Annie Lennox Hub

Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Annie Lennox: PHOTO


A newly-revealed addition to OUT's OUT 100.

MUSIC NEWS: The Best of 2011 (So Far). Also: Charli XCX, Phoenix, Rufus Wainwright, Bright Light Bright Light, The Good Natured


Guestblogger Norman Brannon is a pop critic, musician, and author based in New York City. He presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad and writes regularly at Nervous Acid.  

Follow Norman on Twitter at @nervousacid.


We are six months into 2011 which means it's as good a time as any to reflect on the year in music so far. Also, I started writing this column near the beginning of the new year, which makes this an excellent time to review some of those first impressions as well, and more interestingly, to see which new records actually stood the test of time — or at least, the test of as much time as six months allows. It all culminates into this ten-song playlist, which we're calling The Best of 2011 (So Far).

But first: "Best-of" lists of any kind are highly contentious. I know! It's the virtual minefield every music writer must step into, and of course, the shrapnel does fly. So in order to better understand this playlist, I thought I'd uncover some of the process behind putting it together.

For one, I wanted this playlist to be somewhat skewed in favor of subjectivity. There were a lot of great records that, from an objective standpoint, probably deserve kudos — and I'll probably hand those out at the end of the year. But in the midterm, I thought it would be more interesting to focus on records you may not be hearing on the radio or covered by the cast of Glee. In other words, Adele and Lady Gaga actually broke some interesting ground this year, but I'm pretty sure you're familiar with their work by now.

Next, I wanted to focus on songs here, and not full-length albums. This is mostly a practical consideration: I'm making a playlist of songs, so the song should be the thing. But it's also a matter of giving a full-length album more time to mature before ushering anyone into any halls of fame. In the Internet age, we tend to demand instant opinions about works of music that probably deserve greater contemplation — and if you ask me, something is being lost in the process. So instead of adding to that noise, I made a conscious decision to use the individual song as the signal.

Finally, there are two very important songs that didn't make this playlist because of licensing issues, so I will quickly add them here as an addendum to the mix:

CocknBullKid — "CocknBullKid"

CocknBullKid's Adulthood is, for me, the biggest surprise of 2011 so far: Unlike the majority of pop albums I've heard this year, Anita Blay manages to stay on an even, and insanely pleasurable course for its duration — from '60s girl-group soul to modern dancepop and an inkling of indie spirit. (It's fair to say that Kylie Minogue will never drop nonsequitur shout-outs to LCD Soundsystem and Fiery Furnaces.) An opinion that seems to be only strengthening over time, it's my favorite album this year from front-to-back.

Charli XCX — "Stay Away"

Interestingly enough, my favorite single of 2011 (so far) doesn't even have an album or a video attached to it. Frustratingly enough, I can't even find a link for the single on iTunes or Amazon, and the best I can do is send you to the record label — who seem to be selling it on 12" vinyl. But amazingly enough, this song has stayed in the upper reaches of my radar for several months without ever wearing thin or even hinting that, in the future, it will do just that. Charli XCX, a young British teenager born several years after the T'Pau song that "Stay Away" may remind you of, has created a dark and brooding single unlike anything we've heard on the radio since Siouxsie and the Banshees, an independent-woman song free from clichés about paying your own bills and getting some good advice from your mother. If it ever gets a proper release, Charli XCX might finally break Beyoncé's grip on the topic once and for all. A welcome respite, indeed.

Enjoy the mix everyone, and be sure to post your own year-end picks in the comments. We'd love to hear them!

Coming out today: Radiohead — "Little By Little (Caribou Remix)" b/w "Lotus Flower (Jacques Greene Remix)" (XL/Ticket Tape), Brian Eno — Drums Between the Bells (Warp), Coldplay — "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" (Single) (EMI), Memory Tapes — Player Piano (Carpark), Digitalism — I Love You Dude (Downtown), Teddybears — Devil's Music (Big Beat/WEA)


Phoenix Road Phoenix are currently working on the much-anticipated follow-up to 2009's excellent Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Very little is known about the project so far, but the band have allowed renown designer and photographer Hedi Slimane into their New York recording studios to document the process for a series of gorgeous black-and-white portraits.

