Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Get Down Like There's No One Around

Newly proclaimed lesbo Sia is the latest to strip a Britney Spears song down to it's most basic...and to improve upon the embattled star's own over-produced version. In its new simple form, the fragility is brought to the forefront. Where Britney's version is pure guilty-pleasure, Sia's rendition is lovely and guilt-free. Then again, she could sing a grocery list and make it sound phenomenal.

Head on over to MySpace for additional songs + tour dates for Ms. Sia. Support the artist via iTunes:


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Sun Has Come To Show

I've mentioned her in the past, but I'm bringing Wallis Bird back up here since I'm starting to listen to her work more frequently these days. She has that whole vibe KT Tunstall wishes she had sustained from her debut. This 26 y.o. Irish singer-songwriter infuses her debut, Spoons, with various styles, from pop to folk to rock and so on. It's a great effort and showcases her tremendous talent. Take a listen to one of the tracks, Country Bumpkin:

If you fancy her style, check out additional songs + tour dates on MySpace. Also, support her by buying her album:

Wallis Bird
Wallis Bird

Be Whoever Comes Into Your Head

The Brighton-based rock band The Kooks are back with their new single, Always Where I Need To Be. Their sophomore effort Konk (named for the London studio the set was recorded in) will be released by Virgin on March 14 in the UK. They have a few shows in the US, so I'm certain that they are prepping for a US release sometime in the near future.

As for the single, I haven't decided if I really like it. It's definitely not bad, but it lacks the appeal that the previous three singles (Naive, She Moves In Her Own Way and Ooh La) had. Those contained instantly catchy hooks that had you craving frequent listens. Always... appears to be a grower. It's still in line with their previous works as it is a fun, upbeat pop song.

For additional songs + tour dates, head on over to their official MySpace page. To pre-order the album, head over to Amazon or Amazon UK. Or, if you prefer iTunes, use the appropriate link below:

The Kooks
The Kooks

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bullet Dodged

OK, OK, I feel silly getting all excited about this, but one of my favourite (and guiltiest of pleasures) this television season was the Angie Harmon (pictured) lead procedural drama Women's Murder Club. It had all but expired when it was suddenly resuscitated for three more episodes. Despite rumours that it would be rescheduled as an Angie solo project, it has been confirmed that the only major changes will be behind the scenes. Law & Order vet Robert Nathan has been brought on board as the show-runner and he'll be overseeing it's return to the airwaves some time in April.

It's probably a little more exciting for me considering television and movies are what will mostly be keeping me company until my relocation to Brooklyn. I doubt that I would care too much under normal circumstances. haha

F**kin' Hilarious

He couldn't really outdo his girlfriend Sarah Silverman's classic I'm F**king Matt Damon, but Jimmy Kimmel knew that. Instead, he turned his I'm F**king Ben Affleck into a We Are The World-esque anthem. Let me just say, I can't stand Josh Groban, but his appearance gained him some respect from me:

Sunday, February 24, 2008

You Stand To Win Everything

The Oscars have come and gone, and it was a memorable evening indeed. No majour upsets in my opinion, with the exception of the unfortunate mess worn by Tilda Swinton (pictured). She's a stunning beauty, but why she chose to wear that dress (and I use that term very loosely) is beyond me. It's almost as if someone tried creating a graduation gown out of a Hefty garbage bag and just didn't get to left sleeve in time.

That fashion disaster aside, tonight was the first time I have ever attended an Oscar party. It was a small gathering at a friend's flat, but it proved to be very enjoyable. It was nice to catch up with the hosts, as I don't really get to see either of them too often. Of course, everyone had their prediction ballot and the person with the most correct guesses would take home the coveted Blue Ball award (it's really just a blue sphere paperweight that the flat owner wanted to pawn off on someone). Naturally, being the only single person there, I won. I correctly guessed 17 out of the 24 awards handed out. There was a change to my choice for Best Actress. I believe I said here that Cate Blancett would win, but I changed my mind and went with Swinton. Due to that change, I correctly guess the eight majour awards (Picture, Director, all Acting, both Screenplays).

