Thursday, September 29, 2011

Songs You May Have Missed: Luciana Edition

American clubgoers and fans of Jersey Shore may know of Luciana Caporaso, the bad bitch from Britain who's been knocking European and Australian audiences flat for years, from the Richard Vission/Static Revenger song "I Like That," which made waves after being included on the iconic MTV show's first soundtrack album. Well, we Americans have now said "I Like That" to Luciana, whose first charting single in the US, "I'm Still Hot," has just hit #1 on the Dance Club Songs chart. In honor of the paint-throwing, dollar bill-loving singer, songwriter and all-around badass, I thought I'd revive our Songs You May Have Missed series with a special Luciana edition. Get familiar with her or live to regret it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tony Bennett Pops in on Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse on "Duets II" (Single/Album Review)

Tony Bennett is one of those pop legends whose enduring success effectively takes many of the usual complaints about pop music of the day levied by the elder generations and renders them hooey. (I can't believe "hooey" is in this dictionary that can't even handle "texting.") He rarely if ever wrote his own music; his style neither approached any bounds of tradition nor bothered to evolve in any notable way for the past half century. Perhaps his appeal is of a similar sort as that of Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, Michael Feinstein, Barbra Streisand or even Susan Boyle and Norah Jones, singers who tap into the nostalgia of the folks who still do backwards things like buying CDs (yes, like actual hardware! I know! It's totally nuts!) and have musical tastes to match.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Feeling "Inside Out"

By Kurt Bitter, Contributing Writer

I’m in a very strange place right now. I accepted a job offer that requires me to move from Southern California, where I’ve lived my entire life, to Seattle, a city I’ve never been to. I’m excited and nervous and anxious and scared, and I know that there are several sacrifices I’ll need to make in the coming months. I’ll need to sacrifice sunlight for full-spectrum interior lighting. I’ll need to sacrifice the comfort of living in a city I’ve grown to love for the adventure of turning a new place into my home. I’ll need to sacrifice the 45-minute drive to my parents’ house for a 3-hour plane ride. And while I won’t sacrifice the actual friendships I’ve made in LA, I’ll need to set aside room for new ones.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Investigating Remix Culture (Part I) - Hide and Seek

By Techno School, Vertigo Shtick contributor and dance/electronic correspondent 

When presented with a difficult challenge, one must decide: fight or flight?

Ignoring my natural urges to distract my personal demons using mounds of food and entire seasons’ worth of Weeds, I instead delved into the pit and stared these evils in the face. In an attempt not to run from my pain, I pored through photos of an old friend I can no longer look to for support, bring into my life in a meaningful way. Someone I’ve had to put a huge wall up in front of, because our closeness only has the power left to hurt me. 

To be or not to be credited... that is the question. (Imogen Heap)
Emo, I know.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Listen: Jessie and The Toy Boys - 'Naughty'

About two weeks ago I posted a few ideas on career planning strategies in an open letter to Jessie Malakouti of Jessie and The Toy Boys. My main talking point involved releasing the fantastic "Money Makes the Girl Go 'Round" as a single, now that she's fresh off a wildly successful run opening for Britney Spears on the Femme Fatale Tour. I also brought up a few additional ideas for moves that could maximize her exposure and maintain her momentum, including a particular personal cause:
"Cough up a recording of “Naughty” already. Those who had the fortune of seeing you perform it on the Femme Fatale Tour will want to purchase it for a mere dollar without question. Those who did not get to see said tour (and thereby this song) want to HEAR the damn song and for that opportunity they will surely cough up a buck twenty-nine without blinking (probably two or three bucks for a mini-EP with a remix or two thrown in)...I speak as one who knows that pain. *spinning maniacally a la Neve Campbell/Ana Faris* WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, HUH? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!?!?!?!"


Monday, September 5, 2011

First Listen: Nadia Oh - 'Shade'

British electro-pop provocateur Nadia Oh is bound to rack up her share of haters. After all, she is kind of brilliant (or is she?) and her music is pretty aggressive in construct and content, kind of like Cher Lloyd's more confident big sister.

Now, pop music has taught us some possible responses when confronted with hateration (© Mary J. Blige): there's "woe is me" (Kelly Rowland's "Stole," only because I can't think of a good enough first-person example), zealous self-empowerment (Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful"), the "oh yeah? YOUR mama's so fat..." (Missy Elliott's "Gossip Folks"), the "how do you like me now? ( you like me now?)" (Jessie J's "Who's Laughing Now"), or the "whatever, I'm successful/hot/rich" (Jill Scott's "Hate On Me"). My favorites in terms of music are the "bring it on - haters are my protein shakes" songs, like Kelly Rowland's "Shake Them Haters Off," Ke$ha's "Backstabber" or the newest track from Nadia Oh, "Shade." 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Getting’ Over Guetta? A Techno Perspective

Vertigo Shtick is pleased to introduce its new dance and electronica correspondent, Techno School, who I've asked to provide some perspective on dance/pop/urban crossover producer David Guetta and his new album Nothing But the Beat. (More info here.)

Let me make one thing clear to Mr.Guetta, wherever out there in the world you might be. Having Usher/Nicki Minaj/ sing a song to a techno beat does not a House Music Revolution make.

Got it? Good.

I've got this love/hate thing going on when I listen to David Guetta's music. Love, as we all know, is one of those complex emotions that leads to trouble as often as it does bliss. We encounter the challenges of loving others, of loving ourselves, of loving the world we live in. It's hard to find someone who's been out there for any length of time and not encountered a love that has lifted them up above the clouds and simultaneously brought them to their knees. Hate, fortunately, can be a bit more straightforward.
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