A blog about my favourite movies, music, and TV.

28 February 2009

February 2009 was pretty crap, except...

This was great!

The Brits were not!

I also have up on 90210, I couldn't even be bothered to try and care! I am so rubbish at following US TV shows, but I never miss...

The Soup airs on E!, premieres on Sunday nights, and repeats all week. It comes to something when you actually start to think E! has quality programming, they're showing (probably) new episodes of Kath Griffin: My Life on the D-List from Monday too!

At the movies, Friday the 13th was a reasonable effort, but I am far more interested at the rumours of the original movies getting proper DVD treatments, with new features, I know at least Part 1 is getting a Blu-Ray release soon Region 1, perhaps that'll inspire me to get with the times.

In other good news I got tickets for Madonna! Here's hoping she performs my favourite...

I was starting to doubt the brilliance of Lady Gaga until I heard the remixes of Poker Face, what a great track! It's already in the Top 5 here. I hope she tours, if only for the outfits!

Cyndi Lauper's new video for Set Your Heart is great too, here's the alternative remix video without the bits of Girls....

This demands a UK release, surely!!!

Amy Studt - Nice Boys

The lovely Amy Studt has a single (with dance mixes!) out next week, entitled Nice Boys, which I thoroughly recommend. I used to play her 2003 single Misfit to death. Nice Boys has quite a strange arrangement but is pretty catchy and the WaWa Remix is great!

Donna Allen - Can We Talk [Remixes] 1988

A quick post before my February roundup; Donna Allen's C&C remixes of Can We Talk, the second single from her Heaven On Earth album from 1988. This was the follow up to her Top 10 hit Joy and Pain, and it bombed! I think the mixes are pretty good, nothing special, but a nice addition to her catalogue of pretty decent R&B/Pop, it's a shame she never had any longevity as pop act as she has a great voice and a couple of memorable hits with Serious (#8) and Joy and Pain (#10).

1. Can We Talk (Radio Remix) (3:30)
2. Can We Talk (Club Mix) (6:07)
3. Can We Talk (Dub Mix) (4:32)
4. Come For Me (4:26)

Download the full CD single

26 February 2009

Mary Wilson

I was watching my local TV news this evening and who should show up, only Mary Wilson of The Supremes! It seems she is exhibiting the greatest costumes of The Supremes in Birmingham from now until the end of June! Entry is only £3.00! It looked pretty spectacular, so I will have to get down there sometime soon. In the meantime I thought I'd dig out a few of Mary's solo 'hits' to whet my appetite! 'Oooh Child' is heavenly!

The show is celebrating 50 years of Motown and is called The Supremes Story from the Collection of Mary Wilson, it's showing at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. If you hurry you can probably catch the interview with Mary by watching today's show.

25 February 2009

Cyndi Lauper - Floor (2009)

This is Cyndi's latest release a Japanese remix CD featuring tracks from her latest studio album, Bring Ya To The Brink, and some of her biggest hits! It also comes with a DVD with music videos for Girls Just Wanna Have Fun x Set Your Heart and the remixes of Set Your Heart.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun X Set You Heart
While I think it could be better, the results aren’t awful. There are new vocals for Girls... and while the two tracks don’t exactly gel seamlessly, it’s not a completely amateur effort. It’s a shame they couldn’t have used the Soulseekerz as they did a similar thing with Evelyn Champagne King’s latest The Dance which was fused with her hit Love Come Down, to magnificent effect.

Into The Nightlife (Freedombunch Mix)
A pretty average effort, but better than some of the 2008 remixes, the mix doesn’t really go anywhere, but it’s lively enough and has quite a European sound to it.

Same Ol’ Story (Pink Noise Mix)
I think this one was on the US digital single; my favourite of the mixes was the Gabriel & Dresden Mix, which was just brilliant. What to say about this one, well to me this is more of a dub, although there are some vocal sections, it’s quite good, but nowhere near the standard of the G&D mix. This is one that’s very obviously for the US market, as opposed to the specially commissioned mixes on here which are probably tailor made for Japanese clubs.

Time After Time (Freedombunch Mix)
This one is pretty decent, it uses the original vocals (and backing vocals) and it’s pretty disco-tastic when it gets going with lots of electronic embellishments that probably could’ve been cut.

Set Your Heart (Freedombunch Mix)
I like vocal remixes, and this is the best of Freedombunch’s mixes for far, the drum beats are different to the original, and it retains the atmospheric verses and climactic chorus of the original, while giving something a bit different at the same time.

High and Mighty (Tom Novy Mix)
This one is quite minimalist, and is pretty cool, perhaps it even improves on the original as it somehow suits the strangeness of the song, more so than the original mix anyway. It’s certainly pretty sophisticated, unlike some of the mixes on here. I’d have a job dancing to it though; it’s more wine bar than dance club.

Into The Nightlife (Johnny Pinkfinger Vs Mihell Remix)
This one puts Cyndi’s vocals though a filter and turns the dancefloor gem into a dark room groover, I can imagine this being played at a dodgy backstreet club in Soho. I like it! In amongst the beats and synths is a Middle Eastern vibe that is quite inventive, unlike most of the mixes of this song.

Same Ol’ Story (Extended Mix)
Does what it says on the tin! Bring back the extended mix, I say! I’d rather have a longer version of my favourite song, than 10 crappy remixes that butcher it mercilessly!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun X Set Your Heart (Mashup)
This is a vastly better mix of the two songs, they drop the backing track of Girls... and mix both tracks together simply using the instrumental of Set Your Heart which is far less jarring, and a real treat! Highly recommended!

