April 17 2013
"We Are Smug" is now available to download from the following digital retailers:
"We Are Smug" is now available to download from the following digital retailers:
To support independent music stores who are stocking the limited edition 'We Are Smug' side-project re-release, Darren signed just 500 CD's which will be available at various locations around the UK. We've included a very extensive list here of all the stores who will each have a handful of copies to sell on April 14/15. If one is near you, go visit them in person and place a pre-order to support independent music stores! If you are unaware of what this project is, check out Darren's official YouTube page youtube.com/darrenhayes for a preview video explaining this strange and experimental collaboration album where he shared vocal and production duties with co-producer/writer Robert Conley. Darren began recording this back in 2006 and made it available for a limited time before being withdrawn. Now it's back, with a bonus song 'Riot' and on CD and iTunes for the first time ever.
19-21 Victoria Court The Mall Blackburn Lancashire BB1 7JE
44-46 Church Street Blackpool Blackpool FY1 1HP
195a Station Street Burton on Trent Derbyshire DE14 1AN
9-11 St Davids Way St Davids Dewi Sant Shopping Centre Cardiff South Glamorgan CF10 2DP
Unit 2c/3c Junction 32 Outlet Shopping Village Tomahawk Trail Glasshoughton Castleford WF10 4FR
63/65 FOREGATE STREET Chester Chester CH1 1HD
Unit 31 Crystal Peaks Shopping Centre Sheffield South Yorkshire S20 7PN
Unit 36-37 Dalton Park Retail Park Seaham County Durham SR7 9HU
10 Albian Street Derby Derbyshire DE1 2PR
21-27a St Sepulchre Gate Doncaster Doncaster DN1 1TD
146/150 Sauchiehall Street Glasgow Glasgow Scotland G2 3DH
34/38 kings walk Gloucester Gloucester GL1 1RX
Unit 2 Market Gates Shopping Centre Great Yarmouth Great Yarmouth NR30 2AX
61-63 New Street Huddersfield West Yorkshire HD1 2BQ
10-14 King Edward Street Hull Hull HU1 3SS
Unit 20a Lakeside Village White Rose Way Doncaster Doncaster DN4 5PH
Unit 19 (17/19) Ashston Walk St Nicholas Arcade Lancaster Lancaster LA1 1ND
That's Entertainment Unit 17 St Johns Centre Leeds Leeds LS2 8LQ
38/40 Gallowtree gate Leicester Leicester LE1 1DA
17 Bold Street Liverpool Merseyside L1 4DN
22 Castle Street Macclesfield Cheshire SK11 6AF
103 Market Street Manchester Manchester M1 1NN
Unit L 40/41, Lower Mall Merry Hill Shopping Centre Brierley West Middlands DY5 1QX
Unit 9/10 Captain Cook Square Middlesbrough Cleveland TS1 5UB
6/8 Eldon Way Eldon Square Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Tyne and Wear NE1 7XS
Unit 16 Royal QuaysOutlet Centre Colbe Dene Northshields Tyne and Wear NE29 6DW
55-57 Abingdon street Northampton Northampton NN1 2AW
23-25 Castle Street Norwich Norwich NR2 1PD
Unit 142 Victoria Centre Nottingham Nottinghamshire NG1 3QE
61 Friargate Walk ST Georges Mall Preston Preston PR1 2NR
8 Church Street St Helens Merseyside WA10 1BD
Unit 28-32 Canal Walk Brunel Centre Swindon Swindon SN1 1LD
Unit 7/9 North Sherwood Street Telford shopping centre Telford TF3 4NE
Unit 105-106 Cathedral Walk Ridings Shopping Centre Wakefield Yorkshire WF1 1YD
Unit 34 Wulfrun Shopping Centre Wolverhampton West Midlands WV1 3HF
Unit 203 York Designer Outlet St Nicholas Avenue Fulford York YO19 4TA
Love Music 34 Dundas Street Glasgow Lanarkshire G1 2AQ
Mound Music 12 Bank Street On The Mound Edinburgh Scotland EH1 2LN
Apollo Music 48A Causeyside Street Town Centre Paisley Scotland PA1 1YH
Bridport Music 33A South Street Bridport Dorset DT6 3NY
Phoenix 6 Pearl Assurance House Queen Street Newton Abbot Devon TQ12 2AQ
Upbeat 18 Belle Vue Bude Cornwall EX23 8JL
Rapture Market Square Town Centre Witney Oxfordshire OX28 6BB
Rapture 24 Riverside Centre Town Centre Evesham Worcestershire WR11 4BG
Acorn Music 3 Glovers Walk Town Centre Yeovil Somerset BA20 1LH
Record Corner 8 Pound Lane Town Centre Godalming Surrey GU7 1BX
