Archive Page 3

21
Jun
11

Day Five – Pet Shop Boys – Actually

There had to be one from my favourite group and I can’t believe that it has been so long since I played the Pet Shop Boys’ second album “Actually”. Along with their debut “Please”, these albums were a major part of my personal soundtrack during my coming out years.

“Actually” had some stunning singles which most people would be familiar with – “It’s A Sin”, “What Have I Done To Deserve This”, “Heart” and “Rent”. But this album had much more than a string of hit singles. Check out classics like “Shopping”, “One More Chance”, “Hit Music” and “Kings Cross”.

One thing I will always be grateful for was my introduction to the greatest singer of all time, Dusty Springfield. Her duet with the Boys was a real eye and ear opener.

Here are the Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield performing “What Have I Done To Deserve This” at the 1988 Brit Awards. I wish they could have performed it live but that wasn’t the done thing on TV back then. Still it’s fun to see Dusty having a ball on stage.

“Rent” was surely an homage to rent boys. This is a 2006 live concert clip of the song.

And here is “Kings Cross” as performed in 1994.

Finally, here is a good live vserion of “Shopping”.

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20
Jun
11

Day Four – Kyle Riabko – The Parkdale Sessions


Apologies for missing day four yesterday but an imploding hot water tank messed up my plans.

Anyway, today we have a change in pace. Kyle Riabko is a Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist and is incredibly talented at all three. I discovered his debut album a few years ago and was immediately blown away by his talent. I think of his style as acoustic blue-eyed soul.

What I didn’t find out until later was that Kyle toured Australia in 2005 as a support for Delta Goodrem. If only I had known. Kyle is a great live performer from what I can see on You Tube.

I picked Kyle’s second album “The Parkdale Sessions” to highlight. I love the immediacy and intimacy of this album. It almost has a live feel. Kyle played most of the instruments and recorded it in his apartment.

The album contains one of the most romantic love songs ever written, “Song For Amanda”.

Let’s go back to my place, open up a bottle of wine
We can move it slow, yeah I know you like to take your time
We’ll let Miles Davis play us into the mood
And if I’m lucky, I’ll steal a kiss from you

One of the joys of this song is that it doesn’t have to be about Amanda since she is not even mentioned in the lyrics. Kyle says the song is about his unrequited love for the actress Amanda Bynes although I suspect that was a clever marketing ploy. Still, it helped get the song noticed at the time.

Kyle also has a love for acting and has started to build a career. His highest profile role to date has probably been in “90210” as a love interest for the character Teddy who had recently come out as gay. Kyle’s first major role was on Broadway in the musical “Spring Awakening” as the lead character Melchior. Kyle included two of the songs from “Spring Awakening” on the album. Here is Kyle performing “Left Behind” at a gig. A moving song, especially in the context of the show. There are a couple of very short audio drop outs but you can still appreciate the song and Kyle’s performance.

“Ready For Reality” is a more upbeat and incredibly catchy number and one of my favourite songs on the album. This is a live extended performance in Canada with some nifty guitar work.

Kyle has a great future ahead of him.

18
Jun
11

Day Three – Kylie – Light Years

I wanted to feature a Kylie album today since she is performing in concert in Adelaide tonight and I have a few excited friends gearing up for the experience.

I chose “Light Years” from 2000 simply because I can’t believe that I haven’t listened to this masterpiece in quite a few years. It is my absolute favourite Kylie album after all.

One thing I like about this album is the variety from the stomping disco anthem “Your Disco Needs You” to the anguish-filled ballad “Bittersweet Goodbye” to the camp show tune “Loveboat” to the indy duet “Kids” with Robbie Williams, And lets not forget the futuristic trance pop of the title track complete with the spoken airline announcement – Please fasten your seatbelts…

Despite the eclectic range of songs, the album fits very well together and is interlaced with a camp disco sensibility. It helped propel Kylie well and truly back into the public eye. One of my main regrets is that I never got to go to the concert based around the album.

Here is the awesome Almighty mix of “Your Disco Needs You” which ups the stomp factor to the nth degree. Fabulous to dance to.

Here is the sublime “Butterfly” another favourite to lose yourself in on the dancefloor.

And here is the beautiful “Bittersweet Goodbye” which proves Kylie’s versatility.

Kylie’s incredible performance of “On A Night Like This” from the Sydney Olympics still gives me goosebumps.

17
Jun
11

Day Two – Nanne – Alla Mina Ansikten (All My Faces)

A Swedish album for day two. “Alla mina ansikten” translates to “All My Faces” and shows different sides of Nanne. Rockier, harder and a lot more personal. Unfortunately, this was Nanne’s least successful album commercially which is a shame since it does contain some excellent songs.

There is one English song on here, “Men”. Nanne sang this song in the British pre-selections for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2001 but failed to qualify. It doesn’t really fit on this album but it is a bit of light-hearted fun and provides a counterpoint to the rest of the album.

The lead angle was the totally theatric “Svarta änkan” (aka “The Black Widow””), one of my favourite Nanne songs. Another favourite is “Jag har inte tid”, “I Don’t Have Time”, a song about a woman who is too busy for family and friends and even death itself.

“Hatar, älskar” or “Hating, Loving” is a song with a punch. It is about her relationship with her alcoholic mother and is deeply personal. The title song is about self doubt and anxiety. “Fördomar” (Prejudices) was written for Nanne’s many gay fans and is about prejudice and intolerance.

