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London Shopping Bag (Part I)

Cat out of the bag: Darren Hayes

London is a great place to shop for music. Some fresh new sounds have come from the UK recently including Jem, Dizzee Rascal, Martina Topley-Bird, The Music, Shapeshifters, Snow Patrol, Grand Central and so many others. The UK pop charts also serve as a gateway for many other European pop bands to make it big across the continent.

Here are some of the albums and singles I picked at Oxford Street's HMV and Virgin this weekend. I will feature longer reviews of some of the albums in the next few days.

Darren Hayes "The Tension And The Spark"
Darren Hayes hits all cylinders on his second solo album after the break up of Savage Garden. Compared to his previous ultra-poppy "Spin," the probably-but-not-publicly gay singer presents a much darker and moodier sound. The production by Marius de Vries and others is reminiscent of the Arwais/Madonna electronica. Hayes' delicate vocals and honest soul-searching make this work memorable. Wow.

Alistair Griffin "You And Me Tonight" (Single)
I picked this up from the 49p discount section at Virgin. This is British boy pop in its purest form: sweet balladry and unimpressive vocals. I can honestly say that you get what you pay for with this drive-thru tune that is high on sugar and low on substance.

Fried "Whatever I Choose I Loose (Single)
Fried are Fine Young Cannibals songwriter David Steele and the 23-year old New Orleans vocalist Jonte Short. This debut single presents a refreshing new soul sound that takes its cues from blues, Motown and contemporary R&B. I'm liking this.

Kylie Minogue "Slow" (DJ Elmo Mix)
This mix is actually not available in stores. I heard it at London's hippest new lounge Shaun & Joe (just off Charing Cross Road in SoHo). DJ Elmo was spinning that night and wrapped Minogue's sultry vocals around sweeping Arabic beats. Kudos to Elmo. Catch him also spinning at Shadow Lounge on Saturdays.

Annie "Chewing Gum" (Mylo Remix)
Annie is blowing her own bubble of powerpuff pop on this debut single. This hyper-infectious tune was written by Richard X and taken from her forthcoming debut "Anniemal." The extended CD single features an amped up remix by Mylo, which I prefer over the radio edit.

September 21, 2004 in New Music | Permalink


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Although NME made Chewing Gum (Annie) their Aingle of the week, it is, though kicking, one of the weaker tracks on the forthcoming Anniemal

Posted by: The Lodger at Sep 21, 2004 2:06:49 PM

Glad that you found the music stores on Oxford Street! Sounds like you enjoyed yourself in London! Mark

Posted by: Mark at Sep 23, 2004 1:25:32 AM

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