Sound Knowledge 22 Hughenden Yard High Street Marlborough Wiltshire SN8 1LT
Gatefield Sounds 70 High Street Whitstable Kent CT5 1BB
Square Records 14 High Street Town Centre Wimborne Minster Dorset BH21 1HU
Sister Ray 34 Berwick Street London London W1F 8RP
Slipped Disc 57-59 High Street, Billericay Essex CM12 9AX
Adrians 36-38 High Street Wickford Essex SS12 9AZ
Terrys Music 10 Market Street Pontypridd Rhondda Cyon Taff Wales CF37 2ST
The Vault 27 High Street Stalbridge Dorset DT10 2LH
Octave Music 18 High Street Lewes East Sussex BN7 2LN
Compact Music 20 North Street Subury Suffolk CO10 1RB
Music Mania 4-6 Piccadilly Arcade Hanlet Stoke On Trent Staffordshire ST1 1DL
Lewks 3 Wales Court Downham Market Norfolk Norfolk PE38 9JZ
Paradiso - http://www.paradisorecords.co.uk/
Herrick & Watson 8 High Street Skegness Skegness Lincolnshire PE25 3NW
Destiny Records - http://www.stores.ebay.co.uk/sirenityonline
Davids 12 Eastcheap Letchworth Garden City Letchworth Garden City Hertfordshire SG6 3DE
Banquet 52 Eden Street Kingston Kingston Upon Thames Surrey KT1 1EE
Malcolms Musicland 38A Chapel Street Chorley Lancashire PR7 1BW
Reflex 23 Nun Street Newcastle Upon Tyne Tyne and Wear NE1 5AG
Action Records 46 Church Street Preston Lancashire PR1 3DH J/G
Windows 1-7 Central Arcade City Centre Newcastle Upon Tyne Tyne and Wear NE1 5BP
Townsend 30 Queen Street Great Harwood Blackburn Lancashire BB6 7QQ
Townsend 18 Moor Lane Town Centre Clitheroe Lancashire BB7 1BE
Townsend 117 Market Street Chorley Lancashire PR7 2SQ
Townsend 119 Towngate Leyland Lancashire PR25 2LQ
Head The Mall Union Gallery Broadmead Bristol Bristol BS1 3XD
Head Unit 269 The Glades Shopping Centre High Street Bromley Kent BR1 1DN
Head 11 Lower Mall Royal Priors Lemington Spa Warwickshire CV32 4QE
Head 6 Sovreign Shopping Centre High Street Town Centre Weston Super Mare Somerset BS23 1HL
Head 42-44 Ann Street Belfast County Antrim BT1 4EG
On April 14 the 2006 'secret' side project album Darren made with producer Robert Conley - 'We Are Smug' - is finally getting a commercial release on CD and iTunes with a brand new never before heard bonus song 'Riot'. You can pre-order it as a physical CD via amazon.co.uk http://amzn.to/ZJmdF0 or on iTunes worldwide http://smarturl.it/o2xlq1
For those unfamiliar, Darren originally made the experimental and eccentric alter-ego album in 2006 for no other reason than to have fun. He and co-writer and co-producer Conley shared the vocal duties and created something that was unlike anything Darren had ever written or recorded before. At the time it was only available as a download for a limited period before disappearing. Until now.
For the first time ever, the album is being commercially released on CD and iTunes and both versions have the bonus previously never before released song 'Riot'.
It's a bold and strange experimental record - not for the faint hearted but for those who have followed Darren's career closely - an integral artistic step between 'The Tension and the Spark' and the highly conceptual 'This Delicate Thing We've Made' era.
'We Are Smug' is a strange and wonderful addition to Darren's eclectic pop career and on April 14 it can finally be yours to hold.
‘Bloodstained Heart’ is an anthem for those who rejoice in the savoir of love and the hope that it brings. Darren says: “It’s a song that plays on the famous line about sitting in the gutter, but some of us looking up at the stars. But at least we have each other.”
1. Bloodstained Heart (Radio Mix)
2. Bloodstained Heart (Monsieur Adi Mix)
3. Bloodstained Heart (Kryder Club Mix)
4. Ending Before I Begin
Available now on iTunes Australia HERE
We are pleased to announce that Darren's most recent album "Secret Codes And Battleships" has been nominated under the category of Best Adult Contemporary Album for the Australian Record Industry Association (Aria) Awards due to take place in Sydney on 29 November.
