Paul Oakenfold and Brittany Murphy. MeKole Wells.
On his latest dance hit Faster Kill Pussycat, Paul Oakenfold takes a surprising turn by teaming with actress Brittany Murphy as his guest vocalist. But why does Pussycat sound so familiar? It could be that it was co-written by former Sneaker Pimps frontwoman Kelli Ali, who broke out with 6 Underground and Spin Spin Sugar. After parting from the Sneaker Pimps, Ali released two acclaimed solo bows. Pulled from Oakenfold's artist album A Lively Mind, the Pussycat CD single has remixes by Roman Hunter, Nat Monday, Liam Schachar and Eddie Baez. Actually, Murphy is a decent singer, purring over the verses and belting 'you turn me on' as the chorus, but she's even better in the video, dancing with guys and checking out the women.
In a long-overdue return, Ultra Nate intoxicates the dance floor with Love is the Only Drug. Here, not only does Nate sound like she is pulling up to Grace Jones' bumper, but Nate comes across confidently, never missing a beat. Best known for her 1997 anthem Free and her efforts on the remake of Gordon Lightfoot's If You Could Read My Mind, Nate has taken time off to start a family with her husband on top of being a DJ at the Baltimore club Sugar. Love is the Only Drug is the feature single from Nate's fifth full-length album, Grime, Silk and Thunder, due out on Tommy Boy later this year. The collaborators on Grime will be plentiful, including Stonebridge, N'Dea Davenport, Nona Hendryx, Eric Kupper and Dajae.
People have been asking me about the song used during Project Runway's commercials. It turns out that the same song is also licensed for the Nissan Maxima Shift 2.0 spots—and I am relieved to say the song is not Beautiful Day by U2, but rather Oh My by Mellowdrone. The similarities are there, but Mellowdrone does not leave a pretentious aftertaste like the Irish quartet. Mellowdrone's full-length debut, Box, is out now. Box's sexy opening track, C'mon Try a Little Bit, balances the fine line between rock and electronica with perfectly hushed vocals. In between a heavy tour schedule, the L.A.-based band is slated to appear on Late Night with Craig Ferguson on Aug. 14.
Sadly, MeKole Wells was not able to be at this year's Alt Q Music Festival as planned. As luck would have it, she will be performing every Friday night until the end of August at Davenport's, 1383 N. Milwaukee. This veteran of Menopause: The Musical will be premiering her one-woman show, To Be Me...Out, Proud and Free. Recently relocated to Chicago, this openly gay singer can do it all; she's had club hits under the moniker Eleesa and can belt out jazzy tunes, as heard on her debut Full Circle. Accompanied by her beaming smile, Mekole's songs have a higher message that she wants to share with the audience.
It's not truly summer until Loleatta Holloway's disco anthem Love Sensation resurfaces in a new light. Freshly remixed for 2006, the hit receives new life courtesy of HiTack, Freemasons and Dead Stereo. Since its original release over 25 years ago, this classic has been sampled by many, including Moby, Cevin Fisher and Capella, to name a few. Once again, it is an injustice that the Chicago-born Holloway is not in the video for Love Sensation 2006; she was left out of the Black Box video Ride on Time, but Marky Mark did the right thing and gave her screen time in his hit clip Good Vibrations. It is scientifically impossible that any of these waif models could wail to the same degree as 'The Queen of the Night.' Two years ago Holloway was one of the main draws at Chicago's Pridefest.
The Gay Games Opening Ceremony was highlighted by Jody Watley singing 'It All Begins with You.' While in town, Watley also made an appearance at Virgin Megastore to showcase her gorgeous, soulful remake of Madonna's Borderline. Her busy schedule also included an interview with the Chicago radio station V-103. As detailed in Watley's blog on myspace.com, the radio station manager ordered Watley to not mention her involvement with the Gay Games during the interview ( an issue dealt with elsewhere in this issue ) . Watley has experienced flack for her support of the GLBT community before and notes on her blog that her song 'Affection' received objections for the lyrics 'it doesn't matter if you're young or old, it doesn't matter if you're straight or gay—everybody needs to feel loved.'
The Real Love singer continues in her blog about the incident, 'though the entire city was plastered with Gay Games posters, it was on every major newspaper, the evening news, so yes, I was still caught off guard when I was asked not to mention the event. It was like saying don't talk about The Olympics—it felt that big. This was no secret undercover event … .'
This is unfortunate, since Watley has many loyal gay fans and she has performed at multiple pride events over the years. This Grammy Award-winning artist's forthcoming album, The Makeover, will feature that cover of Borderline as well as new material and her renditions of Waiting in Vain, Love Hangover, and Le Chic's I Want Your Love.