looks better than it sounds

a review of sunday girl (not the blondie song) i did for the fly:

Sunday Girl
The Garage, London
06/02/2011

Her namesake may be a first class pop song by Blondie but Sunday Girlhas picked synth over guitar and is more like Ladyhawke than Debbie Harry. Actually, she looks more like Mischa Barton from The OC doing a Chanel advert, but her music is supposed to be the focus tonight, so the details of her modelling/blogging/London Fashion Week DJing career can wait.

Taking the headline slot upstairs at The Garage on, funnily enough, a Sunday, she has a tough act to follow. The small crowd are still catching their breath after a hauntingly beautiful acoustic set by Emma’s Imagination, so when 22-year-old Jade Williams – Sunday Girl is a nickname from her days as a weekend assistant in a pet shop apparently – appears with a pair of unnaturally good-looking male guitarists wearing Italian suits, the crowd are caught off guard. The stage is decorated too, with a couple of carefully lit vintage display cases containing mounted butterflies, making the show look more like a Hugo Boss advert than a gig. But there is (a bit) more to it than just pretty faces. The band launch into a punchy guitar-backed synth feast and William’s soft, almost slurred, vocals lazily float above the music.

Opening track ’24 Hours’ is quickly followed by Sunday Girl’s Diplo-produced first single ‘Four Floors’, as the band charge through a short set with barely a moment for a “hello” or “thanks”. Her latest single – a cover of Laura Branigan‘s spooky 80s power ballad ‘Self Control’ – is quickly recognised by the crowd, but sadly falls rather flat being nowhere near as good as the original version. Sounding like a less-quirky Alison Goldfrapp means that Sunday Girl is not a bad musician and is actually quite pleasant to listen to live. But she blends in far too easily with the growing bunch of fashion-conscious female-lead pop acts doing the rounds right now. Her “scruffy Chanel” chic may have got her voted Company magazine’s ’19th coolest girl’ but for now she’s struggling to match that musically.

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boy meets girl

another wee review for the fly, this time HAIRCUT 100 (amaze):

Indigo2, London
28/01/2011

Resurfacing exactly 30 years after the release of their massively successful‘Pelican West’ LP, new wave funk-pop crooners Haircut 100 are back. Whilst, these days, they look more Gap advert than early 80s hipster, musically they sound like they never *ahem* parted.

Followers of indie bands of the moment blessed with good-looking and over-styled lead singers – take The Drums and, a few years before them, The Libertines – should look up Haircut 100. The guitar-led funk-pop outfit had a fleeting moment of en trend brilliance circa 1981-2, releasing four top ten singles and posing for numerous American Apparel-influencing cover shoots for music magazines. Lead singer Nick Heyward – who thirty years ago looked like a smooth-skinned, better behaved Pete Doherty – persuaded the world that polo boots, rolled-up chinos and baseball caps, combined, were cool. Then he vanished amid rumours of self-destruction. Sound familiar? And Haircut 100’s music remains equally relevant with traces of the Haircuts’ sound reappearing through bands such as Two Door Cinema Club and The Rumble Strips.

Heyward cradles his guitar at chest height and his finger-splitting funk is as sharp as it ever looked on Top Of The Pops tonight, even if his floppy fringe is now swept to the side and there’s not a deck shoe in sight. ‘Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)’and ‘Love Plus One’ bounce around the Indigo2 with all the excitement you would expect of the 19 year-old boy who wrote and sang them to crowds of swooning girls three decades ago. It is impossible not to smile and even Heyward swaps his trademark poster boy pout for a satisfied grin, as he sings ‘Fantastic Day’. Backed by a brass trio and bongo drums, the show is a genuine celebration.

a pure love letter to the disco

if christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year” then saint valentine’s day is surely the most thoughtful time of the year, no? even if you don’t love anyone you still get forced to think about love, often to the point of bringing up a little bit of sick. it’s great.

dirtyconverse disco love

one way of coping with this, i found, was to start a disco (dirtyconverse) and channel every available ounce of love into it – much better than getting angry with the world for giving me rubbish girlfriends (in the past).

this is why dirtyconverse is and has always been all about ‘pure disco love’ and so much of the music that gets played is selected for its dancefloor amour-inducing qualities (in a clean and wholesome way, of course). and it works – whether it’s faith-restoring lyrics, drums that beat-up angst or synth that simply makes you smile – there is a lot of love at our disco.

naturally this means the february party is extra pure special – being a chance to celebrate the love of music, dancing and everything else that comes with a good disco…so whether you’re hugging your friends, humping your other half or doing a robyn (that’s dancing on your own, not knobbing a hot blonde), you should find a place at our Second Ever Lovers’ Disco.

with that in mind here are ten carefully selected disco love songs, which ensnare every dimension of love and will likely make you sing, shiver and sick a little bit – hopefully, all at the same time. messy.

1. ‘dancing on my own’ by robyn. life-affirming synth for the unloved.


2. ‘feels like i’m in love’ – by kelly marie. giddy pop proof that even ginger-haired ladies with a touch of the troll about them can fall in love. if kelly can wear a bin liner One-Piece while looking like someone’s nan doing the robot on tv, AND still feel like she’s in love, then there is hope for anyone. provided you can do ninja kicks and unsubtle arse-slap dance moves, that is. that’s asda price!

[better videos here and here and also here in what looks suspiciously like it could be original video for this belting song, the embedding for all sadly disabled]

3. ‘everlasting love’ – by the love affair. something to aspire to.

4. ‘true blue’ – by madonna. even if you don’t appreciate “true love, oh baby” you can still enjoy the cute faux-innocent close-ups of the backing dancers well-toned asses. an american apparel-inspiring treat.

5. ‘young adult friction’ – by the pains of being pure at heart. sex in public libraries? (almost) better than love.


6. ‘your ex-lover is dead’ – by stars. not for the light-hearted, this one. cellos and duets and no end of sarcasm from a fresh wound. very raw, that one.

7. ‘put a little love in your heart’ – by jackie deshannon. do what jackie says and the world will be a better place, for you, and me, you just wait and see…

8. ‘heartache’ by pepsi and shirlie (and their ra-ra skirts). well, thanks to sony bmg preventing ANY wham embeds, sadly ‘wake me up before you go go’ and ‘careless whisper’ could not be included in this disco love-in. THANKFULLY, one-time wham backing (imagine if they were boys?!) singers and all-time disco princesses pepsi and shirlie, said ‘yes’. “remember we met and the room was crowded, i can’t forget the way that i found it…” if you’re listening, ‘hi shirlie!’

9. ‘fading like a flower’ – by roxette. belting break-up song channelling pain through power guitars. just let it go, go on…such a cold town.


10. ‘neighbourhood #1 (tunnels) by arcade fire. attention to the finer details of falling in love and forgetting everything that happened before. impossible not to love.


and finally, the voice of one angry young lady who has clearly been turned into a super-creepy she-devil by love. let this be a warning to you: