Hercules and Love Affair ft. John Grant— I Try to Talk to You

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hercules-and-love-affair1I was first introduced to Hercules and Love Affair a few years back by a good friend (who I haven’t seen in forever) when we started chatting online with each other.

Ok, so we were flirting with each other online quite regularly, and we eventually hooked up once but that’s not the point. 😉

During our chats he sent me links to this band’s videos and I absolutely loved it.  The vibe and sound of this band, described as a ‘musical project’ from New York based DJ Andy Butler, really spoke to me.  In early interviews, Butler stated his intent to release music with a rotating cast of performers and musicians (Source: Wikipedia).

Their music was cool, with a great sound and old-school vibe that made it easy to listen to and easily fit into my love of chill-out type music.  When they first debuted back in 2008, their first single “Blind” was co-written and featured guest Antony Hegarty (lead vocalist in Antony & The Johnsons, a band I was introduced to back in Montreal by a dear friend).

jessica-6That debut album also featured vocals from Nomi Ruiz, who went on to form the band Jessica 6, which I got to see with that same friend in a basement East London music venue. It was a last minute invite due to a friend of his cancelling last minute.. and technically was the first time we’d met in person.

It was a fun night full of great music and terrific company.. too bad I had to work the next morning, but it was worth the lack of sleep.

Anyway, below you’ll find their latest video for their song ‘I Try to Talk to You’, featuring vocals from John Grant who has a ‘sexy tomcat voice’.

The video for this truly stands out as it shows a couple seemingly struggling against each other through some fantastic choreography that just flows as the video goes forward.

Oh, and did I mention it’s two men?  Yeah, even more amazing to watch the interaction between the two dancers.

So enjoy, and let me know what you think of the song and the video.  🙂

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Scissor Sisters – Only The Horses

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I have no idea why, but this song has been stuck in my head all day long.. Not that it’s a bad thing, cause I quite like this song.

And let’s be honest, anything by Scissors Sisters is always a good thing to have stuck in your head.. especially when you’re thinking about how hot BabyDaddy is.  LOL

Ok.. Jake Shears isn’t too bad himself.  😉

Enjoy.

Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual: 30th Anniversary

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Can you believe it’s been 30 years since Cyndi Lauper released her debut album ‘She’s So Unusual‘?  Where has the time gone?

At 60, Lauper is rocking fiery red locks, a throwback to her 1983 debut album “She’s So Unusual.” The album broke records with four Top 5 singles, including the angst laden “Time After Time” and the iconically irreverent “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Hailed at the Grammys as that year’s best new artist, Lauper went on to release nine more albums within three decades. Her music’s pop-punk hybrid sound later influenced No Doubt, P!nk and Lady GaGa. Lauper has since founded the True Colors Fund for queer homeless youth, penned her memoir and composed the Tony award winning musical “Kinky Boots.”  (Source: Washington Post)

Upon reading a couple articles regarding the anniversary, I was surprised to hear that her female-empowerment pop anthem ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun‘ was originally written by a man about bedding women!  That definitely would have had a different feel to it if Ms Lauper hadn’t reworked the track to fit her views on women and sexuality, promoting not just equality for all but also equality amongst women themselves.

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“Girls” was engineered to be an anthem of women’s sexual freedom at a time when feminism was becoming a big part of cultural consciousness—and it helped set a template for how future stars would sing about social issues. (Source: The Atlantic)

Some people may look at Ms Lauper’s music and only enjoy it at face value, which is great in itself.  Others will look at her music as anthems for periods in their lives, and that’s even better.  Either way, you really can’t deny the impact she’s had on pop music over the decades and how future artists get their messages across.

But it’s more than that with Ms Lauper.  Anyone who’s ever seen her live will attest that she’s got this amazing energy about her, and that she truly enjoys interacting with her audiences.

Cher_CyndiLauperI remember close to 10 years ago seeing her open for Cher on her (first) farewell tour back in Montreal.  The friends I’d gone with were super excited to watch Cher live (ish), and although I wanted to see her too, I was more excited to see Cyndi Lauper.

Growing up in the 80’s, I’d always loved her music, and continued to follow her career even after she seemingly slipped from the mainstream’s eye.