True Colours (Ukawanimation! Ocarina Mega-mix)
Imagine True Colours done Japanese style! We’ve got some serious recorder playing going on here and there are no vocals either so you can sing it at karaoke! Truly bizarre and utterly pointless, but not without some charm.

22 February 2009

Hercules (1983)

How have I lived all these years without seeing this slice of b-movie perfection. Hercules starring Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk, himself!) and Sybil Danning (Howling II: Stirba - Werewolf Bitch) as the evil princess Ariadne! This not very faithful telling of the Greek legends of Hercules (I'm not sure the producers even know which one!)I think it would be best to describe it as a collage of ideas set to some of the dodgiest CGI you will ever see and some seriously groovy Casio keyboard sound effects thrown in for good measure. Most of the 'actors' are dubbed and the sets are a mixture of papermache and cardboard! Somehow all of this makes for the perfect Saturday afternoon film. Watch out for the hilariously bad costumes - especially those worn by the 'gods'! Hercules is apparently from outerspace now too...

As you will notice from the box, this is a double feature, so expect the sequel to get a little mention shortly. This was basically an Italian movie dressed up a little for the US market with a couple of names to help sell it. It's from Golan-Globus Productions who also gave us such epics as Supergirl and Masters of the Universe, although this makes those two look like $100 million dollar features by comparison.

The fabulous Sybil is enjoying something of a comeback having spent so many years out of action. After making her own movie LA Bounty and appearing in the dreadful Fred Olen Ray movie Phantom Empire, she called it a day in 1989. Out of nowhere she re-appeared in Grindhouse and Halloween last year, as well as the independent drama Jump. Now she will appear alongside Elvira Mistress of the Dark herself, Cassandra Peterson, in a new indie horror flick entitled All About Evil. I believe she is even pitching some of her own ideas for new movies and is looking sensational. However, her next big project could very well be joining the cast of Here's 'The Lair' - the vampire themed spin-off of Dante's Cove, produced by Olen Ray. If it's true I can't wait!

Friday the 13th (2009)

I'm a big fan of Friday the 13th movies, with the exception of Jason Goes To Hell, for me it's the best horror franchise, this is the 12th movie of the series, before I go on here's a quick re-cap of where we're up to:

Friday the 13th (1980) - Camp Crystal Lake is a newly re-opened summer camp for kids, the camp is staffed by horny teens who love nothing more than to have sex, smoke pot, and go skinny dipping. 30 years previously a young boy had drowned while the camp counsellors weren't paying attention and now someone is out for revenge. In this, the original movie, Mrs Voorhees is the killer and ends up being decapitated in the classic finale. This is one of the few Friday's which is available fully uncut on DVD.

Friday the 13th Part II and III (1981 - 2) Jason returns to avenge his mothers death in these two sequels. Part III is in 3D and sees Jason wear his trademark hockey mask for the first time.
Friday the 13th Part IV-VI (1984-6) These three form a kind of story-arc involving, Tommy Jarvis, who becomes a sort of nemesis of Jason's after he murders his entire family in Part IV, which carried the title The Final Chapter! He ends up in a sanatorium and then escapes in Part V, and a pretty similar thing happens in Part VI as I remember.

Friday the 13th Part VII - The New Blood (1988) was the last movie set at Camp Crystal Lake to date and attempted to make the movies a bit more psychological and introduced a new adversary in the form of Tina, a telekinetic teenager whose been brought back to the camp, where it just so happens her father also drowned.

Friday the 13th Part VIII - Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) was the final Friday produced by Paramount and is set mostly on a boat and in some subways, rather than Manhattan itself. This one often gets derided but I think it's one of the better movies in the series. The teens in this one are a bit more interesting and have characters, rather than just being fodder for Jason's machete.

Jason Goes to Hell - The Final Friday (1993) was utter crap really, Jason takes over the bodies of the inhabitants of a town and kills people, this was New Line Cinema's first attempt and at a Friday the 13th movie it sucks, although as a run of the mill horror flick it's okay. The deaths are quite inventive and the Region 1 DVD is unrated, which is pretty cool. New Line's Freddy Kruger appears at the end of the movie, but it would be more than 10 years before fans got to see the ultimate showdown between two of horrors greatest icons.

Jason X (2001) By this time New Line Cinema had owned the rights to make Friday the 13th movies for over 10 years. This is basically Friday the 13th - IN SPACE! I absolutely love this trash fest - and although in the UK it is just a 15 rated film, it is pretty effective and the effects are pretty good, you wouldn't know that it was actually made on a very small budget.

Freddy vs Jason (2004) I think this was well done, totally trashy, and a whole lot of fun. Kelly Rowland co-stars.

