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04/19/2007


MUSIC NEWS: Fritz Helder & The Phantoms, Jay Brannan, En Vogue, Alison Moyet, Florence + The Machine

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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.

Road NEW ARTIST TO WATCH AND FREE DOWNLOAD

Toronto electro quartet Fritz Helder & The Phantoms are obsessed with fashion on their cheekily-titled debut Greatest Hits. These sartorial synth-masters wax eloquent on electronic odes to Karl Lagerfeld (“Lagerfeld Lady”) and the pleasures of the runway (“You Ain’t Vogue”). They’re not above a shady put down or two (our favorite’s the deadpan bitch-slap on “Making A Scene”: “That Prada clutch, girl, that’s so last season”). And evidently they like their sex like they like their music: mechanical (“Sex Robot”).

In other words, Nelly Furtado’s first signing to her boutique label is a deeply shallow gang of dance-happy goofballs. They go by the names Fritz Helder (vocals and keytar!), Pastel Supernova (vocals), Diego Superstar (beats/keyboards) and Silk Helder (guitar), and they dress in couture duds that make Scissor Sisters look like grunge-era rockers. 

TR_FreeDownload Check out the Dragonette remix of “Lagerfeld Lady” here.

Road NEW RELEASES In-Living-Cover

Gay pin-up folkie/Shortbus star Jay Brannan's In Living Cover — a cover-laden follow-up to last year’s confessional debut goddamned — features gorgeous takes on Joni Mitchell’s seminal love song “All I Want,” The Cranberries’ war-torn “Zombie,” and a handful of striking originals.

Florence + The Machine live up to the overseas hype and then some with the release of their debut Lungs (available digitally only in the U.S.). Backed by a rotating collection of collaborators, Florence shows she’s the new Björk, the new Kate Bush, the new Siouxsie Sioux. In other words, a true original.

Maxwell

Modern soul’s pre-eminent “baby maker” — the seductive neo-soul man Maxwell — disappeared for eight years. But he’s back with a hot new coif and a handful of slinky come-ons with BLACKsummers’night, the first release in a planned trilogy.

Chris Garneau’s a sexy out singer-songwriter in the Sufjan Stevens/Jeff Buckley mold — his breathtaking high, clear voice is beauty incarnate, his songs delicate and tough, and his second release, El Radio, as majestic and steeped in Americana as Bon Iver or Fleet Foxes.

Also released:  The Donnas — Greatest Hits, Volume 16; Stellastarr* — Civilized; LMFAO — Party Rock; Against Me! — The Original Cowboy; Berlin — All the Way In; Cass McCombs — Catacombs; Bowerbirds — Upper Air.

Road MUSIC NEWS

Road En Vogue, one of the biggest-selling female groups of all time, marked their 20th anniversary with a live reunion performance this past weekend with the original members. A new album is planned for later this year and a reality TV show is under consideration.

Road Alison Moyet, whose solo tour was unfortunately cut short last year in the U.S. (presumably due toAlison_Moyet-1-250-250-85-nocrop poor ticket sales), has announced a tour, "25 Years Revisited," in the U.K. this fall. A comprehensive "Best of Alison Moyet" collection will be released there in October, with a deluxe edition to include live versions of her classic songs.

Road  Record labels have finally reached an agreement with online radio sites, such as Pandora, on the licensing fee for the use of their music. For two years each side battled the other, as the online radio sites charged that the high royalty fees being assessed would put them out of business.

Road And we thought $1.29 per song was a lot: A Minnesota woman, ordered to pay $1.92 million for illegally sharing copyright-protected music, is seeking a reduction in damages she owes. In a retrial of a 2007 case, she has been charged $80,000 each for 24 songs she shared, which her lawyer argues is "grossly excessive." The Recording Industry Association of America no longer files such lawsuits.

Road MUSIC VIDEOS

LeToya: "She Ain't Got"
It’s been a good year for the former members of Destiny’s Child — Beyoncé continued her world domination; Kelly Rowland filled dance floors with “When Love Takes Over;” and now LeToya Luckett roars back into the spotlight with this club-thumping face-off with an unfaithful lover. From forthcoming album Lady Love, out August 25.

Rye Rye ftrg. M.I.A.: "Bang" (AUDIO NSFW)
The young Baltimorean rapper Ryeisha "Rye Rye" Berrain is the first signing to M.I.A.’s N.E.E.T. label; the mentor brings her playful exoticism to her protégé’s crunk-infused homage to ghetto-licious street dancing. Her debut drops later this year.

Franz Ferdinand: “Can't Stop Feeling”
These louche Scots make like the Four Stooges in this playful cause-and-effect clip for a dubby, synthy highlight from this year’s change-of-pace Tonight.

