Thursday, May 09, 2013

The Unexpected Return Of Nick Clow

A couple of days ago, I profiled Luciana's stylist. Today it's her husband's turn. Apart from making the Queen of Clubs an honest woman, Nick Clow is also a successful songwriter - he co-writes with Luci - and a former R&B crooner turned accidental dance dynamo. It's a bit complicated but the silver fox had a brief and incredibly underrated solo career in the late '90s under the pseudonym Blood. I liked and bought (see below) his music at the time but it didn't quite click with radio and his (rather amazing, as it turns out) debut album was never released. It's a pity but there is a happy ending to this story. He bagged a hot wife, wrote a killer track for Kylie and is now back with a top 40 Australian club smash.

Last year Nick was asked to write the topline for a Vandalism track. You might remember they had a big pop hit in 2006 with "Never Say Never" (still sounds great, actually) before focusing on the club scene. Well, when they heard Mr Clow's vocal on the demo, they decided to keep it. And I can understand why. It sounds absolutely brilliant. "Anywhere Else Tonight" is a dance track with huge crossover potential. The radio edit is one of my favourite songs of the year and I think the man formerly known as Blood might have just beaten his misses at her own game with this one.

Check out "Anywhere Else Tonight" below and download it now from iTunes.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

David Burgoyne - The Creative Force Behind Luciana

I've profiled a lot of different pop stars on this site over the years but never anyone from the team behind them. My bad. Now more than ever, music is a visual medium. Like it or not but style and image counts - making artistic types like David Burgoyne an essential part of the creative process. The hirsute Brit has been working with Luciana for the best part of two decades. He looks after her luscious locks, helps choose her outfits and films her every move for documentaries. Together they make a formidable team. Here's what Luciana's gay husband has to say about working with the Queen of Clubs and his other creative endeavors. 

How did you get into styling Hair?
I always wanted to work in fashion. Ever since I was little I used to be fascinated with Hollywood and the stars of the '50s and '60s. I was addicted to the glamour, so it was only natural I would go toward hair and styling. I had a few false starts with my career but once I decided to train to be a hairdresser it all fell into place.

You're best know for your long association with dance diva Luciana. How did you meet?
Luciana came into Toni and Guy one day, where I was working. She pulled her hair out of a scrunchy and said "if you could do anything with my hair what would you do?" I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She had amazing long dark wavy hair. I tied her hair back up in the scrunchy and said "nothing, it's perfect as it is!" She loved my reaction and told me she liked my style. Two weeks later I chopped all her off and dyed it black and white for the British Hairdressing Awards. She was always up for anything I wanted to do.

Can you explain the intense connection you have with her?
Our birthdays are the 22nd and 23rd of June. We always say we are like the same person. We kind of know how the other one thinks, it's always been this way. In nearly 20 years we have never fallen out, even when we go on tour and share the same space. We just seem to co-exist happily together. We always joke that I am her gay husband. I knew right away that she was my muse. She loved my ideas and loved the way I did her hair, so she was totally trusting. It still feels like we are kids and playing dress up.  

How has Luciana's look evolved over the years?
It has evolved in many ways over the years, Depending on fashion and what suits her. The one thing that always keeps it together has been her color. She suits being dark, it just goes with her Italian features. We started off quite punky, travelled through rock chic and paid tribute to the '50s and '60s glamour along the way. We keep coming back to a fringe (or bangs as they say in the States) because it's something that really suits her face.

How do you keep her look fresh and cutting edge?
I think by trying not to follow fashion and do what makes us happy always ensures she is cutting edge. We are not afraid to go against the grain, if ever I think things are too commercial, I steer far away.

What was Luci's best look?
For me it has to be the short sharp Louise Brooks style bob with bangs she wore for the "Bow Wow Wow" video. It was so dramatic and really suited her features.

Do you look back on any hair styles or outfits in horror?
No, I love all of Luci's looks. I know that sounds corny but it's true. Saying that we were bored in Russia once on tour and I let her talk me into giving her curls. She looked like a prostitute but it made us laugh!

Who else have you worked with?
I have been so busy with Luciana for so many years that I haven't worked with many other celebrities. I guess the most famous has to be the legendary Betty White. I styled the entire video for Luciana and Betty's duet "I'm still Hot". I nearly died when I saw her step out in the velour leisure suit with the silver bling. Yes, it was me that put Betty White in silver converse. She loved them and asked to keep the suit and shoes. What could I say, I wanted to sell them on eBay but I had to let her keep them!

You're also a budding filmmaker - what have you worked on lately?
I've just finished a behind-the-scenes film called "When Luciana met Cazwell". Basically following Luci and Cazwell when the shot their promo for "Guess What". I'm always working on something. I get so much out of film making. It's so satisfying.

What's next for you?
I want to stay in the States. I want to marry my boyfriend when it becomes legal. I'm going to keep on making art in film and photography with Luciana. As Luciana's career evolves, mine does too. I want to work on my love for film making. I'd like to say that my next phase will involve film but for now its still hair. It's what I do best.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Laura Imbruglia Pioneers Werewolf Pop With 'Awoooh!'

I'm convinced that I was related to Laura Imbruglia in a past life - such is our undeniable spiritual connection. We were probably dowdy sisters in Victorian England, spending mind-numbingly grey days doing needle point while secretly hoping to be ravished by a kitchenhand. Who, in turn, only had eyes for the buxom scullery maid. Fuck our (past) lives! So why am I ranting about my soul sister? Well, she's back with the second taste of her third album.

At least I think so. "Why'd You Have To Kiss Me So Hard" turned the music industry upside down way back in 2011 - so I'm not sure if that's part of her latest opus or just a random recording. Not that it matters because her new single is infinitely better. "Awoooh!" is quirkier than Parker Posey's filmography. A lilting rockabilly anthem that establishes werewolf-pop as a bonafide genre, the demented gem is quintessential LI with its deceptively catchy chorus and clever lyrics. I particularly love the line about watching your phone "like Santa's sack".

For the full "Awoooh!" experience, watch the big budget - by Laura's standards - video below. I love the stunning effects lesbian horror angle and elaborate choreography. Natalie who?


Friday, April 05, 2013

Beyoncé Unveils Pepsi Commercial & New Song 'Grown Woman'

About half an hour ago Beysus parted the heavens and beamed down her long-awaited Pepsi commercial, simultaneously debuting a snippet of a new single called "Grown Woman". I've been waiting so long for this that I didn't know what to expect. Probably not King B dressing up in old costumes and grinding in front of a mirror like that bitch from Flashdance but, fuck it, I'll take it.

While I'm not particularly fussed about the commercial (I prefer the one she did with J Lo), the song is something else. At a time when the rest of the game is churning out the same generic shit, Bey unveils a percussion-heavy, tribal chant and gives no fucks if you don't like it or, more likely, don't get it.

For me, "Grown Woman" picks up where "Run The World (Girls)" and "Countdown" left off. It's noisy. It's disjointed. It takes a few listens to get your head around. But then you just need more. I'm currently staring at iTunes the way Adele glares at an all you can eat buffet. The hunger is positively primeval.

This is urban music for the Odd Future crowd, polished to perfection for mainstream consumption. I have no idea what radio or the ratchet gays that dictate iTunes popularity will make of it and I really don't care. If Beyoncé wanted an album full of generic club bangers, producers would be serving them up to her on a silver platter.

