Bloc Party Hub




MUSIC NEWS: Nicola Roberts, Bloc Party, Swedish House Mafia, Little Boots, Rostam Batmanglij, Will Young, Sigur Rós, Lights, Björk

Nicola Roberts

BY NORMAN BRANNON

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.

EXTENDED PLAY:

Nicola Roberts Cinderella's Eyes (A&M UK) Cinderellas Eyes

Girls Aloud may be one of the biggest U.K. pop groups of all time, but in America, they're somewhat of a curiosity: They were a girl group manufactured by a 2002 reality television competition. They were a hit-making machine whose underlying hit-making production machine, Xenomania, became almost as famous as the girls themselves. And perhaps less endearingly, they were the band that spawned Cheryl Cole, who is now best known on these shores for lasting half an episode as a judge on the U.S. X Factor before being sent back to England. Despite all this, we should care. Because when Girls Aloud were great — and they did, indeed, have their fair share of transcendent moments — they embodied everything we love about pop music.

Nicola Roberts wasn't Girls Aloud's Beyoncé — or their Kelly Rowland, for that matter — which is all the more reason why Cinderella's Eyes has already positioned itself as somewhat of a coup. Unlike Cole's post-GA output — which is only as good as you think Will.I.Am is good — Roberts made an album that doesn't depart from the blueprint as much as it sends it up-to-date: The Diplo–produced "Beat Of My Drum" is a raucous freestyle affair, while "Lucky Day" — co-written by Canadian electro trio Dragonette — takes the spirit of 2008's Girls Aloud/Pet Shop Boys collaboration out of Neil Tennant's sullen range and into an elated place. That said, formulas work for a reason, and when Roberts teams up with former Xenomania member Jon Shave for "Say It Out Loud" — an impossibly pleasurable synthpop track, the caliber of which we haven't heard since "Dancing On My Own" — it's like she's no longer a struggling solo artist from a multiplatinum group, but the star of a group who never got her due.

Also out today: Feist — Metals (Cherrytree/Interscope), Björk — Biophilia (Nonesuch), MGMT — Late Night Tales (LNT/EMI), Lights — Siberia (Last Gang), Indigo Girls — Beauty Queen Sister (IG/Vanguard), Zola Jesus — Conatus (Sacred Bones), Craig Wedren — Wand (Megaforce), Death In Vegas — Trans Love Energies (Drone)

THE DISPATCH:

Bloc Party Road Bloc Party have only marginally cleared up rumors of Kele Okereke's dismissal, with guitarist Russell Lissack saying that while he hasn't spoken to Kele in a couple of months, and while there are "no bad vibes," the remaining three members are still auditioning new singers. "It's not really a secret because Kele's been pretty busy doing solo stuff," he explains. "The other three of us wanted to meet up and make music." On his blog, Kele still sounds confused: "A big part of me is laughing hard at all of this, but another part of me is all like WTF?"

Rostam Road This week in free downloads: Vampire Weekend's out keyboardist/producer Rostam Batmanglij took to his Tumblr this week to introduce a new Indian raga–influenced solo track called "Wood." DJ A-Trak remixed The Rapture's latest single,"How Deep Is Your Love?" and dedicated the Dub mix to recently departed Ed Banger producer and DJ Mehdi. Meanwhile, New York duo Ford & Lopatin get the French remix treatment on "Too Much Midi (Please Forgive Me)"courtesy of Alan Braxe.

Road Little Boots resurfaces with an emotive piano rendition of Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend."

Will Young Road Will Young cops to the Pet Shop Boys and Bronski Beat influence on his excellent new album, Echoes, but still isn't sure he can express his sexuality more openly: "You're still a minority. There are lots of people who don't want to think about" — he pauses and laughs — "anal sex, to be honest. And I don't have a problem with that."

Road Sigur Rós premiered their latest feature film, Inni, in Reykjavik, Iceland, last week. A 2CD+DVD package for Inni will get its release on November 15, and features music from the movie as well as bonus tracks and a previously unreleased song called "Lúppulagid." 

Jake elton Road The Scissor Sisters made an appearance at the New Yorker Festival this weekend to dish about Elton John, who recently brought Jake Shears and Babydaddy a box full of sweaters and shoes ("He's like your favorite grandma"), as well a shared moment with Gore Vidal: "At moments he was delighted by me, at moments he was disgusted by me," Shears said.

