Friday, 30 January 2009

Madonna Extends Sticky And Sweet Tour!

*WARNING - To avoid disappoinment, check your credit card balance before reading further.**

It was announced a few days ago that Madonna would be taking her hugely successful Sticky And Sweet Tour back on the road this summer - maybe she needs a few extra pennies following her recent divorce to Guy! Who cares? We're going!

Now, Helen Of Troy... is the first to admit that Hard Candy is probably one of Madge's worst albums, but it's worth bearing in mind that this latest tour is the highest-grossing tour in history for a solo artist, and has received critical acclaim across the board.

An evening with her Madjesty costs however, and we'd guestimate that it'll cost around £160 to get a good look at those guns of hers. If you're not quite as sad as us, then tickets will cost in the region of £60 to £120 - we did warn you!

Here's the tour schedule as it currently stands...

04 July - London, United Kingdom - The 02 London - On sale Feb 06
07 July - Manchester, United Kingdom - MEN Arena - On sale Feb 06
11 July - Werchter, Belgium - Festivalpark - On sale Feb 07
14 July - Milan, Italy - San Siro - On sale Feb 06
21 July - Barcelona, Spain - Olympic Stadium
23 July - Madrid, Spain - Vicente Calderon
28 July - Hamburg, Germany - Trab-Arena Hamburg Bahrenfeld
30 July - Oslo, Norwary - Vallehovin - On sale Feb 09
04 Aug - Tallinn, Estonia - Tallinn Song Festival Ground
06 Aug - Helsinki, Finland - West Harbour - On sale Feb 09
09 Aug - Gothenburg, Sweden - Ullevi - On sale Feb 09
11 Aug - Copenhagen, Denmark - Parken - On sale Feb 09
13 Aug - Prague, Czech Republic - Chodov Natural Amphitheatre
15 Aug - Warsaw, Poland - Bemowo Airport
18 Aug - Munich, Germany - Olympic Stadium
20 Aug - Ljubljana, Slovenia - Hippodrome

In 2009, Madonna's 'Sticky & Sweet Tour' will also visit Marseille in addition to performances in Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia, Romania, and Serbia. Tickets will be available for purchase through Live Nation.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Helen Of Troy Asks For Help

As you may or may not know, Helen Of Troy Does Countertop Dancing is hosting Underachievers Please Try Harder's fabulous Wednesday Sessions, once a month at Saki Bar, starting on the 11th of February.

Alongside your usual dose of Helen's high-quality lady tunes, we want to feature a selection of local female talent; be it/she a band, solo artist, filmmaker, writer or other. The point of the night is to get as many like-minded people as possible in a room together and give them a chance to do what they do best, so we need your suggestions to make it work.

If you are, or know of, an awesome female artist who you think would be perfect for this all-inclusive night, please leave a comment, Facebook us, or email us at We want the night to be as varied as possible, so don't let issues of genre or medium dissuade you from wading in. All comers are welcome - we can't wait to hear your suggestions.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Helen's Alternative Tips For 2009

We've all heard that the likes of La Roux, Little Boots and the fantastic Florence And The Machine are going to be big news over the next year. Helen Of Troy..., as you well know, likes to offer our lovely readers an appealing alternative. We're always on the lookout for new talent, and we think we might have found some exciting new acts for your aural pleasure.

First off, we have the fantabulous Janelle Monae, who has been described as a female version Prince. She's worked with the likes of Outkast, and proffers a fierce funky brand of 21st century R&B. To experience Janelle at her soulful, sci-fi best, we reccommend you check out the awesome Many Moons.

Secondly, there's 21-year-old folk-pop experimentalist Micachu, who's currently recording her début album with Matthew Herbert. This madcap multi-instrumentalist creates weird and wonderful soundscapes that combine drum'n'bass, Estury English vocals and Hoover noises. Check out début single Golden Phone.

