ABBA's Agnetha Fältskog Returns: VIDEO


25% of the Swedish supergroup is back with a rather Saccharine new single, but you ABBA-philes may love it.

Billboard reports:

Agnetha has been working with Grammy-nominated songwriter/producer Jorgen Elofsson (Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion and Westlife) and producer/arranger Peter Nordahl on her new album, which includes one of Agnetha first co-writes in many years. “I hadn’t written any music for a long, long time,” she says in a statement. “But I sat at the piano, and suddenly it was there.”

The statement opens with this line from Agnetha: “Never thought that I’d ever sing again. But hearing the first three songs, I just couldn’t say no!”


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News: Dancing Queen, LAPD, Kye Allums, Bermuda, Scott Weiland

Road Newt Gingrich's ringtone: "Dancing Queen" by ABBA.

RoadAnti-gay pastor Scott Lively writes open letter to the LGBT community.

Crump RoadJury awards openly gay LAPD Sgt. Ronald Crump $1.6 million in discrimination and retaliation case against his superiors.

RoadThe Palin family has a new member.

RoadNOAA predicts 12-18 named storms during this year's hurricane season.

Jersey Shore's Deena dangles from Italian bridge.

Road'Phallometric test' still in use for gay asylum seekers in Czech Republic?

RoadFather cancels Bermuda student's protest against homophobia: “I am organizing Home is Where the Hatred Is in order to raise awareness about discrimination against gay people on the island."

RoadConnecticut House approves transgender discrimination bill 77-62: "The bill, which now goes to the Senate, would prohibit discrimination on the basis of 'gender identity or expression' in employment, public accommodations, the sale or rental of housing, the granting of credit and other laws that fall under the jurisdiction of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities."

Allums RoadTransgender collegiate basketball player Kye Allums no longer playing for George Washington U. women's team: "I alone came to this conclusion," Allums said in a statement released by the university, "and I thank the athletic department for respecting my wishes."

RoadFormer Memphis police officer gets two years for beating transgender prisoner.

RoadAdam Lambert and his boyfriend get inked.

RoadIs the gay-for-pay past of Dustin Zito from The Real World: Las Vegas haunting him?

RoadAnti-bullying bill fails in Louisiana: "Despite last-minute revisions designed to mollify family-values conservatives, Rep. Austin Badon’s anti-bullying bill went down in flames today at a contentious session of the Louisiana House. HB 112, known as the “Safe Schools Bill,” was fiercely opposed by the Louisiana Family Forum and Louisiana Baptists; it failed in a 53-43 vote."

RoadUS Airways pilot 'Sully' Sullenberger to be aviation expert for CBS News.

Pettyfer RoadAlex Pettyfer says he is misunderstood, and that his crotch tattoo says "Alex", not "Thank You".

RoadScott Weiland says he was raped at 12: "A big muscular guy, a high school senior... [who] rode the bus with me every day to school... invited me to his house. The dude raped me. It was quick, not pleasant. I was too scared to tell anyone. 'Tell anyone,' he warned, 'and you'll never have another friend in this school. I'll ruin your **ckin' reputation.' This is a memory I suppressed until only a few years ago when, in rehab, it came flooding back. Therapy will do that to you."

RoadThe American Theatre Wing interviews Joe Mantello about returning to the Broadway stage in The Normal Heart.

RoadTennessee state Senator Stacey Campfield has another homophobic bill in addition to his "Don't Say Gay" bill that would limit student access to Gay-Straight Alliances by allowing parents to pull them out of them. "No school shall permit a student to become a member or participate in any activities of a club or organization if the parent or legal guardian of such student has tendered a written communication prohibiting such student from such membership or participation. In order to be valid, the written communication shall be signed and dated by the parent or legal guardian."

Watch: Björn Ulvaeus Thanks ABBA's Gay Fans for Years of Support


ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus took the stage at a party hosted by Sweden's QX magazine to hand an award out, and took the opportunity to thank the group's gay fans for their years of support.

Said Ulvaeus: "I will never get a better opportunity to show my gratitude. Our gratitude. Mine, Bennys, Fridas, and Agnetas." 


