Fred Hystere’s #20 Album Of 2011: Clare Maguire “Light After Dark”

Clare Maguire was easily the most overlooked diva of 2011 – with a voice every bit as good and just as powerful as Florence and her Machine’s, looks that recall Rita Hayworth and music videos with cinematography so beautiful you’ll swear you’re looking at a scene from a modern interpretation of an old musical.

Unfortunately, I think Clare fell victim to poor marketing  (or lack of any at all for that matter) as not one of her singles cracked the top 20 on the UK charts – which is a damn shame because a song such as I Surrender should’ve been a top 10 hit at radio and pumping out of the speakers in every gay man’s Mini Cooper from London to LA and everywhere in between.

For the time being, we’ll have to keep Clare Maguire to ourselves, but it’d be foolish to think that, with talent as massive as hers, this is the last we going to hear from her. Check out (my #1 anthem of 2011) I Surrender below, and then watch the breathtaking videos for Last Dance and Aint Nobody below that.

PLAY: Shield And Sword, Last Dance, I Surrender, Sweet Lie, Break These Chains, Aint Nobody

*Clare Maguire’s debut album, Light After Dark, is out now via Polydor Ltd UK.!/claremaguire


Clare Maguire “I Surrender”

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Clare Maguire “The Last Dance”


Fred Hystere’s #21 Album Of 2011: Mechanical Bride “Living With Ants”

Brighton, UK-based Lauren Doss is the brains behind Mechanical Bride, whose debut album, Living With Ants, came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks – with 10 beautiful piano-driven songs that recall Beth Gibbons covering old-school Sarah McLachlan. The creative music video for Colour The Fire was my first taste of Mechanical Bride’s music and I bought the album without hearing any of her other songs; reminding me of how I used to buy CDs after hearing only one radio single from an artist back in the day.

From start to finish, Living With Ants is by far the slowest in tempo of any album on my list. But it’s the rare album which, despite the spare production, has quite a bit of drama, and rewards more and more with every listen. She hints at jazz, vaudeville, world music and more, but most of the album tends to stay in a very ethereal and cozy rainy Sunday morning place – one which will be enjoyed by me with a cup of tea and a good book for the foreseeable future.

Check out Demons below and then have a look at the video for Colour The Fire below that.

PLAY: Magpie, Young Gold, Colour Of Fire, By Night, Demons

*Mechanical Bride’s debut album, Living With Ants, is out now in the UK via Transgressive Records. (No word on a US release date – but I’ll keep you posted.)!/livingwithants

Mechanical Bride “Demons”

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Mechanical Bride “Colour Of Fire”

Daily Dickhead(s): Fox “News” & Father Jonathan “Panties In A Wad” Morris

Of the many problems I have with religion (and people in general), bossiness is towards the top. Worrying about other people’s lives is a convenient way of taking the spotlight away from our own problems – and no one does this better than priests.

Priests are forced into an unrealistic sexless and loveless life which, as we’ve seen in the past few years, can lead to compulsive sexual and violent behavior – not exactly ‘godlike’ if you ask me. The trade-off for becoming a priest is a supposed lifelong relationship with an invisible man who uses the priest as a conduit to give guidance to worshippers of him.

Why is it that we seek guidance in life from people who aren’t really living one themselves? It’s one of the most bizarre phenomenons out there and one that I’ve always had a negative opinion of – and fascination with. Perhaps my negativity towards religion wouldn’t exist if all priests did the job they’re ‘supposed’ to do by reminding us about the good in everyone. However, instead we have opinionated ‘commercial’ priests, such as Fox ‘News’ contributor Jonathan Morris, bouncing around TV shows and preaching about religion the same way Dr. Phil preaches advice.

Since its inception in 1996, Fox News has done a frighteningly brilliant job making money by exposing the sheer stupidity of the American public. The other day I heard a tea partier say on the network that she wanted to ‘abolish the Department Of Education.’ Why? Because she heard on Fox News that securing our borders was more important. While you ponder the randomness of that logic, consider the fact that this woman has been made to believe that what she’s saying is both intelligent and logical. Bascially, Fox News has hijacked Jesus and spends 24 hours a day speaking from his mouth, as far as their viewers are concerned -therefore making anything they say as good as the gospel itself.

Last week, Fox decided to create even more false urgency over something patently absurd by devoting an entire day’s worth of segments on various news shows towards whether or not President Obama should be criticized for omitting the word ‘god’ from his Thanksgiving Day message to the nation. (Mind you, he *did* mention god in the written message.)

Naturally, Fox’s resident expert on all things godly, Jonathan Morris, was so pissed that you could almost see the horns growing out of his head.

He said: “This is from President Obama in that same address we began with. He says that ‘like much of America’ he’s going to spend his Thanksgiving Day ‘eating lots of good food, watching some football, AND..reFLECTING…..ONNNN…how LUCKY we are. Taking time to reflect on how lucky we are while you’re addressing the nation? It’s taking time to reflect on the wonderful blessings that god has given to us.”

Is it? Because, as Jon Stewart pointed out a couple of nights ago on The Daily Show,‘Thanksgiving was a bunch of Pagans teaching religious zealots how to farm.’

Nuff said. Amen.



was just literally yelled at by a miserable woman standing outside of the grocery store for not putting any money in her red Salvation Army bucket. I know this may sound crazy, but ringing a cowbell in my face and shaming me for not giving money to ‘those less fortunate’ isn’t the way to my heart. PS: Shave your face, Mrs. Claus – you’re beginning to look like your husband.


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