Modern Tonic Hub

MUSIC NEWS: I Blame Coco, Cee Lo Green, Rumer, Jónsi,Bette Midler, Beyoncé, Ke$ha, Kid Cudi

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.


Coco It's impossible to talk about rock star spawn without comparing them to their more famous parents, so let's get this out of the way. Twenty seconds into Eliot Paulina Sumner’s debut album The Constant (out now via import) — she records under the band name I Blame Coco — as soon as the dry hiccup of her voice kicks into opener "Selfmachine," you'll know she's Sting's daughter. But if the voice didn’t give it away, you might figure it out from the call-and-response choruses, the bottom-heavy reggae dub that she favors, or the influence of Daddy's seminal band the Police.
 True, Sumner's DNA is faultless, but she'd sound like a mere tribute band if it weren't for her own mix-and-match sensibility. She introduces elements of house music to the New Waving "Quicker." Our favorite Swede Robyn sweetens the harried chorus of the unruly "Caesar." Fans of big drum breaks need look no further than the slamming "No Smile." And the current single "In Spirit Golden" is a buoyant electro throwback that might have given the Police a run for the top of the pops back in the day. Dad should be very proud.
CeeloCee Lo Green — formerly of Atlanta hip-hop group Goodie Mob and the frontman for the hip-pop duo Gnarls Barkley — is like a big Yoda. On his latest solo joint The Lady Killer, he’s a little cuddly (the 50s ballad "Old Fashioned"), very wise (the Saturday night fever of "Bright Lights Bigger City"), and kind of creepy (the morning after horror of "Bodies"). Of course, Cee Lo has a better voice than Yoda. He can swing from brassy dance diva — as he does on the '70s jam "Fool for You" with Earth, Wind & Fire’s falsetto-man Philip Bailey — to soaring balladeer on the mid-tempo love groove "No One’s Gonna Love You." And then there’s the happiest kiss-off song ever written: viral sensation "Fuck You" (and its PG version, "Forget You," for the touchy). Just try not singing along to the gospel-inflected call-and-response of the Motown chorus: "Ain’t that some shit!" After 15 years in the biz, Green is just hitting his stride. As Yoda might say, "Strong with you is the force, Cee Lo. Shit, ain’t that some!"

Rumer Though her debut album Seasons of My Soul has no official U.S. release date, we cannot wait a second more to tip you to the Pakistani-born, U.K.-based singer Rumer (né Sarah Joyce - and no, this isn't Rumer Willis). When the revered Burt Bacharach found out about her, he flew her to L.A. just to hear her sing. And once you immerse in the beautifully calibrated, elegantly orchestrated tunes of her debut, you’ll know why. She’s the heir apparent to Dionne Warwick. Dionne’s style surrounded by hip-hop and retro-electro and retro-retro — is that something we need? Yes, yes, for Burt’s sake, yes! It can’t all be non-stop discos and New Wave twirling — sometimes we just need to relax and let the mood overtake us. From the soft bounce of opener "Am I Forgiven?" to the lover’s plea "Take Me As I Am" to the sweet sadness of "Slow," Rumer makes all the other plunderers of the past sound like rank posers, and she barely breaks a sweat to do it.


281x211 RoadKe$ha's first headlining tour, Get $leazy, hits the road February 15.

RoadThe deluxe re-issues of George Michael's Faith, which got bumped around the time the singer was sent to jail, are now re-scheduled for February 1.

RoadAre those really Michael Jackson's vocals on his "new" song "Breaking News?"

RoadBette Midler's Las Vegas extravaganza The Showgirl Must Go On will be broadcast on HBO December 31 at 9 PM ET/PT.

Road Beyonce-456-b-110810 Check out "Say My Name" from Beyoncé's I Am...World Tour DVD, which streets November 30 (with an accompanying live CD as well).

RoadSigur Rós' Jónsi will release a live CD/DVD, Go Live, on November 29.

Cee Lo Green (see above) makes an appearance on Kid Cudi’s Man On the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, along with Mary J. Blige, St. Vincent, and a shrinking violet who goes by the name of Kanye West.

Jk_shot_3dwl-297x396 Jamiroquai — with the big-hatted frontman Jay Kay — returns with Rock Dust Light Star (import only), 12 bottom-heavy space jams like the title track and "White Knuckle Ride." The sound’s familiar, but Kay’s sporting a fancy new feathery headdress.
Husky-voiced jazz singer Cassandra Wilson offers more eclectic covers on Silver Pony, including a funky take on the traditional "Went Down to St. James Infirmary" and the Beatles’ standard, "Blackbird."