Road Annie Lennox,, and Liza Minelli are among the list of stars that needed to be evacuated from a burning hotel in London last week. The hotel played host to the Silver Clef Awards, an annual event which recognizes outstanding contributions to UK music. There were no reported fire-related injuries from the incident.

Modeselektor_Eden Road Berlin abstract techno heroes Modeselektor have announced a new album for release in October. Monkeytown will feature two guest appearances from Radiohead's Thom Yorke, who previously worked with the group in 2007 for a terrific single called "The White Flash."

Road The options as we know them: Last week, Amy Winehouse's website was either a.) taken over by a group of gay black hackers who love Lil B and aim "to take back the Internet from the white devil," b.) taken over by a prankster pretending to be a group of gay black hackers, or c.) taken over by members of the infamous anti-Scientology crew Anonymous in order to create a fake beef between two crews. A reasonable assessment of the screenshot: Someone, most likely straight, thought "Gay Black Hackers" would make a good Internet meme.

Odd Future Road There has been much debate and criticism over the cultural acceptance of Los Angeles-based rap collective Odd Future since their inexplicable surge in popularity last year; the group's shock-lyrics — soaked in violent misogyny and homophobic tropes — have inspired endless arguments about the relationship between art, politics, and free speech. But at this year's Pitchfork Festival, a group called Between Friends — a longstanding nonprofit group "dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic violence" — are taking the discussion off the web and into the streets: Along with the YWCA, Rape Victims Advocates, and several LGBT groups, the agency will be staging a protest at the festival. Says a spokesperson, "While we don't agree with this, it is their art, and we'd like to offer a counterpoint and continue to help people that are being affected by the violence they describe."

Road Well worth watching: Rufus Wainwright teams up with his father — the esteemed Loudon Wainwright — for an effectively soulful rendition of Richard Thompson's "Down Where The Drunkards Roll," while Rufus offers more details about his forthcoming 19-disc career box set.


Bright Light Bright Light — "Disco Moment"

I'll be the first to admit that when Rod Thomas reinvented himself from acoustic-pop troubador to arpeggiated pop heartthrob, I was a little skeptical. But with "Disco Moment," Thomas perfects the transition with an enviable attention to songcraft that most young men with synthesizers will never achieve. If we needed a male counterpart to Robyn, we may now have one.

The Good Natured — "Skeleton"

Speaking of bright young songwriters, few are more impressive than the Good Natured's Sarah McIntosh, who at only 20, seems to have figured out how to tease out some of the more effective techniques of the trade — prompting the Guardian to dub her a "techno Dido." (I think they were trying to be flattering, but yeah, Ladytron is probably a better reference.) "Skeleton" is the title track from the band's latest EP, out today.

DJ Shadow — "I Gotta Rokk"

The lead single for DJ Shadow's forthcoming The Less You Know, The Better is certainly innovative in its reappropriation of vintage heavy metal samples, but its video is memory lane gold. Seeing '80s guitar hack Michael Angelo with his four-necked guitar again kind of choked me up!

The Sound of Arrows — "M.A.G.I.C."

Sweden's Sound of Arrows originally released "M.A.G.I.C." as a single in 2009, but there's nothing like an incredible new video to warrant a re-release. More of a mini-movie than a music video, the narrative invokes everything from Land of the Lost and Pan's Labyrinth to Where The Wild Things Are and H.R. Pufnstuf. It's not every day that you'll finish watching a promo clip feeling like you just saw a critically-acclaimed foreign film.

MUSIC NEWS — HOLIDAY 2010 EDITION: Annie Lennox, Mariah Carey, Shelby Lynne, Wilson Phillips, Olivia Newton-John, Glee, The Superions; plus David Guetta and Rihanna, Natalia Kills, Chrisette Michele, Simian Mobile Disco, Jazmine Sullivan

GuestbloggerMODERN TONIC

Modern Tonic — a free daily email delivering gay-approved pop culture gems before they get co-opted by everyone else — presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad.


