Friday, 30 January 2009

Madonna coming to Bulgaria?

In my last post I said that rumor had it that Madonna negotiated to have a concert in Bulgaria, but eventually was turned out. Rumors are such a lovely thing - sometimes they are true, sometimes are false. False, is a word with a negative connotation, but this time it carries hope and happiness. I am happy to say that there is still hope that The Queen of Pop is coming to Bulgaria. Not only that, but she is going to have concerts in countries she has never ever visited among which Serbia, Romania, Estonia and Poland. Yep, The Bitch is going to be sticky and sweet around Europe this summer and it is going to be hot. Here is the statement on her official website:

In 2009, Madonna's 'Sticky & Sweet Tour' will also visit Marseille in addition to performances in Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia, Romania, and Serbia.

Of course nothing is 100% sure, but let all fingers be crossed that she visits all of the listed countries and makes more people happy for at least 2 hours. I am pretty sure that Russia is one of the countries with a certain date, as well as Hungary. Bulgaria and Serbia have the least chances, but I will not lose hope until there is an official statement on

Oh, yeah, and before I have forgotten to mention this leg of the Sticky & Sweet Tour is going to be opened by Paul Oakenfold. Not the best choice, anyways Madonna is that matters, not who is going to support her.

Looking forward to hearing more from Madonna.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Madonna to embark on a second Sticky & Sweet Tour

The impossible is possible and Madonna made the news once again. She is going on a second "edition" of her Sticky and Sweet Tour this summer. Here is the official statement on

We are happy to confirm that the rumors are true: Madonna has decided to extend her 'Sticky & Sweet' Tour. She is looking forward to an amazing summer in Europe, hitting the cities she didn't get a chance to in 2008.

While the detailed itinerary will be released later this week, we highly encourage you to wait for official on-sale dates and info before ordering tickets to rumored shows and venues.

Get ready for another hot summer.... Madonna is hitting the road again!

Yep, it's gonna be an European tour and the bitch is about to be The Queen of European Music Summer 2009. Rumor has it that she is going to have at least two dates on the Balkans: in Istanbul and Zagreb, other mention Belgrade and Bucharest, but I guess there would be at least one concert near Bulgaria. Others country that are expected to be included are Finland, Spain, Italy, France, The UK (why again? o.) and Germany (again why?). I wish this tour would include only countries that she has never visited, but sadly that would be financially impossible both for her and for her fans from countries that can't afford having her live.

Another rumor has it that Live Nation contacted Sofia Music Enterprises, but they had to turn down the offer as they couldn't pay the immense sum of 3 million euros that Madonna takes for any of her shows. If that is true I feel really sorry for us, the Bulgarian fans, who will have to embark on another journey to another country just to see her for a couple of hours.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Christina Aguilera working with Goldfrapp and Ladytron

Christina Aguilera is working on her fourth studio album and it is going to be very different from anything she has released before. I really don't care what she is going to be releasing, but rumor has it that she is working with Goldfrapp and Ladytron for this forthcoming album. I remember reading some time ago an article on how electronic music was all used and dried up. I wonder how could anyone write such a pile of nonsense having in mind how much electronic music is used. Here you go, another fine example of pop collaborating with electro and bring to us all electropop. If Christina is really working with Ladytron and Goldfrapp then I guess she is about to offer something new and knowing myself what an electro slut I am I will be listening to her stuff in no time. I fear most that Christina's producers may be a major obstacle on the way to an excellent electronic album. Cheer up, Christina fans, you can have your lovey-dovey ballads, but they just have to carry an audible touch of electropop or trip-hop.

This is a probable song that may be included in Christina album and it sounds very nice. From the very first listen I could feel the presence of Alisson Goldfrapp. Two thumbs up for this effort and let's all hope that it will be some great shit.

Stuck in my mind: Alicia Keys & Jack White - Another WayTo Die

I've never really liked Alicia Keys and I am not the biggest fan of The White Stripes, but there you go: "Another Way To Die"! A very intriguing fusion of Keys' soulful voice and White's unquestionably unique rock style. I remember reading several years ago that Alicia Keys was a big fan of The White Stripes and she did want to collaborate with the duo. I just couldn't imagine how the performer of "Fallin'" is actually going to work with someone who has songs as "Seven Nation Army" or "Blue Orchid". Honestly I still don't believe it, but have to admit that the song is very nice and is something untypical for both parties. The best about "Another Way To Die" is that their voices match perfect, oh yeah they do. Probably, one of the best (not the hottest) duets of 2009 and my personal favourite to be released by Alicia Keys and some of the best works of Jack White.

Peaches vs Peaches

Whenever I open YouTube there is a recommended videos section that I usually skip and start my search. As I was about to type a song's name I saw Peaches - Dynamit Nitroglycerin Baby, wondering if this is supposed to be something new by Peaches or perhaps a live performance I have never heard of. Unfortunately it was nothing like it. To my surprise I was redirected to an original video by a Swedish girl duo named Peaches. Poor things...what in any god's name is this supposed to be? I listened to the song at least three times trying to understand what their style is. After pondering a few minutes I decided it is supposed in the eurodance genre. The video to Dymanit Nitroglycerin Baby is horrible and honestly the chicks look like bored teenage girls with a bad make-up day. Most probably they know the Canadian electro singer Peaches, but if any of their songs have to be a tribute to her or to her carrier, but I am sure that even Peaches will be terrified when she sees this:

Unfortunately embedding of this video was forbidden by request, but after you watch it even you will forbid it. Honestly I'd even remove it from YouTube if I could. That is why artists' names should be unique!

Monday, 26 January 2009

Chinese rap...

I am a big fan of the Chinese culture and there is no doubt that China has given a lot to the world's cultural heritage. It is home to various traditional music styles and nowadays it is the second most musically productive country in Asia, just after Japan. So far so good, but how many of you have listened to Chinese rap/hip-hop. I guess a few, as it is hard to find. Well, honestly you haven't missed a lot. I admire the beauty of the Chinese language, but I have to admit that is really not the best choice when it comes to rapping. It sounds like blabber and no matter how many songs I heard none of them actually suited the rhythm. Although I am really not into the whole rap/hip-hop scene I have listened to plenty of various performers in many languages and it is Chinese rap that draw my attention.