Friday the 13th (2009) is the latest in the series, a collaboration between Paramount and New Line, it basically re-tells the story of the first three Friday's, in 90 mins. Jason's mother (now played by Nana Visitor (Star Trek: DS9, Wildfire) is only in it for about 2 mins, and then Jason (now played by Jason Mears) comes into it. The new Jason can run! He's moderately intelligent, and he even captures people! What in the hell! Why does producer Michael Bay have to mess with everything, who could forget his complete butchering of Miami Vice a few years ago? Well this is nowhere near that bad, in fact it's not bad at all, but somehow it is overlong, even with two sets of annoying teems to slaughter - Jason really runs out of things to do, and the kills are not very inventive. Flop pop queen Willa Ford also features as one of the teens. Stalk and slash is an established genre, and while it has worked well to make zombies run around in the 00's, I don't think it fits well within the context of a slasher movie. There was no sense of doom in this one, and Jason should be dumb! That's the whole point! It was still quite enjoyable and has no doubt re-established Friday the 13th as a major horror franchise as it has topped the charts in the US, and has fared quite modestly in the UK, although it has to be said massively better than Jason X which was amongst the very least successful of 2001. To say it did badly just doesn't do it's magnificent underperformance justice. I think it took under £50,000, compared to the £1.2 million this one has raked in during it's first week alone.

I thoroughly recommend the coffee table book Crystal Lake Memories for more information on the series, including interviews with virtually everyone whose been involved and lots of glossy pictures and trivia.

20 February 2009

Stacey Q

I just had to post this, watch as Stacey performs her hit Two of Hearts after one too many during a PA last summer, comedy gold. Good on you Stacey! Check out this recent Happy Hardcore remix!

The Best of Prisoner Cell Block H (DVD)

I grew up watching trashy Australian soaps on cable, I don't think there was much on in the early 90's during the mornings except kids TV, so we'd have 1985 episodes of Neighbours and Sons and Daughters and god knows what else on in our house. However, I have to confess I had never seen Prisoner until two weeks ago when I fancied a new show to watch in bed - I obviously have nothing better to do! As much as I like 80's Prime Time serials like Dallas and Dynasty, I thought Prisoner would make a nice change.

First of all I was amazed at how many episodes there were, 697! It took my 9 months to get through all 9 seasons of Falcon Crest, so I thought I would start with this great little compilation, featuring 9 complete episodes accross 3 discs. We begin with an escape that introduces us to most of the main characters, Top Dog - Bea Smith, mad old Lizzie, and a few others. This storyline is a pretty good start, there's a death, the nice thing about this set is that they have gone to the trouble of producing some fun links so we know what's going on. The other episodes introduce Joan 'The Freak' Ferguson, perhaps my new favourite TV baddie ever. There's a fire, and the Freak gets rid of Bea once and for all.

On Disc 2 we find new Top Dog, Myra Desmond in the midst of a terrorist seige, which I think were my favourite episodes, especilly the Joan Collins look-a-like child slave trader whose mob boss husband is tring to spring her from Wentworth. It was bloody brilliant, and pretty violent for the time too!

The final episodes on disc three are some of the last of the series, there's a very useful flashback episode which makes up for the big gaps on disc one, we get to see a lot more of Vinegar Tits, Ferguson's predecessor, and many memorable characters that it would be impossible to give adequate time to on a small set like this. But the main attraction on this particular disc are the very last two episodes where The Freak gets set-up for a bank robbery by the latest Top Dog - Rita Connors. Poor Joan, she didn't deserve it, I for one wanted her to get away with it and go and find herself another old bull dyke to live happily ever after with, but alas it wasn't to be.

A complete box set (well trunk!) has been available, but is now deleted and is currently selling on Amazon for over £1000! Although it can be got cheaper, and of course there's always vastly cheaper bootlegs, not that I'd ever suggest anyone would ever buy such things... The first 30 or so episodes were released at the very end of last year in the UK in a box set.

I also have to acknowledge that theme tune too! On The Inside performed by Lynne Hamilton, a UK Top 10 hit no less! Watch her TOTP performance from 1989...

19 February 2009

Donna Summer - Cats Without Claws, 1984

I remember buying this on LP many years ago in a clearance section of a local record store (when there was such a thing!) - I think it was £1.00 and I couldn't remember a thing about it, except the trashy artwork. I would love to ask Donna what she was thinking! I was lucky enough to get it on CD for under a tenner this week and it's not as bad as some reviews I'd read.

Firstly, the lead single Supernatural Love is fantastic! A fine example of 80's synth-pop with a great rock edge. I like the vocodered vocals as well as Donna's booming delivery. I think I detect a subtle Latin vibe in the mix too. Do check out the video too if you want a laugh, I thought it was a spoof to start with, especially when we get our first close up of Donna, I thought it was RuPaul! The second single, There Goes My Baby, is also pretty solid, its a cover of a song which was originally a hit for the Drifters. Donna's mid-80's update is quite lovely and very classy. The Latin-inspired dance workout I'm Free is pretty hot too, it has a great remix by Jellybean Benitez, which sadly came after the album was issued, or else I'm sure it would be the definitive version. It would've been great if Donna had done some freestyle tracks! I also like the ballad that closes the album Forgive Me, which won a GRAMMY. The second track, That's Not The Way is also one of the better songs.

The rest is mostly listenable, but hardly earth-shattering synth driven rock/pop. I think it'll be a grower, and it's certainly not bad, but the majority of these tracks are carried by Donna's stunning voice. The worst tracks are the title track, which is just ridiculous, and the meandering Maybe It's Over. The whole project was a huge flop pretty much everywhere, and it's not been im print for quite some time now, and along with The Wanderer, Donna Summer, All Systems Go, is getting quite scarce on CD now.

UK Chart Action: Cats Without Claws (LP) #69; Supernatural Love (Single) (Didn't Chart)

Video - Jeremy's alternative review of Cats Without Claws (while you're there check out his other reviews)

18 February 2009

Brit Awards (Live) 2009

U2 are the opening act, why oh why is Bono making stupid faces and hoping up and down while wearing revolting looking black eyeshadow?

