Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Sloppy Dog SpiceWatch

At the time of writing, it's just two hours until the fabled Spice Girls press conference takes place at the cunting upturned wok that the Government inexpicably spunked £769 million on O2 Arena, and truth be told, we're feeling all kinds of weird.

So, welcome to a new column, which may or may not last more than one post, entitled The Sloppy Dog SpiceWatch. Here you'll find ludicrous speculation surrounding announcements, releases and tour dates; gripes about not being able to get tickets; and absurd declarations that we'd have managed the whole thing better than Simon Fuller.

That said, we're still none the wiser as to what today's announcement has in store. Sure, a reunion is the most obvious answer, but we're sort of hoping the world's press will eagerly gather, dictaphones and flashbulbs poised, for the five girls to gather onstage and declare "Melanie C's new single Carolyna is out now through Red Girl Records. Thanks for coming."

We'd be lying if we said we weren't a wee bit skeptical about a possible reunion. While the Spice Girls effortlessly shat upon the hunched-over, po-faced aloof-fest that was All Saints, there's no escaping that their return was an absolute train wreck for the reason that people had moved on. And while Take That may well have nailed it, their comeback didn't muster a tenth of the publicity that the Spice Girls have, and that's before they've even confirmed anything - in short, placing the potential disappointment levels at an astronomically high setting.

But let's focus on the positives. A world tour! A chance to see Geri spluttering her way through Goodbye and Holler! A Greatest Hits album! Featuring brand new tracks! And possibly a studio version of W.O.M.A.N, effectively the Holy Grail to Spice fans! Not that we're excited or anything. No, we're going to remain completely professional throughout. *puts plastic sheet down for 12pm*

Monday, June 25, 2007

Kelly Clarkson - My December (RCA)

It’s been pretty heavily covered in the media that Kelly Clarkson’s been through the wringer of late. A tour cancelled due to meagre ticket sales, numerous snaps insinuating she’s enjoyed the occasional pie, being dragged back onstage to perform at the American Idol finale (obviously a hardship for such a credible artist).

And we can’t forget that she’s been at loggerheads with her record company in some apparent attempt to maintain the integrity of third album My December. All credit to her for standing her ground, especially as the label backed down and let her make the album she was so desperate to make. But after all the kerfuffle, you wonder what the fuss was about. Seriously love, THIS is what you were fighting for?

My December is a painful hour’s worth of unrelenting, chronic whinging owning precisely no trace of true personality. There’s bitterness with no real bile, there’s guitars for the sake of guitars, and most noticeably, a desperate need of a backbone. It’s as though Rosie Ribbons woke up one day and decided to be Evanescence. Not just Amy Lee, but all five members.

Thankfully, the non-rock screechings take a breather for a couple of tracks, but there still remains little to get excited about. Irvine is a frail folk lament, while remove the guitar from the drippy Be Still, and it could be the filler of an R&B Love Songs compilation.

Perhaps Kelly is actually an intelligent, musically-adept, authentic performer, and somehow that got severely lost in the translation. But even if we assume this to be true (which it’s not), there’s still no detracting from the fact that My December is barely listenable. Empty, inexpressive caterwauling deserving of condemnation to the cut-price racks of service stations for all eternity.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Single Reviews 25/06/07

Providing an alternative to the incessant Glastonbury coverage, it’s the good ol’ Single Reviews. Yes, while 100,000 kiddies, hippies and pathetic bandwagon-leapers wade through a metre of mud, The Sloppy Dog can offer unrestrained cattery towards new music while you sit comfortably at your computer, out of the rain, enjoying a cuppa. (Cuppa not provided.)

After a calamitous couple of singles by No Doubt or Love Angel Music Baby standards, Gwen Stefani ultimately nails it with 4 In The Morning, a pseudo-ballad in the vein of the 80’s synth magic liberally sprinkled throughout her solo debut. If she can be convinced to release Early Winter, we may even forgive her all that diet Harajuku crap.

Having made the tumultuous journey from hair-rock to Hollywood standard balladry, to sub-Cheiron power pop that early Backstreet Boys would have rejected, to anaemic concept country, Bon Jovi finally decide on… well, no genre whatsoever. (You Want To) Make A Memory comes and goes without even generating the tiniest blip on the radar. Ironic that a song about making memories all but does that.

Making one of the most impressive debuts of the year are The Hoosiers, whose jovial, vibrant sound looks set to bother many an ear this summer. Like a gratifying amalgamation of the Fratellis and Dum Dums, Worried About Ray is an animated, spirited anthem, and an easy Single of the Week.