I guess there are some languages that are just not meant to be used for rapping among which Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese or Tagalog. Sure everyone wants to explore new music, but at what cost and what quality. I read some of the comments under videos posted in YouTube and it turns out that Chinese rap even to Chinese native speakers it may sound as pure nonsense. This is due to the correlation between intonation and meaning, but let's face it: a language in which the intonation is of such great importance for the proper convey of the main idea singing may not be the best choice, let alone rapping. Sadly I couldn't find any battles or grime, anyway here are some videos in favour of what I am saying. I do not undermine the quality of the product, the music itself is good, but it is just that Chinese and languages alike are not rap languages.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Recommendation Weekly: Lesbians on Ecstasy

Lesbians on Ecstasy are not you next door girl band that plays cheerful songs and tells about girl-to-boy sloppy love stories. They are a queercore Canadian band that makes typical electroclash music with heavy influences of noise, experimental and electro rock. Lesbians on Ecstasy are not your typical all-girl band and don't expect them to be fluffy and lovey-dovey!

Their lyrics are openly gay and they do not mind singing of women fancying other women. Lesbians on Ecstasy may not be among the most famous groups, but they are one of the finest acts of the electroclash scene, without sounding too poppy or too underground. If you want to give them a chance perhaps you should start from their eponymous albums, which to me is their better release. Of course, if you are more into electronic perhaps you should start from "Giggles in the Dark", but be warned that none of their tracks is suitable for a regular dance club. To be honest this is one of the most difficult recommendations that I've ever made, because Lesbians on Ecstasy is a band that you first have to hear and then read about. Of course, there is almost no chance to like them if you are not into the whole alternative independent electronica or you don't like electroclash.

PS: Queercore is a term used to describe bands which are comprised of only GLBT musicians or almost all of them are GLBT.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Stuck in my mind: Regina - Saanko Jäädä Yöksi?

Don't ask me what Saanko Jäädä Yöksi? means, I have no idea, but it sounds so nice. I love songs that can reach me even though there is a language barrier and this is a fine example of how emotions can be transmitted in any language.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Twenty favourite Bulgarian songs

A couple of days ago I was asked to name some good Bulgarian songs, thus I decided to post here some of my favourite. I admit that I am far from being a fan of my country's music, but there are songs that even I like. Don't worry if you don't understand a single word, most carry their message beyond the border of any language. Have in mind that these are just some of the songs I like and I have chosen only one song by each artist in the list!

Elica Todorova and Stoian Iankulov - Voda (Water)

Doni & Momchil - Umoreni krila (Tired wings)

Svetla Ivanova - Obicham te dotuk (I love you to this very point)

Antibiotika / Mail To India

Toni - Vsichko bilo e na syn (Everything was a dream)

Nina Nikolina - Ti (You)

Atlas - Esenni cvetia (Autumn flowers)

Vanya Shtereva - Shte te kupia (I'll buy you)

Bulgaro - Dui chaves

Irina Florin - Cviat lilav (Purple colour)

KariZma - Mr. Killer

Maria Ilieva - Lunen syn (Moon dream)

Hypnotic Rage - Feel The Vibe

Yoana - HyperSonic

Azora - Instinkti (Instincts) - it's not a pop-folk song!!!

Stenli - Obseben (Obsessed)

Marius Kurkinski - Ti-ri-ri-ram

AveNew - Biagstvo(Runaway)

Stoian Mihalev & Viktor - Otkakto ti (Since you)

Neti - Lunata spi(The Moon is sleeping)

Client with a new album in March

The electronic group Client is about to release a new album in March. The album is going to be called "Command" and it's going to contain 11 fresh tracks from the British duo. This is their fourth studio album and as they promise it is going to be "fresh and dirty". Client A and Client B are putting final touches in order to be perfect as usual. To be honest I didn't expect a release that soon, but now I am really excited and I do hope they will announce tour dates and hopefully they'll include at least one gig somewhere near Bulgaria or if there is any god - in Sofia!

You can hear a teaser on their MySpace page or sing up to their mailing list for up to date information.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Ten electroclash albums you have to hear before you die

Electroclash is one of the youngest styles in the enormous family of electronic music, but it has managed to give the world some excellent music acts and splendid albums. This is my list of the ten electroclash albums you should hear before you go to a better place (hopefully). It is not a full list and is based on my own taste and may I be excused if I miss some other essential albums or artists. If so do kindly remind me and there might be part 2 as well.

10. Felix da Housecant - Devin Dazzle and the Neon Fever

The best album by one of the most prominent names in the electroclash scene. To me he together with The Hacker are the godfathers of this style. Although his products have varied from release to release he always orbits in the field of electroclash and I am pretty sure that Felix is going to be among the last standing defending the honor of electroclash.

9. Chicks on Speed - 99 Cents

Chicks on Speed may not be one the best electro bands of our times, but on the other hand they are provocative, artistically independent and eccentric and their albums are some of the best examples of good electroclash. "99 Cents" is surely not the price of this album, but it is a fine compilation of electronic songs.

8. Miss Kittin - I Com

One of the strongest debuts I have ever heard. Miss Kittin with the help of her friend The Hacker became one of the most important figures in the electroclash scene and now just two albums later she is The Princess of electroclash music.

7. Fischerspooner - #1

Fischerspooner to some are the male equivalent to Ladytron, but they are more than that. The album #1 is not full of number one hits, but is among my favourite efforts in the electronic scene. In order to understand the whole concept of this artistic presentation of music, perhaps, you should watch some of their live performances.

6. Tiga - Sexor

Tiga is one of those artists that I began to like long before they actually released their debut albums. He came to prominence with "Sunglasses at Night" a collaboration the Finnish DJ Zyntherius and now he is famous for his tracks "Hot in Herre" (unfortunately not included in "Sexor"), "You Gonna Want Me", "3 Weeks" and "Louder Than A Bomb". "Sexor" is not a sexually explicit album despite the name, but what a real electroclash album is supposed to sound.

5. Cansei de Ser Sexy - Cansei de Ser Sexy

Cansei de Ser Sexy is probably the best newcomers from Brazil and for the last couple of years they became one of the best known bands coming from Latin America. Their eponymous album is full of tracks suitable for either parties or when you just need to cheer up. I love how they mix English and Brazilian and fuse as many music genres as they manage to.