This year the awards were pretty much well spread-out, as no Best Film nominee walked away empty handed. Not surprisingly, No Country For Old Men walked away with the most, including the top prize. There Will Be Blood earned wins in two categories it was expected to win, but the owner of the mind that dreamed up this film (Paul Thomas Anderson) walked away empty handed. Original Screenplay went to the deserving Betty Rubble, errr, Diablo Cody (check out her dress and you'll understand the reference) for Juno. And the only film with multiple acting nods, Michael Clayton, walked home with just one statuette in the acting field(Best Supporting Actress for the aforementioned Swinton). The most pleasing part of the show is when Marketa Irglova hit the stage twice for her win for Best Song for the film Once. They brought her back out after a commercial break since she got cut off before she could give her acceptance speech. Hers was a sweet, tender one, so I'm glad that they brought her back out. (see video below)

Here's a rundown of the winners:

No Country For Old Men, 4 (Best Picture, Directors, Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay)

The Bourne Ultimatum, 3 (Best Editing, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing)

There Will Be Blood, 2 (Best Actor and Cinematography)

La Vie En Rose, 2 (Best Actress, Make-Up)

Juno, 1 (Best Original Screenplay)

Michael Clayton, 1 (Best Supporting Actress)

Atonement, 1 (Best Score)

Ratatouille, 1 (Best Animated Feature)

Sweeney Todd, 2 (Best Art Direction)

The Golden Compass, 1 (Best Visual Effects)

Elizabeth: The Golden Age, 1 (Best Costume Design)

Once, 1 (Best Original Song)

The Counterfeiters, 1 (Best Foreign Film)

Taxi To The Dark Side, 1 (Best Documentary Feature)

Freeheld, 1 (Best Documentary Short)

Peter & The Wolf, 1 (Best Animated Short)

Le Mozart Des Pickpockets, 1 (Best Live Action Short Film)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm Using My Force

Duffy recently stopped by BBC 1's Live Lounge and performed her number one hit Mercy. She also took on Hot Chip's recent top ten Ready For The Floor and did a surprisingly good job of it. It's nothing too brilliant, but still quite an enjoyable listen. Judge for yourself...

Friday, February 22, 2008

I Predict, Cont.

And now for the final prediction, the big one:

Best Picture
Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

For the first time I have seen all nominated films prior to the ceremony. Atonement is your typical Oscar fare. It was actually rather boring and failed to maintain my attention for long periods of time. Michael Clayton may have its share of impressive performances, but, as a whole, the film is not Best Picture material. It will fair better in the Best Actress In A Supporting Role category, where Tilda Swinton's buzz has been surging in the final days leading up to the ceremony. And then there is Juno, that light-hearted, crowd-pleasing little blockbuster that could. While I am a huge fan of this film, I honestly hope it doesn't pull an upset and take this category. Yes, it's a fun movie, but it just didn't have the weight needed, in my opinion.

The way I see it, I'll only be happy if either NCFOM or TWBB take home this award. TWBB doesn't have the edge here, though. It's audience tend to be split down the middle. For everyone person that got it and loved it, there's someone else who found no redeeming value. Yes, it was a little psychologically disturbing, but it's quite stunning if you allow yourself to get wrapped up in it. While director Paul Thomas Anderson certainly has his loyal followers, I think that this film is just going to have to settle for runner-up status in most categories where it competes with No Country. Speaking of, that film has everything going for it. A return to form by its directors Joel and Ethan Coen. Brilliant and balanced performances from the actors. A well done adaption. Everything has just seemed to line up with this one. It is the most well-rounded film, with no one nomination outshining another. And the main reason I feel this is going to win is that the excitement I felt when I watched it in the theatre several months ago is still fresh.

Prediction: No Country For Old Men (Should/Will Win)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Brit By Brit

I meant to post this list of winners from this year's Brit Awards last night, but better late than never, right?

Best British Male: Mark Ronson
Best British Female: Kate Nash
Best British Album: Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare
Best British Group: Arctic Monkeys
Best British Breakthrough Act: Mika
Best British Live Act: Take That
British Single: Take That - Shine
International Male Solo Artist: Kanye West
International Female Solo Artist: Kylie Minogue
International Group: Foo Fighters
International Album: Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
Critics' Choice Award: Adele
Outstanding Contribution to Music: Sir Paul McCartney

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Silver Lining Is Coming Through

Here's To Being Here, the new album from Jason Collett, was released earlier this month. After giving it a go a few times, I'm growing rather fond of his sophomore solo effort. It's essentially folk with a dash of rock sprinkled in to give it a little more bite. As is evident with the track I have posted below (Through The Night These Days), it is also relatively mellow. In a good way, though. I definitely recommend it.