'Tis the season when Sugar Plum Fairies — dressed like go-go boys, of course — dance in our heads. And they have some new tunes for all that holiday gyrating. Here's the best of the chestnut-roasting season soundtracks (all available now):

Annielennoxchristmas1011-1Annie Lennox, the big-lunged voice of Eurythmics, offers English madrigals ("God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"), dark ballads ("In the Bleak Midwinter") and a gorgeous addition to the Christmas canon with her own "Universal Child" on A Christmas Cornucopia.

Mariah-carey-xmas-x2 Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas II You is as curvaceous and inviting as her hip-hugging red-velvet Santa suit on the cover. The traditional songs are good, but the originals are the standouts, especially "Oh Santa!" — a finger-snapping, new-fangled classic that swoops in with a Celtic trill that could either be a pennywhistle or Mimi herself. Who can tell?
ShelbyLynne-Xmas-CoverThe soulful country-pop voice of Shelby Lynne adds a sexy sheen and down-home charm to 9 covers and two originals on Merry Christmas, her first holiday record. Those two originals — the country-swinging "Ain't Nothin' Like Christmas" and the down-tempo melancholy of "Xmas" — make us hope it’s not her last. Stream "Ain't Nothin' Like Christmas" in player below.
Wilson-Phillips_XMAS_cvr_5x Responsible for their 10-million-selling debut, producer Glen Ballard returns to the fold for Wilson Phillips' Christmas in Harmony, 13 holiday tunes sun-drenched with California sunshine, including the swinging "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" (stream in player below) and "Warm Lovin' Christmastime." Surf’s up, Santa!
ONJ-Christmas-Collection-co Olivia Newton-John's fourth Christmas release Christmas Collection is a gently grooving, breezy romp through holiday favorites featuring Vince Gill ("Away in a Manger"), Clint Black ("Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!") and the London Symphony Orchestra. And at 62, ON-J's voice is as pure and angelic as ever, a gift that keeps on giving. Stream "Christmas Never Felt Like This Before" in player below.
Jessica-Simpson-Happy-Chris While we've never been ones to get all misty-eyed over the oeuvre of Jessica Simpson, her second holiday release Happy Christmas is a lovely surprise. She duets with the always-reliable Willie Nelson on a bluesy "Merry Christmas, Baby," offers a sweet-natured original, "My Only Wish," and covers John & Yoko’s "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" without making a fool of herself.
Glee The Glee gang gets in on the holiday action with Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album. Which one's getting the most action on the Modern Tonic rotation? "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" featuring k.d. lang and the touching duet "Baby, It's Cold Outside" between Kurt (Chris Colfer) and his supremely talented, adorable friend Blaine (Darren Criss).

DestinationNow, what's a holiday without fruitcake? The Superions — with the B-52's Fred Schneider and instrumentalists Noah Brodie and Dan Marshall — set their sights on Destination… Christmas! It's a holiday hoot featuring "Santa's Disco," the lascivious "Jingle Those Bells" and the delicious synth-pop confection "Fruitcake" (free download in player below).

Puppini Bonus free downloads: two tracks from The Puppini Sisters, "Santa Baby" and a cover of Wham's "Last Christmas" from their new album Christmas With the Puppini Sisters." Also in our player is Little & Ashley's "Winter Night" from the L.A.-based duo's new Winter Night EP

Towleroad November 30, 2010 by


Road We want to comment on our review of Nicki Minaj's album Pink Friday which ran here last week. Eminem's guest rap on "Roman's Revenge" contains the use of the word "faggot" and some other homophobic lyrics. We regret not pointing this out and taking it into consideration in our review of the album. Regardless of our otherwise positive take, we find it unacceptable that Eminem's rap appears on the album of an artist who had only recently positioned herself as gay-friendly.

Road Susan Boyle gets a frog in her throat.

