Monday, 21 December 2009

Best Albums Of 2009

After much deliberation, Helen Of Troy... has finally come up with our best albums of the year (in no particular order). We hope you like it...

PJ Harvey - A Woman A Man Walked By
The XX - XX
Bat For Lashes - Two Suns
Peaches - I Feel Cream
Metric - Fantasies
Florence and the Machine - Lungs
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
Fever Ray - When I Grow Up
Tegan and Sara - Sainthood
Amanda Blank - I Love You

That's us until 2010 (how scary is that?!?!)
We can't wait to see what a new year and a new decade brings.
Have an awesome Christmas and even better new year y'all.
Lynds & Marie-Claire

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Best Lady Singles Of 2009




2009 has not been the best year for music, but in amongst the rough there have been some bona fide diamonds. We have return singles from Helen Of Troy.. favourites PJ Harvey, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Peaches, plus hot-off-the-press classics from newbies like Micachu, Mini Viva and The XX. Here for your listening pleasure, in no particular order, is Helen Of Troy's best singles of 2009.

As ever, let us know if you think we've missed anything and where we might have gone wrong.


Peaches - I Feel Cream

Britney Spears - Circus
Florence And The Machine - Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero

thecocknbullkid - I'm Not Sorry
Micachu - Turn Me Well

PJ Harvey and John Parish - Black Hearted Love

Amanda Blank - Make It, Take It

Mini Viva - Left My Heart In Tokyo
Janelle Monae - Come Alive (War Of The Roses)
Tegan And Sara - Hell

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll

Bat For Lashes - Pearl's Dream

Girls Aloud - Untouchable

The XX - Islands

Lily Allen - Not Fair

Florence And The Machine - Drumming Song
Kelis - Acapella

Thunderheist - Nothing2Step2

St. Vincent - Marrow

Here's a handy Spotify playlist of all the tracks we could get our hands on! Enjoy!

Monday, 30 November 2009

New Music: Nneka




If like Helen Of Troy... you never quite got over the tragic demise of Lauryn Hill's musical career, fear not, for we have found the next best thing in the form of deliciously-defiant, continent-hopping Nneka. Based in Hamburg, the Nigerian-born singer-songwriter combines rich soulful sounds with poignant socio-political commentary.

Standout tracks on Nneka's MySpace page include the truly irresistible Heartbeat (so irresistible in fact that Xenomania newbs Mini Viva covered it on Radio 1's Live Lounge earlier this year!), nu-soul delight The Uncomfortable Truth, and the stripped-down Come With Me complete with Neneh Cherry-esque vocals.

Having already bagged her first award for Best African Act at this year's Mobos, 2010 looks set to be a very promising year for this up-and-coming youngster!

http://www.myspace.com/nnekaworld

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Kelis - Acapella

We may be a bit two thousand and late on this one, but Kelis' new track Acapella is simply amazeballs! Check it out below.


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Helen's Albums Of The Decade

In response to NME's rather unimaginative and questionable 'Albums of the Decade' list, Helen Of Troy... decided the only thing to do was to put on our proverbial thinking caps and come up with our own lady-led version.

Doing the list was all kinds of fun, but it also made us feel really freakin' old!

So here, in alphabetical, rather than rank, order, is our top 20 lady albums of the naughties.


Bat For Lashes – Fur And Gold


Britney Spears – Blackout


CSS – Cansei De Ser Sexy


Feist – The Reminder

Florence And The Machine – Lungs


Girls Aloud – Chemistry


Gossip – Standing In The Way Of Control


Gwen Stefani – Love, Angel, Music, Baby


Kelis – Kaleidoscope


M.I.A.- Arular


M.I.A. - Kala


Madonna - Music


Patti Smith – Trampin’


PJ Harvey – Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea


PJ Harvey - White Chalk



Roisin Murphy – Ruby Blue


Sleater Kinney - The Woods


The Long Blondes – Someone To Drive You Home


Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell


Yelle – Pop Up

Did we miss anyone off?

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Our Interview With SoundProof Magazine


The lovely people at Canadian music website SoundProof Magazine interviewed us last month and have given us an awesome write-up, posted below for your reading pleasure.


Profiles In Blogedness - Helen of Troy Does Counterop Writings

By: Eoghan Macguire

Profiles In Blogedness - Helen of Troy Does Counterop Writings

November 13, 2009 – Manchester, United Kingdom

Hidden somewhere amongst the ubiquitous mesh of crotch hugging skinny jeans, indie rock poses and £100 boys haircuts, which combine to make up the postmodern boy band scene, lies an underexposed gold mine of diverse and creative music.

It's a sad fact that—thanks to the boy-centric nature of much contemporary mainstream music—it may come as a shock that many of these burgeoning and talented acts are of the feminine variety. To paraphrase Morrissey by finishing the song he never wrote: "some girls are bigger than others, but most are overlooked by the mainstream media, record companies and music consumers."

Within this conundrum exists the devilishly simple raison d'être of Helen of Troy Does Countertop Writings. Seeking out the very best under-exposed female artists and bands, the UK-based blog aims to shine a spotlight on all things talented and XX chromosome specific.

Founded by journalists Lyndsey Hayes and Marie-Claire Daly, the concept began as an alternative London club night in mid-2008, under the guise of Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing. In light of the event's success, the Helen of Troy Does Countertop Writings blog was formed two months later as yet another medium for the best female musicians and a forum for Hayes' and Daly's musical passions.

"After years of reading about skinny, white, indie boy-bands, we decided it was time that female artists were given the same attention. We were surrounded by amazing artists like M.I.A. and Lykke Li and we wanted to comment on it in the hope of redressing the balance. It seemed a shame that the artists who were making some of the most progressive and diverse music around were not receiving the acclaim they deserved. We therefore wanted to provide a place where clued-up music fans could visit to find news, reviews and commentary pieces on the very best female artists around," say Hayes and Daly.

Although the focus on female artists differentiates Helen of Troy from the thousands of other blogs and popular music sites of a similar scale and musical composition, the creators hope that their passion, experience, enthusiasm, quirky style and content will further see their "labour of love" inform and inspire an intelligent and open-minded audience that can look beyond the obvious singularity of sexual characteristics.

"Since launching in June of 2008, our readership has steadily increased, so we must be doing something right. We originally set out with the hope of striking the right balance between humour, politics, and musical knowledge, and our stats tend to suggest our readers feel we have accomplished this.

"Having worked on an arts desk of a national newspaper, we both understand that sometimes people cover artists just to fill space. We hope that our readers trust our judgement, and feel they are getting quality commentary each and every time. Also, we'd like to think that both our writing style and approach are fairly distinctive, and suit the content of the blog. We love all kinds of artists and the blog is not genre specific, therefore we love Girls Aloud as much as PJ Harvey. We believe that a brilliant pop song is as valid as a brilliant rock, indie or electro song. What Helen of Troy would like to see is not just increased representation of female artists, but representation where female artists are not promoted on the strength of appearance, but on the strength of their work."

A glance at some of the site favourites gives a hint as to the genuine nature of Hayes and Daly's claims to musical diversity. "Posts on artists such as Madonna, Florence and The Machine, M.I.A, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Peaches, and Ladyhawke are always really well received. There is also a lot of traffic towards artists such as Madonna, Courtney Love, M.I.A, Brazilian Girls, Patti Smith, Girls Aloud, Salt ‘N' Pepa, Bonde Do Role, Amanda Blank, Peaches—we could go on, and on, and on! Each of the above have been trailblazers in their particular field, inspiring us to both create and maintain the blog. Thankfully, we seem to have a fairly-inclusive readership which we think reflects our content."

The recent success and popularity of the site, which Hayes and Daly refer to, is not exclusive to Helen of Troy. The increasing importance of such alternative information outlets are merely a microcosm of the wider tectonic shifts being felt across the entire media industry, which both Daly and Hayes recognize and see as an opportunity for their own growth.

Passionate and specialized blogs such as Helen of Troy have become indicative of the thousands of low cost niche blogs which are gaining trust, credibility and increasing relevance amongst the most clued up and voracious music fans. This is in stark contrast to the majority of traditional print publications who have failed to adapt to technological advances and have been left facing massive cutbacks, dwindling sales and the terminal illness of irrelevance.

"As paid-for online content becomes the norm, more and more people will turn to the likes of bloggers and social media enthusiasts for their daily dose of news and comment. We check at least twenty blogs per day for new posts and updates. We feel that a lot of enthusiasts follow the same routine as us, and this will only increase as print media continues to decline," say Hayes and Daly.