One of my favourite songs of hers (barring ‘Time After Time’ or ‘True Colors’, of course) was the title song from her delayed 2004 album, ‘Shine‘.  It’s an amazing song with a great dance beat (in the remixes anyway), and a terrific message that ‘I’ll stand by you’ and ‘don’t be afraid, it will all be ok’.  The song and Ms Lauper even featured in an episode of ‘Queer as Folk (US)’.

Click HERE to watch the QAF clip on YouTube

I couldn’t help but get super giddy when she opened that show back in Montreal with that song.. and proceeded to walk through the audience up into the nosebleed seats as she sang it.  Later on in her set, she came down to stand on the front row as she sang another song (can’t remember which one) – which was amazing since we were sitting in the 8th row and had a clear view of her.

But of course, the entire audience went wild when she sang ‘True Colors’ wrapped in a Pride flag, a song she dedicates in her shows to the gay community and to PFLAG, of which she’s a member (her sister is a lesbian I believe).

What can I say.. she knows her audience.  🙂

And of course Ms Lauper doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.  She’s current on tour with Cher (again.. how many times can this woman retire?), and had a ‘She’s So Unusual’ anniversary tour last summer.

I know I’ll be keeping an eye out in case she comes to London for a show or two, because I’d love to see her again live.

For more Cyndi Lauper news, tour dates, television/film appearances and whatnot, check out her website cyndilauper.com.

I Hope – Rebecca Ferguson

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I can honestly say that Rebecca Ferguson‘s debut album ‘Heaven’ has the distinction of being the only album I’ve purchased from an X-Factor finalist (click HERE for past post).  And I have to say, over a year later, I’m still loving the album over and over.

rebecca-ferguson-i-hope-Freedom-album-artwork-officialNow Ms Ferguson has released her follow-up album ‘Freedom’, and while the first album was about getting past heartaches, her new album is about moving on.  And doing it with her usual velvety, smoky voice and looking glam as always in the video for her debut single, ‘I Hope’.

Now admittedly, I wasn’t so sure about this new song when I first hear it.  I thought it was too repetitive and that maybe she was over-extending how she holds her end notes… but once I heard it a few times I realised that it was because of those things that made this new song so catchy and stick in my head.  In a good way.

Initially maybe I was just hoping for more of the feel of ‘Heaven’ that made me critical of the song, but now I realise that this album is her moving past where she was emotionally and musically on her first album.

And I’m so glad she has.

I haven’t had a chance to listen to the full album as yet, but the bits I have heard I absolutely LOVE.  Her voice is more confident and stronger than ever, and she has definitely left behind that nervous quiver she had when first auditioning for X-Factor a few years ago.

I’m definitely looking forward to hearing the rest of the album in full once it’s released (December 2nd I think).. and you can get a free download of the single ‘Fake Smile’ on Amazon.co.uk as well (click HERE).

Enjoy. 😉

Getting a Little Culture

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Sometimes when you’re just trying to get through and living life day to day, you can easily forget about what a city like London can offer you.  Personally I wish I could spend more of my free time seeing shows in the West End, visiting art galleries, seeing concerts and hearing live music, and so forth.leicester_square_logo

For the most part, I generally haven’t been able to afford many of those things too regularly, especially over the past year while I was unemployed.  I think in the past year or so, I’ve gone out to ‘get some culture’ maybe twice – once to see Margaret Cho at Leicester Square Theatre, and once to see the play ‘Noises Off’ during a limited showing.

In fact, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to the theatre or to a show of some sort… Need to fix that. lol

I can now add this past Thursday night to the list.  I went with a friend to Leicester Square Theatre once again to see what I originally thought was just an American drag cabaret show, but it turned out to be so much more.

What neither of us realised was there was actually two acts, not one…

varlaFirst up was Varla Jean Merman, an American drag performer who has a traveling cabaret/comedy show.  We knew we would be seeing her, although I’d never heard of her before.  When he first invited me, I said sure without knowing what to expect mostly as a chance to hang out with him.  I hadn’t seen him since he moved back to London from Vancouver.