Crlbu Road David Guetta is re-releasing his smash album One Love as One More Love (out now as an import; US release TBD), with an additional disc of 12 bonus tracks. Included is his collaboration with Rihanna, "Who's That Chick?" (aka the track from the Doritos commercial), also available now as a single. Stream the FMIF Remix in our player above.

Road Listen to a twenty-minute megamix of Daft Punk's Tron soundtrack.

Road Lady Gaga says Born This Way is "f***ing really good" and that it will be "the greatest album of this decade."

Road Yet another Michael Jackson track emerges from the vaults. Ping has debuted the Thrilller-era "Much Too Soon," the closing track from Michael, out December 14. (Go to MJ's page on Ping in iTunes to hear the track).

Natalia Road Frankmusik has remixed Natalia Kills' "Mirrors" (free download in player above). The new video for the track, from Kills' debut album Perfectionist, due in March, will be released December 6. Kills was also in the studio with Frankmusik to work on a track for his new album, due next spring.

Road Bono and The Edge talk about Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, the mega-million dollar musical for which they wrote the score.


The Black Eyed Peas return with The Beginning, not as slamming as the highlights of The E.N.D., but more consistent. Standouts: the feel-good single "Light Up the Night" and Fergie's punk-rock hiccups on "The Situation."

SimianMobileDisco-DelicacieUK dance duo Simian Mobile Disco get techno-licious on Delicacies — a collection of instrumental dance tracks on two discs (one CD with separate tracks; the second a mix). Most delectable: the Krautrock-meets-OMD closer "Ortolan." Free download of the radio edit of "Sweetbread" in our player above.

After topping the charts with her second release Epiphany, R&B singer Chrisette Michele deserves to open her third album Let Freedom Reign with the mid-tempo groove of "I'm a Star" and follow it up with "Number One." If it weren’t for those pesky Black Eyed Peas, she’d probably hit that height again. Stream the Andy Zulla dance mix of "Boys Cry Too" in our player above.

Philly soul sister Jazmine Sullivan throws down on her sophomore release Love Me Back, 11 tough-minded tracks about love and loss produced by Missy Elliott (the neo-soul "Excuse Me"), "Holding You Down (Goin' in Circles)"), Ne-Yo (who also duets on "U Get On My Nerves") and more. Stream single "10 Seconds" in player above.

Beyonce Also out:  Various Artists – Glee: The Music, Volume Four; Beyoncé — I Am… World Tour (CD/DVD); Ron Isley — Mr. I; Fefe Dobson – Joy; Black Swan Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Active Child — "I'm in Your Church at Night"
In a storm of flour, three zaftig bakers create angelic human beings, one of whom is L.A.-based songwriter Pat Grossi aka Active Child. Surreal, beatific and as luminous as Grossi’s unearthly, keening voice.

Cheryl Cole "The Flood"
A windy beachside provides the backdrop for Cheryl Cole's hybrid love tune that begins with a gentle country vibe before slamming home on a sing-along-and-sing-it-out-loud pop chorus. From her second solo album, Messy Little Raindrops.

Sander Kleinenberg feat. Jamie Cullum "Remember When"
Dutch DJ/producer Kleinenberg invites jazz-pop dandy Cullum to get his Timberlake on for this funky Eurodisco jam shot in a brightly lighted subway-cum-disco. From his new disc 5k.

Jamie Woon "Night Air"
London newcomer Woon strolls through a fecund woodland nightscape in this evocative clip for his eerie, dubstep-influenced electro single. His anticipated debut’s due in 2011.

News: Annie Lennox, Winona Ryder, Lightning, Wikileaks

 road Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys and other celebrities have put their tweeting on pause until they raise $1 million for the Keep a Child Alive charity before World AIDS Day.

