Friday, November 30, 2012

The King and All of His Men - Wolf Gang

Wolf Gang are currently supporting Keane on their current UK tour. They play the O2 in London this evening, Friday November 30th. Their album Suego Faults was released in 2011. A great song from that album is The King and all His Men which really should be a hit single. I always think any good song will eventually be a hit so maybe in 20 There is a real genre of music that is not completely pop or indie and this is a song that is exactly that in a good way.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Song of the Day: Seychelles - Perseus

It is cold and dark here in Dublin this November evening so for my Song of the Day I decided to choose a track where it is always summer. Seychelles by Perseus featured on his Russian Girlfriends E.P. last year. What is great about Perseus is that the songs that he samples aren't always recognisable straight away, he uses part or a hook from a song and not the chorus and it works so well. The sample he uses in Seychelles is You're Making Me High by Toni Braxton which was fabulous r'n'b pop back in 1996 and still is today.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Song of the Day: She - Laura Mvula

This week I started a new Song of the Day post on my blog. Thank you to everyone who read the posts this week. I love hearing new music so discovering a new song every day is exactly why I love featuring music on my blog. Yesterday the band Post War Years posted their own favourite Song of the Day on their Facebook page. The song they choose was She by Laura Mvula and when I heard it I knew it had to be my own Song of the Day today. It is one of those songs that I would describe as a little piece of beauty, so gorgeous. 

She is part of a new EP by Laura which is released in the UK on November 19th. Here is the studio version of She.

Here also is Laura's live performance of She.

Laura's website is here and her Twitter page is @LauraMvula

Saturday, November 10, 2012

100 Cover Versions: #99: Madonna covers 'Love Don't live Here Anymore' by Rose Royce

Two songs left on my list of 100 cover versions. From the very beginning there was always going to be a Madonna song and while she has covered many songs over the years my most favourite  cover version by Madonna  is her very first. It's Love Don't Live Here Anymore which featured on her Like A Virgin album. It was written by Miles Gregory and was originally recorded by Rose Royce in 1978. In 1985 I was 15 when I bought the Like A Virgin album when it was re-issued with Into The Groove included. That same album is on my desk as I type. Like a Virgin contains three other of my all time favourite Madonna songs; Shoo-Bee-Doo, Dress you Up and Angel

I know I must have been familiar with the original version of Love Don't Live here Anymore. I grew up with a radio station in our back garden so that was definitely a late night radio song. For me in 1985 Madonna was and still is the perfect pop star and all her songs were pure wonderful pop. There were no ballads on her debut album so Love Don't Live Here Anymore was the first time I heard her sing one and of course Shoo-Bee-Doo which was more pop ballad. 

Love Don't Live Here Anymore was produced by Nile Rodgers who also played both electric and acoustic guitars and his great fellow producer and Chic band member Bernard Edwards played bass. The production mixed guitars, synthesizers, drums and strings and I think that's what created a great track on the album. Lyrically it is a wonderful song; the line 'Through the windmills of my eyes, everyone can see the loneliness inside of me' is just powerful. There is that lovely dizzying sound in Nile Rodger's production. I love how Madonna's vocal builds at the end and then almost breaks down. It was all brilliantly dramatic. I think it's obvious that it was a song that she liked herself when she recorded it. The story of how the song came to be on the album is here

Love Don't Live Here Anymore was released as a single in 1996 when she released her Something To Remember ballads album and was a remixed version with it's own video but the version that I love the most is her original version.

Song of the Day: Dark Black - Kristina Train

Kristina Train released her second album Dark Black on download last month and on CD this month. Her single Dream of Me was one of the best of the summer of this year. There are a couple of music artists who I think it is only a matter of time before they are very well known and she is one of them. There is a great interview and feature with her in the Independent newspaper here where she talks about her first album and personal losses in her life and how a call from Herbie Hancock lead to her guesting on his tour and how the new album came into being after that.  Kristina was born in New York City and grew up in Savannah in the Deep South of America before moving to London, England and as the feature notes all those influences can be heard in her voice and music.

Kristina plays the Bush Hall, London on Monday 12th November. Tickets can be purchased here through Ticketmaster UK. 

The title track of her album is my Song of the Day. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Bell - Post War Years

There's a couple of good pop, dance and indie songs out this week in Ireland and the UK. One of this week's new releases is The Bell by Post War Years. The Bell is part of their four track E.P., the other three tracks are Boing, Ghosts and Pigeon. The Bell EP can be purchased on ITunes here

The video for The Bell is really gorgeous and is directed by Tobias Stretch who also directed the videos for All Eyes and Glass House.

