The Moosie Awards 2010

22 12 2010

Since I was a little gay I used to watch and critique US award shows. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a roster of award winners on any of them that made sense commercially or artistically. I’m still stinging from Taylor Swift’s Grammy win last year. So, if only to make balance things out karmically in my musical world, I present the 2010 “Moosies” (why does that sound dirty?).

Best New Artist: While Florence + The Machine’s Lungs came out overseas and crept into the US market in 2009, it was official released and broke big in 2010. Florence’s voice harkens back to vintage Sarah McLachlan (see Vox) or later Siouxie Sioux but does better than both. Along with Beth Ditto, she ushered in new era of girls who can REALLY sing. I mean REALLY. If you’ve not yet, make sure you get Dog Days or Rabbit Heart, two of the best songs of this or any year.

Best Album: Tracey Thorn and Scissor Sisters made the 2 best CDs of their careers this year, but I have to give this one to Robyn for Body Talk. More than any artist in my lifetime she blends pop, dance and intelligence breaking down this hardest hipster heart into whirling dance dervish.

Best Remake: Not In Love by Crystal Castles featuring Robert Smith takes an obscure Canadian hit by Platinum Blonde and transforms it into a manic, urgent and moving synth-pop masterpiece. Also best workout song of the decade.

Best Remix: For a year where dance music seems to have died…again, it was one of the hottest years for remixes. Robin, Gaga and Kylie put out some brilliant mixes by up and comers Aviici, Alphabeat and Monarchy respectably, but the most addicting remix of the year was by genius Fred Falke for Gossip’s Heavy Cross. He completely rethought the song into an early Duran Duran fantasy that built and built until it erupted in a luscious synthgasm.

Best Live Show: a-ha – While Robyn’s show should probably win, I have a soft spot in  my heart for a-ha and this year was their farewell tour and only time we’ll have had to see them live ever again. It was a joyous and moving sold out show at the Riviera. If you missed, you missed it, and you should be sad. Their 25 year career yield far more groundbreaking stuff than Take On Me. And Robyn will be back soon anyway if you’re a fan of hot Scandinavians.

Best Comeback: Kelis hit it strong this year after a career of hits and misses. Getting dumped by NAS and having a baby would make most women get all Lilith Fair, but Kelis amped up the energy and love on her Flesh Tone collection. It’s what we’ve always known she could do.

Most Overhyped: Predictably Taylor Swift. OK songwriter, cute girl, just can’t sing. In the real world she’d be writing hits for better singers.

Most Overrated: Katy Perry. Since her first album, I’ve been waiting for her to show us how good she can be but this is two overhyped, pitiful albums in a row. In fact, Teenage Dream is worse than the first so she’s sliding artistically downhill. Outside the title track, it sounds like she wrote this album with a drunk Ke$ha and a few 5 years olds. “Show me your Peacock, cock, cock”. Really? (This really should have been Ke$ha, but you have to be talked about to be overrated)

Biggest Letdown: So many things I was looking forward to this year that just sucked after all the hype, but none as bad as the David Byrne/Fatboy Slim double CD concept album Here Lies Love. Done as a story of Imelda Marcos, it featured guest vocals by some of the biggest names in the business: Cyndi Lauper, Tori Amos, Natalie Merchant and more but every last track was horribly campy and poorly written. It’s a big of a joke as the theme indicates.

Artist of the Year: Robyn. See album of the year. She did no wrong.

 

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Great New Rick Astley!

1 09 2010

Don’t hate, and don’t just think he’s know for one hit song and Rick-Rolling.  Like or beloved a-ha, Rick Astley, has been really concentrating on putting out great product in the past decade. He stumbled a bit on his last standards CD, but seems to be back on track with the very pop-Coldplay/a-ha sounding Goodbye, But Not The End, seen here on the Michael Ball show.

This is Rick’s second single out this year after Lights Out in the Spring. I’m crossing my fingers for another set of songs like his last original CD, Keep It Turned On which had a Cher/Believe/EBTB thing going on. Quite hot.





a-ha Afterparty Just Announced!

30 03 2010

On a personal note, I’m organizing one of a-Ha’s fan parties surrounding their Chicago farewell show May 13th at The Riviera Theater. The gig will start immediately following their show and go till 2am.  If you’re not going to the show and just want to party Scandanavian style, come on over to the Wild Pug around 10pm.

http://www.a-ha.us/ahaus/Chicago/tabid/65/Default.aspx

If you have any true rareties and cool remixes, drop me an email at bortkickass@gmail.com. We may already have them, but I’m open to suggestions.

And just an alert to non-Chicagoans coming by, it is a bar so over 21. And it is technically a gay bar. Just so you know.





a-ha Takes On Chicago!! (and Toronto)

1 03 2010

I’d like to think that after my rant on the blog and in print a few weeks ago, things somehow got back to my loves, a-ha, that Chicago would be huge. Well la-di-freaking-da, in my inbox, just 5 minutes ago, I got this

http://www.a-ha.com/news/languages/english/AHA_fullStory.aspx?PostID=5988

a-ha has announce they’re coming to Chicago on their farewell tour on May 13th!! And its at the Riviera, just up the street from my house. I’m in heaven. Don’t talk me down!





