Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bisbal's back!

Where would we be without the wonderful Poster Girl to keep us all up to date with the hottest new Europop tunes?
So... all I can say is thanks once again for bringing new material by David Bisbal to my attention. I also got the "Silencio"-vibe from "Esclavo de Sus Besos" which I liked on first listen (and I usually don't like many songs on first listen) - it's a very nice and catchy uptempo Spanish guitar-pop tune and further proof that he's moving away musically from the Latino sound which made him famous. The new album "Sin Mirar Atrás" will be released worldwide on 20.10.2009.
Oh, and on a completely shallow note....one of the most divine heads of curly hair in the pop universe is back :))))
Check out the new tune and the matching visuals at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRyjUJbhg6Y
(Picture above courtesy of David's official site http://www.davidbisbal.com/)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Songs of the decade countdowns....

...expect a few of these on various websites towards the end of the year. One of these is starting early: http://nollnolltalet.se/ (in Swedish) is doing a very detailed rundown and I recommend it (thanks to It's A Trap for the link).

I haven't really thought about doing a "songs of the decade" rundown but I'm kicking around a few ideas at the moment so I'll probably do something towards the end of the year, in addition to the 2009-50, which is rapidly filling up!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


OK it may be 10 years old, but on any night in any bar in any Turkish holiday resort I guarantee that this will get played, with an accompanying dance routine by some rather lovely waiters no doubt :))))

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the lovely Tarkan with "Şımarık" (a.k.a. the original version of "Kiss Kiss"):

By the way I bought Tarkan's latest album "Metamorfoz" whilst on holiday and will eventually get around to reviewing it on here. :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Idol 2009: gå vidare

According to Aftonbladet (I haven't managed to catch up yet) here are the finalists in this year's Swedish Idol:

Andreas Johansson
Carl Chapal
Camilla Håkansson
Clara Hagman
Eddie Razaz
Erik Grönwall
Erika Selin
Jon Sindenius
Karolina Brånsgård
Mariette Hansson
Moa Carlebecker-Forssell
Nicklas Hocker
Nicolle Walles
Patrik Öhlund
Rabih Jaber
Rasmus Ingdahl
Reza Ningtyas Lindh
Sabina Täck
Tove Östman-Styrke

Competing for a final place:
Piotr Pospiech
Calle Kristiansson

Retro Saturday: Tracey Thorn

I didn't always have such contempt for female singers..back in 1982/83/84 for example, there were female/female-fronted acts with so much to offer musically. Notably Tracey Thorn, who was my absolute favourite female singer from those years. Nowadays her career seems to have been summarised to EBTG's "Missing" and Massive Attack's "Protection" but her first solo mini-album "A Distant Shore" is probably my favourite of all her recorded output. There's nothing fancy - it's just one wonderful voice and acoustic guitar, but it was very special for me at the time, particularly "Seascape" and "Plain Sailing": the latter was featured on "Pillows and Prayers" and can be heard at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE2GLsoxOJE

Retro Saturday: Joe Crow

Another track from "Pillows and Prayers", this time "Compulsion" by Joe Crow which has a nice little home-made lo-fi feeling about it. I don't know anything about the man who made it, but I just like this song, anyway....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kifY99v6BTM

Retro Saturday: Thomas Leer

It's not the first time I've featured Mr Leer on Retro Saturday - he's been here before as one half of the sublime late 80s duo Act - but I often find inspiration for this feature when my mind takes a little wander through the past, and so it was again this week. I remember receiving Cherry Red's excellent "Pillows and Prayers" album as part of my 1982 Christmas present bonanza - extremely good value for 99p, back in the day, and featuring a wide variety of acts signed to that label. If they all appealed to you, then congratulations on your ear for musical diversity! - anyway I enjoyed a fair amount of them and I thought I'd feature some of the tracks tonight. "All About You" by Thomas Leer is a very wonderful (and overlooked) electro-ballad which still sounds as fresh, and as touching, today.

Enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLZ4ObI8-d4

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Two people become one?