Post War Years are on Facebook here and are on Twitter @PostWarYears

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Au Seve - Julio Bashmore

Au Seve by Julio Basmore has been on line since last May and this week is in the top 75 of the  ITunes charts and climbing thanks partly to it being Nick Grimshaw's record of the week on his BBC Radio 1 breakfast show. This is real old school house. Great to see. Julio has a headline show at a secret location in London on November 23rd and tickets are available on a link on his facebook page  here

Friday, October 19, 2012

Something New -The return of Girls Aloud

Girls Aloud announced the news of their new tour and greatest hits album today. They will play Dublin's O2 music venue on March 16th. Their second greatest hits album will include four new songs and there will also be a special edition album featuring songs chosen by the fans. 

I'm loving the whole look of the comeback from the build up on their website that started ten days ago to the colour and sheer glamour of how the new re-launch website looks. Their new single is Something New and I think both the song and video is fabulous. All five of them sing solo and it has a real classic Girls Aloud/ Xenomania sound. Loving 'We're the leaders of the pack' lyric a lot.
It is on pre-order from tonight and is released on November 18th.

All the details of their new single, album and tour are here on their website.

Jeffrey Brown's wonderful book 'Darth Vader and Son'

Star Wars has become a generational thing in my family I loved the first three films from 1977 onwards and then when my brother Mike saw them on VHS in the 1980s he loved them too. Now my nephew Ben also likes them. Over the years Mike has made me several Star Wars related cards and birthday and Christmas presents. I have every card he has made me and presents from a C-3PO ceramic plate to my AT-AT bookcase. 

This year I got two Star Wars presents from Mike. The one he made me is completely original and very fantastic and is on the wall here beside me as I type at the desk in my spare room in my house. The other present is a hardback book called Darth Vader and Son and is a collection of drawings by Jeffrey Brown of Darth Vader and his son Luke.

The intro to the book says:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....

Episode three and a half:


Darth Vader, Dark Lord of
the Sith, leads the Galactic
Empire against the heroic Rebel
Allicance. Before he can take
care of the rebels, Lord Vader
must first take care of his son-
four-year-old Luke Skywalker

Here are some of the drawings from the book. I love that the other characters from the film are also the right age that they should be when Luke was a child especially Lando and Greedo. And also that Leia dresses her toys in girls clothes which is a great reference to the fact that bar her Aunt  (who she didn't even know!) in the first film she was the only woman in Space.

If you love Star Wars as much as I do the link where to buy the book is here. it is also published by Chronicle books who have a special website just for the book here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Leaving - The new single by the Pet Shop Boys

Leaving is the gorgeous new single by the Pet Shop Boys and is the second single release from their Elysium album.

Fellow pop blogger Enda Guinan is one of Neil and Chris's biggest fans and he has lots of Pet Shop Boys articles on his website here. Neil was interviewed on Irish radio by John Murray back in August and that very entertaining interview is on Enda's website here.

Here's Leaving which is their 55th single! Many years of quality pop.

Nautilus - The opening track on Anna Meredith's Black Prince Fury E.P.

Contemporary composer Anna Meredith releases her four track E.P. Black Prince Fury this week on download and on limited edition vinyl. The four pieces music are Nautilus, Rhododendron, New Wonder and Ora. More details of the E.P. and it's limited edition on The Vinyl Factory's website here.

Black Prince Fury is released on Moshi Moshi Records and full details of their music artists are here.

A video for Nautilus has also been released which recently premièred on Noisey

Boy - Nina Nesbitt

Nina Nesbitt is currently on tour in the UK. Her new single is Boy which is also her first major label single release. She has to date released two E.P.s; the four track Live Take in December 2011 and the five track The Apple Tree in the summer of this year which was a hit on the ITunes singer-songwriters chart. She is also writing her debut studio album at the moment with producer Jake Gosling who has previously worked with Paloma Faith and Ed Sheeran. 

Nina's website which includes all her current tour dates is here and her Twitter page is @NinaNesbitt

I love the note under her Youtube video for Boy that says 'all paper in this video was recycled'.

Three songs from Karima Francis's album The Remedy

Karima Francis released her second studio album The Remedy in August of this year. She is currently touring with Newton Faulkner. Full details of those upcoming concerts on her website here.

Here are three songs from The Remedy. The first is Glory Days which is my favourite song by her.