Kylie is on!

That was pretty fun, Kylie spoofed her Can't Get You Out Of My Head video, she looks gorgeous! So classy.

BEST BRITISH FEMALE - Duffy (surprise surprise), I don't mind her too much, fellow nominee Estelle looks pissed off! Hehe.

Please let the comedy 'interludes' end, enough!

INT'L FEMALE - Beyonce, surely? Who the bloody hell is Santogold? I suppose having a hit doesn't matter. Kate Perry won, I like Hot and Cold, love her top, but her revolting spandex trousers are vile!

I've never seen Kylie's co-presenter before, maybe he is some kind of 'cutting edge' comedian or something, but he needs to stop shouting.

Girls Aloud have just appeared with some pink fans - to hide their modesty - as if they had any in the first place! Some of them are more atrocious than others, The Promise I Made is crappy too, the blonde one needs to stop screeching now, someone put her out of her misery. Dismal!

Jesus Christ, is there any show which Fearne Cotton doesn't mustle her way into, how is she not at the front of the nearest dole queue I do not know, if there was a ever a recession busting measure I'd get behind it would be banning her from any TV show ever again. Now they want us to call into some dodgy phone-in to chose best British single, will they never learn!


The set is so cheap! Looks like a cross between a 1970's Royal Variety show and the Magic Roundabout...

Alex James (used to be in Blur) presents the BEST BRITISH BREAKTHOUGH ACT - As long as the bloody Ting Tings don't win, they are truly the worst new act of last year. Duffy wins.

Coldplay are on... I wonder if the confetti being dropped on the audience was supposed to be at a climax of some kind, I must've missed it... Is it me or are they miming? As dull as we've come to expect, next...

Jamie Cullum. Jamie Oliver and Fearne Cotton on my screen at the same time, why oh why!

So far this is rubbish, it's no wonder UK album sales nosedived last year - at least it's not just me that's turned off to this pap and the people who present it to us.


Kylie's outfit has changed, I like her hair, reminds me of her Hand On Your Heart era look. Natalie Imbruglia is on presenting INT'L GROUP - What is up with her face, those cheek implants have got to go! I hope The Killers win. They didn't, I don't know who the Kings of Leon are, but they don't have synths and dance mixes I'll bet! Pish.

BEST BRITISH MALE SOLO - Paul Weller, who couldn't be arsed to turn up, he's apparently down the pub with Adele, who looks like she lost weight. Doesn't she look like Alison Moyet?

Duffy sings, Kylie is excited as usual... Duffy sings like she has a cold. I should imagine they'll have a special edition of her album in the supermarkets up and down the UK come Monday, right next to the cabbage and pre-packed salad.

Christ! Natalie Imbruglia looks like a rough Morticia Addams.


I've just realised that there are absolutely no dance acts either on stage or nominated, so far and we're an hour though...

BEST INT'L ALBUM - Kings of Leon

Take That perform their dire single 'Greatest Day', sounds like a third rate Coldplay song to me, I think they borrowed the green strobe lights from them too. This is mimed I swear! Mercifully short performance thank god! LAME.

Should I know who Nick Frost is? BEST LIVE BRITISH ACT - Thank god I never went to any of these shows. Iron Maiden won and they couldn't give a shit about this either. Grey power!

The Hoff! Now this is classy... *cue dodgy reference to Kit* - BEST BRITISH GROUP - Please not Girls Aloud... Elbow won.

Kings of Leon perform...

The Hoff is cracking onto Fearne, I think he's pissed again...


Kylie's glistening sliver dress is fab!

CRITICS CHOICE - Florence and the Act? She sings great, but looks like a hot mess!

Gok Wan presents BEST INT'L MALE - Who is Seasick Steve? Anyway if anyone cares Kayne West won, and he didn't show up either.

Ting Tings and Estelle perform - god I hate this song! She CANNOT SING either! I love it! Here comes Estelle - this mash up of American Boy and Shut Up And Let Me Go is shite! Now they're singing That's Not My Name - which was rubbish before, and now they're murdering it if that's even possible. Only in music can you be this bad at your day job and be lorded up like the next big like these two have been. Talentless.

Kylie's got a green dress on now.

BEST BRITISH SINGLE - As voted for via the overpriced phone line, who in their right mind would vote for any of these lot. Girls Aloud won with The Promise. As long as they don't sing again. Christ their common, I see Cheryl 'Convicted Racist Thug' Tweedy is still with them. No coincidence that she's an employee of ITV of course...

They've wheeled out Tom Jones now, at least he's stopped dying is hair that nasty old man tar colour. MASTERCARD BRITISH ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Didn't buy any of them so I don't really care... Duffy won, again. She so didn't expect to win, she just happened to bring three different dresses with her., as you do...


Kylie in red!

Bradon Flowers! Loves the Pet Shop Boys! Who win OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO MUSIC. This is fab, a megamix feat Lady Gaga bellowing out Dusty's part of What Have I Done To Deserve This while dancing the robot, worth the 1hr 50mins of crap in itself.

The End.

[EDIT - Not quite, we get the premiere of Duffy's new advert to whore Diet Coke, which is amongst the WORST thing I have ever witnessed - she sounds like a demented fraggle, who else wanted that car to mow her down?!]

