Sunday, September 21, 2008

Katy Perry: Ur So Straight

If you paid attention to the top 40 over the summer, then you've probably had the unfortunate experience of hearing Katy Perry's single, "I Kissed A Girl." It shares its title with Jill Sobule's 1995 coming-out hit, but little else.

Yeah, you wish

So, dear reader, I'd like to direct your attention to a fantastic article written by Annie Holub for PopMatters. Holub examines how, in its "I'm a dirty girl but I was really just drunk" flirtations with bi-curiousity, "I Kissed A Girl" is really one of the more homophobic songs out there. Treating queerness as something taboo, to be fetishized, as Perry does, is one of the more idiotic moves I can think of in pop music today. I know Perry is young, but I'm pretty sure The Real World covered this whole culture of drunk straight girls making out more than a decade ago. It was mindless then, and it's just flat-out dumb now.

This isn't to say that I find Perry offensive. Rather, I'm just not sure how "I Kissed A Girl" can still manage to be a hit in today's age. Is queerness really still such a taboo subject? Or is Perry just relying on a generation of suburban tweens whose parents and schools have decided not to talk about the subject? It's worth noting here that Perry began her career as a Christian recording artist, before some producer or other told her of the benefits of aping Lily Allen. So maybe that's why her views of queerness are stuck far, far in the past.

Friday, September 19, 2008

WIN #1 - week in reviews

This is a new feature for Clone Sound, where once a week I'll be compiling links & blurbs from whichever reviews I've had published.

Toadies - No Deliverance (Kirtland; 2008)
Yup, it's those Toadies - the ones who scored the 90s alterna-rock hit with "Possum Kingdom" ("I will treat you well/my sweet angel/so help me jeeeeesus"). Back from the dead with a new release. One-track minded grunge-metal, but really not bad as a reminder that Toadies were far better than, say, the also-recently-reunited Candlebox.
Score: 70/100
Full Review at Cokemachineglow.

Naked Music - Recreation (Naked Music; 2008)
Victory lap release for the smooth silky sounds of Naked Music, the label that's brought us the creamy dub house of Miguel Migs, and a bunch of breathy lounge-house divas. As jacuzzi house goes, this is pretty good, and it's certainly miles better than (shudder) electro-house.
Score: 6/10
Full Review at PopMatters

So, pretty light this week, but a lot coming down the pike - expect Mercury Rev, Kenny Larkin, Sasha, Starfucker, and The Adventure in the next fortnight.

The Omega Band

Who here remembers the Beta Band? They were a novel band of Scots who, after three albums and an excellent collection of EPs (immortalized in the film of High Fidelity), decided to call it quits, citing a lack of success to the level they'd anticipated.

Two of the former members - Robin Jones and John Maclean - along with early Beta Gordon Jones, take the form of The Aliens. With their 2006 EP Alienoid Starmonica and 2007 full-length Astronomy For Dogs, they picked up right were the Betas left off, crafting quirky gems of heavily manipulated pop. For the Starmonica EP, I'll say this - "Hey Leanne" has got to be the best country song about an abductee missing his alien captors that I've ever heard.

As The Aliens prepare to unleash their newest, Luna (September 29 on Pet Rock), I've contracted stuck-in-head syndrome with The Beta Band song, "Dragon." It's a sleepy little gem (and weren't they all?) with a shuffling dub beat from the Betas' second album, Hot Shots II (2002; Astralwerks):

There's no official video available, but seeing as this fan-made one features Spyro, the adorable baby purple video game dragon, getting his groove on, I'd say it's a winner. To whet appetites, here's "Magic Man," the first single from Luna. And Portland bands think they have a monopoly on weirdness: