Wednesday, 23 November 2011

I Like... Michael Jackson's Bathroom / Julien's Auctions

More interior design inspiration and pictures of Jackson's LA home HERE

Monday, 21 November 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / Idol's Top Five: Music Tracks

Top five IDOL tracks of the week, HERE

My pick: Serenades - Oceans

Sit back, relax and surrender to the aquatic lullaby of Swedish duo Serenades.

Swedish indie rock outfit Shout Out Louds have temporarily lost their front man Adam Olenius to his latest project Serenades, which sees him teamed up with Markus Krunegard to produce atmospheric electro escapism.

Oceans, taken from the pair’s Come Home EP and available as a free download on their website, is awash with warmth and languorous allure. Combining layers of wistful vocals of gentle yearning with a sparse chiming piano and relaxed percussion, Serenades boast a richly textured, swooning sound that is downbeat yet optimistic, unassuming but striking. Oceans is also just a hint of what is to come with the duo’s album scheduled for a 2012 release. But if can’t wait until then and the stresses and strains of “grey town” living are getting you down, then check out Serenades live when they play two London dates next week.

Written for IDOL

Friday, 11 November 2011

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / Review: David Gest's incomplete history of Michael Jackson

Please find my review of the premiere screening of "Michael Jackson - The Life of an Icon" HERE

I just want to stress that I have tried to find the positives in this film. I would not reccomend buying it to any Michael Jackson fans. You are really not missing out on anything apart from finding out what exactly a "David Gest Production" consists of... Don't give David Gest your money. The best part of this whole "event" was discovering just how smokin' hott Rebbie Jackson is, and seeing her carrying the coolest clutch bag, like, ever.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / Oh My! single review

Read my review of Oh My!''s latest single HERE
Electro-pop duo Oh My! get their mockney and deadpan swag on with their second single Dirty Dancer

Songs about meeting boys and wearing new shoes on the weekend? Yawn. But in the hands of London-based double act Oh My! it’s a different matter. Made up of 19 and 20 year old Alex and Jade, not only do they have the sass and blunt put downs that would make Lily Allen proud: “Creative with your chat up lines, you’re staring at me like I’m in a shop, err, stop?” They’ve also got the mockney affectation to match too.

On this Patrick Swayze-referencing track, co-written by Example and featuring an appearance by Tinie Tempah sound-alike Scru Fizzer, Oh My! present themselves as a self aware version of 90s bubblegum double act Shampoo, and keep their tongue-in-cheek lyrics on the right side of downright dodgy cheekiness with their blasé delivery. This is brash, novelty, two-fingers-up pop – whether that be a girl power gesture to their gaudy pop foremothers the Spice Girls, or a fuck-off two-fingered salute, it’s up to you. Both sum up Oh My! pretty well.

Written for IDOL

Monday, 7 November 2011

DIGITAL WORDS/ Idol's Top Five: Music Tracks

Find the full five HERE
My choices run thusly:

Friends – I’m His Girl
If you’re not the Fresh Prince of Bel Air it’s difficult to pull off using the adjective “fly.” But I’m going to try anyway as “fly” is the only way to describe this retro 80s funk throwback from Brooklyn band Friends. A band who put cowbell accompaniment and slap bass to good use.

Amy Winehouse – Our Day Will Come
This cover of 1960s American doo wop group Ruby & The Romantics is one of the first couple of songs to have been unveiled as part of a posthumous Winehouse album release. It could have fitted in comfortably anywhere on Back To Black with its warming lilt and Amy’s effortlessly glossy vocals. Hopefully the full LP, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, which is scheduled for an early December release will unearth more unheard material of this high quality. Listen HERE.

Written for IDOL

Sunday, 6 November 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / Florence and the Machine "Ceremonials"

Read my review of "Ceremonials" HERE

Florence and the Machine make a grand re-entrance with the glitteringly grand Ceremonials.