Relistening to the album after many years, it does come across as disjointed and maybe just a little too dark for audiences back then. As I said it does have some excellent songs and is worth a listen. The original version of the album does flow a little better than the rejigged version that came out the following year. The song order had been juggled around (unsuccessfully in my view) and another song added which really didn’t fit.

Okay, now for some videos. First up is “Men” as performed in the British Eurovision pre-selection. Nanne was very sick at the time. Being a real trouper, she knew the show had to go on.

Here is Nanne performing “Svarta änkan” in that amazing outfit that would put Cher to shame.

And “Jag har inte tid” from the same show.

Finally, “Fördomar” on another TV show.

16
Jun
11

Day One – Thompson Twins – Big Trash

Today is my birthday and for no reason in particular, I thought I should play an album from a favourite artist that I had not listened to for a long time. Thinking in terms of the blog, it occurred to me that over the next seven days, I would pick an album from each of my top artists and share it on the blog. Of course, it would be an album that I wanted to rediscover. Self indulgent? Naturally but it is my blog after all. 🙂

For my first choice I went to my second all time favourite group, the Thompson Twins. There was a time when the Thompson Twins ruled the world back in the 80s. They could not put a foot wrong but then it did all go wrong. It seemed like the success was too big and too much and all too quickly. The group themselves started feeling the pressure and the sin of over-exposure hung over them. Really sad actually since the Thompson Twins were a brilliant band in terms of music, image and showmanship. It still bugs me that no one ever really mentions the Thompson Twins these days, despite many other 80s artists jumping on the bandwagon. It probably hasn’t helped that the former members of the Thompson Twins seem to shun the spotlight meaning that they have become a distant memory. Criminal in my view.

The album I chose was the 1989 gem “Big Trash”. By the time this came out, the Twins were down to two members and the glory days were behind them. The album was very under-rated and barely caused a ripple. They had just signed to a new label and this album was a step in a new direction. It had a much harder rock edge to the sound although it was still full of the trademark hooks. A great album to play really loud.

The album came out about the same time that Deborah Harry had a huge world-wide hit with a song penned by Tom and Alannah, “I Want That Man”. Actually, I would love to hear Alannah sing this and it makes me wonder if there could be a long lost demo in the vaults. One can always dream.

Actually Ms Harry has contributed backing vocals to two of the songs on here which surely makes this album an essential item for the completist Blondie fan.

One good thing is that the lead single, “Sugar Daddy” was a hit. Dance fused with rock and very sing-alongable. The second single “Bombers In The Sky” was featured in the “Gremlins 2” movie.

Some kind soul put together an album sampler featuring clips from all the songs. Check out the wonderful “Salvador Dali’s Car”, “Queen of the USA”, “Wild” and the title track.

Here is the video for the 12″ mix of “Sugar Daddy”.

I couldn’t find the promo clip for “Bombers In The Sky” with scenes of Gremlins so here is a fan video set to the Razormaid mix. Rather fab.

I remember not even knowing that a new album was coming out back in 1989. This was back in the days prior to the internet when going to a record shops was an adventure and not knowing what treasures one might find.

03
Jun
11

Dark, melodramatic with a bit of vamp thrown in

Dark, melodramatic with a bit of vamp thrown in? Sounds like Diana, one of the greatest science fiction villains, from the TV show “V”. But no, it describes the music of songstress Jane Badler.

Of course you should all know that Jane Badler played Diana in “V”, the classic 80s mini series. She also played a different but still imposing Diana in the “V” reimagining. And lets not forget her stint in “Neighbours” playing, who was it again? Oh yes, Diana!

What you may not know is that Jane Badler is a talented singer in her new hometown Melbourne and has released two albums.

Jane’s latest album is “Tears Again”. Her website describes the album as follows:

On ‘Tears Again’ she has also worked with internationally acclaimed producer Paul Grabowsky to deliver a record that reflects Jane’s long and varied career in Hollywood B films and television soaps throughout the 70s and 80s. The album pays homage to the smoothness and the melodrama of the era.

A perfect description.

Jabe has recorded a video for the song “Men Who Lie”, a tragic story about failed relationships with an awesome spoken monologue. Check it out.

The album is on iTunes along with Jane’s debut “The Devil Has My Double”. With song titles like “I Want A Lot Of Boys To Cry At My Funeral” and “The Doll That Cries Real Tears” you just know that you’re going to love both these albums.

17
May
11

Nina from Serbia

I am still processing the Eurovision outcome and wondering why such a boring song won. In the meantime, look what I found.

This is probably old news for many but there is actually an English version of the Serbian entry, “Caroban” by the spunky Nina.

“Caroban” was actually one of my favourite songs this year. I would even place it in my top three after Sweden and Hungary. The 60s vibe struck a chord with me, I loved Nina’s look and I loved the psychedelic light show going on behind Nina and her backing singers even if it did make my eyes hurt.

One thing I did appreciate and respect was that Nina had the balls to sing the song in her native language. That is one thing I miss about Eurovision. I really think that they should go back to the native language rule. One has to wonder if the disappointing position that the song came was because it was in Serbian. Surely Europeans are not that shallow?

Anyway, doing some surfing tonight and I discovered that Nina did in fact record an English version and also recorded a music video for it. In English, the song is called “Magical” and magical it is. I hate to say it but maybe Nina would have scored higher if she had performed the English version. I guess we’ll never know and part of me is still glad that we got the Serbian version.

Here’s the English clip. Enjoy the groove.




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