Britain's Got Talent phenomenon Susan Boyle’s The Gift features holiday standards such as "The First Noel," "O Holy Night" and — uh — Lou Reed’s "Perfect Day."

More new releases: Quincy Jones — Q: Soul Bossa Nostra; Reba McEntire — All the Women I Am; Ronnie Spector — Best Christmas Ever; The Green Children — Encounter (Remixed); Nitzer Ebb — Industrial Complex


Jessie J — "Do It Like A Dude" (audio NSFW)
Jessie J's U.K. debut single is a hard-hitter with attitude to spare. At only 22, this singer-songwriter (she wrote Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA") is one to watch. Look for U.S. debut single "Who You Are"  soon.

Human Life — "Wherever We Are"
A lesbian couple goes shopping at flea markets, checks out graffiti art, galleries and the city skyline before they break-up to make up in this clip for the L.A. disco trio.

The Drums — "Me And The Moon"
The Brooklyn foursome goes the anti-video way on this low-rent, no style clip for their latest single. Good thing the tune's a catchy mix of Adam & the Ants and Echo & the Bunnymen.

Olly Murs — "Thinking of Me"
This U.K. cutie and runner-up of X-Factor grooves a sweet ska beat while defying gravity around the English countryside. His eponymous debut drops November 29.

MUSIC NEWS: Mariah Carey, David Campbell, Lauren Pritchard, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Human Life, Lea Michele, Diplo, Imogen Heap, Men


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.

MCIIYou With Halloween over, another holiday season is fast upon us. Which kinda makes us dread the onslaught of hoary holiday chestnuts that have roasted too long on an open fire. To the rescue today: Mimi Claus — that’s Mariah Carey to you — who drops Merry Christmas II You, her second holiday album, and it’s every bit as colorful, curvaceous and inviting as her hip-hugging red-velvet Santa suit on the cover. She does the chestnuts proud — whether medley-ing "O Come All Ye Faithful / Hallelujah Chorus" into gospel soul or turning "Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) / Housetop Celebration" into a funk jam with a bass line that’s like Grandmaster Flash booty-whomping Rudolph into shape. But the standouts are the originals. "One Child," written with Marc Shaiman, is a quivering ballad with a children’s choir. And "Oh Santa!" (see the new video here) — a finger-snapping, new-fangled chestnut — is borderline crazy; when a dimly Celtic melody swoops into the stratosphere towards the close, we couldn’t tell if it was a pennywhistle or Mimi Claus herself.

OnBroadwayThe overture that opens Australian singer and stage performer David Campbell’s On Broadway is such a disarming throwback to the days when going to the theatah, dahling was for sophisticates in evening gowns and tuxedos. And we wouldn’t mind a bit of that glamour sprucing up the Broadway sidewalks. Campbell — the youngest performer to headline New York’s Rainbow & Stars room — has a strikingly pure high tenor that careens about the orchestrated arrangements like a bee to honey. From the soft-shoe shuffle of Chicago's "All I Care About" to Les Misérables’ "Bring Him Home," he's an unabashed old-school crooner who can make you a weak-kneed swooner. Better yet, he has the brash exuberance of the young Hugh Jackman; he even tackles Jackman’s Tony-winning turn as Peter Allen by covering "When I Get My Name in Lights" from The Boy from Oz. When aggressive electric guitars announce "Goodbye" — a good song from the forthcoming Catch Me If You Can — it’s as if a boorish houseguest made an inappropriate comment amidst well-heeled diners. But that’s a small blip on an otherwise pristine accomplishment.
Lauren We guess that titling her debut Wasted in Jackson (out digitally now; on CD next year) has fooled everyone into thinking U.K.-based, Tennessee-born Lauren Pritchard is a country artist. She may be country by birth, but she’s a soul singer by nature, reminiscent of Dusty Springfield and her modern forebears (Duffy springs to mind). Pritchard is down-to-earth where a lot of R&B divas reach for the stratosphere; a lyric on opener "Stuck" calls her boyfriend "sweet like dinner." When she confronts a bad relationship, she concludes it’s "Not the Drinking" ("not the drugs, not the money," etc.). And she’s not above some cheap, glorious vindication. When lovers accuse each other of f**king around and it’s time to pay up, Pritchard sings — with righteous conviction — "I hope it’s you" on the song of the same name. Pritchard is still young — 22 — but she doesn’t glorify her pain, doesn’t overstate her case and notices the world outside of her head. Maybe that makes her a country singer after all.

Towleroad November 2, 2010 by


RoadSign up for news on Kylie Minogue's North American Aphrodite Les Folies 2011 Tour.

