Friday, 19 August 2011

We (Sort Of) Wish You Well In Your Retirement…

Of all the people in the world to age, get a bus pass and retire, I didn't think it'd be David Bowie.  Then again, maybe this ability to be properly popstar fabulous and completely human is why he’s so awesome. At the risk of sounding a bit ballsy, if you’re yet to take a voyage to planet Bowie, do not let this talk of retirement put you off. You’ll learn that it’s impossible for Ziggy Stardust to ever return to Mars without a trace, his music is as relevant as ever.

Though I purport to be an expert on this music sort of thing, I admit I was a little late to the Bowie party. Make that – a lot late.  This was no case of being held up by Tube signal failures, I was held up by 23 years of brain signal failures. Till last year (breathe), he was just the guy that sang “ch-ch-ch-changes”, often at one in the morning as I pranced about some indie club, the guy with chevrons for eyebrows that played the Goblin King in Labyrinth. Yep, last year, the legendary DAVID BOWIE meant nothing to me bar sticky dance floors and bricking it behind the couch, 6-year-old style.  If you see yourself in this at all, it’s time to do something about it. Turn and face that strain.

My Bowie-piphany happened one fateful, unsuspecting day. While dodging the office mice, I hear this tight, hot rhythm section on the Q stereo, followed by an arresting, frightening vocal. The hectic guitar riffs sound better than Foo Fighters’ latest, the title track grows more dystopian than Joy Division, the lyrics – something about a European canon – are more spacy and insane than even Muse. I’m finally hearing Bowie’s 10th album – Station To Station for the first time. 

While editing the reissue review, I’m discovering that, long before juggling crystal balls surrounded by Jim Henson puppets, David Bowie recorded this album under the influence of red peppers, milk and cocaine exclusively. He has no recollection of how this LP came to being. Given the circumstances, he was out of his intergalactic mind. So much so he wasn’t even him, he had appointed himself the Thin White Duke. I wash down some M&S carrot crudités with chocolate Yazoo thinking, This behaviour is absolutely more rock’n’roll than Kurt Cobain, Rihanna and Marilyn Manson put together.

Over the next 40 minutes, I hear gut-wrenching ballads, delicious pop, heavy rock, foot-stomping funk, disco – all in an album of six songs. I cast aside my double-CD version of Lady Gaga’s one-and-a-half-hour, 22-track debut album, shrieking THIS IS AMAZING! Soon enough I’m telling everyone “DAVID BOWIE’S AMAZING! Also, check out this film Star Wars. I’d say – cult classic.” Don’t even get me started on the art, the hair, the outfits. Up until this moment in time, I’ve been seriously visually impaired. What am I saying? I’ve been blind.

Now converted, I’m all about the Bowie – Aladdin Sane, Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dory, Young Americans… I realise there’s nothing stopping me from being Elton John, Mick Jagger and Lou Reed at once. Everything makes sense where it didn’t before (Mika, at least). Station To Station is one of the most exciting records I hear in 2010, and it landed in 1976. I can’t frickin’ wait for all the Bowie I’m yet to discover. There’s so much in the Bowie Canon of Amazing, I never need to worry about running out…

Or so I think until David Bowie’s biographer – Paul Trynka – nukes me with an A-bomb: Bowie’s off to sit in his armchair, watch Countdown and eat baked beans on toast till the end of days. And deservedly so – God only knows the guy’s influenced nearly everyone who’s succeeded him in the charts. He’s even influenced the people who influenced him. Well impressive. But here’s hoping he’ll do a Jay-Z, following this announcement with several albums, a global hit a la Empire State Of Mind, a Glastonbury headline slot and the biggest musical collaboration since Madonna kissed Britney.