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MUSIC NEWS: Jónsi, David Byrne & Fatboy Slim, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Laura Marling, Robyn, Adam Lambert, Vivian Green

GuestbloggerMODERN TONIC

The editors of Modern Tonic — a free daily email that serves up eclectic pop-culture picks with a homo slant — present a weekly music update here on Towleroad.


Jonsi-go-cover On Jónsi’s solo debut Go, the out lead singer of Sigur Rós opens the first song and single "Go Do" with a series of electronically enhanced bleats and birdcalls before a hammering drumbeat lifts the song skyward. Throughout, he offers a handful of manically orchestrated songs, each beautifully arranged by composer du jour Nico Muhly (Björk, Grizzy Bear). "Animal Arithmetic" is a whirling dervish of scratching violins and harpsichord. "Boy Lilikoi" corrals marshal beats around a fluttering flute which races through the song like a hummingbird. Sweetest of all, Jónsi sings in English instead of his usual Icelandic or made-up language of ‘Hopelandic,’ lyrics written so his American boyfriend — the artist (and co-producer of Go) Alex Somers — could understand the songs. Awwwww.

DavidLong before Carrie Bradshaw coveted her first pair of Manolo Blahniks, then-First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos hustled across the boards at Studio 54 in a shiny pair of Louis Vuittons. The woman who claimed to have 1060 pairs of shoes is the unlikely subject of Here Lies Love, a 22-track song cycle by the duo of David Byrne and Fatboy Slim (paired again after their BPA collaboration). To handle the epic scope of the tale — spanning from her political rise to her American exile with husband Ferdinand — Byrne and Fatboy enlist Tori Amos, Florence Welch (Florence + The Machine), Sharon Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Róisín Murphy, and more. A worldly configuration of salsa, disco, mbaqanga, R&B, you name it, pulses through each track. Standouts include Santigold’s turn on the 80’s synth-funk of "Please Don’t" and — get this — country singer Allison Moorer dancing a samba through "When She Passed By." How factual it all is, we can’t say, but we can tell you this: 80-year-old Marcos has one more reason to slip back into her dancing shoes.

SharonThe Dap-Kings are much more than Amy Winehouse’s backing band on Back to Black. They’ve supported one gritty, funky singer by the name of Ms. Sharon Jones since 2002. After the critical success of 2007’s 100 Days, 100 Nights, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are back with I Learned the Hard Way, a hard-charging slice of groovalicious old-school soul that re-sets the bar for pasty English Divas like Duffy and Adele. This is some serious funk here — from "Better Things" — which could be the theme song to a '70s urban sitcom — to the roiling blues of "Money" and a title track that’ll get your hips swinging like you just stepped into the greasiest juke-joint in the world.  

Tumblr_kxov1fLBYz1qzbg4qo1_500 We’ll admit it — we’re easy criers. And nothing breaks us down like a strong femme armed with a guitar and the honest truth. Twenty-year-old English folksinger Laura Marling slays us. Her work with Noah and the Whale, and especially her solo debut Alas I Cannot Swim, were real eye-dampeners. But her sophomore release I Speak Because I Can is about to open the floodgates. From the Joni Mitchell-esque vulnerability of "Rambling Man" to the raging regret of the title track, we’re seriously verklempt. Thankfully Marling can speak for us, because, well, listening to her makes us speechless. 


RoadGallery_1478_large Swedish pop star Robyn, whose self-titled 2007 album remains one of the finest pop-dance albums of the past decade, has set a release date for the first of what she says will be three full albums in 2010. Body Talk, Part 1 is due out June 7 in the U.K. No official U.S. date announced yet, but we imagine (hope!) a day-and-date digital release is likely. "Dancing on My Own" will be the first single, and you can stream kick-ass album track "Fembot" here. Album producers include Diplo, Röyksopp, Kleerup and Klas Ahlund.

RoadRihanna has announced dates for her "Last Girl on Earth" tour, which she says will be "a massive production," with support from Ke$ha (are her 15 minutes up yet?) and rapper Nicki Minaj. Tickets go on sale Friday.

RoadCourtney Love: still hauling around a big bag o' crazy.

RoadMust-see electro-pop/chillwave/'80s-referencing/SXSW-buzz band Neon Indian will be touring the U.S. this summer.