You can read more about this year's Aria Awards HERE
There are a handful of VIP packages left for Darren's 'The Secrets Out' Tour including a few previously sold out venues which luckily were released back to us at the last minute.
So if you missed out we suggest you check it out ASAP as these wont last long!
A VIP package includes a seat in the first FIVE rows (early entry for the Dublin GA Show), Exclusive VIP goodies, VIP reception, VIP Laminate, Admittance to the Soundcheck plus a chance to meet Darren!
VIP Packages HERE
Look at what just landed at the Powdered Sugar Offices... A sample of the Dog Tag that will be selling on the Official Merch Stand at Darren's 'The Secret's Out' tour this month.
We've posted info for VIP ticket holders & details of final tickets remaining for Darren's September UK on the landing page at www.darrenhayes.com .
Literally down to just a handful of seats left in each city.
At this stage, the GA Dublin show is the only date with plenty of availability but we expect even this will sell out.
If you're planning to attend don't leave it to the last minute. On the final night, the 'Secret Codes and Battleships' era will come to a close. Click HERE for all the details.
(Thanks to TabloidJunk for this great Darren pic from the first leg of the tour)
Fanclub Members dont forget to register for Soundcheck HERE
I was asked to give a quote or two regarding the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's 'Bad' album. If you know anything about me you'd know this is virtually impossible. I have years of good things to say about this album and so I decided instead to write a blog about the record, from which I'll let someone else try to snip out a few relevant sentences!
Bad is without doubt my favourite Michael Jackson album of all time. It evokes such strong and bittersweet associations for me. While on one hand it was an astounding musical hurricane of smash hit singles and dazzling visuals - it also occupied that awkward space of being the album that had to follow up the biggest selling album of all time; an expectation I don't think even Michael himself could ever escape. It's a shame because the album WAS a phenomenal success. It spawned 5 Billboard Number One singles (a world record) and went on to sell in excess of 35 million copies - it ranks as the 5th greatest seller of all time. Still, it seemed to this fan that at the time, Bad was unfairly judged simply for not being Thriller. The irony is, I'm so glad it wasn't.
I didn't own Thriller at the time. Shock! Horror! But it's true. It was a matter of economics - we couldn't afford it. By the time I saved up enough money to buy Thriller, the massive moonwalking Grammy Award winning world dominating wave of 3 years had finally passed. So I waited patiently for the 'next' album.
By the time Bad started gearing up to crack open the sky - I was the prime age to appreciate music. The year was 1987 and I was 15 years old. On August 31 that year there was a massive pre-release hype for the entire project and the premiere of the music video was no exception. It was a prime time television event - 'Michael Jackson : The Magic Returns' and featured the full 17 minute Martin Scorcese directed video for the single 'Bad': Michael's 'sequel' to Thriller - the most successful music video of all time. No pressure! Granted, we'd already been treated to the ballad 'I Just Can't Stop Loving You' - but that was not really the big first single. It was like a teaser. Almost a way to take the pressure off. In the business we'd call that a 'soft release'. No, the real event was the first big pop song and the accompanying music video for 'Bad'. So the pressure was there! I even applied some as a fan.
What would it sound like? What would he look like? Most importantly - would I love it as I adored Thriller?
The answer was a big massive YES! Musically - the title track Bad, was FUN. It was up and energetic and I did not see the funk or soul coming. I did not expect Michael to look the way he did. I loved his androgyny and his new slick black leather and buckles image. His hair. His makeup. He was a proper pop star. A hero.
I was also being bullied quite badly at high school during that time so you can imagine the impact Michael's video for 'Bad' had. His character was taunted and what did he do? He only shot up into the air and dropped down as a super hero in black leather and buckles. Then he danced up a storm and sang like an angel spitting out rhetoric and confidence.
When I finally got the album, listening to it was a religious experience. I still remember the paper stock of the album cover, the smell of the ink - the incredible liner notes and of course that amazing Matthew Rolston inner sleeve photo spread with Michael in black sunglasses and turtleneck and through a distorted lens as he contorted for the camera.