Tat Parade's Alterative Brit Awards!

Tonight ITV and Sony BMG, sorry I mean the British Music Industry will celebrate the past 12 months in music. The dismal prospect of Duffy Winehouse and Coldplay being bestowed with yet more awards has inspired me to create my very own equally biased and unrepresentative awards showcase of all the acts I've enjoyed over the last year (and a bit)!

Best British Solo Act - Kelly Llorenna

Who else could possibly win this, the most prestigious of my awards, Kelly has had four singles in the pipeline over the past twelve months of so; her chav-tastic take on Keep Love Together, her mindblowing 90's house tribute Sweetest Day Of May, Nothing Lasts Forever - a brand new single with N-Trance, and Dress You Up her latest assault on the dancefloors of the UK. Lest we forget her amazing take on Donna Summer's Hot Stuff for the seminal 'Gay Days Vol. 5'.

My liking for my own country's music ends here.

International Album - Cyndi Lauper - Bring Ya To The Brink

2008 was the year Cyndi returned to the UK on a successful tour, and while her album wasn't a hit, it was still damn good. Her new dance sound wowed fans everywhere and the single Into The Nightlife was an instant word of mouth hit.

International Single - Kylie Minogue - Wow

The title says it all.

International Solo Act - Donna Summer

With three fantastic singles rocking dance clubs - I'm A Fire, Stamp Your Feet, and Fame (The Game) rocking dancefloors, ummm, somewhere, Donna proved that she was still as relevant today as she was 10 years ago, go Donna!

International Group - Alphabeat

Alphabeat were a breath of fresh air and one of the few acts here that actually got any airplay. Hits like Fascination, Ten Thousand Nights, and Boyfriend (that Pete Hammond Mix was amazing) proved that pure pop was alive and well in 2008, without any help from Xenomania!

Critics Choice - Ladyhawke

Perhaps the only critically acclaimed act on the list, Ladyhawke did retro without being pretentious. Influenced by 80's rock and electro, Ladyhawke may not have sold bucket loads or records, but she was great! My Delerium was my favourite of the singles, released in December.

Producers Award - Greg Kurstin

For his amazing work with Donna Summer and Kylie over the last twelve months, brilliant stuff!

15 February 2009

Wendy O. Williams - Wow, 1984

Wendy O. Williams had recorded albums with her band The Plasmatics from 1978 to 1982 when in 1984 they decided to rebrand themselves under Wendy’s name. For the album WOW they lost a couple of members and their very hard edge in favour of something a bit poppier (for them!) and more commercial. This album is great; Wendy and the band team up with Gene Simmons and other members of Kiss to make probably the most listenable album of Wendy’s, far too short, career. Simmons co-wrote many of the songs and played bass.

I Love Sex (and Rock & Roll) kicks off the album, I’m not too keen on this one, as a pop fan I am used to the strongest tracks appearing first. This one is loud and brash, with little more to say than the title suggests. It would probably put a lot of people off venturing any further, and maybe that was the point! While I’m quite sure this was an attempt to be a bit more saleable, Wendy’s punk sensibilities evidently came first. In the early days she’d appear on stage with a bleach-blonde Mohawk and nothing more than a pair of knickers and some duct tape over her nipples!

The single, Its My Life is next, which didn’t make much of an impact on the pop charts, but appeared in the movies The Legend of Billie Jean and Reform School Girls (in which Wendy made her acting debut in 1986). This hard edged rock/pop gem is one of my absolute favourites. I like the lyrics about breaking the rules and doing what you want, the guitar solo is fantastic too. Wendy’s rough as nails vocals blend perfectly with the big guitars on the track. The video features Wendy driving around the desert and off a cliff; she did her own stunts, naturally!

Priestess and Thief in the Night are pretty strong mid-tempo metal tracks with solid choruses, it’s clear the direction they were going in was to make them more accessible to casual rock fans. Wendy’s glammed up image added another marketable ingredient to the mix, although she was still pretty ferocious.

Opus in Cm7 is pretty haunting, in particular Wendy’s throaty ‘Oh Yeah’s’, which she chants at various stages throughout the song. The lyrics are quite political, “Why are we all breathing dioxin?” She asks at one point. It’s a gentler track than the previous ones on the album. Wendy was a keen political and green activist right up until her death.

Are You Ready to Rock is pretty standard, by the numbers, mid-tempo rock. Nothing wrong with that though, and it’s another good track in my opinion.

Bump and Grind is more good filler, a rock and roll work-out with its roots firmly in punk:

“Do ya wanna bump, do ya wanna grind, do ya wanna bump and grind with me?” Wendy sings.

Legends Never Die is a tender ballad, well as tender as you can be with a voice like Wendy’s. I think this one is really quite moving and a nice change of pace for her as an artist. While she’s by no means an accomplished vocalist, this shows off quite a different side to her.

Ain’t None of Your Business is a bit like Its My Life, but a bit slower and smoother, same general messgae though, and a nice finisher to a pretty solid album. It’s a shame that Wendy chose to go back to her hard edged punk roots after this album. In 1986 she put out Komander of Kaos, which is extremely loud and unapologetic, and lacks the rhythm and relative subtlety of WOW. While not a mainstream success by any means, Wendy was nominated for Best Female Rock Vocalist of the Year at the 1985 GRAMMY AWARDS.