Attc3020 RoadAdam Lambert releases Remixes, a 6-track EP of mixes of "Whataya Want From Me" (by Fonzerelli, Brad Walsh and Jason Nevins) and "For Your Entertainment" (Bimbo Jones and Brad Walsh), plus bonus track "Voodoo," tomorrow on his website. It will be available at digital retailers next Tuesday.

RoadThere may be hope yet for ABBA to re-form.


MGMT on their new, not-very-commercial "psychedelic rock" direction, what's wrong with music fans today, and what happens when they don't play "Kids" for a venue full of clamoring fans.



51hE-RVJzjL(1) It wasn’t always hunky dory for David Bowie, the man known as La Dame by the English press. He was a mere mortal when his self-titled debut came out in 1967, now available in a two-CD expanded edition.

Madonna’s Hard Candy was neither sticky nor sweet enough for us, but her "Sticky and Sweet Tour" was a spectacle of perfection, available now on CD/DVD or Blu-ray.
515sUKTRi-L._SL500_AA300_ Philadelphia-born soul singer Vivian Green offers a Beautiful collection of sexy ballads and mid-tempo dance tracks on her third album, produced by Grammy-nominated producer Anthony Bell (Jewel, Jill Scott). 

The Broadway cast recording of 2009’s A Little Night Music revival features performances by Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta-Jones, who tackles the seminal "Send in the Clowns."

Also released:  Angélique Kidjo — Õÿö; Slash — Slash; Peter Wolf — Midnight Souvenirs; BoDeans — Mr. Sad Clown; Dr. Dog — Shame, Shame ; Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 — Propellor Time; Codeine Velvet Club — Codeine Velvet Club.



Janelle Monáe — "Tightrope"
She's a powerhouse of funk and soul and she kicks off her major label debut album with the scorching "Tightrope." Her current tour is completely sold out as word is out that her live shows are not to be missed. From The ArchAndroid, out May 18.

These New Puritans — "Attack Music"
This Southend-on-Sea quartet are riding high on a U.K. Top 10, Hidden, and you’ll know why with this muscular second single, featuring singer Jack Barnett and some shirtless models flexing plenty of muscle of their own.

Yoav — "Yellowbrite Smile"
A digitally-altered cityscape morphs in waves while the rhythmic Israeli singer-songwriter moves backwards through it. From his forthcoming sophomore album, A Foolproof Escape Plan.

Monarchy — "The Phoenix Alive"
A seriously secretive act, Monarchy may (or may not) be a duo from South London, but this we know: their super catchy synth-pop gets a clip drenched in the psychedelics of 2001: A Space Odyssey. We can't wait for their debut.


Watch: Boy George Visits Abba World

So, apparently the gayest thing in London right now is this exhibit called ABBAWORLD which the AP describes as a "museum-cum-theme park":

Abba "The exhibition tells the band's story in 25 rooms spread over 30,000 square feet (2,800 sq. meters). Glass cases contain spangly costumes in silk, satin and spandex. Visitors can see recreations of Polar Studios, where the band recorded, and the seaside cabin near Stockholm where Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson composed the band's hits. One corner holds the helicopter pictured on the cover of the 1976 album 'Arrival.' An ambitious interactive element lets visitors take quizzes, recreate the band's sound at a mixing desk, or dance and sing alongside an animated ABBA via 'holographic video' technology. The gift shop features Abba T-shirts, teddy bears, jigsaw puzzles and figurines — along with CDs."

Anyway, Boy George attended the opening party of this Abba theme park last night and tweeted a video showing Philip Sallon (the promoter responsible for giving George his first DJ gig, before he was in Culture Club) dancing with the Abba holograms.

You can hear George in the background yelling that the song is not "Dancing Queen" but "Ageing Queen."


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Music News: The Cliks, Heavy Rotation, Katy Perry, Courtney Love, ABBA, R.E.M.

Guestblogger MODERN TONIC

The editors of Modern Tonic present a weekly music update here on Towleroad. The rest of the week, they scan the pop-culture landscape for movie, TV, book and Web recommendations in their daily email.