Comparisons to Lily Allen come thick and fast, but the overtly-London drawl and middle-class slapper-chic of Kate Nash makes it hard to distance her from the MySpazz rantbox. Foundations, however, exhibits a far more bubbly, upbeat sound and an authentic display of character that suggest she’s no copycat.

Lastly, Robin Thicke attempts to verify his existence to an oblivious UK audience via Lost Without U, a high-pitched sway through a platter of Spanish guitar and grown-up R&B throbbage. The blue-eyed soul schtick isn’t for everyone, and in fact, it could be argued he’s not far off a high-budget Michael Ball, but in a glutinous sea of Chris Browns, Ne-Yos and Timberlakes, he could prove an interesting prospect.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Honking Box Review: Brothers & Sisters

The Sloppy Dog’s Honking Box is looking a bit hopeless of late. Desperate Housewives shutting up shop for the series, The Apprentice and Any Dream Will Do both ending on a wet fart of a note, Lost bogging off to stupid Sky One, Doctor Who coming to a climax. Quick! We need a new obsession!

Maybe the most hyped US import of 2007 will fill the void. Brothers & Sisters, not to be confused with the micro-budget black soap featuring a marvellously mad dancehall queen named Petronella (fucking Petronella! There aren’t enough Petronellas on TV these days), is a high-gloss, low-impact drama centring on a dysfunctional-yet-damp family unit.

Were it not for its constellation’s worth of credits, the initial premise wouldn’t catch many an eye. Aside from the presence of Sally Field and Rachel Griffiths (who’ll always be Legendary Rhonda™ to us), Brothers & Sisters sees Calista Flockhart’s first major role since the exceptional Ally McBeal. Visually, she appears to be only marginally less in need of a gateau.

Calista was joined by fellow Ally McBeal alumnus Josh Hopkins, though we’d much rather have preferred Jane Krakowski - if there’s a show in dire need of one of Elaine’s bitchy asides, it’s Brothers & Sisters. A suggestion to Channel 4 - can we maybe think about some kind of red button feature where she pops up in the corner like a comedy sign language person? A running commentary of the non-action peppered with the word “snappish” would be all kinds of ace.

At this stage, it feels all very static. But let’s not forget, Brothers & Sisters is essentially a mature, family-based drama, and perhaps a big part of the letdown comes as a result of its scheduling, which was all rather odd. Perhaps they were going for some fraternally-titled theme evening, because slotting it around Big Brother was nothing short of insanity.

Was Brothers & Sisters flanked by dual live editions of the publicity-heavy flagship Channel 4 show in order to heighten its unveiling to the fullest? Or were they using the hard launch of a high-profile, buzzworthy US drama to carry its floundering reality mess?

Either way, you have to wonder what audience Channel 4 thought they were targeting. Brothers & Sisters, in context, looks set to be an intelligent, engaging series - were it airing on More 4, we’d all be a lot more likely to realise this. It’s highly unlikely that 19-year-olds whose general concept of ‘topical’ amounts to a text message about how mash-up Charley’s face is. LOL OMG she iz so butters innit :oP

In honesty, we didn’t actually make it as far as the second episode, so perhaps writing an epitaph at this stage is slightly unfair. In summary though, it seems Brothers & Sisters is a promising option in a summer that threatens to be patchy viewing at best. Just ensure it's shut off from Big Brother where possible, or you’ll never get on board. OMG dis show is rbbsh n dat ally mcbeel gal iz so skinny!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Single Reviews 18/06/07

It’s official. Shilpa Shetty aside, any reality contestant backed by The Sloppy Dog never wins. Kristina was robbed, people. Robbed! Still, bearing in mind our support is generally the kiss of death, we’d like to throw our weight behind Charley and Seany in Big Brother. That ought to get the misshapen orcs off our screens. While you’re painting your eviction night banners, why not enjoy the Single Reviews?

Editors return this week with the outstanding Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors. How coincidentally topical! What are the chances? Nil, of course - a proper band has no need for postmodern irony or cheap publicity. Cynicism aside, it’s a substantial, likeable, and overall worthwhile record. Until it’s used as a soundbed under quarter-hourly BBC News 24 reports on July 1st.

As if Gareth Gates making a comeback wasn’t enough of a shock in itself, it was via the highly-accomplished Changes, prompting a simultaneous intake of breath across the entire British populace. Similarly, he now invokes a nationwide shoulder shrug with the massively beige Angel On My Shoulder. Still craps all over the novelty covers and that second album tripe, mind.

