Queer Music News: Astralwerks’ Pride download; Pet Shop Boys announce album; Mika’s new video

Monday comes loaded with a hefty edition of QMN along with some free tuneage. Today, music label Astralwerks announced their second annual sampler, Hey Boy, Hey Girl! – Pride 2012 just in time for National Pride. Including tracks by David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia and Air, the eight-track sampler is available as a free download. From Astralwerks:

In recent years Astralwerks has enjoyed numerous successful album campaigns with luminary artists such as Kylie Minogue, Pet Shop Boys, David Guetta, The B-52s and others. Working closely with lifestyle and media contacts in the LGBT community has been a big part of that success. Glenn Mendlinger, Astralwerks General Manager, notes…“we are grateful for the support and love that this community has shown to our artists. This is our way of saying thank you.”

Click here to download.

—  Rich Lopez

Heart and beat

David Guetta delivers the same ol’ dance shtick while Chad D surprises

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

………………

1 out of 5 stars
NOTHING BUT THE BEAT
David Guetta
Capitol Records

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DJ and producer David Guetta is smart at handling hip-hop and rap artists on top of dance beats. He creates a flow that is easy to dance to and the songs aren’t anything more than a party in the space of three to four minutes. But that formula repeats itself in Nothing But The Beat, which shows no real imagination.

Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida bring their talents to the opener, “Where Them Girls At.” The beat is distinctly Guetta but that formula is already showing. Minaj comes up short here, ripping off a TLC flow and playing more as an accessory.

That changes with “Turn Me On.” Minaj goes into Rihanna territory, singing and rapping. There’s no surprise that she can carry a note, but she proves she can hang with any singer out there. This ends up being one of the better tracks.

With “Sweat,” Guetta re-imagines Snoop’s “Wet” single against a sampled beat to amazing effect. Guetta shines here — not with hip-hop generics over a disco beat, but working magic with Minaj and Snoop to create something exciting. His innovation is off the charts.

It’s too much for the last track to save the album, but it’s a glorious attempt. Guetta teams with Sia on “Titanium.” Collaborative lyrics elevate this song to a higher level than any previous track, as Sia brings her clever writing to the table and ends up with as much a voice in this song as Guetta does.

But so much is wrong with Beat that it ends up being a beat down. What Guetta is good at is producing listenable disco. It’s never too obscure or techno, but it’s always the right sound to get a good jog to or sweat it up on the dance floor.

His collabs with Taio Cruz, Chris Brown and Usher are fine but forgettable. He handles Cruz and Ludacris well in “Little Bad Girl,” and Brown and Lil’ Wayne’s skills make “I Can Only Imagine” work as a song and not just a mix. Although Guetta did help Usher lose a lot of R&B cred on “Without You,” it’s embarrassing to hear Usher reduced to this Coldplay/Keane/OneRepublic styled track. This is where Guetta’s mistakes happen. He keeps masturbating to hip-hop and R&B stars, and he’s missing vital aspects that would make his own songs sound better.

He remembers his gay boy listeners with equally unimpressive diva-esque tracks save for Sia. You would think that wouldn’t happen with Jennifer Hudson on “Night of Your Life,” but the song is amateurish and never lives up to her talent. Guetta gives Jessie J the chance to shine in “Repeat;” she doesn’t.

When Guetta isn’t embarrassing himself, he goes way obnoxious on the Will. I. Am track “Nothing Really Matters,” which is more of a yawner than the Black Eyed Peas’ last album. And “I Just Wanna F” with Timbaland and Dev is an exercise in stupidity.

Even with the stronger tracks, this Beat is a dud.

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2.5 out of 5 stars
THE HUMAN LINK
Chad D
Independent

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Chad D is an indie musician based out of New York who’s 2011 release The Human Link garnered him two OutMusic Award nominations. He’s party pop and rap with a message — a whole lot of them. But his ambition makes up for the rough edges.

In the first four tracks, D lays down energetic beats with different stories. “The Story Begins” opens the album in high-energy synth mode with one of the deepest bass beats. The lyrics could graduate a level, but D throws in surprises such as a guitar solo that comes out of nowhere.

