Archive for January, 2011

All You Need Is Now

Show notes for the 243rd Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

Jon LukasThis Time
A few days ago I was very pleasantly surprised to see a video recording of a clip from an Iran television show, which originally aired in 1972, featuring Malta’s best 1970s pop music export Jon Lukas. This vintage video clip was uploaded to Facebook by Shahram Doodman, an Iranian man who lives in London. The show was called Cheshmak and it was hosted by Iranian pop superstar Googosh. This clip is now being used to explore with the very first inclusion of video on the M3P.

Natalie GauciSad Eyes
The former Australian Idol is still going strong, even though she is now no longer under contract with Sony. Away from the pressure of producing pop hits, she’s still writing delightful songs such as this one, which she has chosen to share in its demo stage through her personal YouTube channel. There’s no denying that Natalie has a beautiful voice, and this song showcases it quite nicely.

Phyllisienne BrincatStop the Traffic: Human Slavery
Another video that caught my attention a few days ago consists of found footage edited together by Phylisienne Brincat for her new song about human trafficking, which is quite a dreadful crime. The song was co-written with Nick Partis, who is also responsible for the lyrics. Kyle Drakard, the singer’s son, provides some smoking guitar work on this recording. He’s only a young teenager, but at this rate he’s bound to be a major force on the local music scene, if not beyond, in the coming years.

Vince FabriKull Sekonda
When Annabelle Vassallo succumb to the cancer that has brought her to public attention in Malta, it was quite evident to anyone interested in contemporary culture within the Maltese islands that a major public figure had died. To mark her passing, I think it’s most appropriate to play Vince Fabri’s song inspired by her exceptional zest for life in the face of the painful adversity that eventually led to her death. This version of the song comes from the concert Fabri gave to mark his 50th birthday at the end of March last year. Annabelle was present for that show, so it’s doubly fitting to feature this recording during today’s podcast.

Dylan DebonoNervous Wreck
From time to time I discover new songs that seem to come out of nowhere. This one appeared on Facebook from a student of neuroscience who simply needed a good break from his studies during this mid-year exam period. It’s quite a good song even though the DIY production quality is very evident on the recording. To my mind this only makes the song more authentic.

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page or on MySpace. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here or listen to the podcast on the player right below this text.


Rolling in the Deep

Show notes for the 242nd Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

Joe MizziAngels Fall
During my last MMI podcast in 2010 I promised to play another track from Joe Mizzi’s new CD album Angels Fall once it came out. Well, it’s now out so I’ve opened this week’s podcast with the title track from it. Not much else to add to what I already said to recommend this album…what matter is that you hear it, or at least listen to some tracks from it.

Saving AlexisOcean Deep
One of last year’s major newcomers on the Malta music scene returns with a new single. Brandishing an unashamed solid pop rock beat, this band is very radio friendly, at least by current Maltese tastes. Personally I’d like to hear something a little different from them, but they certainly don’t disappoint with this follow-up to last summer’s Lipstick Lies.

The FreudsOut of Time
I’ve been looking forward to a decent recording from this band for quite some time and they’ve finally released their debut track with an accompanying video that makes the wait rather worthwhile. If there’s more to come in this vein in the coming months, sign me up and keep me posted.

HalyconProtector
Hardcore metal is a genre I thoroughly enjoy including on the MMI podcast from time to time. It’s not something I listen to all the time, but the occasional track or two really energize me and fill me with youthful juices, the likes of which not many forty-somethings still have flowing through their bodies. This is the first time I’ve ever heard anything by Halycon but if they keep producing tracks like this one I’m sure I’ll be playing their stuff on future editions of the MMI podcast.

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page or on MySpace. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here or listen to the podcast on the player right below this text.


Somewhere Only We Know

Show notes for the 241st Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

Funk InitiativeForget It
Fresh sound from a new band I’m looking forward to hearing more from. I have a feeling they would be fun to watch live too. I don’t know why I think that. Perhaps it’s because the word funk exudes a very positive vibe to me…even if the music this band plays cannot exactly be classified as funk.

Bletchley ParkRun to the Moon
Staying in the public eye after a very eventful year and what potentially could be their breakthrough year, Bletchly Park draw attention to this song as a way to broaden the listenership to tracks they recorded for their debut album From Bletchley, With Love, which was released last year. They now have a good looking page on the M3P too, even though it’s could do with more details about what they’ve been up to since they came together.