The second song is Wherever I Go.

and the third song is Stay. This is a live performance with Julia Kent on cello and was filmed for the Writer's Bench TV which is a live performance concept which brings a mixture of song, music, spoken word, film and dance together. Their Youtube page is here.

Karmina francis's website is here and her Twitter page is @KarimaFrancis

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Talk Me Down - The Dead Heavys

Everybody in the Nite by The Dead Heavys is one of the songs that I've liked the most in 2012. Here's another song by them. It's Talk Me Down and the live performance was filmed in Cranfield house in  Waterford here in Ireland. I love the production on this song. I really think 2013 will be a big year for them.

Their Twitter page is @TheDeadHeavys.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Silver Threads of Hope: An Anthology

This evening here in Dublin sees the launch of a new anthology of short stories entitled Silver Threads of Hope. The anthology is in aid of the Irish charity Console and features stories by 28 different Irish authors and it is edited by Sinead Gleeson.

Console is a organisation which was established in 2002 by Paul Kelly who had experienced the death of a loved one by suicide. Console supports people in Suicidal Crisis and those bereaved by suicide through professional counselling, support and helpline services. 

Console is a now a national organisation and has centres in seven counties in Ireland; Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Athlone, Wexford and Kildare. More information about Console and their services is here.

The 28 stories in Silver Threads of Hope are new or have been unpublished to date and they have been collected and edited by Sinead Gleeson with an introduction by Anne Enright whose idea it was to bring these stories together to raise awareness and funding for Console's work. The writers involved are Kevin Barry, Greg Baxter, Dermot Bolger, John Boyne, Declan Burke, John Butler, Trevor Byrne, Mary Costello, Emma Donoghue, Roddy Doyle, Dermot Healy, Christine Dywer Hickey, Declan Hughes, Arlene Hunt, Colm Keegan, John Kelly, Claire Kilroy, Pat McCabe, Colum McCann, John McKenna, Belinda McKeon, Mike McCormack, Siobhan Mannion, Peter Murphy, Nuala Ni Chonchuir, Phillip O'Ceallaigh, Keith Ridgway, William Wall. 

Silver Threads of Hope is published by New Island  and is available in Irish bookshops as of this week. When I first read a few months ago that Sinead was editing this collection and the organisation that it was in aid of I knew that it will be one of the most important books of the months ahead. In my twenty something years living here in Dublin I have met many people who love reading and Sinead is without a doubt someone who is so passionate about the importance of reading and good writing in people's lives. I know the Silver Threads of Hope project is something in which she has combined her good heart and love of the art of the short story. The title of the anthology is from the Adrian Crowley song Bless Our Tiny Hearts. The lyrics are featured in the book and can be read here

Monday, October 8, 2012

Get a Job - Gossip

To date Gossip have released two singles from their  A Joyful Noise album; Perfect World and Move in the Right Direction. The third single looks like it will be Get a Job. They are currently touring the US with forthcoming coming dates in Seattle, Portland Oregon and San Francisco this month before they tour in South America and Europe. No dates in Ireland announced as of yet. I wait in hope! All their tour dates are here.

Waterfalls - the new single by Stooshe

Black Heart by Stooshe is one of the best pop songs of 2012 and it is still in the top 40 in the UK many weeks after it's release. Their new single is a cover version of Waterfalls by TLC and it isn't too different from the original which was one of the 1990's perfect pop songs. It is already 17 years old!  Waterfalls is a cover that's perfect for Stooshe and it will definitely be another top ten hit for them. It will be released in November as a double A side single with See Me Like This which also features on their self tilted debut album which is also released in November.

You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet - Lisa Marie Presley

In May of this year Lisa Marie Presley released her third studio album Storm & Grace. It was produced by T-Bone Burnett. The most recent single released from that album is You Ain't seen Nothin' Yet. I think the song's production really evokes the pop rock and blues sound of the 1960s. The music video is directed by Dean Kerr.

Latch - Disclosure featuring Sam Smith

Latch by Disclosure featuring Sam Smith has been released on download this week. It's a quality track and is currently in the top 40 and climbing on today Monday's UK ITunes charts. Best new song I heard recently.

ITunes download link is here.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Roísín O covers 'Dog Days Are Over' by Florence and the Machine

Here's a great version of the Florence and the Machine song Dog Days Are Over performed by Irish singer Roísín O who recently released her new album The Secret Life of Blue. Roísín is also currently touring Ireland promoting her new songs. More details here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

100 Cover Versions #98: Belinda Carlisle covers 'I Feel Free'

This year Belinda Carlisle's album Heaven On Earth is 25 years. It was released in 1987 and it  featured what has become her most well known solo single Heaven is a Place on Earth which got to number one in several countries worldwide including the U.S., the UK and here in Ireland There were several great singles released from that album including I Get Weak and Circle in the Sand. My favourite single was her version I Feel Free which was originally recorded by Cream in 1966. Her version wasn't a big hit in the US charts but I think it is glorious and still sounds great today.