UK Chart Action: Wow (LP) #100; Its My Life (Single) [Didn’t chart]; F*ck & Roll (Live EP – unofficial release featuring tracks from the album [Didn't Chart]

Video - Its My Life (Music Video)
Video - Bump and Grind (Live in London, 1985)
Video - Reform School Girls (Music Video, 1986)

14 February 2009

New Singles!!

As 2009 seems to be in full swing here ‘s a stunning selection of upcoming singles that come with a TAT PARADE stamp of approval. All singles are available from http://www.7digital.com/ – which I love! DRM free and cheap!*

Kelly Llorenna – Dress You Up*
Sweet Jesus, the real Queen of Clubs is back, doing what she does best. Yes, Queen K-Lo has blessed Madonna’s 1985 hit with her angelic vocals and her inimitable dance style! It’s exactly what fans have come to expect from Kelly over the years, and it doesn’t disappoint. I think K-Lo would be best off releasing an album of her favourite 80’s songs at this stage, what does she have to lose! I can’t wait for the donk mixes!
Audio - http://www.aatw.com/audio.php?id=856

Saint Etienne – Method Of Modern Love
This is just a gorgeous slice of summery synth pop, produced by Richard X, for their Best Of compilation, London Conversations, which is out next week, in standard 2CD, and deluxe 2CD + DVD + Book editions! Oh my! If only all their songs were as great as this. As for the single, a physical edition can be bought on their web site – the best buy being the 2 CD, Ltd 7” and exclusive mp3 bundle, which at £5.50 is good value. For the casual fan there are remixes from 59p from 7digital, it looks like this will be a Top 40 hit too which is pretty amazing since it’s got no airplay and no video!
Audio - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAvW96CO_Jw

Ace of Base – Wheel Of Fortune 2009
Good god this is pure trash! I had pretty much forgotten all about Ace of Base until I was in a club while on holiday and they played a 10 minute video megamix of their greatest hits, and I knew every single one of them! This 2009 remix of Wheel of Fortune, by Karl Johan RÃ¥smark is the lead single for a new Greatest Hits package - Greatest Hits, Classic Remixes and Music Videos. I see I am a few months late with this one, but I don’t care, it says 2009 so it’ll do! The single seems to have been released digitally at the end of last year too little attention. I remember when I was a little boy I'd go over to my friends house and we'd listen to her Ace of Base taps, oh the joy!
Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE-ff4a6nqc
Ladyhawke – Paris Is Burning
Yes, again! Currently getting airplay at last, although I go on charts alone, I don’t listen to the radio anymore. I loved this one since it came out the first time and the album is hot, I love Magic the best. I do hope Paris Is Burning does well this time around; it made #61 last July. Not sure if the re-release will have any new mixes but it’s out 2 March 2009. If you haven’t heard it think trendy indie pop meets Blondie’s Heart of Glass.
Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1HDZNR9cY4

Private – My Secret Lover*
More trash from AATW – this one is quite interesting though, it’s obviously something they’ve licensed, as they couldn’t come up with something as catchy as this themselves – this has an early 80’s disco/R&B sound, which I love. I’m sure they’ll have it turned into a Cascada tribute by now, but as it stands this is ace!
Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UadiCPaVHUU

Pet Shop Boys – Love, etc*
This collaboration with the vile Xenomania is grea, I'm shocked! I’ve never been a major fan, but they have no doubt done some amazing work, and this is another great single to add to their list. Xenomania are still the anti-Christ though, just thinking of their chavvy productions of the past few years makes me wretch. Anyway Love, etc is out at the end of March with a new album. I hope it has some trashy club mixes to accompany it, check out some of the lyrics:

(Don't have to buy)
A house in Beverly Hills
(Don't have to have)
Your daddy paying the bills
(Don't have to live)
A life of power and wealth
(Don't have to be)
Beautiful but it helps

You need more

Than a big blank check to be a lover, or
A gulf stream jet to fly you door to door
Somewhere chic on another shore
You need more (6x)
You need love (3x)

Too much of anything is never enough

Too much of everything is never enough

*Not yet available for download.

12 February 2009

Heart, 1985

The mid 1980’s were an interesting time for comebacks, a time where seemingly washed up rock acts like Fleetwood Mac and Heart managed to conquer radio and the pop charts a second (or third!) time around. The new Heart had huge hair, bigger vocals, and overblown guitar solos to boot.
After a period of diminishing sales, Heart decided to get a radical makeover to update not only their appearance, but also their sound. They even recruited two new band members to completely revitalise the group. Out went the last vestiges of the prog rock sound that made them so popular in the 70’s, and in came the overproduced 80’s hooks and catchy choruses. Not to mention the massive perms, leather, and thick eyeliner.

Their new look and commercial sound gave Heart a string of hits including What About Love, Never, Nothin' At All and the massive These Dreams. Their 1985 self titled album shifted millions of copies and was very successful on both sides of the Atlantic.

The album kicks off with If Looks Could Kill, a ferocious metal inspired romp with Ann Wilson (the loud one) on lead vocals. While by no means the best song on the album it kicks things off with a good pace and lots of passion!

“If looks could kill, you’d be lying on the floor, you’d be begging me, please, please, don’t hurt me no more. If looks could kill!” Belts Ann.

It was selected at the fifth and final US single from the album, and sadly didn’t crack the Top 40.

