>Ugly Megan, and Alexandra Burke’s Sincerity Vaccuum

Over two nights, I’ve seen two awful gigs. This will not do. The first band I will not name; they were young and new, and will surely improve.

But in the meantime, I will offer this nugget of advice: it’s fine to swagger about the stage like Ian Brown and Liam Gallagher‘s proto-lovechild, but only if you can back up your cocksure braggadocio with, you know, good music.

Oh, and never introduce another mindlessly drab U2-lite number with the words, “This one’s a fucking tune! Come on!” unless you enjoy the sight of a roomful of people raising quizzical eyebrows.

Still, at least they were sincere, unlike last night’s ear-harassment from X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke, who turned up in Manchester to pick up a large cheque and switch on the Christmas lights.

Insincerity made flesh, she actually used the, “Manchester is my favourite place to perform” line – and the crowd lapped it up. It was so embarrassing I didn’t know where to look. Then she ground out both her hits, offered a few more scripted blandishments and exited stage left.

As she did, she pretended to spot someone in the audience, pointed, performed an oh-my-god-can-you-believe-it! wave and then finally expunged herself from our drab lives. Sadly, the collective sigh of relief was conspicuous by its absence.

For all those who are recovering from similar half-hearted celeb-showpieces, Ugly Megan are the antidote. Gentle beyond measure on the surface, but unexpectedly steely and sexy beneath. “I really like your trousers but I’d prefer them on the floor,” sings Kathi on the delightfully nice ‘n’ sleazy One Night At My House.

Ugly Megan – One Night At My House

The template – guitar, cute female vocals and tinkling xylophone – has been used to death, but not in such an genuinely sweet, lusty way. And in Kathi and Orlando’s Revolution, their soft/barbed coupling makes even more sense.

Ugly Megan have also found a whole new niche: in covering Snoop Dogg‘s What’s My Name, they’ve – believe it or not – successfully melded twee pop and gangsta rap.

No, it doesn’t make sense to me either. But it works well, doesn’t seem to be a bad joke and sounds good. The opposite of Alexandra Burke then.

Photography by Deen O’Saurus

>Today’s New Band – RevoLucian PLUS! Toast Insanity!


Four years ago, when I was living by the sea in Wales, a good friend dropped by to stay the night after a weekend of cold, hostile, possibly sewage-drenched surfing. He brought a gift. Being the ungrateful sort, I flung the gift in a drawer. It graced the back of a number of drawers in the intervening years.
He visited me again last weekend, and The Gift was mentioned. We were hungry. It was time. The Gift was the Toastabag, a device of such brain-frazzling useless brilliance that I recommend that you buy one without hesitation. In case you haven’t figured out the seismic cooking shift brought about by this invention: the Toastabag allows you to cook things in your usual kitchen toaster by placing the foodstuff of choice into the bag, and – yes – toasting it.
So we made the inevitable cheese and tomato toasted sandwich as suggested by the ludicrous advert, and the results were both delicious and thrillingly pointless.
Novelty records are also delicious and thrillingly pointless. Novelty records get a bad press, but actually, they’re the stick on which the candyfloss of pop music clings too.

The Beatles‘ I Wanna Hold Your Hand is brainless, throwaway and more fun than ought to be legal – the definition of a novelty song. So, all hail ‘novelty’ music, and shed the associated bad feeling by listening to Today’s New Band, RevoLucian.

RevoLucian has capitalised on the scurrilous release (and subsequent internet sensation) of that audio track of Batman star Christian Bale totally – TOTALLY – flipping out on set. He created Bale Out.

In doing so, he’s created the first remix of anything that has taken something of genuine, open-mouthed brilliance and made it one hundred times better. “DO YOU WANT ME TO FUCKING TRASH YOUR LIGHTS?” screams Bale, over the angriest, most in-yer-face techno you’ve ever heard.

If the original audio tape made you laugh, when it’s teamed up with a cripplingly aggressive soundtrack, you’ll feel like you’ve been hit in the back of your head with a brick. RevoLucian aims his target wide and unsparingly – his Sarah Palin Remix cuts to the core of the terrifying insanity that is her life more effectively that a dozen righteous newspaper columnists.
But it’s his Bale Out mix that is perfect: a great song that will be relevant today and gone tomorrow, but for the short time that it’ll have current meaning to you, it’ll be the best song you’ll have ever heard. Brilliant. Well done, RevoLucian, the truest pop musician in the world – today. Listen here!

PS Thanks, as always, to ANBAD contributor Jamie for bringing Bale Out to my attention

>Will This Hopeless Listing Ever Cease?

***A New Band A Day is taking a ‘well-earned’ break until the New Year, so no more new bands until then…***

The A New Band A Day List-Stravaganza continues – right now – with more compulsive listing without reason, thought or care. Today it’s a dip into the icy waters of 2008’s darker side…

Blandest Band of the Year

A tough, hard fought category, with listless, beige fights to the death between the bands, eliminating such dreary contemporaries as Razorlight and Keane en route. But the winner has to be Coldplay, who produced an album of such overwhelming averageness that every estate agent in the country was instantly compelled, by an unseen magnetism, to purchase a copy from their local Tesco Express.

Truly Awful Band of the Year

There was really only one ‘winner’ here, and it was the execrable, borderline-evil Scouting For Girls. If any band had been crafted by Satan himself to cruelly torment all humans, it would be them. I almost feel a sense of awe that such a hopelessly bad band could be conceived. We should all pity the day this bunch of half-wits discovered their trademark trait of repeating the same dreadful, glib lyric over and over again until blood trickles out of the listener’s nose. The only band who has ever truly made me wish I was deaf.

Worst Song Of The Year

Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon was a great song, right? And The Skynyrd‘s Sweet Home Alabama was rootin’ tootin’ awesome too, right? So if we ‘mash’ those two together, you’ll get the best song, like, ever, right? Wrong. What you got was All Summer Long by Kid Rock. Off an album called Rock N Roll Jesus, for crap’s sake. Awful beyond comprehension.

The Moment Where The Portal Of Hell Almost Opened

When the release of UK’s X Factor winner Alexandra Burke‘s cover of Leonard Cohen‘s Hallelujah mobilised the world’s soppiest army. Jeff Buckley‘s wet-behind-the-ears, caring, sharing, new-man fanbase, the majority of whom probably think Leonard Cohen was that actor who played Spock in Star Trek, decided that her version was just not, like, real enough, and tried to get their tragic hero to number one instead.

So this Christmas, the same song, which isn’t even anything to do with Christmas, occupies number one and two in the charts. That warm feeling beneath your feet is our worldly reality only just managing to avoid being swallowed up by the Eternal Pit of Fire.

Merry Christmas, everyone.