In contrast to many struggling traditional music publications, the shackles of image sensitive Public Relations Officer's and compromised objectivity, thankfully, does not affect the output of the likes of Helen of Troy and their ilk.

"We're not doing this for money, which means that we have the freedom to write honestly and objectively, with a sense of character and humor. The fact that Helen of Troy is a blog born out of a passion for quality music has contributed to the fact that people respect our opinions. We obviously want our readership to increase as much as possible, but ultimately this is a labour of love and not a business for us. We research and write about new music because we want to share the amazing music we've found with as many people as possible. "

Such genuine and refreshing sentiments ensure that if media trends are to be followed then it would be wise for all girls (and boys) to stick with Helen of Troy Does Countertop Writings.


Helen of Troy Does Countertop Writings were one of a long list of Manchester-based blogs, journalists, artist and club owners who were invited to contribute their picks to SoundProof's Top 20 Manchester Albums of All-Time list which will appear on Monday (November 16).

To check out more, head to www.soundproofmagazine.com

Friday, 30 October 2009

Album Review: Tegan And Sara - Sainthood




With an album release schedule that is literally littered with re-releases and greatest hits collections during the run-up to Christmas, the release of Tegan and Sara's long-awaited sixth studio album has arrived just in time to provide the perfect antidote for Helen Of Troy...'s seasonal cynicism.

Following on from their highly-acclaimed album The Con, Sainthood is somewhat of a departure for the dynamic duo, marking a number of changes in both their sound and production. Most notably perhaps being that this is the first album to feature tracks penned by both twins during their illustrious 14-year-long career.

Proceedings kick off with stunning opening track Arrow, introducing a new harder-edged and more electronically-inclined sound that features heavily throughout. Lead single Hell, rather pleasingly sounds as though it could have been lifted straight from Metric's fabulous recent album Fantasies, whilst tracks such as Night Watch and Paperback Head slow things down somewhat by showcasing a more experimental and quirkier sound.

On first listen Helen Of Troy... was left feeling a little underwhelmed by the whole affair, however this album is a grower in the truest sense of the word - two listens and we were well and truly hooked. At the risk of alienating old-school T&S fans, this may be their best album yet!

8/10

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Spotigift




Helen Of Troy... has put together a lovely little playlist to lift your dreary October Wednesday, featuring the brilliant Fuzzbox (pictured), the magnificent Amanda Blank, the superb Micachu and, erm, Barbara Dixon and Elaine Paige. Enjoy!


Helen Of Troy... Oct playlist

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

New Music: Music Go Music



Helen Of Troy... has fallen in love (again!). This time the object of our affection are the magnificent
Music Go Music. This LA-based trio (which can swell to a seven piece depending on occasion), channel the spirit of the 1970s to create stone cold classics which are equal parts joyous and heartbreaking.

They sound like a mash-up of Abba, Pulp, Belle And Sebastian, Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac and Donna Summer. Hardly ground-breaking, granted, but every one of the five songs we've heard has an immediacy many bands struggle their entire careers to achieve just once.

Music Go Music will be in Manchester this week, supporting Franz Ferdinand at The Apollo on Saturday. If your fancy isn't tickled by spanking £20 quid on a support band, check out the video below and revel in the majesty of the new queen and kings of high-quality, high-camp pop.


Saturday, 3 October 2009

Album Review: Karen O And The Kids – Where The Wild Things Are




The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' It's Blitz! is still up there as one of Helen Of Troy's favourite albums of 2009, so hats off to Karen O, who's made it into our top ten list again with her delightful soundtrack to Where The Wild Things Are.


Recorded in the guise of Karen O And The Kids, this gorgeous 14-track collection of lullaby-like ditties and shouty, hand-clappy floor-fillers is a delightful diversion from Ms O's day job, and sounds like it'll be the perfect fit for Spike Jonze's freakin' amazing-looking film, Where The Wild Things Are (scheduled for release on Dec 11).

Tracks like All Is Love, Rumpus and Capsize sound like The Yeah Yeah Yeahs playing in a sandpit with The Flaming Lips and The Polyphonic Spree; a joyous, smile-inducing soundtrack to the best kids' party ever.

Where The Wild Things Are isn't all jelly, ice cream and primary coloured happiness, however. Tracks like Worried Shoes and Hideaway portray perfectly the doubt, confusion and sadness that play a part in almost every person's childhood.


Helen Of Troy...'s fear of the pre-pubescent would normally have us running a mile from any album featuring or aimed at children, but Where The Wild Things Are is an absolute joy and the perfect antidote to the doom and gloom of (supposed) adulthood in 2009.

The lovely people at Spotify have put the album up already, so have a listen, fall in love, and let us know what you think.

spotify:album:1GJHGVV5KGS2cV0oBc58VQ

9/10

Thursday, 24 September 2009

What a difference a babe makes



While Sugababes Mark 1 were pretty, polished, and undoubtedly led by the hand by record company execs, there was a genuine feeling that Keisha, Mutya and Siobhan were three girls brought together by a shared love of music, given the chance to make records at a young age because of genuine talent. They were fresh-faced, fresh sounding and made brilliant pop records.

When Heidi 'dead behind the eyes' Range was brought in to replace titian beauty Siobhan, it was clear the Sugababes' MO had changed, but Keisha and Mutya's fierce attitude and classic tracks like Hole In The Head, Round Round, Freak Like Me and Push The Button, ensured the 'babes were still a pop force to be reckoned with. They wrote their own songs, performed with passion, and managed to rise above myriad storms and fashions to become the biggest selling British girl band of all time.

Now, with Mutya replaced by Amelle and, most recently (and cattily), Keisha replaced by newbabe Jade Ewen, Sugababes Mark 4 seem more like sex-selling singers than seriously talented songwriters.

Regardless of line-up changes, the girls' growth form surly teens to surly women was always going to result in changes, but Helen Of Troy... can't help but think that the current line-up is more likely to produce vacuously sexy sub standard Pussycat Dolls tracks than stone-cold survivors' classics like Sugababes of old.

Maybe Amelle, Heidi and Jade will prove us wrong, or maybe we'll see Keisha, Mutya and Siobhan form The Real Sugababes©. Our money's on the latter.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Fight For THIS Love?

Helen Of Troy... thinks Cheryl Cole's debut solo single, Fight For This Love, sounds like a bad Steps B-Side.



What do you think?

Thursday, 10 September 2009

New Music: You're Only Massive



There may be a few months left of 2009, but Helen Of Troy can say with confidence we’ve found our favourite lyric of the year.

‘Put the cheddar in the pocket put the rest into the jacket – what do you do? Do a runner.’

This super-cool homage to the theft of fromage comes courtesy of Waterford/Berlin electro-poppers You’re Only Massive on their excellent MySpace track Do A Runner.

Maebh Chesty and David Murphy, who make up You’re Only Massive, make infectious shouty electro which combines the childlike chutzpah of early CSS with the pared-down party beats of Peaches.

Current single Under The Neon is one of three delectable disco-tastic tracks available on You’re Only Massive’s MySpace, and if these three fabulous floor-fillers are anything to go by, their debut album, currently in production, should be freakin’ awesome.

Check them out at www.myspace.com/youreonlymassive or have a look at the lo-fi video for Under The Neon below.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Let's get giggical, giggical

The Mancunian non-festival live music drought draws to a close as those loveable students return to clog up our busses and bars. Spurred on by memories of five-gigs-a-week student days, Helen Of Troy… decided to start booking a few gig tickets to lift our over-too-soon summer blues. While there are a few sweet gigs in the pipeline, we were hardly overwhelmed by the lady talent visiting our fair city of the next couple of months – but here, in our humble opinion, is a brief list of the very best…



Sept 25 – Florence And The Machine
There’s not much more we (or anyone else) can say about the ubiquitous Flo-Mo. She’s awesome, her album’s awesome and she’s, you guessed it, pretty awesome live. Get a ticket if you can. Academy 1, 7pm, £13, sold out, returns only


Sept 27 - Speech Debelle
By the time 26-year-old Brit-rapper Speech Debelle comes to Manchester, the fate of her recent Mercury Prize nomination will be revealed (winners are being announced next Monday, Sept 8th.) Until then, all eyes (and ears?) will be on the London-based musician, whose debut album Speech Therapy is a soulful, jazzy exercise in considered acoustic hip hop.
Night & Day, 7p
m , £8
www.myspace.com/speechdebellemusic




Sept 29 – Nite Jewel

She may only have four songs on her MySpce page, but we’re already all over the work of Californian lo-fi indie diva Nite Jewel, aka Ramona Gonzalez. Jewel’s grainy electro-pop, Cocteau Twins-esque ethereal vocals and slow and scuzzy electro backing is a real treat.
The Deaf Institute, 7.30pm, £5
www.myspace.com/nitejewel





Oct 8 – Micachu

Back in January, Helen Of Troy… picked the lovely Micachu as one of our alternative tips for 2009. Since then, she’s released her debut album Jewellery to almost universal critical acclaim and has been taking her wonderfully weird, lo-fi pop around the world. Micachu’s back on British soil in October, so don’t miss this chance to catch one of the most exciting artists of the year in the loveliest live venue in town.
The Deaf Institute, 7.30pm, £7.50
www.myspace.com/micayomusic

Thursday, 27 August 2009

New Music: KiD A




We might be a little tardy on this, but Helen Of Troy… firmly believes that late is better than never, so we’d like to introduce you to the marvellous KiD A, aka Anni T, whose debut single, wasnotwas, was released on June 15th. Wasnotwas is a delicious slice of scuzzy, repetetative electro-pop aided by Anni’s sweet but sultry drawl.

This Virginia-born singer, composer and producer has been working with dan le sac on forthcoming EP In A Dream House, We All Ride Carousels, which promises to be another example of near-perfect electro-pop.

Head to www.myspace.com/kida for a listen (we especially like the EEPROM ‘on fire’ remix).

Watch this space!

Monday, 17 August 2009

The Backlash Has Begun




Helen Of Troy hates to monger doom, but after reading Dan Cairn’s insightful prediction for the future of female pop we can’t help but think that the current comparatively wide-open windows of opportunity for female musicians might be slowly closing.

Cairns sees the Mercury Prize nomination of Florence And The Machine, La Roux, Bat For Lashes, Lisa Hannigan and Speech Debelle (pictured) as the first nail in the coffin for interesting lady pop, as the outsiders become the insiders and pop, inevitably, eats itself. Of course, as Cairns states, interesting female artists will still be making music, but a record company exec is less likely to take a chance on a new interesting lady artist when the zeitgeist lies elsewhere.

Helen Of Troy is currently undecided as to whether this industry shift will bring positive or negative results. While we’d hate to see any truly talented musician turned down because their face doesn’t fit, we equally hate to see shitehawke musicians succeed just because theirs does.

Whatever happens, it would be nice to think that, even when the fickle wheel of fortune points again to boys with guitars, some genuine headway has been made for boundary-pushing women in pop/rock over the past five years. Only time (and second and third albums) will tell, but here at Helen Of Troy… we’re feeling pretty positive.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

New Music: Amanda Blank

Thanks to super-cool dedicated blogger Sheena Beaston, Helen Of Troy... has rediscovered the awesomeness of fierce electro-rapper Amanda Blank. Based in Philadelphia, the 26 year-old down-and-dirty emcee released her long-awaited debut album I Love You just last week. Widely known for being a serial collaborator, it came as no surprise to learn that the hedonistic hipster roped in Helen Of Troy... faves Lykke Li and Santigold, for a number of guest appearances on her aforementioned first full-length offering.

Whilst we've not had chance to listen to the album in full, banging lead single Might Like You Better and the wildly-infectious Make It Take It
both serve as good indications of what Ms Blank has to offer. Her catalogue of collaborations isn't bad either, with the likes of Bump - taken from Spank Rock's debut album YoYoYoYoYo, and her contribution to the Eli Grayson remix of Britney Spears' Gimme More, showcasing perfectly what she's capable of.

Brassy, trashy, and fabulous - we love you Amanda Blank!

http://www.myspace.com/amandablank - Check out the album in full here.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

New Videos For Your Enjoyment - Otherwise Known As A Lame Post!


Helen of Troy... was super pleased to discover that the next single to be taken from Florence and the Machine's debut album Lungs, is the utterly amazing Drumming Song. You can check out the accompanying video below - we suspect the new sexed-up direction might be a result of Flo and co's much-deserved Mercury nomination. Thoughts anyone?



Next up we have the video for Peaches's upcoming single Serpentine - the woman is fierce! Let's hope the next single to be released will be the awesome I Feel Cream. Enjoy!


Thursday, 30 July 2009

Madonna Celebration Single


Here's the cover sleeve for Madonna's upcoming single Celebration. Helen of Troy... does not like this. The font/text is effing dreadful, and the whole thing comes across as an underwhelming throwback to the hermazing Sex Book.