For additional songs + tour dates, hop on over to MySpace. Support the artist by buying the album:

Jason Collett
Jason Collett

It Was Astoundingly Still

I've only heard the one song from D.C.-based rock band These United States, but it's good enough for me to recommend you keep your ear out for more from the group. Jesse Elliott commissioned some 30+ area musicians to create their debut album, A Picture Of The Three Of Us At The Gate To The Garden Of Eden. It is due for release early next month (March 4th for those of you in the US). The lead single, First Sight, is a decent pop song and introduction (the remainder of their work may not be as easily accessible).

For more songs + tour dates, check them out over on MySpace. Pre-order their album HERE.

In Respect Of Her Presence

I've already posted about this talented teenager, but word has it that the folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling will be hitting our shores after making a big splash over in the UK. Her debut album is titled Alas, I Cannot Swim and features the beautiful song Ghosts. Below is an acoustic version.

For more songs + tour dates, check her out on MySpace. Support the artist and buy the album via the link below:

Laura Marling
UK only at this time

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Predict, Cont.

The Oscars are fast approaching, so on with the predictions for Best Director.

Best Directing
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
Jason Reitman, Juno
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell & The Butterfly

Lets be honest, does anyone really think that either Reitman or Gilroy are actually going to hear their name called in this category? While both of them delivered tremendous films and guided their actors to fantastic performances, they aren't really one of the main draws for their respective film. Schnabel does have a shot (especially since a lot of people think he actually won the Director's Guild Award after that incident with a washed-up drunk), but he's still a long shot at this point. So it really comes down to PTA and the Coen Bros. The Coens have the edge, in my opinion, because their contribution hasn't been overshadowed despite the tremendous buzz around the actors. Meanwhile, I think most people think of Daniel Day-Lewis when There Will Be Blood comes up. I think almost any other year would be PTA's, but not this year. This year belongs to the Coen Bros.

Prediction: Coen Bros. (Should and Will Win)

You Said You Love Me

Here's the video for the new Moby single, Disco Lies...

Falling To The Ground

Gonzo48k is an electronic-pop duo from Italy, consisting of Luca Marrocco and Simone Pizzardo. They are known for their slightly melancholy disco songs. Their debut album, Hi-Fi Lovers, is abundant with them, including the song below, Fear Of You:

Visit their MySpace page for additional songs, tour dates and info on how to order the album.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

It's Raining Out The Window

Jaymay, a NYC and London-based singer-songwriter, couldn't quite make it in the book publishing world and (thankfully) turned to singing. She moved to London last year and signed with Heavenly Records. Her debut, Autumn Fallin', was released across the pond back in November and is due to hit our shores next month. The first single is titled Gray Or Blue.

For more songs + tour dates, jump over to MySpace. For those of you in the US, pre-order the album on, or just use the links below:


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Break Into Your Heart

It's a lazy, rainy Saturday afternoon and I'm more in the mood for relaxing than writing about the artist and song. It isn't that I don't care, because I do. It's a fantastic song from a brilliant new artist. Tim Williams is an artist on the rise and there's no further proof of that than by his debut album When Work Is Done. The lead single is Novel.

For more songs + tour dates (he's scheduled to perform at SXSW in Austin, TX), check him out on MySpace. Support him via the iTunes links below:

Tim Williams

Friday, February 15, 2008

I Predict, Cont.

Best Actress In A Supporting Role
Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie, Away From Her
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Laura Linney, The Savages
Ellen Page, Juno

Cate Blanchett may be the first actor to receive two nominations for playing the same character, but, while it was the kind of powerful performance we've come to expect of the actress, this isn't her category to win this year. And while she carried the entire film on her shoulders and is the major reason for the film's success, Ellen Page will most likely be going home empty handed. The same can be said for Laura Linney. Hers was a brilliantly subtle work, but it left me so depressed afterward. So that makes this come down to Julie Christie and Marion Cotillard. Christie was ahead early on winning many awards and lots of buzz. However, the downside of an early lead is that it typically dies down too soon. And that's right where Cotillard has swooped in, nabbing the last few awards before the big one. In all honesty, I haven't yet seen La Vie En Rose yet. I tried to, but I just wasn't in the mood. But it doesn't always come down to whether or not you've seen a movie. It's usually about who has the most buzz, and right now it's Cotillard.

