporting some rather fetching grey boots in the near future.


- Everyone's favourite rapper and all round good egg, Kanye West, will be greeting American soldiers as they return from fighting in Iraq. That's right, Kanye West. It's thought he'll want to ask them why they didn't buy his last album and probably haven't been to any of his groundbreaking gigs (Pitchfork)

- A pasty, dead-eyed Amy Winehouse has been found frozen in time in a cruel form of punishment, probably inflicted by the tabloids to 'help' her overcome her problems (NME)

- The Daily Star have written something potentially libelous about Madonna having sex with a tape (Yahoo Music)

- Imagine being a huge fan of Guns N Roses and Dr Dre. Dre's finally got around to making a new album, nearly NINE years after the last one! I do hope he wasn't being paid for all that time sitting around eating Oreo cookies (Billboard)

The is the new shit

Here at Musick we like to think we've got our fingers very firmly on the pulse. We're so near the zeitgeist that we've got zeitgeist splinters in our fingers and little shavings in our eyes. Let's look at the evidence shall we- here are just some of the brand new acts to have appeared on these pages; Haddaway, Mariah Carey, Beck, Elastica, Linkin Park, to name but a few. We're so now that I even had a request from a reader to find out about this hot new singer called Kavana. With that in mind, I thought I'd get in before anyone else with these two hip new bands. They go by the names of Friendly Fires and XX Teens and I can guarantee that neither have been featured in NME, Artrocker, or any tips for 2008/9 and have probably never been on an episode of skins. It's all box fresh.

- Friendly Fires are a trio who specialise in what used to be called 'punk funk' but now just gets called 'dance music made with guitars' and are really quite alright. You can hear what they sound like here. Their self-titled debut album is out at the beginning of September on XL records and fingers crossed I might even have a preview copy of it sometime in October...oh.

- XX Teens are five young scamps from London who are about to release their debut album, entitled Welcome To Goon Island on Mute records. Some people have called them the new Velvet Underground. Seems a little premature. Single 'Only You' is rather fun. Listen here.

Don't say I didn't warn you. I'm like Mystic Meg on acid or something.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Where are they now?

Pop stars come and pop stars go. Like pets. Or diarrhea. But sometimes, you stop and think to yourself, whatever happened to...? For the sake of this article, we're asking, whatever happened to Haddaway? Or, as his parents knew him, Alexander Nestor Haddaway.

Haddaway was born way back in 1965 in Trinidad, before the advent of cheesy Europop, and yet somehow he knew it was his destiny. "I knew it was my destiny" he's been quoted as saying. In 1989, he arrived in Germany where he made money as a choreographer and carpet salesman. The two were thought to be mutually exclusive. In 1992 he was signed by a record label who literally had no idea that he would go on to sell a whopping 28 million (!) records worldwide. His biggest hit came in 1993 and was called 'What Is Love?'. Here's the video:

A nineties pop classic I'm sure you'll agree. The single reached the number 1 spot in most European countries and was followed up by a handful of other singles that all sold a bit less each time. I would give you titles but it would be meaningless. Haddaway then made the foolish decision of moving away from his Europop roots and branched out into soul. Very silly. But in 2004 he made a comeback on the German version of reality show I Used To Be A Success Back In The Late Eighties/Early Nineties But It's All Gone A Bit Wrong Since Then. He subsequently appeared on the UK and US versions of the show too. But, the greatest bit of all is yet to come my friends. This November the greatest concert EVER will be taking place in Riga, Latvia. The line-up is as follows: Haddaway, alongside Ace of Base, 2 Unlimited, Dr Alban and Culture Beat. Between them they have about a trillion number 1 singles and are single handedly responsible for Basshunter. Ladies and gentlemen, I have found my musical Nirvana. Are you with me?

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Yeah Yeah What?

One of my favourite records in recent years went by the name Show Your Bones and it was committed to tape by a band called Yeah Yeah Yeahs. You might have heard of them. Well, have you heard of Native Korean Rock & The Fishnets? Mmm, punk, have you or not? This mouthful is the name of lead singer Karen O's new side project, a group made up of so far unnamed New York musicians, who will play their debut gigs in New York this month. Here's a rather revealing poster advertising the gigs.

You can hear some demos right here, and very nice they are too. Meanwhile, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are working on their third album due for release whenever its bloody finished.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

More then just P Diddy's butler?

