Semi-Precious Weapons Totally Loves You


Semi-Precious Weapons, the winners of the MTV Logo ArjanWrites Award, release their debut album "We Love You" today. It is a raw and rambunctious collection of infectious "kunty" punk pop that has fans in a frenzy. The album was produced by long-time Bowie collaborator, Tony Visconti. Not too shabby for a Brooklyn start-up.

"We Love You" will be available in three formats: single CD, single CD with necklace, and double jewel case with limited edition gun USB jewelry necklace (pictured below). The re-writable USB will include bonus content – two full length music videos, liner notes, photos, and wallpaper.

The inspiration for the USB package comes from SPW's crazy fun and uber-fabulous lead vocalist Justin Tranter’s hugely successful rock-inspired jewelry line, Fetty.  The line is available at Urban Outfitters, Fred Segal and Hot Topic; an exclusive high-end version is also sold at Barneys. 

"I started my jewelry line as band merchandise. It blew up and took on an amazing life of its own," explains Tranter. "Having a USB necklace that we made ourselves brings it full circle.  Kunty rock n’ roll jewelry that contains actual SPW rock n’ roll content. It’s like I made it up, it’s so fabulous, but it’s real!" (Click here to download "We Love You" on iTunes.)


The Killers to Duet with Elton John

British music mag NME reports that The Killers will be releasing another Christmas single this year together with Elton John. The track is reportedly titled "Joseph, Better You Than Me." The song follows their earlier Christmas tracks  "A Great Big Sled" and 'Don't Shoot Me Santa', which were both released as charity singles. Check out a brief interview with Brandon Flowers in which he talks a little bit about the single plans. (via Heartbeat Glide)

Free Download: David Swinburn "Wrong Shoes" (Frankmusik Remix)


David Swinburn first contacted me a year ago when I was out in Los Angeles to share a demo track he recorded as a voice mail message using his mobile phone. Totally lo-fi, a little eerie and definitely memorable. The Liverpool-based pop singer now returns with a brand-new brew, titled "Wrong Shoes," a song that is much slicker than the voice recording I heard previously.

The song was inspired by a personal experience Swinburn writes me in an email. "I wrote "Wrong Shoes" towards the end of last year," Swinburn comments. "It's about liking someone who you can't have. Someone who's already attached. I think the lyrics are pretty self-explanatory once you get that bit. The inspiration was me really liking a boy, who got a boyfriend just as I was about to announce my undying love for him. I dunno know the shoe analogy came from."

Swinburn asked a bunch of young DJs and producers to remix "Wrong Shoes" and give the tune a little more dancefloor cred. One of the people that reworked the song is Frankmusik who is an emerging new pop phenom in his own right (get a free download of his single "Done, Done"). He fuses the  pop sensibilities of Mylo with the vocals stylings of William Besson. He's a talent to look out for.  In the meantime, the pairing of Swinburn and Frankmusik makes for a solid slice of electro that is positioned somewhere on the wide, wild junction of pop and dance music that has me thirsty for more.

Download David Swinburn "Wrong Shoes" (Frankmusik Remix)

Hercules & Love Affair Featured in The New York Times


While on the topic of dance music and Hercules & Love Affair, head over to the New York Times web site to read an interesting background feature about Andy Butler's disco project. Butler talks specifically about his hit single "Blind" that features his pal Antony Hagarty.

"'Blind' was about growing up a gay kid, my immediate family and social group rejecting me, and asking why I was born into this situation," he writes The New York Times in an e-mail message. "But knowing that as soon as I could escape, I would, and that I would find freedom and solace (. . . ) As an adult, however, I found a life full of excess and other wounded people and confusion. Thus, I felt blind."

Fellow producer Justin Wang comments, "With 'Blind' I thought: 'Hit, hit, hit! Queer, queer, queer!' (. . . )The voice of Antony is so undeniably queer. It's so melodramatic yet expressive, and clearly not belonging to any normal heterosexual, macho male. To put that over a disco beat, it’s like Sylvester meets Ute Lemper. It's a perfect pop combination."

Watch Hercules & Love Affair "Blind"

A Few Little Bits About Justin Tranter


Justin Tranter is a rock god in the making.

The deliciously "kunty" frontman of New York glam-rock band Semi-Precious Weapons has been stirring up a sensation in clubs around the country and in the U.K. in anticipation of their debut LP "We Love You." The album will be out on Razor & Tie Records later this year.

I briefly ran into Justin and the band (at an escalator of all places) right before the taping of the MTV Logo NewNowNext Awards on Times Square last week. The group made a quick photo appearance before heading over to play a show at Irving Plaza.

If you're new to Semi-Precious Weapons, I pulled together a few little factoids about Semi-Precious Weapons and Justin Tranter to give you a bit more insight into this phenomenon on the rise.

Tranter likes to hang out at fancy hotel bars, because their managers often "get a little upset when men in full makeup dance around in 6-inch heels in front of all the nice people staying there for the week."

Three albums that had the most influence on Tranter are Patty Larkin's "Perishable Fruit," The Little Mermaid soundtrack and Patty Griffin's "Thousand Kisses""

The singer considers the the entire Mandy Moore catalog his guilty pleasure songs.

If he wasn't a performer, Tranter admits he would be "collecting cans and cashing them in at Key Food, because I actually did that for awhile and I was pretty into it."

Not only did Tranter release his very successful Fetty jewelry line , but he also entered into a partnership with Donna Karen to release his own brand of sneakers.

The first concert Tranter ever saw was a Paula Cole concert: "It was fucking stunning. She wore masks, growled, screamed, and sang her ass off. Actually it was kinda rock ’n roll."

Designing jewelry should come as no surprise as his mother is a designer of engagement rings. "She only does like ten to fifteen rings a year, but when they’re massive diamonds it ends up being a good time."

Head over to the Semi-Precious Weapons web site to stock up on Tranter merchandise, including "fucking gorgeous gloss" and a "genderless hoodie"

Great Britain's Princess Beatrice is a closeted Tranter fan and treated herself to $3000 Fetty ring at Barney's last week.

(Semi Precious Weapons is nominated for the MTV Logo ArjanWrites Brink Of Fame Award. Vote here.)