“The Human Link” and “Ask and Tell” lean more to his rap stylings, which need some fine-tuning. In “Link,” he’s choppy, but gets more fluid with “Ask.” I don’t even think he’s trying to be Eminem, but he’s clearly the white-guy rapper and a much better singer. “Ask” seems to be the epitome of his intentions with an in-your-face tune about gay issues. But the platitudes are a bit obvious which makes the song miss its mark.

It would be easy to dismiss “T.G.A. (The Gay Anthem)” as drivel. He raps quickly over what sounds like a sampled “Under the Boardwalk” beat. His Michael Jackson “whooos” are misguided and yet he creates a reliable hook and runs with it.

He hits his stride in “Ocean Blue Love.” The song is crazy catchy and his vocals overlap with note maturity. While I don’t mind his rapping so much, “Ocean” is proof that vocalizing is a better forte for him. He could still refine his voice, but he’s more emotive when singing.

D lost me at the title of “Life is a Ride,” which reminded me too much of “Life is a Highway,” a song I loathe. I muddled through rap stanzas like dance with me/ touch my body/ getting’ naughty but OK, my head bopped along. The chorus burst in and Chad D pulled me in. I don’t get into intentionally cheerful songs but the chorus earwormed its way into my head and I was fine with that.

Chad D isn’t afraid to give his strong queer perspective. As he matures, his songwriting should become more refined, but it’s his heart that drives The Human Link and he’s put all of it here.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Queer Music News: Morrissey’s dog bite; Madonna in studio; George Michael and NOTW

The Morrissey online zine True To You reported Monday that the singer was bit by a dog. And it doesn’t sound too pretty.

Information regarding Morrissey’s hand and arm injuries; Morrissey’s show at the London Palladium sold out in five minutes

11 July 2011

Morrissey sustained hand and arm injuries recently after being attacked by a dog in England. Morrissey has attended hospital in Malmo (Sweden) where x-rays reveal a fractured index finger on his right hand. The cracked bone is at the tip of the finger. The injury will not affect upcoming shows.
Morrissey is delighted with the news that tickets for the London Palladium sold out in five minutes.

Dog bites suck but this kind of punctuates his mild streak of bad luck. In an interview with Pitchfork last month, the out singer mentioned his new album is complete but he won’t record it without a label. And apparently they’re not calling him. Ouch. 

CBS reports that Madonna is officially in the studio recording her 12th album. This will be the follow-up to 2008′s God-awful Hard Candy. She’s working with producers David Guetta and A-Trak, according to Rolling Stone, but Idolator mentions a whole slew of names on the potential collab roster. 

• As U.K.’s News of the World came to a screeching halt, George Michael publicly declared his elation over Rupert Murdoch’s questionable publication. Monday, the singer was on a Twitter rant that was both interesting and entertaining. Now he’s going to be asked about them, according to this tweet.

Could Michael have a new career as a media pundit? Monday’s tweets have been utter gold.

—  Rich Lopez

Out singer Chris Willis steps away from gospel and gets all Usher-like in new video

I can’t say there’s much new behind Chris Willis‘ newest single “Louder.” OK, yes, it’s Usher, it’s Ne-yo, it’s Trey Songz, it’s — well — derivative. Having said that, that’s hardly a bad thing in this case. Being out, Willis is one of the few gay black singers that could make waves in mainstream music. He’s been primed by uber-producer David Guetta with nice results and was featured in Guetta’s One Love album last year singing “Gettin’ Over”and “Sound of Letting Go,” two of the standout songs from the CD. The two have collaborated many times over the past decade and it’s put Willis in a far different light than his gospel roots.

And now, Willis is stepping into his own with his debut single and video which precedes his announced full-length album, Inside Voice. The video is heavily edited and not all that gay, but I think Willis is a start for putting an LGBT face on pop and R&B dance music from the get-go without the baggage of going back in the closet just to have a successful career. Let’s see how it plays out.

Check out his video below. Besides, the song should  bring you up out of the funk from last night’s election results.

—  Rich Lopez