18
Jul 17

HOLLY VALANCE – “Kiss Kiss”

Popular16 comments • 1,792 views

#925, 11th May 2002

valance “Freak Like Me” is a rare case where hit covers and mutations keep building on the foundations of a song, finding new things in it. At this point in pop, the opposite was more often true. “Kiss Kiss” is a good single – in the context of the charts, its dipping and rolling Turkish rhythms are delightfully fresh, a showy flourish across a grey backdrop. But hearing the singles it was based on – Tarkan’s “Simarik” and Stella Soleil’s remake of it as “Kiss Kiss” – lets you hear possibilities this version closes down.

12
Jul 17

2017 Albums I Like Part 2

FT11 comments • 592 views

horseface I am still listening to a new-to-me LP every day! A lot – in fact, most – of those LPs come from this year. So here are 30 MORE albums I’ve enjoyed a lot, in some kind of ranking. Confusingly perhaps, these are not all records released in April-June, but records I heard for the first time in April-June. That pedantic point is of interest only to me: what YOU want to know (maybe) is what these good records are.

1. HORSEFACE – Jaakausi (Charming Swedish post-rock, like a lost Too Pure signing)
2. POLO & PAN – Caravelle (Summertime bubblegum house-pop from France)
3. HAUSCHKA – What If? (Bustling future visions, like Olaf Stapledon with player-pianos)
4. JLIN – Black Origami (Intense, brain-twisting footwork epic)
5. ANGALEENA PRESLEY – Wrangled (Smart, tuneful, country; part wistful, part kick-ass)
6. SZA – Control (R&B act achieves the near-impossible by making 20something relationship angst compelling)
7. OMAR SOULEYMAN – From Syria, With Love (Does what the title says, and you could dance to it)
8. PARAMORE – After Laughter (Big, bright pop move from perennial emo kid faves)
9. OCTO OCTA – Where Are We Going? (Sparkly, expansive house music)
10. KENDRICK LAMAR – DAMN. (Hip-hop monarch embraces the banger)

10
Jul 17

SUGABABES – “Freak Like Me”

Popular32 comments • 3,521 views

#924, 4th May 2002

sugafreak At The Disco

A scene from Phonogram III: The Immaterial Girl, by Gillen, McKelvie and Wilson, published in 2015. It’s the early 00s, at a disco somewhere in the south of England. A group of people who love music so much it’s become their life and the tools of their craft – magic in the comic’s world; writing, DJing and blogging in ours – have been brought together to scheme and to dance. One of them is Seth Bingo, a skinny guy in a T-Shirt saying “Mutya Keisha Siobhan”. The final name is crossed out, with “Heidi” scrawled underneath. Bingo, affected but handsome in a gaunt sort of way, is talking to another thin white man, a morose husk of a creature called Indie Dave. “What is your take – “ Bingo asks – “on the Babes Of Suga?”.

“My real take?” asks Dave, “Or my ironic one?”. And so Seth Bingo lays him out with an uppercut, the art exploding in colour around the punch.

26
Jun 17

Halfway House 2017

FT8 comments • 503 views

Wiley shot for the NME MagazineWe’re almost halfway through 2017 and the world hasn’t blown up yet! Well done us. Let’s make the most of our remaining time and have a nice chat about music: this year my personal favourites seem to be mostly house/techno rather than pop – the exact opposite to last year. This is despite (because of?) the fact that I’ve listened to quite a lot of pop this year, thanks to being seated much nearer the office radio for the last 6 months – Ed Sheeran-ocalypse and all. Grime has thankfully taken up the slack a bit and provided us with several out-and-out bangers.

Anyway, here are some selected tunes of 2017 that I have enjoyed:

15
Jun 17

The Sound Barrier Podcast: 6: Der Müde Tod & The Seventh Seal

Do You See + Sound Barrier Podcast2 comments • 117 views

18839828_10154680740586868_6737598035236876209_oAh Death. May your cold embrace be delayed, but when you grasp me at least do it with the humility and grace you do in this week’s Sound Barrier podcast. For this week Peter Baran and Pamela Hutchinson discuss the recently re-released Der Müde Tod and The Seventh Seal both of whom feature Death as a lead character. How do these personifications stack up, how do Fritz Lang and Ingmar Bergman deal with this heavy material and which one is a comic masterpiece (Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey obviously). Recorded in a makeshift studio, but with all the non-makeshift opinions you expect we pit these two movies together, and the conclusion may surprise you. Listen to it over on Silent London here.

The Silent London Podcast is also available on iTunes and Stitcher. If you like what you hear, please subscribe and leave a rating or review too. The podcast is presented in association with SOAS radio by Peter Baran and Pamela Hutchinson.