Brian VassalloMemoirs of a Lifetime Part 7
I’ve had the pleasure of playing the music of Brian Vassallo on previous editions of the MMI podcast. So I was delighted when he sent me a copy of his new CD album. Beautifully produced in a jewel case with a multi-page full-colour booklet, the CD is quite unusual for the Maltese music scene, particularly because all but the introductory track on it bear the name of the album itself split into 8 parts. Fans of Jean Michele Jarre and his ilk will undoubtedly relish every minute of this CD. I highly recommend it.

Robert GaleaGod Doesn’t Make Rubbish
A few weeks ago Bishop Joe Grech passed away in Australia. Understandably his flock is still mourning this charismatic religious leader, so I thought it would be appropriate to include this song he co-wrote with his protege Fr Rob Galea, who was ordained to the priesthood just a couple of months ago. Galea has a new album out too, so I’ll be playing you another track from him it in the coming weeks since this song is only available via iTunes, where it’s the most downloaded track by this young singing/songwriting priest.

Winter MoodsForward to Yesterday
To keep the flame on the massive celebrations for the 25 years together, Winter Moods have released this track from the CD album Argento, which came out  last year, for radio air play from this coming Monday. It’s not as memorable as many of their other songs, but I’m sure that their many fans will be pleased to hear the band on the radio with a different song than the ones that have filled the airwaves in recent years.

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page or on MySpace. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here or listen to the podcast on the player right below this text.


I Don’t Mind If You Forget Me

I’ve just heard (and watched) all 24 songs up for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2011 selection; you can see them all below. It’s good to see decent studio video clips for each song for a change. It would seems that things are indeed getting better now that PBS has taken over the production of Malta’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Since I’m not a judge on the official panel this year (as I was last year) I see no reason not to publicly share my thoughts on each of the songs after this first listen. These are just first reactions and my opinion of some songs may change in the coming weeks; still, keep in mind that many of the people voting at the Eurovision Song Contest itself in May will only have heard those songs once.

Please take these comments with a pinch of salt and if you disagree with me just forget what I think. You can also leave your own comments below, of course.

01. Amber – Catch 22 (Ray Agius, Godwin Sant)
Very nice. Could be the winner!

02. Jessica Muscat – Down Down Down (Philip Vella, Jessica Muscat)
Good laid back club vibe…but about 5 years too late.

03. Wayne Micallef – Everybody Sing (Wayne Micallef, Wayne Micallef)
Fresh and catchy pop. Wayne is a force to be reckoned with.

04. Richard Edwards – Finally (Jan Van Dijck, Richard Micallef)
A decent song by a solid performer, but perhaps a little to formulaic.

05. Cherise Grixti – Heart of Glass (Philip Vella, Gerard James Borg)
This singer deserves a better song!

06. Marilena Gauci – He’s a Demon (Michael Henry, Anthony Grech)
He may be a lot of things…but certainly not a demon.

07. Eleanor Cassar – Hypnotized (Paul Giordimania , Fleur Balzan)
Classy but probably slightly out of step with the new generation.

08. Raquela – If I Could Do It All Again (Marc Paelnick, Mathias Strasser)
Classy but probably slightly out of step with the older generation.

09. Domenique – I’ll Follow the Sunshine (Ralph Siegel, Dr. Bernd Meinunger)
Lena is not a better performer than Domenique but she has a far superior team behind her.

10. Jamie Tonna – Lost Without You (Marco Debono, Aidan O’Connor)
Not sure what to make of this one, but it didn’t grab me on a first listen.

11. Kelly Schembri – Love Me Like Your Money (Sven Lundhol, Gerard James Borg)
This has all the ingredients to be a great pop hit.

12. Sophie – Love to Love You (Elton Zarb, Sophie Debattista)
Poppy, catchy, and all that…fluffy but good, just like whipped cream.

13. Baklava – Moon Dance (Philip Vella, Gerard James Borg)
Best song from Borg and Vella since Vertigo. Actually quite good.

14. Claudia Faniello – Movie in my Mind (Philip Vella, Gerard James Borg)
It’s great to see Claudia enjoying herself instead of trying to win. Bring on the wind machine!

15. Fabrizio Faniello – No Surrender (Johan Stentorp , Johan Bederholm)
How is this one better than I Do?

16. Ally – Numb (Ally, Ally)
A heart-felt song…but I can’t see it touching the audience or judges.

17. Glen Vella – One Life (Paul Giordimaina, Fleur Balzan)
Not half as good as last year’s attempt by Glen and his team.

18. Kurt Calleja – Over and Over (Johan J’amtberg, Kurt Calleja)
Wow! This is a really good rock ballad. How did this make it through the preliminary selections?

