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Golly, the weather outside is frightful. There I was battling the elements on the way from the train station to the office (sigh I am such a wage slave), enjoying the festive warblings of Vonda Shepard on a very ally Christmas when I step off the kerb into the most enormous puddle that covers my whole foot. Oh, was my language blue. Blue as my foot currently is as it awaits for my skechers footware and sock to dry on the barely luke warm radiator at work. It's hardly radiating, let me tell you! Still, 'tis the season of good will and all that jazz, so I have decided not to be bitter about the shoddily uneven roads in Coventry and just get on with todays post instead! As you can see from the delightfully delightful picture above a) it was my annual Christmas bash on Saturday and b) DazPretty and I are still insanely hot together ;) Click on the picture to be taken to a dazzling visual account of the evening (and for a VERY limited time a download of a S/A/W act's cheesy debut/only album that soundtracked the event) over at the holiday diaries :) And just to let you know that I am currently working on something very exciting for Christmas eve eve that I may never be able to tell you about (oh sorry, channelling Popjustice there!). Aren't you all just all aquiver with antiskipation now…
It's hard to believe that the X Factor is still going. It seems to have been on for ever and now that my beloved but not very brilliant MacDonald Brothers have been kicked out just a week after my beloved and potentially amazing Eton Road (who are touring with Beyond soon) it seemed inevitable that a Leona and Ben final was in the offing. But in traditional X Factor style, one last twist had been engineered (Ben Elton's Chart Throb has ruined it for me – I am so cynical of the whole event now!!) and Ben was booted out of the competition. Which leaves the spawn of evil Ray in the final and the amazingly talented but as interesting as a baboon's ring piece Leona. So obviously Leona should win and I will tune into her career once the turdig Moment Like This is out of the way… However, the highlight of the show was actually that I didn't watch it and that my mom called in the middle of the party to tell everyone that Ben had been kicked out (ruining it for all my Sky+ [uk TIVO] loving friends) and she was voting for Ray. Because according to her hairdresser (well the twink that washes her hair before it is styled) he is "well bummable." Thanks for sharing mother and get yourself a stylist with more style. Anyway here are my fave two Leona songs of the series and a fond farewell to the Journey South stylings of the MacBros. RAR! And coming soon: A Shayne Ward/Xfactor retrospecticus article, some worldwide idol winners and a very reality Christmas…
LINK: The ever excellent Bitch Factor blogspot
MP3: Leona – I Will Always Love You
MP3: Leona – Lady Marmalade
MP3: MacBros – 500 Miles
MP3: MacBros – Shangalang
. It's possible that only ruthiepoos and myself will be excited by this article, but I am practically love-weeing at the thought of a Buffy Season 8. But before I get ahead of myself, let's review what there is to love about the slayer of vampires. She came into my life at just the right time (Mar 1997) as the news of Lois and Clark's demise and I was looking for a new slightly supernatural drama with a nice bit of tortured romance. First season of Buffy just seemed so wickedly inventive, acerbic and seemed to have more of a narrative; an idea of where it was going than Lois and Clark. Plus it had the Buffy-Angel romance. A vampire in love with the slayer? Delicious! Over 7 seasons there was terror, heartbreak, death, rebirth, anger, redemption, humour, more love triangles than you could ever imagine, metaphors, incredible writing and sheer entertainment. I could write an awful lot about this show, and possibly one day will ( but quickly, just out of interest some of my fave episodes include the Surprise/Innocence two parter, the season two finale Becoming, Amends, the season three finale Graduation, Hush, most of season five but particularly The Body and The Gift, Once More With Feeling and Chosen. All magnificent), but for now its just utterly super that Buffy is back. In comic form. Joss Whedon is writing and overseeing a new Buffy comic that will be available from Dark Horse in March 2007 and each issue will be like an episode from the show culminating in a season finale sometime in 2008. I. Can't. Wait.
.LINK: Joss Whedon on the new Buffy comic
LINK: Purchase Buffy on DVD
MP3: Cibo Matto – Sugar Water (from season two premiere of Buffy)
I know I peg this as a blogazine devoted to finding the ultimate in pop music and culture and sometimes that means embracing styles of music not traditionally classed as "pop". In fact, I quite like a lot of alternative bands – and think if some of them (mainly The Ordinary Boys, but to some extent Kaiser Chiefs, Kooks and even Arctic Monkeys) embraced pop and left their preconceptions at the door (a la The Feeling, Scissor Sisters, etc) the charts would be a much more exciting and diverse place to be. Here are three bands that seem to have done just that without compromising the quality and sheer addictiveness of their music…