Finally, and this one's been on our radar for a while now, we have London-based hip-popper thecocknbullkid (no spaces, no capital letters, no apostrophes!). This 23-year-old, Ghana-born songstress has been tipped for a while now and has worked closely with the uber-cool Metronomy boys. Six months ago, we'd have reccomended There's A Mother In Our Bed, but miss C&BK has improved immesurably with the excellent I'm Not Sorry.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

New M.I.A. And Santogold!

Get It Up! - M.I.A. and Santogold's first collaboration - blew us away last year, and we've been hoping ever since that another work was in the post. Fortunately, it was. The pair's second offering comes via N.A.S.A., which is a kind of ongoing creative project formed by Sam Spiegel and Ze Gonzales. The track is called Whachadoin and can be downloaded via the link below. Let us know your thoughts.

N.A.S.A - Whachadoin (featuring M.I.A. & Santogold)

Monday, 19 January 2009

PJ Harvey And John Parish Tour!

Here's some very exciting news that's sure to kick those post-Christmas blues! PJ Harvey and John Parish are to embark on a UK and European Tour in April, when they will be showcasing their second collaborative album 'A Woman A Man Walked By' – released March 30th.

Tickets won't last long so snap up yours sharpish! Details for all dates are listed below.

UK Tour Dates:

Wednesday April 15th – Corn Exchange, Brighton & 01273 709 709
Thursday April 16th – Regal, Oxford & 0871 2200 260
Saturday April 18th – Anson Rooms, Bristol & 0844 444 4400
Monday April 20th – Shepherds Bush Empire, London & 0844 477 2000
Wednesday April 22nd – Town Hall, Birmingham & 0121 780 3333
Friday April 24th – Ritz, Manchester & 0161 832 1111
Sunday April 26th – Queens Hall, Edinburgh & 0871 220 0260

European Tour Dates:

Saturday May 2nd - Portugal, Porto - Casa Da Musica & +351 220120200
Monday May 4th – Italy, Milan - Auditorium
Wednesday May 6th – Germany, Stuttgart - Theaterhaus & +49 (0)69 - 944 36 60
Thursday May 7th – Germany, Berlin - Passionskirche & +49 (0)69 - 944 36 60
Saturday May 9th – Sweden, Stockholm - Nalen & 0771-47 70 70
Sunday May 10th – Norway, Oslo - Rockefeller & +47 815 33 133
Monday May 11th – Denmark, Copenhagen Vega & +45 70 263 267
Wednesday May 13th – Holland, Amsterdam - Paradiso & + 31 20 6211288
Thursday May 14th – Belgium, Brussels - Ancienne Belgique & +32 2 548 24 24
Sunday May 17th – France, Paris - Bataclan & +33 1 41 57 32 28 & +33 1 46 91 57 57

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Don't Speak (Too Soon)

In the past week, both Miranda Sawyer and Peter Robinson have put pen to paper to proclaim the death of masculine indie. Both writers bemoan the blandness of the four boys with guitars blueprint, directing readers to a roster of lovely ladies tipped to add colour and character to the charts in 2009; name-checking artists de jour Little Boots, Lady GaGa, La Roux and Florence And The Machine in the process.

Of course, Helen Of Troy... and our lovely readers are already aware that female's where it's at, but it's nice to know that even more people are turning to women when they want their music to be innovative, interesting and delivered with attitude. It's no new thing for women to top the charts, but the class of 2009 seem to exude an attitude and individuality missing from 2008 hot tips Adele and Duffy.

While this is all good news, and believe us, we're incredibly smug at the moment, it's important to note that the battle is far from over. Critics tips and proper crossover successes are completely different things. Just look at the relatively poor chart performance of Lykke Li, Ladyhawke and Those Dancing Days. Even the superb Santogold found it tricky to set the charts alight, despite soundtracking several high-profile ad campaigns.

Unfortunately, if the massive hype surrounding these female artists doesn't start equating to massive record sales, the safe-as-houses indie boys will be back and the under representation of women in music will return. Let's just hope the attitudes of the record-buying public are changing, or we'll be back to bland quicker than you can say Norah Jones.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

We Just Don't Get Lady GaGa!