Here also is the 12" Dub Extended remix of I Feel Free.

100 Cover Versions #97: Annie Lennox covers 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' by Procol Harum

In 1967 Procol Harum released their debut single A Whiter Shade of Pale and it was number one in the UK charts for six weeks that year. It is one of those songs that I have been aware of for a long time. It is one of those beautiful songs that has a wonderful unnerving qualit.

In 1995 Annie Lennox covered A Whiter Shade of pale and it fetured on her Medusa album. The first single from that album was No More I Love Yous which got to number 2 in the UK charts. A Whiter Shade of Pale was the follow up single release and it reached number 16 in the UK charts.

As with the majority of her solo music videos and indeed the various Eurythmics videos the music video for A Whiter Shade of Pale was also a thing of beauty. Like so many singers on this 100 Cover Versions list I couldn't imagine music without Annie Lennox. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Anna Sun - Walk The Moon

Anna Sun by Walk the Moon has been around since 2010. It featured on their self released album I Want I Want in 2010 and it also features on their new Walk The Moon album on the RCA record label. This week it is currently at the lower end of the UK's I Tunes singles charts and is definitely a song that should be a top 40 hit.

They play the O2 Shepard's Bush Empire music venue in London tonight supporting Fun. which is not surprisingly sold out.

The video captures the indie pop sound of the song perfectly. 

Ellie Goulding covers 'Some Nights' by Fun.

This coming weekend will see Ellie Goulding's new single Anything Could Happen chart in the top ten in the UK's singles charts. It will be her first top ten hit in the UK charts since Your Song got to number 2 in December 2010. She recently recorded a session for BBC's Radio 1's Live lounge show. One of the songs she sang was her version of Fun.'s Some Nights. I love this song and much prefer it to We Are Young.

Here it is. Thanks to Turn1starists for posting on Youtube.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

100 Cover Versions #96: Cyndi Lauper covers 'When You Were Mine' by Prince

When You Were Mine was written and first performed by Prince and featured on his 1980 album Dirty Mind. It was never released on single but was released on 12" and was also the b-side to his Controversy single in 1981.

Cyndi Lauper recorded her version of When You Were Mine for her 1983 album She's So Unusual. It was the seventh single released from that album but only charted in Canada. The track He's so Unusual was only 45 seconds long so there were really only nine tracks on that album so seven singles from one debut album shows the quality of pop music in the 1980's.

My favourite single from She's so Unusual is She Bop which she did a fantastic performance when she played in Dublin a few years ago. When You Were Mine is one that I like just as much and without doubt one of most favourite cover versions of all time. I love how the notes on the song's Wikipedia page highlight that the song's original lyrics remain unchanged and the song is being sung to a woman. When you consider that it is only recently that songs are sung as they were originally written and the gender subject remains unchanged on shows like X Factor that is what put Cyndi ahead of many of her fellow pop stars as an icon in 1983.

Like Madonna or Prince I couldn't imagine pop music without Cyndi. She has done so much for various good causes over her entire career and continues to so. She recently published her autobiography which I am looking forward to reading.

Here is Cyndi and When You Were Mine.

and here she is performing When You Were Mine at the American music awards in 1985.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pink Explosions and Glitter blood: Christina Aguilera debuts the music video for her new single 'Your Body'

Christina Aguilera's new single Your Body charted at number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. The video has just been released and is directed by Melina Matsoukas who has previously  directed music videos for Kylie Minogue (Wow, In My Arms), Beyonce (Green Light, Diva), Lady Gaga (Just Dance) and Rihanna (We Found Love, S&M, You Da One). 

The video imagery in Your Body plays on various B-movies iconography as well as Christina's own various  trashy looks of the past. Every week of that period of her career she was criticised for that look which is now completely mainstream with Lady Gaga, Ke$ha and Rihanna making a career from an image that Christina started years ago. The song is a definite pop hit and with Pink enjoying huge worldwide success with her single Blow Me (One Last Kiss) it's a general return to that genre of female vocalist hit singles that dominated the end of the 1990's and the following decade. In short Christina and Pink are reclaiming their own pop status.

