Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Stuck in my mind: Niyaz - Beni Beni + acoustic

Azam Ali! Niyaz! Niyaz fronted by Azam Ali is pure orgasm! A week ago I finally had the chance to hear their second studio album "Nine Heavens", which is an enchanting trip in the realms of heavenly perfection! Words are futile - just listen with all your senses!

Monday, 30 March 2009

My concert experience: Combichrist

Combichrist is among the most prominent names in the aggrotech/EBM scene and on 29th March they showed the Bulgarian audience that their crown is coveted with real diamonds. It took me a whole day to come back to this world after the explosive gig that Andy LaPlegua and company had for everyone who attended the Electro Mini Fest at BluBox in Sofia. It's been a while since I've been to a concert, but I have never felt that exhausted and this is the very first time I didn't take even a single photo: sorry, friends, I was busy dancing to the hell beats!

Anyways, I should start from the very beginning. As I've already mentioned this was not just a Combichrist concert, but more of a little fest with predominantly EBM music, although I am not sure what kind of a fest has only four bands, but let's not fall into details. Probably 98% of the people at the fest were there for Combichrist, and I leave 2% for some loyal fans of the others. Despite the whole fest thingy every took the rest of the participants as nothing more than a support, which is quite a pity, but they should have seen it coming. The bands as in order of appearance were: Shemale Zero, Virgins O.R Pigeons, Aesthetic Perfection and Combichrist.

Shemale Zero
I have only two words for this Bulgarian act: Please, quit! It is obvious they are trying to be original, to be provocative and etc., but they just cannot impress the audience. No wonder Mr. Zero said that we hated him...I don't hate him, but either they need to improve their stage performances or really find a new hobby.

Virgins O.R Pigeons
Obviously Greece has never been good at providing much of quality electronic music and Virgins O.R Pigeons are another fine example. The guys (despite their appearance) seem to be inspired from the Japanese visual kei movement and from the contemporary German industrial scene and they would have done it well if it wasn't for the uncertain sound they provided and the rather too growl vocalist they have. Nothing impressive as a whole and still they managed to sound quite rhythmic.

Aesthetic Perfection
I've found about this music project just a few weeks ago and I was quite pleased with their music and I was looking forward to seeing them live. Well, let's say that they were not as good as expected, but probably they were the only ones who actually managed to cheer up the crowd. Daniel Graves, the sole actual member of Aesthetic Perfection, was jumping around the scene and preparing us for Combichrist with some heavy upbeats, going from harsh growling to melodic singing back and forth. I had done my homework and musically knew what to expect, which actually made the whole experience even more satisfying.

The cherry of the harsh electro cream and the headliners of the evening. They came, they played and they made a mash out of us. Honestly I have never been that wasted after a concert and I can assure you that I have had only one beer. Music is my drug and Combichrist were my dealers for the night! Their drug caused heavy breathing, non stop dancing, harsh upbeats, everyone in sweet ecstasy and the last but not least Andy LaPlegua himself. Actually this is the very first concert that I spent entirely at the back, but I really wasn't up for being squeezed out by the dancing mob, plus I had plenty of space of my own just for my wacky dances (lol). Just a month ago Combichrist released their newest album "Today We Are All Demons" and most of us expected this concert to be mostly in support of their new stuff. Well, not really. LaPlegua sang just two songs (if I am not mistaking) from "TWAAD" and the rest was a compilation of their best known tracks, among which:
This Shit Will Fuck You Up
Sent to Destroy
This Is My Rifle
Shut Up and Swallow
Blut Royale
Today I Woke Up to the Rain of Blood
Get Your Body Beat
What The Fuck Is Wrong With You?