. I'm always excited when I find a band whose music I like and are local, because it gives me a better chance of seeing them live, usually at The Sunflower in Birmingham city centre. The intriguingly named Page 44 (not to be confused with the less intriguing and somewhat rubbish +44) fit the bill nicely. They all hail from the Birmingham region and embrace a sound that is part pop sensibility, mostly rock energy and all ingenuity and enthusiasm. This is what bands like Fightstar should sound like if they weren't so busy being pretentious and trying to be critically acclaimed. Page 44 manage it with ease because they sound like they aren't even trying – the music just flows naturally and is awash with tight harmonies, killer choruses and a thrusting instrumentation that complements the instruments and vocals alike. You can check out 4 songs on their myspace page, but my pick for first single would be We Know The Way – a song that can only be compared to getting on Rita Queen of Speed at Alton Towers for the sheer giddiness and thrills it brings. Be sure to check out their journals on their home page – very funny reads peppered with lines like "it was a fierce race to the toilet as we all needed a piss (except paul who doesn't urinate)". You don't get that on The Killers blog…
. I only became aware of The Jag when they featured in last week's Metro newspaper in a fashion feature and were described as "reluctantly handsome", which seemed a bit of a back handed compliment really. Still, it was enough for me to check out their myspace page and I'm glad I did. If you have read my theory on why The Ordinary Boys could be the biggest pop band in England if only they weren't so hung up on not being so, then you will know why I instantly love Jag. There is a cheeky irreverence in their music that filters witty lyrics through punk-pop and ska influences and comes out with a diamond of a track like debut single Lover In Handcuffs, which may have to win title of the year. I mean, who can't relate to or hasn't been in that situation ;) Full of kinkified lyrics ("I'm a lovely lover in handcuffs/never tire of being tied up"), the song is ridiculously catchy, boasts some accomplished guitar playing and at a mere 2 and a half minutes, is like a blast of fresh air in your face, blowing away the cobwebs of the dull boring pop music malingering round the charts at the moment. Just the sheer exuberance of the single makes you ache to see what could possibly be a very fine live show… Plus they have a brilliantly titled section of reviews on their myspace blog called Reviewers in Handcuffs, which could be quite an enticing invitation ;) Now we just need to get them into Jo Wiley's Live Lounge to cover hard-fi's Tied Up Too Tight...
. And then, we come to Over It. It strikes me that this is actually quite a dangerous name for a band to have, as at some point it could become all too easy fodder for snarky reviewers. Luckily, that day isn't today as the debut album from these stateside lads proves they have an ear for smart punk-pop rock that shows a razor sharp understanding of the British pop scene most native acts can't even grasp. It's in making songs sound joyous and fun, lively and exhausting, catchy and unforgettable. It's also about not taking your audience for granted and writing lyrics that work well enough in the concept of the three minute chart smash, but also make you want to pore over the lyrics for more depth and understanding. Over It are all over songs like that – and the accomplished debut is a promising sign of greater things to come.
LINK: Page 44's myspace site
LINK: Jag's myspace site
LINK: Over It's myspace site
MP3: Page44 - We Know The Way
MP3: Jag - Lover In Handcuffs
Lordy, you can just hear Simon Cowell gloating to Louis "I have no identity" Walsh when Il Divo stormed into the top 5 of the album chart the very same week as G4 limped in at number 21 with Act 3 (does this mean there will be no Act 4?). However, G4 have sold out their Christmas tour and other "poppera" albums also litter the British album charts – S Classical Juniors, Angelis, are still riding high, while Classical Corrs (rhyming slang?) All Angels are steadily climbing from week to week. And all of them have one festive little ditty in common. You may have already read my post about Il Divo and G4's take on the very lovely When A Child Is Born. Now, along with the Angel acts, they have both submitted versions of Silent Night for your consideration. Angelis have gone for the Walking In The Air market with a version not too dissimilar to All Angels. The Poppera boy bands both turn in quite nice vocal harmony versions, highlighting different parts of the song for a bit of bombasity. However, it is the restrained haunting version by All Angels that captures the slightly eerie, awe struck feeling the song should have. None quite match the standard of my favourite version of silent night complete with crystalline vocal and gorgeous arrangement at the bottom of the mp3 list below :)
LINK: Buy Il Divo's Siempre album
LINK: Buy G4's Act 3 album
LINK: Buy Angelis' debut album
LINK: Buy All Angels debut album
MP3: Il Divo – Silent night
MP3: G4 – Silent night
MP3: Angelis – Silent night
MP3: All Angels – Silent night
MP3: Deborah Gibson – Silent night
~ Don'tcha (wish your boyfriend was hot like me) hate it when people show you up by taking a universal idea like posting Christmas songs in themed groups, and making it a 100 times better than you are doing it?! Pop on over to Zeon's blog for some lovely festive pop complete with spiffing looking cd cover! I feel so basic ;)
~ I love the name Paulie Z and the fact that
XO has been a busy boy this weekend :) Not loving the fact that i seem to have posted the same comment 5 times on his site. Ew.
~ thanks to the lovely
Rob(o)pop (as only i am allowed to call him) i discovered a brillo new blog Pop Trash Addicts. It filthy fun and irreverent and has a whole host of craptacular Kylie covers. Natch, we love it :)
~ I can't agree with
Jessica more after she posted fab single by Norweigan Idol Aleksander Denstadt - indeed, why isn't our winner getting a track of this calibre instead of some 4 year old schmaltz...?
~ Don't forget to vote in the
Popjustice 2006 viewers poll. It's all very exciting!
~ Kudos to Will for filling me in (not literally, hehe) on Jump 5 - v disappointing though that Spinning Around isn't a cover...
~ i can't seem to post comments on anyone's site, which is probably good after they all published about 5 times on poor XO's...

