Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ane Brun in Concert, Vicar Street, Dublin, April 27th.


Last night I went to see Ane Brun in concert in Dublin's Vicar street music venue. I had seen her play in Whelan's in 2011 and her Dublin concert was one of the first dates in her latest tour which began in Stockholm recently. Ane Brun has become one of my most favourite female vocalists in a short space of time. There was a different atmosphere in Vicar Street as at her Whelan's gig the tiny stage was completely full with the many musical instruments of her band and the venue was completely packed out. In Vicar Street her concert was fully seated so it was a different space., at times it reminded me of seeing a play that was a concert in its entirety. Each song was a little event in itself. The band had two drum sets, a keyboard, xylophone and various guitars, many of which Ane played herself. A material background on the stage captured the lighting all through the evening and strings of lightblubs and a few small floodlights faced the crowd creating a video atmosphere at times. 
Linnea Olsson was her support artist who I would go see in concert if she played a solo concert.  She played her cello with recorded backing music, I would love to see play her own songs with a full band some day. She performed several songs from her Ah album and a very unique cover of Sex Object by Kraftwerk. 
Vicar Street was a perfect venue for Ane Brun. The sound was the best I have heard there in a long time so the mix of her dramatic and more delicate songs was well balanced. I had only heard songs like The Puzzle, This Voice and To Let Myself Go for the first time at her 2011 concert in Whelans and they sounded even better on this tour. Her newest album It All Starts With One is very strong and has several standout songs such as Worship, Do You Remember and These Days all of which sounded wonderful live in concert
One of the sweetest moments during the concert was when she sang Do You Remember which is perhaps one of her most danceable songs and one by one people stood up out of the audience and started to dance. I realised that many Irish music fans are still a bit inhibited when it comes to dancing at a seated concert but it was a song that people simply reacted too. James Vincent McMorrow was a surprise guest vocalist and it was really something to see these two music artists on stage together.

Ane has so many beautiful songs, many of which that she admits are about 'different kinds of love'.  Here is just one which she sung near the end of the concert. It is from her current album It All Starts With One.

This is Undertow



Three Covers



Here are three cover versions of Michael Jackson songs. They are all sung acapella by The CMMJMusic. They really are some of the most respectful cover versions that I have heard. On first listening to them I thought that were by a young male vocalist but they are by a woman which I think makes them even more amazing in that she has managed to retain Michael's voice within her own style. I'm not even sure of the vocalist's name and she hasn't posted anything since December but hopefully there will be more songs covered too.


The first song is Cry


The second song is Leave Me Alone


and the third song is Stranger in Moscow






If Superfriends really were Friends



Here's another cleverly edited video that has been on line for a few years now. In the 1970s there was a Saturday morning cartoon show called Superfriends which featured the DC comic characters that are now better known as the main characters in the Justice League of America. They included Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. 

Here's a clip from a 1973 episode


The clip below uses video clips from the Superfriends cartoon with audio clips from the Friends TV show so Superman is voiced by Ross, Wonder Woman is voiced by Monica and so on. The funniest is who is voiced by Rachel.



Star Wars / Dallas Opening Credits


Star Wars has often been described as a 'soap opera in space' so someone must have been thinking along those lines when he put together a brilliantly edited clip featuring the main characters from the original Star Wars film using the Dallas TV show music and it's opening credits style. It also uses scenes from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I saw this on the Irish satire website Broadsheet.ie here the other day. The clip has been on line since March 2009. 

Kalleanka71 who created it has made other Star Wars montage clips using music and styles from other TV shows as well such as Airwolf and The A Team so click on the link to his Youtube page if you want to check them out too. There is also a Toy Story / Dallas montage which you can see here too. 








I Was Dreaming like a Texan Girl: The Sophie Muller Videos for Eurythmics Savage Video Album


In the history of pop music two of the all time most creative music artists have to be Dave A. Stewart and Annie Lennox of Eurythmics. Each of their album releases was an event and artistic expression. Throughout the 1980s especially when the video image was all important Eurythmics made their legacy in pop music an artform. 

In 1987 Eurythmics released their album Savage which is said to be their own personal favourite of all of their albums throughout their long music career. There were four singles released from the album. My own favourite single is You Have Placed a Chill in my Heart. 
Every song on the album also had it's own video made for it. All of those videos were directed by Sophie Muller. Since 1987 Sophie Muller has directed many music videos for a wide variety of music artists including Stay by Shakespeare's Sister, all of the videos for Annie Lennox's Diva album, Don't Speak by No Doubt and Not Ready to Make Nice by the Dixie Chicks. Her most recent work in 2011 includes videos by Cheryl Cole, Birdy and Noah and the Whale. 

Both Annie and Dave have Twitter pages. Annie's is @AnnieLennox and Dave's is @DaveStewart There is also a fantastic Ultimate Eurythmics page at @eurythmicsultim

Here are some of the videos for the Savage album which were all directed by Sophie Muller. I've selected both single releases and album tracks. Each of the videos features Annie playing a character with various personalities. 

The first is an introduction to the Savage video album project which was released in 1988


The second is You Have Placed a Chill in my Heart


The third is I Got A Lover (Back in Japan)


The fourth is Do You Want to Break Up



and the fifth is my favourite video; Beethoven (I love to Listen to)





Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Remixes: Out of Reach (Almighty Remix) - Gabrielle


I may be wrong but I'm sure that the sales of songs in the singles charts worldwide are mainly just of that single track not the purchase that includes remixes or extra tracks. One of the great thing about buying CD singles when they were at the height of their sales in the 90's and into the 2000's was the fact that almost every new pop song had two or three remixes included. Of course not all of the remixes were great but there were many classic ones. The remixes of ballads often became great dance songs in their own right. They played on the radio in their original version and in their remixed versions at nightclubs.

In 2001 Gabrielle had a huge hit with her pop ballad Out of Reach. It got to number 4 in the UK, number 3 here in Ireland and number 1 in Spain. It also got to number 2 in New Zealand and number 9 in Australia making it a worldwide hit. It also featured on the Bridget Jones movie soundtrack. The remix of Out of Reach was the Almighty remix which still sounds good today. 

Here's both versions. First the video for the original version. 


and the Almighty remix.



Sunday, April 15, 2012

Betty White


Betty White celebrated her 90th birthday this year. She is also one of the newest celebrities on Twitter which doesn't surprise any of her fans because she is the perfect example of someone who embraces all the various changes and trends in popular culture and simply enjoys them. She is an actress whom we almost feel we know personally through her personality and good character. Television comedy is part of what keeps us all going. I have had many a down day made better by being made to laugh at something I have seen on a TV comedy show. In the 1980s I adored The Golden Girls and it is a show that will always make me laugh. When you're a child you don't really get half the humour but you know you love the characters and their lives. They are made real for us and you believe in them. Re-watching the shows as adults we get all the jokes and we love that shared connection that nostalgia gives us. 


Estelle Getty, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White made so many story-lines work so well because of how they worked together as a comedy team. For all of the comedy moments on The Golden Girls various seasons there were also many great episodes where more poignant dramatic themes were explored and handled so skilfully by the show's directors, writers and of course the four lead actresses. My all time favourite episode is called Isn't It Romantic which featured Lois Nettleton as a bereaved friend of Dorothy's who develops a crush on Rose. It featured in season two in 1986 and the episode was so brilliantly and beautifully done. 

Here is one of the most memorable scenes from that episode.


Here is Betty White talking about The Golden Girls. She talks about reading for the part of Blanche. Rue  McClanahan sits beside her and well just look at her face as Betty talks. 



Here is an 1986 interview that Barbara Walters did with Betty at the height of The Golden Girls success on TV. The interview features several clips from her most famous television work such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Betty also speaks about her marriage and the loss of her husband Allen Ludden.  Thank you to @videoarcheology for posting it to Youtube


and I had to post a montage of some of the many classic moments from The Golden Girls which includes moments from all four of those wonderful women.










Eric Church


One aspect of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart that I have always liked is the fact that it includes country music singles too. There are many crossover country singers who have continuous success in the American charts. One country music star whose success in the Billboard charts is increasing with every song that he releases is Eric Church. Last year I complied a weekly list of my own favourite songs and two of the ones that I loved most at the time were by Eric Church. One was Smoke A Little Smoke from his 2009 Carolina album which got to number 78 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the other song was Homeboy which got to number 53 in 2011. Homeboy is taken from Eric's newest album Chief  which also features his number one Country music and Billboard Hot 100 number 40 chart hit Drink in my Hand.
The latest single from Eric's Chief album is called Springsteen which is currently at number 14 in the American Country music charts and is at number 26 this week on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

I think that he is exactly the kind of country singer who could do really well in Ireland too so I hope he plays a concert here someday. 