My personal favourite is "Get Your Body Beat", which was so mind-blowing and body-grooving and after it I was feeling like a slug! Their whole performance took my last breath, but I was ready for more and after just an hour and ten minutes they were done, this includes the encore as well! Is it because of the fest or had they really such a short setlist? We were all there and ready for more, but obviously Combichrist were not and the show was over to our dismay. However, most of us were so wasted that we should have been grateful that it wasn't a 2-hour expedition in the realms of EBM as many would have left the club in ambulances...if they were not already taken by the members of the band. Apart from Andy LaPlegua the rest of Combichrist seemed either drugged or drunk...or both. The fest ended with Combichrist breaking their instruments and with a tipsy pace leaving the scene. Oh, well, they are forgiven only on condition: if they comeback! SOON!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

A little tribute to the Brazilian/Portuguese metal scene

When you think of music from Brazil or Portugal the last thing to come to your mind is heavy music and no wonder. For all these years I've heard of only two well-known bands to come from the countries of bossa nova and fado. More of an irony is the mere fact that despite being in the big family of heavy music they certainly sound different. Sepultura is probably the biggest trash import from Latin America at all and Moonspell is perhaps the best Portuguese metal export. I am not really digging their music, well, I used to like the Brazilians a bit, but that was a long time ago, having in mind that I even didn't consider for a second going to their gig in Sofia. Anyway this is more of a post-tribute to the Brazilian/Portuguese metal scene and two fine examples of it.

(unfortunately no official video was available)

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Stuck in my mind : Bebel Gilberto - Aganju

Bebel Gilberto is one of the most prominent names in the bossa nova movement and one of the best known Brazilian singers. She is one of the faces of contemporary Brazilian music, popularizing its music in the USA and Europe. Bebel is the daughter of João Gilberto, who is one of the founders of bossa nova and an important figure in the whole Brazilian music culture. Enough with the praise, although she most certainly deserve is it. Although I haven't posted for two days in row, I am continuing my Brazilian/Portuguese marathon and today's choice is the song "Aganju" from the album "Bebel Gilberto". If you like it do yourself a favour and listen to more of her, you will not regret it!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Guano Apes are back in the house!

Isn't it lovely when good old bands reunite for the sake of their fans (and surely for financial reasons as well) and bring back the good old memories? Although it has been quite long as I have last listened to them they remain one of my favourite, especially from my teenage years when "Open Your Eyes" and "No Speech" could be heard everywhere. Yeah, memories crawl back so fast and now Sandra Nasic and company are getting back together after a 4-year hiatus and going on a "Summer Road Race Tour" in Europe.

For the time being these are the announced dates:
30.05 Sofia/Bulgaria
05.06 Nürnberg/Germany - Rock am Ring Festival
19.06 Nickelsdorf/Austria - Nova Rock Festival
11.07 Weert/The Netherlands - Bospop Festival
16.07 Porto/Portugal - Marés Vivas Festival
24.07 Malá Skála/Czech Republic - Benátská Noc Festival

Probably more to come...it is quite odd that only Bulgaria has a non-festival date, but I am pretty sure that they will add up other gigs.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Stuck in my mind: Bondo do Role - Marina Gasolina

I am continuing my Portuguese-Brazilian week, this time with Bondo do Role, who is probably the most famous baile funk act and one of the best bands in the Brazilian music wave to Europe in the last few years. Their music came to prominence after the release of "Piracy Funds Terrorism" by Diplo & M.I.A., who drew inspiration for their Baile Funk skits' series direct from the band. Sadly they have released only one commercially available album, but fingers crossed for more to come.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Discoveries: Buraka Som Sistema

ZOMG! I guess I've been spend the last few years in a deep sleep as just today I got to hear this great Portuguese/Angolan group called Buraka Som Sistema, which have worked together with M.I.A. on the track "Sound of Koduro", which is included in both their first LP "Black Diamond" and Mathangi's re-release of "Kala". Apart from this song they have plenty of other amazing dance stuff, which is actually stylistically defined as a renewed version of kuduro, an Angolan dance. Don't think that Buraka Som Sistema make ethno music, despite the inspirations they draw from Brazilian, Portuguese and Angolan cultures. They are a fine cheerful electronic act that fuses elctropop, techno, baile, grime, underground hip-hop and nevertheless lots of fun.

You can listen to their stuff here:
From Buraka to the World (EP)
"Black Diamond"(LP)

Do no forget to prelisten the albums and if you have liked them to support the band by buying their releases or go their concerts!

Here are a few videos of Buraka Som Sistema:

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Discoveries: Leila & Sissy

Today I was recommended these two artists Leila, who is the solo project of the Iranian-born Leila Arab, and Sissy, which is a trip-hop duo from Canada. I guess I've been sleeping quite a lot as I've just found out that Leila had been actively working with the goddess of alternative electronica Björk and now she is spending more time on her efforts in the IDM sphere. Sissy is an analog driven dark trip-hop project, which incorporates the ambiance of Portishead and the mellow drifting of Halou.

I still haven't got the hear full albums by both Leila and Sissy, but from what I have heard so far it is worth giving them a good listen.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Burn down the disco! Volume 2 - electronica

It is high time for my second play list, this time it is all about electronics with the slight predominance of electroclash. I have included some stuff, which is somewhere in between electronica, ambient and pop and still not to be heard in your regular club. The list is compiled only of stuff I actually listen to and is not meant to include everything. Plus every group/performer is represented with only one song!

Here is the list:
Click here or Click here
1. M.I.A. - Bamboo Banger
2. Candie Hank - We All Go Die Tonight
3. Teddybears - Cobrastyle
4. Roisin Murphy - Cry Baby
5. Ladytron - Seventeen
6. Lesbians On Ecstasy - Tell Me Does She Love The Bass
7. Uffie - Ready to Uff
8. Robots in Disguise - The Sex Has Made Me Stupid
9. Client - In It For The Money
10. Peaches - Tent In Your Pants
11. Felix da Housecat - Hunting Season
12. Miss Kittin - Frank Sinatra
13. The Knife - Girls' Night Out
14. Zeigeist - Bunny
15. Regina - Elokuva
16. Cansei de Ser Sexy - Superafim
17. Yelle - Je Voix Te Veur
18. Santogold - Say Aha
19. Fischerspooner - A Kick In The Teeth
20. Le Tigre - Well Well Well
21. Chicks On Speed - Wordy Rappinghood
22. Warren Suicide - Addiction Mother
23. Tiga - 3 Weeks
24. Ladyhawke - Dusk Till Dawn
25. Marsheux - M.A.R.S.H.E.U.X.
26. Kleerup - With Every Heartbeat
27. Jay-Jay Johanson - Automatic Lover
28. Mylo - Drop The Pressure

Do not forget to hear the compilation and delete the tracks afterwards! Support your favourite music by going to concerts or buying their releases!

Friday, 20 March 2009

Discoveries: Fagget Fairys

Fagget Fairys is a Danish-based queercore duo consisting of DJ Sensimilla and MC Ena, who happen to be one of the new names in the Scandinavian electro scene, although they still have pretty much to prove. Still, the track "Feed the Horse", which I guess is their first official release sounds quite promising and I am already looking forward to hearing more from them. Hopefully they wouldn't have separated until it comes time they've released an album.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Burn down the disco! Volume 1 - alternative dance

I like dance music! Indeed, and I have nothing against it. I am just annoyed by all the crap that is played in discos, especially those relying on mindless house and distasteful techno and I am so eager for a place where you can listen to alternative dance music without the whole Rihanna - Ciara bullshit on the list. That is why I decided to create my own dance compilations, containing different aspects of the enormous dance genre.

My first choice is alternative dance, which includes mainly EBM, industrial, dark electro and futurepop. Of course, it is impossible to include everything I want, plus this is supposed to be a compilation, not a party set, which has to satisfy the whole evening. I tend to avoid remixes as I have never been a big fan, but from time to time they turn out to be much better than the original version itself.
Click to listen or Click here

1. Laibach - Achtung!
2. KMFDM -Megalomaniac
3. Apoptygma Berzerk - Soultaker
4. Blutengel - Bloody Pleasures
5. Panzer AG - Battlefield
6. Grendel - Harsh Generation
7. Combichrist - Happy Fcuking Birthday
8. Das Ich - Destilat (Club Version)
9. Funker Vogt - City of Darkness (Downtown Mix)
10. Icon of Coil - Remove / Replace
11. Helalyn Flowers - E-race Generation
12. Jesus on Extasy - Assassinate Me
13. Machinae Supremacy - Gimme More
14. Marilyn Manson - Posthuman
15. Rammstein - Moskau
16. Skinny Puppy - Ugli
17. Deine Lakaien - Lass Mich
18. Clan of Xymox - It's Not Enough
19. The Crüxshadows - Birthday
20. The Sisters of Mercy - Temple of Love
21. Diary of Dreams - The Curse (Freak Edit)

