[listening] May

Last month was filled with awesome dance moves, bearded guys, Aussie female singers, a sugar man, and underrated Britpop legends.

First was from Hercules and Love Affair, who released this wonderful black-and-white video “I Try To Talk To You”. It featured John Grant, an American singer who now lives in Iceland. John is openly gay, and he came out as an HIV positive a couple of years ago during his performance with Hercules and Love Affair at Meltdown Festival. This video, as described by director David Wilson, is about reaching out to one’s significant other. I personally loooovve the choreography – the choreographer was L.A.-based Ryan Heffington. You can see the making of the video here.

Talking about John Grant, I have just found out that this amazing man was the nominee for the 2014 Brit Awards for Best International Solo Male Artists. Unfortunately, he was lost to.. Bruno Mars 😐
This is “Pale Green Ghosts”, a single from his 2013 album with the same title.

And since the last two videos featured bearded guys, here’s a bearded lady. Conchita Wurst, an Austrian singer who won the 2014 Eurovision. Her song, “Rise Like A Phoenix”, reminded me so much of Alison Moyet’s “This House”.

Now back to some awesome dance moves – this one is by Paloma Faith, “Upside Down” from her debut album “Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?”

And then there’s Pat Benatar, with the “so-80s” dance moves. Whoohoo!

Back to the present time, Kylie has just released her latest single “I Was Gonna Cancel”. However, her plain white shirt and jeans took me back to her 1990 “Rhythm of Love” album cover. Anyway, you can also see the ‘a cappella’ version of this song here, where Kylie was rehearsing with her backing singers and dancers ahead their performance at The Voice Italy.

Anyway, less than two weeks later, Kylie released another single, “Crystallize” – this one was to support One Note against Cancer.

In the mean time, after the Female Friday (UK) mixtape “draft” last month, I am now compiling some songs from the finest Australian female artists. I was so mesmerised by the vocals of the three girls in “Seeker Lover Keeper”, so I looked for the other two singers (the other one referred to Sally Seltmann). The first one was Sarah Blasko, a super-talented artist who apparently won Best Female Artist at the 2009 ARIA Music Awards and was nominated in many other years. And the second one was Holly Throsby, whose song “A Heart Divided” was used for the Australian Open for three years (2011, 2012, 2013).

These two brilliant singers were also involved in “She Will Have Her Way”, a compilation project of Australian and New Zealander female artists singing the songs of the brothers Finn (Neil and Tim). So I started to listen to Crowded House songs again! My all-time favourite is of course this:

Last month I went to see some very awesome movies at the Europe on Screen 2014. One of them was “Searching for Sugar Man”, a 2012 documentary film about South African fans who went searching for an American folk musician called Sixto Rodriguez. The Mexican-descent, Detroit-based singer was rumoured to be dead long time ago, not long after he released his second album, but it turned out that he was very much..
Of course after watching this movie, most people were so enchanted by the humble social revolution songs of Rodriguez. His lyrics were so simple yet so powerful that it just blew everyone away. Rodriguez was very popular in South Africa, but he was barely known in his home country. I found this video of Rodriguez singing at the Glastonbury just last year.

Last month I also went to see the Dutch jazz singer Wouter Hamel performing at Erasmus Huis. I must say I really, really like his latest album “Pompadour” – most of the songs were so perfect to listen to during the sunny days. My favourites include “Live a Little” and “The Lights”

As usual, Ocha and I usually exchange some new songs that we currently listen to. Last week she introduced me to Clean Bandit, whose song “Rather Be” was already familiar to me. So I started to listen to the whole album.

Also last week, Jimmy Somerville shared the rare video of Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy”, which was taken in Germany in 1984.

While that one was 30 years ago already, Erasure’s “I Say I Say I Say” was 20 years old last week – can’t really believe how time flies! It’s still my favourite album of all time, and I think I should listen to it again.

A week after Kumpul Buku event, I put the photo taken by mas Edy as my profile picture – and there were some friends (including mas Ed himself) who liked my The Divine Comedy t-shirt. So later that evening, I had The Divine Comedy’s song swimming in my head during my evening swim. This one was at Brussels, during the same tour when I saw him live in Amsterdam.

And now for some new releases..

Paul Heaton is reunited with Jacqui Abbott!
Jacqui was my favourite one out of the three female vocalists of The Beautiful South, so I was super excited when I heard that the super-awesome (or should I say God?) Paul Heaton joined forces with Jacqui and released an album. The new single is called “DIY”, and it really brings back the joy of listening to the golden era of The Beautiful South.

Another amazing single released last month was by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, “Love is a Camera”. As I have mentioned in my previous ‘listening’ posts, Sophie’s latest album “Wanderlust” was like an anomaly after her previous electronic/dance albums. This one was so brilliant – the video was well directed (of course, it was Sophie Muller after all!), Sophie revealed her darker side, and it is a waltz! I told you this month of May is filled with dance, dance, dance.

And this new single from Kaiser Chiefs, “Meanwhile Up in Heaven”, features the charming blue-eyed Ricky Wilson dancing with Amanda Abbington.

This new single by Metronomy, “Reservoir”, however, did not feature any dance moves. But it certainly is a very awesome animated video!

Two years ago, I was so crazy about Eugene McGuinness. But this time, nope. I must say I am rather disappointed.

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