Eric Church's website is  here and his Twitter page is @EricChurch

Here are all four of  those songs. The first is Smoke a Little Smoke


the second is Homeboy


the third song is his performance of  Drink in my Hand at the 2011 Country Music Awards


and the fourth song is an AOL Sessions live performance of his newest single Springsteen. 
The brand new video for that song can be seen here
















Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gary Clark & Danny Wilson


One of the most wonderful things about rediscovering the songs you loved growing up through the internet is that you find out what happened after the stars had their big hit singles. Until today I never knew that Gary Clark who was part of the Scottish band Danny Wilson has since the 1980s written and produced for so many music artists over the years. He has worked with Natalie Imbruglia, Melanie C, Emma Bunton, Lloyd Cole, Rachel Stevens and right up to today with Demi Lovato when he co-wrote and produced her 2009 song Got Dynamite. He also worked with Ferras whose Hollywood's Not America is one of the best songs from the past few years in my pop fan opinion.

When I had my radio show in the 1980s one of the most played songs on my show was Mary's Prayer by Danny Wilson. I remember people phoning in asking for that song to be played a lot. It is structurally a fantastically beautiful song it is then no wonder that Gary went on to be such a sought after producer. The other two members of the band were Gary's brother Kit and also Ged Grimes.

I do not know much about his solo material so instead I would like to highlight  a lovely music  post on him which you can read here which featured on a blog called The Hopeless Dancer. There are links to his Danny Wilson and solo songs including the gorgeous Any Sunday Morning. Gary's Twitter page is @GaryClarkMusic

Here are some songs that I love from Gary and Danny Wilson. The other two members of the band were Gary's brother Kit and also Ged Grimes. 

The first is Mary's Prayer which was a hit in Ireland, the UK and in America. It really was a perfect radio song.



The second is A Girl I Used To Know.


The third song is The Second Summer Of Love




The fourth is a super live version of Abba's Knowing Me, Knowing You.


and the fifth song is just one of the many songs that Gary has produced. This is one I know lots of my favourite pop bloggers love; Hollywood's Not America by Ferras.










The Hipster Games



There have been more hipster parody videos on Youtube than Nicki Minaj has bras but one parody that I saw today made me laugh. I haven't seen The Hunger Games yet so I know that I will think of this parody video when I do go and see it.

Thanks to @DeusExCinema for tweeting the link to the video this morning. Wyoma Films who made the parody are on Twitter too at @WyomaFilms and their Vimeo page is here. The image above was found here

Here's the video. My favourite bit is 'they're not real glasses'. 













Monday, April 9, 2012

Rolling In A Deep Wicked Game


Rolling in the Deep and Someone like You are without doubt two of the most overplayed songs of the past few years. Though Moves Like Jagger and Somebody that I Used To Know are quickly catching up. Rolling in the Deep has been used in a lot of mash ups since it's release which also means that sometime Adele has to do a huge dance song or even album. Don't get boxed in, girl!

I used to just post a song on my blog once but I decided to re-write or post again the songs and remixes that I have liked over the past 5 or 6 years that I have been blogging. One mash up that I am re-posting today is Rolling in a Deep Wicked Game by Adele and Chris Isaak. It is mixed by Pheugoo and the video is Panos T who works with Robin Skouteris who is another mash up remix genius. Chris Isaak's vocal only comes in at the end but his music and especially his guitar  is there throughout with Adele's vocals.

I was going to post a photo of Adele but there are just so many photographs of her that feature her Cowardly Lion big hairdo! She is fabulous full stop, she's more than hair! So instead there is a photo of the forever handsome Chris.

There are other Pheugoo mash ups here and several videos from Panos T here.

Rolling In A deep Wicked Game by Adele Vs Chris Isaak can't be embedded on blogs but it can be heard by going to it's Youtube page here.



Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)






In 1984 Hazell Dean got to number 6 in the UK charts with Searchin' (I Gotta Find a Man). Her follow up single Whatever I do (Wherever I Go) charted even higher when it got to number 4 in the same year. It was written and produced by Stock, Aitken & Waterman. The song was originally called Dance Your Love Away but was re-written and Hazell had a hit with the song as we now know it. Michael Prince recorded Dance Your Love Away which uses elements of Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go) in it's production. You can hear that a remix version of that song here.

Hazell Dean was the first of the great female vocalists to work with SAW, she had hits before people even knew about Kylie, Sonia and all the other famous SAW vocalists. I am going to do a separate blog post on the many songs I like the most by Hazell later this week. For now I want to highlight Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go) because it's such a classic HI-NRG song.


The song was also covered by the late Laura Branigan when she worked with SAW in 1987 on her Touch album which also included the songs Shattered Glass and her powerful version of Jennifer Rush's The Power Of Love. Just as when Donna Summer worked with SAW in the later part of the 1980s I think Laura's vocals were perfect for the dance pop sound of SAW.

I know that during the The Hit Factory Live concert in July in Hyde Park in  London this year people will remember Laura and her wonderful voice and also will remember Mel Appleby who too passed away too soon. One thing about pop music is that their talent shines on in their music, their music made people happy then and they still do today.

Here are the two versions of Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go). The first is a Top of the Pops performance by Hazell in the week that the single charted in the UK singles chart in 1984. The performance is introduced by Dave Lee Travis.


and here is Laura Branigan's version which is featured on her 1987 album Touch.




Sunday, April 8, 2012

Princess



On the 11th of July this summer in London's Hyde Park Pete Waterman brings a brilliant array of music artists together for one huge event called The Hit Factory Live. The music acts include several of those that worked with both Stock, Aitken & Waterman in the 1980s and also the other popstars that became successful through PWL in the following decades. Steps are headlining but it is the mix of Stock, Aitken & Waterman music artists that first became famous in the 1980s that many people will most want to see. Growing up in the 80s I only ever saw SAW artists on Top of the Pops or on the pages of Smash Hits! magazine. I bought so many singles and 12" records all on vinyl of course during those years in the mid to late 80s. 

I want to do a few posts on the music artists that I liked the most. The first is about Desiree Heslop who is known to us music fans as Princess. I have so many favourite pop songs but one of the all time best singles is Say I'm Your Number One by Princess. I think that song showed that dance pop could be so elegant and smooth. In a way that song was the beginning of the R'n'B pop song that dominated the charts in the 90s and beyond. It was a mix of the production and her  vocals. Princess had several singles and the two follow ups to Say I'm Your Number One were After The Love Has Gone and I'll Keep on Loving You. I think Princess was one of the best voices who worked with SAW.

Say I'm Your Number One got to number 7 in the UK and number 11 in Ireland. It was a worldwide hit when it got to number 2 in both Germany and New Zealand and also charted on the American dance and R'n'B charts in 1985. After The Love Has Gone and I'll Keep On Loving You were both top 30 hits in both Ireland and the UK.

There is a wonderfully  detailed account of the story of when Princess first started working with SAW and the creation of the Say I'm Your Number One song here written by Tom Parker. The link to the page also includes photos of the original hand written lyrics, set up sheets, master reels and other parts of the songs SAW history too.

Princess is back in the recording studio and tweeted some photos just last week of the recording sessions.
Check out her Facebook page at  Facebook.com/hrsprincess where you will be able to  hear her new songs and also get other information on the year ahead for her music career. You can also follow her Twitter page @HRSPrincess 
There is also a link to the Hyde park concert on Twitter at @PWLHitFactory


Here are three of her songs. The first is the extended version of Say I'm Your Number One



the second is After The Love Has Gone


and the third song is I'll Keep On Loving You












Hands


Hands are Hakon and Sofie. I've been discovering several new music acts at the moment through Twitter and I have to admit I'm a bit addicted to Hands music which is both dance and mellow acoustic. Hakon and Sofie moved from Bergen, Norway to London recently to record new music and play concerts. They have some live dates coming up in April and May. Their single No Romance was released in 2011. I first saw a link to their website through Paul Fizzypop so thank you Paul! 