I don’t know, but a week can be a long time in the world of music. As if the continuing Sugababes game of line-up musical chairs (Jade "It’s My Time" Ewen in, last remaining original member Keisha Buchanan out) and the earth-shattering news of the Chas and Dave split wasn’t enough, now here is a strange one.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of Aussie duo Empire of the Sun, so I’m somewhat perplexed by the news that one half of the band, Nick Littlemore, has allegedly been "missing in action" for five months and will not take part in the band’s forthcoming debut live shows in Australia. Singer Luke Steele told an Australian newspaper that he has been left "holding the baby" and that he will be backed by a group called The Swiss for the live shows starting this weekend.

There is more about what can be expected from the weird, wonderful, conceptual live EOTS experience and the myths that surround the ‘band’ at http://www.theage.com.au/news/entertainment/music/stranger-than-fiction/2009/09/24/1253385071568.html

Where all this leaves the future of Empire of the Sun, nobody knows. It would be a shame if Luke Steele didn’t continue with this magical musical adventure though.

Back from Turkey!!

Hello again...I'm back from one of the best holidays I've ever had, in the lovely Turkish resort of Icmeler. Got back on Tuesday morning after a bit of a marathon final day/airport delays/night flight, but caught up with some sleep in the afternoon and should be back on track tomorrow.

Anyway we had a fantastic and relaxing time. Weather was 33 to 35 degrees most days but we managed to cope. The initial culture shock of shopping Turkish-style took some getting used to but by the end of the trip we were expert hagglers - great fun :))

Went on some very good trips/activities, ate brilliant food all week, and enjoyed the warm Turkish hospitality which truly deserves its good reputation. And let's just say I fell in love with many of those lovely Turkish men...!

As usual I'll be publishing my holiday diaries/holiday hit list on here over the next few days as I'll have a bit more time - yes I have almost another week off before going back to work next Tuesday, so expect some regular posts between now and then.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blog break time once again

This blog is now taking a break - the reason being that I'm off to Turkey tomorrow for my summer holiday (with faithful travelling companion of course)!

I'll be back on here on the evening of Tuesday 22nd September - in the meantime if you wish to leave any comments on any of my posts I'll respond to these when I get back.

See you all soon :))))

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Retro Saturday: Nick Lowe

I seem to be stuck in the late 70s at the moment....so while we are on some classic hits from that era let's feature the mighty "I Love The Sound of Breaking Glass" which made the UK top 40 during that new wave of post-punk: audio version at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn0cuAYC5jk&feature=fvw although there are also some live versions at YouTube too.

Nick Lowe also had a UK hit with "Cruel to be Kind": audio at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqWjyvgLYfI

Retro Saturday: John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett

Remember this? "Really Free" by John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett no less. "Cor baby, that's really free!" From 1977, and one more reason why we miss Top of the Pops so much.


Retro Saturday: OMC

Starting off tonight with a genuine 90s international one-hit wonder from New Zealand band OMC - "How Bizarre" was a (now forgotten) hit back in 1996 and it still sounds refreshing today. It pops into my head from time to time and tonight I thought it would be a good candidate for Retro Saturday. When was the last time you heard this on the radio?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Hallelujah! Swedish Idol is back.

The freaks, the geeks, the deluded and the just plain daft....yes it can only mean one thing, the audition stage of Idol 2009 (TV4) kicking off its sixth season.

Yes of course there may be some genuine talent but let's forget about that and focus on the undisputed greatness of Philip Damberg, whose version of "Ring of Fire" had me almost collapsing with a fit of the giggles for about half an hour...and will probably have Johnny Cash spinning in his grave.

Also worth a mention: Sami Piipanen's, um, enthusiastic "Boten Anna", and Sebastian Rönnberg's, um, less than enthusiastic "To Be With You".

You know how certain songs should be banned from Idol auditions? Well can we ban "Hallelujah" now? (Having said that, I thought Joseph Assaly's version was rather nice).

Jon (who sang his own composition) seemed to be a big hit with the jury. I was trying to think who he visually reminded me of....and then it just came to me - Stefan Raab on ESC singing "Wadde Hadde Dudde Da"!!!

I guess this will be my new Tuesday night obsession now that my summer singalong-shows have ended :)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The increasingly blurred worlds of....