19. Klinsmann Coleiro / Benjamin Darmanin – This Love (Klinsmann Coleiro, Jonathan Spiteri)
Could it be that Klinsmann is finally growing up? Altogether not a bad song at all.

20. J.Anvil – Topsy Turvy (Jonas Gladnikoff / Niall Mooney / Andrew Zahra, Deo Grech / Natasha Turner)
J.Anvil doing what he does best. With the right stage act this song could make a big impact.

21. Amber – Touch Wood (Ray Agius, Alfred Sant)
Good thing Amber has a better song than this one for this contest.

22. Anna Azzopardi – Unfaithful (Renato Briffa, Keith Zammit)
Good singer for unintentionally retro Euro-Pop toe tapper.

23. Petra Zammit – Unintentional (Elton Zarb, Rita Pace)
I love this singer. One day soon everyone in Malta will know her name, if they don’t already.

24. Rosman Pace – You’ll Never Know (Steven D. Cook, Jordan Milnes)
Twenty four pop songs is a little too much to choose from at this stage.

I’ll hold off until the Friday 11 February semi-final to pick my 16 for the final and a possible top 3, so please check back on this blog, via my Facebook page, or through EurovisionMalta.com for an update ahead of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2011 final. I’m also planning to release a special issue of my Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast just before that week, with more general comments about the whole shindig.


On Top

Show notes for the 240th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring the results from the 2010 MMI Listeners’ Picks Poll:

Top Album:
Red ElectrickVine Lady

Top EP:
Chasing Pandora – People

Top Internet Release:
Three Stops to ChinaStay Away

Top Single:
Red ElectrickJail Bail

Top Video:
Red ElectrickWho the Heck is Rek?

Top Overseas-based Release:
Krokus – Hoodoo

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page or on MySpace. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here or listen to the podcast on the player right below this text.


Memories

I’ve neglected my blog…or, to be precise, because I’ve stopped consciously wanting to blog, my blog has turned into a way to publish show notes for my weekly Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast. I wonder how much of this has happened because I’m simply too busy to blog about anything but my podcasts. Perhaps the apparent decline of interest in the blogosphere has contributed to this shift too. Without a scientific study, or at least an in-depth investigative report, there’s no telling what’s what.

For the first time since I started my blog back in 2004, I’ve refrained from going through the usual end of year rituals. This had been on the wane for the last couple of years, so you could say that it simply died a natural death. However, through the M3P I’ve maintained the general (if not the personal) aspect of the annual end-of-year round-up for 2010. I believe that this is a start of a new way to do things during this decade and hopefully even beyond.

The adventure that is/was MaltaMedia has morphed into something quite different in the last year or so. I could have blogged heavily about all that but chose not to dwell on what could or should have been (I could have blogged about the demise of the monthly aboutmalta.com newsletter after 10 years of continuous publication) and focused on the positive developments ahead. I should probably blog about those in 2011. Part of these developments involves rethinking the portfolio of websites in the MaltaMedia Online Network, as well as continuing to improve and develop the best aspects of all that, as we’ve done with maltafootball.com in 2010.

Many people in Malta still continue to associate me with Eurovision. This is probably because they only ever see/hear me whenever this event is near or on. I don’t mind. I can’t expect everyone to engage with the complex and eclectic interests I have in all aspects of Maltese life, and even less with my interests beyond Maltese shores. I will continue to blog about Malta’s entries to the Eurovision Song Contest but keep the best ideas for the Eurovision Research Network. Judging by the official URL chosen for this year’s selection process and eventual entry I seriously doubt that any of my recommendations have been taken seriously by anyone that matters, if they’re even aware of them at all.

Now that my Franklin Furnace book is out (we’ll actually start marketing it next week) I can focus on other writing projects. I already have five plates spinning in front of me this year: (1) a couple of short essays for a book on Maltese photography; (2) a new performance theory I’m introducing at a February workshop at Royal Holloway, which I’m hoping to eventually develop as a chapter for a 2012 book called Performing the ‘New’ Europe; (3) a chapter for the Routledge Handbook of Social Media; (4) co-editing a book on Performance in Virtual Worlds; and (5) a couple of other ideas that are currently still in formation.

I will do my best to give this blog more time than I have over the past few months. The many readers of this blog over the years have been (mostly) a source of joy for me, with comments, suggestions and all sorts of recommendations that have enriched my online experiences. Now I’m off to focus on the first of those writing assignments…and perhaps I’ll blog about them as I go too, especially if any readers of this blog show me a sign of life.