Also, the full track is now available for a listen on various sites across the interweb. Enjoy!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Happy First Birthday Helen Of Troy...

Today is a very special day for Helen Of Troy as it marks our first bloggalicious birthday. 365 days and 89 posts ago, we set up as a one-stop shop for all your lady-music needs. Since then, we've made loads of lovely online friends all over the world who have not only pointed us in the direction of some pretty awesome artists, but also left us loads of lovely comments and feedback. We've loved exchanging ideas with y'all and hope you stick around to see what the next year brings.

Lyndsey & Marie-Claire
xxx

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Helen Of Troy Does Countertop Dancing Heads To Leeds!




So after a longer than planned hiatus, Helen Of Troy Does Countertop Dancing is back y'all, and we've had a bit of a makeover! Our new monthly residency takes place across the Pennines in Leeds, and will see us play the very best lady-led electro-pop around, from pioneers like Peaches, Bjork and M.I.A. to newcomers thecocknbullkid, Fan Death and La Roux.


Launching on Saturday 25th July upstairs at the Library, Hyde Park, Leeds, Helen Of Troy Does Countertop Dancing will be the place to hear cutting edge electro cuts, fabulous remixes, unexpected cover versions, and a handful of fluffy electro-pop favourites, all with a female vocal. So if you're out and about in Leeds next Saturday, make sure you drop by and say hello!


Proceedings kick off at 9pm and we'll be kicking you out around 2am, prices are £3, or £2 w/flyer or NUS. HOTDCD will take place on the final Saturday of every month from thereon in.

Expect to hear the likes of...
M.I.A., Peaches, Yelle, Yo Majesty!, Thunderheist, Girls Aloud, Madonna, Rye Rye, Janelle Monae, Brazilian Girls, Amanda Blank, Micachu, Fan Death, Ladytron, Donna Summer, Santigold, Britney, thecocknbullkid, Kelis, Menya, Ladyhawke, La Roux, Bjork, Lykke Li, MEN, Grace Jones, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Little Boots, Metric, St Etienne, en vogue, Gwen Stefani, VV Brown, Róisín Murphy, heartsrevolution, Kap Bambino, CSS, Janet Jackson, Le Corps Mince De Françoise, Le Tigre, Bonde do Role, Robyn, Missy Elliot, Ebony Bones, Salt N Pepa, Heloise & the Savoir Faire, Neneh Cherry, Goldfrapp, Mpho, and others.

See you there!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Album Review: Regina Spektor – Far

Listening to the first track of a new Regina Spektor album is like resuming a conversation with an old friend you’ve not seen in years. Comforting, familiar, and cheering.

Far, Spektor's fifth studio album, is another joyfully rounded release, replete with a myriad of musical short-stories presented in a manner that both moves you and mates you all in the same moment.

Regina’s percussive lyrics, broad vocal range, and elaborate compositions weave together to create a truly unique and full sound, further enhanced by the intimate and delicate production. A plethora of high profile producers including Mike Elizondo (Fiona Apple, Dr Dre) and Jacknife Lee (U2, REM), have clearly had to sacrifice their own styles in order to suit Spektor’s stripped-down purity.

An infusion of Soviet-style classical piano, deft drum beats, and bluesy singing begins to define Spektor’s indefinable style. Thankfully, following her commercially viable 2006 album Begin to Hope, Spektor has not been tempted to tone down her kookiness for her increasing audience figures - even going as far as to poke fun at her new-found popularity in the robotic Machine.

There are many serious and powerful ballads on this album, such as the thought-provoking lead single Laughing With, the epic Human of the Year, and Eet. These are complemented by sparkling pop ditties like Dance Anthem of the ‘80s and The Calculation. However, every track has been carefully constructed to showcase the true vocal and musical imagination of their creator. Spektor’s observations of the minutiae of nature, religion, and the small adventure of finding a wallet are a deliberate stride away from the metropolis-influenced comments of previous albums, an overall theme summed up in the album title.

Overall, Regina’s latest offering delivers. It’s familiar but mature. Kooky with serious undertones. Vocally quirky and musically delicious. Perfect.

9/10

Laura Adlington

Sunday, 12 July 2009

What Helen Of Troy... Has Learnt This Week




Celebrate, lead single from Madonna's third greatest hits package Celebration, is set to hit radio waves around July 28th. The two-disc album, and her last with Warners, will now feature two new tracks and not three as previously reported (though this may be subject to change). As far as Helen Of Troy... is concerned, they aint ever gonna be as good as the rude and lewd Justify My Love!

