Chicago’s Unicycle Loves You revels in the pop culture emanating from the B side of Hollywood, fascinated as they are with horror films and below-the-radar surf rock and cultish sci-fi. So, it’s a bit of a twist to play “Mirror, Mirror”, which sounds like a lovely pop tune on the surface, with its summery mood, jangly guitars and breathy vocals and then to watch the video, which brings in that playful and cheesy horror element. Rather like the Beautiful South, Unicycle Loves You takes conventional sounding pop forms and puts clever, darker spin on them, subverting what you might mistake on first hearing for a classic AM radio tune. The band’s sophomore album Mirror, Mirror will release 7 September on Highwheel Records and this self-titled tune is the record’s first single.
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Margaret Cho is know best for her bawdy stand-up but on August 24 the comedienne will drop her first-ever musical CD Cho Dependent, featuring such luminaries as Fiona Apple, Jon Brion and Andrew Bird.
Cho (who gets sexier with each new tattoo), kicks off a full-out concert tour that begins at The Vixen in Provincetown, MA on August 18, where the comedy legend and supreme reigning “fag hag” will debut new live songs.
The Provincetown shows will wrap on August 23 but you can catch Cho just about everywhere in the United States and Canada and her tour will kick it until near the end of 2010, wrapping up in Atlanta, Georgia on December 12.
Go to www.margaretcho.com for all the hot dates, goodies, blogs and songs from one of the funniest women working. Please check back with PopMatters for more exclusive coverage and reviews of Cho’s first musical adventures later this fall, but in the meantime, here are some videos:
This British Nirvana- and Pixies-influenced band from the shores of Brighton has been drawing serious press in the UK from the likes of the BBC, NME, Uncut and Drowned in Sound. The NME, which likes to level fawning praise and damning dismissals in near equal measure, said, “we’ll have to be content with Blood Red Shoes quietly becoming one of the most thrillingly loud bands we’ve got—and the promising hope that there’ll be plenty more fire exactly like this from them for years to come.” They’re onto something here as Blood Red Shoes really does pump up the volume with genuine energy and vitality, all the while knocking out catchy and memorable tunes. “Light It Up” is the group’s latest single and proof of the previous point. We’ve got the premiere of this tune today, which will appear later this year in the US on Fire Like This, releasing 5 October via Nice Music Group.
Unfortunately, floods are back in the news. Over 20 million people in Pakistan have been impacted by the high water and more than 1,500 people have been reported dead. Here in America, recent flooding has caused a far less severe toll, but it has caused serious damage to places like Ames, Iowa. There is nothing fun or funny about floods, but keeping one’s spirits up in the face of disaster has merit. This clip of the late, great Johnny Cash singing (with help from Biff),a song about an historic flood, “Five Feet High and Rising”, on Sesame Street should keep us humming while thinking of what we can best do to help those in need.
The Marches is the brainchild of Richard Conti, and boy does he know his way around a pop hook. His band’s debut album—last year’s 4AM is the New Midnight—mixed lo-fi electro-pop with horn blasts that sound like they were recorded by the Dap-Kings themselves, the whole disc a genre-hopping mishmash of what makes DIY rock music so great.
Conti has said that the whole album was recorded on borrowed amps and borrowed time, which is perhaps why it’s taken awhile for the band to put out their second release, the Director of Photography EP, which consists of left-field covers of artists from all across the rock spectrum.
Two of the covers appear right from CokeMachineGlow’s excellent “Fantasy Covers” podcasts, the first being a fantastic rejiggering of Thom Yorke’s “Black Swan”, which uses loud cymbal taps, multi-tracked vocals, and some melancholy flutes and clarinets to get the original’s theme of displacement down pat. Conti’s take on Adele’s “Cold Shoulder”, meanwhile, is about as pounding and visceral a reimagining as you can imagine (listen to them horns wail!).
The album is bookened by two very understated tunes: the first being a take on little-known songwriter Ben Durdle’s “Big City” (full disclosure: this track appeared on a tribute album this writer served as Executive Producer for), which turns a voice-and-guitar original into a mournful hymn filled with female choirs and moody church organs. Wisely closing with a understated in-studio version of 4AM‘s “Need Me Back”, it soon becomes clear that whether he’s interpreting other people’s songs or even his own, Conti is slowly maturing into a pop music force to be reckoned with.