Thanks to the magic of the music website Soundcloud the link to three of their songs is below. The two dance mixes are fab but  Wake Up I think is particularly gorgeous. Their acoustic songs are also great and I will post some of the ones I like most in another blog post soon. 

Hands website is here and their Twitter is @Hands_Music

I first saw a link to Hands website and Twitter page through Paul Fizzypop's page so thank you Paul and to Hands themselves for following me back too. 






Saturday, April 7, 2012

Does He Love You


Pop music has had many great female duets over the years. Some of the ones I like the most include No More Tears (Enough is Enough) by Donna Summer & Barbra Streisand, The Boy is Mine by Brandy & Monica and Same Script, Different Cast by Whitney Houston & Deborah Cox. After pop my most favourite genre of music  is country. I know it's because when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s in Kilkenny several of the shows on the local radio station were country music.

One very fabulous duet by two female country singers is Does He Love You by Reba McEntire & Linda Davis. The duet featured on Reba's 1993 Greatest Hits Volume 2 album and won a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Collaboration. The video is fabulous in a daytime soap kind of way, it has a great ending too, very tongue in cheek!

Does He Love You has been covered a few times over the years. Two other versions that I want to feature are the duet by Donna Summer and Liza Minnelli which features on Liza's 1996 Gently album which i also think is one of her best albums. The other version is more recent and is by Martina McBride and Kelly Clarkson which is also just as fantastic. It featured in a televised tribute to Reba which is introduced by James Denton who you may recognise from Desperate Housewives.


Here are the three versions.

The first is the original version by Reba McEntire & Linda Davis.


the second is by Donna Summer & Liza Minnelli


and the third version is by Martina McBride and Kelly Clarkson. 







David's Daily Dramas


I have been lucky to have seen so many of my most favourite pop music artists in concert. There are, of course, many  concerts or tours that I never got to see over the years. However, whenever David McDonagh writes about seeing someone he loves in concert on his blog David's Daily Dramas I often feel I am there too through the way he writes. He lives in lovely Brighton and he goes to see concerts there, in London and often much further afield such as the ones he saw in Cardiff, Manchester or America. David always writes about music from the heart. In the 80s I didn't know any other pop fans so all of the blogs that I write myself and the ones I read on other people's sites such as David's are a way of reconnecting and reinventing that time for myself.

This week David is the person that I would recommend to follow through his blog and Twitter. His website is David's Daily Dramas and his Twitter page is here.

Here are three songs for David. 

The first is the icon that we both love the most, our Lady.


The second is Each and Everyone by Everything But The Girl.


and the third song is David's other favourite superstar; Melanie C and  Northern Star.








Cambodia


In 1981 Kim Wilde released her self titled debut album which included the three hit singles Kids in America, Chequered Love and Water on Glass. At the end of the same year she released a brand new song called Cambodia. It was the first single from her second album 1982 album Select. Cambodia was written by her father Marty Wilde and her brother Ricky Wilde and was also produced by Ricky. 

Cambodia was one of the first songs that I remember hearing on the radio. I always remember that I had an awareness of the atmosphere of the song. It had a storyline about a pilot who goes missing on a routine flight in Vietnam. The storyline is told from his wife's point of view but it keeps coming back to him as well. A mood is created but it is also ambiguous. You are left in the same mind-frame as the character of the wife in that you don't know exactly what happened to him. I love this song because it evokes memory. It is the aspect of first hearing a song then in the early 1980s and then each time you  hear it since it makes you stop and just listen. I think you can't listen to Cambodia without having a story or images in your head and the skill of capturing that in a short pop song is really something. Marty and Ricky Wilde knew how to craft a song. Kim's voice drew out the emotion in the lyrics that made the story and characters real. 

The 1970s had seen darker lyrics in Punk and in the 1980s the rise of Indie music continued this but in the lyrics and music of Marty and Ricky Wilde it was proven that stories with real life themes could be established within the narrative and sound of a pop song. The two songs that were released after Cambodia were View From A Bridge and Child Come Away which are also story songs and just as powerful as Cambodia.  

Kim's newest album Snapshots was released in 2011 and it features several cover versions of songs old and new and I am going to do a post on that separately as there are many songs on it that I love including her version of To France. For now I just want to celebrate Cambodia.