Road Commercial house music makes another bold leap into the mainstream: Swedish House Mafia — the trio of Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell, and Steve Angello — have announced two "One Night Stand" performance dates at Madison Square Garden in New York and the Milton Keynes National Bowl in England.

SOUND & VISION:

Lights — "Toes"

She's gone on tour with Owl City, but don't hold that against her: Lights Valerie Poxleitner — that's Lights to you — released an incredible sophomore album called Siberia today, and "Toes" is a pretty solid example of what this self-written/self-produced album achieves: Tightly-programmed beats and shoegaze tendencies underlie a solid pop proficiency, while Toronto's Holy F*ck — no strangers to a sequencer themselves — lend a hand.

Björk — "Moon"

I have yet to really dig into Björk's new album Biophilia, also out today, but a lot of that has to do with the overwhelming idea of discovering an album with an iPad app for each song. That's not easy listening! Which is probably the point: The harp-plucked "Moon" is more of a linear movement than your standard recursive pop song, and it's Björk's willingness to go there that keeps us willing to follow the path she forges.

Cher Lloyd — "With Ur Love" (feat. Mike Posner)

A runner-up from last year's X Factor in the U.K., Cher Lloyd's first single was the most regrettable song to rhyme "swagger" with "Jagger" in recent memory — and there have been quite a few entries in that race! But follow-up single "With Ur Love" is a much-needed rebound, ostensibly meant to remind us that Lloyd didn't get as far as she did on the X Factor for her rapping: If London street-pop wasn't a thing before, it is now.

Holy Ghost! — "Hold My Breath"

DFA's resident electrodisco duo Holy Ghost! have known each since they were six years old, and that shows in this song's impeccable tightness and intuitive phrasings. The music owes its debts to Sheffield and Manchester, of course, but these references suits the video's evocative collection of still and moving pictures: It would almost be nostalgic if it weren't happening right now.


 


MUSIC NEWS: Katy B, Pet Shop Boys, Imogen Heap, Matmos, Death Cab For Cutie, Lykke Li, Owen Pallett, Hunx & His Punx

Katy+B

NORMAN BRANNON

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.

COMING OUT

File:Katy B On a Mission Cover Katy B's 2010 single "Katy On A Mission" was one of dubstep's first real commercial success stories, but it was also a curious testament to the idea that the right chorus could turn even the most minimal of low-slung sub-bass-and-drum machine tracks into a Top 10 hit. For her debut album, On A Mission, Katy B stays loyal to the dubstep production team that introduced her — namely Geeneus, DJ Zinc, and Magnetic Man's Benga — but expands the sonic palette to include confident forays into funky house ("Movement"), UK garage ("Lights On") and big-room breakstep ("Witches Brew") while somehow maintaining a forceful underground aesthetic. The result is a diverse, albeit cohesive dance record befitting of Katy's London pirate radio beginnings — sans the hyperexclusivity. Which is to say that On A Mission is innovative, but not obscure; accessible, but with the door half-open.

START WITH: "Perfect Stranger""Broken Record"

Also out today: Ponytail — Do Whatever You Want All The Time (We Are Free), TV On The Radio — Nine Types Of Light (Interscope), k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang — Sing It Loud (Nonesuch), Low — C'mon (Sub Pop), Vivian Girls — Share The Joy (Polyvinyl), Panda Bear — Tomboy (Paw Tracks)

THE DISPATCH:

Road Pet Shop Boys release their latest single today: "Together" is backed by new versions of the Dave Clark Five's "Glad All Over" and "I Cried For Us" — a song originally performed by Kate & Anna McGarrigle. Remixes by Grum and Ultrabeat round out the single's digital package, in addition to this remix of "Together" by Pepptalk — available for streaming below.

Road Back in March, Imogen Heap announced that her forthcoming fourth solo album would be a wide-scale collaborative effort with her fans: Using the SoundCloud platform, contributors sent in almost 800 samples and other source materials; the first result of which was released this week. "Lifeline" features the sonic contributions of 36 fans, and is available now as a free download. A paid digital bundle featuring artwork, instrumentals, and a video is also available from her site.