As he once profoundly stated: “Time may change me/But I can’t trace time.” Check out these five tracks below and prepare to have your mind abducted by an artist who transcends time, space and cosmic universes…

1.    Ashes To Ashes. Unfortunately once sampled by Samantha Mumba, this electro gem is felt all over Duran Duran, Hurts and La Roux’s In For The Kill. Bowie scored a Number 1 here with a single he described to NME as, “a popular nursery rhyme about space men becoming junkies.” How quaint.
2.    Drive-In Saturday. A doo-wop, Christmas-y number about watching porn. Morrissey loves a bit of it, he even did his own version despite the fact Bowie’s no longer a vegetarian.  I know – Morrissey actually liking something, it must be better than… well anything really.
3.    Moonage Daydream. From Ziggy Stardust, this rock behemoth of a song really is quite mental. It’s merely one track on a concept album where the messiah is an alien who does a lot of drugs. One-hit-wonders Babylon Zoo may as well have called Spaceman – We Love You Bowie. This is four minutes and 35 seconds that form the blueprint for Lady Gaga’s career.
4.    Oh You Pretty Things. One listen of the Beatles-y piano pop melody and Bowie’s falsetto and there you have it: the invention of Britpop. Indeed Blur, Pulp and, in turn, Franz Ferdinand, Scissor Sisters, Wild Beasts and Muse owe their life to this classic from 1971’s Hunky Dory. Brett Anderson? You’ve got some explaining to do…
5.    “Heroes”. Written by Bowie and Brian Eno, the title track from his so-called “Berlin era” was influenced heavily by Neu! Dark, brooding, experimental electronica, The Killers, LCD Soundsystem and New Order live between the synths.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Earth To Madonna – A Telecommunication

…Hello Madonna … It's me... Downward dog once if you can hear me… You came to me in ’98 via MTV’s plays of Frozen… you had henna squiggles on your hands, crows bursting out your chest, and a winter coat that transformed you into a dog… You were on a beach playing some sort of contorted version of Twister by yourself… You never cracked a smile… Must’ve been all those puy lentils for breakfast…

I was mesmerised. I was scared shitless. You the Maleficent to my Sleeping Beauty, I pricked my finger on my plastic CD cover of Ray Of Light and fell into an eternal slumber, entrapped by your pop genius; your own brand of holistic mumbo jumbo communicated via Eastern hums and foreign tongues, which I have never mastered but attempted to with religious obsession… You led me to the discovery of hummus. In Sainsbury’s. It was amazing…

Ever since the Queen of Pop turned World of Witchdoctor, Madonna and I have had telepathic communicative ability. I knew it all along. Now I have proof. Just weeks ago I was reminiscing about how much I love Ray Of Light’s producer William Orbit. It started with the new Washed Out album, the opening ocean-skimming beats of which recalled in my erudite mind the work of, erm, All Saints. It may be a genre-defining, paradigm of the latest hipster movement, yes. But it’s so almost a carbon copy of 2000’s second biggest hit single Pure Shores, which Orbit produced for the Appleton sisters, Melanie Blatt and whatsherface. Had Danny Boyle yet to direct The Beach, this Washed Out song would be a soundtrack contender.

One trigger leads to another. I’m compiling playlists, lining up Blur’s 13 on repeat, whiling away office hours revisiting Ray Of Light and Orbit’s remix of Barber’s Adagio For Strings. Yes! Here I am! Going into William Orbit! All this replenished capacity for beach-friendly electronica and Karmic pop chanting has me feeling guilty about missing three weeks of Ashtanga yoga, fearful I no longer own a red Kabbalah ribbon (my piece of string got lost in the fell-down-a-loo incident of 2008). I go hunting in my stash of travel sewing kits for red thread but find maroon.

Regardless of my misplaced spirituality, Madonna must have intercepted my Orbital-y signals. Obviously, as the internet on Sunday claims that Madonna and Orbit may reunite on a new record. I know what you’re thinking – 2011’s Most Influential In Music list has got my name all over it. Yet, I’m not sure whether my telepathic tips were such a good idea. Madonna’s misinterpreted what the (Buddhist version of) hell I was doing.

Sitting in a vegan hippy joint in Camden, I consider my reaction. There are shots of wheatgrass for sale; invigorating, earthy, weird. Hemp and incense surrounds the dreadlocked, multi-coloured, knit-wearing community. They look a bit 1998. The days when Rabbi Madge was trying to repopularise the Star of David are behind us. Richard Dawkins is the new religion, the recession is anti-bottled water/pro-meat casseroles, and yoga’s something you do on a Wii Fit… in front of a telly. William Orbit-era Madonna, while once ahead of the game, now redolent of time and place. It’s not even “vintage”; it’s moth-eaten.