ActionAid has unveiled a new single for their 6 Degrees project, which aims to highlight the charity's work on women's rights in poorer countries. The single is a cover of Chaka Khan's I'm Every Woman, and features Helen Of Troy... favourites thecocknbullkid, Micachu, and Roisin Murphy. You can download the track by registering here.

Ebony Bones releases her debut album Bones Of My Bones tomorrow! For those who don't have en effing clue who she is, hop on over to her MySpace page and marvel at her spectacularness now - We Know All About U and Don't Fart On My Heart are especially amazing.

And finally... Juliette Lewis has released a new vlog, which details news on the new album and tour, as well as bringing the lols with some quality dancing and flashbacks. Enjoy!


Monday, 6 July 2009

Spotysharing Part Four




Warning - this playlist is electro-tastic! Featuring Helen Of Troy... favourite Florence and the Machine with latest single Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up), Dismissed by the effing brilliant and ruddy rude Uffie, plus the sublime Lettin' Go courtesy of Ms Janelle Monae. Check it out here.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

New Music: Daisy Dares You




There are many things that make Helen Of Troy... feel positively prehistoric, but perhaps none more so than hotly-tipped trendy teen, Daisy Dares You. At the ridiculous age of 15, Essex-born Daisy Coburn (aka Daisy Dares You) has already garnered a huge amount of interest from journos and bloggers alike. So much so, Jive Records - home to Britney Spears and P!nk - signed the peppy poplet up sharpish, and we can see why. Imagine Avril Lavigne, Lily Allen, and Alex Roots all rolled up into one and you'll start to get an idea of what DDY is about.

Songs featured on her MySpace page include the epic Number One Enemy, which has smash hit written all over it thanks to it's super slick production and catchy-as-fuck chorus. Self-titled track Daisy Dares You, is another big-hitter and easily our favourite of the lot, whilst Talk About The Weather and Next Few Minutes showcase a more soulful side to the youngster.

If this is what she's capable at 15, we can't wait for what's in store.

http://www.myspace.com/daisydaresyoumusic

Sunday, 28 June 2009

He Was A Thriller




We've decided to make an exception to our 'female musicians only policy' for a truly exceptional man. Michael Jackson was one of history's greatest musical pioneers, he was an innovator and a visionary, and he will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Hole-y Moly!




Late last night Helen Of Troy... stumbled upon this rather confusing article on the Guardian website. It seems chain-smoking chantress Courtney Love has decided to release her not-so-forthcoming album Nobody's Daughter under her old Hole moniker, despite being the only member of the seminal grunge outfit to be associated with it - Melissa auf der Maur's backing vocals don't really count as far as we're concerned.


So has the decision to revive the aforementioned moniker been made in a bid to help shift more units, or is it merely a statement that the raucous rocker feels Nobody's Daughter is a return to past form and merely wants to brand it as such? Either way, we're chomping at the bit for news on a final release date. C'mon Courtney, show us what you've got!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Just a Quickie

Helen Of Troy... would like to apologise dear readers, for the horrendous lack of updates you've been subjected to these past few weeks. Whilst we aren't completely blameless (designated blog writing days turning into all-day drinking sessions for example), there have been many changes and developments afoot within the Helen Of Troy... camp, that have left us with little time or energy to do anything else. With any luck, things will start to calm down a bit, and we'll be banging out more posts than your already overly-stimulated brains can deal with!

To tide you over until our next proper post, here's possibly one of the best music videos of all time...

Thursday, 11 June 2009

X-Tina Fabulera!




Back in February, Helen Of Troy was astounded to hear that
dirrrty girl Christina Aguilera had secured the services of 'lectro-poppers Ladytron and the gorgeous Goldfrapp. Imagine our surprise, then, when we discovered that the former Mouseketeer has also enlisted the help of the legendary Le Tigre to work on her forthcoming, as yet untitled, album.

While Helen Of Troy... is all about cultural cross-overs, we can't quite decide whether Ms Aguilera is working with these fantastic less-than-mainstream artists because she's a fan, or whether she's just buying cool by association. Either way, it's going to make for interesting listening. We've posted Le Tigre's finest moment Deceptacon below to remind y'all just how awesome they were. Let's see if they can top this with XTina.