Friday, June 30, 2006

Lostprophets - Liberation Transmission (Visible Noise)

Streamers! Banners! A red carpet! Oh, and a big dash of cynicism. Lostprophets – one of the favouritest bands at Sloppy Dog HQ – are back, and we’re two parts crazily enthusiastic, one part anxious. Three albums in, one member down, and the omnipresent albatross label of being pretty boys, this is going to be a harsh assignment for the ‘Prophs.

A glance at the tracklist of Liberation Transmission doesn’t fill you with confidence – titles such as Can’t Catch Tomorrow (Good Shoes Won’t Save You This Time) and Broken Hearts, Torn Up Letters And The Story Of A Lonely Girl challenge Fiona Apple for ostentatious lunacy, and Meatloaf for sheer bloody duration.

Thankfully, the aural aspect is a far more appealing experience. While it’s a cleaner, more produced album than the previous two, the content and overall feel appears to a lot more natural. Fiona fucking Apple might say it was ‘organic’.

Bar lukewarm single Rooftops, we’re pampered with a selection of expertly crafted tracks, yet with that knee-jerk oomph left untreated. Perhaps slightly more grown-up, but that’s not necessarily going to be a damaging thing. Hell, it works.

As with everything Lostprophets have ever put their name to (or worn or eaten or sat on), Liberation Transmission is less Valleys and more Valley Girl. All traces of Wales are hidden beneath the Californian alt-rock licks and the sheer gloss of the package. But the gloss doesn’t obscure the talent. In fact, it almost commands further admiration of the musical aptitude that Lostprophets display, to the extent that it completely transcends the plucked-and-preened stigma.

In the tanned scheme of things, Liberation Transmission is testament to the fervour and inspiration displayed throughout the band’s career. And at this stage, it feels ripe, to the point that it could well be the Lostprophets’ best work yet. Hey, don’t hate ‘em cos they’re beautiful.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Single Reviews 26/06/06

So, Top of the Pops has finally been axed. The BBC decided to put the mangey dog down, did they? Realised that the ten quid budget they pissed away on it wasn't worth the four viewers watching? Fnar-fnar. Not that this has anything to do with this week's new Single Reviews, but it's always fun to gloat.

With his upcoming Greatest Hits reading like a manual of How Not To Do Dance Music, the eternally-insipid Fatboy Slim bores us further with That Old Pair of Jeans, predictably another puddle of hiccupy beats and drowsy samples. Though, in fairness, it’s probably hard to be inspired when your wife looks like a rugby player. In comparison, Royksopp nail Single of The Week on the genial Beautiful Day Without You, a funkily-trippy refrigerated sway which should, right this minute, be prompting Norman Cook to hang himself.

Lucratively providing the soundtrack to a recent Nike ad, Mas Que Nada sees leathered croon-goon Sergio Mendes teaming up with the Black Eyed Peas for an entirely pointless reworking. The Peas (essentially just Love City Groove for the 21st century anyway) bring precisely nothing to the collaboration – echoing their dried-up ‘musical’ career overall.

Everyone’s least favourite Gonorrhoea Girls – officially known as the Pussycat Dolls – are given yet another turgid R & B catastrophe to gyrate to, this time with the help of Snoop Dogg (who, much like the Black Eyed Peas, adds fuck all). Buttons sees Drag Doll, Munter Doll, Background Doll, Corporate Cocksucker Doll, Executive Fellatio Doll and Management Blowjob Doll inviting us to “loosen up their buttons”, which aside from being just plain shite, is like a request to dive bollock-first into a skipful of crabs.

And finally, The Kooks. Here at The Sloppy Dog we swerve all oncoming bandwagons as standard practice, only for this one to clip our wing mirror with rather ace previous single Naïve. However, the scrawny cadaver that is She Moves In Her Own Way has prompted us to U-turn, catch up and ram this lot off the road. That straw hat is unforgivable.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

This week's Celebrity News by Jilly Goolden


Hmmm... I’m getting a hint of mutton... I’m getting airs of pretentiousness... I’m getting a lovely whoosh of complete and utter madness... why, it must be me, Jilly Goolden with this week’s superlative Celebrity News!

Well done to young Wayne Rooney, who has made a triumphant return to the majestic arena of sport. This little supermarket-own Lambrusco has humungous overtures of pork, and would go perfectly with an expensive, gold-draped chicken-head, or for that mega naughty weekend treat, an extra-mature trout.

Mmm, mmm, mmmmm... this next one is like a million hillbillies clicking their spurred heels on a hay-strewn floor, combined with lashings of ginger. In fact, that’s exactly what it is – congratulations to Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman who have announced their engagement. I do hope Tom’s happy for them. Mmmm, hang on – I’m getting a bitter aftertaste...