See, Madonna’s not like other women. She doesn’t need to do a spring revisit to the wardrobe and inspect yesteryear’s garments for potential trend comebacks. Madonna didn’t go sifting for shoulder-padded jackets when, in 2008, La Roux took a ride on the Tardis to the year 1987. Madonna isn’t today looking at Nirvana t-shirts in Urban Outfitters exclaiming, “Thank Goa, grunge is back in – I’ll dig out my Doc Martens and see if Shirley Manson wants to come round for tea.” No.

Madonna is about reinvention. She takes the great morsels of bygone eras (Marlene Dietrich, Andy Warhol, Abba…) and mutates them into something state-of-the-art, contemporary. What is Madonna if not the avant-garde pioneer of popular culture; the commercially viable Yoko Ono? What’s to say this re-partnering isn’t an instance of a revival we only have room for in our wildest dreams? Vanilla Ice, the Wispa, EastEnders’ Dirty Den, The (New) Cars… Next in line of awkward comebacks is Madonna, spinning Cream Ibiza Classics in the kitchen, scouring for RyanAir deals to Balearic seas. Just as coffee tables don’t need a second helping of the Sex book, the world can’t require more Madonna above a highway, braless and dancing convulsively, shaking her beaded Herbal Essences curls to trance beats. Not now. Not ever.

Madonna! Telekinesis me now. Stop gatecrashing my iTunes trips down memory lane. Time to get ahead of the curve again. “Madonna secures guest vocalists The XX and Warpaint. Inside the Haus of Gaga. Relocated to the set of The Dark Knight Rises.” This is the sort of Biblical headline I want to read. You have many reincarnations yet to explore. Here are some humble suggestions…
  1. Madonna surfs “Chillwave”: If Washed Out also screamed William Orbit at you, bite the bullet and bag the new genre’s posterboy himself – Ernest Greene. Also dubbed Glo-Fi, the Chillwave movement offers the Donnie Darko superpower of time travel. Exist in 1980 and 2011 simultaneously and defy time and space. It’s like Polaroid gone digital. (New merchandise alert!).
  2. Madonnicana: Bon Iver would like to invite you to a log cabin to toast some marshmallows and reminisce about your past loves. Herein lies potential for fashioning accessories out of wood, popularising bearskin caps (strictly faux) and becoming the first ever female popstar with a full beard. Beautiful Razor… coming to a future Twilight soundtrack.
  3. M-androgyny: See if Prince wants a revolution, call Jack White, grab your Gibson Les Paul and Slash hat and start shredding Led Zeppelin IV. Alison Mosshart was Best Man at Kate Moss’s wedding and Lady Gaga looks like Al Pacino on her new single sleeve. You know what it feels like for a girl, time to know what it feels like for a rock God. Bender that gender.
  4. Freakfolk Madonna: Join Animal Collective, MGMT, Twin Shadow and Ariel Pink and get your twee on. Fuse any sort of sound together (the more household objects/old Nintendo effects the better) in a psychedelic jam of newer age hippy proportions. Hunker down in Brooklyn, NY with the Hasids and wackos who gaze at their moccasins through non-prescription glasses.
  5. Dubstep-onna: Burial, Four Tet, Magnetic Man and James Blake provide the urban sounds of nocturnal London, deserted tube stations and abandoned donner kebabs. It’s difficult to dance to, but who needs a leotard when you can seduce the masses at 138 beats per minute? Human nature, innit.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


The Expendables knows exactly what it is: pure action entertainment. As Jaz found out at last week's pre-release screening, the plot is somewhat… expendable. Certain scenes, however, notably the showstopping Willis/Schwarzenegger/Stallone face off (worth the price of entry alone), are borderline spoof but nevertheless hilarious. Beyond the exhilarating explosions and the sheer physical brute of supporting man Jason Statham is the unfathomable prospect of so much mega moviestar muscle on one screen. As entirely one dimensional as Dolph Lundgren’s acting, but nevertheless a thrilling ride: Space Cowboys on anabolic steroids.



Friday, 28 May 2010

Sex And The City 2 - Fashions Fade; Style Remains

It may not have been Times Square but Jaz was certainly in a New York state of mind last night. Mind the schmaltz and cliché. You’ll have to if you go and see Sex And The City 2. Although momentarily enjoyable for any fan (especially a fan with tickets to the Leicester Square, London premiere and access to unlimited amounts of Moet champagne and strangely… Kinder Buenos?!), it’s safe to say that this sequel is almost a parody of the once forward-thinking, trend-defying US series.