I did however Google the performer to check out her website and a couple YouTube clips, but from what I saw I honestly didn’t understand the appeal .. But after seeing her 45 minute show live it totally changed my views on her, as she is absolutely hilarious!

This is one of the numbers she did in the show (obviously recorded from a different show.. she wore a different outfit lol).

The second part of the show was an extremely pleasant surprise and something neither of us were expecting – a 4 man singing string quartet called Well-Strungwellstrungvarla2013

I personally thought it was an odd combination, but after looking at the band’s website, it turns out they’ve got the same manager as Varla.

Here’s an excerpt from their ‘About’ page on their website.

One Direction step aside, there’s a new kind of boy band on the circuit. The all-male string quartet Well-Strung features classical musicians who sing putting their own spin on the music of Mozart, Vivaldi, Rihanna, Adele, Lady Gaga, and more! Well-Strung stars first violinist Edmund Bagnell, second violinist Christopher Marchant, cellist Daniel Shevlin and violist Trevor Wadleigh.

First you’ll immediately notice how cute they all are (and yes, they’re all gay 😉 ).. but also how freaking amazingly talented they all are.  They’re all accomplished musicians and singers, and as a group they work so well together.  Their harmonies are outstanding!wellstrung23

(And another FYI, Trevor the violist has the best smile ever.. *swoon* lol)

If you get a chance to see either act in your area (or can still get tickets for their Saturday night show at Leicester Square Theatre.. FYI, there’s still tickets available), then definitely do so.  Both acts are extremely entertaining, and it would be a terrific night out for all.  I know I’d see either act again in the future.

This night out has definitely reminded me that there’s more on offer in London than the usual daily work routines and (for some) the regular weekends at the pub.  I know I’m looking forward to getting out and seeing more things like this again soon.

See the clip below for the first release from their debut album, where they merge Mozart with Kelly Clarkson.

Loving You – Matt Cardle & Mel C

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I was surfing around Digital Spy last night looking at the entertainment ‘news’ stories, and found the below video from X-Factor UK winner Matt Cardle with ex-Spice Girl Mel C.

matt-cardle2To be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much from it since I hadn’t been impressed with anything Cardle had released since winning the show back in 2010.  His winner’s single, a cover version of Scottish rock trio Biffy Clyro‘s “Many of Horror” retitled as “When We Collide“, topped the UK Singles Chart to become the 2010 Christmas number 1 and remained there for three consecutive weeks.  His 2011 debut album Letters reached number 2 in the UK and Irish charts, with his follow up The Fire a year later only reaching number 8 in the UK, and 14 in Ireland. (source: Wikipedia)

I suppose that’s a decent enough start to his career, but nothing spectacular and none of the songs were exactly that catchy.

And despite me liking Mel C and her voice, she hasn’t exactly had much commercial success in the past few years, so I was thinking this could possibly be two sinking ships desperately trying to cling to each other.Melanie C

Well cling to each they do (literally, in the video).. but somewhat surprisingly this duet does work.  And they look good together too..

Personally I thought the video was a bit odd since you barely see Mel C in the first half despite hearing her voice, but once she pops up on screen it gets better I feel.

Do I think this will some big hit and rock the charts?  No, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does alright.  I can’t imagine people bopping down the street singing the chorus like some big hits, but you never know I suppose.

I enjoyed the song enough to listen to it a couple times.. and must have liked it on some level enough to post it on here I guess. LOL

Anyway, enjoy the video, and let me know what you think of their duet.

Love Somebody – Maroon 5

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Adam Levine02Ahhh.. don’t know about you guys, but I’m always up for a bit of Adam Levine shirtlessness. 🙂

In Maroon 5‘s latest video, Levine (and the rest of the band… though no clue what the rest of them look like..) is shown sparingly through slashes of body paint.

It’s a cool video with an interesting concept.. The song’s alright as well, though dunno how catchy it is compared some of their past singles.

Of course half an hour after watching the video, the song’s chorus is still stuck in my head, so that’s a good sign I think. lol

It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that he’s got his shirt off in the video.  He seems to do that at any opportunity he can, along with pretty much the rest of his clothes.

And that’s definitely NOT a bad thing. 😉

Back in 2011, Levine did an infamous photo shoot for Cosmopolitan UK to raise awareness for prostate and testicular cancer.  The picture (see above) definitely got people’s attention as Levine stands completely nude with nothing but a woman’s hands covering his privates.