4. Robots in Disguise - We'Re In The Music Bizz

I've discovered Robots in Disguise just two years ago and now I am a proud fan of their music. Sue and Dee don't give much shit about the music business and do whatever they feel right. "We'Re In The Music Bizz" is a proof of how good music can be without taking it too seriously.

3. Peaches - Impeach My Bush

All rise! The Queen of electroclash is in the building and she is about to blow your minds away. You might think of her as of a sweet and yummy fruit, think again! She is peachy, talks dirty, shows some real pussy galore and really doesn't give a damn about your problems. "Impeach My Bush" is how bisexuality would sound if it were a music style.

2. Client - City

"City" is to me one of the best not just electroclash, but electronic albums ever! It contains so many good tracks that if I start telling about each one of them I might need to post separate comments on every one. Sadly Client are not as famous as Ladytron, although this is no hinder to their way to the infinity of electronic music and I am pretty sure that with some more stuff like "City" they are going to be on the top.

1. Ladytron - Witching Hour

When I was thinking of this list the first group that came to my mind was Ladytron. Let's say that this is the band that actually brought the electroclash scene out of the dark and proved that this is a separate branch of the huge electronic scene. I chose "Witching Hour" because it is a fine example of how electroclash can be combined with new wave, dream pop, synthpop, electropop and alternative electronica and still sound unique. This album contains some of the best Ladytron tracks and it is among my favourite albums of all times.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Stuck in my mind: White Rose Movement - Girls In the Back

To be honest I don't like White Rose Movement, but today as I was enjoying my Robots in Disguise radio station I heard their single "Girls In the Back", which I got to like back when I spent some time listening to them. The song is catchy and somehow cheerful, although the video is awful and I still don't like the band.


Monday, 19 January 2009

Review: Fever Ray - Fever Ray

It's out!!! Karin Drejer Andersson of The Knife released her solo album under the Fever Ray moniker and it is breathtaking. I am pretty sure that this will be one of the best electronic/alternative albums of 2009. The debut album was officially released on 18th January in Sweden and on 23rd January worldwide. After spending several years as the vocalist of the indie rock group Honey Is Cool and then becoming one half of the most successful Swedish electronic duo ever The Knife Karin Drejer Andersson offers a new portion of her world of music, which is gloomy, mysterious and constantly changing, filled with pain and desire, hope and nostalgia. "Fever Ray" carries the dark spirit of the album "Silent Shout" from The Knife, but it goes even further exploring the dark corners of the mind, the atrocities of life and the belief there is more life than this.

The album is mellow, reminiscent of the artificial sound of a forgotten era. Karin is once again using voice modulation, thus creating duets with herself. At first listen once could mistake "Fever Ray" as a new The Knife release, but after spending some more time alone with Fever Ray herself they wouldn't mistake her any longer. The album is anything but radio-friendly, I just can't imagine how tracks like "Triangle Walks" or "If I Had a Heart" could be played on most commercial stations. I do hope it's going to be received well by critics and I hope that they will not compare Karin's work in The Knife with her solo carrier, as these are two separate projects.

Tracks you should hear: "If I Had a Heart", "When I Grow Up", "Triangle Walks" and "Concrete Walls" (to be honest you have to hear the whole album)

Two thumbs up and a 10 out of 10.

First single "If I Had a Heart"

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Sneak preview: The Prodigy - Invaders Must Die

I got my hands on the promo for the new The Prodigy album called "Invaders Must Die" and although I have some doubts about the tracklist itself and the fact that the leak is not full I will say a few words on what I've heard.

If all the songs in the album make it to the final I guess it's gonna be hell of an album. "Invaders Must Die" carries the good old sound of The Prodigy, but manages on its town to create an atmosphere filled with crazy beats, rave influences and a little pinch of commercial industrial. Perhaps it's no match to "The Fat of the Land", but when it's officially released there will be a plenty of people to say how bad is it and afterwards listening it on and on. The tracks are mainly instrumentals with few exclusions, but we don't need them to sing in order to be good.

Apart from the expected album they have already released their first two singles: "Invaders Must Die" and "Omen" and if you have missed to see them there you go:

Invaders Must Die


Saturday, 17 January 2009

My appreciation for Regina

This is not a post about Regina Spektor, although she's an excellent artist too. My true appreciation is for the Finnish electronic group Regina, which have become one of my biggest music affections for the last three years. I discovered them thanks to the kind help of, on which the group was recommended to me. They had one free track "Katso maisemaa" and of course I just couldn't resist temptation and downloaded it immediately. o be honest, I've had a slight idea of how the Finnish language sounds and I was more amused than impressed, but after several listens it did grow on me...and when something draws my attention it has to be explored to its depths. Up to that moment they had only one album called "Katso maisemaa".

The band was formed in 2004 by Iisa Pajula, Mikko Pikäri and Mikko Rassinen and soon rose to fame in the Helsinki electronic scene and are most likely the next best thing in Finnish music.

Honestly every track on the album "Katso maisemaa" is excellent. Despite the fact that I don't understand even a single word they still sound amazing. I even learned some of the lyrics, no matter how impossible suomi sounds. Actually my appreciation for Regina pushed me to learn something more about Finland, its culture and music. Finland's most famous bands are Nightwish, H.I.M., Children of Bodom, Apocalyptica, The Rasmus and Sonata Arctica, all of which are in one way or another connected with the heavy scene. That is why I was a bit surprised to find a Finnish group which makes electronic music and it's actually damn good. Thank any god for Scandinavian music!

In 2007 they released their sophomore effort called "Oi miten suuria voimia!", which includes ten new wonderful compositions. Their second album is less electropop and more alternative electronica orientated, but preserves the unique sound of Regina. They even released their first ever video "Paras aika vuodesta".