Mr.-CeeRoad Mr. Cee is a certifiable hip-hop legend — the DJ for lyrical pioneer Big Daddy Kane, an executive producer and mentor to the Notorious B.I.G. So after last week, when Cee was arrested on public lewdness and indecent exposure charges with another man, the hip-hop community has been forced to deal with the homophobia among its ranks in an unprecedented way: "As Power 105's Charlamagne Tha God noted when he wasn't making light of the situation and turning it into grist for the ratings mill: 'The hip-hop community … is homophobic for no good reason; and this wouldn't even be an issue if he could be who he was, comfortably, without people judging him.'"

Road Feminist punk icon and X-Ray Spex founder Poly Styrene may be in the hospital fighting breast cancer, but she is determined to promote her first new album since 2004's Flower Aeroplane: "It keeps me going," she told the Guardian in a recent interview. Generation Indigo is out on April 26, but its first taste, "Thrash City," is streaming now.

RoadMatmos_solanas Partners in life (and former Björk collaborators) Matmos have announced a new collaborative effort with new media artists Christopher Willits and Nate Boyce. The resulting group, called Boyce + Matmos + Willits will release a four-song EP on April 26 called Subconscious Attraction Strategies.

Road According to guitarist Russell Lissack, Bloc Party have ended their extended hiatus. The band is currently working on new material and plan to flesh out a new album in the fall.

Road Lykke Li appeared on this week's episode of MTV Unplugged to perform stripped-down versions of a number of tracks from her new album, Wounded Rhymes, as well as a somewhat surprising cover of "Velvet" — the 2009 single by The Big Pink. "I felt there was a power ballad somewhere in there," she explained, "so I decided to bring it out." The entire show is streaming online now.

SOUND & VISION:

Death Cab for Cutie — "You Are A Tourist"

Death Cab for Cutie broke new ground this week when they announced that they'd be filming the video for the lead single to their new album in the form of a live broadcast on UStream. The final product — however it turned out — would be a permanent one, and lucky for them, it's absolutely stunning.

Shine 2009 feat. Paula Abdul — "So Free"

Here's one for the book of bizarre collaborations: Pop star and former American Idol judge Paula Abdul contributes a vocal to this retro-synth single by Finnish duo Shine 2009 and it actually kind of works! Unfortunately, Abdul sits out for the video, which — having been recorded to VHS cassette — boasts total nostalgic authenticity.

Owen Pallett — "The Great Elsewhere"

The latest single from Owen Pallett's third full-length album, Heartland, juxtaposes smartly orchestrated pop with lush, but minimal electronic soundscapes — the result as filmic as its panoramic video will attest. It's no wonder, then, that the Canadian songwriter/arranger will perform the entire album at the London Barbican with the Britten Sinfonia on May 8.

Hunx & His Punx — "Bad Boy"

The first video from their proper debut album, Too Young To Be In Love, is everything you could have hoped for in a Hunx & His Punx video: One-part late night cable access show, one-part episode of Sha Na Na, and one-part bonus scene from a John Waters movie — a zeitgeist trifecta if I've ever heard one.


MUSIC NEWS: The Go! Team, The Joy Formidable, Kele Okereke, Ricky Martin, Björk, Lykke Li, Joan As Police Woman, Robyn

TheGo!Team

NORMAN BRANNON

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.

ESSENTIAL NEW MUSIC:

Rolling Blackouts The Go! Team Rolling Blackouts (Memphis Industries)

The Go! Team are somewhat impossible to describe in any sort of meaningfully categorical way. In fact, it's not an exaggeration to say that the last time I heard an album that drew equal influence from Fatboy Slim, the Beach Boys, Run-DMC, and the soundtrack to Shaft, it took Girl Talk something like 373 samples to construct it. Which is probably why Rolling Blackouts, the third album by the Brighton, England–based sextet, is something like a balance of skill and miracle: Album opener "T.O.R.N.A.D.O." does as its name suggests — coming off like an old school Boogie Down Productions record in the middle of a James Bond car chase — while the comparatively demure "Secretary Song" offers a sugary nod to '60s pop psychedelia featuring Deerhoof's Satomi Matsuzaki. But it's lead single "Buy Nothing Day" — with Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino on vocals — that provides the album's emotional center and lends the necessary third dimension to pull off this kind of stylistic free-for-all. For a band that prides itself on making self-proclaimed "schizo music," it's like a glimpse of The Go! Team on meds.

JoyFormidable The Joy Formidable Big Roar (Warner Bros.)