Broken hearted women have made the three biggest pop albums of the 21st century; Back To Black, Lungs and 21. And so it falls to Florence Welch, now reconciled with the absent man who inspired her platinum selling debut, to demonstrate what one does after making your man and the entire world fall for you.

Lungs, of course, served Ms. Welch and her machine well; it saw her dominate two consecutive festival seasons and took her from self-sourced vintage stage clothes to being swathed in custom made Gucci creations for her increasingly high profile performances, including supporting U2 and, oddly, lined up next to Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Hudson at the Grammy’s in a salute to Aretha Franklin. However, as singles were continually re-released and her cover of You’ve Got The Love became inescapable, it felt as though we were risking becoming glutted by and with Florence and the Machine.

Now with the dust of the storm caused by Lungs settled, Florence’s second LP, Ceremonials, is set to create an even more potent tempest. Like Lungs, an album with a title perfect in its precision, an album all about the gusto within one woman’s capacity, Ceremonials is a title of equal accuracy. This is an album so defined in its musical vision that it plays out like a ritual in gothic chamber pop.

Ceremonials, in many ways, is a far more refined and cohesive version of Lungs. Whereas Lungs felt schizophrenic and disorderly without fully formed intention - perhaps because the artistic identity for Florence herself, as a glamazon, Romantic woodland nymph, had not been fully realised either - Ceremonials is an unquestionable whole. Familiar sounds remain and dominate, in the form of thumping and hounding tribal rhythms driving each track with gushes of strings and harps, but everything simply sounds bigger and better. It also feels as though Florence is now comfortable with the prowess of her own voice. The enormity of her belting vocals is undeniably impressive, but when she allows herself to relax she adds new shades to her melodramatic repertoire. The undulations of Never Let Me Go see Florence drift dreamily between ghostly verses and an explosive chorus. Whilst the vulnerable honesty of Breaking Down presents a far more gentle, but no less enchanting Florence.

Now that Florence and the Machine possess a sound so purified and singular it’s impossible to predict how it will evolve or what its next permutation will be, but it’s an exciting prospect.

Written for IDOL

Saturday, 5 November 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / Ben Carrigan "The Greatest Narrators"

Find my review of "The Greatest Narrators" HERE

Ben Carrigan, former drummer of The Thrills, steps into the spotlight with a refined and stylishly orchestrated debut solo album, The Greatest Narrators.

*Insert drummer joke here* I’m gonna go for this one: “What’s the advantage of using a drum machine over a drummer? You only to punch the rhythm into a drum machine once.” Anyway, put all those drummer jibes and clichés aside. Ben Carrigan, previously the drummer of melodious indie rockers The Thrills, has released his debut solo album; a far removal from his previous musical life.

The Greatest Narrators sees Carrigan taking centre stage with his compositional skills on an LP that combines skilfully mastered pop with filmic grandeur. Ben proves himself to be a man of many talents on an album that he wrote, arranged, recorded and mixed himself, with an unexpectedly soulful and soothing voice to boot. The arrangements throughout are rich and copious but kept strictly to pop song structures and time frames, forming three minute bursts of secure romantic orchestration.

Ballads are clearly Carrigan’s strong point as they dominate the album, but each decorated with flourishes of homely harmonicas or melancholic piano. The quivering, almost hesitant, opening vocals of Small Towns (That Heal Big City Wounds) make for a graceful and emotive starting point to a track that modestly progresses into a gentle burst of rolling drums and luxurious strings. Even during the more up-tempo moments of the album, there is a persistent and charming amount of sophistication to Carrigan’s work; We’ll Talk About It All Tonight is a brisk, light-hearted yet gentlemanly number.

The Greatest Narrators is an ambitious album, for sure, but Ben Carrigan’s Scott Walker-inspired cinematic pop is deftly crafted in its feeling of ease which makes for rewarding and tranquil listening.

Written for IDOL

Thursday, 3 November 2011

I Like... A good ol' megamix / Immortal

F.Y.I. The part where fans chanting "Michael" over and over forms the beat to Billie Jean is what it sounds like inside my head 24/7.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011