Annie  road Annie Lennox on life actually being easier if she were gay: "It's not like I think being gay could be an alternative, 'cos it isn't. I sometimes wish it would have been 'cos it would have made life easier...I think that for 90, maybe even 95 per cent, of women, men are a huge disappointment in relationship terms."

 road The Kimpton hotel group tops gay and lesbian traveler list: "Of all the hotel brands, (Kimpton is) the most active in LGBT community," Paisley says. "They have a website, they sponsor tons of events and they advertise in gay and lesbian media."

 road Lesbian couple bravely come out publicly in Botswana where homosexuality is illegal.

 road Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair debate religion. Says Hitchens: "Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes us objects, in a cruel experiment, whereby we are created sick, and commanded to be well."

 road Jake Gyllenhaal and Taylor Swift get caffeinated.

 road Q&A with the cast and crew of John Cameron Mitchell's new film, Rabbit Hole.

Lightning  road 309,959,570 lightning strikes.

 road Entertainment Weekly declares The Walking Dead “the best new show on TV.”

 road Winona Ryder on the "gay" controversy surrounding her upcoming movie The Dilemma: "It's just crazy because I'm very sensitive to that issue and if I thought something was offensive I wouldn't want to be part of it. Plus all my gay friends use that word all the time so [protesters will] have to go and give them a hard time too."

 road The latest Wikileaks documents are here.

 road Apparently some people have enough spare time that they can go about claiming ownership of the sun.

 road Sarah Palin's new book - the Cliff Notes version.

MUSIC NEWS: Rihanna, Annie Lennox, P!nk, Nelly Furtado, Norah Jones, Girl Talk, Adam Lambert, Duran Duran, Kitsuné Maison

GuestbloggerMODERN TONIC

Modern Tonic — a free daily email delivering gay-approved pop culture gems before they get co-opted by everyone else — presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad.

Rihanna_ALBUMCOVER Maybe it’s just us, but we were underwhelmed by Rated R, Rihanna’s 2009 release after her domestic abuse travails with Chris Brown. It was described as dark, but it wasn’t dark enough — she just couldn’t seem to get her head around the experience. Her fifth release LOUD is a relief — a return to the pop pleasures of a good-time girl with attitude and beats to spare. Honestly, how serious can you get when you launch your record with a jumpy club banger about the delights of "S&M"? LOUD’s already produced two hit singles — the pulsing "Only Girl (In the World)" and the hip-hop "What’s My Name?" with Drake. She follows up her recent Eminem smash with "Love the Way You Lie (Part II)" and jams with the ubiquitous Nicki Minaj on the synthetic reggae of "Raining Men" (alas, not the gay classic by the Weather Girls). Nine producers worked on the record, but it’s one singular vision that prevails: Rihanna’s. Now that’s something to get loud about.

AccShe’s been a brass disco dominatrix, a feral rock chick and a sensitive solo artist who put some much needed bite in the Adult Contemporary playlist. But no matter the guise, Annie Lennox has always been herself — a playful performer who uses masks and prisms to reflect deeper truths about herself and us. So it may come as a shock to hear her traipsing through the canon of holiday songs on A Christmas Cornucopia. The most traditional songs here — "The First Noel" and "Silent Night" — go to the head of the class on vocal prowess alone. After that, well, she gives us pieces obscure to American ears: an English madrigal ("Lullay Lullay (The Coventry Carol)"), a French lullaby ("Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant"), a fable ("The Holly and the Ivy"). Her pagan romp through "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (with a video that’s both beatific and creepy) is a highlight and a beautiful ballad of her own composition — "Universal Child" — will be a welcome addition to her next greatest hits collection. Never let it be said that the woman doesn’t give it her all.
Pink Speaking of greatest hits, it’s that time of year for the holiday parade of best-of’s and compilations. Featuring three new tracks — including the crunchy single "Raise Your Glass" — P!nk’s Greatest Hits…So Far!!! includes her best known tracks since she got the party started at the turn of the century. Also featuring three new songs — including the club-ready "Night Is Young" — Nelly Furtado’s The Best of Nelly Furtado has her biggest tracks, "I’m Like a Bird" and "Promiscuous," as well as selections from her Spanish-language release Mi Plan. Norah Jones …Featuring is a collection of her duets over the last eight years. Though she’s a star in her own right, her collaborations are where she does some of her best work, including a lovely low-key "Little Lou, Prophet Jack, Ugly John" with Belle & Sebastian and a Christmas chestnut with Willie Nelson, "Baby, It’s Cold Outside."