Madonna: "Sticky & Sweet Tour" DVD trailer
Captured on tour in Buenos Aires, this DVD trailer reminds us that there’s nothing Ms. Ciccone cannot do, from double-dutch jump-roping to an Evita sing-a-long, it’s a kaleidoscopic trip through the history of our greatest living pop star. DVD due this fall; date TBA.




Jay Brannan's Talking 'Bout the Man in the Mirror

Jaybrannan

Jay Brannan posted a sweet tribute to the King of Pop on his YouTube account yesterday.

He asks: "did anyone really know michael jackson? ever really see him? or did we set up another person as a god, and ultimately destroy them?"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Jay Brannan's Talking 'Bout the Man in the Mirror" »


Music News: Esser, Live Nation, Jay Brannan, Joss Stone, Elektra Records, Nelly Furtado

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6a00d8341c730253ef01156f9f4524970c-800wi MODERN TONIC

Modern Tonic is a free daily email of eclectic pop-culture recommendations from a gay perspective. The editors of Modern Tonic present a weekly music update here on Towleroad.

Road NEW ARTIST TO WATCH AND FREE DOWNLOADS:

Twenty-three-year-old Ben EsserEsserCover looks like he just appeared on the scene wearing his matchstick jeans, ska-inflected shirts and a psychobilly quiff that resembles a triple-decker sandwich from Katz’s Deli. But this young solo artist’s been part of the London underground since 2004 as the drummer for the jaunty — and now defunct — U.K. indie kids Ladyfuzz.

His debut Braveface — out now in the U.K. — proves it’s not just his hair that’s big. Esser, from Essex, has the potential for a Lily Allen-size U.S. breakthrough with his pop-friendly beats, laddish songs of big bad love, and withering English wit.

Braveface comes out Stateside in August, but until then you can whet your appetite with these free downloads of album track “Headlock” and a tasty Prince Paul remix of his first U.S. single “I Love You.”

Road MUSIC NEWS:

Road Live Nation is attempting to address consumer dissatisfaction with their multiple service charges by kicking off "No Service Fee Wednesdays" tomorrow.

Brannan

Road Sexy gay folkie Jay Brannan will release In Living Cover, a collection of seven cover songs and two originals, on July 7. The release coincides with a month-long U.S. tour starting July 8 in New York City.

Road Joss Stone is reportedly trying to buy out the remainder of her recording contract with EMI.

Road Is Nelly Furtado bi-?  The "Promiscuous" singer of Portuguese descent will release a Spanish-language album in September.

Road eMusic, the internet music download site that positions itself as a mom-and-pop indie store in the shadow of iTunes' world-domination, has signed a deal with Sony Music to carry the label's catalog (over two years old) recordings.

ElektraRoad Elektra Records, which was folded into Atlantic Records in 2004 during the Great Music Industry Meltdown, is being revived as an imprint just in time for its 60th anniversary. Signings include Little Boots, rapper Cee-Lo and the French electronic duo Justice ("D.A.N.C.E."). 

Road TODAY’S NEW RELEASES:

Has it been 12 years since Vanessa Williams last released an album of all original music? Get ready, because a quiet storm is once again brewing on The Real Thing.

Paolo-NutiniSophomore slump or sophomore slam? Find out when the Scottish bard Paolo Nutini drops Sunny Side Up.

The Sounds — Swedish New Wave freaks since 1999 — release their third album, Crossing the Rubicon.

The late troubadour Jeff Buckley gets a live CD/DVD combo, Grace-Around the World, celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of his seminal recording.

Even old reprobates can turn a new trick. Witness Iggy Pop’s turn as a French chansonnier on Préliminaires.

Broadway actor Malcolm Gets (who also appeared in HBO’s Grey Gardens) retraces his musical roots on his debut, The Journey Home.

New releases also from: Diane Birch — Bible Belt; 311 — Uplifter; Franz Ferdinand — Blood (dub remixes of tracks from their last album); Kleerup — Kleerup (import); Away We Go (film soundtrack); West Side Story (2009 Broadway cast) and Rock of Ages (Broadway), plus iTunes has launched a Gay Pride store with gay-related music, movies, apps, podcasts, audiobooks and celebrity playlists.

Road MUSIC VIDEOS:

DAN BLACK: “Symphonies”
A century of cinema is condensed into three minutes in this anthemic ballad from ex-The Servant singer. From his forthcoming solo debut ((un)) (out July 6 in the U.K.).

MAKE THE GIRL DANCE: “Baby Baby Baby”
French dance duo send three head-turning naked femmes down a busy Rue Montorgueil for this club-ready track. Chiropractors, rejoice!

BOB SINCLAR & THE SUGAR HILL GANG: “LaLa Song”
More Gallic grooves from French DJ/producer Sinclar and rap pioneers The Sugar Hill Gang in this colorful old-school block party of a clip.