Finally releasing something that’ll prompt a few ears to prick up and notice the quite-stupendous This Time, Melanie C unveils the magnificent Carolyna, effectively the single If That Were Me should’ve been. Ah well, better seven years late than never. An epic, anthemic ride with a knockout chorus, it would be a surefire Single of the Week were it not for the new release from Ash. After the high-octane, low-impact You Can’t Have It All, the unobtrusive yet magnificent Polaris provides a far more radio-friendly push for upcoming (and annoyingly, final) album Twilight Of The Innocents. In short, we’re going to pussy out and let Ash and Melanie C share this week’s title.

Finally, serving as a walking advertisement for hair straighteners is the bemopped BBC thesp-in-a-jar, Lee Meade. He’s releasing a coffee-break take on Any Dream Will Do for Children In Need, which pretty much tells you all you need to know. Although, had Craig, Daniel or Ben scooped the role of Joseph, it’s fair to say we wouldn’t hate this quite so much.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Single Reviews 11/06/07

Well, cock on a stick! Three lousy days in prison and fucking Hilton’s out! C’mon, give the vacuous bag of bones a proper chance to suffer. It’s probably wrong we took so much pleasure in her incarceration in the first place, but it’s ok - she’s not a real person or anything. Anyhoo, on with the Single Reviews

Launching this week’s proceedings are Take That, whose unfathomable success 10 years after their split is about to be tested pretty heavily. I’d Wait For Life, by far and away the most boring thing any of them have ever committed to record, will soon prove whether the screaming fans are going to buy up any old shit now they’ve got mouths to feed.

A local geography lesson next from Good Shoes, whose song Morden is a brisk and catchy tour of the town’s worst bits. Obviously, tales of how utterly shit the place is wouldn’t necessarily please a native South Londoner, but let’s call a spade a spade - Morden is an armpit. Single of the Week it is then, assuming they keep sweet about Streatham - we’d hate to get all SW16 on your asses.

Kelly Rowland has wisely chosen to step away from the All Woman compilation staples she previously peddled, but alas it’s in the direction of unremarkable R&B. Thankfully, Like This is thrown a lifeline courtesy of Eve’s golden touch, but it won’t turn many a head. Still, Kel’s always got the option of taking solace in the fact she’s not Michelle.

Jousting with Ice Box and Thnks Fr The Mmrs for the most daftly-named song of the year is Enrique Iglesias with comeback crack Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song). Aside from the goofy sub-title and the gimmicky sound effects from which it stemmed, it’s pretty much your regular, methodical Enrique effort. Will barely warrant a 6-point footnote in the history of music in 2007, but it’ll certainly dampen a few tabards (presumably the desired effect).

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Single Reviews 04/06/07

Right, you lot. You trust our opinions, don’t you? Every time we award something our Single of the Week title, you rush straight out and buy it, don’t you? What? You don’t? Wankers. Anyway, in the hope that at least one of you might actually take heed of our recommendations, we strongly suggest you make this your next purchase:

It fucking rules, people. We shit you not. In the meantime, enjoy something a bit more disposable, in the form of this week’s Single Reviews

Stamping her feet (and as a result, making her flabby calves wobble for a good five minutes) in an attempt to push her anaemic rawk credentials, Kelly Clarkson makes a comeback with the insipid Never Again. While props must be given to the lyric “I hope the ring you gave to her turns her finger green”, it’s nowhere near enough to carry the other three and a half minutes of downright pigswill.

The Ghosts claim their second Single of the Week in as many releases, with the sublime The World Is Outside. Serving as a pant-wettingly exciting taster of the album of the same name, it’s pure melodic liveliness channelled into a chorus of big synthy stabs. Not quite on a par with the enchanting Stay The Night (perhaps not a fair comparison given its untouchable grandeur), it's nevertheless an indication of a band to ready the ticker tape parade for.

Peddling another serving of their patented frenetic exuberance are Queens of the Stone Age, albeit with a marginally calmer approach. 3s and 7s productively marries the QOTSA classic rock milieu with a taut melody. Certainly won’t blow anyone’s socks off, but hey, it just about does the trick.

Finally, we come to Calvin Harris - a man whose hype hasn’t got any less annoying - as he unleashes second single The Girls. Deceptively fun to begin with, but after more than three listens, the spell weakens significantly, unveiling The Girls as being lyrically 100% Lou Bega, topped off with an excruciating remix by Eiffel 65.
Creative Commons Licence
The Sloppy Dog by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.