I imagine there are numerous routes you can take to become a Hip Hop superstar. You could try starting off as an in-demand production whizz a la Kanye West, or perhaps go from being a notorious drug dealer to all conquering rap hero, much like my friend and yours, Jay-Z. If you're Sean Combs, aka Puff Diddy or P Diddy or JC Penny, then you could befriend a talented rapper and live off his memory for the rest of your career. Speaking of Mr Doody, a few years back, whilst sunning himself on a yacht, one couldn't help but notice an interesting addition to his entourage. In amongst the bodyguards, PAs, stylists and hangers on, there stood one Fonzworth Bentley, umbrella in hand, standing over P Diddily, shielding him from the sun. Yep, that's right, Puff Dastardly had only gone and got himself a butler or 'personal assistant' as he is listed as on his wikipedia page.

An auspicious start I'm sure you'll agree. Bentley has since branched out into the worlds of music and fashion, the latter represented by his own range of umbrellas. I know, it's all fairly ghetto. The music side is the area where things seem to be really taking off, having recently signed to Kanye West's record label, GOOD Music, he will soon be releasing his debut album entitled C.O.L.O.U.R.S (or "Cool Outrageous Lovers of Uniquely Raw Style"). As a taster for the album a song entitled 'Everybody' has appeared on t'internet, with a video and everything. The song (and video) features long-time friend Andre 3000 as well as Kanye West himself. The song's not much to write home about, but the video does feature some natty dance moves and a surprisingly restrained performance form the normally rampant Mr West.

I can't help thinking of Carlton from the Fresh Prince when I see him though.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Fake Plastic Lesbian

You know when you're in a club and you're feeling a bit tipsy and all your inhabitions have gone and you just think 'to hell with it, I'm going to be a lesbian, just to see what it's like'? Come on, we've all been there. Someone who has most definitely been there is Katy Perry, America's latest 'controversial' pop star who's been getting the religious right hot under the overly starched collar. You see, Perry used to be deeply religious herself, went to church as a youngster and loved God with all her heart, but then she was corrupted by music and- for the benefit of her new single 'I Kissed A Girl'- lesbianism. But not the whole shebang, oh no, we're talking the kind of lesbianism that t.A.t.U made famous all those years ago, the kind where you pretend to be a lesbian and quite like the idea of it, but in reality you're straight and you've got a boyfriend and the whole thing was a big ploy to get attention. I mean, it's fun being a lesbian, but only for one night and only to impress your mates. Here's the video (and doesn't it look EXACTLY how you'd expect a lesbian club to look like...or rather, how a man would expect a lesbian club to look like):

The chorus runs thusly: "I kissed a girl and I liked it/ The taste of her cherry chapstick/ I kissed a girl just to try it/ I hope my boyfriend don't mind it". This song is currently number one in America.

Perry seems slightly obsessed with all things homosexual. Her first single, 'Ur So Gay' lead to accusations of homophobia, which is slightly harsh seeing as she just seems to be under the impression that if you're a vegetarian who cares about the planet that makes you, like, oh my god, like, just too gay for words or whatever. No doubt she'll be over this way very soon, expect The Daily Mail to hate her, Radio One to love her and us all to be sick of her by October 28th.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Laser Quest

As we all know by now, Radiohead's last album, the magnificent In Rainbows, was delivered to fans via carrier pigeon, each one carrying a micro-chip in their beaks. Once the birds had entered your house he (or she) then inserted the micro-chip into your brain as you slept, allowing you access to the album. This revolutionary technique has since been used by bands like Coldplay, The Charlatans and Nine Inch Nails, each with varying degrees of success (it's thought the Coldplay birds all committed suicide upon finding out their mission).

To continue their experimentation with all things technical the band have decided to side-step conventional music video making, i.e. using cameras and lights and all that boring stuff, and instead they've created a pretty astounding visual accompaniment to album track, 'House Of Cards'. Without wanting to get too Tomorrow's World on your asses, it uses a 3D plotting technique that maps the shapes and relative distances of objects and creates an otherworldly effect that looks not unlike grains of sand being blown about. There are lasers involved at some point too. Here it is:

Is it better then their video for 'Pop Is Dead' though?

Yes. Yes it is.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Can they be saved?

Sometimes a song can be so rotten that nothing can save it. On the odd occasion, however, a video can be made that will magically take the song, give it a good shake, perhaps even a light slap and put it down roughly three times better then it was before. So, with that in mind, let's see if these two musical rotting corpses can be resuscitated by some vapid imagery and a few flash effects.

First up is 'My Drive Thru' by Pharrell, Santogold and Julian Casablancas (mentioned here):

The verdict? Well, they automatically get bonus points for cutting the song down to two and half minutes and the concertina effect looks pretty cool. What's so good about it is that you can marvel at the little cardboard cut outs and forget about the song entirely. A raging success!