PATRICK WOLF: “Hard Times”
The sexually ambiguous singer dons neon face paint in a call to political action, from The Bachelor (out today).




What's Driving Jay Brannan Crazy?

Brannan

Jay Brannan turns in a gorgeous, romantic video for his latest track, "Cant Have It All." It also has a very cute intro. Brannan is headed across the pond for those of you in Dublin, London, or Paris.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Previously...
Relax Your Necks [tr]
Exclusive Download: New Version of Jay Brannan's 'Half-Boyfriend' [tr]

Continue reading "What's Driving Jay Brannan Crazy?" »


News: Ryan Seacrest, Howl, Ang Lee, Jay Brannan, The Cock

road.jpg UK teen fights for his life after anti-gay attack: "Michael Causer, 19, was battered on Friday morning in Tarbock Road, Huyton, as he walked home after a night out. Today police described the attack as a hate crime. Locals said Mr Causer was never involved in trouble or fighting. One friend told the ECHO: 'Michael is just a tiny lad really. He’s not very big at all. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’s a little sweetheart. I can’t believe this has happened to him. Everybody’s thoughts are with his family. I can’t believe Michael has been attacked because of his sexuality. It’s disgusting.' Friends said Mr Causer lived with his parents in Whiston and has two sisters and an older brother. Residents said he was delighted after getting a job at a hairdressing salon."

Seacrestroad.jpg Ryan Seacrest attacked by a shark!

road.jpg Ang Lee holds open casting call for Elliott Tiber film in Brattleboro, Vermont.

road.jpg Those of you attending Stockholm EuroPride in Sweden may want to check out this concert on August 1 conducted by New York's Jonathan Sheffer with several guest opera singers. We hear John Cameron Mitchell is also in town for a performance of Hedwig Wednesday night.

road.jpg U.S. Olympic team's Ralph Lauren outfits on display.

road.jpg Harsh lighting does not suit Daniel Craig.

road.jpg WordPerfect creator Bruce Bastian writes $1 million check to fight Proposition 8 at San Francisco HRC dinner: "Supporters of the effort to ban same-sex marriage already have taken in more than $1.2 million from out-of-state contributors for the fall campaign. And even before Bastian, a co-founder of the WordPerfect software company, opened his checkbook, gay and lesbian rights groups and their supporters from around the country had put more than $1.3 million into the fight against the ballot initiative."

Brannaroad.jpg A Mexican man's journey to see Jay Brannan.

road.jpg Colorado bans WTF license plate: "Other combinations banned by the state include KKK, ASS, HEL, FAG, COP, FBI, GAY, JEW, JAP, WOP and CAT."

road.jpg Samantha Ronson and Lindsay Lohan love The Cock.

road.jpg Obama supporter's car keyed: "The words 'white power' and 'I'm gay' were etched into the car of Karen Wastradowski last Saturday. Wastradowski had left her car in the driveway of her home when the vandals struck. She filed a report with Vancouver police. Wastradowski said a blue "Elect Obama" sign in her yard could have caused the crime."

road.jpg Howl: James Franco to play beat poet Allen Ginsburg. “I’ve certainly read ‘Howl.’ I was very into the beatniks when I was in high school, and I still am. So I certainly have read Howl many times.”

Shiaroad.jpg Shia LaBeouf's pre-DUI arrest confession: "It’s not something that is conducive to being a role model. … And I don’t know how to do it like a gentleman. I don’t know how to have one drink."

road.jpg AfterElton calls out science fiction author Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game) for a homophobic essay in the Mormon Times: "In this essay alone, he calls us liars, says that we have 'sex-role dysfunctions,' and that we’re 'tragic genetic mix-ups' (even as he indicates elsewhere in the essay that humans have an absolutely unalterable 'long mammalian tradition of heterosexuality'). Previously, in a long history of anti-gay screeds, Card has said he supports anti-sodomy laws that would criminalize same-sex behavior (though he grants that we shouldn't all be thrown in prison and labeled sex offenders — just enough of us to set an example so that we all go into hiding, living lonely, miserable, fearful lives)."

road.jpg Show us the proof.

road.jpg Mario Lopez named host of Extra.

road.jpg Canadian court claims Nigerian asylum seeker "cooked up" story that he's gay to obtain refugee status: "According to court documents, the man mixed up the names of gay bars he claimed to frequent in Winnipeg, called no witnesses to support his claim, and although he joined the gay lobby group EGALE, he could not describe that organization's function and was therefore accused by the board of only joining up to bolster his claim."


Relax Your Necks

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Jay Brannan and Margaret Cho are here with some NSFW advice for your Friday afternoon...

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Relax Your Necks" »


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