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 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

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

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