Next up is 'Love Is Noise' by The Verve, last mentioned here. Now, I feel I should mention at this stage that when someone I know first heard this song he thought it was a joke and was adamant that it was some awful youtube-created abomination. No, this abomination is very much real and probably cost a fair bit to make. Here's the video:

The verdict? Well, it's an epic song so it needs an epic video. What better way to say it then with sweeping views of mountains, little sparks bouncing delicately on the floor, an exotic dancer moving silently in an ornate room and a miserable looking skeleton sat against a wall trying to keep a straight face as he sings "Are we blind?/ Can we see?/ We are one/ Incomplete". Nothing can save this song.

Boo Thousand 8

With so many music festivals around at the moment (including my personal favourite, The Tolpuddle Martyrs festival held this month), it’s commendable that organisers are starting to look outside the box. What with the growth in popularity of so-called boutique festivals, people want more from their festival experience, they want to know they’re experiencing something unique as well as the onset of trench foot from camping during a typical British ‘summer’. So, on paper ZOO8, set within the grounds of Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, looked like a winner. People like festivals right? Yep. People like zoos? Of course they do. So why not put a festival in a zoo and stand back and watch the cash roll in.

The only problem, of course, is that ZOO8 was, like many new festivals, beset with problems from the start. Firstly, revellers arrived at the site at 12.30pm on the Friday only to be left standing, tent in hand and warm beer in belly, until 16.30pm. Having finally managed to set up camp people were then forced to deal with a lack of “drinkable water” and “campsite overcrowding” (quotes taken from the festival website itself). Once out in the main field, things started to get worse as the second stage was closed (twice), perimeter fences blew down, performance schedules were changed at the last minute and major acts including current number one Dizzee Rascal, Roni Size and The Rascals all pulled out having been told there was no cash to pay them. OK, so Athlete didn’t play either, proving the old adage, ‘every cloud…’

At one point Irish rockers Ash were unsure if their set was going to go ahead, and it was only when the Zoo (or Wild Animal Park, but Wild Animal Park08 doesn’t really work does it?) stepped in with the cash, that the event was able to continue. Disgruntled music fans- and some poor lost souls still pining for Athlete- made their anger known via the usual method of a facebook group, brilliantly entitled Boo Thousand, referring to ZOO8 as “badly organised”, the staff as “very rude” and the toilets as “just way too grim”. Personally, I think the state of the toilets at a festival is pretty non-negotiable, you don’t go expecting a pleasant lavatory experience. In a wonderful show of defiance (read delusion) organisers called the festival a “qualified success”. One punter dared to disagree, referring to ZOO8 as the “worst fest ever” (‘fest’ is kids speak for festival. Kids will literally shorten any wrd thse dys).

Unfortunately, ZOO8 isn’t alone when it comes to providing a ‘unique’ festival experience. As recently as three weeks ago another new festival, Wild In The Country was cancelled two days before it was due to start following financial problems and concern from headliner Bjork regarding production issues. Last year, the inaugural Field Day, held in Victoria Park, East London was criticised for its lack of toilet facilities, its apparent disregard for anyone of a vegetarian persuasion and the fact that the sound levels were so low you could practically hear the creaking of skinny jeans as people left. It’s claimed that ZOO8 will be back next year but will in fact be called ZOO9.

The only glimpse of hope all weekend came in the shape of this lot:

They are called Brigadier Ambrose and can be heard here

During their set they were interrupted by Jose, an escaped gorilla and Ian Brown fan.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Fake Rolex

Is 'Rolex Sweep' by Skepta the worst single/video combo ever released on an unsuspecting public? Let me count the ways...

1). It's one of those awful novelty songs that features dance moves you can all do together in clubs, only this one is based around a song that's only been out about a month (Wiley's 'Wearing My Rolex'), so therefore its existence is even more pointless.

2). It tries to use a number of different music video staples, not least the one where you ape a Michael Jackson video for no discernable reason. Others include; flirting with old people (it happens in a lot of videos for some reason), people suddenly dancing involuntarily, fat bloke dancing enthusiastically, the video generally being a steaming pile of crap.

3). As it goes on you start to lose the will to live and suddenly putting your head in a microwave to see what it feels like seems like a brilliant idea, but, oh, what's this? Here come some scantily clad females fresh from one of those TEXTSEX adverts you see on freeview all the time. They seem to be having a nice time.

4). When you think it can't get any lower, it manages to sink to depths not seen since Vanilla's 'No Way, No Way', as Timmy Mallett suddenly appears. No, really, Timmy Mallett is in this video. Hilariously, he actually looks a bit embarrassed about being in it, as if he feels dirty for agreeing to it in the first place. Poor Timmy.