Friday, 16 January 2009

Има ли бъдеще българската музика? (Част III)

През последните 2-3 години българската музика, била тя поп, рок, алтернативна, фолк и прочее, е в дълбока криза. Все повече хора губят интерес в българската продукция, концентрирайки се над любимите си групи и изпълнители от близо и далеч. Това е така, защото музиката, която се прави в България не предлага алтернатива на това, което идва от други страни. Въпреки, че някои презрително наричат актуалната комерсиална музика от Запад „еврочалга” или „американски поп-фолк”, тя за разлика от нашите отрочета успява да генерира истински звезди, които имат собствена продукция и налагат тенденции в модата и начина на живот. Като почти всяка малка музикална сцена и българската притичва зад големите батковци с надеждата да прихване туй-онуй и тя да стане готина. Няма лошо в това да се черпи опит от другаде, даже е желателно да се следи какво е актуално, но е повече от препоръчително това да става в границите на приемливото, а не както сме я подкарали тук да копираме дословно това, което виждаме. Затова и клиповете на чалгарките са евтини подобия на видеотата на Мадона, Кайли Миноуг или Бионсе, а песните им са едно към едно версии на миналогодишни летни хитове в Гърция и Турция. Поп музиката ни генерира по някое друго видео, което претендира за оригиналност и творчески подход, но реално е максималното, което могат да направят с ограничените финанси, с които разполагат.

Напоследък ситуацията толкова много се е утежнила, че поради реалната финансова реализаруемост на една група, а даже и на соло изпълнител все повече музиканти си търсят късмета по други страни, по пиано барове или се преквалифицират. На фона на тази стагнация бТВ се опитва да прави предаване, чиято цел е да създаде музикална звезда. Да, ама не! Предаването се прави по американски тертип, но просто е смехотворно да сравняваме американската музикална сцена със случващото се в милата ни татковина. Тук, Дони, който от няколко години се изживява и като продуцент, предлага на младите хора неосъществими мечти. Дони, Дони, върни се в реалността и не се чуди как да оцоцкаш пари от реклама, ами се захвани с продуциране на музика, а не на еднодневки. Тактиката е съвсем проста, знаейки, че звездичките му няма да се наложат по естествен начин, Дони всячески се опитва да ги наложи. Не знам какво е наложил, но щом на милинките им се налага да ходят да пеят по откривания на магазини и в треторазрядни клубове значи са далеч от звезда, а да не говорим идол. Бих препоръчал на бТВ да спре да се излага с псевдо-музикални предавания, за които по-вълнуващо е кой с кого е гадже и кой какво е казал, отколкото как и какво пее, и да се преориентира към предаване от типа на „America’s got a talent”. Впрочем точно чрез едно такова предаване като Мюзик айдъл чалгата навлезе в домовете дори на тези, които презират тази музика. Ясно е, че зад такъв ход се крият както много парички, така и големи интереси. Самите ни национални телевизии са виновни, че легитимираха статута на фолка като музиката на народа, пробутвайки ни във всяко възможно предаване. Очаквам скоро някоя Драгана-Петкана да започне „компетентно” да се изказва и в предавания като Панорама.

Честно казано съвсем съм изгубил вяра в българската музика и в нейното бъдеще, ако изобщо заслужава да има такова. На моменти си мисля, че е по-добре да бъдем погълнати от чуждата музикална култура и да спрем да се мъчим с някакви посредствени опити за продуциране на музика...ако това изобщо е музика. Смеем се ние на другите, ама май ние самите сме си за присмех. Фолкът за колкото актуален да ми го пробутват той е прехвърлил своя пик и стремително върви към завършека си, който се надявам да не се забави. Лошото е, че вместо поп музиката ни да се окопити и да действа в насока изплуване много над повърхността тя е зациклила под формата на клубна музика, която има ограничен брой слушатели. Онази музика, която се създаваше в България към края на 80те и през 90те е тази, която е останала в съзнанието на българина и която чака актуализация според сегашните интереси. Тя е музиката, която може да възроди родното музикално творчество, разтичащо на оригинални композиции и смислени текстове. Но, ако никой не го интересува тогава какво е бъдещето на българската музика? Глас в пустиня...но това не е сбогом.

Има ли бъдеще българската музика? (Част II)

Картината нямаше да бъде толкова трагична, ако с всяка изминала година броят на оригиналните български композиции не намаляваше осезаемо. В началото на това десетилетие на месец излизаха средно около 10-20 нови песни, а към края му са около 10-15 за цялата година изобщо. Разбира се, тук говоря за комерсиално реализирали се парчета, а не за ъндърграунд музика каквато не е спирала да се прави. Отличен пример за това до къде я докара поп музиката ни са наградите на БГ Радио и на телевизия ММ. Аз лично съм присъствал на церемония на наградите на телевизия ММ преди 5 години, която се проведе в Спортна зала „Васил Левски” във Велико Търново. Хубави времена. Тогава залата се пръскаше по шевовете и все още имаше разнообразие в номинираните за различните категории. Наградите от 2008 бяха пълна скръб. Организираха се в зала на Народния театър (ако не се лъжа) и на нея фигурираха една шепа музиканти, работещи в телевизията и още една шепа журналисти, които бяха там по-скоро по задължение, отколкото от професионален и личен интерес. Съвсем различна е картинката на наградите на телевизия Планета, които се провеждат в Зала 1 на НДК и имат толкова посетители, че могат в рамките на една седмица всеки ден да ги организират и винаги да има различни зрители. Поп-фолк изпълнителите не могат да смогнат да си пуснат новите песни, бълвайки албум след албум и ходейки на участия през ден. Конкуренцията в чалга средите бързо издигна определени личности до звезден статус, който надхвърля дори някогашната популярност на изпълнители като Дони и Момчил, Ирина Флорин или Антибиотика. Фолкаджийките се превърнаха в най-актуалните имена, появиха се на всякакви възможни корици и станаха идоли на малки и големи. Изведнъж мутренската музика от вчера стана най-слушаната музика от днес.