It opens with a hoot of a gay wedding. Totally over the top it’s like a Graham Norton/Andrew Lloyd Webber version of Fiddler On The Roof ratcheted up to 11 on the camp-ometer. The sight of Liza Minnelli doing her own side-splitting rendition of Beyonce’s Single Ladies is inspired. By the look in Minnelli’s eyes it seems she can’t quite believe it herself. But really, that level of meshugge can’t be beat. And therein lies one of many problems. From then on, the gags just can’t match. The laugh is, in Samantha Jones terminology, too hard too soon.

More to the point, it may not be a surprise that ole wacky Liza is game for a giggle and some self-mockery. After all, she is starting to look just a tad short of a full shilling; let’s hope she wasn’t actually a consolation prize for the real Beyonce. But it is a colossal shock that the powerhouse core four are so willing to become slapstick versions of the sophisticated, multi-dimensional and downright inspirational personas that formerly ruled the small screen.

Take Miranda Hobbes: in order to become markedly more attractive and “fun” she must first give up the day job as a lawyer. Career women are boring and ugly? Now there’s something none of us ever want to face up to. Carrie Bradshaw: the eternal slave to fashion and “single girl” has by her own admission swapped clothes shopping for furniture investing since becoming Mrs John Preston. Snore? Charlotte York-Goldenblatt: gave up her career to make the perfect family and can’t even manage that without hiring a temptress for a nanny whom she’s convinced Harry may run off with. Risking infidelities for convenience? And Samantha Jones: she got old and spends every waking minute popping pills and swapping moisturizer for pureed yams to maintain her sex appeal. Nobody wants to screw a woman who looks… 50? Even Stanford and Anthony want to be together forever – obviously because all gay men just settle for the one gay man they know?

Are these not the mythical stereotypes Sex And The City so successfully busted and put to bed? Has Sex And The City come full circle? Sex Without The City perhaps. We thought those shoes had been filled by suburbia’s lackluster Desperate Housewives.

And speaking of suburbia, where is New York in all of this? The Big Apple always felt (alongside Manolo Blahnik) like the fifth lady. Similar to the four girls, however, the City has also been diminished to a substance-less pulp. And that’s when it’s even in sight. Most of this movie takes place in Abu Dhabi. Don’t be misled in thinking that a smart move to pay homage to the luxe brands that are starting to make a comeback now the worst of the recession has passed (SATC’s release may play a part in the timely opening of the new and excessive W1 palais du Louis Vuitton).

Regrettably as the girls appear over a desert sand dune, it’s like a TV appeal by Primark, not a mirage of majestic style. That Sex And The City-mimicking Debenhams advert that’s currently doing the rounds actually gives stylist Patricia Field more credit than she’s due in this case. Gone is the City and gone is the Fashion. And if you’re looking for the drinks, well this is Abu Dhabi. Apparently “the new Middle East” doesn’t do cosmopolitan (or the cocktail for that matter).

Michael Patrick King et al worked so hard to master the moments of the show. Now, you can’t help but feel the lack of care to maintain some of its dignity. Aidan Shaw – once great love of Carrie Bradshaw, now another mistake (albeit not a “Big” one). Once bidded one last fond farewell by Carrie outside a store with a baby in harness attached to his belly, he has become nothing more than a temptation for Carrie in a ridiculous Eastern fantasy set-up that’s less Casablanca, more Aladdin: Arabian Blue Nights, or, to quote Samantha, Lawrence Of My Labia. Yep, that was the best they could do.

If you ever wondered what happened to George W Bush-isms since Obama’s inauguration we now have the answer. I’m not one for the Politically Correct police but much of the situational comedy here was cut from the same cloth as G Dubs’ Administration. It’s uncomfortable to say the least when sex mad Samantha winds up encircled by traditional Arab men watching her scrounge around on the souk floor collecting the spilled condoms from her broken Birkin, while she tells them, in a voice once heroic and defiant, “fuck you”. Jests at women in burkhas eating french fries are an uneasy reminder of America’s often monochrome view of world affairs.