Prediction: Christie (Should Win)/Cotillard (Will Win)

As Fun As It Gets

Just when you thought I had gone through the entire cataloug of Swedish pop artists, here I am posting about another one. Britta Persson is a pop artist in the vein of all those other female singer-songwriters with soft voices and upbeat tunes (any of the countless that have been heard on Grey's Anatomy or on a iPod or Zune commercial). Earlier this year, she released her sophomore effort Kill Hollywood Me. While the majority of it doesn't stand out from the pack, there are a few choice tracks on it. One of them is In Or Out, which you can listen to below:

Support her via the links below:

Britta Persson
Britta Persson

Before Your Eyes

I'm feeling rather lazy, so I'm just going to cut/paste from

"The Tom Fun Orchestra is the world’s premier Vaudevillian Cluster Rock ensemble featuring an ambitious mix of electric and acoustic instruments and enough skilled musicians on stage to intimidate even the largest crowds. Lead by Ian Macdougall’s unique and undeniable songwriting talents, the sound, the songs and the experience have refreshed impressions of what Canada’s Maritime provinces have to offer musically."

Basically, if you like Gogol Bordello or Nervous Cabaret, chances are you'll like this group.

Below is Watchmaker, taken from their album You Will Land With A Thud (which drops on 28/February in Canada)

For more info, songs + tour dates, head on over to MySpace. Pick up the album via the link below:

The Tom Fun Orchestra
Canada only

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Return

While I've never been a huge fan of Indiana Jones, I do love a good Spielberg event film. Enjoy the teaser trailer for the new Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (due May 22 in the US)

The Bitterness And Anger Left Me Long Ago

I've been single for the past three Valentine's Days. And I haven't had a positive experience on the day ever. Since I don't have anyone to be all mushy with, I put together a collection of songs that don't necessarily fit the Valentine's mode.

1. The Motion Sick - 30 Lives
This song is the only one that really fits the holiday well
The Motion Sick
The Motion Sick

2. Cherry Ghost - 4 a.m.
Cherry Ghost
UK only

3. Adele - Best For Last

4. Marc Collin feat. Katrine Ottosen & Valente - Downtown
This one is a little different, it chronicles the start-up of a relationship between two friends.
Marc Collin featuring Valente Bertelli & Katrine Ottosen
UK only

5. Tegan And Sara - Call It Off
Tegan and Sara
Tegan and Sara

6. Sia - You Have Been Loved

7. Raine Maida - Sex, Love And Honey
Raine Maida
Raine Maida

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Keep Your Ego In Check

There is yet another bitchfest brewing thanks to this past Sunday's Grammy ceremony. Aretha Franklin is apparently not happy that Beyonce referred to (God forbid) someone else as The Queen at the beginning of her performance with the legendary Tina Turner. The soul singer has released the following statement, "I am not sure of whose toes I may have stepped on or whose ego I may have bruised between the Grammy writers and Beyonce, However, I dismissed it as a cheap shot for controversy."

Sounds to me like you're the only one working on stirring up some so-called controversy Ms. Franklin. I don't care how many records you've sold, how well you sing or how big of a diva you are...none of that entitles you to be the only person referred to as The Queen. I say you check your ego at the door and get over your jealous self.

You're Like Stars

Anna Nalick...remember her? She had a mild hit with Breathe (2 a.m.) not too long ago. Well now she's back with the lead single from her upcoming sophomore album.

If you are not familiar with her style, it's kind of an amalgamation of Sarah McLachlan, Lisa Loeb and Alanis Morissette. Check out her new single, Shine, below...

For additional songs, check her out over on MySpace. Support her via the iTunes links below:

Anna Nalick
Anna Nalick

Play Pretend Between The Trees

Priscilla Ahn describes herself as just a girl that sings and plays. A Pennsylvania native, she first picked up a guitar at the age of 14. Five years later, she decided against college and opted for a move across country to Los Angeles. Since then, she was a regular on the Hote Cafe Tour, where she would perform with Joshua Radin during his shows.

If you like what I've coined Grey's Girls (think Regina Spektor, Feist, Ingrid Michaelson, etc.), then chances are you'll take a liking to her. She just completed her as-yet-untitled (from what I can tell) debut album, which will see a release date sometime this Spring. In the meantime, you can pick up her self-titled EP on iTunes (use link below). Have a listen to her current single Dream (which was initially featured on the Disturbia) below:

For more songs + tour dates, check her out on MySpace. Buy her music on iTunes using the link below:

Priscilla Ahn
Priscilla Ahn
Priscilla Ahn
Priscilla Ahn