“I spend most of my life naked,” Levine explained to the magazine. “In fact, I often have to be told by the people around me that it’s inappropriate to be as naked as I am. But I live in California, where it’s always warm, so why not?”

But I think what I also like about this guy, other than he seems to come across as a pretty cool guy (if you’ve watched The Voice, you’ll know what I mean), but he’s also a huge advocate for gay rights since his brother is openly gay.  He discussed in several interviews, most notably in Out Magazine, how the family knew from a young age his brother Michael was gay, and how they embraced it from the beginning to ensure he knew he was loved and that he was ok.

Sound like a great, loving and accepting family to me.

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Ahh to be his helmet 😉

Here’s Maroon 5’s latest video ‘Love Somebody’.

Enjoy. 🙂

Up In The Air – 30 Seconds to Mars

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30 seconds to marsRecently I saw the video for 30 Seconds to Mars’s new single.. and like some of their previous videos, it’s like a mini-movie.

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According to Digital Spy:

Bartholomew Cubbins has directed the short film, and the clip includes allusions to the title of 30 Seconds to Mars’ next album Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams.

‘Up in the Air’ had its premiere 230 miles above Earth in co-operation with the SpaceX cargo mission.

Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams will be the group’s first album since 2009’s This Is War, which went platinum in the UK and gold in the US.

Note: Apparently ‘Bartholomew Cubbins’ is an alias for lead singer Jared Leto.

I first started listening to this band with the release of their second album A Beautiful Lie.  Their song “The Kill” was just amazing to me, and loved how visual the band was in their videos, especially for this song which was clearly inspired by the movie ‘The Shining’.30 - The Kill

A lot of people over the years have been quick to dismiss this band due to their lead singer’s movie/acting career.  Jared Leto has been known for his acting in such projects as ‘My So-Called Life‘, ‘ Urban Legend‘, ‘ Requiem for a Dream‘, and the upcoming ‘Dallas Buyers Club‘, his first film in about 4 years.

However, when he first moved to Hollywood back in 1992, it was to pursue a career in music intending to take acting roles in the meantime.  As most will recall, his break-out role was as the handsome, dyslexic slacker on ‘My So-Called Life‘.

According to Leto’s IMDb page:

Leto’s work was slowly becoming recognized in Hollywood, and he continued to find work in film. In 1998, everything turned for the better on all fronts. This was the year that Leto founded the band, 30 Seconds to Mars, with his brother, Shannon Leto, as well as Matt Wachter (who later left the group), and after two guitarists joined and quit, Tomo Milicevic was brought in as lead guitarist and keyboardist.

Enjoy 🙂

Free Your Mind – En Vogue

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envogue311x233_thumbAhh the 90’s.  I definitely have some fond – and not so fond – memories of that decade.

Can you believe this song by En Vogue, probably one of their biggest hits, was released way back in 1992?  Doesn’t seem like it was that long ago does it?

Back in ’92, I was finishing high school and starting college.. and still learning who I was as a person.

Hell I think I still am. LOL

But I recall hearing this song and thinking it was absolutely amazing.  I felt it had a fantastic message to empower women while helping break down the barriers of prejudice and ignorance.

Think this song is still relevant today in many ways..

Enjoy 🙂

Miracle – Hurts

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I was recently introduced to this band Hurts and I have to say I quite like them.

As my mate and I were discussing, they seem to be a mix of a variety of artists and genres, only they’ve pulled it all together into their own sound.

Hurts-band-happiness-revi-006They really remind me a bit of Depeche Mode, while my mate thought they had aspects of MUSE and a darker Pet Shop Boys in their music.

Regardless of their influences, they have a good sound and the more I listen to them, the more I like them.

It’s a bit of a modern version of a throwback sound, if that makes sense to anyone.  Haha

Their new album ‘Exile‘ is due to be released on March 11th, which the song below will be their lead single (I think..).

Also on their website (http://www.informationhurts.com/gb/splash/), you can get a free download of their song ‘Sandman‘, which will also feature on their new album.

Enjoy 😉