За да не остане някой с грешно впечатление аз съм от тези хора, които никога не намериха смисъла на поп-фолка, по-скоро попадна в музикалната ми игнор листа. Практически няма начин да останеш в пълно поп-фолк затъмнение, защото той бързо се легитимира като официалната музика на народа, който е жаден за още и още. Фолк продуцентите изградиха на своите подопечни отличен пиар, който да натрапва на обществеността, че това е реална българска музика, а всичко останало са откъслечни опити за задържане на линия. Смях в залата! Чалгата е всичко друго, но не и оригинално творение на нашата култура. По-скоро тя е израждане на ценностите, които се изтърсиха след падането на социалистическия строй. Още в края на 80те сръбската музика вече беше пуснала корени в България и даде силен тласък за развитие на самостоятелен клон. Турбо-фолкът се превърна в поп-фолк, наименование което погрешно оставяше впечатлението, че това е смесването на народни мотиви с популярна музика. Нищо общо...чалгата се оказа смесица от окрадени от съседни страни мелодии и набързо съчинени текстове с най-често безмислено и идиотско съдържание. Но гладът за нова музика си каза тежката дума и чалгата проникна в българското съзнание, създавайки си удобно гнездо, от където в засада да причаква поп музиката ни и щом бгпопът изпадна в немило положение фолкът с бодра крачка се засили към трона на българската музика. За моя радост, разприте между чалгаджийките, техните продуценти и множеството скандали в техните среди забавиха динамиката на поп-фолка и след има няма 4-5 години вече към 2008 той е поставен в позицията на стил, в който само определени оцеляват. За някои, може би, чалгата е в своя връх, но погледнато от страни напоследък дори тази музика е изпаднала в дълбок застой граничещ с криза на себеосъзнаването. Конкуренцията избута мнозина зад борда, други прехвръкнаха към други продуценти, а трети решиха да се самопродуцират. Димитър Димитров, известен като Митко Пайнера, започна да омайва бивши и настоящи звезди от бгпопа да подпишат договор с него с обещанието, че никога няма да бъдат заставени да правят чалга. Някои поддадоха, други отстояха. Пайнер Студио от поредната фолк компания се превърна в диктатора в чалга бизнес. Диктатор, който си знае работата и максимално експлоатира своите подчинени, някои от които сдадоха фира и изпаднаха в небитието. Популярни имена от фолка станаха жертва на собствената си известност, разяждани от жълтите страници, скандалите породени от сблъсък на интереси и натиска от страна на феновете. Фен базата на фолкаджийте е всичко друго, но не и лоялна. Чалгата не успя да развие в своите слушатели чувство на принадлежност, привързаност и последователност. Интернет се оказа пагубен не само за бгпопа, но и за поп-фолка, който търпи постоянни загуби от безконтролното точене на музика от световната мрежа. Изпълнителите са впрегнати в десетки участия на месец, за да компенсират това, което губят от фактически продажби. Чел съм, че дадени популярни изпълнители през лятото имат по 3-4 участия на вечер, което поне за мен граничи с абсурда. Въпреки всички усилени опити на Митко Пайнера и компания фолкът не успя да излезе от утробата на кръчмата. Срещу не повече от 5-6 лева можеш да видиш абсолютна всяка фолк певачица и то без да трябва да пътуваш до друга държава. Борещата се за свръх популярност чалга така и не успя да продава билети от по 50-60 лева, да създава трайни имена и да развие връзка със своята фен база.

Има ли бъдеще българската музика? (Част I)

Има една песен на АББА „Thank You for the Music”, в която се изказва благодарност на музиката, която влияе на живота по един особен и неповторим начин и прави сивото и баналното по-лесно поносимо и приемливо. Ще пропусна впусканията в това колко важна за мен е музиката и как ми се отразява, но несъмнено се имам за нейн ценител и обожател. Аз за самата музика притеснения нямам, нейната едничка цел е да задоволява актуалните потребности на хората и за да изчезне като социално явление или трябва да се избием до крак или в света да настане световен ред забраняващ музиката под каквато и да е форма (въпреки, че и тогава ще се намерят музиканти по душа и почитатели по сърце). Моите притеснения са за музикалната обстановка в България. Разбира се, най-лесно е да се каже: Това да са ни кахърите! НО, музиката не е чак толкова безобидна и развлекателна. Напротив! Музиката е изключително влиятелна и силна и не случайно в хода на историята много музиканти, групи, дори цели стилове музика са били забранявани от едни или други идеологии, управления и прочее. Това, което развлича хората, същевременно обогатява и техният емоционален свят, дава отговори на житейски въпроси и придава колорит на съществуването. Аз не мога да си представя свят, в който няма музика...съдба изпълнена от вакуума на тишината...звучи ужасяващо. Българската музика не е застрашена от затриване, но значителна част от нея е на доизживяване.

Демокрацията е нещо прекрасно...на пръв поглед. Тя не е панацея, нито пък универсална, но определено е тази, която дава свобода на музикалното изразяване под каквато и да е форма. През първите десет години на демократична България българите бързо попихме световния опит, без много да се замисляме смело започнахме да създаваме собствена музикална сцена, която е политически независима. Появиха се множество групи и изпълнители, развиваха се нови за страната стилове, провеждаше се динамична музикална революция. Музиката от преди 1989 продължаваше да бъде актуална, да бъде обичана и уважавана и музикантите открито да споделят вдъхновението, което са черпили от пред-демократичната музика. Същите тези музиканти също така не скриваха и очарованието си от безграничното световно море на музиката, грабеха от този извор с пълни шепи, които изливаха в жадната ни за разнообразие земя. Създадоха се десетки звукозаписни компании по западен тип, които ковяха основите на една силна българска музика. В края на 90те нашата музика вече разполагаше с множество утвърдили се изпълнители, банди и формации, които даваха живот на родната музикална сцена. Всичко идеално до един момент, в които българската музика се пречупи. Възходът й беше прекъснат още във фаза юноша. В началото на 21 век се оказа, че родната сцена е всичко друго, но не и актуална и търсена. Покрай главозамайването от успехите и множеството участия музикантите бяха забравили за кого работят и какъв е основният смисъл на музиката. Изведнъж българското музикално творчество се беше превърнало в елитарно явление, което дори самите му създатели все по-трудно разбираха. И докато поп музиката ни се чудеше на коя кълка да полегне, друг жанр музика се възползва от затишието. Дойде златното време на поп-фолка, който до този момент беше музиката на шофьорите, мутрите и силиконовите издънки и беше познат под унизителното наименование чалга. Впрочем в думата чалга няма нищо обидно, имайки предвид, че идва от турската дума çalgı, която означава музика, свирня. Обидното в тази музика беше нейното естество. Това беше музиката, която откровенно залагаше на пошлото, първичното и примамливото за окото. Тя се изгради като музика, в която по-важно е гледането, отколкото слушането. Но докато чалгата беше приемана като декадентска музика, тя бавно се развиваше, привличаше все повече последователи, създаваше звезди като за параметрите на страна като България. Създаваха се силни музикални компании, чиято основна тактика беше да бълват безкрайно много изпълнители и на принципа на конкуренцията да запазят най-успешните. Оказа се, че продуцентите на поп-фолк са всичко друго, но не и глупави. Използваха момента, в който българската музикална сцена беше в пълен застой и с гръм и трясък наложиха имена, които до този момент бяха основно популярни по кръчмите и местните радиа. Изведнъж чалгата се оказа в ролята на основната музика в България, а бгпопът в ролята на поддържаща алтернативна сцена. В периода 2000 – 2003 българската поп музика все още правеше отчаяни опити да се задържи над повърхността, но неуредиците между музиканти и издатели, отслабения интерес към този тип музика и рязкото навлизане на интернет в дома на редовия български слушател сложиха край на множество кариери и доведоха до фалита на почти всички музикални издатели. Тези, които не бяха посечени престанаха да продуцират и останаха само представители на международни лейбъли. Всички извън поп-фолка бяха поставени в позицията на самопродуциращи се музиканти, които трябва да ходят да се молят на различни спонсори, за да съберат някой друг лев за иначе скъпият процес по създаване на една песен, а да не споменавам албум. Вярно, че още през 90те в много клипове можеха да се видят като продуценти производители на храни и напитки, хотели и ресторанти, а някои стигаха дори до казина и клубове. Но през новото десетилетия това не бяха отделни явления, а масова практика. Горделивите до вчера поп музиканти се молеха на пивовари и и кръчмари да им окажат подкрепа в замяна на съвсем открита на различни продукти. Бяха нужни около 4-5 години за някои музиканти да се окопитят, да съберат пари и да започнат да се изживяват като продуценти на други закъсали колеги.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Stuck in my mind: Depeche Mode - People are People