Kim is on tour at the moment promoting Snapshots. Her website is KimWilde.Com and her Twitter page is @KimWilde. Ricky Wilde's Twitter page is @WildeRicky and Marty Wilde's website is MartyWilde.Com

Cambodia got to number twelve in the UK singles chart and was number one in Denmark, France, Sweden and Switerland and #2 in GermanyThe album contained a longer version which includes a reprise. Here are both versions.


First the single version and it's video.




and the longer version from her Select album.







  

Friday, April 6, 2012

Conor Maynard


Can't Say No is the debut single by Conor Maynard and it is released on the 19th of April in the UK and Ireland. To date, similar to the American band Karmin, he has been covering pop acts such as Chris Brown, Jessie J and Katy Perry. The beginning of the song is definitely sampled or reworked from another recent pop base line but I can't link it. Cher Lloyd may be going hmmm somewhere in England right now. Conor is also from Brighton which is always extra bonus points.

The video is perfectly ok until it goes down the I KNOW EVERYBODY!! road and becomes a mobile phone ad. 

The song is proper pop though.









Flow With The Go


Martika's new single Flow With the Go has been featured on many pop websites over the past few days.   It is a return to her dance pop origins but is completely individual too. Listening back to her early singles today I realised how different each of her most well known songs have been. Her first hit More Than you Know is not a million miles away from the dance pop that is dominating the world pop charts again in 2012. Toy Soldiers is of course the most well known and is still iconic. I Feel The Earth Move showed how a classic song could have a perfect dance pop makeover.  Of all of those songs Love...Thy Will be Done is still my most favourite. I think it is one of those perfectly constructed pop songs from the two drum beats that it opens with to Martika's vocal throughout. When it was released in 1991 it was the perfect transition from the pop of the 1980s when the 1990s was starting to make it's own sound. 

What is also a great pop fact is that all four of those aforementioned songs were top ten hits in Ireland. Make than You Know got to number #10, Toy Soldiers got to #3, I Feel The Earth Move got to #7 and Love...Thy will Be Done got to #8 in the years they were released in the Irish singles charts.

Martika has a great interview with Jared on his website Allure of Sound here Jared's website features many great music articles, news on new releases and other music star interviews. His Twitter page is @AllureOfSounds

Thanks also to Mike Waas whose Twitter page @PopTrashMike featured a link to Flow With The Go yesterday.

Flow With The Go has an extremely addictive chorus. Pop should always be pure fun and this song and the video is certainly that. Martika's website is here and her Twitter page is @MartikaTunes


Here's Martika's first pop hit More Than You Know



and the elegant pop ballad that is  Love...Thy will Be Done.







Only The Horses


One of the best concerts that I was ever at was when I saw Scissor Sisters play in The Village here in Dublin in 2003. It was an electric night. There is always something amazing about seeing music artists at the very beginning of their fame. I also saw Robyn with Kleerup as support artists play a concert at The Village and that gig also had the same atmosphere. It felt like being in a video. 

Scissor Sisters's newest single is called Only The Horses and is one of their most poppiest songs to date. It's produced by Calvin Harris and Alex Ridha and is out on download in May. They haven't had a hit single since Fire with Fire but this has to a success.  

Thanks to We Are Pop Slags website for posting the link to Only The Horses today. Their Twitter is @PopSlags


Foxglove Lane



Through Twitter over the past few months I have discovered many great blogs, websites and personal pages that celebrate the two things that I love the most; that is pop music and movies. 
One website that I love to see updates on has nothing to do with music or film. It is called Foxglove Lane and is a collection of the most beautiful photographs and writings on nature. The profile page describes the site as 'a celebration of the ordinary and the everyday stuff of rural life'. 

I love the power of the image but that image is only powerful when we establish a connection with it. When we see a movie or listen to a song we constantly try to make a connection. We cannot write or speak about music or film unless we have experienced it for ourselves. 
Foxglove Lane does the same in relation to nature. As the profile introduction states 'The more I look the more I see'It celebrates the importance of getting out into the world and connecting with your own surroundings. One post notes that 'every place is beautiful when you pay it the right kind of attention'. The message of something like Foxglove Lane is that the power and beauty of nature is always near to us. Even if we live in a city we can go to a park or get on a bus and train and go to the countryside. That reconnection and the power of just being is there if we want it.