Towleroad November 16, 2010 by


Allday_frontcover RoadGregg Gillis, dba Girl Talk, has unleashed All Day, the follow-up to his brilliant mash-up album from 2008 Feed The Animals. Featuring 373 song samples (from artists as wide-ranging as Lady Gaga, Depeche Mode, M.I.A., Neil Diamond, Bananarama and even a snippet of Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair") this epic album, available as a continuous mix or separated tracks, is being given away entirely free here.

Road"Stole My Heart," one of Los Angeles-based duo Little & Ashley's three tracks featured on a series of Amazon's Kindle TV commercials, is a gem. These two sometime actors (Annie Little has appeared on Mad Men and Scrubs and Marcus Ashley on Bones and CSI: NY), have a new holiday track coming as well (UK readers will hear it on Amazon UK's Kindle holiday ads). Get a free download of "Stole My Heart" in player above.

Att1cc17  RoadAdam Lambert will release a 5-track EP, Acoustic Live!, on December 6. The digital release includes five songs from For Your Entertainment, including "Whataya Want From Me." Pre-orders on his site get an instant download of that track.

 RoadAdele's video for "Rolling in the Deep," the lead single from forthcoming album 21, has premiered. The singer will perform the track December 3 on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

RoadSony Music predicting big sales for Michael Jackson's Michael, the collection of previously unreleased material out December 14.

RoadStream the entire soundtrack of the Cher/Christina Aguilera film Burlesque (album out next Monday).

RoadMark your calendars for Pink Friday.

Image RoadDuran Duran's thirteenth studio album, All You Need Is Now, will debut on iTunes December 21 as a nine-track album, followed by the physical release, with four more tracks, in February 2011. The album is produced by superstar DJ/producer Mark Ronson. Lead single (which shares the same name as the album title) debuts December 14 on iTunes.


After their Brokeback romance video "Shame" turned them into the real backstreet boys, Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow reconvene the original Take That for Progress (import-only), their sixth release and first with Williams since 1995.
Maiosn The tenth Kitsuné Maison compilation, Kitsuné Maison 10 — The Fireworks Issue, is a double-disc celebration featuring the Mustang Remix of Two Door Cinema Club’s "What You Know," Yelle’s international smash "La Musique" and tons of new discoveries waiting to happen. Download free mp3's of samplers of each of the discs in the player above.
London’s Bombay Bicycle Club follows up its powerful debut I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose with the acoustic musings of the equally powerful Flaws.

After channeling the girl-group vibe on their debut We Are the Pipettes — and losing member Rose Elinor Dougall — the reconstituted duo now tackles Bananarama on Earth vs. the Pipettes.

Also out today: Various Artists — Glee: The Christmas Album; Nelly — 5.0; Josh Groban — Illuminations; Lee DeWyze — Live It Up; Mariah Carey — Merry Christmas II You (Collector’s Edition); Bruce Springsteen — The Promise; Pink Martini — Joy to the World ; Sondheim: The Birthday Concert (DVD/BD)


Lucy Schwartz — "Graveyard"
The L.A. piano songstress creates a suitably murky, shadowy clip for the sad romantics stumbling through life halfway between this world and the next. From her recently released debut Life in Letters.

Cocknbullkid — "One Eye Closed"
Anita Blay — the U.K. genre-hopper known as Cocknbullkid — previews her 2011 debut Adulthood with a spy-guitar raver and this clip featuring a one-eyed plushie monster on the prowl.

Kraak & Smaak — "Dynamite"
Vinyl fetishism gets its due in this outlandish, surrealist clip from the premiere Dutch dance trio Kraak & Smaak. Rumors abound that they’re working on a follow-up to the dancetastic Plastic People.