Toronto trio The Cliks — that’s a combo of ‘clit’ and ‘cock’ — have everything it takes to be rock’s next  great band. Pounding tunes, sing-a-long choruses and transman Lucas Silveira — that’s the band’s female-to-male transgender front-person. On their third release, Dirty King, produced by Sylvia Massey (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tool), The Cliks wrench thrilling Guitar Hero-worthy songs from gender rebellion (“Not Your Boy”) and bad relationships (“Haunted”). Silveira stutters through the slutty surf-rock title track (and first single) “Dirty King.” And the crunchy gender-f**k “Love Gun” would melt the face-paint off of all four members of Kiss.

Check out their sultry brand of rock fireworks with our FREE DOWNLOAD of album-highlight “Red and Blue.”

Rotation In the affecting new collection of essays Heavy Rotation: Twenty Writers on the Albums That Changed Their Lives (out today), various writers delve into the albums that rocked their worlds. Among them are a few LGBT authors who share their personal experiences: Clifford Chase on The B-52s’ self-titled debut, Stacey D’Erasmo on Kate Bush’s The Sensual World, Colm Toibin on Joni Mitchell’s Blue, and Peter Terzian (also the book’s editor) on Miaow’s unreleased album Priceless Innuendo.

Other writers revisit Eurythmics’ Savage (written by Daniel Handler, Lemony Snicket’s alter ego), Talking Heads’ Remain in Light, and the Hedwig and the Angry Inch soundtrack.


Road EMI has served Australian clothing designer Katie Perry with a cease-and-desist order to stop her from using her own name; apparently they believe its too similar to that of their superstar artist Katy Perry, born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson.

Road Courtney Love is reviving the name of former band Hole for her forthcoming album, due late '09/early '10, though she will be the only person on the album who was in the band. 

Road  Moby's New York vegan cafe, Teany, has been destroyed in a fire. No one was hurt, and they hope toREM reopen in the next two months.

Road ABBA-esque: Benny Andersson Band's new single, "Story of a Heart," co-written by Andersson with Björn Ulvaeus and featuring Anni-Frid/Agnetha-style vocals from Helen Sjöholm, will be released in the U.K. July 6.


The South may never rise again, but it sure can be remastered and re-released. Athens, GA’s finest, R.E.M., get a Deluxe Edition release for their classic, Reckoning, including the entire CD and a bonus live set from 1984.

Big girls don’t cry, but they stomp, shriek, holler and tear up the dance floor on Gossip’s new Music For Men (available digitally only).

PICKUPTHEMICHaving won over both the Strokes and Grey’s Anatomy, quirky Russian songstress Regina Spektror drops Far, her third major-label release.

Fresh from their U.K. debut at #1, Escala — Simon Cowell’s mini-skirted pseudo-classical quartet — release their self-titled album.

Michael Johns — the 2008 American Idol contestant unjustly voted off at #8 — is hoping for some Jennifer Hudson-like love with his new release, Hold Back My Heart.

Pick Up the Mic: The Evolution of Homohop‚ a one-of-a-kind documentary (out on DVD) recounts how a small circle of LGBT rappers carved their own niche within a market that continues to insult‚ if not ignore, them altogether.

Also released: Paulina Rubio — Gran City Pop; Shawn Colvin — Live;  Tift Merritt — Buckingham Solo (Live); Patterson Hood — Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs).


Simian Mobile Disco: "Audacity of Huge"
A cornucopia of literal images matches a litany of lyrical items — “Damian Hirst telephone,” “gold thong studded alligator leather” — in this goofy, electro-clash jam from the U.K. dance-master’s forthcoming Temporary Pleasure.

Misstress Barbara ftrg. Sam Roberts: "I'm Running"
Italian-born Canadian dance diva meets sexy, weathered Canuck rocker for abstract urban rendezvous in the mean streets of Montreal. From Misstress Barbara’s artist debut, I’m No Human (out now in Canada).

Pixie Lott: "Mama Do"
Before you yawn and say “Duffy clone,” check out this hand-clapping, choreography-heavy #1 U.K. single and swear you weren’t singing along from the first chorus.

The Temper Trap: "Sweet Disposition"
Bronski Beat are reborn as a space-age Aussie alt-rock quartet on this falsetto-dripping love rave — also prominently featured in (500) Days of Summer — from the band’s forthcoming debut, Conditions.


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