miércoles, 12 de septiembre de 2012

Sexy Prophets

2012 is a scary year for some, since it's in that same year (December 21, 2012 to be exact) that the Mayan calendar suddenly comes to an end, which would eventually mean the Apocalypse. Of course, that doesn't necessarily has to happen (a new discovery proved that wrong) but, what if it IS true?

If anything, we've been warned a long time ago. And no, it wasn't when Whitney met Bobby. Or when the boys and girls from Jersey Shore actually met. It was circa 1982 and the messengers were two blazing hot sisters sporting heavy makeup, dangerous hairdos, tight hot pants and long hooker boots. These weren't your average sisters: one was the runnerup for Miss Venezuela 1979 and became a bonafide sex symbol afer an accidental topless got her disqualified in that year's Miss World peagant. The other was a soap-opera actress and ocassional singer.

So how did these two women, Tatiana and Marita Capote, jointly anticipate the end of the world? It happened as soon as they grabbed a mic and started butchering a New Wave tune from Frida Lyngstad, post-ABBA. They were invited to a variety television show in Venezuela and performed a half-dead version of Frida's "I Know There's Something Going On". Singing to a virtually mute and possibly baffled audience, the Capote singers strutted around the set, worried about the end of love and latching scary eyes at the cameramen. Something was indeed going on! (the source of the original video got cut off at the very end. Maybe the guy who was taping it was scared enough.)

Before that zombie rendition, the girls took on another Frida single, the rockier "Tell Me It's Over" and their attitude was just the same: they claimed that life without their men "is phony" and that they didn't want to be alone. Those lyrics carried such emotion, but the Capotes didn't care a bit, as they turned their backs to the audience to show there was little to the imagination of those nasty 1980s glittery hot pants.

After this experience, the world carried on and so did Tatiana and Marita. But shall we ask, for how long? Frida has not expressed any concern at all, and neither the state of Truman Capote, who has no relation to the girls whatsoever. But I just watched the whole thing and I'm left wondering...how long?

martes, 11 de septiembre de 2012

The (James) Murphy Chronicles

For those who find themselves within the 2.0 generation, LCD Soundystem's farewell concert at Madison Square Garden, April 2, 2011, was as significant as The Band's last gig, documented in the 1978 Martin Scorsese film "The Last Waltz." It was the end of a glorious era for Indie, an era in which photographer Ruvan Wijesooriya played the part of friend and trustable 'fly on the wall'.

From 2004 to the day LCD quit, Wijesooriya navigated through both private and public moments with the influential, Grammy-nominated, NYC band, an access so rare in the commercialized and controlled music industry of today. He was there, from London's Hyde Park to Coachella, Rick Rubin's LA Studio, Miami Art Basel and more.

His photographs, most of them previously unseen, are part of an iconic book published by powerHouse entitled simply LCD. The 216-page glossy book, scheduled for December 2012, features various album art and original interviews with members of the band, plus it also showcases an exciting design by James Timmins, art director of Dossier magazine. This makes the ultimate gift for the diehard LCD fan, but don't take our word for it, just ask bandleader James Murphy:

All of Ruvan’s pictures remind me of that feeling: that you’re geographically fucked, and its all happening right now, somewhere else, without you. There’s an enormous amount of intimacy in them, and promise, and intrusion…

lunes, 10 de septiembre de 2012

Gore...and Amanda Palmer

Lovin' this new video by the sexy Amanda Palmer. “The Killing Type” (from her Theatre Is Evil album) is directed by Tim Pope and reflects the intensity of the track: it starts out calmed and by the minute, she amps it up concluding in blood all over her and the band. It's ok if you feel a bit disturbed but at the end of the day, it's one hell of a beautifully-executed vid. 

For all of you who may or might not know, Theatre is Evil is Palmer’s first new studio album in four years, and her first with a full band: The Grand Theft Orchestra, featuring Michael McQuilken, Chad Raines and Jherek Bischoff. It was recorded in Melbourne with producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Murder By Death, Modest Mouse, Xiu Xiu), and is being released worldwide on Palmer’s own 8ft. records.

domingo, 9 de septiembre de 2012

The Hitmakers

If you're the one who complains about how techno and dubstep have tucked themselves in the sphere of pop music, let me tell ya: it's nothing new. If anything, you should list British music producers Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman as the men responsible for the use of underground rhythms with a certain pop sensibility.

From 1984 to 1993, the trio scored over 100 Top 40 hits for acts like Kylie Minogue, Dead Or Alive, Bananarama, Hazell Dean, Rick Astley, Big Fun, Jason Donovan, Sinitta, Sonia, Donna Summer, Cliff Richard, Princess, Mel & Kim, Samantha Fox...and the list goes on and on and on. Their perfect pop, a mix of Hi-NRG-influenced sound and Motown romanticism, was widely accepted and considered as "The Sound Of A Bright Young Britain". But with the changing of the times and the pressures of delivering nothing but surefire hit singles, SAW was no more and left a grand legacy in its heels.