Shit Robot — "Take ‘Em Up"
LCD Soundsystem’s Nancy Whang trails herself on a trippy Brooklyn stroll in Marcus Lambkin’s (aka Shit Robot) mid-tempo disco track. From his debut From the Cradle to the Rave.

MUSIC NEWS: Mark Ronson & The Business Intl, Deluka, Yaz, OMD, Kristian Hoffman, Penguin Prison, Owen Pallett, Nellie McKay

GuestbloggerMODERN TONIC

Modern Tonic — a daily email that delivers gay-approved pop culture gems (before they've been co-opted by everyone else) — presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad.


MarkcoverIt’d be easy to hate Mark Ronson. Born into wealth, he’s a jet-setting DJ, Grammy-winning producer of Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, and a good-looking bloke. If it weren’t for his pesky heterosexuality he’d be the perfect man. And with the release of his electro-vibing third album Record Collection with his band the Business Intl, he still kind of is. Ronson gets help from pop luminaries and exciting up-and-comers: Boy George, Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt and former Pipette Rose Elinor Dougall anchor the skittering "Somebody to Love Me" (stream in player below). The frothy summer single "Bang Bang Bang" with Q-Tip and New York electro duo MNDR’s a hip-hop jam that opens the set on the right foot. And the multitasking Ronson debuts his own vocal chops on the title tune and the breezy pop trifle "Lose It (In the End)." Even the instrumentals — where we usually hit "skip" — are enjoyably stylish.

Deluka We’re always grateful for those who don’t squander our precious time. Ellie Innocenti — the Karen O, the Debbie Harry, the Chrissie Hynde of UK/Brooklyn quartet Deluka — is a tough chick who gets right down to it on Deluka’s frenzied debut You Are the Night (out digitally today; on CD October 26). "Oh my God! I start to panic," Innocenti bawls to kick off a skittish New Wave slice of nirvana called "OMFG." And when Innocenti gets agitated you should just stand back and enjoy the fireworks. That is, if you aren’t too busy dancing. You Are the Night’s 11 tracks are diamond-hard gems of pop rock. The perky electronics, the scratchy guitars of angular funk, the slamming crescendos of grunge: all are here, often on the same track. The single "Cascade" sounds like Elastica fronting La Roux. "Snapshot" rages like Metric at the disco. And when she shows us her gentle side on "Waves," Innocenti reaches back to the Ronettes for sweet-natured guidance. In 40 minutes, she handles her panic — about life, about men, about the world in general — and announces that she’s a major talent to reckon with. And she doesn’t waste our time for one single second.

OmdBreak out your parachute pants, Aqua Net your quiff and twirl around the dance-floor, because two of the '80s' finest return today. Yaz (or, all right, Yazoo you freaking trademark lawyers) release Reconnected Live: two discs of Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet cuts culled from their two — only two — classic albums. Like the best live sets, this one — featuring hot versions of "Don’t Go," "Situation" and more — makes us wish to go back and experience it all over again. OMD (or, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, you detail freaks) release their first CD in 14 years, History of Modern. And — surprise — it’s as good as their classics Dazzle Ships and Junk Culture. They offer — as they put it in their robotic voices — "electronic soul music" with a vintage Aretha Franklin sample on "Save Me," sweetly sad pop on "If You Want It" and they indulge their musique concrete side with the spectrally gloomy "Bondage of Fate." Welcome back, lads and lady.
Kristian Kristian Hoffman — the gay multi-hyphenate who makes L.A. his home these days — is the kind of guy who will, and we quote, "bitchslap you with a flower, child." (Or is that "bitchslap you with a flower child"?!) It’s a line from his latest release, the aptly-titled Fop. Hoffman’s been around for years — as the frontman for the cult band the Mumps, as an illustrative artist, as a musical director for Ann Magnuson and Rufus Wainwright — yet he’s still an underground artist unknown to the general public. We'd love for that to change. Fop features 17 songs that run the gamut from delicate balladry ("Something New Is Born") to theatrical odes ("Out of the Habit") and thumping disco ("Soothe Me"). He may not be to everyone’s taste, but those who enjoy Rufus Wainwright, Vincent Minor and a night at a sophisticated musical have no reason not to like this.