They only have three members, but you'll never hear The Joy Formidable being accused of minimalism. On their debut album, Big Roar, the London-based group revel in the kind of epic reverb-drenched big room anthems that bands like the Arcade Fire need twice as many members to execute. It's not for the weak of heart, mind you — the hyper-cranked decibel levels of My Bloody Valentine is an obvious reference point — but the payoff is, quite simply, remarkable. Singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan is already 2011's most compelling frontwoman, and it's a title she earns with the pathos-ridden "I Don't Want To See You Like This" and the inimitable Siouxsie-on-steroids delivery of "A Heavy Abacus." They've been incessantly linked to the '90s shoegaze movement by the British press, but Big Roar is far more complex than the analogy will allow. Because underneath the digitally-processed wall of sound, there are actually real songs here.

THE DISPATCH:

Kele Okereke Road Following the success of his debut solo album, The Boxer, Kele Okereke — the openly gay frontman of Bloc Party — has announced his plan to move to New York in order to write a "sexually-charged" memoir. "We can expect some naming names and shaming of celebrities," he claims. "It's gonna be hot."

Road TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek took time out from his current auxiliary duties as a member of Jane's Addiction to remix "I Follow Rivers," the second single from Lykke Li's forthcoming sophomore album. You can grab the free download HERE.

Road London's National Theatre has announced a line-up of its forthcoming productions and at least one name on the playbill is going to surprise you: A new musical written by Tori Amos is scheduled to open in April 2012.

Road Having just taken home a National Book Award for Just Kids — a memoir detailing her relationship with the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe — Patti Smith is already working on the follow-up. But hang on! It's a detective novel inspired by Sherlock Holmes.

Road Azure Ray's Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink reunited after six years to release last year's truly elegant Drawing Down The Moon, but the first song they wrote together following the separation never made it onto the album. "Silverlake," which features the late Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, was released earlier this week on iTunes, but Saddle Creek Records will send you the link to a free download in exchange for an e-mail address. It's worth it.

Road It’s been almost four years since Volta, but reports from Iceland have a new album from Björk already halfway to completion. Also: She claims to be collaborating with "eccentric people who had been in Africa for four years with lions and insects." Of course!

Road Shortly following the news that Big Audio Dynamite would reunite at this year's Coachella Festival, Boy George confirmed reports that the original members of Culture Club would be reuniting in 2012 to celebrate their 30th anniversary. "We'll be doing a proper huge worldwide tour," he announced. "And a new album."

COMING OUT:

Ricky Martin Musica Ricky Martin's first album since coming out is, umm, coming out today. All but two of the songs on Musica + Alma + Sexo are sung in Spanish — which will be a challenge outside the Latin market! — and while a surprising number of them take a turn towards tribal and progressive house, you're not likely to mistake this for a club album: With Desmond Child producing, classic power ballads like "Basta Ya" and "Te Busco Y Te Alcazo" still hold it down for the old school lighter-waving set.

Le Tigre's JD Samson returns this week with MEN, an electro-pop project also featuring members of New York indie favorites Ladybug Transistor and The Ballet. Talk About Body is as much a visceral collection of punk-disco as it is an authentic demonstration of art-as-activism — as you might expect. But it's also the most fun you'll ever have listening to expositions of wartime economy and critical gender theory.

Joan as Police Woman As a member of Antony & the Johnsons and a frequent collaborator with Rufus Wainwright and Scissor Sisters, Joan Wasser has certainly merited her favor with the gay community. But on The Deep Field her third album under the Joan as Police Woman moniker — Wasser goes at it solo and turns up an unpredictably soulful result.

Also out today: George Michael — Faith: Special Edition (Sony Legacy), Seefeel — Seefeel (Warp), Various Artists — Pop Ambient 2011 (Kompakt).

SOUND & VISION:

Savage Skulls & Douster feat. Robyn — "Bad Gal"

If you picked up the second installment of Robyn's Body Talk trilogy, then you've already heard the work of Swedish production duo Savage Skulls on "Love Kills." Here, Robyn returns the favor on this Chicago-flavored house track for Diplo's Mad Decent label.

The Thermals — "I Don't Believe You"

As the star of IFC's sketch comedy show Portlandia, a freelance music critic for NPR, and singer for the all-star indie band Wild Flag, it seems like Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein is everywhere these days. Which makes this video — in which she destroys her house trying to escape from The Thermals — just a little bit ironic.