Image001 RoadGrammy winner Adele has announced the follow up to her debut album 19, titled 21. The album drops February 22 and the lead single, "Rolling in the Deep," is out November 15.

RoadLondon's White Lies, who made waves with their 2009 album To Lose My Life, have announced a January 18 release date for their follow-up album Ritual. Lead single "Bigger Than Us" debuts November 22.

RoadStream Cee Lo Green's new album The Lady Killer (out November 9) in its entirety.

RoadMichael Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, will discuss her son's death November 8 on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

RoadAustralia's The Temper Trap, known for their hit single "Sweet Disposition," had some top remixers (such as Rollo & Sister Bliss and Penguin Prison) re-work their 2009 debut Conditions. Conditions Remixed can be heard in fuil here.

Road Amy-Winehouse18 Was Amy Winehouse's first recorded vocal (listen here) in several years worth the wait? From Quincy Jones's Q: Soul Bossa Nova (out November 9), her cover of the 1963 classic "It's My Party" marks a reunion with Back in Black co-producer Mark Ronson.

RoadThe track listing for Nicki Minaj's debut album Pink Friday (out November 22) was released and, befitting for the artist who garnered attention guesting on other artists' tracks, Minaj has a slew of A-listers lending vocals on hers: Eminem, Drake, Rihanna, Kanye West and Natasha Bedingfield.

RoadDuffy performs title track from her forthcoming album on The Tonight Show yesterday.

RoadLast week we mentioned that Robert Smith, iconic front man for The Cure, put his vocals to "Not In Love," the new single from Crystal Castles. We got ahold of the track and are passing it along as a free download (in player above) for our readers. Hope you like it as much as we do.

Humanlife L.A. nu-dance trip Human Life explore the big, bouncy world of Italodisco on Wherever We Are, an extended play featuring two Goldfrapp-ian jams — the title tune (free download of Nightriders remix above) and the molto bene "Italo Crimewave" — and remixes galore.

The hills are still alive as The Sound of Music arrives on Blu-ray today. Extra bonus: On the Limited Collector’s Edition and the 45th Anniversary Edition Soundtrack, Glee’s Lea Michele gets gleeful on her version of "My Favorite Things" (stream above).

U.K. dance movement "dubstep" is still an underground concept here in the States, but Diplo is here to educate your ass (and ears) with Blow Your Head: Diplo Presents Dubstep.

Imogen Former Frou Frou frontwoman Imogen Heap releases Everything In-Between: The Story of Ellipse, a DVD docu-journey about the writing and recording of her Grammy-winning album Ellipse.

Also out today: Natalia Kills — Mirrors Remix EP, N.E.R.D. — Nothing; Various Artists — Music from and Inspired By the Original Motion Picture “For Colored Girls;” Huey Lewis and the News — Soulsville; Pet Shop Boys — Ultimate (import); Elvis Costello — National Ransom; Brian Eno — Small Craft on a Milk Sea; Black Dub — Black Dub


MEN — "Off Our Backs"
Le Tigre’s JD Samson offers a playful synth chant and an even livelier clip — men and women in a tug of war that’s as sexual as it is metaphoric. Regardless of which side falls first, they’ll all be a sexy pileup of their own choosing. Free download of the Lemonade Remix in player above.

Nervo feat. Ollie James — "Irresistible"
Done in the style of cut-and-paste, this digital animation has precisely etched depth-of-field shadow, light sources that are visible, and a song — by Australian twins Nervo and their helpmate James — that’s an equal companion to Kelly Rowland’s "When Love Takes Over."

Starshell — "Superlova"
The first female artist signed to Mary J. Blige’s Matriarch label, Starshell’s tune sounds more like Minogue than Mama Blige, with an 80’s sci-fi homage to match.

Alexandra Burke — "The Silence"
This video from the U.K. season 5’s X-Factor winner is a black-and-white diva fashion shoot. Only thing better than the girl’s robust pipes? Those clothes, meow!

MUSIC NEWS: Amanda Lepore, Andy Grammer, Lykke Li, Joy Division, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Bryan Ferry, Anoraak, The Superions, David Bowie Tribute Album


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.


RoadTranssexual icon Amanda Lepore debuted the video for "Marilyn," her homage to Marilyn Monroe's last hours; track is from her forthcoming album I...Amanda Lepore, due in 2011. Peace Bisquit labelmate singer/songwriter Chris Willis, who scored bigtime with three huge David Guetta tracks in the last year, debuted his first music video, for "Louder (Put Your Hands Up)," this week; track is from his own album, due early 2011.