Do not forget to hear the compilation and delete the tracks afterwards! Support your favourite music by going to concerts or buying their releases!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Stuck in my mind: Depeche Mode - I Feel You

The world is waiting for Depeche Mode to release their 12th studio album "Sounds of the Universe", in the mean time I am watching the British teenage drama series "Skins" and yesterday stumbled upon "I Feel You", which is now echoing in my head. The song perfectly passed the moment and I was really inspired...I love it when great music is used and "I Feel You" is virtually one of DM's best songs ever.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Review: Diary of Dreams - (if)

I will skip all the praise about Diary of Dreams and their importance for the dark wave/gothic electro scene and I shall move to the album itself, which if I have to be honest they could perfectly do without. Sometimes performers and bands are so tired of touring, making music or other professional enterprises. However, Adrian Hates released (if) to all the high expectations of their fan base. I am far from being a die hard fan, but I am not impressed at all.

First of all, (if) has nothing new to offer, it contains everything that we have already heard and has absolutely no Easter eggs throughout the record. You should definitely get the special edition, which contains four extra tracks, which happen to be a bit better than most of the original content. Actually two of my favourite (quite a strong word, btw) happen to be bonus, but who knows could be a little act of greediness to make you buy the more expensive edition (I am joking...or not?).

Another thing is that most of the tracks are like material from early releases left for the generations. Perhaps (if) is somehow a return to the roots, but not quite impressive, by the way. It is more like a patch quilt made out of leftovers, although I am pretty sure Hates has put quite an effort...we are talking about sixteen songs. Still, he has quite the experience with extensive tracks, especially when you have the key to creating a dark ballad album, filled with despair and grief.

Even the pilot single "The Wedding" is nothing special...nothing to hold on while listening, neither the singing nor the music. Actually most of the album just goes into thin air no matter how much I am listening to it, which is quite a pity having in mind their previous three efforts. Of course (if) has a few good tracks, far from being excellent, but are easily spotted and memorized. Hopefully, you can find a gem or two, despite my harsh attitude towards the album. Actually I like all of their songs in German, which is another reason not to leave (if) as a blind spot in my mind. When it comes to singing Hates is the last one to let us down, which actually could go without saying, but I should say a few positive things...shouldn't I?

Tracks to hear: "Requiem", "Wahn!sinn?", "Choir Hotel", "Momentum" and "The Saint"

Personal rating: 5 out of 10

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Review: KMFMD - Blitz

KMFDM is one of the godfather bands of industrial music and among the most important names in the alternative electronic scene. With almost 25-year history and always being headed by Sascha Konietzko KMFDM happen to be one of the longest still existing industrial acts and March 2009 was the month to see the release of their 16th studio album named "Blitz". It marks the return of Tim Skold, one of the major driving forces in the band. "Blitz" is a fine combination between the typical KMFDM electronica with heavy dance beats and passionate industrial. The album is less rock based and more electronic orientated, but Skold has left his noticeable trace with excellent guitar riffs and mind-blowing synth waves throughout the album.

"Blitz" is a rather poppy release with a plenty of club hits. Lucia Cifarelli is again the main vocalist to the dismay of all of her anti-fan base, but I do like her contribution to the group and it is no doubt many tracks are made especially to fit her voice and presence in the whole project. Konietzko is as always trying to do his best and I dare say he has done a marvelous work with "Blitza", which carries a slight resemblance to "Tohuvabohu" and still maintains an atmosphere of its own. The album may be considered as a deepening in their electro exploration using even more electronic music than ever before and leaving the industrial rock a bit behind...that is why some may see this release as a commercial effort, rather than a change of course for the band for the time being.

"Strut" is the track that first draw my attention, because it sounds so not KMFDM...if you forget about the guitar riffs it sounds like a regular pop track,, which is quite a new...or at least a bit unexpected. Their cover of The Human League song "Being Boiled" is splendid, one of their best tracks in the whole album and still preserving the original essence of the song. "Davai" sounds like Soviet tribute to the anti-capitalism and I just love the way how fake is Sascha's Russian accent, which from time to time sounds like gibberish Polish. Anyway, the two club tracks "Bait & Switch" and "Take'em Out", which remind me of their hit "Stray Bullet".