The pink explosion in the Your Body video is a great visual image but if you replaced the glitter and the coloured paint in the rest of the video as she meets the other male characters with what is really is; blood - then how do we view it? The whole video has to be seen as completely tongue in cheek but what if the protagonist in the video was male meeting women he picked up. I think the idea of the video is to turn this type of imagery on it's head. We watch and accept male protagonist violence far beyond the cinema screen nowadays as TV shows and film trailers on TV have a higher level of violence. The current TV advertisement for the new Brad Pitt film Killing Me Softly being a case in point. It will be interesting to see if there is a reaction to the Your Body music video in the same way that implied violence by men in popular culture is now often largely ignored. 

100 Cover Versions #95: Jaime Nanci covers 'Love is a Battlefield' by Pat Benatar

Just a few more songs left on my 100 Cover Versions list. It has been great to do and the part I enjoyed the most is discovering new voices in music that a few months ago I haven't been aware of at all. One of those singers is Jaime Nanci. I have previously featured his covers of Babooshka and Am I Blue.

Here is one more song sung by Jaime. It is his version of Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar. I  have loved the original version since I first heard it first in the mid 1980s and still do today. Love is a Battlefield was released in 1983 in the U.S. and got to number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 but wasn't a hit until 1985 in the UK.
There is many blues or soul versions of pop classics but no one I know reinterprets them or is as respectful to the original as Jaime.

Jaime's version of Love is a Battlefield was recorded in Ballinacurra house in Kinsale here in ireland. It was produced, mixed and mastered by Pawel Grudzien who also plays piano on the recording. Bass is by Dave Redmond and drums by Abel Benito. 

I look forward to featuring other songs by Jaime and his band from now on on this blog too.

100 Cover Versions #94: This Club covers 'My Lovin' (Never Gonna Get It)' by En Vogue

In 1992 En Vogue released their album Funky Divas which featured the great hit singles Free Your Mind, Giving Him Something He Can Feel and My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It). That year those songs really represented the sound of MTV tooEarlier on this list of cover versions i featured En Vogue's cover version of Yesterday which was also taken from Funky Divas.

Here is a cover of My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It) by the four piece irish pop band This Club. It's a really fun version and I know that Irish pop music needs more music artists like This Club.

Here also is their very poppy single  I Won't Worry.

Two Songs from Roísín O's new album 'The Secret Life of Blue'

One of the best new female singers that I heard over the past year or two is Roísín O. I have seen her play as support artist in both Vicar Street and the Olympia music venues here in Dublin and each time she was super. Her own songs are lovely as are her choice of covers. She has released her new album which is called The Secret Life Of Blue and it was great to see her album featured prominently in Tower Records yesterday. If you live in Ireland her album is also on sale in HMV, Golden Discs and Celtic Note as well as on download through ITunes.

She has played several solo gigs in the past in venues in Dublin and in October and into November she goes on tour throughout Ireland promoting her new album.

The tour dates are:
  • Friday October 19th - Cyprus Avenue, Cork.
  • Sunday October 21st Dolan's Limerick
  • Thursday October 25th John Daly's Mullingar
  • Saturday November 3rd Monroe's Galway
Her website is and her Twitter page is @RoisinOMusic

Here are two songs from The Secret Life Of Blue album.

Here is How Long.

and the second song is Here We Go.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Songs by Irish Music Artists: 'November November' - Auto Da Fe

Most of the songs that I feature on this blog are mainly American, British or international music artists. That fact got me thinking which songs by Irish music artists do I like the most. Back in the 1980s I was far more interested in Madonna, Prince and Michael Jackson than U2 or The Pogues and I still am today. There are of course several songs by Irish music artists that I love and I want to feature some of them through my blog.

The first song is November November by Auto De Fe which was released in 1982. 30 years ago! I can still remember hearing it on the radio. The beautiful vocalist on the song was Gay Woods who is pictured on the single cover above. November November always reminded me of a song that Barbra Dickson or Maggie Reilly could also have sang but I loved knowing it had an Irish connection. The band were formed in Holland but have always had irish connections.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Never Tear Us Apart: Paloma Faith covers the great INXS song