The moral of the story is don’t meddle with the programme we loved. Because we loved it, with every bone in our body. And as the girls took one last stroll down a Manhattan sidewalk in Season 6 it hurt. Some cried, some mourned, but the programme gave us memories to hold on to forever. Sadly these have now been spoiled by new plot twists and some over-egging of the pretzel. I’d like to say this sequel is a must for any fan but the spinning of the Sex And The City yarn is failing to convince. To call on an old classic piece of fashion advice: sometimes less is more.

Jaz xxx

Thursday, 6 May 2010

We thought we were mad but then we met... Paloma

"I don't really consider myself to be part of a 'thing'. It's not new that women can sing. It's a trend designed by record companies and the only similarity is that we all have the same genitals..." - Paloma Faith

Jaz came across the ultra glamorous Paloma in the least glamorous of locations... the basement below the stage of Glasgow's O2 Academy. We sat at what appeared to be an old school desk scrawled upon with indecipherable messages as Miss Faith considered her pet hates, success to date and slightly Fatal Attraction-esque obsession with one Paolo Nutini. This together with her style consciousness, awkward chuckling and self-criticism rendered her rather normal in the eyes of Jaz.

The thing is Paloma Faith is not as mental as we were hoping. Just a bit clumsy - which was clear as she made no less than three false starts on one song during that evening's set and struggled to balance an enormous feather carnival headdress atop her crown. All in all, however, the soulful songstress delivers a showstopping theatrical extravaganza, which includes a believable cover of Etta James' At Last, an attempt at The Beatles' You Never Give Me Your Money and a version of Paolo Nutini's No Other Way which suggests that a duet between these two Jools Holland favourites would probably be a good idea. The full Q interview is at:

If you don't catch Paloma's critically acclaimed set at a festival in the next few months she'll be hitting the road again in the UK this winter so get booking now. For more of Jaz's photos of the gig head to our Flickr page:



Monday, 12 April 2010

Local Natives Monkey Around

Last month Jaz hooked up with LA band Local Natives for some hummus and banter. Bearing in mind the guys had been on the road for about 4 months in total it was at times quite an odd conversation but entertaining nonetheless. Due to the extremely packed out nature of King Tut's that night, Jaz failed to get many photos from the front. The decision to pack up the Canon was made in prompt response to the first of many dousings of beer. Jaz is sceptical about the nutritional purposes of ale for hair nourishment but is resoundingly opposed to its effects on expensive electrical appliances.

"We played five cool barns in Iowa. That one was huge, octagonal and 120 years old. It was incredible." - Local Natives' Taylor Rice

For the full interview head over to Q's website:

Local Natives' album Gorilla Manor is out now and has seen them compared to Fleet Foxes and Vampire Weekend. Check out their harmonious single Airplanes as performed at Maida Vale for Radio 1...

Jaz x

P.S. Jaz has also been busy chattering away to Paloma Faith and Ellie Goulding. Coming to a screen near you very soon :)

Monday, 22 March 2010

Rebel Grrrl!!!

Kate Nash LIVE!

Some weeks ago now Jaz was invited to Kate Nash's first gig in two years. As previously reported on BOOMerangKid, the once nerdy mockney rhymer has abandoned whatever it is that made her famous in the first place for a more rebellious image. And you can't help but wonder why. Like Lily Allen ditching prom dresses and trainers for Chanel - it doesn't matter how much elegance she feigns, we will never forget that she's actually a chav with a mouth on her like a schoolkid from South Park. It just doesn't convince. Never much of a fan of Kate Nash Mk I, Jaz is left a little unsure as to whether Kate Nash Mk II is a career killer or a vast improvement...

“I don’t know if I can still play but fuck it!” she shrieks to signal the start of a rather different set, featuring mostly unheard material.  If her recent participation in a band called The Receeders isn’t enough of a giveaway, her abrasive yelping on new material from a forthcoming sophomore release confirms that it’s goodbye cutesy ditties, hello riot-grrrl punk. That would at least explain the bold ditching of floral prints for a monochrome bat-winged uniform together with Lego Man bob and lashing of Hollywood red lipstick. It just screams (or rather, shrills) Karen O – and, less fortunately at times, The Exorcist’s Linda Blair.

For the full rambunctious review, head over to The List magazine's website:

For more pics from the gig get yourselves Flickr-ing:

Jaz x x