Tracks to hear: "Bait & Switch", "Take'em Out", "Davai", "Being Boiled" and "People Of The Lie"

Personal rating: 7 out of 10

Friday, 13 March 2009

Review: Regina - Puutarhatrilogia

Regina is one of the few successful Finnish electronic acts and what makes them special is that they happen to be very good at creating mellow indie electronica with deep influences from ambient, dance and alternative. Less than two months ago Iisa Pykäri (ex-Pajula) and company released their third album named "Puutarhatrilogia", but just yesterday I had the chance to listen to it. Actually I had to listen to it at least three times in a row in order to get used to their new sound.

With their newest release Regina are demonstrating an audible stylistic change, which perhaps is another effort to position themselves in a certain music niche. "Puutarhatrilogia" is their most downtempo and least electronic album up to now, concentrating more on the unexplored vocal abilities of Iisa and adding more instruments and samples than ever before. The whole record is like a sophisticated matineé and its texture is filling the air with tenderness and delight.

Although the album is less dependent on electronic it still contains satisfyingly a lot of electronic elements which perfectly fit with the live instruments and the contemporary classic samples. Throughout "Puutarhatrilogia" you could feel the vibes of dances like jazz and tango, which can make you shake some booty...of course this doesn't mean that the album is suitable for a regular dance routine in a club, but it is excellent for a background in a club to chill-out or just have your coffee to the voice of Iisa.

Tracks to hear: "Saanko jäädä yöksi", "Vapaus", "Olen häviöllä, Pauli" and "Totuus minusta"

Personal rating: 7 out 10

Thursday, 12 March 2009

New albums to expect

Ohhh, goody goody, loads of new albums are on their way to us and I am so thrilled, that is why I summed up what is coming out in the next few months.

A list of albums I am expecting:

The High End of Low - Marilyn Manson (18 May)
Blitz - KMFDM (24th March)
Sounds of the Universe - Depeche Mode (20th April)
Don't Stop - Annie (27th April)
Ciao! Tiga! - Tiga (27th April)
Next Level - Ayumi Hamasaki (25th March)
Bloc Party - Missy Elliott (TBA)
Limineux Noir - Marsheux (TBA)
I Feel Cream - Peaches (4th May)
Divided by Night - The Crystal Method (12 May)
Jigsaw - Lady Sovereign (6th April)
Abnormally Attracted to Sin - Tori Amos (19th May)
Senior - Röyksopp (TBA)
TBA - Clan of Xymox (TBA)
Red - Datarock (May)

A list of albums you might be interested in, although I am not:

Red Hot Chemistry - Red Hot Chili Peppers (TBA)
Relapse - Eminem (15 May)
Shallow Life - Lacuna Coil (21 April)
The E.N.D. - Black Eyes Peas (9th June)
Colour Me Free - Joss Stone (TBA)
Coaster - NOFX (28h April)
21st Century Breakdown - Green Day (May 2009)
Fantasies - Metric (7th April)
The Eternal - Sonic Youth (9th June)
Tadlock's Glasses - Beastie Boys (TBA)
Lotusflow3r - Prince (29th March)
Quicken the Heart - Maxïmo Park (May)
Two Suns - Bat for Lashes (6th April)

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Review: Röyksopp - Junior

Yes, yes and another yes! Röyksopp are back in the game and are better than ever before. Despite the name of the new album, "Junior" is mature and sensible release, which contains both their typical downtempo tracks mixed with dance beats and diverse electronica. The album is very distinguishably divided into two main parts: chill-out atmosphere and club anthems, existing independently and in the mean time being connected by a fine thin line.

"The Understanding" blew the top, but "Junior" might turn out to be the better sibling after all. Of course critics are pretty harsh defining it as too poppy and accessible, trying to sound anything but Röyksopp. They might be right to some extent, but music is supposed to evolve and offer new horizons and it was about time Brundtland and Berge take a step ahead and experiment. "Junior" is a balanced blend between their previous studio albums, without sounding pretentious or exhausted. It complies their previous music experience and draws the best out of it...or at least the next best thing.