RoadGlee Christmas album due November 16, just ahead of the December 7 holiday episode.

RoadMichael Jackson named top-earning dead celebrity.

AG RoadGrammer Lesson: Up-n-coming singer/all-around-hottie, 26-year-old Los Angeleno Andy Grammer just released his debut music video, the interactive, choose your own adventure-style "Keep Your Head Up." Look for a cameo from Rainn Wilson, and a debut album in 2011.

RoadKaty Perry wants to know who lights up your life.

RoadPop collage mastermind Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis) chats about his much-anticipated follow-up to 2008's Feed The Animals. The as-yet-untitled album is due by the end of 2010.

JoybookRoadAn eponymous new book on Joy Division by photographer Kevin Cummins is out today. Featuring over 200 photos of the seminal band, the book also includes images of rare items such as unreleased single covers, concert tickets, Factory Records flyers, fan club badges and more. Joy Division fans in NYC may want to check out a gallery showing of the book's photographs Monday November 1 from 6 PM.

RoadSwedish singer Lykke Li finally drops some new music, and she's offering it up for free in exchange for your email address. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark have a similar offer for their new single "Sister Marie Says" off current album History of Modern.

RoadKylie Minogue is working American TV this week, with performances tonight on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" and tomorrow on NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." She'll also appear on ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" on November 7.

RoadR.I.P.: Sony Walkman.

RoadThe Cure's Robert Smith has lent his vocals to Crystal Castles' new single "Not In Love," due December 6.

Towleroad October 26, 2010 by

  Zero The Other Side of Zero, the sophomore release from the Brooklyn trio Elizabeth & the Catapult, sounds as if it was created by shiny, happy people. Those nimble piano chords! The strummed acoustic guitars! Elizabeth Ziman’s sweetly soulful vocals! Yet what tricksters these Brooklyn-ites turn out to be. The metronomic pounding of opener "Time (We All Fall Down)" masks an underlying obsession with failure. "Go Away My Lover" starts like an Irish love song until an instrumental breakdown mirrors the angry duet between warring partners. "Julian Darling" is an upbeat music hall number for an unreachable, delusional friend. And the title track — with its sad electric zither howling notes like a coyote alone on the prairie — is where the band confronts the fear that’s been bubbling beneath the surface of every single song here.  "I could dream of nothing darker than to look fate in the eye," Ziman tell us with a barely masked ache in her clear voice, "So scared of the worst that the best just passed me by."

FerryThe sexiest man in the world just might be a 65-year-old guy with a voice like buttah, sweet and soft and usable as a lubricant in a pinch. Bryan Ferry — who put the glam in glam-rock as the frontman for Roxy Music — is in sultry seduction mode on his 13th solo release, Olympia. Featuring a first-rate roster of guest musicians from Flea to Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and former crony Brian Eno, Ferry mixes and matches sexy originals with covers on an album that’s as transcendent and erotic as Roxy’s seminal Avalon. Opener "You Can Dance" is an invitation to the hazy nightlife revelry that Ferry explores over 10 tracks (12 on the Deluxe Edition) — as airy and buoyant as Avalon’s "The Space Between." The Scissor Sisters’ co-write "Heartache by Numbers" is a softly crooned pop confection. Tim Buckley’s "Song to the Siren" — covered by both Robert Plant and This Mortal Coil — is a faster, groovier version than we’ve heard. And when the soulful backup singers chant "Love! Love! You fit me like a glove!" on the bass-popping "BF Bass (Ode to Olympia)," honey, all we can say is go ahead and slip it in.
Anoraak French DJ/producer Frederic Riviere dba Anoraak drops his frothy electro debut today, Wherever the Sun Sets. Though the synths may be mechanical and chilly, the tunes are warm and inviting. Riviere has a pleasantly nondescript voice, but he surrounds himself with great atmospherics and burrowing hooks. The single "Try Me" is like Francis & the Lights tackling synth-pop. "You Taste Like Cherry" is as refreshing and tasty as its title; the instrumental "Midnight Sunset" is as evocative as that sounds. And when he wants to shake it up a little, he brings in divine female voices: Sally Shapiro on the light funk of "Don’t Be Afraid" and Scottish-French chanteuse Siobhan Wilson on the sunset drive-time groove of "Dolphins & Highways."
SuperionsA friend of ours thought the Superions' "Fruitcake" was too obvious for satire. But we say the B-52’s Fred Schneider and his electronic henchmen can do no wrong with Destination… Christmas!, featuring titles such as "Santa Je T’aime" and — we’re licking our lips — “Santa's Disco.”
Until One is a strange name for the debut of the DJ collective known as Swedish House Mafia. From the banging up mashes and club-burning beats on "Miami 2 Ibiza" and "Show Me Love" featuring Robin S, one a.m. is when this party revs up.

L.A. songwriter Juliette Commagere might as well be from another galaxy as the movie capital of the world, because she’s as weird and wondrous as Bat for Lashes or Björk on her sophomore album The Procession.

Bowie As compilations go, We Were So Turned On: Tribute to David Bowie is a doozy, two discs of Thin White Duke classics to benefit the War Child International foundation. Check out Carla Bruni’s beautiful ballad of "Absolute Beginners" or papercranes’ twee take on "Blue Jean."

Also out:  Mark Salling — Pipe Dreams; Taylor Swift — Speak Now; Michael Bublé — Crazy Love Hollywood Edition; Dixie Chicks — The Essential Dixie Chicks; Warpaint — The Fool; Avey Tare — Down There; Andrew Bird — Useless Creatures; Prefab Sprout — Let’s Change the World with Music


Sunday Girl — "Stop Hey"
Jade Williams aka Sunday Girl looks like an adorable English school girl as she poses and dances through this bouncy tune’s clip. Little Boots meets Florence + the Machine perhaps?

Yelle — "La Musique"
It’s a Daft Punk disco party from this French trio fronted by Julie Budet (aka Yelle). This clip’s a cut-and-paste digital job with iconographic images of Penelope Cruz, Oprah, Obama, Justin Bieber and more.

Uffie — "Difficult"
Paris-based, Miami-born Uffie walks an endless high school hallway with checkerboard floors, students on the ceiling, and — what? — a Freddie Mercury impersonator. Surreal.

Oh Land — "Sun of a Gun"
Inspired by too-much L.A. sunshine, Oh Land’s homesickness became the wintry nightscape of her finger-snapping single. The Danish pop tart born Nanna Øland Fabricius will release her U.S. debut in 2011.

MUSIC NEWS: Diamond Rings, Sugarland, Elton John & Leon Russell, Penguin Prison, Massive Attack


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.


There’s something heartening about a gangly, 6'4" youth decked out in rainbow eyeliner and lipstick along with his sneakers and jeans. That’d be one John O’Regan, the Toronto whiz kid known as Diamond Rings. When he opens that pretty, lip-glossed mouth on his debut Special Affections (out Monday October 25), his voice is anything but androgynous. It’s big, it’s sonorous, it’s — well — manly. To get a sense of O’Regan in all his glory, check out the video for his latest single "Something Else" or the Halloween-time clip for the blues-gospel electro strut of "Wait & See." He’s living it up: loving the music intensely in "Something Else"; dancing through the neighborhood during "Wait & See" like a bird proud of its exotic plumage. But you don’t need the visuals to get at the complicated heart of these shiny love songs. He struggles with identity amidst the synthetic tension of "You Oughta Know." He wants to hold on to his good love on the blissful "You & Me." And on the generous closer "All Yr Songs" he lathers his lover with lotion to keep from burning in summer and offers up his winter sweater to stave off the cold. Beneath the pageantry, that’s the kind of diamond that sparkles brightest.
Sugarland Country music for urban sophisticates has always been an iffy proposition. Too twangy for some; too backwoods for others; too damn formulaic for those who aren’t enamored of the Nashville diaspora. But if you’ve got pop ears, Sugarland’s fourth album The Incredible Machine (out today) will hit you where you live, whether that’s Knoxville or New York City. Jennifer Nettles (big voice) and Kristian Bush (big hooks) get their anthem on for 10 songs and an interlude in which they wear their hearts, and the Heartland, on their sleeves. Much has been made of the reggae breakdown at the heart of the single "Stuck Like Glue," but in 2010 it’s not only milk that’s homogenized. Why shouldn’t CMA pros be as familiar with Bob Marley’s songbook as Merle Haggard’s? "Wide Open" — with its piano arpeggios and rousing chorus — is Coldplay below the Mason-Dixon Line. And when Nettles channels Melissa Etheridge for "Little Miss," it’s an inclusive gesture that tells non-believers everybody’s welcome at the hoedown.
Leonelton Produced by the Academy Award®-winning roots revivalist T-Bone Burnett, Elton John and Leon Russell’s The Union (out today) could just as easily be called O Brothers, Where Hast Thou Been? Burnett — who steered the olde timey hootin’ and hollerin’ of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack to Oscar glory — focuses the aimless trajectory of both John and Russell’s recent careers. This harkens back to their 1970’s halcyon days, revisiting past glories while offering a welcome evolution. Russell, the Oklahoma session musician who co-wrote the Carpenters' "Superstar," is a honky tonk pianist without peer, and John has always flourished when imbuing his melodies with a touch of Americana ("Honky Cat," "Bennie and the Jets"). With lyrics by long-time John cohort Bernie Taupin, The Union’s a good Elton John record with extra Southern grit. They turn the Bible into a juke joint on the jumping "Hey Ahab." A Stones-y groove rides roughshod over the swinging "Monkey Suit." And — just to remind us he’s Elton John — we get a superstar kiss-off called "Eight Hundred Dollar Shoes" that’s slower and smarter than Jennifer Lopez’s name-dropping "Louboutins."