Paloma Faith's single Picking Up The Pieces reached number 7 in the UK charts earlier this year.  It got to number 13 here in Ireland as well. Her follow up single 30 Minute Love Affair should also have been a top ten hit but to date has only reached number 50 in the UK singles charts. Her newest single is a cover of the great INXS song Never Tear Us Apart. It has charted in the top 20 in the UK's midweek chart and by the weekend's official chart update it should see the song reach the top ten. Paloma's version features in the new John Lewis television advertisement. This success is similar to Ellie Goulding's career boost when her version of Your Song was a Christmas hit in 2010 because of a John Lewis television advertisement.
It is interesting that it is a cover version used as part of a television advertisement that has put Paloma back in the singles charts. I would imagine that most people who liked 30 Minute Love Affair bought the album instead but I think that every music artist still has to have their own record of hit singles to stay successful long term. The UK and Irish singles charts  throughout 1980s and into the 1990s were full of cover versions. Never Tear Us Apart is old enough now for many younger music fans to be unfamiliar with it. If Paloma's cover makes people re-discover or discover INXS that is only a good thing.

Here is the new John Lewis 'Never Knowingly Undersold' television advertisement in which Paloma's version of Never Tear Us Apart features.

Here's the full audio version of her cover version.

and here is INXS and the great original version of Never Tear Us Apart from their 1987 album Kick. It got to number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts and got to number 24 in the UK so   Paloma's version will surpass that chart position. 

Bullying Bites - BelonG To's October Campaign to end homophobic bullying

Over the past ten years the LGBT youth group and organisation BelonG To has become well known here in  Dublin and around Ireland. Through high profile media campaigns highlighting issues that effect young people in Ireland they have also come to the attention of LGBT groups around the world. BelonG To really is one of the most important groups in this country because of the many people who have received help, support and made friends through it. 

They have campaigned about the issue of Homophobic bullying in schools and other places which many LGBT people know goes well past our school years.

BelonG To's newest campaign to combat homophobic bullying is called Bullying Bites. During the month of October participating restaurants throughout Ireland will be asking customers to donate €1 of their bill to help in the campaign to help to raise awareness and help stop homophobic bullying. 

To date the following restaurants have become involved:


Il Primo:

San Lorenzos:

If you are a restaurant owner or manager and would like to get involved contact Emily Scanlan at  Phone: 01-6706223 Mobile: 085=8898875.

If you would like to learn more about BelonG To and the work that they do or if you are an LGBT young person and would like to find out about their youth groups their website is and their Twitter page is @Belong_To

Here is a video that was made for BelonG To's on line media campaign which is called Stand Up! Don't Stand for Homophobic Bullying. It was first screened in April 2011 and has since then received over one million views on line. the video was written and directed by Anna Rodgers and Aoife Kelleher and was produced by Zlata Filipovic. The production company was Crossing the Line Films. 

Diamonds - Rihanna

Rihanna's new song Diamonds received it's first radio play today. The lyrics were written by Sia and you can really hear her influence in the song. It is the first single release from her as yet untitled seventh studio album and there will be a Diamonds world tour starting in 2013. Her North American tour begins in Buffalo on March 8th next year. More details here.

Diamonds is a great big anthem of a pop song and one that I think is instantly likeable. I hate the single cover so instead there are lyrics above.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Everybody in the Nite - The Dead Heavys

I featured the song Everybody in the Nite by The Dead Heavys on this blog a few months ago but after listening to the song again this evening I wanted to post the song again. It really is one of the strongest new songs I've heard this year. It is like finding an old 70s rock song on vinyl that captures a couple of genres at the same time.

Hopefully they will play in Dublin sometime soon as I know they would be a great live band. They played a few gigs this summer in Ireland and they play The Forum in Waterford on Saturday November 17th. 

Their website is here and their twitter page is @TheDeadHeavys

Irish Short films: Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty

For the past few years I have been studying for a degree in film and drama at a college here in Dublin city. It is a part time evening course so the twelve weeks semesters have defined my autumn and spring seasons over the past few years. There was a great emphasis on Irish film in our many film modules and through the course I discovered several Irish films I wasn't familiar with or in the case of ones that I knew already I saw them in a different perspective or point of view. 

One aspect of Irish films that I love is the diverse range of short films that have been made in this country or partly funded projects from other countries that involve Irish film making personnel. 
I would like to highlight some of my own favourite Irish short films. The first film that I want to feature is one that I never tire of watching. It is Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty which was produced by Brown Bag Films and was directed by Nicky Phelan. It was written by Kathleen O'Rourke who originally created the character of Granny and I think what absolutely makes the film is that Kathleen also voices Granny in the short film. I know that the character of Granny instantly reminded many Irish viewers of a granny, aunt or neighbor from their own childhoods but the humour and structure of the short was also one that made an impression on audiences worldwide too. 

The film was a success at various film festivals and was also nominated for the Best Animated Short Film award at the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010. 

