Kathleen Edwards - Back To Me

“I’ve got plots you’ve never seen/ I’ve got moves I’ve never used/ I’ve got ways to make you come/ Back to me.”

Nothing like the bitter taste of revenge to set the mood a-sparkle in the morning, particularly this understated yet utterly hypnotic ode to a scorning lover.

When it comes to vengeance anthems, country music has got the game covered. This isn’t quite twangy enough to be another ‘Earl Has to Die’ or ‘My Give a Damn is Busted’, but somehow that’s the charm. Nothing shocking, nothing extreme, merely a simplicity to the constant chords and her steady anger that is disarmingly infectious.

See, her voice may begin breathless and fragile as she promises her payback, but then the main guitar refrain kicks in behind her with delicious speed and suddenly this isn’t just ‘would’ve, could’ve’ wistfulness; this is not to be messed with. Laughing confidence, a lazy sense of superiority – the girl who tempts her ex away from his new love with sly determination just to prove she can. The pace is just jaunty enough to pull us along, underpin the mantra with purpose and direction, yet leaves the ominous undercurrent to echo awhile.

Somebody’s going to pay, and I for one would love to see it.


Clor - Love + Pain

"Wide eyes and open-mouthed/ You look a little lost and found/ You look a little lost and found."


Oh god I love this song.

I love it immediately and with such utter devotion and fierce pride that never shall we be parted. Our courtship is brief but life-changing, a swirl of squiggly electro pulses and endearingly bounceable intro lyrics that bring joy. We’ll have a cutely kitsch wedding involving obscure comic book quotations and then honeymoon on a remote Canadian island, picnicking under redwoods with Orangina and cupcakes as the chorus swooping leads us astray into wonderment.


The jaunty simplicity and sweet sentiment meander into your bloodstream with infectious joy. This is a sugar rush blissout, frappuccino ice headache, tipsy daiquiri room spin. This is sunshine and a polka-dot dress and the new Emma Forrest novel. This is a Veronica Mars Bittorrent marathon and afternoon tea on the front quad.

Circling back over itself in some divine never-ending transcendent experience.
I sigh, I swoon.



I wonder at these newfangled video directors, I really do. I mean, did somebody actually sit down in front of Rob Thomas and say, with all sincerity, “Hey man, for your debut solo effort, I know exactly whose aesthetic you need to steal: Ricky Martin!” Indeed. You really don't want people squinting at the screen for half the room-shaking video to determine whether it's actually the MOR rocker and not everybody’s favorite ex-Menudo member. Actually, now that I think about it: Skintight jeans, diamante studded cowboy shirt… anyone would think we were in a Big & Rich video, except hey: that would imply exciting, innovative music, and god knows Rob hasn’t encountered that since 1998!

So one of Beyonce’s best singles has been released. ‘1 Thing’ is all insistent samples, hypnotic gyrations and blinging jazz undercurrents. Stilettos, statement jewelry and gold chain vest. There’s even the trademark, ‘white lycra-clad ass facing the camera while I turn back and pout’ posing. Oh yes, it’s by Amerie, the answer to that ‘what would happen if someone synthesized Alicia Keyes and Ashanti in the r’n’b songstress generator?’ question that’s been burning on your mind for, ooh, hours now.

And great work, BMG, hmmm? I know you thought you were getting the perfect post-Busted boyband-but-oh-we’re-REAL ruffle-haired rock gods in Rooster, but really? Their repertoire is the kind of thing a faded rocker would be ashamed of: pushing out the kind of dirgesome guitar-laden angst fests that even Matchbox 20 – sorry, twenty – would turn down as dull. Now they’ve resorted to tarting up the videos to try and capture some edgy Razorlight aesthetic*. With it all on mute, you’d think it was some psychedelic explosion, not a ballard with the line ‘It can’t be wrong/ Cuz you’re so right for me’.

*The fact that in the British music industry, Razorlight is considered an act worth aping, needs to be appreciated here.


Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - Me And Mia

“Do you believe in something beautiful?/ Then get up and be it/ Fighting for the smallest goal /To get a little self-control/ Won’t anybody here/ Just let you disappear?”


I like Ted, because Ted has an evil masterplan, and one the whole, I’m a great fan of evil masterplans. Unless, of course, they involve pesky gas chambers and peasant culling, but those aside, devious genii are up there in my good books. See, Ted is on a mission, the grandest mission of all: to bring sublime pop music to dour indie kids who might otherwise curl their dour indie lips in distaste at the mere mention of the P-word.

Oh, they don’t realize it of course; that’s where the masterplan becomes fiendishly clever! Ted himself may not even be aware of the great and noble mission he is obviously embarked upon, but on some deep subconscious level, his id has seen the light and is set on spreading that light of pop joy into the recesses of musical awareness currently only lit by the dim flicker of Bright Eyes.

Because, dear indie kids. This! Is! Pop! You may stutter and start, shaken with shock that the same genre label that is branded by wee Ashlee and lil’ Hilary could possibly apply to someone who sings about eating disorders, transcendence, conversing in Basque or Catalan, or any other of Ted’s wide range of lyrical topics.

“But no!” You may cry, brandishing hand-drawn robot T-shirts and back issues of McSweeny’s as if they were talismans to ward off my painful truths. “This cannot be! His band name is Ted Leo & The Pharmacists! Pharmacists! That’s indie! There are real instruments! And he writes his own songs! It can’t be pop!”

But it is. Because this is joyfully buoyant, skippingly infectious, ultimately delirious pop. There are jubilant bridges and a surging chorus, crashing backing layers and melodic vocals. There are “Oh woah woah”s for crying out loud! Sure, the lyrics are multisyllabic and intelligent, but pop solely as the domain of synchronized dance routines and ‘high/sky/fly’ refrains is sooo 1998.

“Wait a moment,” the indie kids say, in a final desperate attempt to disprove my logic, “He did a mockingly hip live cover of Kelly Clarkson. It was on all the mp3 blogs. That’s indie!”

Not so, my dears. You all happily sat and listened to the American Idol’s fabulous latest single simply because it was Ted and his chemists lulling you into a false sense of superior security. Evil masterplan. Told you so.