...Swedish reality/talent television and Melodifestivalen hasn't escaped my notice. Further proof is the line-up for the forthcoming series of the hugely successful TV4 series "Korslaget" which is back to brighten up our autumn weekends from 3rd October. Auditions for the hometown-teams are currently taking place in Sweden: more at www.tv4.se/korslaget.

All except one of this year's choir leaders have been in Melodifestivalen - Caroline af Ugglas, Roger Pontare, Ola Svensson, Andreas Lundstedt, Amy Diamond, Rodrigo "Rigo" Pencheff - only Stefan Nykvist from Larz-Kristerz hasn't (yet) but his band of course won another reality-talent show "Dansbandskampen".

Talking of which, there will be a new series beginning on 24th October on SVT -expect the Swedish tabloids to get excited about another Saturday night ratings battle between SVT and TV4. Thanks to the internet, we'll be able to watch both shows.

And then there's the new series of "Idol" which starts this coming Tuesday on TV4. Who will succeed last year's winner Kevin Borg? (Kevin hasn't done too badly for an Idol-winner, landing the lead role in the Swedish stage version of High School Musical.)

Retro Saturday: Brecker Brothers

Can't believe I haven't featured this on here during the last 2½ years that I've been doing this blog - it's one of my most favourite songs ever and I'm probably the only person I know who has heard of it. Keeping with tonight's theme, it's from 1978 of course.

I refer to "East River" by the Brecker Brothers, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mgig-GNx4c, a fabulous jazzy, funky, exciting concoction which sounds as good today as it always did :)

Retro Saturday: Patrick Juvet

One more European star who briefly broke through in 1978 thanks to the disco boom was Patrick Juvet, who had hits here in the UK with "I Love America" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8UjLTAfbI0 and "Got A Feeling" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNXwyQKiKig&feature=related

People "of a certain age" who grew up in the 1970s will remember a mega-cheesy dance group called The Young Generation, (one of their members was none other than Popstars/Pop Idol/So You Think You Can Dance guru Nigel Lythgoe!) and that's what the "Got A Feeling" video makes me think of when I watch it :)

Retro Saturday: Voyage

Even back in 1978 I was cheered up by the thought of a non British/American act in the top 40 charts - Voyage were French if I remember rightly :)

Here is a little disco classic - "From East To West" and I guarantee you will be tapping your feet in no time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Es3Ark-As38

Then there was "Scots Machine" - everything was set to a disco beat back in those days, and just when you thought no-one would dare to do bagpipe-disco then Voyage came along to prove us all wrong!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNDxxVguDwE

Retro Saturday: The Cars

Mention The Cars to anyone, at least in this country and they will think of "Drive" which took on a whole, new, chilling meaning after Live Aid in 1985. But long before that, back in 1978, they arrived on the scene with "My Best Friend's Girl" and "Just What I Needed", the latter was a particular favourite of mine. Here's a clip from their performance on "The Midnight Special" an American TV show - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPWpYaM1Xio

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Retro Saturday: A Taste of Honey

So in a completely random way I've made a spontaneous decision that tonight is 1978 night on Retro Saturday!!

Next up is the irresistibly dancey "Boogie Oogie Oogie" by A Taste of Honey, which was another one of those disco one hit wonders I think. What was notable about this band was that it was fronted by two women, Hazel Payne and Janice Johnson, who didn't just stand at the front, dance around and look good, but they also played their own instruments too - which was a bit of a rarity back in those days. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvIydHPhb98

Retro Saturday: Eye to Eye

Today I was thinking about one very obscure oldie "Am I Normal" originally recorded by Eye to Eye and then covered by (Virginia) David. Here is a link to the Eye to Eye version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkRsgp5ZUGA

Unfortunately I can't find the David version anywhere on YouTube or elsewhere on the internet for that matter, so I'm not able to post a link. IMHO I preferred the David version to the original, but having said that, the original's pretty good too :))

One of the members of Eye to Eye was Julian Marshall who was half of the duo Marshall Hain - they had a UK hit with "Dancing in the City" in 1978: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Lmfpnv_eLY - hard to believe this was 31 years ago!!