Modern Tonic — a free email delivering gay-approved pop-culture gems (before they've been co-opted by everyone else) — presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad.
Boy, has Australian native Sarah Blasko got it bad. She opens her third album, As Day Follows Night, with "Down On Love," a ruminative track that combines the melody of Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah” with the lyrics "Lately you’ve been down on love…" After 45 minutes of bad romances, unfaithful lovers and just plain despair, you feel as if you’ve spent a long, dark night in Blasko’s soul. Speaking of long nights, Blasko went to Sweden to team with producer Björn Yttling (of Peter, Björn and John fame) and wrestle with her metaphorical ghosts. The single "All I Want" is as lonesome and windswept as the Ennio Morricone-esque arrangement that drives it forward. And her plaintive, hazy vocal style is vulnerability personified. The music-hall happy "Hold On My Heart" offers a way out — an uptempo ramble that’s as breezy and relieving as the first break of dawn. After making it through the delicious drama of this Night, daylight has never looked more vivid.
After two independent releases that made him a star in Europe, Massachusetts blue-eyed soulja Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed releases his first major label record Come and Get It! today. Not much has changed since his fantastic sophomore album Roll with You. His retro soul and genuine love of 70’s groove on uptempo stompers like "Name Calling" and the title tune keep him on track to become the male Amy Winehouse. If he’s not yet as deep or as damaged as that tortured diva, pay no mind; he’s honing his gut-wrenching craft and reaching new depths of soul-searching sincerity. Witness "Just Like Me," in which baby-faced Reed lets loose a scream as earthy as James Brown. And he goes out on a pavement-shredding rave-up called "Explosion," a sneaky, unexpected special delivery from a man whose star has only begun to rise.
Here’s a real treat: smokin' hot new remixes from two of summer 2010's ubiquitous divas — Kylie Minogue and Katy Perry. The Paul Harris remix of Kylie’s "Get Outta My Way" (the follow-up single to Aphrodite's "All The Lovers") stretches the original to the breaking point, only to rebound on the dance floor under sparkling lights and Kylie’s happy-go-lucky vocals. Katy Perry’s "Peacock" from her forthcoming Teenage Dream AutoTunes the femme-bussing babe who’s now very interested in a bird of a different stripe indeed. “I wanna see your peacock-cock-cock” she sings amidst the Hector Fonseca Club Mix, with extra synthetic bongos and cha-cha rhythms. Can we get a whoop whoop?
Katy Perry on her career right now: "You have to bust your ass at this, which is why you don't find me getting shitfaced in bars that much…God, how many times do you see people slump on their sophomore record? Nine out of 10. But I'm still working, like, 13-hour days, five, six days a week and singing on top of it. And knowing that there's someone right behind me, ready to go, ready to push me down the stairs, just like in Showgirls."
Antony and the Johnsons release "Thank You For Your Love," an EP of five new songs, on August 24, ahead of the October 12 release of their new album, Swanlights. The packaging (cover at right) will feature photographs taken by Antony when he arrived in NYC in the early '90s. Get the title track for free here in exchange for your email address.
Reese Witherspoon in talks to play Peggy Lee in a biopic written by Nora Ephron.
Sara Bareilles erases the unpleasant memories of Liza Minnelli's cover of "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" with her fantastic acoustic interpretation.
The first of what will be a steady stream of solo projects from Glee cast members has arrived. Mark Salling (Puck) debuted his new single "Higher Power" on Ryan Seacrest's show this morning. Listen to it, and the interview, here. In other Glee news, Ryan Murphy confirmed today that Britney Spears will, as rumored, actually be appearing on the forthcoming all-Britney episode.
Mark Ronson's third album, Record Collection, out September 28, will include the producer's vocal debut on two tracks, one of which, the title track, also features Duran Duran singer Simon LeBon and keyboardist Nick Rhodes.
Florence and the Machine, whose video for "Dog Days Are Over" has four MTV VMA nominations, will perform at the awards show September 12.
MORE NEW RELEASES:
Mike Posner — 31 Minutes to Takeoff; Judy Garland — Lost Tracks 1929-1959; Scott Pilgrim vs. the World — Original Motion Picture Soundtrack; Lost in the Trees — All Alone in an Empty House; Stornoway — Beachcomber’s Windowsill; RPA & the United Nations of Sound — The United Nations of Sound
Chromeo — "Don’t Turn the Lights On"
Freaky electrofunk Canadians lay down a sly groove while the lights go out and some big eyes, bright teeth and pink mouths fill the screen. From their forthcoming Business Casual.
The Weepies — "Be My Thrill"
In two and a half minutes, the Topanga Canyon couple from the Weepies encapsulate the thrill of lifelong love in an animated clip of lovers — including a same-sex couple — adrift on billowy clouds of joyful emotion.
Holy Ghost! — "I Know, I Hear"
From their Static on the Wire EP, these dance-crazy Brooklynites invite Caroline Polachek from Chairlift for heavenly backing vocals on a Rapture-style funk jam shot in stark and artsy black-and-white.
The Count & Sinden ftrg. Mystery Jets — "After Dark"
This house duo from London host U.K. alt-rockers on an Afro-groove in a clip that’s like every cheesy British variety shows rolled into one. From their forthcoming Mega Mega Mega.