So Lady GaGa is this week's number one in the singles chart with her début single Just Dance. How did that happen? We know some people like her, but erm... why?

As most of you are aware, we heart all kinds of pop music over here at Helen Of Troy..., but this highly-stylised twenty-year-old New Yorker just aint doing it for us. Maybe it's her over-inflated opinion of herself 'I'm defying all the preconceptions we have of pop artists', or maybe it's just that her music is completely unoriginal and rather vapid – in our eyes at least. Either way, we're rather dumbfounded by the whole thing, especially now that Alexis Pretridis over at the Guardian has given her début album The Fame three stars!

For those of you who have yet to hear her number one single, check it out below and let us know what you think. For those who are already fans, please, try and help us to understand!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Music Round-Up 15th to 31st January

Helen Of Troy... hates the cold dear readers. We don't mind telling you it takes something extra special to force us to leave our cosy little abodes, donned with mittens bought from the Christmas markets and scarves knitted by our nearest and dearest. Fortunately, January is rather a quiet month and provides few reasons to venture out onto the dark, inhospitable streets of Mancunia. However, there's always something going on in our fair city so here are a couple of events to tempt you out of your toasty boltholes.

Saturday 24th January - Grace Jones
Williams Blood, though only released towards the end of last year, was one of our best-loved tracks from 2008. Taken from latest album Hurricane – her first album to be released in more than twenty years – it surprised critics and fans alike, and although not commercially successful, garnered a much-deserved underground following. Miss Jones has reached the ripe old age of 60 years old, and during her lifetime has been many things: a supermodel, actress, singer, and perhaps most exciting and truest of all, a force of nature. This may be your last chance to see the original diva in action.

Details: Apollo, Stockport Road, Manchester
7pm, £35 adv (excluding fees)

Tuesday 27th January - Sky Larkin
Tipped as ones to watch in 2009 (not only by us, but by critics too!), this Leeds-based three piece proffer an unrelenting alt.rock sound complete with enchanting and uplifting summery melodies. Lead vocalist Katie Harkin presents as a rather formidable front woman, calling to mind PJ Harvey in attitude and Bjork and Regina Spektor vocally. Their début album The Golden Spike is released next month on Wichita.
Details: Night & Day, Oldham Street, Central Manchester
8pm, £6 adv (excluding fees)

Thursday, 8 January 2009

New Music: VV Brown

When grime and indie joined forces in 2007 to make grindie, Helen Of Troy... was expecting a slew of brilliant genre bastardisations in 2008. They never came. Which is why, at the beginning of 2009, we're super-pleased to announce the arrival of dwindie - doo-wop and indie - a new genre created by hotly-tipped Northampton-born, London-based songstress VV Brown.

Ms Brown's début single, Crying Blood, which was released at the tail-end of 2008, is a fantastically catchy gem that mixes 1960s soul and ska with 21st-century pop sensibilities. It might not have set the charts alight in November, but Helen Of Troy... predicts a 2009 re-release that will put VV on the Britpop map.

On her MySpace page, Brown name-checks The B52's and CSS, which is a pretty good indicator of where her music lies. Part catchy retro-pop. Part party electro.

Next single Leave, a slightly slower affair than its predecessor, is released in March, but we reckon we'll be seeing a fair bit more of Ms VV Brown before then.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Normal Service Has Been Resumed!

Hello chaps and chapesses, welcome to 2009! Hope you all had fantastic Christmasses and New Years, we certainly did. Anyhoo, normal service has now been resumed at Helen Of Troy Does Countertop Writings, and we're looking forward to bringing you a whole new batch of awesome lady music.

To get us reacquainted why not check out the video below and let us know what you think of one of this year's most hotly tipped outfits, La Roux. If we're honest we're still a little bit unsure and want to know what you guys think, so if you want to swing us in either direction, leave your comment below.