Towleroad September 28, 2010 by


Road Image003 Glee: The Music, The Rocky Horror Glee Show will be available October 19. The seven-track soundtrack EP includes the music from the Rocky Horror-themed episode airing October 26. Tracks are: "Science Fiction Double Feature," "Damn It, Janet," "Whatever Happened To Saturday Night?," "Sweet Transvestite," "Touch A Touch A Touch A Touch Me," "There's a Light (Over at Frankenstein Place)," and, of course, "Time Warp."

RoadDaft Punk's soundtrack to Disney's Tron has been given a November 22 release date.

RoadDance-pop singer/songwriter/producer/remixer Penguin Prison (aka Chris Glover), whose "Something I'm Not" remains one of our favorite singles and videos of the year, will be playing a series of live dates starting October 14, most of them with Two Door Cinema Club. A one-off show in NYC this Thursday will have him opening for British singer/songwriter Ellie Goulding. Check out a free download of Penguin Prison's sparkling remix of the new Jamiroquai single "White Knuckle Ride" above.

RoadBehind-the-scenes mini-doc of the video shoot for Kylie's "Get Outta My Way." Three EPs of dance mixes are available today as well.

Road Annie-Lennox-A-Christmas-Cornucopia-350x350 Annie Lennox reveals cover art for A Christmas Cornucopia.

RoadSoundCloud, which we use every week in this column, is becoming a major player in the music business.

RoadIf you love both Robbie Williams and Twitter, then this is for you.

The composer/violinist Owen Pallett follows up the rich tapestry of Heartland with A Swedish Love Story, four ornately decorated pop tunes heavy with melody, drama and the orchestrations that have endeared him to collaborators as disparate as F**ked Up and Arcade Fire.

Fresh from its Tony win for Best Revival of a Musical is the dragulous La Cage aux Folles: New Broadway Cast Recording. Ready, set, tuck!

Mr. Heidi Klum — that’s Seal to you — releases 6: Commitment, 11 songs full of his silken, dramatic pop, none more passionate than the yearning "Silence" and the soulful single "Secret." For those about to swoon, we salute you.

Nellie The only thing to expect from New York songwriter Nellie McKay is the unexpected. On her fourth release Home Sweet Mobile Home she tackles reggae ("Caribbean Time"), blues ("Coosada Blues") and — wtf?! — straight up pop ("Bruise On the Sky").

Also released: Dirty Projectors — Bitte Orca (Expanded Edition); Eric Clapton — Clapton; Neil Young — Le Noise; Kenny Chesney — Hemingway’s Whiskey; Phil Collins — Going Back; Ben Folds and Nick Hornby — Lonely Avenue; Deerhunter — Halcyon Digest; Pete Yorn — Pete Yorn; Ice Cube — I Am the West


Lauren Pritchard — "Not The Drinking"
A grunge-y basement party turns into a handclapping dance fest all around the house on this soulful single from the Broadway "Spring Awakening" star's forthcoming debut Wasted in Jackson.

The Superions — "Fruitcake"
Oh, Santa, we must have been very good this year to receive this holiday gift from the B-52's Fred Schneider and his side project the Superions. A paean to nobody's favorite holiday treat, this kitschy clip precedes their forthcoming album Destination...Christmas!

Joe McElderry — "Ambitions"
This out English model and singer — winner of the sixth season of the U.K.'s The X Factor — has an angelic voice like Will Young with extra Euro beats on this hi-NRG cut from his forthcoming debut Wide Awake. There's loads of dancing across what looks like a Hollywood backlot, and the boy's enthusiasm — and his cuteness — is infectious.

Andrea Faithful — "Booby Trap"
This U.K. disco dolly is a robotic bimbo in her sci-fi dance clip. We love that she borrowed her outfit from early-period Berlin (the band, not the city), but what's up with the undearwear that looks like haute-couture Depends?


Towleroad - Blogged