These days I have no time for a proper listen to some new artists and albums, that is why I am spending a bit more time on what I already have. It usually happens to me that I have a song of the day which just keeps rolling in my head and sometimes I even sing it to myself in public. Well, finding some free time in between I decided to post a song that some of you might have forgotten it, others liked it for many years and some not having heard of it. Actually this is part of my Depeche Mode - Ladytron concert in May warming up and now I am spending some more time with Dave Gahan and company. Hooray for good music and us being there to appreciate it.

N.O.H.A. - Tu Café

N.O.H.A. stands for Noise Of Human Art and is an international music groups, which makes predominantly jazz-influenced world music with flavours of ambient, electronica and DnB. They are similar to such groups as De-Phazz and Koop, but with more ethno than a regular nu-jazz band would use. Their lead singer is Spanish, the rapping is provided by an American, the saxophonist is Czech and on keys a German. They managed to reach the Bulgarian audience with one of their newest songs called Tu Café, which is entirely sung in Spanish. The song is both radio-friendly and suits any club party with its catchy lyrics and dance tune. I've searched for more of them and they have some more great songs, although most of the material is not very suitable for a dance floor, more likely for a club to chill-out.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Stuck in my mind: TV on the Radio - Satellite

Today I am gonna be pretty short. I wish I had something to write about, but all day long there is just one song in my head: "Satellite" by TV on the Radio. I've had this song for almost three years, but just today I got all the beauty of it and it surely made my day. I have listened to some stuff by this American indie/experimental/alternative group...I just couldn't get into them. Still "Satellite" is so damn good, that I'll check them once again, this time with real desire and more patience.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Recommendation Weekly: Uffie

"I am ready to fuck" is one of the most famous lyrics' lines of the 21-year old electro singer Uffie. She' s pretty much new to the scene, but already rocking it and she is yet to release an album. Her real name is Anna-Catherine Hartley and is an American-born, Hong Kong-raised and Paris-based. Her music is somehow reminiscent of M.I.A., but with more electroclash influences and her own distinctive rapping. Although born in the USA, Anna-Catherine is surely part of the European electronic scene, being signed to the French label Ed Banger Records and predominantly working with French musicians and DJs.

Uffie's entrance in the music perhaps, not like in a dream, but it all began as her combined effort with her then-boyfriend, who gave her the needed push to start a career. She's been active almost three years and despite still not having released an album, she manages to be one of the current names in the electroclash scene. You might think of her as an electro version of Hilary Duff, but with no Disney crap and with lots of profanity to come out of her little mouth. Of course, she is still far from the goddess of the sexually explicit lyrics and the I-don't-give-a-damn lifestyle Peaches, but one thing after the other.

I do hope that her debut will be like a kick in the teeth for those mainstream bitches, who just whine about her hubbies and bfs, and will show them that it is Uffie's time to pop the glock, cause she's ready to fuck.

Monday, 12 January 2009

A.R. Rahman & M.I.A.

"O...Saya" is a wonderful collaboration between one the greatest film score composers and probably the most famous Sri Lanka-born singer of our modern time M.I.A. included in the Indian hit movie "Slumdog Millionaire". This song in particular is a fine example of how old India meets the modern times and still preserves its beauty.

Another songs that you can hear in the original soundtrack is the DFA remix of the M.I.A. hit single "Paper Planes". In the film you can hear the original version as well and the best thing is that both songs suit the whole atmosphere pretty well.

The rest of the album is a fine mixture between catchy Indian tunes, some fine beats and modern influences throughout the soundtrack.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

My appreciation for Titiyo

"Come along with me" sang in her most famous song the Swedish singer Titiyo. And I did follow her and almost two years I first downloaded her best I am still mad about her music. Although the single "Come Along" came out almost eight years ago it still is one of the greatest songs of the 90s, being regularly played on radio and TV stations. But you know what - Titiyo has more than this. The easiest way to find out some more of her great stuff is by getting her greatest hits compilation "Best of Titiyo". I was so hooked up that I got all of her albums.

For quite a long time I thought that she was not making anymore music, but all of a sudden in 2008 she released the single "Longing for Lullabies" in a collaboration with the Swedish musician/producer Andres Kleerup, who has worked with fellow Swedish singer Robyn on the hit single "With Every Heartbeat". His work with Titiyo has produced a wonderful downtempo soft electronica song, which takes you to the spiritual world of Titiyo. That's the true magic of her music and despite not being that famous as some other soul/R'n'B divas she surely manages to stand her ground and keep up with the good work. Her newest effort "Hidden" is another excellent example of how electronic music can mix with other styles and create something beyond borders of style and commercialism.