Oooooh, mmmm... now that’s a furry little Beaujolais. Sorry, I mean a furry little Beyoncé. Like a fruity wee rent boy who hasn’t returned all the takings to his heavily-spiced pimp, Beyoncé was attacked this week by PETA for her considerable collection of furs. I’m getting flavours of megalomania, a snifter of gold lamé, a weaving of horse-hair, and just a diminutive tang of Christian goodness, akin to a fine church communion red served out of a Hooters tankard.

Perhaps, boys and girls, it’s time for a nice relaxing sit-down. One is completely fucking wankered.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Single Reviews - 19/09/06

Get Grace out! Get Grace out! Get Grace out! Get Grace out! Get Grace out! Get Grace out! Get Grace out! Booooooo!!!! Get Grace out! Get Grace out! Get –
What’s that? She’s already gone, you say? But where to fire all our venom? Looks like a good time for this week’s Single Reviews...

Aside from looking like a couple of squashy albino monkeys, there’s not much that Journey South can do very well. Perhaps we’re still gutted that they reached the X Factor final while Addictiv Ladies were left floundering at the first hurdle, but our dislike of the Brothers Gormless may have a bit more to do with their decimation of Ocean Colour Scene’s The Circle. Stripped of all charm, the Britpop masterpiece becomes a sluggish, lacklustre salad-ballad for mums who go to Iceland.

The homecoming of Lostprophets is a rather disappointing one, with Ian looking like Sharon Osbourne, and new single Rooftops displaying a lyrically-weaker, less boisterous sound, hopefully not indicative of new album Liberation Transmission. Not so much shouting from the rooftops as politely requesting from a first-floor window.

The Zutons pluck another diamond from the marvellous Tired Of Hanging Around. The ace Valerie is a subdued yet mildly sanguine ditty with Dave McCabe sounding his Scousest. Meanwhile, some bottom-drawer R&B comes courtesy of Jamie Foxx, whose debut Extravaganza proves his first-rate contribution to Gold Digger was a fluke. Stick to the acting, mate – Jarhead this ain’t.

Finally, in the wake of our recent ‘Ump dedicated to the impending demise of Liberty X, we’ve decided that being Single of the Week would be a nice swansong for the Anti’Say. Their (probably) final single X, in spite of its appallingly economical video, is their finest moment since Jumpin’. Farewell, Liberty X – many a red-faced trip to the Woolworths music counter has been for you.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Single Reviews - 12/06/06

We're fully aware at The Sloppy Dog that's it's like 1000 degrees outside, and that there's some sort of sporting tournament on, and therefore we won't be having many visitors at the moment. Which is great timing, as the Single Reviews really aren't very good this week...

AFI begin proceedings this week with Miss Murder, a predictable attempt at murky ‘n’ moving – however, the end result is more Emu than emo. Elsewhere, the eternally F-list Dannii Minogue provides us with the amyl-stinking, shockingly uninspired pink-pounder So Under Pressure. While it’s easy to write Dannii off as a slightly-higher-profile Tina Cousins, lest we forget the gem she gave us in All I Wanna Do. Still, this ain’t it, so she’s cordially invited to fuck right off.

Next up, the frighteningly determined Clea, who despite an entire lack of public interest, are back with Lucky Like That. As if playing second fiddle to Nicola Roberts wasn’t humiliating enough, these girls even ranked beneath professional loser Javine. How they can show their faces in public, let alone release this dribbling cripple of a pop song, is beyond any reasonable thought. Back to the checkouts with thee!

And so we come to Shakira, a woman whose career we’ve followed with unhealthy scorn, and Wyclef Jean, a man who’s quite good. Perhaps it’s Clef’s presence that makes the part banshee, part box-of-frogs lunatic slightly more bearable on the intensely catchy Hips Don’t Lie, or perhaps we merely have shit in our ears. More likely, it’s simply the least pants track in a barren week of releases.

And rounding the reviews up this week is the magnificent Supermassive Black Hole by Muse. Physically not out til next week, but it’ll be a classy day in Blackpool before we eulogize bloody Shakira. A hushed, dirtily slinky cyber-mantra, Muse have dropped the grandiose opera-metal with very successful findings – a definite Single of the Week. Well, technically, Single of Next Week, but who’s counting?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Feeling - Twelve Stops And Home (Island)

All this broo-ha-ha surrounding the World Cup will only end in tears, y’know. Build it up, hype it up, clad yourself in patriotic red and white, get a few crates in and rub your hands with excited glee – but when England get knocked out, don’t come crying to us. See, we would never allow ourselves to get that excited about something, because the inevitable disappoint hurts so much harder.

But no matter how much we tried to downplay the arrival of the debut album from The Feeling, inside we were doing backflips at the mere thought. Which bodes well for England this summer, as Twelve Stops And Home is without a doubt the greatest record of 2006 so far. We could get used to this positivity lark.