My fave does what she wants. She'll just keep on winning at life while the rest of us deal. Now let me watch the ad on repeat and calculate how many minutes until I see The Mrs Carter Show in the States. Good night and keep stanning.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Carmen Electra & The Best Song Of 2013

I haven't heard a second of Carmen Electra's new jam but I'm sure we can all agree that it's, more than likely, going to be the best song of the year. If not of all time. Take the stunning title and eye-popping cover art. The Baywatch babe is coming for skulls after snatching wigs like a drag queen on meth with the amazing "I Like It Loud", which became a well-deserved club hit in the States. No doubt the ravishing diva will own nightclubs from Brisbane to Beirut when her new single drops. I can't wait!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Fall In Love With Jordyn Taylor. Again.

Jordyn Taylor's claim to fame is appearing on the best soundtrack of all time. Of course, I'm talking about Confessions Of A Shopaholic. That opus features Lady Gaga (covering Heidi Montag!), not one but two doses of Kat DeLuna, iconic flops Jessie James and Adrienne Bailon - and this cutie. The Asian American diva was only 16 when she was signed to Interscope and briefly had the blogs buzzing when she hit the studio with super-producers like Darkchild and Stargate.

Things didn't really work out for the teenager and the next time she popped up on my radar was in 2011, when she hit #1 on a random Japanese chart with a song about wearing wigs. I'm not joking. Well, Jordyn dropped her sophomore album - her debut was a Japan only release - a couple of weeks ago and it quickly became my new obsession.  

Shine is first great pure pop album of 2013. While the mid-tempo songs sound like a cross between Stacie Oricco and Mandy Moore (a massive compliment, by the way!), the real gems are the high-camp dance anthems. My favourite is the glorious "Take You Home", which is what Katy Perry would sound like if she morphed into Carly Rae Jepsen and traveled back in time to a 1977 roller disco for inspiration, but "Arigato" and "It's VABENE" come a close second.

The latter has been selected as Shine's second single and it's hard to argue with the logic. "It's VABENE" - a bastardization of Italian term "va bene" - is so ruthlessly perky and well-intentioned, you can't help but be swept along in Jordyn's sparkly cloud of good cheer. And did I mention that it features DJ Hello Kitty? When will your fave?

The video (below) is a frothy, feelgood adventured that finds our heroine partying with a group of her best friends - and Hello Kitty. I particularly love how her pals give her a makeover with a pair of scissors. Could no one lend her an outfit? This shit gives me so much life.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ariana Grande Is The New Teen Queen

Victoria Justice and Jasmine V are probably doing shots off the hood of a car somewhere in the dark heart of Los Angeles right now, sobbing on each others' shoulders and screaming "fuck my life!" to random passersby. On the other side of town, Selena Gomez is begging Justin to make a sextape to promote her new album. A couple of blocks away Demi Lovato is parked outside McDonald's meticulously sterilizing her razor with a cigarette lighter, while Bridgit Mendler sits inside, building up the courage to ask for a job application. What has thrown the current crop of teen queens into such a tailspin? Two words. Ariana Grande.

My only exposure to the Nickelodeon star until now has been her contribution to the Victorious soundtrack. I knew she could sing but I wasn't expecting her to drop anything as good as "The Way" and definitely didn't expect it to shoot to number one on US iTunes within hours of release. Ariana has broken through faster and more comprehensively than any of the girls mentioned above and they must be concerned. There's only room for one Queen and this new bitch means business.

It only takes one listen to understand the appeal of "The Way". It's a blatant Mariah Carey rip off that harks back to the late '90s when production took a back seat to vocal ability. I had no idea Ariana had pipes like this. She has real talent and chooses the perfect vehicle to show it off. Produced by Harmony Samuels, an English producer who has crafted hits for Chris Brown, Ne-Yo and Nas, the track sounds like it was lifted straight from Mimi's Butterfly album. It's a subtle mid-tempo pop song with the slightest sheen of urban credibility thanks to Mac Miller, who tones his usual act down with an age appropriate rap.

While I still prefer Demi's epic "Heart Attack" and live for Selena's reed thin vocals, there's no denying that Ariana Grande has arrived in true diva style. "The Way" is a great single that avoids most of the overproduced teen pop cliches. She even gets the cute and colourful video (below) right, having the world's tamest party with Mac Miller. Why is she twirling around in a room full of balloons like a 12-year-old? Where's the keg? These are questions for another day but it's kind of nice that she's not twerkin' like a stripper.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why Spain Is The Cradle Of Human Civilisation

You know, I thought I had scraped the bottom of the pop barrel several times on this blog over the past eight years with tranny divas and fisting anthems but María Lapiedra reaches a previously unimagined new low with, quite possibly, the most terrible song and video ever shat out by a thirsty attention whore. And by terrible, I obviously mean amazing! So who is this hot fucking mess? I don't really know and, to be honest, I'm scared to find out. I already love her like a mother and I'm afraid I will lose all self-control if I witness any more of her despicable antics.

All you really need to know is that your new favourite vocalist is an ex-porn actress who releases a new song every Summer to uphold Spain's rich cultural heritage. This year's offering is called "Maribombo" and is utterly horrendous from beginning to end. My Spanish is pretty bad but I think María is singing about the joys of being pregnant when she squeaks "algo se mueve en mi interior, no es una polla es otra sensación" - literally "something's moving inside me, it's not a dick but another sensation". I can't think of a nicer way to describe the miracle of childbirth. Hallmark, please put this touching sentiment on a card.

But the Spanish siren's words of wisdom don't end there. I think she's talking about hand jobs and cum but those topics never covered that in my semester of Mexican studies, so I'm only guessing. The video, or the best film since Citizen Kane as I like to call it, makes the dubious subject matter fairly obvious. We get to watch the heavily pregnant icon dance in a club, writhe on the bar and give birth. Oh and there's a random white man in black face just so there's something to offend everyone.

Watch below and join me in preparing for the end of days because this is surely confirmation that they Mayans were right.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Iggy Azalea Can Stay

About a year ago I wrote an article for Idolator about rising Australian pop stars. It was actually quite difficult to piece together because, let's be honest, the vast majority of local acts have a better chance of winning lotto than making the slightest ripple in America. Iggy appeared to be the glaring exception. She was already hyped as the next big thing and had a hotly anticipated major label debut album on the way. But it never came.

Instead, Mullumbimby's finest expert began modelling and soon fell into mixtape hell. She basically became Cassie with an Australian accent and lighter tan. That's when I stopped checking for Iggy. It was like she had been exposed as a gimmick and the whole world had finally woken up to it.

But this bitch is a fighter and proved me very wrong. The blond bombshell signed a new deal in the UK and scalped hoes with the sheer quality of her official debut single. Azealia Banks and Angel Haze are now the rap chicks with something to prove. Iggy has already delivered above and beyond expectations.

"Work" is such an impressive achievement. It took a couple of listens to click with me but now I'm completely obsessed and play the hypnotic jam at least 10 times a day. The production (courtesy of The Invisible Men and 1st Down) is spot on and Iggy's flow is slicker than ever but its real greatness lies in its authenticity.

The catchy track basically tells the diva's life story. The catchy track references the red sand of her hometown, the line about scrubbing floors is a nod to her stint as a cleaner, she raps about her move to America, that disastrous first record deal and the judgement she receives as a white, non-American rapper. It's honest and strangely universal. All of a sudden I like Iggy. She's a bad bitch.

And then there's the video (below). Who paid for this glorious extravaganza? Madonna is filming clips on her iPhone while a relative unknown gets a beautiful Jonas & François-directed opus that references Death Proof and, adorably, The Adventures Of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert.

It's audaciously cinematic and reminiscent of old school Missy Elliott with its bright colour palette. Most importantly, Iggy looks like a star. Her body is ridiculous and the styling is fantastic. I don't care how this performs on the charts. It's brilliant. Iggy can stay.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Belinda Carlisle's Triumphant Return

Isn't this photo flawless? That fur. Those cheekbones. Sure, it might be a couple of decades old but Belinda hasn't aged a day since 1983 - so I think I can get away with it. If you don't follow the iconic diva on Twitter, you might not be aware that she is embarking on a major comeback, releasing her first US single in 15 years.