R.E.M. — "Oh My Heart" (Live in Studio)

R.E.M.'s upcoming fifteenth studio album, Collapse Into Now, isn't set for release until March 7, but the band's latest self-imposed leak comes in the form of this gorgeous live performance.

Joan as Police Woman — "The Magic"

It might be that Joan Wasser put out a casting call on BigMuscle.com for the first video from her new album, The Deep Field. Otherwise, really, I'm not sure I have a good explanation for this!



News: Burma Monks, Ryan Idol, Bloc Party, Swastika, Janet Reno

road.jpg Study: Lack of sleep doubles heart disease death risk.

Vietnamorchidroad.jpg Flower power: cache of new species discovered in "Green Corridor" of Vietnam. "Scientists have discovered 11 new species of plants and animals in Vietnam, including a snake, two butterflies and five orchid varieties, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) said Wednesday."

road.jpg Protest turns violent as Buddhist monks take to the streets in Burma.

road.jpg Bravo's Andy Cohen checks in with porn legend Ryan Idol, who is about to take the stage as a bathhouse patron in Terrence McNally's The Ritz on Broadway: "I'm focusing on my career right now. I'm 41 and I have that deep desire to have genuine affections for people, whether male or female. Love has different degrees, from genuine affection to the unattainable thing we aspire to of absolute love. It doesn't come often but if you don't have other elements in your life in place you can't have love, so that's why I am focusing on my career. Don't go looking for it, I always say, it will find you when you least expect it."

road.jpg Fury at Colorado State University over F**k Bush editorial.

road.jpg Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke says the band's next record will be more introspective: "I think with this third record, its very much going to be a record about interior spaces. If 'Weekend In the City' was me complaining about going out and getting f***ed up, I think this is going to be a very intimate record about staying in and discovering aspects of yourself. And not in a grown-up, Coldplay/Snow Patrol way. "[It's to be about] human relationships, on a real kind of primal level. What it means to feel desire and what it means to actually feel close to someone, or what it feels to feel lament -- the passing of closeness between people. It's very much going to be a record about internal relationships."

road.jpg Swastika discovered in New Jersey cornfield: "Investigators found that the most recent swastika appeared to have been hand-cut and covered an area of several acres. 'This should be in the past, and we should have learned from our mistakes, and to bring up something that brings back such awful memories, I think, is disgusting,' said Joe Pica, whose property is one of many that border the fields."

Jhudwhitneyroad.jpg The big H's take the Big Apple: Jennifer Hudson arrives on set for Sex and the City movie. Whitney Houston hails a comeback...

road.jpg Kevin Spacey meets with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez: "Neither Spacey...nor Chavez spoke to the press after the nearly three-hour encounter in the presidential palace in Caracas. They shook hands warmly on the red carpet as Spacey left after a dinner with Chavez...Chavez has said Venezuela hopes to produce its own films as an alternative to the "cultural imperialism" of Hollywood. Yet, Chavez speaks highly of some Hollywood films. He has also hosted recent visits by stars including Sean Penn and Danny Glover." (video)

road.jpg New York City comptroller William Thompson tests the gay waters at mayoral fundraiser.

road.jpg Janet Reno executive producer on three-disc anthology of music hailing America's history.


Bloc Party Security Says "Hey You" Before Headlocking Madonna

Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke told the Chicago Tribune that the thing that surprised him most about playing the recent Live Earth 2007 was that "super-huge fan" Madonna came to see them in their dressing room. Unfortunately, the trip to meet the band didn't turn out so well for Madge.

KeleokerekeSaid Okereke: "Our tour manager is this guy from Scotland that doesn't know much about popular culture and popular music. So when she came in, he alerted security and security dragged her out. They had her head in a headlock, and they were putting her out of the dressing room. It was really surreal, and everyone stopped speaking. And the only thing we could hear is Madonna cursing and saying she's gonna kill these guys. Yeah. She's really tough because of all that pilates that she does. She [got out] of the headlock quite easily. And some of her people came along and told the security guards off, but she was so pissed off at that point that [when] I went to tell her that I was a huge fan of hers she completely freaked out and told me to get the hell away from her. And that was all in the space of like 10 minutes backstage at Live Earth."