We all remember the blood-freezing soul-shaking ballad "What Else Is There?", which was an amazing collaboration with Karin Dreijer Andersson from The Knife. This time Röyksopp have worked with her on two tracks "This Must Be It" and "Tricky Tricky", which to me are probably their best in the whole album. Of course my opinion is bias due to my affection to anything made by the Swed. If you long for more chilled songs you will be delighted to hear the soothing voice of Anneli Drecker, known from "Sparks" and as their live backup. Brundtland and Berge have worked with the famous Swedish singer Robyn and their collaboration is going to be the second single out. Talking about Swedish music you can add to the whole collaboration lineup Lykke Li as well "Happy Up Here" is a cheerful and enjoyable, although not the best choice for a leading single...before I heard the album I had doubts about its quality, not accepting the pilot single as very promising.

For the time being Röyksopp are probably the best Norwegian music export and after a few listens to "Junior" you can be sure that they still hold this title.

Songs to hear: "The Girl And The Robot", "This Must Be It", "Tricky Tricky", "Miss It So Much", "Vision One"
Personal rating: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Ten things you may need to know before you become a reality music idol

There is nothing more annoying than reality shows' stars, especially when they are promised fame and fortune. This is the case with such reality programs as Music Idol, the brother of American Idol and X-Factor who bring new faces to the enormous music scene. The winners and participants from the American edition are somewhere in between struggling wannabes and successful performers, but most of them never reach prominence let alone stardom. Still the American market can take a lot of newcomers, which cannot be said about the narrower European local scene. Established singers have trouble keeping above the pit of music oblivion and they hardly make any good money out of the whole deal unless they have already reached the status, which secures the financial stability and fame. Fresh faces have to start from the zero and move to a music hero and time proves to be cruel to those who are still at crossroads. Let's get back to our friends from reality shows, who are supposed to be the newest chart toppers or at least newest chart entries. Unfortunately life was never meant to be fun and being a reality hit singer may be just a dream away (or two). Many forget and never give a thought on all the conditions surrounding a TV idol. Here are just a few to remind you that nothing is as real as it may seem.

1. Winning Music Idol doesn't mean that you have already become a star.
2. In most reality music competitions the participants are obliged to sign a contract, which includes tremendously many enslaving clauses.
3. A music idol has to be wherever and whenever they are told to.
4. Most of your personal life is exposed for the sake of the show, although this is a talent competition not an edition of Big Brother.
5. Most people rarely care about your vocal abilities, they are more interested in anything spicy about you.
6. Talent shows expect from you to be capable of singing anything, although there are no jukebox singers.
7. Being a winner doesn't mean that you define the stylistic course of your career...or at least not until you are signed to the original record label.
8. Most deals are for no more than a single album, if you don't do well in the charts you may be kicked out.
9. Viewers tend to have a small interest span and when the next Music Idol edition is on TV most probably they have forgotten about you.
10. Do not expect loyalty either from your fans during the show or from the producers, you will be replaced as soon as the next edition begins.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Review: Client - Command

Client's fourth studio album "Command" was released on 6th March and is just about to prove that Client is still one of the best synthpop bands right now. Although not being as popular or successful as their fellow British export Ladytron the chicks from Client manage to keep up with the competition and release material of high quality. With this album Sarah Blackwood and Kate Holmes are back in the game and showing how music is made. "Command" may be seen as a comeback to the roots after the poppier and less synthesizer-driven "Heartland", which by many was considered as a departure from the original Client style.

Honestly I have had high expectation for the album, especially after their previous two album "City" and "Heartland", which rocked my soul and I was hungry for more and more, and Client have managed to meet them all...or at least all of them. The very first thing that is noticeable is that "Command" contains less danceable tracks and concentrates more on the emotional impact that it is supposed to have. Most of the songs are downtempo, lyrically rich and stylistically bordering dreampop at certain extent. Taking in consideration all of their official releases "Command" is probably their least club-orientated and their most emotionally charged album up to now with such fine examples as "Make Me Believe in You" and "Blackheart".

It will need more time in order to be able to rank it among their other releases, but for the time being "Command" is, perhaps, only with a single idea better than their eponymous debut. "City" was of such great excellence that I doubt that "Command" will top it. Not that the album is not good, but it just doesn't contain enough memorable tracks and after a few listens you may stay with the impression that some songs sound alike. Sadly, "Command" has nothing significantly new to offer, but the good news is that there is nor or just a couple of irritating songs that you just want to skip while listening from top to bottom.