Towleroad - October 19, 2010 by


RoadStream the entire new holiday album, Destination...Christmas! (out Mon 25), from Fred Schneider's side project The Superions.
SoundofMusic RoadThe soundtrack album for the 45th Anniversary Blu-ray debut of The Sound of Music will include a bonus track of Glee's Lea Michele singing "My Favorite Things." Soundtrack (and Blu-ray/DVD) out November 2.

RoadInspired by the unveiling of the (now reportedy banned in the USA) album cover for Kanye West's forthcoming My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, NME has gathered 30 ill-advised album covers. NSFW.

RoadEve says her much-delayed album Lip Lock will be out in March on a new label.

RoadPenguin Prison finally has a release date targeted for his debut album, February 2011, and he's followed up his buzz track with a proper single, "Golden Train," to preview it. (Download a free remix of the track above, hear the original version here).
KeshaRoadKe$ha's "We R Who We R" is available for a special 24 hour free download at her website.

RoadNew Massive Attack video ("Atlas Air").

RoadKaty Perry performs "Firework" on Britain's X Factor this past Sunday.


Colombian superstar Shakira drops her seventh release, Sale El Sol (The Sun Comes Out), a bilingual affair featuring Puerto Rican rappers Calle 13 on "Gordita" and two versions of "Loca" — one with Dominican rapper El Cata and one with U.K. motormouth Dizzee Rascal.

Rocky We’re stoked for The Rocky Horror Glee Show soundtrack. Kurt as Riff-Raff? Hottie newcomer Sam (Chord Overstreet) as the scantily-clad Rocky? And Amber as sweet transvestite Dr. Frank-N-Furter? Sounds like a Halloween classic in the making.
She’s either the most subversive indie star in the world or she’s lost all dignity and completely sold out. Either way, Liz Phair’s sixth album Funstyle entertains you with the Indian-inspired "Bollywood" and a satirical song that presupposes your reaction to her latest, "U Hate It."

From hirsute Southern wannabes to Hollywood-hot arena rockers, Kings of Leon release album number five, Come Around Sundown, an easy rocking follow-up to mega hit Only By the Night.

Also out today:  Bob Dylan — The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964; Rod Stewart — Fly Me to the Moon…The Great American Songbook Volume V; Phish — Coral Sky; Morrissey — Bona Drag (20th Anniversary Edition) (Import); Mt. Desolation — Mt. Desolation


Claire Macguire — "Ain’t Nobody"
She’s a black-clad siren in a windy mountaintop desert wailing about love as objects appear, hover, mutate. With her big dramatic voice, this London songstress is going to be huge.

Holy Fuck — "Red Lights"
A Toronto quartet that — based on name alone — will never make the Pope’s Top Ten, but their cute clip could still warm the papal cockles. Last week it was dogs. This week we have a car-driving, drum-playing, bass-thumping bad-ass kitty. Awww.

Brooke Fraser — "Something in the Water"
The tune’s a love-struck hootenanny; the clip as homey as the crafty clothes this New Zealand folkie wears throughout. Yet her sweetness is infectious, and the digital animation not homey or love-stung, but kind of creepy.

Trish — "Bump (Shoes Remix)"
Canadian R&B thrush gets her freak on in a dominatrix pantsuit and hair that can’t decide if it’s Eurythmics or La Roux so splits the difference and looks like both. And, oh yes, that slinky groove will make you want to bump.

MUSIC NEWS: Robbie Williams, Antony and the Johnsons, The Green Children, Duffy, Dave Koz, Sky Ferreira


Guestblogger MODERN 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.


Robbie Spanning 20 years — including his time in the massive U.K. boy band Take That — Robbie Williams' multi-disc set In and Out of Consciousness — The Greatest Hits 1990 – 2010 (out today) is two discs of his best-known songs and an extra CD of rarities, B-sides and covers. He declared his emancipation from boy band slavery with a cover of George Michael’s "Freedom" in 1996. "Angels," the heart-rending ballad that’s raised everything from lighters to cell phones since 1997, cemented his solo rep. Supernovas collided when he and Kylie Minogue collaborated on the funk-rock hit "Kids." And on his latest single "Shame" — with Take That mate Gary Barlow — he revisits his past with one eye on the future. (Oh, and that Brokeback Mountain-inspired video? Perfection). So here’s another chance to get to know the cherry-picked best of our boy Robbie before he embarks on a new album with Take That, Progress, slated for November, and a world tour to follow.
AntonyThough it’s full of the emotional warbling we’ve come to love from him, Swanlights, Antony Hegarty’s fourth album with his band the Johnsons, is a simpler affair than last year’s ornate, lushly orchestrated The Crying Light. The title single from an EP released in August, "Thank You for Your Love," announced the change — a piano-based, R&B-tinged mid-tempo ballad that’s a direct expression of gratitude. To its very end, the rest of Swanlights follows suit. "The Great White Ocean" is delicate chamber pop. Darkness undercuts the swelling "I’m in Love." And then just to remind us what a strange, wondrous and freaky artist he is, Hegarty invites fellow free-spirit Björk to shadow his vocal pyrotechnics on the Icelandic-language "Flétta," followed by the gender-switching religious parable "Salt Silver Oxygen." "She’s a selective Christ," sings this proud transgender artist while flutes and violins and bassoons ebb and flow across the shimmering surface of its melody. Whether touching us with his straightforward love songs or engaging us with more challenging fare (including a special edition with a 144-page booklet of artwork and writings), Swanlights proves again that there’s no artist — gay or straight, earthly or otherworldly, male or female or somewhere in between — as original as this one. (See the new video for "The Spirit Is Gone" here.)

Green We're a little wary (and weary) of the [insert trendy charitable cause here] ribbon-wearing celebrities who are, well, celebrities first. But it's tough to be cynical about the Green Children. The European electro-pop duo put their name where their music is when their 2006 CD/DVD debut Hear Me Now in Norway raised money to build an eye hospital in rural Bangladesh. While most would-be pop stars are busy working on their gimmick, the English-born Marlow Bevan and Norwegian beauty Milla Sunde established the Green Children Foundation to help kids who can't afford education.
 All this would mean little if their U.S. debut Encounter wasn't such a breezy, pop-loving delight. The title track is like dance-pop Björk before she turned into an avant-garde swan. "Black Magic" is what Kylie would be if she slipped on some Lilith Fair Birkenstocks to channel Sarah MacLachlan. And the single "Dragons" is such a feel-good upper; we keep waiting for its cheerful melody to break into a chorus of "He's the Greatest Dancer." Between their selfless works and this unforgettable Encounter, we thank the Green Children. Now they can go ahead and have a diva breakdown and trash a 4-star hotel room — they've earned it.

Towleroad October 12, 2010 by


150x150_music_robyn_indestructible RoadRobyn's next single is "Indestructible." Like "Hang With Me" before it, the single will be a souped-up electronic version of what first appeared in a more sedate form. The third album in Robyn's 2010 trilogy, Body Talk, Pt. 3, being billed as "the complete Body Talk album," is scheduled for a November 29 U.K. release (U.S. date not announced yet). The album will feature five tracks each from Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 plus five new tracks.

RoadTeaser for the new Pet Shop Boys single "Together."

RoadRihanna covers Billboard.

RoadCee-Lo Green discusses "Fuck You."

RoadBryan Ferry talks Olympia.
Duffy RoadWelsh singer Duffy, whose "Mercy" (from debut album Rockferry) made major waves a couple of years ago, follows up with her second album, Endlessly, out December 7. First single is "Well, Well, Well."

RoadP!nk's new video for "Raise Your Glass" to take place at a gay wedding.

RoadDaft Punk's Tron soundtrack release date has been pushed back two weeks to December 7. Hear a snippet here.

RoadStream Elton John and Leon Russell's album The Union, out next week, in its entirety here.

RoadToday marks the 25th anniversary of B-52's guitarist Ricky Wilson's death from AIDS. We miss and remember him.

A Dave Grammy-winning saxophonist with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, out California boy Dave Koz gets help from Sheila E., Keb’ Mo’ and more on his 12th studio collection of smooth jazz, Hello Tomorrow.