Brown Bag Films have since the release of their Granny O'Grimm short film have become even more successful with their creation and production of The Octonauts TV series for CBeebies and The Happy Hugglemonsters and their most recent and acclaimed Doc McStuffins TV series for Disney Junior which is now in a second series.

Their website is here and their twitter page is @BrownBagFilms 

Here's Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty.

Anything Could Happen - Ellie Goulding

One of the contenders for my favourite song of the year is Anything Could Happen by Ellie Goulding. I love everything about the song and I think it works on every level. I also think the video is one of the most beautiful of the year. It is brave in a powerful way. Much is written today about pop stars creativity and originality and I think Ellie is definitely well ahead of some of her peers. The huge success of Lights on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart should also allow her the room and scope to work on even more exciting ideas and projects in the future. 

While Anything Could Happen has been released on radio for a long time now it is only been released on single next week in the UK. It will be interesting to see how well it charts especially against the release of music acts who receive much more airplay. 

Here's the video which was directed by Floria Sigismondi.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

100 Cover Versions #93: Dolly Parton sings 'In The Ghetto'

One of my earliest memories of music was hearing In The Ghetto by Elvis Presley in my grandmothers house back in the 1970s. It may have been on the radio but I know that my uncle was a big fan then so it might have been from an album. I have always loved story songs, ones that that have a narrative across their lyrics. It is a song that always made me sad. I think the story in it is so tragic because decades later we can still relate it to today's times. I think the line that always stood out for me was 'and his mama cries' which is repeated three songs in the song and most powerfully at the end. There are only twenty lines in the entire song and it shows the quality of song-writing both music and lyrics in the 1960s. It was written by Mac Davis and recorded by Elvis in 1969. It would become one of the most successful and famous songs of his career. Mac Davis also wrote A Little Less Conversation which was a hit years after Elvis's death when a remixed version was released.

I can't remember when I first heard Dolly Parton's version of In The Ghetto but it is a perfect song for her to cover.  She completely captures the mood of the song, you believe every word of the song.

100 Cover Versions: #92: Frank Sinatra sings 'I See Your Face Before Me'

The other day I watched an hour long television show that featured songs performed by Frank Sinatra over his career. They were from very early in his career up to the 1960s. Some seemed to be from films or recorded on film sound stages but most seemed to be from television shows. It was an amazing collection of performances that summed him his star quality, talent and his voice and proved to me that he really was one of the greatest stars of all time.

One song that I thought was especially gorgeous was his version of I See Your Face Before Me which he sang on Once In a Lifetime which was a Judy Garland television special that she did with Dean Martin and Frank as the special guests. It was recorded in February 1962 -- fifty years ago. I See Your Face Before Me was written by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz in and it originally featured in the 1937 Broadway musical Between the Devil.  It was first performed by Natalie Rives.

In the show there is a little bit of fictional banter about a woman that both Frank and Dean are interested in and Frank says that he will 'woo her with  a song' and that performance is featured below.

Friday, August 31, 2012

100 Cover Versions #91: Patti Austin sings 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes'

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes was first composed in 1933 by Jerome Kern and the lyrics of the song were by Otto Harbach. It featured in the Broadway musical Roberta where it was first sung by Tamara Drasin. Many of the facts that I feature in this list of cover versions are ones that I have just recently read about. I think the history of each song is so important. The legacy of popular music should always start with those who created it. The first person who recorded Smoke Gets In Your Eyes was Gertrude Niesen in October of 1933. Irene Dunne sang it in the film version of Roberta two years later in 1935. In 1958 The Platters had a number one hit record with their version in the American Billboard charts. That for a long time was the version that I loved most as a child. Regular readers to this blog will know that I grew up with a radio station beside our house and music was on in our house all day long so that is why it is so important to me.

When I first moved away from home in 1989 I had to leave my record player behind until one weekend my dad brought my record player to me. I just remembered that. Back in the early 1990s I also bought music on cassette. I still have all those cassette singles and albums. One of those albums was The Real Me by Patti Austin. It was her album of the songs that she grew up with and was released in 1988. It is a truly gorgeous album. I could choose several songs from that album on this list such as Lazy Afternoon or Someone Is Standing Outside but as Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is one of my all time favourite songs and because Patti's version is pure beauty this is the song I have chosen from that album. If someday I meet someone who loves music as much as I do I would want him to love this song.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

100 Cover Versions: #90: Sandra Bernhard covers 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough'

When I first moved to Dublin back in the early 1990s one of the great things of living in a capital city was that there was a bigger variety of cinemas to go to and a wider selection of films. For the first time in my life because of the Irish Film Centre (now the Irish Film Institute) and also the Lighthouse Cinema when it was on Abbey Street I was introduced to arthouse, documentary, gay and lesbian and classic cinema. One of the first films I remember seeing and absolutely adoring was Sandra Bernhard's performance film Without You I'm Nothing. I had never seen anything like it before. Her mix of humour, music, popular culture and sexuality in that film is still one of the greatest cinema moments in the many, many films I have seen over the past 20 years living in Dublin. 