Tracks to hear: "Petrol", "Can You Feel?", "Ghosts" and "Satisfaction"

Personal rating: 7 out of 10

Stuck in my mind: Otto Dix - Belij pepel

Otto Dix is Russian band which came to prominence with its artistic interpretation of modern Gothic music combined with heavy electronic elements. Apart from being one of the groups to make it out of the Russian underground scene Otto Dix happens to present one of the best female vocals sung by...a male. Yes, the vocalist is Michael Draw, who uses his knowledge of operatic singing just to bring the music to a whole new level. What I like about the band, which I discovered just a few months ago, is that they are somewhere in between contemporary classic music and darkwave, taking, probably, the best elements of both styles.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Gimme the money...I'll pretend to be singing!

What do you call a singer who has managed to sell more than 700 million copies of his albums and have over 30 number one hits on Billboard? How successful is someone who has sold out all of his concerts? Who has started from the very bottom and again reached it at the peak of his career? The answer to all of the questions is Michael Jackson. The King of Pop, who has set records in any possible aspects of the music business, is the finest example of how dangerous fame can be. The once innocent child singer is now nothing more than a broke Hall of Fame inductee, who is about to perform ten concerts in a row just to fill some of financial holes (which happen to be as big as Mars). Jacko, as known among fans, was crushed as an insignificant bug by the American dream itself which actually made a superstar out of him. He became a victim of himself, of his lacking childhood and unfulfilled dreams and now he is given as an example of an emotional wreck and a plastic surgery misfortune.

Eight years after Jackson's last studio release many expected him to make a memorable return to the big scene and again outnumber all the competition. To his fans dismay Jackson not only refused to comeback, but he also officially announced the end of his singing career (not like he was having any for the last 7 years). Before he quits Jackson is going to perform ten shows at 02 Arena in London, which are going to be his farewell with the music scene and his last effort to stabilize his disastrous financial state. With no remorse MJ announced that all of his concerts will be just for the profit, which means that is he didn't need the money that urgently he would have never sang again. Should this mean that none of his gigs is going to be a special tribute to his loyal fan base? All the people who supported him during the trials, which brought him to bankruptcy, and who believed in his innocence and had explanations for all of his weird acts, deserve something more than a load full of crap...yes, people should demand a proper farewell, not just a bunch of organized in the very last moment concert, which are supposed to save Jackson from poverty.

Michael Jackson knows to his best that he has an enormous fan base and it is so loyal that if he cries out in public for their support they would buy out all of the tickets only to have him satisfied. As far as I am concerned I'd buy a ticket only because this may be his last live performance and afterwards become just a legend in The Hall of Fame, but if this was not the case I would never give a single penny for such an abomination to the sacred idea of music. I may say that I am even offended by this act driven by greediness, but oh well Mikey needs the money and probably this is his last resort. I guess I should try to understand his situation, but to be honest it is a tough task...having in my mind that for the last six years his label has been issuing one best album per year only to cover his immense loses.

It is up to you to decide whether you'd go to any of his concerts, but don't forget that this is not the concert you've been waiting for so many years, but the paramount of a career which has committed suicide and now is back just for the cash. If you don't like Jackson at all this is just a warning to all of your favourite singers, who have forgotten that fame is monster with a beautiful face.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Stuck in my mind: Wes - Alane

Wes Madiko, known simply as Wes is probably one of the most successful African singers of all time. Although he is a bit forgotten in the last decade he remains with several excellent tracks and his collaboration with the French world duo Deep Forest. I've had his album "Welenga" for a long time, but just today I rediscovered it to my pleasant surprise and had quite the experience going back to the deep African roots mixed with contemporary music.

Probably you've seen this video and still there you go:

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Michael Jackson's unforgettable farewell or last failure?