Attention Europe, we’re over here!

11 02 2010

Visual assitance for the Chicago impaired

Yesterday should have been an exciting day. A new email was in my inbox from one of my all time favorite pop bands, a-ha.  Don’t laugh. There’s more to them than Take On Me and a pretty face. This band has been on and off churning out progressively better and better adult alternative and high-end pop for the past 25 years with little disappointment outside of the lack of live appearances in the U.S. They did one gig in NYC back when they were promoting Take On Me and their debut CD, Hunting High and Low back in 1986. In 2005, they did a random, one-off live concert at New York’s Irving Plaza which sold out in 52 minutes and was a critical and fan favorite. You’d think then, when announcing their final tour of their careers and that they’d be doing U.S. shows that they’d really dig into their U.S. fan base. Not so. They’re doing three NY shows, and two L.A. with one in each town sold out. Hey, a-ha, you think you might have a huge U.S. fan base? Like Kylie Minogue found out last year, and Alison Moyet of Yaz failed to see the year before, when they snubbed us on her solo tour, U.S. record sales mean little when it comes to ticket demand. Kylie, who sells out arenas worldwide, was shocked and stunned at the reaction she got in the midwest especially, when she decided to book something here. Her concert sold out in no time and was soon moved to a larger venue.  Her people clearly had no clue prior to arrival.

Morten, still hot

With illegal downloads and before that import CD sales, there’s little way to gauge demand in the U.S. for European artists with sub par or no U.S. label. Somehow this has to change as we watch the rest of the civilized world get love from Robbie Williams, Faithless, Simply Red, Spandau Ballet, and now my former loves, a-ha. Don’t underestimate our love, you crazy Nords. Ask Erasure, La Roux, Adelle, Depeche Mode,  and Pet Shop Boys how much the midwest loves a European act.  The love is there for you. Now time to show some back.





Well, Ain’t That Allotta Love?!

27 01 2010

It’s like the floodgates of Marc’s musical river just opened up today and spilled love and happiness all over my desk! I just got notices of 3 amazing things today from three of my all time favorites

Tracey Thorn of Everything But the Girl is leaking some info about her upcoming 3rd solo CD on her Facebook page: “New album is to be called Love and Its Opposite. Will be released mid-May. As you probably know, the record was finished a little while ago, but the slight hold-up has been caused by contractual business. Having come to an agreement with Virgin, the album will be released on Ben’s Strange Feeling label, and in the US on the very lovely Merge label. Was recorded in Berlin and London. Produced by Ewan Pearson. Is 10 songs long – the PERFECT album length! (I was so cross when Out Of The Woods ended up having 11 songs….) Eight new songs by me, plus a cover of “Come On Home To Me” by Lee Hazlewood, and a cover of The Unbending Trees song “You are a lover.””

a-ha is teasing their US fans this morning, that an announcement is forthcoming on some final US dates for their farewell tour: “Last July, Magne mentioned in a radio interview that a-ha would return to America in 2010, and fans have been waiting eagerly since then for news of US tour dates. The wait is almost over, and an announcement will be made next week! Back in 2005, a-ha played a single show in America, at Irving Plaza in New York on September 12. The concert sold out in 52 minutes and fans from all over the United States traveled to New York for the one-off show.This time around, expect more than one show – but that’s all we’re saying for now. Stay tuned for more information!”

and finally, my boy, Blake Lewis, who we’ve hyped countless times here and on the podcast, will be doing a DJ set and signing at Borderline Music in Chicago on 2/13 @ 2pm.





a-ha TAKE ON U.S.

19 10 2009

morton harketa-ha, one of my all time favorite bands, has announced they ARE coming to North America as part of their farewell tour.

http://www.a-ha.com/news/languages/english/AHA_fullStory.aspx?PostID=3610

Here are a few small updates to the previously announced 2010 world tour information. Keep in mind that although the following timeframes and countries are not 100% confirmed, we understand this is the general tour schedule for 2010. As specific cities, venues and dates are confirmed, we’ll add them to theUpcoming Events page.

  • In March, a-ha will spend approximately three weeks touring in South America.
  • There will be a two-week tour of North American cities in May.
  • The summer months take a-ha back to Europe and the UK for some festivals.
  • Fans in Tokyo and Osaka will have the chance to see a-ha at the Summer Sonic Festival.
  • There is going to be a European tour to round up everything in October and November.

In case you’re aren’t crazy,  obsessed a-ha fans like us, you may have missed last week that they are breaking up for good now. Or maybe you read the douchy post on Perez Hilton announcing the breakup while making them feel bad for only have one top 10 hit. Either way, its done.

We saw this coming a mile away.  Pal has been hated by Morten and Mags for years and you’ll notice if you what press for the new album, he’s not even there. Well, as we said on our upcoming podcast, we know Morten, the lead singer, will be fine. His solo albums have been rivaling a-ha’s lately. Hopefully sexy Mags will do something with him. Good riddance, Pal, and hello, then goodbye, to a-ha. Great way to cap off 25 years of consistently great music.