Snatched from here.
I’m watching samurai movies and drinking sake until 2009 arrives. Then I will probably crawl into bed and regret doing such a silly thing. See you on the other side. Thanks for reading and have a safe and happy one.
Victoria Hesketh has an unabashed love of pop music. her YouTube channel is filled with covers of verse-chorus-verse groups as diverse as Hot Chip, Alphabeat, Haddaway, and will.i.am. As leader of the short-lived Dead Disco, she did a more-than-passable Deborah Harry fronting the Killers and made a few records that were the basis for some fine remixes, but it’s the four tracks on her Arecibo EP that grabbed my attention. I’m not normally one to fete someone with such a thin discography, but there’s something simultaneously celebratory and revelatory about the four tracks (“Meddle” and “Stuck On Repeat,” appear in their original and remixed forms) on her debut.
Throughout the too-short record, snatches of the purest Eurocheese from the deepest caves meet the no-wave sound of New York 1979 while the analog synths and cheap handclaps of Italodisco provide the backing and on top of it is one of the most perfectly pop voices I’ve heard – upbeat, maybe a little Kate Bush in parts, but with just enough oomph to sell the chorus. I really do get the feeling that she’s onto something, particularly if she continues to work with Joe Goddard from Hot Chip (them again – I have a whole theory about their parts being greater than the sum) and Greg Kurstin, who’s produced Lily Allen and Kylie (as well as Dead Disco.)
You know how everybody loves The Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible and gush about how their best songs have this sweep and are really huge and then the band manages to come up with these tiny intimate moments that are really rewarding? That’s how I felt about the Friendly Fires album.
The live version here is pretty much missing the female backup vocal, which I very much like. There’s a remix (I’d more properly call it a ground-up revision) that features Au Revoir Simone that I enjoy almost as much as the original, for completely different reasons. I bet you could find that pretty easily on Elbo.ws.
I like songs about Paris, obviously.
I really, really miss New Order sometimes.
I trust I don’t have to say why this is an absolutely stunning bit of pop, right? Right.
Also, Giant Pineapple.
A lot of what I’m calling “The New Pop” shares some similar DNA: the good bits of 80s acts like Wham! and the innumerable hordes that were unleashed from the Stock Aiken Waterman stockade. New Zealand’s Pip Brown started out playing in grunge bands before moving closer to punk with Two Lane Blacktop and into electronic pop with Teenager before embracing the pop she’d grown up with and recording under an alias shared by Rutger Hauer’s best collaboration with Matthew Broderick. “I wanted to make music that could put a smile on people’s faces and give them a feeling of nostalgia even though they may be hearing my songs for the first time,” Brown wrote in her biography on the Ladyhawke website.
That’s what “Paris Is Burning” is – instantly familiar, catchy, harkening back to a dozen other songs while aping none of them. Is it wildly experimental or blazing new territory? No, but it is utterly listenable, something I rank higher and higher as I get settled into my twilight years.
Also, realizing that riots sell newspapers and that you’ve got a story while you’re in the middle of one? Awesome.