Today is a memorable day for all Michael Jackson's fans, who have been eagerly expecting his return to the scene. For the last few days rumors had it that Jackson was to embark on a world tour, others mentioned only concerts at O2 Arena in London and some thought of this as another prank. All can take a deep breath and lean back as this has been made official: Michael Jackson is going to perform 10 concerts in a row at O2 Arena in London and his official web site states that these performances will be his farewell with the music business. The gigs are expected to be sold out in no time, although I have certain doubts that he is going to have as successful shows as expected. I am quite surprised by the ticket prices, which happen to be pretty cheap for a star of his rang, but I guess when you've hit the bottom you cannot afford being extremely greedy. I have less than a week to decide if I want to go to any of his concerts and it is gonna be a tough decision, because I do like his work quite a lot, but I am pretty sure that these will be his weakest "tour" in his career.

Here is the statement:

"This Is It" History In The Making As The King Of Pop Michael Jackson Performs In London For The Last Time
10 shows at the O2 Arena in London
Starting July 8th

(London, March 5, 2009) - The King of Pop returns to reign over London this summer.

Michael Jackson has announced today that he is returning to the stage for a historic 10 shows at the O2 Arena performing in London for the last time. The King of Pop performs his greatest hits for the event of the summer, the concerts of 2009 and the decade's hottest gigs. This really is 'It'!

One of the most eagerly awaited returns to the stage of all time, Michael Jackson has not played a series of concerts since he last toured 12 years ago. These dramatic shows promise an explosive return with a band of the highest calibre, state-of-the-art stage show and incredible surprise support acts.

"I am coming to London to play the songs my fans want to hear." - Michael Jackson

Opening with 10 nights at the O2 Arena on July 8th. Ticket price £75 / £65 / £50, with booking fees.

"We are delighted to facilitate the return of The King of Pop, long may he reign! Michael at The 02 this summer will surely be the highlight of the musical year. When Michael Jackson performs, the eyes of the World will be watching. Look out for an International flavour to the audience, as this will be his only concerts in the WORLD this year!" - Rob Hallett, President International Touring, AEG Live.

Starting today visit www.MichaelJacksonLive.com or text 'MJ' to 81707 for your chance to join the presale. Text costs 10p to 12p dependent on network. UK only.

Tickets go on sale to the public at 7am Friday, March 13th and will be available through www.MichaelJacksonLive.com

An exclusive new Michael Jackson video showcasing his electric performances over the years will make a record breaking debut on Sunday, March 8th at 9:30pm on ITV. Michael Jackson will be the only artist ever to take over an entire ad break.

One of the world's most popular entertainers Michael Jackson has sold over 750 million units worldwide and is one of very few artists to be inducted twice into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Guinness Book of World Records has recognised Michael Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and Thriller as The Biggest Selling Album of All Time. Jackson won 13 Grammy Awards and received the American Music Award's Artist of the Century Award.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Ten of my favourite cover songs

Have you ever thought how much of the music we hear every single day is actually original? If you exclude all songs that use samples or that are covers you may be surprised to realize that contemporary music, despite being up to date is lying on the secure foundations of music that has established itself. Cover songs are nothing to be ashamed of, even if you happen to be a super star and sometimes they could be the best mean to attract more attention.

I had to narrow down myself to JUST ten of my favourite cover songs as they turned out to be way too many for a single post. Anyways, they have been randomly selected, but all of them are in one way or another significant to me.

Scissor Sisters - Comfortably Numb (orig. Pink Floyd)

Marilyn Manson - Personal Jesus (orig. Depeche Mode)

Jose Gonzales - Teardrop (orig. Massive Attack)

Angelzoom - Crawling (orig. Linkin Park)

Placebo - Running Up That Hill (orig. Kate Bush)

Madonna - Fever (orig. Eddie Cooley & Otis Blackwell)

Tori Amos - Smells Like Teen Spirit (orig. Nirvana)

Apoptygma Berzerk - Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses

Sinead O'connor - Nothing Compares 2 U (orig. The Family)

Röyksopp - Go With the Flow (orig. Queens of the Stone Age)

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Stuck in my mind - Sisters of Mercy - Temple of Love

This song is stuck in my mind for more than a day and I've been singing it everywhere and all the time for the last week. I'd never expected that Sisters of Mercy have so many good songs and "Temple of Love" is an excellent example. In addition, one of the best Israeli singers Ofra Haza (may she rest in peace) provides vocals for the song, making it nearly a masterpiece. "Temple of Love" is definitely not the finest Gothic-rock anthem, but is charged with the fire of fireworks and it smokes aces!

Official video

Original full version