Last August, British TV network ITV recaptured all the best and worst moments of SAW in one amazing 46-minute documentary entitled "The Hit Factory: The Stock Aitken & Waterman Story". In case you have seen it, and even if you haven't, here it is. Think of this as your sunday treat!

What I listened to this weekend

It's time to say goodbye to this lazy weekend. I accumulated several hours of sleep, and I happily recovered by eating healthy, doing lots of exercise and listening to great music. Here are a few of the new songs I jammed into my iPod recently.

Ungdomskulen - Facemask

This is a Norwegian group that's really experimental and plays off some catchy tunes like this one, the second single off their new album Secrecy. It opens with subdued guitars and vocals before kicking into full speed with an infectious mix of bass and drum that booms beneath licks of guitar. As catchy as avant-garde can get.

Dragonette - Live In This City (Madera Remix)

Loving this wonky track by the always reliable Canadian electropop outfit. It's almost tailormade for the dancefloor, as is almost all their stuff. Hopefully their upcoming Body Parts album is just as good as this. I'm sure it will be!

The Casket Girls - Sleepwalking

When I saw the tag "eerie-pop" in the Soundcloud track, I could not resist. This is rather eerie: haunting instrumentals provided by Ryan Graveface and on top of them, the pop sensibility of  Elsa and Phaedra Greene's vocals. It sounds like a darker and more complex version of the 60s girl group The Shangrila's. And that was exactly what they were going for!

Midnight Magic - Same Way I Feel

This group is one of my favorites, as it captures most of the Disco feeling of yesteryear with a touch of now. Their debut full length is titled Walking The Midnight Streets and it comes out November 13th on their own Midnight Sun Sound. It includes “Same Way I Feel”, a smooth, seductive track driven by bursts of horns over a funky bass line.

sábado, 8 de septiembre de 2012

Clash of the titans: Olivia meets ABBA meets Andy

It was 1978: 'Dallas' was starting its run on CBS, Serial killer Ted Bundy is captured by the feds, Larry Flint gets shot and later becomes paralyzed, Louise Brown (the world's first test tube baby) is born, Argentina takes over the FIFA World Cup and Karol Wojtyła becomes Pope John Paul II.

In the midst of such events, Olivia Newton-John prevailed in a major artistic crossroad. Known for her angelic pipes, flowy dresses and country-tinged numbers, Newton-John shed the 'goody-two-shoes' image once and for all when she co-stared in the movie/musical Grease, alongside John Travolta. The flick and its amazing soundtrack made her a bonafide superstar and a slammin' comodity in Hollywood. In the words of the title of her ninth studio album, the girl was indeed Totally Hot.

Riding on the sucess of Grease, Newton-John was given a second go at a television special, Olivia aired on ABC in the summer of '78. As always, she was accompanied by guests and in this occasion, they were rather exceptional for various reasons: Andy Gibb, the youngest in the Gibb family, had begun enjoying his short-lived teen idol status with his first three singles ("I Just Want to Be Your Everything", "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water" and "Shadow Dancing") hitting the top of the charts consecutively. Though Andy and ,Livvy were inmensely known Stateside, ABBA was not.

ABBA and Olivia already had a history together: they both participated in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, where the Swedish foursome won with the now classic "Waterloo". They experienced a steady run of Top 40 hits, especially the chart topper "Dancing Queen", but they were far from being household names like their British peers. The hopes laid on the TV special to do just that, with over 40 million people watching and hearing in the comfort of their homes.

Preparations for Olivia took place in May, with a predominant theme of childhood in mind throughout the entire production. The highlights of it all, however, were the musical performances designed to showcase each of the guests. Besides the dreadful "The Days Of the Old Schoolyard", a fantastic live medley was shown as the main piece featuring most of their tunes, concluding with ABBA's "Thank You For The Music". All three acts took to a more intimate stage, a-la Elvis 1968 Special, to jam it out with popular tunes and even an impromptu Opera lick from Frida.

The purpose for the TV Special worked slightly to perfection: ABBA's single "Take A Chance On Me" hit the Top 3 on Billboard whilist ABBA - The Album was placed in the Albums Chart at #14. The three met a year later for the historic A Gift of Song benefit concert in New York. After that, their paths would never coincide: Gibb succumed to a drug addiction that left him almost broke and affected his heart, dying 10 years after this TV Special aired. ABBA would continue breaking records until their split in 1982. Olivia got "Physical", she married and had a baby, proudly fought breast cancer and still is keeping strong.

Life takes such interesting twist and turns but at least we've got this slice of memorable pop history to dig. An otherworldly supergroup indeed.

Hello again, it's me

This is actually my third attempt at a blog. I woke up this morning, not only thinking about that entertaining Beyoncé vid, but also opening yet another page on blogspot. I don't think my two previous attempts (Melting Pot, and its english version, which both later merged for some weird reason) were any good. I don't know if this one ever will be, but I might as well give this bitch a go. So what will you expect from Pop Snob? Absoltuely nothing, just the music that I love mixed with the music that I am listening to right now. It's sort of a Melting Pot in itself.

I hope you love me this time around Blogspot. xD