SIA FURLER left Australia in the late '90s, bound for London and a chance to take her singing career to new heights. The leap of faith paid off, and within a few years the blonde-haired, blue-eyed songstress had landed a gig as a backup singer for England's Jamiroquai. By 2000, Sia's first solo single, "Taken for Granted," debuted at No. 10 on the U.K. singles chart, instantly boosting her fan base as well as demand for her from other well-established artists. Collaborations with Massive Attack, Zero 7 and William Orbit followed, as well as a song appearance on the hit TV series Six Feet Under. Her 2008 release, Some People Have Real Problems, is both sweet and quirky, a winning formula in the world of indie-pop.
Friday Feb. 15
525 W. Santa Clara St
WHILE I'll agree to the age-old truth that you'll always have a soft spot for the music you heard growing up, I think it's also true that those of us who grew up hearing the sentimental crooning by romantic pop stars like Neil Diamond, Julio Iglesias and Barry Manilow are scarred for life. For many, Manilow's jaw-dropping record sales—over 75 million—can't diminish the halo of cheese that adorns the Vegas fixture's music. A sincere cover version of any Barry Manilow song by anyone under 30 is nearly inconceivable, but the ultimate irony is that Manilow himself still pulls it off, much to the delight of his millions upon millions of fans. Like the man says, he writes the songs ... he writes the songs.
Thursday Feb. 14
777 Lawrence Expwy
Gene Loves Jezebel
ORIGINALLY called Slav Arian, Gene Loves Jezebel was the creation of twins Jay and Michael Aston who, along with guitarist Ian Hudson and a drum machine, formed the band in 1980. Gloomy melodies and equally despondent lyrics became the architecture for the newly emerging goth-rock movement. Their 1986 album Discover brought the group a taste of mainstream success, though the commercial triumph proved fleeting. After one more run at the charts with Heavenly Bodies in 1992, Jean Loves Jezebel called it quits. A few years back, the band resurfaced with Exploding Girls, a concept album exclusively about women. The album was met with mixed reviews, mostly due to the fact that Michael Aston was the only original member of the group included on the record. Still, fans of the New Wave revival will get a kick out of hearing one of the era's original members, even if the rest of the band is nowhere to be found.