Coming soon: give me the songs; more christmas tv; festive fashions; when pop bands end; trey lorenz; 7 in 2007 update; zapping record company skinny; the reality of Christmas; more Christmas books and movies; top 10 favourite artists; more retrospecticus; more should've beens; and lots lots more besides...


  1. xolondon said...
    YEs! Score! You used "delightfully delightful" again in a sentence! LOVE the party pics, but why aren't I in them?

    I deleted the extra posts, but I did put a nastayyy hex on your commenting mojo. It shall expire momentarily. S'okay because D'luv is revealing some kinky positions in his comments on my blog. Ho ho ho indeed! ;)
    Robpop said...
    Paul. How do you do this?!

    Also if you check out this weeks Boyz you'll find a very "exhausted" Pinkie! "Rar" indeed!
    Poster Girl said...
    I only ever watched two MacDonald Brother performances (probably because I heard so many negative things about them), but they were the two you've posted, and I thought those were really fun! "500 Miles" is just a great song anyways, and though I hadn't heard "Shang-A-Lang" before, it makes me want to go buy some Bay City Rollers stuff.

    I like the "non-traditional pop" bands you have up, and it's nice to see Over It is from the US--with this and Jump5, I'm really going to have to stop complaining about music in the U.S. for a bit (well, maybe I'll just rephrase my complaining.)
    Paul said...
    XO - i am always delightfully delighted about many a thing. Sorry you weren't in the photos - unless you were our damn sandwich toaster??!

    Rob - i don't know how i do it. i do have very fast dexterous fingers so as fast as this crap comes into my head it comes out again! I don't get Boyz in the midlands - scan? Good to know Pinkie is still around :)

    PPG - the poor macdonald brothers. they were no better or worse than journey south! though i enjoyed more the topless pics of Macs...i may now be addicted to the Lover in Handcuffs song by Jag. RAR!

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