What About Love is next, and served as the lead single. I have to say it’s one of my favourites of all of Heart’s singles. Ann really lets rip on this amazing power ballad, it was a big hit in the US and made the Top 20 in the UK. Grace Slick and Mickey Thomas from Starship provided the backing vocals.

The anthemic Never was another hit single. Released as a double a-side with These Dreams in the UK, which kind of overshadowed it. Nevertheless, Never is simple shouty rock/pop at its best. We get to hear a bit of Nancy on this one too which serves as a lovely prelude to her stunning performance on the next song, the aforementioned These Dreams – one of the biggest singles of 1986 (1987 in the UK). A classic single, which still enjoys plenty of airplay all these years later. These Dreams is a smooth rock gem, and softer than the previous tracks. Nancy’s vocals are flawless as her guitar playing.

The Wolf is our first sign of filler, but it’s not bad, it's just the the chorus that is sadly a little weak and the song fails to go anywhere. All Eyes follows in the same vein as Never and although pretty throwaway, is strangely quite memorable and a great romp! Nobody At Home reminds me of Alphaville’s Forever Young, and that’s a good thing. It’s well paced and very atmospheric.

Nothin’ At All was another hit single in the US, but a fared less well in the UK. Such a shame too as it is just as good as anything else on the album. The remixed single version appears on some editions of the album which has more aggressive vocals and production; an extended remix appeared on the single. It’s a lot like These Dreams and typical Heart, starting off with some softly delivered verses and a soaring chorus. Lovely stuff, with great vocals by Ann, as always.

What He Don’t Know is the only thing in this collection that verges on being a bit of a clunker. It’s a little folky and pretty awkward, and it’s a bit too slow, it’s nice enough though. The lively Shellshock closes the album nicely; it’s loud, brash, and similar to the opener If Looks Could Kill. Its hard edge suits Ann’s vocals perfectly and it ends the set on a wonderful high. It took awhile for the album to peak in the UK, so long in fact that it finally made the UK Top 20 in March 1988, after being re-promoted shortly after Bad Animals did so well. Heart would see their good fortune continue with their 1988 album Bad Animals, but I do think this is the better album. From the powerful hits, to the soaring vocals, HEART is an amazing album, and a true 80’s gem which can be enjoyed over and over.

Video - These Dreams

UK Chart Attack!! - Heart (LP) #19 (Gold), singles: These Dreams (1986) #62; Never/These Dreams (1988) #8; What About Love (1988) #14; Nothin' At All [Remix] (1988) #38

09 February 2009

Masters of the Universe, 1987

During the 80’s most of the major movie studios put out some absolute trash, but no matter how hard they tried none could rival Cannon Films horrific output. However, in 1987 they surpassed even such dizzy heights as Supergirl and Death Wish 3, with their classic action-adventure opus Masters of the Universe.

Dolph Lungren is He Man! The oiled and buffed knicker clad superhero that over the following 88 mins demonstrates the acting ability of a soggy cardboard box. Anyone that watched the movies that Cannon put out at this time will know what kind of performance to expect from their leads. But will also be well aware of what kind of trashy fun their villains usually are. Even Faye Dunaway’s career devastating, scenery chewing turn in Supergirl, won’t prepare you for Frank Langella’s amazing turn as the evil Skeletor. While poor old Dolph couldn’t even live up to his animated counterpart, Langella blows the cartoon Skeletor out of the water with his sheer charisma and over the top gusto. He’s as camp as it gets, and his entrance is just cinematic gold! The staff banging, the cloak! Don’t get me started on the glistening gold makeover when he gets the power of the universe, or whatever it is. Absolute genius!

The stunning Meg Foster puts in fantastic performance as Evil Lyn too - Skeletor’s chief Hench-woman! It’s all in the eyes, and that outfit. Evil-Lyn really doesn’t do anything that evil, but she rocks nonetheless. She's a damn sight more imposing than Skeletor's other minions, anyway. Billy Barty’s Gwildor is a lot of fun too; he even had his own action figure.

The story involves the evil Skeletor taking over the planet of Eternia and imprisoning the beautiful Sorceress who holds all the power of the universe. He hopes to subsume all of her powers and take over the cosmos! Of course, He Man and his friends are going to stop him, but first they need to find the Key to Eternia, which has been sent to California in 1987 for budgetary reasons. There they meet Julie (Courtney Cox) and Kevin (Robert Duncan McNeill from Star Trek Voyager) - two annoying teens who happen to think the key is a cool synthesiser and insist on switching it on to see its pretty lights at every possible (time filling) opportunity, unknowingly alerting Skeletor to its location! Who will have the power?!...

This is just a classic, it’s so bad and essentially is just a bit cheap and shabby, but it’s oh so good – it’s one of my all time favourites. I admire the way the actors did their best with the terrible script, and the way the special effects budget was used, like when Skeletor floats down main street, not to mention his flying centurions! It actually looks quite good. Cannon missed the boat with this one as He Man was already a bit passé by 1987 and even their attempts to create cash-in merchandise, which had proved so lucrative for the cartoon series, failed miserably! I think they managed about 3 action figures and a book! They couldn’t even get a Skeletor figure out!

Masters of the Universe was savaged by critics and hardly anyone saw it when it came out. It was a success on video on TV though and if anything has improved with age, like a fine wine! Get it on DVD.