If the above hasn't put you off then feast your eyes on the full video right here. The song is available to buy in September, by which time the world will hopefully have exploded killing us all.

Tomorrow, tomorrow...it's Annie!

Everyone knows that the best pop stars around at the moment are all Scandinavian, from Robyn to Lykke Li, from Those Dancing Days to, er, Alphabeat ('Fascination' was good!). Back in 2004, Norway's Annie released the wonderful Anniemal album, a collection of shimmering electropop that looked destined to ride on Girls Aloud's perfectly designed coat tails. As is sometimes the case with quality pop, however, the general public gave Annie a succinct 'meh' and she quietly retreated back to the Nordic mountains or somewhere. But, buoyed perhaps by Robyn's top ten success here in Blighty, Annie is back with the first single from her new album, the Richard X produced, 'I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me'.

Now, for those of you that have heard of Annie before will know that this single isn't a million musical miles away from her debut single 'Chewing Gum', also produced by Richard X. I'm not one for letting laziness pass by unnoticed, but in this case I'll make an exception. The reasons for this are twofold:

1). No-one bloody paid any attention the first time, so what better way to re-release a great single without actually having to re-release the single then to just re-work into another great single. It's what Oasis have been doing for years, just without all the 'great' bits.

2). The rest of the album is meant to be so lipsmackingly good that when you hear it you'll realise that 'I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me' is probably the seventh best song on there anyway.

The album is called Don't Stop and is produced by Richard X and Girls Aloud production machine Xenomania (Girls Aloud also provide backing vocals on one track). For reasons unknown to many, the record company have pushed the album back to October (!) but the single is out right about now. This is what the album will look like if you hold the CD facing you:

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

She's In Fashion

They say that every generation has a fashion icon, a muse that shapes and alters the way people dress, their style, their very happiness. In the '60s there was Twiggy and The Beatles, in the '70s it was David Bowie and the '80s was all about Madonna. The '90s was a bit of a blip and should probably be forgotten about, but since 2000 a brand new style icon (or icons) has emerged, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Slipknot. You thought it was just about the ear-bleeding music and the inhaling of dead animals, but oh no, a huge part of their success has come down to the fact that they've always been so on-point with the latest trends, sporting the current looks like they're going out of fashion. So, with a new album out soon (hey, who cares about the music when the clothes are this hot?), they've unleashed their new collection of masks on an unsuspecting fashion world, ready to take Paris by storm. Stock up on your bird carcasses people, Slipknot are in town.

We asked our resident fashion expert, Matilda Von Westerfield Van Donnersmark, to talk us through some pieces from their new collection:

"Oh my god, Jesus is like so in right now, I mean every collection simply has to feature some emblem of martyrdom, some image of complete struggle against all the odds. Plus, the pale skin tone is so 2009, it's like Amy Winehouse meets Wednesday Adams in hell or something".

"It's weird because I honestly thought that the Michael Myers Halloween look would be big in 2007, but I was like totally wrong, because Slipknot have used it so well here. Again, the light skin tone goes well with the black boiler suit, and the gaunt expression is kind of a fashion staple, so it's really a homage to the past, but it's also like totally forward looking at the same time".

And finally...

"How right now is that? It's so present you know? Some people are calling it Abu Grade chic, but I like to think of it as S&M goes to the circus, kind of painful yet playful. These guys know what they want and they're not afraid to go out and get it. I mean Kate Moss will be wearing this all winter, I swear on a stack of Vogues".

Thanks Matilda. Proof, if proof were needed, that Slipknot truly are all about the threads.

Retro Hip-Hop alert!

You know when you were at secondary school you'd always find there'd be different social groups that seemed to somehow orbit on slightly different planets. From the geeks to the jocks (if you're American), from the squares to the freaks, there was always a place for everyone, even if that place wasn't always the best place to be. Obviously, when I was at school I was part of an elite group of people known simply as The Cool Kids. You're not surprised you say? Well, good. Anyways, it seems that a rap duo from Illinois have gone and stolen our moniker, their titular coolness cemented by the fact that they've just signed a record deal in the UK with XL and are supporting redeemed enfant terrible Jay-Z at Wireless this week. Here's a little taste:

It's nice to hear something a little starker after years of intricate Timbaland/Neptunes productions, and though the beats may appear simple and more 'old skool' at first, there's definitely enough there to keep you listening. Also, the effect on the chorus makes me smile, plus there's the fact they they seem to say 'willies' a lot.

You can hear more here.