I am from the county of Kilkenny originally. Over the years my family have lived in different houses both in the city and in the countryside. The house that my parents have lived in over the past few years is lovely, there are fields all around. My parents both love their garden and they both have such a deep respect and love of nature. Foxglove Lane states that it is in a place in the South East of Ireland, I do not know exactly where but I think that is part of it's appeal. The photographs are simply moments captured. What is posted in January will or may be different in July and so on. Animals or insects we see one moment we may or  may not ever see again. The various short posts both chronicle the seasons and our reactions to their changes. The words used in the posts are spiritual without religion even being mentioned.

Foxglove Lane's website can be found here. Twitter page is here.

Many of the posts on the website feature a collection of images of the same piece of nature or animal so the posts are best read and the sequence of photographs seen in their original postings but here are just a few of the images that I have loved recently.










Thursday, April 5, 2012

Taylor Swift's Love Story Remixed


Olga Loves Yuri  is one of my all time most favourite pop blogs. Yuri has very similar taste in pop music as me. Yuri is also on Last.FM and here's a song that I heard on his personalised radio station. It's the Digital Dog remix of Love Story by Taylor Swift. I've always loved dance remixes of ballads and this one is completely electric.



American Pop: Karmin


As bloggers such as Chart Rigger have been noting today the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart have never been poppier or more international. Most of the top ten have been hits already or currently her in Ireland and in the UK. I'm always interested in those songs further down the chart. Even though I am almost as old as Yoda nowadays I still will only like a song in the first few seconds when I first hear it. I gave up on the newest Marcus Collins single  after 10 seconds. One song I liked straight away is Brokenhearted by pop duo Karmin who are Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan. It was priced at just 69c for the whole of March in the U.S. which was a v clever marketing move. They sang it on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago too.

In the 70's my mother owned a grocery shop called Karmin Stores so I of course like their name. To date Karmin have mainly been performing cover versions of songs like Fireworks, Grenade and Jar of Hearts. Lots of those covers feature on Last.FM if you fancy a listen. I'm sure Karmin are singing Call Me Maybe somewhere in America right now.

Both Amy and Nick look like popstars which is always important. I like her hair and his vest which is always important too. Amy goes a little bit too Nicki Minaj in some of their covers and the 'cheerio' in Brokenhearted but there is no need as they are perfectly pop by themselves. I would leave the covers to Glee and do their own thing as much as possible. Karmin's new album is called  Hello which will feature many new original songs is released in May. Their Twitter is @Karmincovers

Here's their newest single Brokenhearted which is currently number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart which is up 19 places from the previous week.







Monday, April 2, 2012

Three Songs from Ane Brun


One of the best concerts that I went to in 2011 was Ane Brun when she played in Whelan's music venue in  Camden Street, Dublin. In my last bookshop job here in Dublin one of my friends, Rike, used to play Ane Brun's music a lot. Two of those songs were her cover versions of Alphaville's Big in Japan and Cyndi Lauper's True Colors. They are both great versions but it is Ane's own songs that I love more which I think are simply wonderful. She reminded me of a singer like Bjork who puts herself completely into her songs during her performance of them but she is completely her own individual music artist as well. Her newest album is It All Starts With One. Her website is here

On April 27th Ane plays Dublin again, this time in Vicar Street which is a bigger venue and always has a great atmosphere. 

Here are three songs by Ane Brun.

The first is The Puzzle.


the second is This Voice



and the third song is from her newest album. This is Do You Remember




Jessie Ware


One of the best songs that I heard last year was Valentine by Jessie Ware which she sang with Sampha. Jessie has worked with several music artists including SBTRKT who will play a concert at Dublin's Academy on May 6th. Hopefully Jessie will play Dublin at some stage too. Her Twitter page is @Jessie_Ware 

Jessie is from south London and artists like her remind of how much great new music is out there and  which deserve more success in the singles charts in the UK and other countries. 

Her song Running from earlier this year is gorgeous. There is also a Disclosure remix which hopefully will be one of the sounds of this forthcoming summer. 

Here's the very elegant video for Running.


and the Disclosure remix.



and here also is Jessie & Sampha and the v sweet Valentine.