Never trust a major to do an indie’s job – February 14th 2009

Failed to get his down on Friday due to excessive hangover and a mountain of more business-orientated tasks to complete but thought I’d let you all know about my evening in the company of world-straddling record company monolith Universal Records and their newly signed acts of 2009.

The night started shittily enough with a mild snow storm and some cold ass winds blowing around my newly shorn head but once I’d arrived at the auspicious venue for the night’s proceedings, the palatial Bush Hall, I was greeted by free booze and copious quantities of gourmet hotdogs, nice to see the Credit Crunch hasn’t affected the catering – good start.

First up – Gary Go – introduced as a “one man Coldplay” (I counted four musicians on stage so I’m not sure Universal’s forte lies in basic arithmetic) – a Bono-lite peddling pedestrian anthems rammed full of nausea inducing bluster and bombast . If I see a more punchable face in the Top 40 this year I’ll be surprised.

Next, new blues/jazz singer Melody Gardot who looked remarkably like Anastacia without the hint of a sex change. Musically she followed the tried and tested Eva Cassidy route even ending on her own interpretation of ‘Over The Rainbow’ – who says originality’s dead?

Third came I Blame Coco who happens to be the offspring of Sting – funny I thought you didn’t ejaculate during all that tantric sex…..Anyway, I was reminded by an old friend that Sting famously only listens to his own music and on the evidence of his daughter’s output, it seems that so does she. Same voice, same mannerisms same bloody tunes…..just what we need.

Amusingly The Noisettes featured next who, if I’m not mistaken (and I’m not), have already had an album out on Universal sub-label Mercury so are hardly a new act (I found out later that they had been dropped and re-signed so technically were a new signing – hmmmm). Despite lead singer Shingai Shoniwa attempting to out alien Grace Jones with her rather bizarre choice of haircut, The Noisettes still knocked out some rather half-arsed electro pop tunes that suggest that they may feel the huge Universal boot up the jacksy for a second time

Talking of weird hair, finally we were treated to La Roux, who having tipped already this year I was looking forward to catching. Her three tunes didn’t disappoint, particularly former single – synth-fest ‘Quicksand’ – which still held enough Prince-tinged thrills to, at last, make me raise a smile.

So that’s Universal’s hot new tips for 2009 and god help us if that’s all they have to offer. No doubt the huge marketing machine will deliver some fine sales for each but I can safely say that, save La Roux, I’ll be avoiding this little lot like the plague for the rest of the year.

Yours gripely



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