Each performance of the songs in Without You I'm Nothing had it's own story. Sandra mixed both autobiographical and completely fictional monologues in between the lyrics of songs that I both knew from radio days and ones I had never heard before like the country song I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. Sandra became the song and the singer. She was Sylvester singing Do You Wanna Funk, she was Billy Paul singing Me and Mrs Jones. She made you think about the songs and hear the lyrics in another way, another wonderfully funny way. I was only coming out then and that film made such an impact on me. 

I have been lucky to have seen Sandra's show twice over the years. Once in Dublin in Vicar Street and the second a few years later in New York in Joe's Pub. Each time was brilliant. They were two different shows, new stories, new songs.

The funniest bit in Without You I'm Nothing I think is a monologue when she is talking about Madonna without actually mentioning her and then she adds a bit about Martika who was a big music star during the time of the film's release. If you have seen the film you will know the part I mean. If you haven't then I won't spoil it. Sandra's one liners are like bullets or knives in the most fabulous way.
The surreal thing about life is that I adored Martika and her music and still do and through the amazing medium that is Twitter she has tweeted me back a couple of times. I hope if Martika knows the film that she finds her mention in it funny. 

The most famous song from Without you I'm Nothing is at the end when she performs Prince's Little Red Corvette. There are a few songs from the film on Youtube. Here is one that I love, well I love them all but this captures the whole atmosphere of the film very well. It's Sandra's version of Ain't No Mountain High Enough. It is all very Supremes as the version is more Diana Ross than Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell who had a hit first with it in 1967. Older than me! Diana had her first number one with the song in 1970.

I have Without You I'm Nothing on both video tape and DVD so if you haven't seen it and you see it in a movie store or on line do check it out. It works best as a complete performance.  

Lights (Adil Laresh Remix) - Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding is currently at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 with her singles Lights which is one of the biggest American hits of 2012. She got as far as number two in the charts but a number one still isn't impossible judging by the way songs go up and down constantly on the Billboard chart. I still think Lights should be a proper chart hit in the UK and Ireland too.

Here is a remix of Lights which is by Aril Laresh which I like a lot. Ellie has one of those voices that is so suited to this style of remix.

Adil's Facebook page is here for updates on his other remixes too and his Twitter page is @AdilLaresh

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bom Bom - Sam & The Womp

My favourite song in the UK singles chart at the moment is Lost in Your Love by Redlight. It's like the House songs that I liked back at the end of the 1980s are starting to come back into the charts in an updated way.

Bom Bom by Sam & The Womp is another new pop song that I really like. It reminds me of several pop songs in a good way. The video has been compared to Deee-Lite's Groove Is In The Heart but I think it has more of a vibe of Steve Strange's Blitz Club of the New Romantic period mixed with all of the Acid House music videos of the late 1980s.

Bom Bom is released on Stiff Records on August 19th. You will find this song either addictive or completely annoying which is exactly the reaction that successful pop songs should have.

Campaign to name Dublin's newest bridge after Maeve Binchy

If you live in Dublin or outside of our capital city you will be aware that there is a new bridge being built at the moment that will connect the LUAS railway system. It will make the city centre even more assessable than it is at the moment. A few months ago several people noted through websites and other social media that there were very few statues or bridges named after well known Irish women in Dublin. Panti wrote about that fact on her blog here back in June of this year and has also wrote about the story since. 
Over the past week or two there have been suggestions that the new bridge in Dublin's city centre should be named after the great Irish writer Maeve Binchy who died at the end of July. I know many people will think this is a really great idea and would be a great tribute and lasting mark of respect for her.

More and more nowadays in Dublin and around the country people don't just say they should do something, instead they go and do it. I was delighted to see that a blog, Facebook page and on line petition has been set up to collect signatures to send to the department of Transport to consider naming the bridge after Maeve.

If you would like to do so the link to the petition is here.

Their Twitter page is @MBinchyBridge for updates on the progress of the petition.