Most of you perhaps don't know, but Titiyo comes out of a very musical family: her father being a percussionist, her half-sister is Neneh Cherry and her half-brother is Eagle Eye Cherry. Her singing career started absolutely unexpected after she has been invited by half-sister Neneh to give it a try in a recording studio. It turned out Titiyo was a diamond, yet to be discovered. Although she is mainly known with her songs "Come Along", "1989" and her collaboration with Stakka Bo called "We Vie" she has had some other hits in her home country as well as in Scandinavia and other European countries. Now being a little forgotten she is giving her best to make a move in the music business. I do hope she manages to reach the surface again.

Here you can hear her collaboration with Kleerup:

If you have forgotten her super hit "Come Along" there you go:

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Ten groups I will have to check out

Thanks to the kind help of the similar artists's and tag radio station I have had chance to hear track by some famous and not so famous electronic groups that have missed my attention, involuntarily, of course. This is why I am about to give them more than a listen. Here are the ten groups I have selected for a preview. Some of the bands are, perhaps, among your favourite, other may be new to you too. May I be excused for some of my soon-to-be music discoveries by those who already know them by heart. There you go:

* Does It Offend You, Yeah?
* Datarock
* Digitalism
* Simian Mobile Disco
* The Black Ghosts
* Hercules and Love Affair
* The Ting Tings
* Grafton Primary
* Klaxons
* Natalie Portman's Shaved Head

Friday, 9 January 2009

Review: 808s & Heartbreak - an unexpected surprise

I have never said that I like music! I always say that I like certain types of music and the rest is just stuff that I don't listen to. There are some singers and groups I know quite very well, but I don't actually like, but I am quite aware of the things they make thanks to music stations. Kanye West is among those performers that I have always put in my ignore list. The easiest explanation is that I am really not into rap or R'n'B and I tend to avoid these styles.

Some time ago I posted my appreciation on Kanye's newest single called "Love Lockdown". I have never expected to like any songs of his, but there I was listening to this song several times in a row. I decided that it's just one shot in the music I like and spent the next days listening only to this track. In YouTube there are previews of his album "808s & Heartbreak" and I listened to some more stuff. My, my, miracles do happen! People change for good! "808s & Heartbreak" is a very pleasant mixture of electro hip-hop...please, don't think of M.I.A. or Santogold, but more like of good vibrations meeting lyrical soul/hip-hop. This turns out to be an album that I don't just stand, but I can actually listen to with pleasure.

What I like most about "808s & Heartbreak" is that is sounds like a sophisticated electronic album with various stylistic influences. Although this is a 2008 release I may say that it can turn into the best albums of 2009 with such great songs as "Love Lockdown", "Heartless", "Robocop" and "Say You Will". If you still don't believe me that a hip-hop artist can release an electronically influenced album just give him a try. I am sure that you'll find at least one song to relate to.

Personal rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Discoveries: Crystal Castles

Thank any god for the existence of and the streamable radios it provides. Sometimes you just don't know what you can find while listening an artist's radio. A couple of days ago I spent some time listening to the Peaches' station and I got to hear a bunch of quality bands and singers and some great songs. But the one that actually draw my attention was the track "Untrust Us" by the Canadian electronic group Crystal Castles. Apart from the grammatical mistake in the title this proved to be an excellent track.

I just couldn't help myself and after hearing this band on two more stations I got their eponymous album and listened to it from top to bottom. It surely is not the typical stuff I listen to, because I am not very much a fan of bitpop, but Crystal Castles manage to sound as a bitpop group without sounding as the soundtrack to Super Mario Bros. Some people define them as an 8-bit band, but to me they are an experimental electronica act influences by console games' music.

The vocalist Alice Glass is a psycho bitch in the good manner. Well, she's not as crazy as my beloved Peaches, but she somehow the electronica equivalent of Avril Lavigne just without the sloppiness and that she actually cares of the quality of the music she records. Ethan Kath, the original creator of Crystal Castles, has the looks of a Death From Above 1979 member, but definitely doesn't make music any way close to the screamo altrock of this prominent Canadian group.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Michael Jackson talks to Oprah Winfrey

Today at the university I had the opportunity to watch the full version of the famous interview called "Michael Jackson talks to Oprah Winfrey". Until today I just knew about this interview, but I wasn't aware of its impact and of the record it actually set.

Background history shows that this is the first official media appearance of Michael Jackson for the period 1979-1993, during which he became the King of Pop. Mostly probably you'd ask: What so much about an interview that was broadcasted almost 16 years ago, but for all these years I have liked Jackson's music, but only after this interview I got to see him as a person. If you put aside all the allegations of pedophilia, extravagant way of living and numerous rumours about all the people in his life, you can see that he became a victim of himself. Victim of that fame that many crave for, but should be aware of its consequences. Michael never really god to have a real childhood, he was always on the road, everyday recording and always tried to live up to everyone's expectations. No surprise, having in mind that he was a "golden child", who made money just with its smile. His father knew that perfectly and used it to create a whole industry carried on the shoulders of a 10-year old boy who just wanted to play with his peers.

My professor in Television analysis called this interview the best among the TRASH genre. I wouldn't agree with him, because an interview that holds the records for the most watched interview of all times and is the fourth most watched TV event in American history is everything else but not a piece of trash. Watching it 16 years after its original broadcast I can still feel the charge that it was meant to carry. Surely Michael Jackson has lost a bit of his royal presence in the music business, but no one has outnumbered him in album sales or in number one hits. No matter how much money he has made and how much he has lost none of it can compensate his wasted childhood and all the difficulties he had to face up despite being the most successful child, teenager or a grown up music celebrity.

You don't need to like Michael Jackson to listen to this interview. I am sure those of you who don't like it would be surprised to see him in a different light. Oh, and try watching the interview without prejudice and disdain. Imagine this is a regular interview with someone you know nothing about. And for those who like the talented Jackson you can either remind yourselves of this memorable moment or if you are like me just enjoyed it for the first time.

This is part one of the 90-minute interview. If you want to see more just open the uploader's profile:

Fever Ray's first video

Fever Ray (real name Karin Drejer Andersson) has released her first official video clip and again she shows why The Knife and anything connecting with this excellent Swedish group is astonishing. The video is bizarre as expected and in the same time carries the unique spirit of Karin. What is the whole meaning one can only guess, that is why you better see it for yourselves:

If I Had A Heart from Fever Ray on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Greek electro: Marsheaux

When someone tells you something about Greek music you either don't know anything about it or think of Antique, Despina Vandi or in the best case of Vangelis. Guess what - Greek music doesn't end up with their modern laïka, it actually goes even deeper and these days I discovered this criminally under-heard group called Marsheaux. Although the name of the group sounds French they are 100% Greek. Marsheaux comes from combining the duo's first names: Marianthi and Sophie.