It came as a surprise to me too. I knew the yoga addict had been working on new music for what felt like an eternity but "Sun" seemingly dropped from the heavens and landed on iTunes with little fanfare.

The, as it turns out, pleasantly contemporary dance-pop tune was produced by frequent Dannii collaborator Ian Masterson and is distinctly amazing. "Sun" is a synth-drenched floorfiller that sounds better than 95% of the shit currently polluting radio. I love that Belinda has bequeathed her loyal army of gays with something they will actually want to listen to - without sacrificing her own personality.

There's something peculiarly authentic about "Sun". That voice is unmistakeable and the chorus could have been lifted from any of her late '80s albums but it's more than that. You can take the girl out of Cali but there's something undeniably chilled and breezy about Belinda's music that is quintessentially West Coast.

"Sun" is lifted from a new greatest hits compilation, which has just been released on US iTunes. Belinda has promised an international release in May - along with more new stuff. In the meantime, check out her glorious dance anthem below. Let the Carlisle revival start here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dragonette - Still The Most Underrated Act In Pop

Can someone please remind me why Dragonette isn't one of biggest bands on the planet? Martina and the boys have never released a bad single (that I'm aware of) but remain - with the exception of "Hello" - hitless and largely underground. The thing is, I'm guilty of ignoring them too. I downloaded Body Parts when it was released late last year but never got around to listening to it. To be honest, I completely forgot it existed until I stumbled across their latest video on a blog and fell in love with the trio all over again.

"Run Run Run" is an early frontrunner for the best song of 2013. It's the kind of instantly memorable pop triumph that beguiles with its apparent simplicity and deceptively perky lyrics. That might be an odd description but underneath the sparkling chorus lies a bittersweet core that lifts Dragonette's latest synth-adventure to a higher plane. "Run Run Run" positively seeps with sepia-tinged memories and nostalgia, which makes it both beautiful and sad. You basically need it on your iPod. Now.

Having seen the light, I made listening to Body Parts a priority and, as expected, it's breathtakingly good. With any luck "Run Run Run" or another single will save it and bring the band the attention they deserve. In the meantime, revel in the brilliance of their new single and check out the video (below). It's a fairly simple affair. Martina basically gets drunk, smokes cigarettes and walks around the streets with blood on her dress. Just another Sunday afternoon for one of pop's most underrated divas.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pitbull & Xtina's Feel This Moment - Video Review

Christina Aguilera's unbreakable lotus has finally been set free! After a couple of chart misfires, the iconic diva is rising up - back to the beginning - with another international smash. I wrote about "Feel This Moment" last month and basically called it a hot mess. That opinion still stands but the song has become something of a guilty pleasure and it warms what's left of my dead heart to hear Xtina's glorious pipes back on the radio.

And, it seems, I'm not alone. Despite minimal promotion, the '80s classic-sampling club banger is shooting up the charts worldwide. It would have been nice for one of the many great tracks on Lotus to get this kind of attention but I guess you need Pitbull's insightful musings - "I'm a genius, I mean brilliant" - to get bitches to click download. But that's a complaint for another day.

A belated video dropped over the weekend and it's as low brow and seemingly low budget as the song. There's a lot of tour footage, Mr Worldwide looking moronic but sexy (shut up - there's something about him!) and Godtina redefining flawlessness. I love her ridiculous wig and the fact that she's wearing more make-up than a Mexican tranny.

But most of all, I live for the parts where she's mouthing the words to Pit's rhymes, like she's collaborating with Jay Z or someone vaguely relevant. Christina is so awkward that it's endearing. I really hope she gets her groove back and reminds everyone how a real diva does it. This is a step in the right direction.