The sounds - well they were surreal. The percussion and aggressive vocals of 'The Way You Make Me Feel' in sharp contrast to the honey sweet harmonies of the backing vocals. The insanity of 'Speed Demon' - the joy of Stevie Wonder Duet 'Just Good Friends' and of course that goose bump inducing global anthem 'Man in the Mirror'. It has the violence of 'Dirty Diana' and finally the jewel of Bad's crown : Smooth Criminal. Forget Billie Jean, keep Thriller. I wanted to see a music video for this adrenaline rush of a song! As a collected works - the songs were a million miles away form the brilliant Thriller. Where Thriller was sparse and conservative in its punches, Bad was a techincolour of sound. Brooding, angry or sexy. Nothing on there sounding like a repeat of where he'd been before.
The rest of the campaign unfolded with equal amounts of mystery shock and awe. Who could have seen 'sexy Michael' on the horizon? But there he was in the video for 'The Way You Make Me Feel' converting even my rock loving sister into a fan. This previously harmless elfin like child man was suddenly the confident lead in his own West Side Story musical - puffing his chest and chasing the pretty lady down the street. Every music video was an event. MTV had just come to Australian television (albeit a 2 hour show 3 times a week late at night!). But I sat there for every single video premiere at midnight - fumbling with the controls for the VCR to record them so I could watch them over and over again. Studying the dance moves and obsessing over the details. Then there was the tour. Long standing fans of mine would know about the transformative experience I had seeing Michael live for the first time. Brisbane Entertainment centre - November 25 and 28 1987. Famously and rather embarrassingly, the Australian press launched a pretty aggressive negative campaign about Michael back then, informing locals that he would be performing behind a plastic screen to avoid catching germs from Australians. Ridiculous. But it worked: ticket sales virtually halted. MJ was supposed to play in stadiums but due to the poor ticket sales in my home town he was downgraded to arenas. Instead of one night in a 40 thousand seat stadium he played 2 nights at a 9 thousand seater. It's unfathomable now to imagine the King of Pop couldn't sell a concert ticket - but in that moment in time, that was the reality in my home town.
The tour book was extraordinary. It featured photographs of Michael in a mysterious white pin striped suit with a white Fedora. Had I missed something? What video was this from? I had to wait a year to find out (see the end of this story!).
I've written numerous accounts of this night but suffice to say I ended up almost front row by complete accident (my cheap seat field tickets for the stadium randomly exchanged for floor seats right near the stage) and the performance changed my life: it made me know what I wanted to do for the rest of mine. It was a spectacular show, and I managed to buy tickets to the 2nd show as well - where I saw both Stevie Wonder perform a duet with Michael but also the debut of choreographer and local Brisbane resident Wade Robson as he made his debut on stage at 5 years of age, dancing with Michael during the encore.
During the course of the promo period for Bad, I had all the 12 inch singles on vinyl. For the record, Man In The Mirror was my favourite artwork - this incredible black and white portrait of Michael with silver ink and black. The boots from Dirty Diana were also fawned over and I may have worn a pair just like them complete with a Triumph motorcycle buckle belt to my high school prom that year .
Bad filled up 2 years of my life at high school. It saw me go from bullied teen with no allies to lead in the school musicals full of confidence and a purpose in life. It gave me a hero to look up to. Someone strange, marching to the beat of his own drum and someone proud not to fit into the mould.
By the time Bad promo finished up - and the magic felt like it was about to drain out of my world, I saw an ad in a movie magazine that stopped me in my tracks. 'Moonwalker' - starring Michael Jackson.
There he was in that white pin striped suit in a movie poster reminiscent of a George Lucas or Steven Spielberg film. What did it all mean? I had to wait until the movie was released. Luckily because I worked part time in a record store - I managed to score tickets to a press screening and I marked the date on my calendar. Soon enough the mystery of the white suit was revealed - it was the outfit Michael famously wore in the music video for Smooth Criminal and I embarrassingly and proudly wore a replica version of it to the screening myself. I felt a bit of a fool catching a bus in the middle of a humid Australian summer day - in full white suit complete with suspenders and blue socks! I was one of two people dressed up. The other, the now 6 year old Wade Robson. He was in a perfect replica of the white gangster suit complete with identical dance moves. I said hello to him after the screening. No one else realised who he was but I said to him 'Are you the little boy who danced with Michael Jackson at the concert?'. He looked up with his big wide brown eyes and smiled knowingly, 'Yes'. He and his family would eventually be moved to the U.S with Michael's assistance, and under Michael's mentoring, Wayde would grow up to be a choreographer for Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. But back then, in 1988 he was still a baby. I said goodbye to him, and to the Bad era and caught the bus home with my own white fedora in my hand. Wayde was off to Neverland and I was off on a journey that would put me on stage at that same arena in my home town just 10 years later.
It was the best bus ride of my life.