Stylistically they are somewhere between electropop, playful synthpop and melancholic electroclash. Their music efforts resemble the sound of such groups as Client, Ladytron and Chicks on Speed, but still not leaving the listener with the impression that Marsheaux is just another copycat with no actual presence in the music business. Although they are not among the popular in the electro genre they still maintain a high level and manage to sound good without selling themselves to the teeny pop MTV commercialism and the shake-your-hips bimbo style.

As inspirations they cite Depeche Mode, Yazoo and The Human League and after a thorough listen to at least one of their albums one can be sure that Marianthi and Sophie have been good students and know their lessons pretty well. No need to worry where you can find their music. On their debut "E-Bay Queen" is to be found with fully streamable tracks - Unfortunately their sophomore effort "Peek A Boo" is not available for a full prelisten, but if you have enjoyed their debut you can always purchase it and support this wonderful Greek group.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Recommendation Weekly: Yelle - Pop Up

She's French and dangerous. She's not a role model and certainly not the one you'are going to see on the cover of a beauty magazine. More likely she'll be friends with Peaches and will spit on your face if you try to be original in front of her. Her name is Julie Budet, although she's better known as Yelle. Her debut album "Pop Up" is an electronic mixture gathering clashy beats, witty texts and extravagant fashinosta under one name. Yelle's big breakthrough was the song "Je Veux Te Voir", which is an altered version of the 1994 hit "Short Dick Man" by 20 Fingers. This song disses Cuizinier of the French rap group TTC and turned her into the freshest newcomer in electroclash for an overnight. The video to "Je Veux Te Voir" has the impressive amount of more than 6,5 million plays in YouTube, which is quite astonishing for a little French girl like Yelle.

Giving a listen to "Pop Up" I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the album. I am not very much into French music and I had my doubts about it, but after a try I was hooked. Actually I did so like her that I watched almost every live performance of her in YouTube. Her music came like a kick in the teeth after a long break from cheerful electronica (too much Clan of Xymox :D). But Julie made not just my day, but my whole week as well.

Don't worry, pals! You don't need to know French in order to like her. At least I can't say a whole sentence in her native language and still I am enjoying her to the max. Yelle is one of these performers that can make you stand up and slowly, but surely getting into the rhythm until you find yourself partying all around the place. Still, if you can't get enough of her wait until I show you Uffie!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Combichrist coming to Bulgaria

This is no news, but around the excitement of the forthcoming Ladytron support for Depeche Mode I relly got into the mood for concerts. And before I go to see my lovely Mira and Helen I am going to attend another concert - of Combichrist. This Nrwegian American-based EBM/aggrotech group is among the best in the genre. I admit that they are my first contact with any music like this. Combichrist was my big entrance in the world of Electronic Body Music...and what an entrance it was.

Some time ago when I was on the Diary of Dreams gig it was made public that Andy LaPlegua and company are coming to Bulgaria. We were told that on the day of the DoD concert we are going to find out who is coming next year. I was hoping for Combichrist and there you go - dreams come true. Although I am not that excited as Ladytron still I can't wait to see them live. True, Andy and friends are not going to play in stadium in front of some 45-50 thousand people, but I'm more than sure they re going to rock my socks and will show no mercy to our brains!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Ladytron again in Bulgaria

Today was a day like no other until I was told that Ladytron are coming to Bulgaria again! I couldn't believe so I checked their official website, which states that Mira Aroyo and company are going to be in my home country on 18th May 2009. I knew that I just can't miss them once again as it happened two years ago when they played on a party in Sunny Beach.

Unfortunately Ladytron are not coming here for a full concert. They are going to be the support act for the Depeche Mode concert in May. Perhaps, you'd say: Great two excellent groups at one time. You may be surprised but I am not into the music of Depeche Mode. I have tried them several times, but they never managed to grab my attention. Perhaps it sounds insane, but I am not looking forward to seeing them live, but if I manage to find a ticket for this concert most probably I'll stay till the end. Or at least until I can bear them *laughs*.

Hopefully, I am not going to be alone, which makes the concert bearable. The mere fact that I am going to see live in concert one of my most favourite groups ever makes the rest of no matter. Wish me luck with the ticket!

Friday, 2 January 2009

Discoveries: Kent

It's funny how much time can pass before you actually find a group. It's even funnier when this group has been active for almost two decades and are one of the biggest names in their home country. It's hilarious when this band has been recommended to you like millions of times, but you've ignored them for one or another reason. Such is the case with Swedish rock band Kent.

First of all I am not a big fan of rock music. I find it a bit annoying from time to time, which is why I tend to be avoiding it. But Sweden is one of my biggest all time favourite countries, as well as Swedish music so I decided to give Kent a try. I rely on and download one's most popular album, hoping that if has been liked by that many people there is the slight chance that I might find something for myself in it. So I got my hands on their last album "Tillbaka till samtiden" (in English Back In the Present) and gave it a try. And to my surprise it was good (still is). Stylistically the album is electro-rock, which is very unusual for a group like Kent. Most comments on the album were negative as many of their fans considered "Tillbaka till samtiden" of poor quality, because of it's more electro orientated sound.

Afterward I decided to spend some more time with Kent's music and I listened to the albums "Hagnesta Hill" and "Vapen & Ammunition", which are among their most popular releases. Well, to me they didn't sound as good as their last release, but after a second thorough listen I started finding some excellent tracks in these albums too. I guess they will grow on me and who knows one day I might be a real Kent fan. Now I just find them nice and for the record I'd like to visit their live concert. Until then I will broaden my knowledge on this excellent Swedish group, which is another proof that Swedes make music over the top.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year! I wish you all steady health, luck, happiness, love and lots of positive moments. Last but least I wish everyone finest moments with their favourite music and lots of concerts and great debuts in the year 2009. May this year be better than the previous and not as good as the following. I hope everyone has had a great party on New Year's Eve and are ready for some serious action and adventures from now on till the next New Year's party.