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. FEATURED ARTISTS AND FREE DOWNLOADS:
Canadian quartet Dragonette are snotty emo electro-punks. And by that we mean that on their second release Fixin to Thrill they wield their synths and scratchy funk guitar and bippity-boppity bass for crunchy musical nuggets of New Wave-inspired rudeness. The cooing Karen O-esque siren Martina Sobrara does have a nasty way with words. "When you wake up I'm gonna punch you out" from "Stupid Grin" is nearly a love lyric from her wicked tongue, with "Get on the floor, don't make a fuss, just do it" her idea of foreplay. And we’d much rather hear her defend a family member's Las Vegas wedding in "Pick Up the Phone" (FREE DOWNLOAD OF RICHARD X RADIO MIX HERE) or slap a brother down in "Liar" than listen to another guy-whiner in guyliner.
Here’s a group to add to your short list of cold-climate European bohemians: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour from Denmark. Fruit, their debut, is a languorous stroll through what XTC once called "funk pop-a-roll." Producer and multi-instrumentalist Lars Iversen keeps the bright tunes fresh and sparkling. And singer Mette Lindberg's like a drunk, precocious 5-year-old, slurring through up-tempo R&B ("The Sun Ain’t Shining No More") (FREE DOWNLOAD HERE) and happy '60s pop ("Sunshine Coolin'") with the same wide-eyed enthusiasm.
So, you star in an indie Irish film about falling in love, you write songs in character for the film, and then, while the cameras are rolling, you actually fall in love. And for your efforts you get what? If you’re The Swell Season — Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová — you win an Academy Award® for Best Song from Once ("Falling Slowly") and an appreciative new audience. Then, while touring the world, you break up under the strain of your newfound success and re-emerge on the other side of fame with Strict Joy, the best work of your career. The Swell Season's soft-spoken drama thrives on contradiction. And a fresh split is the mother lode of inspiration — from the mystical Van Morrison soul flourishes of opener "Low Rising" to the spiritual Grateful Dead folk of "Love That Conquers" these are honest, scathing, beautiful songs that would bring Oscar® gold to any film.
Tweetie bird: Elizabeth Taylor took to her Twitter page and unleashed
an avalanche of tweets (we're having so much fun picturing her doing
this) raving about Michael Jackson's This Is It, which opens worldwide tonight.
She calls it "the single most brilliant piece of filmmaking I have ever
seen" and that it should be "nominated in every category conceivable."
Dolly Parton finally has the record to complement her big hair, big boobs and big talent — Dolly, a four disc box set retrospective of the self-proclaimed Backwoods Barbie from her early country hits ("Jolene") to her pop crossovers ("Here You Come Again").
R.E.M.'s Live at the Olympia — recorded in 2007 from five nights in Dublin in prep for Accelerate — is a welcome addition to their catalogue, with old favorites from the dawn of alt-rock ("Wolves, Lower") to songs still-in-progress ("Houston").
All of 29 now, indie-rock twins Tegan and Sara have thrilled audiences since '99. Their latest, Sainthood, is harder-edged than their last release, The Con, with bigger hooks and much heavier guitar.
She’s a megastar now, but Lady Gaga didn’t do it by herself. Her collaborator Space Cowboy is sure to follow in his employer's footsteps with the club crazy Digital Rock Star, featuring "I Came 2 Party."
Marina & the Diamonds: "Mowgli's Road" Welsh-born Marina Diamandis is part woman, part construction paper creature with super-flexibility on this jaunty single from her forthcoming debut Family Jewels.
Groove Armada: "I Won’t Kneel" From their forthcoming 2010 release Black Light, the English electro duo offer a mid-tempo I-want-you-back-but-I-ain’t-begging crowd-pleaser, featuring the 80s-licious vocals of a Groove Armada discovery, Saint Savior.
Cinema Bizarre & Space Cowboy: "I Came 2 Party" Lady Gaga collaborator Space Cowboy teams with German New Wave revivalists Cinema Bizarre for a freaky costume party that gets stranger by the second. Just in time to inspire your Halloween get-ups!
N’dambi: "Can’t Hardly Wait" Erykah Badu, watch your 'fro, 'cause Dallas-born N’dambi’s here to re-fire the neo-soul revival. In this clip, N’dambi strings along two gorgeous men at a photo shoot before leaving with the photographer.
Palatial Gay Fantasia: Where Simon Doonan lives. "Doonan’s picaresque journey from ration books in Reading, England, to
palatial gay fantasia is the subject of the British television show 'Beautiful People,' which was about to make its American début, on the
Logo network. The show is adapted from Doonan’s memoir 'Nasty: My
Family and Other Glamorous Varmints.' 'When the book was optioned,
everyone thought I’d start flying to work in a mink-lined helicopter,'
Doonan said. In reality, his compensation was a bit more modest; he
wouldn’t say how much he was paid, but allowed that it was 'better than
a poke in the eye with a dirty stick.'"
Houston Chronicle: Immigration law divides gay couples. "But the bill is facing heated opposition by anti-immigration advocates,
who say it could potentially lead to fraud. A strong voice in the
pro-immigrant movement, the Catholic Church, also has taken a stand
against the bill, based on the belief that marriage is strictly between
a man and a woman, said Kevin Appleby, migration policy director for
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops."
Homophobic bullying"widespread" in Ireland, says Minister for Children: "Speaking at the launch of a report on teenage mental health this
morning, the Minister said young people should be educated about the
serious dangers of homophobic bullying. And he said, it was particularly worrying to hear that some young people had experienced homophobic bullying by teachers."
'Gay panic' in Connecticut leads to brutal murder: "In a seven-page confession to police released Friday, O'Brien-Veader
painted a disturbing picture of a savage killing that was preceded by a
brutal beating all intended to make Olivera suffer. The catalyst
for the slaying appears to be that O'Brien-Veader was enraged because
he thought Olivera was a homosexual and had performed a sex act on him
while the two had slept in the same bed in an abandoned factory at 835
South Main St."
NY Governor David Paterson says Giuliani "a generation behind" on same-sex marriage, expresses hope for bill's passage: "I don't think the votes are there yet. Maybe they're three or four
votes short, maybe more. But they can get there, and as evidence of
that I would cite the growth from 40 to 85 votes in the Assembly in
2007. The percentage of votes we have now in the Senate is higher than
it was two years ago at this time in the Assembly. And they didn't
think they had a shot."
Obama names Eric Goosby new U.S. Global AIDS coordinator: "Goosby, who is straight, replaces gay physician Mark Dybul, who was
appointed by President George W. Bush and who has been credited with
putting in place the multi-billion dollar U.S. Global AIDS program
initiated by Bush and approved by Congress. The Global AIDS coordinator works out of the U.S. State Department and has the rank of ambassador at large."
Coral Gables attorney says firm fired him for being gay, files suit: "Shortly after his employment began, however, (firm
chairman Jose) Astigarraga articulated his discomfort with the fact
that plaintiff was gay, criticizing plaintiff for not 'fitting in' with
the attorneys at the law firm and suggesting to plaintiff that he
consider leaving the firm."
Comedian Stephen Fry struggling with new book: "It's different because the first volume (Moab Is My Washpot) was a
private memoir of childhood - it didn't involve having to put in people
who have now become well known. It's something I haven't yet grappled with. There is pressure. The
trouble with it now, is the moment it starts, it would have to be at
university and it would be Hugh [Laurie] and Emma [Thompson] and all that sort of thing. It
becomes a showbiz biography and I'm keen for it not to be too much. Why
would I want to involve people without their permission?"