08 February 2009

Lisa Lampanelli

I just had the pleasure of watching Lisa's HBO special All Hail The Queen, her first for the network. I remember being leant a copy of her low-budget Queen of Mean DVD awhile ago now, and thought she was amazing. I'd never seen a white girl come out with some of the things she said! Lisa's brand of insult comedy is a breath of fresh air, particularly in these politically correct times. I don't think I can include any of Lisa's jokes in this post. They generally consist of taking the piss out of members of her audience and making fun of different races. I'd love to see her come over to the UK, I think there would be a public outcry! I think she's great and she's looking fab!

Video - All Hail the Queen (2009) - Part 1

03 February 2009

All 'Star' Tribute to Patti LaBelle!

Poor Patti, nothing prepares you for the true horror of today's 'hottest' stars paying tribute to legend of legends, Miss Patti LaBelle on ABC's 'All Star Tribute' to Patti LaBelle, how Miss Patti held herself back from getting up there and putting these sorry excuses for 'divas' out of their misery is a testament to her undying good nature and professionalism. This was due to air in January in BET, from the lack of video clips I think all of those involved would prefer to forget about it...

Tat Parade sticks two fingers up to:

Fantastia Barrino's annihilation of 'Somebody Loves You Baby'
Jennifer Hudson lame attempt at 'Stir It Up'
Chrisette Michelle's (who?) appalling attempt at 'New Attitude'
Le Toya Luckett's slightly better than dire 'When You Talk About Love'

Tat Parade isn't offended by:

Yolanda Addams take on 'You'll Never Walk Alone'

Evelyn "Champagne" King

I don’t normally think about reviewing compilations, but this one is so groovy I just had to. Love Come Down – The Best of Evelyn “Champagne” King is a joy from start to finish. It’s a stunning collection of the majority of her 70’s and 80’s singles for RCA Records from the full 12” mix of 1977 disco classic ‘Shame’ to the electro funk pop singles High Horse, presented here in it’s single version, and Your Personal Touch a UK Top 40 hit from 1985.

This collection is interesting as it acts as an excellent guide to the changing sounds of the times and how disco divas transformed themselves to dance queens, incorporating harder ever more synthetic beats and sounds into their music as the years went by. While Evelyn was equally capable of handling the emotional ballads and heart breaking soul slow jams, she is and always has been known for her booty shaking hits like Love Come Down and Shame.

The majority of the singles collected for this compilation play to this image and make this an absolute must for even the most casual of fans, and will provide an excellent introduction to an often overlooked legend of soul and dance. Evelyn was barley a teenager when she was discovered singing while doing a cleaning job with her mother. In 1977 she released Shame which became a big crossover hit in the US making a big impact on the dance, R&B, and the Billboard Hot 100, where it made #9, and her Gold-selling debut album, Smooth Talk, made the Top 20, which also included the smash hit, I Don’t Know If It’s Right, a Gold selling single in 1978.

Music Box followed in 1979 and while it was less of hit, it was by no means a sophomore slump, peaking at #35, selling enough copies to earn Evelyn yet another Gold disc. 1981’s single I’m In Love, from the album of the same name, also clicked with pop fans on both side of the Atlantic where the strong single made the Top 40, and the album followed suit into the Top 40 of the Billboard Top 200 albums.

However, it was 1982 that proved to be Evelyn’s biggest year of all. Helped by the smash hit single Love Come Down she stormed the album charts with her album Get Loose, which peaked at #5, and achieved Gold status. The album saw her sound move further away from the old fashioned disco and soul sound, and move toward a poppier and dance orientated groove. The 12” version is showcased in all its glory on this compilation, and it sounds every bit as good as ever! While the album didn’t produce any more major hits, Bet’cha She Don’t Love You is pretty cool too; it has a slower groove and takes a little longer to click. Get Loose was the final single, and follows the synth-driven funk of the previous singles, it made the UK Top 40. Love Come Down was a Top 10 hit in the UK and sold well over 200,000 copies.

The mid 80’s were pretty good to Evelyn as she rode out her contract with RCA, she had two albums in the Top 40 between 1984 and 1985. The single lead single, Just for the Night, from the album So Romantic is a lovely mid-tempo synth-pop gem co-written by Madonna collaborator Patrick Leonard. Another cut Give Me One Reason, a rousing and highly successful attempt to appeal to the A/C audience, was another single, but didn’t make much of an impact.

The collection ends with two singles from her 1985 LP A Long Time Coming, the frenetic High Horse (Remix), and Your Personal Touch, which was her final UK Top 40 entry. It’s a great one too, very poppy, and highly danceable.

Evelyn signed to EMI Records for the LP, Flirt, in 1986, which failed to arouse record buyers anywhere, though she looked absolutely smokin’! Evelyn has released albums sporadically since but hasn’t really been a major chart mover and shaker. In 2008 she released her first album in 12 years, Open Book, featuring the Billboard Dance/Club Play hit, The Dance, thanks to a storming remix by the Soulseekerz which sampled Love Come Down, which is included on the CD.

While she was never a major pop star, Evelyn was a big star of the R&B and dance scene throughout the 80’s. Her rich, deep, and soulful vocals make her songs instantly recognisable. While this compilation is pretty hot, there are a couple of omissions, notably 1985’s Give It Up, a single for Private I records from the movie Fright Night, and Out Of Control a moderate Top 20 US dance hit from 1983. It’s still an excellent set. I had the pleasure of seeing her perform live last summer and she raised the roof with amazing renditions of all her hits as well as The Dance!
Video - Bet'cha She Don't Love You (Soul Train performance)