3
Jun 17

“the note that she hoped would say more”: sergeant pepper five decades on

FT4 comments • 481 views

Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released the week of my seventh birthday — to date my favourite (an affective fact unlikely to be challenged this year). Seven is the best number.

But it didn’t come into our family lives until a month later, my mum’s 32nd birthday, 4 July 1967. We were on holiday in mid-Wales, on a hillside farm owned by family friends (my godfather) a little up from Aberdyfi. Dad hadn’t joined us immediately — in those years he often had to travel to London from Shrewsbury for days on end, to attend work-related meetings. So he drove up a few days later — we were a two-mini family, very Italian Job in that one way at least — laden with presents for everyone, especially mum.

31
May 17

The Sound Barrier Podcast: 5: Wall-E / The Red Turtle

Do You See + Sound Barrier Podcast1 comment • 96 views

wall e turtleOn the fifth Sound Barrier we have no guests, but an extremely animated discussion about – oh, did you see what I did there. We are comparing a Pixar classic with a brand new, but dialogue free, movie. So the dialogue free movie The Red Turtle is our “silent movie”, while Wall-E, which has largish silent section, is our sound film for comparison. Beautiful hand drawn Studio Ghibli animation vs incredibly detailed computer generated work. We delve into the animation, but we also spend a fair bit of time of the thematic similarities between the two, loneliness, love, loss and of course skittering critter sidekicks. So build a raft, or hold on to a passing rocket and listen as we break the Sound Barrier again.

You can listen over on Silent London here or on iTunes and Stitcher. If you like what you hear, please subscribe and leave a rating or review too. The podcast is presented in association with SOAS Radio by Peter Baran and Pamela Hutchinson.

18
May 17

The Sound Barrier Podcast: 4: Mindhorn / The Mystery Of The Leaping Fish

Do You See + Sound Barrier PodcastPost a comment • 68 views

mystery of leaping fish mindhornThis fortnights Sound Barrier podcast tackles comedy for the first time. And in particular the comedic potential of detectives and drugs. On the modern corner with have British meta farce Mindhorn, where Julian Barrett plays Richard Thorncroft who played Isle Of Man bionic detective Mindhorn. He is drawn back to the Isle Of Man to help with a case, or to try and regain some fame, and also take some drugs. Which made us think of our favourite drugged up detective, Coke Ennyday, played by Douglas Fairbanks Snr in The Mystery Of The Leaping Fish. Coke is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche who really doubles down on one particular aspect of Holmes’s method…

So join myself, Pamela Hutchinson and special guest Julian Coleman (you can follow him on Twitter here). Listen over on Silent London here or on iTunes and Stitcher. If you like what you hear, please subscribe and leave a rating or review too. The podcast is presented in association with SOAS Radio by Peter Baran and Pamela Hutchinson.

Alan Moore Knows The Score (It’s One Star)

FT2 comments • 386 views

WatchmenWatchmen by Alan Moore
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Modern comics events seem to demand endless lead-ins and spin-offs, and sadly Doomsday Clock, from the blockbuster team of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, is no exception to this trend. Watchmen, the extended prequel to Doomsday Clock, feels wholly unneccessary to 2017’s much-anticipated DC Rebirth (TM) event. For a start, it’s not even by Geoff Johns – how big a clue do you need that DC see ‘Watchmen’ as simply a cash-in? The storyline has been farmed out to a British writer-artist team who are given the task of introducing us to the universe which will “collide” with the DCU in this winter’s mega-event.

It’s an important job and one which might have been suited to a special issue or even an annual-length story, but no – DC had to drag things out to 12 long issues – for comparison purposes, the Death Of Hawkman (in which Hawkman dies) was only alotted 6 issues. Watchmen includes several issues focusing on characters who don’t even survive to take part in Doomsday Clock! And don’t get me started on the sequences set on yet ANOTHER part of the DC multiverse, where pirates still rule the waves – yes, it’s a cool concept for an alternate Earth, but an editor should definitely have stepped in and asked for a bit of clarity.

10
May 17

Making Your Mind Up: How Eurovision Caused Brexit

New York London Paris Munich25 comments • 1,200 views

FAKE NEWS! But REAL POP! In April I went to Seattle and talked about Eurovision and Brexit, and now thanks to the miracle of YouTube and Bruce from my work’s Graphics Department you too can experience my presentation. It isn’t quite the same as being there (lots of people laughed! honest!) but it’ll have to do.

I hope you enjoy this piece of multimedia content, I certainly enjoyed making and presenting it – we will be back to the written word (and to Popular) before long, I promise.