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Bloc Party Frontman Kele Okereke Steps Out of the Closet [tr]


Bloc Party Frontman Kele Okereke Steps Out of the Closet

In a revealing interview with Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke, the Guardian notes that two tracks on the band's upcoming release, A Weekend in the City, seem to explore an interest in gay issues ("Two songs, 'I Still Remember' and 'Kreuzberg', seem to explicitly explore homosexuality. The former is about a crush between two schoolboys ('We left our trousers by the canal') The latter is about gay promiscuity.") and takes the opportunity to ask the vocalist, who also plays guitar for the band, whether this is a sign of the singer being open to talking about his sexuality, which up till now has been something he has avoided:

Keleokereke

"During the many interviews Bloc Party conducted during 2005, as their debut album Silent Alarm went from critical rave to million-selling commercial hit, from Mercury nominee to NME's Album of the Year, the subject of whether Okereke is or isn't gay was the pink elephant in the room. In a musical form that is usually beerily, boorishly white, male and heterosexual, Okereke was a refreshingly different kind of indie icon. The possibility that he was not just unusual but unique - a black, gay role model for indie kids - meant that for many fans the focus seemed necessary rather than just prurient. Nonetheless, just as he hated being reduced to 'black guy in indie band', he refused to be drawn either way on his sexuality."

Okereke says: "I think I'm going to have to [talk about it]. With the first album I didn't think it was essential to the experience. I didn't want to have to talk about it in a tabloid way. It wasn't there in the songs, so why did people need to know? But yeah, there are songs on this record that do feel like they're about desire, longing. So yeah, I am gonna talk about that."

BlocpartyOne of the gay-themed songs on the album, "For England", is an exploration of bullying which also touches on the death of gay barman David Morley and the sick phenomenon of "Happy Slapping" in which violent acts are captured on camera for sport. Morley's killers fatally beat him and captured it all on their cell phones. Said Okereke: "The whole idea of happy slapping ... Filming you causing pain to someone, for your own amusement - that really repulsed me. That song is about the fear I have about what could happen on a night out. I have the feeling that it's only a matter of time."

Another track, "I Still Remember", deals with an unspoken sexual desire between men — heterosexual men. Norman B., of SlowCode, who tipped us off on Okereke's coming out, offers it up on his site:

OkerekeOkereke explains "I Still Remember": "I can't tell you how many times I've been propositioned by straight boys...Yeah, yeah. It happened a lot before all this [the band] started happening. This is probably a contentious issue, but I swear that I could always see it in people, in the way that guys would need to be touching other guys. You could see there was something they couldn't say aloud. And I saw it when I was at school. And I guess 'I Still Remember' is an attempt at trying to confront that. I don't think that my sexual impulse is that bizarre or foreign. [But] the way that it's supposedly discussed in mainstream culture is [that] it's a crazy thing. But I know from my own experiences a lot of heterosexual boys had feelings or experiences when they were younger. And that's not really ever spoken about, that un-spoken desire. Not two gay boys, but the idea of two straight boys having an attraction, or there being an attraction that's unspeakable - that was the idea of that song. When was the last time you heard an interesting pop song that actually tried to give you a different perspective on desire? I didn't talk about it when I did interviews for the last record because it wasn't an area really reflected in the music; I didn't talk about race for the same reason. Why was that still a discussion point? The only reason it was a discussion point was because of the racial prejudice that exists in the mainstream media."

Okereke's cautious coming out is colored by the "definite homophobic bias-slash-persecution" he sees from the music press regarding out gay people. Said Okereke: "It's not something that I'd be inclined to talk about ... It isn't black and white. It isn't clear-cut. Britain has always had a love/hate relationship with gay public figures. They're treated as funny and inoffensive and camp. But then when a seemingly heterosexual person seems to display an inclination for the other team it becomes this real hounding situation. You're allowed to exist if they're [sic] seen as a kind of sub-class. Something ineffectual, a comedy Kenneth Williams character."

But he tells The Guardian the difference he could make to a young kid (as an indie rock icon of Nigerian heritage) just might trump those worries:

"I guess that's the only reason [to speak out], isn't it? To speak to young people in their impressionable formative years - and say something that could help them make sense of their lives. Lessen the sense of alienation and isolation that they might have. I think that's something that definitely ... I'd be proud of. That we could say that there are alternative ways of behaving, of living one's life."

A Little Britain [slowcode]
21st Century boy [the guardian]


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