As if the sheer magic of Sewn and Fill My Little World hadn’t already paved the way for Twelve Stops And Home, we’re presented with a selection of gorgeously cheery gems that match – if not surpass – the aforementioned singles. From the jittery affection of Never Be Lonely to the adorable just-this-side-of-Eurovision gladness displayed in Love It When You Call, involuntary smiles are a constant accompaniment throughout.

While the more solemn moments of Twelve Stops And Home are few and far between, they add to the tremendously effective diversity of the album rather than dampen the mood. Rosé (think a compound of Evanescence’s My Immortal and Coldplay’s Fix You, without the operatic drama of the former and the overindulgent cries of the latter) sits comfortably amongst the bursts of sunshine, proving The Feeling are capable of far more than picturesque Prozack’d anthems.

Twelve Stops And Home isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, by any stretch of the imagination. It’s happy, it’s earnest, it’s friendly. And while it's not without edge, it’s – dare we say it – cute. It’s just the type of album pretentious musos will be scowling into their soy lattes about for months. And it’s about time a band was brave enough to make this album. For that, The Feeling deserve some respect, if not your complete adulation.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The 'Ump: Sandi Thom (Pt 2)

You stupid, stupid, earless, moronic bastards.

Look what you've gone and done.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Single Reviews 05/06/06

In life, we all have to take risks from time to time. But the risk we're about to take in bringing you this week's Single Reviews is sure to lead to disaster, if not certain death. Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to slag off Embrace.

So ready the stocks and the rotten veg, for we are about to take the beating of a lifetime. You heard right - we’re going to slag off Embrace (*ducks flying cabbage*). Danny’s voice is close to the point of collapse on the watery England choon World At Your Feet, the most ill-selected track since Gypsy Woman was used on a Matalan advert. Which it wasn't. While it’s not quite bad enough to start crying treason, it’s not quite the terrace-stirring, flag-waving anthem they could have produced. Now stop with the gimmicks and release Sainted or Exploding Machines.

We’re slowly adjusting to a post-Mutya Sugababes, helped largely by Follow Me Home, a classy ballad with added accessible panache. Not exactly suitable for the time of year, but “Go Amelle!” all the same. An even riskier foray into balladville comes from The Streets with Never Went To Church – essentially a desperate pursuit of another Number One in the form of a poor man’s Dry Your Eyes. Pleasant, heartfelt, but wholly clichéd.

After making an entire album of middle-of-the-aisle apron music, Nelly Furtado has grown a pair and returned with a formidable, creative experiment that could well put her back in the spotlight. Maneater is a forceful fiend of urban beats and oestrogen, and proves Canadian female singers are capable of more than willowy trilling or pre-menstrual angst.

Finally, we come to our Single of the Week, courtesy of The Automatic. Their debut Raoul caught our attention a few months back, but it’s Monster that’s got us even more excited than Kerry Katona on a Poundstretcher trolley dash. Good stuff, this.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The 'Ump: The End of Liberty X

Welcome to the most reluctant ‘Ump ever. Normally, The ‘Ump is a spleen-venting rant of hatred (although we weren’t too hard on Sandi Thom, were we?). But this particular column is tinged with sadness, as we mourn the inevitable passing of a once-great pop group.

Oh, Liberty X, where did it all go wrong? Five years ago, you were the freshest, most interesting pop act in the music industry, and not just because you weren’t Kym Marsh. Okay, partly cos you weren’t Kym Marsh, but still, you were good.

So imagine our dismay when we encountered their brand new video, X. Filmed on a budget of approximately thruppence, we find that some beautiful people doing a rather superior crunk-lite bounce-along is entirely diluted by a mezze of bored expressions, dire choreography, and appallingly shitty effects.

Behold! The spectacular setting of a rooftop in the future was actually shot in front of a green screen! Who’da thunk it?

Wow! A massive great explosion! Doesn’t it make you sick that people are starving in places like Ethopia and Wolverhampton, when money is being spunked away like this?

Would you look at those faces? Anyone would think Nigel Lythgoe was just off camera, brandishing a revolver.

We deduce that this is entirely the fault of the evil, faceless record company. It wasn’t enough that they were forced to cover the dire disco standard and Gala Bingo endorser Night To Remember for Children In Need (not even Comic Relief!), but now Liberty X have been drained of all character and attraction, evidently in the interest of saving a few quid. Or maybe, just maybe, their time has simply passed naturally.

Either way, we are most miffed at this. Kev and Tony are two of the nicest chaps in pop, and Michelle is officially one of our Top 3 Geordies of all time. Rest in peace, Liberty X – it really has gone irreparably tits-up for you, hasn’t it?

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