Oh, the sexy undead of Vampire’s Creek, uh, we mean The Vampire Diaries, may not have a pulse, but they know their dark alt-rock. The Vampire Diaries: Original Television Soundtrack eclipses the Twilight series with tunes from Bat for Lashes, Goldfrapp, Silversun Pickups, Sky Ferreira and more. (And check out a dance mix of Sky’s track "Obsession" in our player above).
No longer ‘tweenagers, Glasgow septet Belle & Sebastian still explore heartache with youthful passion on Write About Love. The tempos are (mostly) quick, the hooks aplenty, and the title track — featuring vocals by actress Carey Mulligan — is the best '60s pop rip they’ve done yet.

Styrofoam On Disco Synthesizers & Daily Tranquilizers, Arne Van Petegem’s Belgian one-man band Styrofoam gets its groove on for 10 insinuatingly happy tunes, like the clubby "What’s Hot (And What’s Not)" and the single "Get Smarter."

The first in a series that celebrates New York’s dance night Fixed, U.K. electro duo Simian Mobile Disco hand-picked and mixed 16 hardcore club tracks for Simian Mobile Disco is Fixed.

Also out today: Sufjan Stevens — The Age of Adz; The Postelles — The Postelles; The Orb featuring David Gilmour — Metallic Spheres; Wilson Phillips — Christmas in Harmony; Katherine McPhee — Christmas Is a Time…(To Say I Love You); Duran Duran — Notorious / Big Thing (remastered); Olivia Newton John — Christmas Collection; Shelby Lynne — Merry Christmas; Various Artists — The New Dance Mix USA; Old 97’s — The Grand Theatre Vol. 1; Indigo Girls — Holly Happy Day

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MUSIC NEWS: KT Tunstall, Dark Dark Dark, Apache Beat, St. Lola in the Fields, New Collisions, Ursula 1000

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.


KTDoes KT Tunstall want to get something off her chest? "Hold your fire, I'm coming out and I'll tell you the truth" are the first words of her third album Tiger Suit, 11 powerful songs that play like an apologia for her lackluster last effort Drastic Fantastic. She sounds reenergized here — every inch the feisty Scot who broke internationally with the massive hit "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" in 2004. From the driving opening track "Uummannaq Song" — named for a Greenland municipality — to the swampy blues of "Madame Trudeaux" and the whiplash-inducing rockabilly stomp of "Come On, Get In," Tunstall’s a force of nature. She rarely lets up, adding some lovely left-field elements — the jerky 80’s groove of "Glamour Puss," a whistling effect on the lush, Sia-esque "(Still A) Weirdo" — that’s a new level of playfulness in her work. Now, about that coming out line…
Darkdarkdark_wildgo_hires How can it be that Minneapolis sextet Dark Dark Dark’s sophomore release Wild Go seems to be the freshest, most breathtaking indie record of the year? They’re not even from Brooklyn or Portland! Co-led by multi-instrumentalists/singers Nona Marie Invie and Marshall LaCount, the band infuse their gay chamber folk with handpicked elements of gypsy folk, French Quarter jazz and the sharp observations of the best American singer-songwriters. Invie handles most of the vocals in a style reminiscent of Natalie Merchant while LaCount’s reedy voice is softly casual. Accordions wheeze and a lone violin saws away like a Balkan street-corner musician on frenzied opener "In Your Dreams" as Invie and LaCount offer menacing harmonizing to a tale of lacerating isolation. And on the stunning "Daydreaming," a melody that drifts away like a cloudless afternoon portends a night of "unspeakable things," a phrase Invie repeats like an ominous mantra. So step aside, Williamsburg. Watch your back, Oregon; Minneapolis just beat you at your own game.

ApachebeatThe New York alt quintet Apache Beat wastes no time getting straight to their raison d’etre on Last Chants. Starting with "Knives," they layer sleek guitar riffs atop the driving noise-pop that’s a staple of bands as far ranged as the Pains of Being Pure at Heart to Sky Larkin all the way back to — just guess — the Jesus & Mary Chain. It’s an old trick — burying grand pop hooks beneath manic feedback — but it’s also the greenest thing in the alt-rock playbook: i.e., it’s both sustainable and renewable. Front-woman Ilirjana Alushaj is like the modern iteration of Siouxsie Sioux, all chanting bellow on "Walking On Fire" and whooping psychosis on "Your Powers Are Magic." They fold the high-strung guitar artistry of Talking Heads into the dream-pop landscape on the standout "Another Day." And "Nightwaters" sounds like Patti Smith if she’d been a New Wave doyenne instead of a classic punk progenitor. The album title, however, is misleading. We seriously doubt these will be the last chants we hear from this band at all.


Tons more new releases, video, and streaming tunes after the JUMP

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